The Squid's Ear Magazine

Kid Millions / Sarah Bernstein: Broken Fall (VINYL) (577 Records)

Pulling inspiration from disparate influences such as early liturgical music, Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Milford Graves, and composers Morton Feldman and Lou Harrison, Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein create a cyclical form of spontaneous thematic music through powerful electronics, wild vocalizations, and unrelenting drum textures.

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product information:

UPC: 023632674968

Label: 577 Records
Catalog ID: 5828
Squidco Product Code: 28089

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Menegroth, in Queens, New York, on January 18th, 2019, by Colin Marston.


Sarah Bernstein-violin, voice, electronics

Kid Millions-drums

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"When Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein conceptualized their new album, they decided to move away from well-trodden improvisational approaches and towards more transcendental, otherworldly sounds. Pulling inspiration from disparate influences such as early liturgical music, Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, the minimalist metal band Sleep, Yoko Ono, masters of dub, drummers Milford Graves and Tony Williams, and composers Morton Feldman and Lou Harrison, they set out to create a cyclical form of spontaneous thematic music. The result is driving and expressive, with pieces of gem-like brevity placed alongside others of sustained evolving intensity. Colpitts and Bernstein started playing together regularly in 2014. Their early performances were surprising, suggesting new avenues of spontaneous composition. They gradually developed an approach that utilizes an extreme range of dynamics and note density, from pin-drop violin pizzicato and cymbal scraping to powerful electronics, wild vocalizations, and unrelenting drum textures. "Broken Fall" is their second album with 577 Records. This recording is the first to include Sarah's poetry as lyrics. The text is barely decipherable, intertwined musically with her otherwise wordless vocal expression, yet the rhythm of the words and the meaning drives the temperament of the album. "Broken Fall" is a huge step forward for the duo; an album that fully captures their fluent musical relationship."-577 Records

"Drums, violins, electronics and voice combine in an ecstatic, devotional racket on this second full-length album from Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein. "Humint," the opener, sets the table with a bristling buzz of feedback and the clatter of drum sticks rampaging over an extended kit. It is both chaotic and purposeful. Even before Bernstein introduces her unearthly wordless vocals, it speaks in tongues, its spatter-painted frenzy giving way to communion with a serene astral plane.

Kid Millions is, of course, the long-time drummer for Oneida whose recent work has branched ever outward into transcendental psych, free-jazz and avant-garde classical. Bernstein, a New York based violinist, has stretched the boundaries of a variety of genres-everything from contemporary classical to noise rock. They've worked together for about half a decade, both live and in one other record on 577 (2017's Tense Life), and it is perhaps worth noting that Broken Fall was the first music Kid Millions recorded after recovering from a serious auto accident. It's not that it affected his playing, which is as ferocious and unbounded as ever-more that he seems closer to the ineffable than usual. There's a headlong, right-over-the-edge quality to these compositions. All bets are off. All cautions are tossed to the side.

The other main difference from Tense Life comes in the vocals, which are, according to label notes, Bernstein's poetry, though it's hard to say what any of the words are or whether there are words at all. And yet, as album highlight "Dies Infaustus" gathers speed and mass and furious tumult, dodging sudden stabs of violent sound, Bernstein's voice serves as a serene center. The whirlwind spins around her, throwing off clanks and rattles and honks and vibrating, dissonant clangor, and she rises untouched out of the chaos. It's odd to infer the eternal out of so much friction and strife, but there it is anyway, arresting and spiritually inflamed.

The combination of dense, turbulent, conflicting sonics-not just the continuous roll and surge of drumming, but electronic squeals and amp-altered swathes of violin tones-and the sense of spiritual communion recall Milford Graves. He also finds the sublime in cacophony, transcendence in a sweaty trance of activity. It's rare to hear two such fine, daring musicians go at it this hard, dive so deep into the mess and strain of physical music-making and come up so spiritual."-Jennifer Kelly, Dusted Magazine

Get additional information at Dusted Magazine

Artist Biographies

"Sarah Bernstein is a New York-based composer and violinist whose work incorporates vocals, electronics, improvisation and original text. She is known for her fiery multidisciplinary performances, and has garnered international acclaim for her distinctive recordings. She leads bands, performs solo, and collaborates with artists in avant-jazz, chamber music, experimental pop and noise. Nominated in the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll for the past five years, Bernstein is a recognized innovator in forward-thinking jazz. Her approach merges post-tonal and polyrhythmic melody with sonic exploration and raw emotion. In addition to live performance, Bernstein's music is featured on radio programs, podcasts, and film scores. She is originally from San Francisco, CA."

-Sarah Bernstein Website (

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"Kid Millions is a musician, composer and writer best known as the drummer and founder of Brooklyn's experimental rock behemoth Oneida. For the last twenty years, Millions has been at the forefront of the NYC experimental music community collaborating with artists as varied as Laurie Anderson, Yo La Tengo, Boredoms, So Percussion and William Basinski."

-Tompkins Square Label (

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Track Listing:


1. Humint 03:52

2. Conditions 05:27

3. Dies Infaustus 04:11

4. Never Breaks 05:08


1. Dies Faustus 07:12

2. Sign This 07:23

3. Guerdon 04:27

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Duo Recordings

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