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Mattrey, Joanna


Mattrey, Joanna : Soulcaster [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Taking the title from Brandon Sanderson's book series The Stormlight Archive, where a soulcaster is an instrument that transforms one object or life form into another; Joanna Mattrey transforms her viola and a tromba marina, aka a nuns' fiddle, with preparations, objects and unusual approaches through technique, creating a remarkable set of 11 unique and inventive improvisations.

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product information:

Letterpress printed on white stock. Comes with double-sided art insert.

Label: Notice Recordings
Catalog ID: NTR076
Squidco Product Code: 33568

Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cassette
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 recorded at Blooming Lightways Studio, in Brooklyn, New York, in April, 2022, by Nathaniel Morgan.

Tracks 2, 5 and 11 recorded in April, 2022, by Webb Crawford.


Joanna Mattrey-viola, tromba marina

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Soulcaster is the third solo record by Brooklyn-based composer/performer Joanna Mattrey. Following "Live in Accord" and various Notice Recordings-curated performances in the Hudson Valley, this album is a further development in our years-long friendship. With Soulcaster, Mattrey scrapes, scratches, and wails on viola, prepared viola, and a tromba marina, built by Webb Crawford. Mattrey's love of unique and unusual sounds has inspired her to alter the pure tone of the viola through preparations with styrofoam, plastic toys, chains, and other objects. But the newest sounds in her arsenal come from the tromba marina, which has one primary playing string and thirteen sympathetic strings. Rather than gently coaxing out the harmonics, as the historical playing style suggests, Mattrey employs a raucous and roaring approach.

The title, Soulcaster, is borrowed from Brandon Sanderson's book series, The Stormlight Archive. In the fantasy series, a soulcaster is an instrument that transforms one object or life form into another. Mattrey's practice connects heavily to the idea of transformation. She uses preparations and objects not only to create new sounds from her instruments, but to embrace the unknown. No matter how many times the same object has been used, depending on the vibrations on a given day, the preparations might bring out totally different sounds. This randomness creates a joyful challenge for Mattrey, who believes that especially during improvisation, music has its own life that activates and guides the sound forward. Mattrey surrenders to this energetic line of sound over the eleven tracks featured on this tape."-Notice Recordings

Letterpress printed on white stock. Comes with double-sided art insert.

Artist Biographies

"Joanna Mattrey, violist, sound artist.

Joanna Mattrey is a violist active in both the new music and free improvisation communities who's playing often incorporates textural gestures, preparations, and electronic alterations. She is searching for moments of ceremony and ritual in a modern soundscape.

Mattrey has played with such luminaries as Marc Ribot and the Young Philadelphians, Mary Halvorson, John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, Nick Dunston and others among New York City's Downtown scene.

Her projects are incorporative of many styles which have brought her to various venues including the Whitney Museum, the Rubin Museum, MoMa's PS1, Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Boston's MFA, The Stone, Joe's Pub, LPR, and has played at SxSW, the Newport Jazz Festival, and the NYC Winter Jazz Fest.

Mattrey has commissioned solo pieces from Nick Dunston (Vijay Iyar), Weasel Walter (Lydia Lunch), Lucie Vitkova and more to bring her improvising sensibilities to the new music world."

-Joanna Mattrey Website (

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Track Listing:


1. Sing Out 3:52

2. For Time 1:43

3. Always 5:21

4. Ends 4:01

5. Beginnings 4:22


1. Come From 5:22

2. The Endings 5:35

3. Of Now 3:29

4. Rattle 2:07

5. Fate 2:54

6. Is an Opening 3:56

Related Categories of Interest:

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Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Stringed Instruments
Instruments with Preparations
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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