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Blonk, Jaap / Sandy Ewen / Damon Smith / Chris Cogburn: North of Blanco (Balance Point Acoustics)

Six focused quartet improvisations with complex, independent layers of rich textures. Featuring Dutch vocalist/sound-poet Jaap Blonk and three Texas improvisors: Damon Smith (bass), Sandy Ewen (guitar & objects), Chris Cogburn (percussion).
 

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Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Catalog ID: BPA016
Squidco Product Code: 18919

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Double Dog Studios in Round Rock, Texas, on June 1st, 2013, by Mike Kosacek.


Personnel:

Jaap Blonk-voice, electronics

Sandy Ewen-guitar, objects

Damon Smith-prepared doublebass

Chris Cogburn-percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Jaap Blonk (born 1953 in Woerden, Holland) is a self-taught composer, performer and poet.He went to university for mathematics and musicology but did not finish those studies.In the late 1970s he took up saxophone and started to compose music.A few years later he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades the voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds.From around the year 2000 on Blonk started work with electronics, at first using samples of his own voice, then extending the field to include pure sound synthesis as well.He took a year off of performing in 2006. As a result, his renewed interest in mathematics made him start a research of the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual work and poetry.

As a vocalist, Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. He has performed around the world, on all continents. With the use of live electronics the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension.

Besides working as a soloist, he collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, like Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band. He premiered several compositions by the German composer Carola Bauckholt, including a piece for voice and orchestra. A solo voice piece was commissioned by the Donaueschinger Musiktage. On several occasions he collaborated with visual computer artist Golan Levin, for the Ars Electronica Festival.

Blonk's work for radio and television includes several commissioned radio plays.He also makes larger-scale drawings of his scores, as well as visual poetry, which is being exhibited.

He has his own record label, Kontrans, featuring a total of 25 releases so far. Other Blonk recordings appeared on various labels, such as Staalplaat, Basta, VICTO, Ecstatic Peace, Monotype Records, Terp and Elegua Records.His book/CD 'Traces of Speech' was published in 2012 by Hybriden-Verlag, Berlin. Forthcoming is a sequel with the title "Traces of Cookery".A comprehensive collection of his sound poetry came out as a book with 2 CDs in 2013, entitled "KLINKT"."

-Jaap Blonk Website (http://www.jaapblonk.com/Pages/biography.html)
8/8/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Sandy Ewen was born in Toronto, Canada in 1985, Sandy Ewen received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Since then she has resided in Houston, TX where she pursues musical and visual projects and her architecture license. Ewen has released several albums, including a duo with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio with bassist Damon Smith & drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock album with Austin's Weird Weeds. Ewen's visual work is closely tied to her work in sound; she uses both mediums to explore texture, composition and materials.

Ewen's microcollages, enlarged through projection and digital printing, are an exploration of material and technique. Using a unique process pioneered by the artist, natural materials and polymers are torn, liquefied, scorched, melted, cut, and fused. When enlarged, the microscopic nuances of these manipulations are manifested in exquisite detail. Ewen has presented prints of her work at 14 Pews (2012), Spacetaker/Fresh Arts (2012), Khon's (2013) & Galeria Regina (2014).

As an improviser in both art and music, Ewen sees herself as guiding materials and space rather than executing a preconceived composition. "I like to explore mediums and materials and tease out their essence," says Ewen. "Working with slide projections has focused my eye on the subtitles of natural processes of decay and transformation. Through my work, I am asking questions of the materials rather than dictating answers." "

-Sandy Ewen Website (http://www.sandyewen.com/about/)
8/8/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon's explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson's Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra's Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and five great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon will move to the Boston area in the fall of 2016. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians."

-Balance Point Acoustic Website (https://www.balancepointacoustics.com/damon-smith/)
8/8/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Chris Cogburn is a percussionist living in Austin and Mexico City. His artistic practice is rooted in the collaborative context of improvisation.

Cogburn's approach to the drum gives focus to the instrument's sonic potential as a site and container for resonance. Current practices concentrate on the threshold between acoustic and electronic sounds, their differing tibral qualities and their sites of resonance (speaker/drum).

Current music projects include: un Trio de Gira, with Mexico City musicians Alex Bruck (viola) and Ramón del Buey (bass clarinet); Libración, a duo with Mexico City double bassist Juan García; and the frenetic noise group SSBT with Steve Jansen and Parham Daghighi.

Beginning in the summer of 2003, Cogburn has organized an annual festival of improvised music - the No Idea Festival - showcasing a handful of Texas' premiere creative musicians in collaboration with improvisors from around the US, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the world. No Idea events have been held in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Marfa, Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans, Mexico City and Mérida, Yucatán."

-No Idea Festival (https://noideafestival.com/old/2011#bryan-eubanks)
8/8/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Cueing the Nooks 9:09

2. Net Korgo 3:12

3. Winner Kult Song 7:54

4. Brewing Tools 21:10

5. Hebber Took Us In 9:12

6. On the Big Wulk 5:17
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"I first worked with Jaap Blonk in 1998 in Palermo, Sicily, in a quartet with the great alto player Gianni Gebbia. It was my first time overseas and my first European festival. In the last few years we have been able to work together again in Houston, TX. This music was recorded on short tour with two of the most important improvisors in Texas.When I started this label in 2001. I decided to use writings by bass players for the liner notes, based on an idea by William Parker (who wrote notes for BPA 015).In this case, my playing at this session was very directly influenced by the extreme prepared bass ideas documented on PascAli's incredible double bass duo album, Suspicious Activity. So it was fortunate that they wrote my first set of notes from a bass duo.The quartet would like to thank Neal D. Retke & Real Ale Brewery in Blanco, Texas."-Damon Smith, December 2013





"Funny that right after I send in the William Hooker review I get another record with Damon Smith on it. Sweet. This is a really cool album with a wide array of diverse sounds and adventurous textures.

Quirky birps and bleeps along with bizarre but somehow welcoming vocalizations characterize the first two songs, "Cueing the Nooks" and "Net Kongo" which isn't surprising consideration Dutch performance artist Jaap Blonk is on this record. It's opens up a bit more atmospherically and dynamically on the next cut, "Winner Kult Song" but the vocalizations remain a constant throughout. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it can wear you down a bit after a while. Fortunately Mr. Blonk gives guitarist Ewen, percussionist Cogburn and double bassist Smith room to breathe on the next cut "Brewing Tools" before dominating the last third. Ewen, Cogburn and Smith are sensitive and intuitive musicians who never overwhelm the proceedings and should be commended highly. With all due respect I'd love to hear them on a record as a trio some time.

"Hebber Took Us In" and "On the Big Wulk" close out the album in the same fashion and credit must be given to all for the cohesiveness of the recording. Mr. Blonk is an acquired taste but to his credit he didn't over dominate this album but I can't help thinking that maybe some folks might be turned off to six cuts lasting almost an hour together of his improvs. Nonetheless this was a cool collection and I'm glad I got to hear it. Add a star if you're a big fan of Mr. Blonk."-Ed Pettersen, Free Jazz Blog



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at Free Jazz Blog
Related Categories of Interest:


West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
Blonk, Jaap
Free Improvisation
Unusual Vocal Forms
Blonk, Jaap
Quartet Recordings
Objects and Home-made Instruments
Instruments with Preparations


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(Balance Point Acoustics)
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(Balance Point Acoustics)
Morris, Joe / Damon Smith
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Cameron, Lisa / Damon Smith / Alex Cunningham
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(Balance Point Acoustics)
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(Balance Point Acoustics)
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Schindler, Udo / Jaap Blonk
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(Relative Pitch)
Karayorgis, Pandelis Trio (w/ Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal)
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