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Fiuczynski, David

Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam! [VINYL]

Fiuczynski, David: Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam! [VINYL] (Rarenoise Records)

Dedicated to both composer Olivier Messiaen and hip-hop record producer J Dilla, David Fiuczynski uses non-Western tuning to show the connections between exotic bird calls and J Dilla's 'flam beats' while referencing Messiaen, Gagaku, and other Pan-Asian ingredients.

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product information:

UPC: 5060197760823

Label: Rarenoise Records
Catalog ID: RNR-LP-058LP
Squidco Product Code: 21962

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Wellspring Sound in Acton, Massachusetts by Matt Hayes.


David Fiuczynski-guitar, programming, sonic-piano, percussion

Rudresh Mahanthappa-alto saxophone

Utar Artun-microtonal keyboard

Yazhi Guo-Suona, percussion

Helen Sherrah-Davies-violin

Jack Sherman-microtonal keyboard

Justin Schornstein-bass

Alex Bailey-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa's inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.

Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents' native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio's sonic ambitions.

Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar-driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave "Fuze" Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, "I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight," which can be heard on the quartet's 2015 double-disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1."

-Rudresh Mahanthappa Website (

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track listing:


1. Loon-Y Tunes 6:14

2. Dance Of The UiraPuru 4:26

3. Flam! 3:47

4. QandA Solitaire 2:03

5. Oiseaux JDillique 2:38

6. Gagaku Chord Candy 6:56


1. Gagaku Chord Candy Pt. 2

2. Waldstimmen 4:20

3. Uira Happy Jam 4:22

4. Organ Wren Impromptu 4:42

5. Loon-Ly Solitaire 7:21
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Fiuczynski opened the Pandora's Box on non-Western tuning on his 2012 RareNoiseRecords debut, Planet MicroJam. He pushes the envelope even further on his latest microtonal project, Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian MicroJam! Jointly dedicated to 20th century classical composer Olivier Messiaen and innovative hip-hop record producer J Dilla, this ambitious venture has the guitarist-composer pursuing his passion for the notes that fall between the cracks with his intrepid microtonal crew. The seven movements that comprise Flam! instigated by Fiuczynski receiving a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, show the connections between exotic bird calls and J Dilla's famous 'flam beats' while also referencing the colors of Messiaen's music, Gagaku, the ancient court music of Japan, and other Pan-Asian ingredients."-Rarenoise

"Listening to the microtonal world of David Fiuczynski is like thinking that our solar system is a pretty vast world and then remembering that it's just a speck on a galaxy and that there are millions of other galaxies out there. 'Fuze' opens the door to a whole other musical universe when he plays all those notes between the set intervals of Western music theory and its 12-tone chromatic scale, which he accurately describes as "just a suggestion." In opening the door outside the Western house and playing outside where everything else is musically possible, this truly unique composer, fretless guitarist and music educator demonstrates how much more is possible in music.

'Outside' that house is also where the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos found the birds. And a renowned hip-hop producer. And ancient, Eastern and Southern Asian music. It all comes together with conventional forms in multi-level East vs West, Old vs New, Nature vs Man contrasts he calls Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian MicroJam. Issued by RareNoise Records March 25, 2016, Flam! has a comic book styled titled but it's actually very descriptive of the music behind that title. 'Flam' refers to the "flammed" backbeat innovation of hip-hop producer legend J Dilla. 'Pan-Asian' forms show up with motifs that reference everything from Japanese folk music to the Carnatic music of the Subcontinent. It's all pulled together into a performance that still allows for improv, with those microtones being the overriding component, i.e., a 'Microjam.'

The first seven songs are actually movements of a connected theme dedicated to J Dilla and another pioneer, the great 20th century French composer Olivier Messiaen. Messiaen also happened to be an ornithologist and inserted birdsong transcriptions into his music. Likewise, Fiuczynski used field recordings of the birdcalls from the Common Loon, the Carolina Chickadee, the Northern Nightingale, the Blackface Solitaire and the Brazilian Uirapuru as the basis for the unusual melodies of these songs.

Everyone in Fuze's ensemble plays an instrument capable of microtones; even keyboardists Utar Artun and Jake Sherman have microtonal keyboards in their arsenals. Playing alongside them are Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin), Yazhi Guo (suona, a sort of Chinese oboe), Justin Schornstein (fretless bass, efx) and Alex 'BisQuiT' Bailey (drums, bells and percussion).

Your sense of what is music gets assaulted starting with "Loon-Y Tunes," which, amid all the birdcalls, sounds like Japanese-influenced jazz perfectly played except that it's off pitch. Which, of course, is the point. It gets even wiggier with the guitar/microtonal keyboard patterns played on "Dance of the UiraPuru," and the violin and suona afterwards take turns leading this strange brew. For the solemn "Gagaku Chord Candy," Fuze and Guo play out the mystic harmony together amid a formal, sacred air appropriate for the classical Japanese Imperial music. J Dilla's hat tip comes on "Flam," with that flammed beat is turned on and off like someone playing with the switch. Set to the small interval notes, it's like funk from outer space. All of these ideas and more are summed up on "Waldstimmen," and then breaks down into micro-toned free jazz, as if free jazz wasn't offbeat enough.

Fiuczynski tacked on a trio of songs to the Messiaen/J Dilla suite that features his microtonal partner in crime Rudresh Mahanthappa. The groundbreaking alto saxophonist share Fuze's fondness for blending Asian microtonal music into jazz, and "Uira Happy Jam" is a fusion song in both the American and bird call sense (this time inspired by that Brazilian Uirapuru bird). "Organ Wren" with its exotic percussion is especially Oriental in feel, and "Loon-Ly Solitaire" is Fiuczynski letting loose with blues-rock riffing on his fretless guitar riffing.

Well before the end of the album, these exotic sounds go from seeming strange to being strangely enticing. Once you accept the weird, wonderful microtonal world of David Fiuczynski, the universe gets much, much bigger. And better, too."-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews

Also available on CD.
Get additional information at Something Else!
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Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
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