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Written for the restored Aeolian-Skinner Organ (Op. 985) and performed live at St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University, NY, composer and keyboardist Steve Long's piece references the Navajo code talkers of WWII while calling into question fundamental ideas about the nature of language, evoking instances of communication impeded both intentionally and unintentionally.
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Label: Tripticks Tapes
Catalog ID: TTT012
Squidco Product Code: 31629
Recorded live at St. Paul's Chapel, at Columbia University, in New York, New York. Mastered by Rashad Becker.
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• Show Bio for Steve Long
"Steve Long (he/him) is a queer composer, pianist, improviser and native Brooklynite. Long's musical education traverses New York's uptown/downtown esthetic divide. At an early age he studied improvisation and composition with Kitty Brazelton and Jim Pugliese. He went on to study composition with Nils Vigeland at the Manhattan School of Music before receiving his B.A. in linguistics from the American University of Rome. He holds an M.A. from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Bruce Brubaker, Anthony Coleman, Joe Morris and Stratis Minakakis.
His work explores the relationship between composition and improvisation. He is fascinated by the relationship between the musical ear and the score; the spontaneous understanding or reaction to a musical situation as opposed to the visual representation of ideas. This fascination leads him to questions about the fundamental materials of music and the many layers of social interaction that go into music-making. He attempts to understand the unique structures of these interactions; he seeks to utilize their color, weight and gravity as actual material in his work. It is only when working this closely with others that he feels he is truly getting to the core of his own creative identity.
As pianist/composer he leads PRNCX, a group dedicated to playing his improvisation-based compositions. Most notably he has been commissioned by the vocal trio Chatterbox (Isabel Crespo Pardo, Priya Carlberg, Jolee Gordon), flautist Isabel Lepanto Gleicher of the International Contemporary Ensemble, vocalist Virginia Warnken of Roomful of Teeth, vocalist Jane Sheldon, and Liminal Space Ensemble.
Long is a member of groups including the multi-keyboard ensemble MAMMOTH and Vanitas (in duo with bassist Henry Fraser). Current collaborative projects include co-songwriting and arranging with Benjamin Lazar Davis and Kim Anderson and a duo piano exploration of Duke Ellington's music with Utsav Lal.
As an organizer and curator, he has cofounded music series across the east coast including the Pentiment series based in Philadelphia, PA which showcases emerging and established artists from various genres and Noise Night, a Boston based free-improvisation session dedicated to creating a space for experimental artists of all ages to meet and play.
His recordings include Ponticular on NotArt records and Yarrow on the Biophilia label. A new solo record is slated for release in Fall 2021. This new work, Code-Talker, was written and recorded in 2019 for the newly restored Aeolian-Skinner Organ (Op. 985) at St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University. Forthcoming releases also include collaborations with Anthony Coleman, Benjamin Lazar Davis, and Kim Anderson."-Steve Long Website (https://steve-long.com/about)
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1. Part I 22:49
1. Part II 29:45
sample the album:
"The Code-Talker paradox is an issue in linguistics that calls into question fundamental ideas about the nature of language. The term was coined in 2001 by linguist Mark Baker to describe the Navajo code talkers of WWII. The premise of the paradox highlights how language can both assist and hinder communication.
For me the term code-talker evokes real life instances of communication impeded both intentionally and unintentionally. I think about the translation from inspiration to the execution of a piece of music. I think about my everyday life as a gay man code-switching with family, friends, and strangers. I think about the Tower of Babel situation, which is the virtual world.
Code-Talker is an album of solo pipe-organ music that plays with memory and my relationship with the past, both historical and personal. It was recorded live at St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University in New York, NY. The piece is a guided improvisation populated by musical odds and ends collected from disparate times in my life and arranged like objects on a shelf. These references are sewn together into a latticework created by intuitive responses to the overtones bouncing around the chapel.
It is worth noting that almost 20 years ago, and only a few blocks away, I began my brief stint as a composition student at the Manhattan School of Music. So, when a short series of harmonies I wrote in 2005 found its way into the music I was not surprised. This music is on the verge of coming into focus and giving up its intentions. It is offered up as a message but an encrypted one, indecipherable to everyone except myself.""-Steve Long
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