The Squid's Ear Magazine

Cordero, Brent / Peter Kerlin: A Sublime Madness [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

A new collaboration between keyboardist Brent Cordero and bassist Peter Kerlin, a gorgeous blurring of jazz, rock and Terry Riley-esque composition in a swirling collection of original work and a cover of Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance", performed in a core trio with drummer Ryan Sawyer and prestigious guests including Daniel Carter, Jessica Pavone, James Brandon Lewis, &c.

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product information:

Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS196LP
Squidco Product Code: 33199

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Oceanus in Rockaway, Queens, New York, by Matt Walsh.

Additional recording by Jon Erickson and Peter Kerlin.


Brent Cordero-combo organ, piano, synths

Peter Kerlin-electric bass, upright bass, 8 string bass

Ryan Sawyer-drums

Daniel Carter-alto saxophone, flute

James Brandon Lewis-tenor saxophone

Jessica Pavone-viola

Aaron Siegel-vibraphone

Ryan Jewell-drums, percussion, tabla

Jesse DeRosa-Buchla modular synthesizer

Charles Burst-percussion

Adam Amram-congas

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

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Psychic Ills keyboardist, Brent Cordero and Sunwatchers bassist, Peter Kerlin's, first full length collab A Sublime Madness is the culmination of decades of circling each other's creative orbits. After years of casual jamming, numerous fledgling one offs, and touring sideman gigs (ibrighden addition to Sunwatchers, Kerlin was also Chris Forsyth's long time bass player and in the John Dwyer helmed improv project, Bent Arcana. Cordero worked for years with Psychic Ills and Mike Wexler among others). Here, the two sidemen synchronize orbits and create a sound with keys and bass as a molten center.

The impetus to embark on a larger collaboration began with an off-handed suggestion after the two recorded an improv duet for Kerlin's, Glaring Omission (2020). Later, with touring canceled worldwide and the untimely death of Psychic Ills frontman, Tres Warren, it seemed like a good time to pick up the thread left hanging "from before" to create something to respond to the moment and/or escape into.

But A Sublime Madness is not a strict duo album or a COVID bedroom record, by any stretch. Drummer, Ryan Sawyer provides torrents of percussion and each tune is built out as the two invite in a crew of past collaborators, legends, luminaries, cohorts and stalwarts: Daniel Carter (woodwinds), James Brandon Lewis (tenor sax), Jessica Pavone (viola), Ryan Jewell (percussion), Charles Burst (percussion), Adam Amram (congas), Aaron Siegel (vibraphone), Jesse DeRosa (modular synth) - each person contributing their musical voice throughout. The result is an expansive sound and vision. A conjuring of spontaneous, collective spirit in which each player's contribution is highlighted and distilled in conversation with each other over the arc of the record.

Titles of several pieces are a tribute to NYC based Black radical activist groups, Movement To Protect The People and Decolonize This Place, that organize against gentrification and economic inequality as well as for the interconnected struggle for Indigenous, Black, and Palestinian liberation. This activism has been met with state violence along with media dismissal and condescension. The first song, "Movement to Protect the People", is a dedication to Brent's partner, LaShaun Ellis, a member of a Black women-led group of that name, who has successfully fought corrupt developers and politicians attempting to build in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The song titles "Affordable for Who?" and "White Supremacy in Black Face", frame the instrumental music in a context of on-the-ground struggle against gentrification, displacement, and other racist policies."-Astral Spirits

Artist Biographies

Brent Cordero is a Brooklyn-based keyboards, a member of the groups Psychic Ills and Mike Wexler. He perofrms on organ, combo organ, piano and synthesizer.

-Squidco 9/27/2023

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"Peter Nye Kerlin: Kerlin is a bassist/composer from Brooklyn involved in rock, jazz-like, and experimental music. Bill Meyer of The Wire calls Kerlin "a bass player adept at shifting between supportive and challenging roles." Kerlin is the principal bassist for several critically acclaimed groups: Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, Sunwatchers. Peter's solo efforts include Peter Kerlin Octet. John Schaffer of WNYC's New Sounds called the octet's album, Salamander(Innova, 2013), "an ambitious debut". Kerlin's soundtrack work includes the films The Rooms(2012) and Burn Country(2016)

Kerlin has also created scores and video with dance artists: Anna Sperber, Miguel Gutierrez, Andrew Dinwiddie, Diana Crum. Kerlin taught art and technology related courses at NYU, City College of New York, and Friend's Seminary."

-Peter Kerlin Website (

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"Ryan Sawyer is a drummer and percussionist from the USA. He has played with several artists and bands like, Tv On The Radio, At The Drive-In, Scarlet Johanson, Massive Attack, Boredoms (77 & 88 Boadrum), The Mekons, Thurston Moore, among others.He currently is playing with, Stars Like Fleas, Tall Firs, and Eye Contact."

-Discogs (

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"Daniel Carter (born December 28, 1945, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania) is an American experimental saxophone, flute, clarinet, and trumpet player active mainly in New York City since the early 1970s.

Carter is a prolific performer and has recorded or performed with William Parker, Federico Ughi, DJ Logic, Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sonic Youth, scientist/musician Matthew Putman, Cooper-Moore, Sam Rivers, David S. Ware, Yoko Ono, Living Colour, Medensky Martin and Wood and Jaco Pastorius among others. He is a member of the cooperative free jazz groups TEST and Other Dimensions In Music."

-577 Records (

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"James Brandon Lewis (b.1983 Buffalo NY) is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist and educator . Lewis has received accolades from New York Times, Q Magazine and cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the "7 Young Players to Watch" in todays scene. Lewis has shared stages with Ken Filiano, Darius Jones, and Jason Hwang, William Parker, Hamiet Bluiett , Hamid Drake , Ravi Coltrane , Jimmy Heath Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Joe Lovano Dave Douglas, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman and many others. James Brandon Lewis Lewis has been endorsed by Jazz legend Saxophonist Sonny Rollins " Promising young player with the potential to do great things having listened to the Elders". - Jazz Magazine (France). New York Times had this to say about Lewis " James Brandon Lewis , A Jazz Saxophonist in his 30's, Raw Toned But Measured, Doesn't sound steeped in current jazz academy values There's an Independence about him." James Brandon Lewis Leads numerous ensembles and is the Co- Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts."

-James Brandon Lewis Website (

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"Jessica Pavone (composer, viola, violin, el.bass) has performed in countless improvisation, avant jazz, experimental, folk, soul, and chamber ensembles since moving to NYC in 2000. She currently plays with Normal Love, in a duo with guitarist Mary Halvorson, with Anthony Braxton's ensembles and as a solo violist. As a composer, The Wire magazine praised her "ability to transform a naked tonal gesture into something special," and The New York Times described her music as "distinct and beguiling...its core is steely, and its execution clear."

Pavone's recent works for solo viola and voice stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. She combines her long tone rituals with delay, understated melodies and sparse lyrical content while continuously experimenting with new forms. She is interested in the physicality of performing her somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument and believes that cultivating physical bodies as a strong container for her thoughts is part of the creative process.

As an instrumentalist, she has personally worked with and interpreted new music by; Aaron Seigel, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Elliott Sharp, Glenn Branca, Henry Threadgill, Leo Smith, Jason Ajemian, Jason Cady, Jeremiah Cymerman, John King, Matana Roberts, Matthew Welch, Tristan Perich, Tyondai Braxton and William Parker; and, has played strings in bands such as Christy and Emily, Pure Horsehair, White Blue Yellow and Clouds, Joy Mega, and The Artificials.

Pavone has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, performing in venues ranging from international music festivals, universities, and art galleries, to community centers and basements. Her music has premiered in venues in New York City such as, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and The Kitchen, and at the Klangbad Festival in Sheer, Germany. In 2011 she was featured in NPR's "The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40." She has received grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, New Music USA for her collaboration with choreographer, Anna Sperber, The Kitchen, MATA, The Jerome Foundation, The Tri-Centric Foundation, Experiments in Opera, and the chamber music collective, Till By Turning."

-Jessica Pavone Website (

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"Aaron Siegel has worked as a musician, composer, organizer and educator for 25 years in New York City. In his world, there is little distinction between the activities of producing, writing, performing, listening, and learning. Celebrated as a composer of works for percussion ("hypnotic clouds of chiming tones" - The New Yorker) and the stage ("softly shattering" - NY Times), Siegel has a long history as an improvising percussionist and bandleader. Since 2011, Siegel has co-led the radical opera collective Experiments in Opera ("Raw, funny, surreal, and disarmingly human"- Opera News), helping to bring to the stage countless works by composers and writers and expanding the boundaries of musical storytelling. Always happy to explore in community with others, Siegel has created work with A.M. Homes, Mallory Catlett, Tracy K. Smith, Mantra Percussion, Anthony Braxton, Memorize the Sky, Anthony Roth Costanzo and the EiO Writers Room among others.

Siegel's work has been performed at venues and festivals around the world and been featured on recordings for New Amsterdam Records, Gold Bolus Records, Peacock Recordings, Clean Feed Records, Broken Research, and Lockstep Records. He has been recognized with awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Chamber Music America, the New York State Council for the Arts, New Music USA, Opera America, the Jerome Foundation, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music among others."

-Aaron Siegel Website (

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"Charles Burst is a songwriter from New York City. Prior to launching a solo career, he played drums and sang in the psychedelic rock quintet The Occasion. Active from 2000-2006, The Occasion released two albums, and toured the US with Acid Mothers Temple, Interpol, Make Believe, and The Ponys. Since then, Charles has recorded two LP's under his own name for Ernest Jenning Record Co. - 2009's Come Home and Feast, and The Famous Patient. He continues to work as a freelance drummer, joining Julian Plenti, AC Newman, and Begushkin on recent albums and tours."

Burst is also a mixing engineer, associated with Seaside Lounge.

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

Track Listing:


1. Movement To Protect The People 4:31

2. Decolonize This Place 5:46

3. Affordable For Who 6:20

4. Freedom Jazz Dance 6:44


1. White Supremacy In Black Face 6:17

2. Between The Carrot And The Stick 11:50

3. Pyrrhic 3:34

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Rock and Related
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
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