The Squid's Ear Magazine


Abrahams, Chris / Mark Wastell: A Thousand Sacred Steps (Confront)

Drenched in beautiful ambiance, this inspired and spiritual meeting between Necks pianist Chris Abrahams and percussionist Mark Wastell performing on tam-tam and cymbals, was recorded while The Necks were in residence at Cafe Oto in London, the empathy between the two immediately evident in their graceful approach to these four evolving improvisations.
 


Sample The Album:





product information:

Personnel:



Chris Abrahams-piano

Mark Wastell-tam tam, cymbals


Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.




UPC: 5902249003796

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: core 01EP
Squidco Product Code: 30250

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardstock Sleeve, sealed
Recorded at Hackney Road Studios, in London, UK, on October 23rd, 2018, by Shuta Shinota.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"We owe this session to a touch of happenstance and a measure of forethought. Chris was in London with The Necks for a residency at Café Oto, the capitals enterprising and valuable haven for adventurous music. Mark asked him whether, if he had any spare time whilst in the city, he'd be interested in doing a studio session as a duo.

The two have met a number of times over the years (including once in Berlin when Chris came to hear The Sealed Knot, the trio which Mark inhabits with harpist Rhodri Davies and percussionist Burkhard Beins) and had been corresponding since the time when Mark ran the Sound 323 record shop in the early 2000s. An additional point of interest is that eight months after these studio recordings, Mark also guested with The Dogmatics - Chris' longstanding duo with clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski - at Café Oto in October 2019.

The album title, says Mark, "came to mind quite early on in my listening back to the sessions. I was thinking how musicians cross the globe, physically and metaphorically, treading sacred steps that lead from one musical experience to another. Akin to some kind continual ritual pilgrimage."

For me there has always been a certain spiritual feeling about Mark's improvisations. This was evident back when he concentrated on cello, but in latter years his thoughtful work on percussion exhibits the same meditative quality, with musical gestures that can seem private and enigmatic yet propose countless possible ways forward.

Similar comments can apply to the way Chris addresses a new improvisation. He is known for his penchant for cyclic, rippling, somewhat Debussy-esque opening passages that, gradually intensifying, may develop in any direction. This is especially evident on "A", where the sense of foreboding neither resolves nor breaks. A kind of climax arrives around halfway through "Steps" but finally subsides into that impression of ambiguity which has, on each track, drawn us into the next stage of the pilgrimage."=Barry Witherden



"[...] The other release is by two musicians whose work is reviewed on several occasions by Vital Weekly and on October 23, 2018, they recorded four pieces in a studio in London, and it is, sadly, only twenty minutes of music. Abrahams plays "bluthner grand piano, circa 1905", which surely is something special and which significance eludes me, and Wastel plays a "32" Paiste tam tam and cymbals". The four pieces are titled so there is a short sentence, A Thousand Sacred Steps, and it opens with the beautiful lush piano sounds of "A" and Wastell playing his instruments in a rather loosely organized way. The next two are rather short, with "Thousand" being very obscure and in "Sacred" again mysteriously, with everything picking up in 'Steps" again, again with Abrahams playing a rolling, melodic piece of music, quite introspective and Wastell going quite wildly at the cymbals. Of notice here, is the fact that there is quite some reverb applied to Wastell's plying. I am not sure if this is something natural or added later on, but it adds to the somewhat majestic atmosphere of the music, almost as if the music is part of a sacred ritual. It works, however, quite well, and the only downside is the fact that this way too short. It was recorded when Abrahams was in London for some concerts and did this in between. Why not stay some longer period and give us a longer record?"-Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly


Get additional information at Vital Weekly

Artist Biographies

"Chris Abrahams was born in Oamaru, New Zealand but grew up in Sydney, Australia.

He became very active in the Sydney jazz scene in the early eighties playing with modern jazz groups including Mark Simmonds' Freeboppers and The Keys Music Orchestra. With Lloyd Swanton he formed the 60's modern jazz-influenced The Benders in 1982. During its day, the band released three albums - E, False Laughter and Distance.

In 1984 Chris recorded and released his first solo piano album - Piano, followed in 1986 by Walk.

In 1985 Chris became a founding member of the Sydney indie rock band The Sparklers. As a result of this, Chris began working regularly with the singer and songwriter Melanie Oxley. Chris collaborated with Melanie, writing songs and producing albums, throughout the nineties. There are five releases with her: Resisting Calm (1990), Welcome to Violet (1992), Coal (1994), Jerusalem Bay (1998) and Blood Oranges (2003).

Chris released a third solo piano album, Glow, in 2001. This was followed in 2003 by Streaming, and then Thrown (2004), Play Scar (2010) and Memory Night (2013).

Chris has collaborated, in both recording and performance, with many contemporary improvising musicians including Burkhard Beins, Mike Cooper and Anthony Pateras. He performs regularly in the improvising music scenes both in Australia and Europe."

-The Necks Website (http://www.thenecks.com/bio)
2/26/2024

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

"Mark Wastell Born 1968; cello.

Much of Mark Wastell's relationship with his chosen instrument is concentrated on the tactile, textural and sonic possibilities of both violoncello and bow. He is increasingly interested in working with extreme elements drawn from frequency, timbre and pitch.

His early activity was consciously and subconsciously influenced by a variety of improvising musicians including John Stevens, Barry Guy, Phil Durrant and John Russell. Subsequent exposure to contemporary composers lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the works written for strings by Feldman, Cage, Nono, Lachenmann and Sciarrino. The use of live electronics and music concrete by Tudor, Parmegiani, Xenakis and others was another important early influence.

Wastell's current instrumental material primarily focuses on using abstract principles of space and texture - encompassing elements of new London silence, pro-instrument minimalism, new complexity and electro-acoustics. Because of the very nature of his chosen instrument, he tends to favour 'chamber' style ensembles and is a member of a number of regular groups:

• Chris Burn's Ensemble, with John Butcher, Rhodri Davies, John Russell, Matt Hutchinson

• Derek Bailey's Company - with, for example, Will Gaines, Simon H. Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Evan Parker's String Project, with Peter Cusack, Hugh Davies, Rhodri Davies, Phil Durrant, John Edwards, Kaffe Matthews, Marcio Mattos, John Russell

• Assumed possibilities, with Chris Burn, Rhodri Davies and Phil Durrant

• The Sealed Knot, with Burkhard Beins and Rhodri Davies

• Necessaire with Alessandro Bosetti, Ignaz Schick and Burkhard Beins

• IST with Simon Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Quatuor Accorde with Tony Wren, Phil Durrant and Charlotte Hug

• Broken Concort, a duo with Rhodri Davies

Mark Wastell has also performed with many other leading musicians including John Zorn, Keith Rowe, Peter Kowald, Hugh Davies, Roger Turner, Veryan Weston, Lol Coxhill, Mark Sanders, Axel Dorner, Hans Koch, Phil Minton, Max Eastley and Steve Beresford.

As a soloist he has played at the Micro-classical Festival (London 1996), LMC Festival (London 2000) and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2000). He has travelled extensively with various groups, performing on tour and at festivals in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Greece. Other work includes the launch in 1996 of his own record label, Confront Recordings. Wastell is also joint co-ordinator of the concert venue All Angels, together with Rhodri Davies."

-European Free Improv (EFI) (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mwastell.html)
2/26/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. A 8:24

2. Thousand 2:36

3. Sacred 1:54

4. Steps 6:51

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
Piano & Keyboards
Percussion & Drums
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Australian Improvisers, Composers and Experimenters
The Necks
Duo Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Miva Delete Product Category

Search for other titles on the label:
Confront.


Recommended & Related Releases:
Other Recommended Releases:
Necks, The
Travel
(Northern Spy)
Starting each day in the Australian studio with a 20-minute improvisation, The Necks trio of Chris Abrahams on piano & keyboards, Tony Buck on drums and Lloyd Swanton on bass developed this, their 21st album, as a collection of "shorter" and varied improvisations, released with minimal overdubs to present their music closer to their exceptional live performances.
Spence, Alister / Tony Buck
Mythographer
(Alister Spence Music)
Stepping away from the Australian trio The Necks, drummer/percussionist Tony Buck meets pianist Alister Spence in the studio for seven distinct dialogs of "submerged rhythm, oblique extended forms, entwined interplay, and sound for its own sake", Spence at times using preparations on his strings, as both listen and respond deeply through a congenial approach to playing.
Abrahams, Chris
Follower [VINYL]
(Room40)
A diverse album of compositional work from Australian pianist and The Necks legend Chris Abrahams, in two works of rich ambience and spacious soundscape performed on acoustic and electric pianos, organ, detuned bells and acousmatic sources, contrasted with two more capricious works on acoustic piano, unusual percussive platforms, haunting tones and moody interjections.
Wastell, Mark
Cello-intern Solos
(Confront)
Beginning in February 2022 on the 1st Saturday of the month Mark Wastell would bring his cello to the Hundred Years Gallery in London with the grace of gallery owners Graham MacKeachan and Montse Gallego and play, not as a performance, not as a rehearsal, just to play and record his improvisations as he expands his reach on the instrument, heard here in 17 fascinating excerpts.
Rose, Jon / Chris Abrahams
Peggy
(Recommended Records)
Bang, Jan / David Toop / Mark Wastell
Compound Full Of Bones, Translucent Thousands
(Confront)
An extended improvisation interweaving acoustic and electronic instruments in a beautifully coherent evolution of mysterious and approachable sources, from the trio of Jan Bang, David Toop and Mark Wastell, combining tam tams, gongs, flutes, lapsteel, live sampling, gongs, brushes, elastic, paper and more to captivate the curious listener.
Oceans Of Silver & Blood
Acetate [CD EP]
(Confront)
Reissuing their limited 2014 release on Joachim Nordwall Editions, the Oceans Of Silver & Blood duo of Joachim Nordwall on analog synthesizer, effects & tape and percussionist Mark Wastell on tam tam and timpani present two pieces, the first an environmental work underpinned by subtle percussion, the second a richly resonating work of threatening warmth.
Grady, Spencer / Fermata Ark / Mark Wastell
Thus : Excerpts From A Smaller Work
(Confront)
UK sound artist Fermata Ark, aka Harry Smith, composed this work from improvisations recorded by Mark Wastell performing on cello, double bass and harmonium, and Spencer Grady performing on 5-string banjo, ebow, violin bow and brass slide, creating an extended work of immersive and mesmerizing textures and tones, sounds rising and falling in sublime and passionate ways.
Collusion Duo (Nick Smith / Mark Wastell)
Refraction
(Confront)
Violinist and percussionist Nick Smith, having access to St. Mary's Church at Great Baddow for music performance and rehearsals, made his first use of the space in 1996 in a duo with Mark Wastell on violincello, preparations and percussion, where they used the acoustics of the church to enhance their detailed and absorbing improvisations.
Bosetti, Alessandro / Chris Abrahams
A Heart That Responds From Schooling
(Unsounds)
The 2nd release from Italian composer/performer Alessandro Bosetti and Australian pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks), a very intimate album of sonic explorations that spans improvised fragments and original renditions of compositions like Steve Lacy's "Esteem" with Bosetti's lyrics.
Abrahams, Chris / Clare Cooper
Germ Studies For Guzheng & DX7
(Splitrec)
The Australian duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (Necks) & Berlin harpist Clare Cooper in a series of 198 short improvisations performed on Yamaha DX7 and the 14th century Guzheng harp, presented with 198 illustrations in an unusual and obsessively rewarding project.
BEFOREHAND (Lazaridou / Wastell)
Live at Hundred Years Gallery
(Confront)
The duo of Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga on zither and Mark Wastell on his electronics set including bowls and shruti box, formed for the release concert for Angharad Davies' "Six Studies" in 2014, recording this excellent improvised dialog of rich and unusual sound.
Abrahams, Chris / Magda Mayas
Gardener
(Relative Pitch)
"Four hands on one piano" from the duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and Magda Mayas, both improvising in Berlin at the Vivaldi Saal performance space using their piano, harpsichord, and harmonium.
Bosetti, Alessandro / Chris Abrahams
We Who Had Left
(Mikroton Recordings)
Necks pianist Chris Abrahams teams up with electronic artist and sound poet Alessandro Bosetti for 6 introspective and mysterious tracks that mix Necks-like playing with ambient electronics and curious monologs, plus one waltz.
Scotch Of St James, The
Live at Amplify 2004
(Confront)
Tim Barnes on snare drum and amplification and Mark Wastell on amplified textures, tuned metal, making small, mostly unidentifiable sounds with a Cage-style open flair.



Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Taylor, Cecil (w/ Lyons / Dixon / Grimes / Silva / Cyrille)
With (Exit) To Student Studies, Revisited
(ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)
Changing approaches to his music with new quartet of Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, Alan Silva on double bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums, pianist Cecil Taylor's incredible 1966 concert in Paris presented four extended compositions, here remastered and reissued with a track from a compilation LP--"With (Exit)"--extending his quartet with Bill Dixon on trumpet and Henry Grimes on double bass.
Taylor, Cecil
Respiration
(Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
An incredible solo concert from legendary New York pianist Cecil Taylor in October, 1968 at the Sala Kongresowa (Congress Hall, Palace of Culture and Science) in Warsaw during the Jazz Jamboree, recorded by Polski Radio and remastered in 2021, an excellent example of the nimble mind and quick technical skills of Taylor's personal take on improvisation; stunning!
Russell, George
Ezz-thetics & The Stratus Seekers, Revisited
(ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)
Essential to any collection charting the transition from Birth of the Cool era jazz to the modern explosion of harmonic and compositional forms, are pianist George Russell's two most essential albums from 1961 & 1962--Ezz-thetics and The Stratus Seekers--in a sextet & septet including Eric Dolphy, Don Elliss, Steve Swallow, &c., remastered to reveal their vital clarity.
Mayas, Magda / Tina Douglas
Objects Of Interest [CD + BOOK]
(Room40)
Following the visual scores of multi-disciplinary artist Tina Douglas, pianist Magda Mayas uses objects and preparations on piano, clavinet & rhodes keyboards to expand on Douglas' sculptural and tactile scores, exposing the fragility or imperfections in each, allowing one melody, chord or noise to become the focus of Maya's aural rendering and interpretations.
Tucker, Dave / Pat Thomas / Thurston Moore / Mark Sanders
Educated Guess Vol. 2
(577 Records)
The 2nd half of guitarist Dave Tucker's live concert at London's Cafe OTO, bringing together himself, pianist/keyboardist Pat Thomas, guitarist Thurston Moore and drummer/percussionist Mark Sanders for two extended improvisations of spontaneous performance, layering guitars over complex drum arrangements,and distinctive electronic manipulation.
Killing Popes, The (Steidle / Mobus / Nicholls / Downes / Donkin)
Ego Kills
(Shhpuma)
An incredibly inventive album of 21st century jazz incorporating a twisted wealth of rock and electronic elements, in the 2nd album from Killing Popes led by drummer Oli Steidle and keyboardist Dan Nicholls, with Frank Mobus (guitar) and Phil Donkin (bass), Philipp Gropper (saxophone), Jelena Kuljic (voice & sampler) plus Natalie Sandtorv & Liv Nicholls on voice.
Wandering The Sound Quintet (Satoko Fujii / Guillermo Gregorio / Natsuki Tamuyra / Rafat Mazur / Ramon Lopez)
What Is...?
(Not Two)
The first Wandering The Sound album in 2018 was the trio of Argentinian reedist Guillermo Gregorio, Spanish drummer Ramón López and Polish bassist Rafał Mazur, here extended to a quintet with pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura for a 2019 concert at Alchemia in Poland, a masterful example of free improv based on a poem by Ikkyu Sojun, a Zen master from the 15th century.
Olive, Tim
Spot of the Foul (total mass retain)
(845 Audio)
The second-ever solo release from Tim Olive and his first since 2008, in a distinctive set of compositions that layer and superimpose multiple, darkly intense recordings of improvisations made with magnetic pickups, metal plates, springs, wire, tuning forks, electromagnets, bow, breath, dental floss, envelope generator, fuzz, spring reverb, and preamplifier.
Clement, Joda / Tim Olive / Mathieu Ruhlmann
Eidolon
(845 Audio)
During his 2018-19 Canadian tours, Tim Olive joined Vancouver residents Joda Clˇment and Mathieu Ruhlmann for two trio performances, after which they went into the studio to record these four detailed improvisations using synthesizer, harmonium, glockenspiel, field recordings, feedback, magnetic pickups, preamps, octave generators, ukelin, cymbal, tapes, and objects.
Cranes: Matthias Muller / Eve Risser / Christian Marien
Formation < Deviation
(Relative Pitch)
Darkly powerful sonic interaction through transformative use of their instruments, the trio of trombonist Matthias Müller, drummer Christian Marien and pianist Eve Risser obscure their sources through non-traditional techniques, energetically and mysteriously evoking industrial mechanisms with riveting nuance and inventiveness, an exceptional achievement.
Leandre, Joelle
Beauty / Resistance [3 CD BOX]
(Not Two)
Live concert recordings at Alchemia club in Krakow captured during the Krakow Jazz Autumn Festival 2019 while double bassist Joëlle Léandre held residence, 3 CDs presenting first a quartet with Zlatko Kaucic on drums & percussion, Mateusz Rybicki on clarinets and Zbigniew Kozera on bass, then one disc in a duo with Zlatko Kaucic and another with guitarist Rafal Mazure.



The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

© 2002-, Squidco LLC