First meetings between British pianist Matthew Bourne and Norwegian drummer Emil Karlsen, two intrepid and like-minded improvisers using unusual techniques, preparations, inside playing and unusual percussive sources that fuel technically superb performances from both musicians, heard in six improvisations informed by masterful skill and creative drive.
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Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR1139
Squidco Product Code: 31643
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded March 9th, 2020, by Chris Sharkey.
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• Show Bio for Matthew Bourne
"Matthew Bourne (born 6 October 1977) is a British Jazz musician.
Bourne was born in Avebury, England, and grew up in a small village situated in the Cotswolds, where he took up the trombone aged nine. In 1989, Bourne attended Kingham Hill School and began playing Cello the following year. After seeing Frank Sinatra play on television in 1993, Bourne began to teach himself the piano.
Bourne enrolled at Leeds College of Music in 1995 where he began to explore contemporary classical composition and avant-garde. During his time at the college he performed Michael Daugherty's Piano concerto 'Tombeau de Liberace' and John Cage's 'Concerto for Prepared Piano and Orchestra'. In 2001 Bourne graduated from the MMus Jazz Studies course. Bourne has subsequently taught as a part-time lecturer at Leeds College of Music and has a PhD in Performance from the University of Leeds.
Matthew Bourne's success began in 2001 when he was named the Perrier Young Jazz Musician of the Year. His success continued the following year when he was awarded the prize for Jazz Innovation at the BBC Radio Jazz Awards. In this period Bourne was profiled in The Observer Music Monthly as "the future sound of jazz", and 2005 he won the International Jazz Festivals Organisation (IJFO) International Jazz Award. His first solo album, The Molde Concert, was recorded live at the Molde International Jazz Festival and received positive reviews. This performance showcased Bourne's inventive use of samples (including audio clips from The Simpsons and other TV shows) as well as his "cyclonic energy and virtuosity" and "ramblingly self-deprecating and sometimes off-mic announcements".
By this stage, Bourne had also become co-leader of The Electric Dr M, Distortion Trio and Bourne/Davis/Kane and was beginning to work in a wider context, leading to notable collaborations with artists and groups such as Nostalgia 77, Marc Ribot, Paul Dunmall, Annette Peacock, John Zorn, Pete Wareham, Barre Phillips and Tony Bevan.
Bourne has been commissioned to write works for Bath International Music Festival, London Jazz Festival, Leeds Fuse Festival as well as from pianist Joanna MacGregor and Faber Music. Bourne's work has been broadcast on various BBC Radio and Television programmes.
Montauk Variations, Bourne's first studio album as a solo artist was awarded Leftfield Album of the Year by the Sunday Times. Its "lyrical and romantic" mood marked a change in musical direction from the avant-garde tone of his earlier work. Montauk Variations caught the attention of Amon Tobin and Nancy Elizabeth, both of whom invited Bourne to rework their material, and Simon Green of Bonobo selected the composition "Juliet" for inclusion in his release of the Late Night Tales compilation series.
In 2015, Bourne embarked on a UK tour with an audio/visual project entitled Radioland. This was a collaboration with Antoine Schmitt and Franck Vigroux to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Radio-Activity by Kraftwerk. The Anglo-French trio "take the album's melodies and textures as the starting point for avant-garde explorations" that saw Bourne performing on a variety of analogue synthesisers as well as singing in German through a vocoder. An album of this music, entitled Radioland: Radio-Activity Revisited was released digitally on The Leaf Label in December, with physical copies available in January 2016.
Bourne's second solo album, moogmemory, was released on The Leaf Label on 4 March 2016. This is the only album ever recorded to feature only the Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog, a Memorymoog synthesiser converted by Rudi Linhard in a process which is the "equivalent of open heart surgery" replacing "1,300 components over eight weeks". A companion EP entitled moogmemory plus was released in November 2016. The first three tracks were composed during the process of creating moogmemory, but the release also includes new material and a cover of Sussudio by Phil Collins. "-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Bourne_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Emil Karlsen
"Emil Karlsen, originally from Norway, is a young drummer/improviser currently based in Leeds, UK. He is active on the UK jazz and improvised music scene establishing himself as a new, original voice. In 2019 he released his solo record "Flux" followed by a 7 date UK tour. His playing highlights dynamics, timbre and textures, all done with an organic mindset. His work as improviser consists of doing both acoustic and electro-acoustic solo performances, working in ensembles spanning from duos to octets and beyond, exploring graphic scores with an interest in audio visuals using both digital and analogue medias, all done with a focus on creating boundary-pushing music. His mentality of exploring the sonic possibilities of the drum kit is brought into all of his projects forming his unique expression. He is seen across the UK with various large and small ensembles ranging from being a solo performer to percussionist in the London Improvisers Orchestra. Apart from being a busy performer, he also run the label noumenon - a label for improvised music with a Scandinavian presence."-Emil Karlsen Website (https://emilkarlsen.com/about)
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1. Clench 10:40
2. Snuff 5:32
3. Prick 12:56
4. Fool 3:15
5. Chalk 7:41
6. The Embalmer 4:07
sample the album:
The Embalmer documents one of Karlsen and Bourne's first meetings. Recorded in a single session in 2020, The Embalmer sees a wide-ranging musical discourse between the two musicians unfold in its most lean form across the six improvised tracks.
Matthew Bourne is a recipient of numerous awards and accolades, and possesses an inventive and unique artistic approach for bringing infirm pianos back to life in Songs From A Lost Piano, collaborating with classical musicians of the London Sinfonietta in Written/Unwritten, the acclaimed solo piano albums, Montauk Variations, Isotach, and Désinances; and reinterpretations of Amon Tobin's work for Ninja Tune. Other projects include Radioland; a live reworking of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album (in collaboration with Franck Vigroux & Antoine Schmitt), solo synthesiser album moogmemory; and Nightports w/Matthew Bourne. Bourne's work has appeared on compilations by Bonobo and Hot Chip, and featured in Paolo Sorentino's 2018 film LORO. Bourne's current musical focus as a collaborator has been with Keeley Forsyth
Emil Karlsen (b.1998) is a Norwegian improvising drummer currently based in the UK. Described as a "significant addition to the UK free jazz scene" and an "exceptional improv drummer", he's establishing himself on the improvised music circuit working the span from free improvisation to free jazz. Occupied with exploring the timbral and sonic possibilities of the drum kit, he performs with Philipp Wachsmann, Matthew Bourne, Phil Durrant, Ed Jones, and the London Improvisers Orchestra to mention some.
"This is a piano duo. Of Emil Karlsen, a young drummer from London also involved in the London Improvisers Orchestra, and Matthew Bourne, also from London, a seasoned pianist with a long list of collaborations, featuring Tony Bevan , Gilad Atzmon, and even Keith Tippett. As noted somewhere else recently, not all instruments go together too well, and especially the percussive character of percussion may or may not work well with more continuous noise from strings or wind instruments. At least it requires some composer- and musicianship to make them blend in ways that are a pleasure to listen to.
Now, the piano could also be considered 'percussive' in a way. John Cage showed some of the way with the 'prepared piano' pieces, and the simple fact that a tone is struck and then dies away is similar enough to other percussive sounds. Bourne explores this to a high degree in these recordings, using a broad range of ways to influence the piano sound by obviously damping strings, playing them by hand or simply gripping them and modifying the sound. Six pieces evolve around tight interplay between Bourne and Karlsen, edging each other on, duetting in the best sense, and delivering an intense free jazz - or should I say contemporary classical set of music.
The recordings were made in 2020 during a single session at which the musicians met a first time in a studio. Everything is improvised and albeit the novelty in the meeting, sports a dense, fresh and to-the-point mood. I mentioned classical music as some parts remind of twelve-tone passages that Keith Emerson used, as he lifted them from modern classical composers. Or fleeting phrases of jazzy play. But a lot is rather more 'free music' that changes between delicate melodic fragments up to the racket of 'The Fool's ending, that could be a Merzbow cover played by Zeitkratzer. Effectively one of the best contemporary jazz recordings I have heard lately."-RSW, Vital Weekly
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