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Earth Tongues (Moffett / Peck / Costa): Ohio [2 CDs] (Neither/Nor Records)

The second album from this NY trio, titled for the state it was recorded in, as the trio of Joe Moffett (trumpet) and Dan Peck (tuba), both playing cassette players, and percussionist Carlo Costa, slowly develop this long-form 2-part work from minimal interactions of objects, extended techniques, and abstract recordings, building to a tightly controlled ferocity.

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product information:

UPC: 700261445571

Label: Neither/Nor Records
Catalog ID: n/n 006
Squidco Product Code: 26138

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at 8550 Ohio, in Chesterhill, Ohio, on July 18th, 2015, by Nathaniel Morgan.


Joe Moffett-trumpet, cassette player

Dan Peck-tuba, cassette player

Carlo Costa-percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"New York-based trumpeter, improviser, and composer Joe Moffett approaches his work with a keen interest in unconventional sounds and forms, collective composition, and the intersection of words and music. He is co-founder of a number of ensembles such as Earth Tongues, with percussionist Carlo Costa and tubist Dan Peck; the Kaplan/Merega/Moffett Trio, which released its debut, Crows and Motives, in 2014 on Underwolf Records; and Trismegistus with bassist Sean Ali, trombonist Ben Gerstein, percussionist Devin Gray. Moffett's explorations into text and music are evident in his work with the experimental art song duo Twins of El Dorado, with vocalist Kristin Slipp. The ensemble's debut, Portend the End, was released on Prom Night Records in 2013."

-Neither/Nor Records (

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"Dan is a tubist currently living and working in New York City. Since his move there in 2005, he has been active as a soloist, improviser, and sideman in a wide variety of settings. Dan's current interests are in experimental music and improvisation, and he has performed at many of New York City's most respected venues for creative music including The Stone, Roulette, and Issue Project Room. Dan has collaborated with many New York artists, including Tony Malaby, Nate Wooley, Michael Attias, Ben Gerstein, Tom Rainey, Peter Evans, Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, and Matthew Welch. Recent projects include recordings with Tony Malaby's Novela (Clean Feed), Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day Octet (482 Music), and Jeff Newell's New Trad Band. Dan will also be on a forthcoming Anthony Braxton release, featuring music from the Falling River Series in small ensembles from Wesleyan University.

Dan currently leads a trio comprised of himself, Tom Blancarte (bass) and Brian Osborne (percussion). The group plays a mix of freely improvised music and his compositions, some of which are influenced by music of the Doom Metal genre. Their debut LP, "Acid Soil", is out on the Heat Retention Records label. In March of 2011, the Trio completed a 9 day tour of the midwest/east coast.

Equally at home in more traditional jazz settings, Dan plays in the old-timey jazz band Grandpa Musselman and His Syncopators. The Syncopators appear frequently at high society events in and around New York City, and in 2007 took part in the Jazz at Aspen Festival, directed by bassist Christian McBride.

Dan also plays a lot of contemporary music. He has premiered solo tuba works at St. Bartholomew's Church, Merkin Hall, and The Stone. In 2009, Dan was featured as part of Kagel Nacht, a celebration of the music of composer Mauricio Kagel, in which he performed two of Kagel's solo works, Atem and Mirum. As an orchestral performer, Dan has played under great conductors such as James Levine and Herbert Blomstedt, and has worked personally with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann and Alvin Lucier. Dan is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and has also worked with the American Composers Orchestra, Signal Ensemble, New York City Ballet, New World Symphony, and the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra. Dan recently recorded a DVD of Iannis Xenakis' chamber music for Mode Records, with the International Contemporary Ensemble and percussionist Steven Schick conducting.

Currently, Dan plays on the Broadway musical Chicago, and is adjunct-faculty at New Jersey City University."

-Dan Peck Website (

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"Percussionist and composer Carlo Costa was born in Rome, Italy. In 2001 he moved to Boston to study music. Since 2005 he has been living in New York City where he regularly performs as a leader and co-leader of various projects, as well as a sideman. Carlo is currently primarily involved with experimental and improvised music and is an active composer for his ensembles and ad hoc projects. He has performed throughout Europe and the US in a wide variety of contexts.

Carlo currently leads or co-leads Natura Morta (a trio with violist Frantz Loriot and bassist Sean Ali), the Carlo Costa Quartet (with trombonist Steve Swell, saxophonist Jonathan Moritz and bassist Sean Ali), Earth Tongues (with trumpeter Joe Moffett and tubist Dan Peck), the large ensemble Acustica, the trio Ancient Enemies (with alto saxophonist Nathaniel Morgan and violist Joanna Mattrey), and a solo percussion project. In November 2014 Carlo launched the record label Neither/Nor Records which is dedicated to experimental and improvised music."

-Carlo Costa Website (

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track listing:


1. Ohio pt. I 40:55


1. Ohio pt. II 52:45

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"An ensemble dedicated to exploring the scope and scale of experimental improvised music, Earth Tongues approaches each performance as a chance to build new, engaging work that questions our relationship to music and our understanding of sound. Consisting of Carlo Costa on percussion, Joe Moffett on trumpet, and Dan Peck on tuba, the trio creates immersive pieces that explore dynamic and temporal extremes.

Ohio, Earth Tongues' second release on Neither/Nor Records, is their most ambitious work to date. A long-form piece that stretches the very fabric of improvised music to the limit, Ohio envelopes the listener with intensely quiet textures, glacial build-ups and surprising, thunderous moments of noise. It is a double-album inspired by the sonic extremes found in the natural and industrial worlds, and an ode to the inescapably human desire to come to terms with those worlds."-Neither/Nor Records

"As the sotto voce tendrils of Joe Moffett's trumpet, Dan Peck's tuba, and Carlo Costa's percussion slowly worm their way into your brain, early impressions place Earth Tongues' minimalist music in the company of other "quiet scenes" of improvisation: lowercase, onkyō, Echtzeitmusik. But these are superficial classifications (as is often the case when trying to neatly "sort" improvised music). The trio's music doesn't feel like it's about silence or subtraction or austerity in sound; it doesn't really feel like it's concerned with the theoretical elements behind its creation at all. Instead, to the extent it's abstract, it's the kind of innate, organic abstraction that can be found by looking at (or listening to) the natural world from an unexpected angle. Indeed, it was only after listening to some of Toshiya Tsunoda's field recordings that I found the best listening "posture" for Ohio: to hear it as though it were some unfamiliar, ambient environment, the sonic footprint of a place I'd never been to, but where I could also never go.

Ohio is Earth Tongues' second album, and it pushes even further into improvisational extremes. "Ohio, Pt. II" is longer than the entirety of their debut album Rune. The music-two long tracks totaling an hour and a half-slowly reveals itself, retraining ears to the nuances of its unorthodox cadence and inflection. During "Pt. I", nearly 20 minutes pass before a horn raises a full-bodied tone, and half an hour before the suggestion of some momentum via hypnotic, pulsing cymbals. "Pt. II" plays with long, overlapping tones and resonances, perhaps a bit louder than "Pt. I", but no less ascetic. Ohio serves as both a reaction to and an embodiment of the boundlessness of free improvisation: in its restraint, endurance, focus, and discipline it simultaneously rejects the excesses that freedom affords and opens up the sort of immense expanse where just about anything might be encountered.

"Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything," says acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, and this may well be the mantra of Ohio. Having been re-tuned to a fragile state of listening, huddling close, the listener enters a heightened space where sounds of the smallest size carry significance. But this vulnerability also allows the music to juxtapose its restraint with sudden intrusion, to inflict violence. After such a lengthy, hushed build-up, the blats of Peck's tuba at the end of "Pt. I" are truly shocking-obscene, even. In its final minutes, it seems intent on jolting you out of whatever peace was to be found in its artificial ambiance, on reminding you how easily and utterly the quiet world can be blotted out by the noisy one.

Patience is rewarded by Ohio, and in the end it raises some interesting questions about the goals of improvisers and our expectations as listeners. Where do the sounds we choose to make fit into the natural order of the universe? And can they ever constitute a new one? Ohio doesn't mimic the sounds of nature, but at times seems to enact a new realm of sound, one that feels primordial, prior to art and culture, something opaque and truly other. Or, as Tsunoda would say, it "fixes the experience of a landscape," even if it's a landscape we can't literally visit."-Dan Sorrells, The Free

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Field Recordings
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Objects and Home-made Instruments
Field Recordings

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