The Squid's Ear Magazine


Williams, Mars / Vasco Trilla: Critical Mass (Not Two)

The second release from the duo of Spanish percussionist Vasco Trilla and Chicago reedist Mars Williams, the latter performing both on reeds and on toy instruments, each using extraordinary and extended technique to create exotically energetic conversations and beautifully meditative environments, in five creative, playful and impressively informed dialogs.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Mars Williams-reeds, toy instruments

Vasco Trilla-drums, percussion


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Label: Not Two
Catalog ID: MW1033
Squidco Product Code: 33956

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Poland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Thriller Underground Facilities, in Barcelona, Spain, on August 14th, 2021, by El Pricto.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Critical Mass is the second album from the unique duo of Chicagoan reeds player Mars Williams and Catalan, Barcelona-based innovative percussionist Vasco Trilla, following the duo's debut album Spiracle (NotTwo, 2020). Critical Mass, like Spiracle, was recorded at the same location, Thriller Underground Facilities in Barcelona in August 2021.

The atmosphere of Critical Mass is meditative and exotic, and it sounds like a free jazz ritual where Williams and Trilla serve as its high priests, leading their audience in a reflective and introspective, spiritual journey. The album is structured as a five-movement suite that explores mysterious and enigmatic timbres, powerful and intense duels, the suggestive and resonating fusion of reeds and percussive sounds and many playful games.

Throughout Critical Mass Williams and Trilla let their sonic imagination run wild and free. They employ unusual extended breathing and percussive techniques with well-balanced and organic, emphatic and deep listening dynamics. Williams' sax wils on "The Tongue Set Free" bring to mind the hypnotic dances of the Sufi whirling dervishes, and Trilla, cleverly, pushes him into a high soaring storm. On "Fugu" they offer a timeless and magical, exorcising ceremony but on the following "Thin Air" sounds like a futurist, friendly by cryptic transmission from a faraway higher intelligence. This great meeting ends with the cathartic blowout of the title piece that returns full circle to the ritualist spirit of the opening piece. But, clearly, there is much more until the highly resourceful and ever-inventive Williams and Trilla will reach a sonic Critical Mass and exhaust all their ideas."-Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts


Get additional information at Salt Peanuts

Artist Biographies

"Mars Williams is an open-minded musician, composer and educator who commutes easily between free jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock, Mars has played and recorded with The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Massacre, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier, DJ Logic, Wayne Kramer, John Scoffield, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Swollen Monkeys, Mike Clark, Jerry Garcia, Naked Raygun, Friendly Fires, The Untouchables, Blow Monkeys and virtually every leading figure of Chicago's and New York City's "downtown" scene.

John Zorn credits Mars as "one of the true saxophone players--someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player."

In 2001 Mars received a Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Record with his group Liquid Soul.

Despite his busy touring schedule with Liquid Soul and The Psychedelic Furs, Mars manages to stay active on the Chicago underground improvising scene. In recent years he has toured and recorded with the Peter Brötzmann Tentet, Switchback, Full Blast, Scorch Trio, the Vandermark 5, Boneshaker, Chicago Reed Quartet and Cinghiale, teaming him with such musicians as Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang, William Parker, Ikue Mori, Kent Kessler, Fredric Lonberg Holm, Peter Brotzmann, Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Ab Baars, Mike Reed, Jeb Bishop, Harrison Bankhead, Dave Rempis, Kidd Jordan and Matts Gustafson.

He performs weekly in Chicago along with Jim Baker, Steve Hunt, and Brian Sandstrom in the improvising quartet "Extraordinary Popular Delusions". As a bandleader, he continues to perform and record CDs with his own free-jazz groups, the NRG Ensemble, Witches & Devils, Slam, XmarsX, Mars Trio, Boneshaker and The Soul Sonic Sirkus which features improvising musicians and aerial circus performers. Along with Die Warsau's Van Christie, Mars has started Ratking Music, a production company focusing on music for film and television.

In addition to performing and creating music, Mars has been an educator in the field of woodwinds and jazz improvisation for over thirty years. Mars held the position of Woodwind Instructor at Bard College for two years. In the last few years Mars has presented Master classes and clinics to a number of private and public institutions including, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the University of Chicago, Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL), and June Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art (Auburn, AL)."

-Mars Williams Website (http://www.marswilliams.com/about/)
2/21/2024

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

"Born in Barcelona, Vasco Trilla started playing drums at the age of nineteen. His first influences were progressive rock and metal, but gradually he developed an interest in a variety of different genres such as jazz, Indian music, African music, klezmer, free improvisation, etc.

Since then he has collaborated, toured and recorded with many different bands and projects such as Boi Akih (an ethno-jazz band from the Netherlands), Planeta Imaginario (progressive jazz-rock) October Equus (avant-rock), The Oddvisers (pop-avant), Fine! (indie pop-rock), Mundo Flotante (ethno-jazz-rock), Kaulakau/Cobla Sant Jordi (an ethno-jazz Catalan orchestra), Filthy Habits Ensemble (a jazz octet playing Zappa's and Stravinsky's repertoire), Cows On Trees (a jazz-improv quartet with Susana Santos Silva and Kaja Draksler), Balimonster (an impro-ethno duo with Angel Ontalva), Yedo Gibson-Vasco Trilla duo (an improv sax & drums duo), Outerzone (jazz-core), Reptilian Mambo (mambo free rock), Liba's Traum, etc.

In the last years he has been playing and experimenting on the free-improv scene, applying extended techniques to the kit and treating it as a textural-melodic instrument. Blowing, bowing, scratching, playing with hands and all kinds of objects, all is valid to expand the vocabulary of this innovative percussionist. He played with improvisers, such as: Lotte Anker, Marshall Allen, Yedo Gibson, Susana Santos Silva, Kaja Draksler, Jasper Stadhouders, Mikloaj Trzaska, Martin Kuchen, Richard Barrett, Jorma Tapio, Christher Bothen, Marc Stucki, Luc Ex. etc...

He has released around 30 CDs in labels such as Cuneiform Records (USA), Altrock Records (Italy), Leo Records (UK) Discordian Records (Barcelona, Spain), Audition Records (Mexico), El Negocito Records (Belgium), Jacc Records (Portugal), Fmr Records (UK)."

-Vasco Trilla Website (http://vascotrilla.com/)
2/21/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. The Shaking Hand That Leaves A Mark 13:01

2. The Tongue Set Free 11:53

3. Fogo 14:46

4. Thin Air 12:58

5. Critical Mass 10:28

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Percussion & Drums
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Duo Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music

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