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Weiss, Dan Starebaby: Natural Selection (Pi Recordings)

The follow-up to NY drummer/composer Dan Weiss's 2018 release Starebaby is an unconventional compounding of electric jazz, doom metal, electronic music, and improvisation, performed with Matt Mitchell on piano & Prophet 6, Craig Taborn on piano, Fender Rhodes & synthesizers, Ben Monder on guitars, and Trevor Dunn on electric bass.
 

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product information:


UPC: 808713008623

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: Pi 86
Squidco Product Code: 29580

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at The Bunker, in Brooklyn, New York, on March 13th to 15th, 2019, by Ron Saint Germain.


Personnel:

Matt Mitchell-piano, Prophet 6

Craig Taborn-piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers

Ben Monder-guitars

Trevor Dunn-electric bass

Dan Weiss-drums, tabla, piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.

He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson's Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss's Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile's Mannequins, Mario Pavone's Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber's Simple Trio, Ches Smith's We All Break, Michael Attias' Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor's Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff's Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn's Bagatelles.

Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's Apex, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi's Baida Quartet, Dave King's Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.

He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage."

-Matt Mitchell Website (http://www.mattmitchell.us/bio/)
4/19/2021

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

"Craig Marvin Taborn (/ˈteɪˌbɔːrn/; born February 20, 1970) is an American pianist, organist, keyboardist and composer. He works solo and in bands, mostly playing various forms of jazz. He started playing piano and Moog synthesizer as an adolescent and was influenced at an early stage by a wide range of music, including by the freedom expressed in recordings of free jazz and contemporary classical music.

While at university, Taborn toured and recorded with jazz saxophonist James Carter. Taborn went on to play with numerous other musicians in electronic and acoustic settings, while also building a reputation as a solo pianist. He has a range of styles, and often adapts his playing to the nature of the instrument and the sounds that he can make it produce. His improvising, particularly for solo piano, often adopts a modular approach, in which he begins with small units of melody and rhythm and then develops them into larger forms and structures.

In 2011, Down Beat magazine chose Taborn as winner of the electric keyboard category, as well as rising star in both the piano and organ categories. By May 2016, Taborn had released six albums under his own name and appeared on more than eighty as a sideman."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Taborn)
4/19/2021

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

"A musician in the New York City area for over 30 years, Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Andrew Cyrille, George Garzone, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, Louis Cole, Marshall Crenshaw and Jandek. He also contributed guitar parts to the last David Bowie album, "Blackstar". Ben conducts clinics and workshops around the world, and has served on the faculties of the New England Conservatory and the New School. He was the recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award in 2014, and a Shifting Foundation grant in 2013. Ben continues to perform original music internationally in solo and trio settings, and in a long standing duo project with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He has appeared on over 200 CDs as a sideman, and has released 7 as a leader: Day After Day (Sunnyside, 2019) Amorphae (ECM, 2015), Hydra (Sunnyside, 2013), Oceana (Sunnyside, 2005), Excavation (Arabesque, 2000), Dust (Arabesque, 1997), and Flux (Songlines,1995)."

-Wikipedia (http://www.c-marek.de/xmonder/?p=109)
4/19/2021

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"About Trevor Dunn

1968: born traversing a fine line between hippies and rednecks behind the redwood curtain. first musical affinities: the beach boys, blondie, cheap trick, kiss. first television: ultraman, speedracer, bugs bunny. first films: over the edge, the mouse and his child, snoopy come home, bedknobs & broomsticks. first books: zylpha keatly snyder's witches of worm, the velvet room and the headless cupid.

1977: began studies on clarinet

1981: began studies on electric bass and subsequently quit the clarinet as i realized that girls would now talk to me.

1986: the same year that Lynch's blue velvet and Slayer's reign in blood were released, graduated from EHS. the school's motto: "pigs live in litter, loggers live in pride". started a band called Mr. Bungle. then i got a job at shakey's pizza. began classical technique studies on the contrabass.

1990: graduated from humboldt state university after studying the likes of harry partch, iannis xenakis, alban berg, igor stravinksy, gustav mahler, js bach, you know, all the cats. Also performed Koussevitsky's Concerto for Double Bass with the HSO.

1992: first Mr. Bungle record released on Warner Bros. Moved to SF and two months later embarked on the first MB tour of the US. At the age of 24 I was one of the oldest people in the van. For the next eight years played lots of weddings and restaurants between tours with MB. Learned a lot about music playing with Connah, Goldberg, Schott, Kavee, Amendola, Greenlief, et al.

2000: relocated to Brooklyn, NYC.

Currently playing in various projects under the direction of John Zorn (Nova Quartet, Dreamers, Electric Masada, Aleph Trio). The Nels Cline Singers, Curtis Hasselbring's New Mellow Edwards, Melvins Lite, Endangered Blood, Tomahawk, The Darius Jones Quartet & Erik Friedlander's Bonebridge. I still have plans for my own bands: trio-convulsant, PROOF Readers and MadLove; and I continue to write music for independent films, practice long tones, pine over Daisy Lowe and drink shitty beer in heavy metal saloons."

-Trevor Dunn Website (http://www.trevordunn.net/biography.html)
4/19/2021

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

"Shifting Foundation grantee Dan Weiss has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers in The New York Times, and his large ensemble recording "Fourteen" made the top ten list of their best recordings of 2014. Weiss's innovative drumming and forward thinking compositions have been pushing musical limits for years.

With his piano trio, he's released two recordings entitled, "Now Yes When" (2006) and "Timshel" (2011), which have been critically acclaimed for their unique approach to song structure and endless creative improvisation. Weiss also leads his sixteen piece large ensemble that features some of NYC's most gifted musicians. The two albums " Fourteen" (2014) and "Sixteen: Drummers Suite" (2016) released on the Pi record label have made numerous critic polls. His newest project features Craig Taborn, Matt Mitchell, Ben Monder, and Trevor Dunn and is an amalgam of jazz, metal, and new music. The recording will be released on the Pi record label in the Spring of 2018.

Weiss has been studying tabla under Pandit Samir Chatterjee for twenty years. He has performed with the legendary Ashish Khan and Ramesh Misra and recorded a solo tabla cd "3dcd" (2007). Weiss recorded two groundbreaking cds "Teental Drumset Solo" (2005) and "Jhaptal Drumset Solo" (2011) where he performs classical Indian repertoire on drum set.

Weiss was named 'The Top Up and Coming Percussionist' 2 years in a row in the 60th and 61st annual Downbeat's Critic's Poll and earned a spot in Modern Drummer's coveted Top 5 Jazz Drummers of 2014."

-Dan Weiss Website (https://www.danweiss.net/about-1/)
4/19/2021

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


1. Episode 18 12:58

2. Dawn 6:04

3. The Long Diagonal 7:09

4. A Taste Of A Memory 14:00

5. Today Is Wednesday Tomorrow? 6:16

6. Bridge Of Trust 8:08

7. Accina 15:02

8. Head Wreck 8:36
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The recording of Natural Selection came fast at the end of a run of performances for the band - also named Starebaby - which helped further cement the group's unique sound. According to Weiss, "Logging so many hours playing together helped us to really internalize this music, which allows us to improvise with more freedom and fewer inhibitions." Along with Weiss, the band - who all return from the first album - is made up of a dream-team of musicians who share a love for heavy metal and whose playing is unbound by genre: Ben Monderon guitar, Trevor Dunn on bass, and the twin-keyboard/piano/electronics attack of Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn. It's staggering to contemplate the wide-ranging ability of these musicians: from bone-crunching power to pensive reflection; exacting hits to improvised texture; faith to the compositions and manic improvisation. Each of these musicians is a leader in his own right; their 2019 releases evidence the sheer scope of their individual talents: Dunn, who was a member of Mr. Bungle (with Faith No More singer Mike Patton), Fantômas (also with Patton), Melvins, and Secret Chiefs 3, released his album Nocturnes, which features his compositions for string quartet, piano and bass. Monder, who plays on David Bowie's Blackstar, put out the dreamy Day After Day, for solo guitar and trio. Taborn collaborated with pianist Vijay Iyer on The Transitory Poems, an album of piano duos. Mitchell's Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi) features his usual synapse-exploding, intricately detailed work, this time for guitar, vibraphone, bass and drums. Weiss, himself, released the more jazz-oriented Utica Box, featuring his long-running trio with pianist Jaco Sacks, bassist Thomas Morgan, with the addition of bassist Eivind Opsvik. The success of Natural Selection would not be possible without these particular musicians, with their wide-ranging, all-embracing love of music and ability to execute everything that Weiss throws at them with conviction. It's all captured exceptionally by veteran recording engineer Ron Saint Germain (Soundgarden, Living Colour, Bad Brains, Sonic Youth) and mastered by Joe Gastwirt.

Natural Selection, as with Starebaby, is deeply inspired by the 2017 return of David Lynch's television show Twin Peaks, whose dreamlike, foreboding feel pervades much of this music. In composing the new works, Weiss visualized tulpas - which he describes as "beings that are created through spiritual or mental powers that take on similar forms as the original" - for some of the compositions on the first album. These include "Episode 18," which is a tulpa of "Episode 8" in that both pieces alternate between brutally heavy and atmospheric musical passages. Similarly, "Bridge of Trust," "A Taste of a Memory," and "Acinna" share the same musical DNA as "Head Wreck," "The Memory of my Memory," and "Annica," respectively, from the earlier release. While much has been made of its heavy metal influences, in truth, the music is far from a wall-to-wall bludgeoning: dense, intense, and fast sections segue to spare, placid and gentle. Indeed, wide ranging dynamics, tempo, and emotion is a hallmark of much of Weiss's work.

Weiss, who usually composes from either the piano or drums, even went so far as to learn how to play the electric bass after deciding that it was important to approach the music, particularly the more rock-oriented tracks, from the vantage point of that instrument. He began a course of study with the likes of Dunn, Chris Lightcap, Chris Morrisey, Jon Flaugher, Linda May Han Oh, Matt Brewer, and Chris Tordini, all masters of the instrument, with additional help from guitarist Miles Okazaki. According to Weiss, "I learned soul, funk, metal, rock, and jazz bass lines in order to acquaint myself to the way the instrument felt. Then I just used my creativity and ear to guide my compositional process. A lot of the sections from both records came from the bass. I got really into it and still practice from time to time." Overall, Weiss describes the new compositions as "less intentional," leaving more room for solos and group interplay. There is also more sensitive writing, with more use of the piano, taking full advantage of the melodic inventiveness of Taborn and Mitchell. Like all of his Pi releases, including Fourteen (2014) and Sixteen (2016), these are decidedly individual works; nothing else out there that sounds remotely like it.

Until COVID-19 brought the musical world to a standstill, Starebaby was set to hit the road on a series of US and European tours. Other plans, including a duo with Okazaki, and playing and recording with the likes of Miguel Zenon, Dave Douglas, Jen Shyu, and Noah Preminger, were all put on hold. Weiss, though, claims that the down-time has been the most productive of his life: He has focused his attention on composing new works, producing two videos a week for his Patreon page on everything from drum techniques to musical analysis, learning music recording and production software Logic Pro, taking lessons on music mixing, completing a drum instruction book, and collaborated on collaborative, remote recordings with Zenon and Okazaki. Whenever we come out of this challenging period, what is certain is that Weiss will emerge with more sui generis, genre-be-damned projects that exist nowhere else but out of his feverish imagination."-Pi Recordings

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quintet Recordings
Pi Records
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
New in Rock Forms
Recent Releases and Best Sellers


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Modirzadeh, Hafez (Davis / Sorey / Taborn)
Facets
(Pi Recordings)
Berne's, Tim Snakeoil
The Deceptive 4 Live [2 CDs]
(Intakt)
Zorn, John feat. the Brian Marsella Trio
Calculus
(Tzadik)
Davis / Mitchell / Ortiz / Shipp
New American Songbooks, Volume 2 [VINYL]
(Sound American/Pleasure of the Text Records)
Talmor, Ohad Newsreel Sextet
Long Forms
(Intakt)
Burke, Rob / Ben Monder / Tom Rainey / Ben Grayson
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Taborn, Craig / Vadim Neselovskyi
The Book Beri'ah Vol 11: Da'at
(Tzadik)
Okazaki, Miles
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Pavone, Mario Dialect Trio
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(Tzadik)
Torn, David / Tim Berne / Ches Smith
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Webber, Anna
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Davis / Mitchell / Ortiz / Shipp
New American Songbooks, Volume 2 [VINYL]
(Sound American/Pleasure of the Text Records)
Carlson, Dustin (w/ Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker)
Air Ceremony
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Coleman's, Steve Natal Eclipse
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Dessen, Michael Trio
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(Clean Feed)
Mitchell, Matt plays Tim Berne
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(Screwgun)
Mats Gustafsson / Craig Taborn
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(Clean Feed)
Finlayson, Jonathan / Sicilian Defense
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Malaby, Tony Paloma Recio
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(Clean Feed)
Weiss, Dan Large Ensemble
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Mitchell, Matt Quartet
Vista Accumulation [2 CDs]
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Shyu, Jen & Jade Tongue
Sounds and Cries of the World
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Lightcap, Chris Bigmouth
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Mitchell, Roscoe (with Craig Taborn / Kikanju Baku)
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