The Squid's Ear Magazine

Costa, Carlo: Oblio (Neither/Nor Records)

New York-based Italian percussionist and Neither/Nor label leader Carlo Costa in a solo percussion album of two pieces using drum set, concert bass drum, singing bowls, bells, triangles, wood blocks, tiles, styrofoam, cymbals, violin bows, marbles, chains, knives, and other objects, creating fascinating alien soundscapes of momentous activity without histrionics.

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product information:

UPC: 700261467481

Label: Neither/Nor Records
Catalog ID: n/n 011
Squidco Product Code: 27313

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Noplace in Brooklyn, New York, on June 29th, and July 1st, 2017, by Nathaniel Morgan. Mastered by Lasse Marhaug.


Carlo Costa-percussion, objects, drum set, concert bass drum, singing bowls, bells, triangles, wood blocks, tiles, styrofoam, cymbals, violin bows, marbles, chains, knives, &c.

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In his debut solo album Carlo Costa presents two pieces for solo acoustic percussion which make use of improvisation within composed structures. For the recording Carlo used an assortment of instruments and objects (drum set, concert bass drum, singing bowls, bells, triangles, wood blocks, tiles, styrofoam, cymbals, violin bows, marbles, chains, knives, etc) to create a wide array of sounds in a shifting landscape of textures that overlap, morph and cut into one another."-Neither/Nor Records

"Italian and New York based percussionist Carlo Costa has been working for years on his own sound, primarily with his bands "Natura Morta" and "Earth Tongues", moving percussion deep into realms of sonic landscapes, but then preferably the ones that are rugged, unpredictable and with a dramatic edge. On Oblio, he offers us two pieces of around twenty minutes, using "an assortment of instruments and objects such as drum set, concert bass drum, singing bowls, bells, triangles, wood blocks, tiles, styrofoam, cymbals, violin bows, marbles, chains, knives" and probably more.

The pieces are built around structural composed parts, which offer a sense of direction for the improvisation. The first piece amazingly enough creates a broad sense of space too, with instruments that almost dialogue like human voices in a wide and empty realm full of resonance. The second piece completely breaks that effect, offering a different side of the same coin, but now more intimate, with less resonance, as if every sound is absorbed by the carpets in the room, and with a more prominent role of his drum set. Despite the clear outside-inside distinction, both tracks equal each other in intensity and narrative power. Like percussive innovators such as Eddie Prévost, the instruments are no longer used for rhythmic purposes, but are played in such a way to allow for stretched notes, scratching and scraping sounds, hollow reverberations, overlaid with rumbling and pealing noises. In stark contrast to Prévost, Costa is not a minimalist, quite to the contrary even: a lot is happening, with very frequent variations in the use of instrument and sonority, creating tense and even dense listening experience.

If you ever thought that solo percussion is boring, and only of interest to percussionists, think again."-Stef, The Free Jazz

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective

Artist Biographies

"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. I 20:02

2. II 17:28

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Percussion & Drums
Objects and Home-made Instruments
Solo Artist Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Neither/Nor Records.

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