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Pitsiokos, Chris / Javier Areal Velez / Kevin Murray: First Blush (1039 Records)

Intended originally as a solo performance related to NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos' Relative Pitch release Speak In Tongues, Pitsiokos decided instead to expand the gig to a trio with assertive and demanding players Kevin Murray on drums & objects, and Argentinian guitarist Javier Areal Vélez, recording this savagely fun EP in the process.

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product information:

UPC: 755491169469

Label: 1039 Records
Catalog ID: 1039-01
Squidco Product Code: 29662

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve, sealed
Recorded live at Downtown Music Gallery, in New York, New York, on January 12th, 2020,


Chris Pitsiokos-alto saxophone

Javier Areal Velez-guitar, objects

Kevin Murray-drums, objects

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Artist Biographies:

"Chris Pitsiokos (b. 1990) is a saxophonist, composer, and improviser. His music combines the intensity and immediacy of extreme rock forms and noise with the lyricism and forward propulsion of jazz and the abstract detail of contemporary classical composers Iannis Xenakis and Helmut Lachenmann. Chris has had the opportunity to perform/collaborate with Lydia Lunch, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Evans, Kevin Shea, Brian Chase, Henry Kaiser, Mick Barr, Marc Edwards, Brandon Seabrook, Paul Lytton, Tim Dahl, Philip White, Guerilla Toss, C. Spencer Yeh, Ikue Mori, Nate Wooley and Weasel Walter. Chris has performed throughout Europe, Japan, Australia, and the US. His records can be found on Clean Feed, New Atlantis, One Hand Records, Carrier Records, Ug Explode, and his own imprint, Eleatic Records. In addition to performing and composing music, Chris was a long time DJ at WKCR-FM and has been producing concerts in Brooklyn and Manhattan for four years."

-Chris Pitsiokos Website (

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

"Javier Areal Vélez (Buenos Aires, 1985) is a composer, improviser and curator, who performs mostly on electric guitar, with or without objects stuffed between its strings. His musical approach relies heavily on a primal technique that emphasizes timbre and rhythm, avoiding traditional forms in favor of intensity and dynamic contrast. The physicality of his interactions with the guitar create estranged sonic entities that evolve haphazardly outside of specific genres.

After completing studies of Electroacoustic Composition at the National University of Quilmes, Javier pursued a fruitful career in experimental music as a soloist, band leader and through collaborations with artists such as Akira Sakata, Paal Nielsen-Love, Chris Pitsiokos, Audrey Chen, Brian Chase, Shayna Dunkelman, Nicola Hein, Axel Dörner, Ryoko Ono, Richard Scott, Andrew Drury, Jorge Espinal, Jack Wright and Violeta García.

Javier's main group is CALATO (active since 2010), an experimental improvisation and composition quartet consisting of two wildly attacked prepared electric guitars, a drum set, a sampler and an amplified voice that makes all kinds of strange noises but rarely actually sings. CALATO has performed widely in Argentina's most renowned venues and has toured Uruguay (2014), Brazil (2016, and International Experimental Music Festival 2017), Peru (Festival Integraciones, 2018) and Colombia (2019). CALATO has also commissioned and premiered works by renowned Argentinian composers (Federico Barabino, Lucio Capece, Cecilia Castro, Adriana de los Santos, Fernando Manassero, Nicolás Varchausky, Leonello Zambón and Zypce) and from avant-jazz American composer Chris Pitsiokos.

Other commitments have included performing and composing on noise/postpunk trio COSO (2009-2015) and on bizarre experimental pop band El Helicóptero (2013-2018), as well as being a founding member of Buenos Aires' Improvisers Orchestra (2010-2011).

In the last couple of years, Javier has also focused intensely on solo performance, with three different setups: LOUD prepared electric guitar; duo consisting of prepared electric guitar and a laptop running a bad-tempered custom MAX/MSP patch that interacts using samples from other musicians; and an electronic set on Elektron Octatrack.

Over the last decade, Javier has toured extensively across South and North America, Europe and Japan. He has been invited to the French New Music Focus (Strasbourg, 2019), the Arts Delegates Program of the British Council (London, 2018), and has attended residencies at the Experimental Center of Teatro Argentino (La Plata, 2018), Centro de Investigaciones Artísticas (Buenos Aires, 2013) and Art Omi (New York, 2012).

His music can be found on a dozen international labels such as HatHut (Switzerland), Buh Records (Peru), Stereo-Neg & Geweih Ritual Documents (USA), Audition Records (Mexico), El Silencio (Chile), Jardinista! and PSH Ediziones (Arg).

Javier is the founder and director of RUIDO, an ongoing music series which aims to present the foremost experimental artists of diverse styles from all over the world for the first time in Argentina, connecting them with local musicians and audiences through a network of concerts, workshops and masterclasses. RUIDO has produced the first visits of Xiu Xiu, Bill Orcutt, Jeremy Gara, Los Pirañas, Julien Desprez and Mark Fell. In 2020, RUIDO has teamed up with experimental label TVL REC to produce STREAMING FEST, an international online festival of experimental music. The series has hosted home presentations by more than 100 artists from all over the world.

Javier's plans for 2020-2021 include the release of his first solo guitar album (Nefarious Industries, USA), and four releases by CALATO: JOHN CAGE'S VARIATIONS (HatHut, Switzerland); CALATO + VientoX (Vestibular Records, USA), CALATO + 8 COMPOSERS and CALATO x CALATO."

-Javier Areal Velez Website (

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

"Kevin Murray is a NYC-based drummer, improvisor, and organizer. He has worked with Joe Morris, T.J. Borden, William Winant, Eddie Gale, Arrington de Dionyso, Peter Kuhn, Ava Mendoza, Rent Romus, Dave Sewelson, Cooper-Moore, Nicole Mitchell, Jackson Krall, Chris Pitsiokos, Elinor Speirs, and others. Frequent collaborators include William Parker, gabby fluke-mogul, Tom Weeks, James McKain, Drew Wesely, Aaron Rubinstein, Kaelen Ghandhi, as well as Elaine the Singer, a side project of math-rock duo Floral that will be releasing their debut LP in 2020."

-Kevin Murray Website (

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

1. First Blush 21:11
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Pitsiokos, a gladiatorial player with monstrous technique, takes no prisoners, the curves and angles of his extended, circular-breathed, ecstatically inclined lines as clearly articulated as the muscles in his cheeks. Areal Velez - a sound sculptor - and Murray kept pace, taking the energy to high and even higher levels over a powerful half-hour-ful."-Tom Greenland, New York City Jazz Record

"Was this gig at New York's Downtown Music Gallery in January, 2020, a one-off performance? Saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos was scheduled to perform solo, probably to promote his extraordinary solo release Speak In Tongues (Relative Pitch, 2019), but chose instead to expand to a trio. And a new trio at that. This wasn't one of his recent trios with Max Johnson and Kevin Shea, Noah Punkt and Philipp Scholz, or Daniel Levin and Brandon Seabrook. Nor was it his expansive CP Unit, which has some excellent recordings on Portugal's Clean Feed Records.

The magical combination for this performance includes the Argentinian guitarist named Javier Areal Velez and drummer Kevin Murray. The trio's 1-track, 21-minute performance brings to mind the 1980s punk rock legends Minutemen. Not so much musically, but metaphysically. Velez is a member of several improv-noise- post-punk outfits including Calato, Coso, and el helicóptero. Murray will be heard on the upcoming William Parker multi-disc release coming in early 2021. Minutemen is mentiond because Pitsiokos' trio skates upon an gritty edge throughout the set. His alto saxophone sound can be described as that of a young John Zorn with a dash of Roscoe Mitchell. Skittering and incendiary notes are fired by both saxophone and guitar over the feral drumming of Murray, sounding not unlike a blender mix of Paal Nilssen-Love and Chris Corsano. By now, adventurous listeners need no introduction to Pitsiokos; it is through the combination of musicians that makes for the combustible nature of this recording."-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
1039 Records.

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