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Harris, Bill: ONOMAT (Amalgam)

A diverse and confident set of solo drums improvisations, acoustic or in tandem with metal and wooden objects, microphone amplification, drum feedback manipulation and close-microphone use on a detuned floor tom, in the first solo release from Chicago drummer and Amalgam label leader Bill Harris recording live at the Music Garage, in Chicago.

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product information:

Label: Amalgam
Catalog ID: AMA031
Squidco Product Code: 32186

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at the Music Garage, in Chicago, Illinois, Winter, 2021, by the artist.


Bill Harris-drums, electronics

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Artist Biographies:

"Bill Harris is a percussionist, composer, improviser, and audio engineer from Pittsburgh currently based in Chicago. He also operates and produces for Amalgam, a Chicago-based collective.

(B. 1987, Pittsburgh, PA)

Bill has been active in Chicago's music communities since 2011, working at the intersection of free improvisation, jazz, noise, rock, and country. His music has been presented at Constellation, Elastic Arts, The Bop Stop, The Hungry Brain, The Hideout, Experimental Sound Studios, Spot Tavern, Beat Kitchen, Empty Bottle, and Comfort Station.

Bill is humbled to have played or recorded with Jim Baker, Dave Rempis, Kent Kessler, Brian Sandstrom, Ed Wilkerson, Carol Genetti, Angel Bat Dawid, Jeb Bishop, Peter Maunu, Josh Berman, Brandon Lopez, Keefe Jackson, and Jason Roebke, among many other experimental and improvisatory musicians and artists.

Bill is constantly inspired by and thankful to work with his frequent collaborators: Ishmael Ali, Jake Wark, Timothee Quost, PT Bell, Gerrit Hatcher, Eli Namay, Matt Piet, Brianna Tong, Wills McKenna, David Fletcher, Jess McIntosh, Aaron Smith, Jeff Kimmel, Adam Shead, Molly Jones, Jakob Heinemann, and many others...

In 2015 he started Amalgam, a 100% artist-run collective and label dedicated to showcasing works of improvised and experimental music in Chicago. Bill is also an audio engineer working in both studio and live situations, and operates an independent studio in Chicago with engineering, mixing, mastering, and production credits on labels such as Amalgam, Astral Spirits, No Index, 577 Records and Ears&Eyes."

-Bill Harris Website (

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track listing:

1. Onomatopoeia 3:14

2. Mangosteen 4:17

3. Razbliuto 2:56

4. Vagaries 3:18

5. We Are Alone But Not the Same 2:49

6. Barramundi 5:54

7. The Superintendents 4:35

8. Modern Bodies 3:37

9. Heavy Curtains 3:41
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

On his first solo album Onomat, Bill Harris, from Pittsburgh, who lives in Chicago, who is also the founder of the collective Amalgam, limits himself to his drum kit, microphones and amplification, producing a collection of striking sound sculptures. A good example where this approach leads is 'Mangosteen', in which the percussion movements are creatively distorted into an alienating stream of gritty sounds. We also find it in pieces like 'Razbliuto', only here it is the high sounds that are given extra accents by Harris and 'The Superintendents' with its languid, but heavy rhythm. Highlights regarding this approach for me are the fairly short 'We Are Alone but Not the Same', in which Harris creates a metal-related sound universe and 'Heavy Curtains' in which he also lets the tension rise quite a bit. But even when Harris limits himself to the more conventional sounds, such as in 'Onamatopoeia', 'Vagaries' and 'Barramundi', he proves to be a very interesting drummer who excels at building complex rhythmic structures, especially that last, rather slow part, as evidenced here. in a beautiful way."-Ben Taffijn, NIEUWE NOTEN

"100% of the funds collected from the purchase of ONOMAT will go to Brave Space Alliance ( Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. We strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples."-Amalgam

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Percussion & Drums
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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