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Gentile, Kate (w/ Mitchell / Casss / Viner): Find Letter X [3 CDs] (Pi Recordings)

Three CDs in a beautifully constructed fold-out cross with liner notes and recording data from NY drummer Kate Gentile, in a set of 41 studio recordings with her working band of Matt Mitchell on piano & keys, Kim Cass on acoustic & electric bass and Jeremy Viner on reeds, each disc exploring a distinct yet connected approach to her fascinating compositions and group interaction.

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Jeremy Viner-tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet

Matt Mitchell-piano, synthesizer, modular synths, electronics

Kim Cass-acoustic bass, electric bass

Kate Gentile-drums, vibraphone, compositions

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UPC: 808713010022

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: Pi 100
Squidco Product Code: 34115

Format: 3 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 5 Panels
CD 1 and 3 recorded at Big Orange Sheep, Brooklyn, New York, on February 20th and 21st, and March 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2023, by D. James Goodwin and David Turk.

CD 2 recorded at The Pink Forest, in Brooklyn, New York, other remote locations throughout 2021, by Kate Gentile, Jeremy Viner, and Kim Cass, with assistance from Nathaniel Morgan.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Find Letter X, the eponymous release from the Brooklyn-based band led by drummer/composer Kate Gentile featuring saxophonist Jeremy Viner, pianist Matt Mitchell, and bassist Kim Cass. Gentile's 2021 release Snark Horse - co-led with Mitchell - was a gargantuan six-volume set that Downbeat called "Monumental... Creating an abstract galaxy from scratch, they sound like they know every black hole and supercluster in the place."

The similarly-ambitious new work - across three densely-packed volumes housed in a custom-designed package - bursts with inventive details and dramatic arcs. Each disc contains a distinct thematic identity while simultaneously contributing to a larger narrative trajectory. Meticulously-constructed and highly intentional, Find Letter X is a wide-ranging exploration of diverse sonics and contrasting forms: a vibrant feedback loop of virtuosic improvisational and compositional ingenuity entirely unified by Gentile's singular musical aesthetic."-Pi

"Kate Gentile hasn't been a leader terribly long but already this drummer and composer has been the brainchild (or co-brainchild) of several big ideas. In this space we thought her debut Mannequins was ambitious in how it "takes the relationship between rhythm and harmony an order of magnitude closer" but she kept pushing further out, like the sprawling, 6-CD collaboration with pianist Matt Mitchell Snark Horse or the audacious foray into creatively modern chamber music b i o m e i.i.

Coming mere months after that latter album, Find Letter X (PI Recordings) is another massive set of works even at half of Snark Horse's six discs, but that's because Gentile has so much to express. Carried out by a very capable quartet consisting of Gentile, Mitchell (piano, keyboards, electronics), Jeremy Viner (tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet) and Kim Cass (basses), Find Letter X is named for the band itself, which has had several years of performing together developing a certain chemistry before applying it on this record.

It starts, of course, with the fertile mind of the leader. Gentile toys with timekeeping, often using it to challenge ears accustomed to hearing set rhythms and tempos as a separate component alongside harmony. Her music also confronts notions of how melody and harmony interact and the idea that motifs and other patterns have to run its course at set lengths. Even the demarcation line between tonality and atonality is ignored here.

Another departure from convention is the sheer length of this release; it's spread out over forty-one tracks, three discs and three hours and seventeen minutes. Each disc has a name: Iridian Alphabet represents the first fifteen tracks, Senselessness spans the next fourteen tracks and the last dozen tracks are collectively christened The Cosmic Brain.

A lot of jazz artists these days play 'electro-acoustic,' and the forward-thinking Gentile is no exception. That said, her perspective differs in that she's willing to slide across the entire continuum between totally acoustic on one side and all-electro on the other. It's simply dictated by what brings out a song's potential more fully. "r.a.t.b.o.t.B" is solidly on the electronic end of things but retains all the freedom, explosiveness and unpredictability that only jazz can deliver. "Raze" picks up right where "r.a.t.b.o.t.B" left off but with a hard rock edge and Gentile is even more violent, yet fully in control. "Laugh Magic" is all-acoustic most of the way, but there's nothing traditional about it; the rhythms, the chord patterns and Mitchell's piano excursions might not be untethered but they also don't follow established conventions, either.

"Subsurface" does evoke jazz of the past, more to the point, mid-sixties Blue Note, down to Viner's bluesy, searching tenor sax. The sophisticated chart also evokes the best composers of that era like Andrew Hill, but wanders out further and adheres to a song structure code of its own. "Prismatoid" is all-acoustic as well, boasting standout features from Viner and Cass. "Contrarianism" on the other hand is a showcase for Mitchell's linear pianisms. "Erinome" is more modern jazz, baselined by the tight bond between Gentile and Cass.

"Psychoradiant" and "Clarion Fluorescent" are both all-acoustic avant-modern outings that feature Viner on clarinet and Gentile tactfully inserting vibraphone. "Eternal Lapse" goes quieter, exposing the complexity that goes into every Gentile composition, drawing from the influence of Wayne Shorter on forward.

There are examples galore where novel contrasts are conceived and incredibly pulled off, songs that couldn't have been realized by normal musicians. "Recursive Access" sees Gentile and Cass laying down a taut groove as Mitchell and Viner reel off a dense unison pattern that requires mind-boggling constant time signature changes to stay in sync but this unit is put together like a Swiss-made watch. "The New Basics" has a melody playing in a different beat than what the rhythm section carries out but somehow they make it all work together.

For the mathy space-punk "Garbage Juice," Viner is going up against Mitchell's arsenal of bent circuitry. "...Va Zisroas" delves into doom jazz but with a lot more intricacies, as is "Clovd 8." On the other hand, "Zislupme Tnilyive Tsoam Ath..." is maelstrom of drums, electronics, electric bass and bass clarinet.

The deft manipulation of rhythm is often in a league of its own. The multi-sectioned "Jupiter vs. the Sun" puts the leader in the spotlight as she navigates the group through a series of ever-changing tempos until it all dissolves into a gurgling haze. For "In Casks," the front line goes at half the tempo of the rhythm section, opening up the opportunity for Gentile to create clashes that make the sparks fly. "Dissolution" is another Cass spotlight and example of the rhythm section operating on one stream while Mitchell/Viner offers up a slower, counter-melody. For "Open Epoch" Gentile makes the tempo entirely liquid, continually slowing down and speeding up with Cass somehow staying with it as the melody itself is effectively built around this ambiguity.

There isn't a rhythm measure Gentile can't tackle with confidence and preciseness, but often she sets up a gauntlet of them within a tune and sails right through them, as with Tim Berne-ish "The 5th Clone." These aren't gimmicky devices but crucial in defining the harmony itself.

Kate Gentile held back no ambition in making the vast, unencumbered Find Letter X. With her band of the same name talented and perceptive enough to carry out her thoroughly conceived, nonconformist concepts, the bar was not only set high but also cleared."-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews

Get additional information at Something Else!

Artist Biographies

"Jeremy Viner is a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer, and educator involved in a wide range of musical idioms, maintaining an active role in the New York and Berlin experimental music scenes. As a saxophonist and clarinetist, Viner has performed internationally with ensembles led by John Hollenbeck, Steve Lehman, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Kate Gentile, Rafiq Bhatia, and many others. Viner is a member of the genre-bending tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance and the chamber minimalist ensemble Bing & Ruth, two of his longest-running musical collaborations."

-Jeremy Viner Website (

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

"Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.

He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson's Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss's Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile's Mannequins, Mario Pavone's Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber's Simple Trio, Ches Smith's We All Break, Michael Attias' Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor's Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff's Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn's Bagatelles.

Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's Apex, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi's Baida Quartet, Dave King's Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.

He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage."

-Matt Mitchell Website (

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

"Bassist Kim Cass is from an island off the coast of Maine, where he was introduced to bass playing at age 10. He quickly developed a unique style on the electric bass and began playing the upright bass at age 13. Developing this instrument in a jazz context became Kim's passion, as well as composing music featuring his upright playing.

When studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, Cass received personalized instruction from several virtuoso musicians including George Garzone, Ran Blake, Joe Morris and Joe Maneri. Cass currently resides in New York City. He has been featured in a wide variety of ensembles, executing music that is ever challenging and beautifully mysterious. Cass has performed with the likes of Matt Mitchell, Tyshawn Sorey, John Zorn and Bill McHenry. The solo album KIM CASS, released on Table and Chairs, is a showcase of Kim's upright bass playing and compositions. He is currently composing and practicing material for his next recording project, scheduled for 2018."

-Miller Theatre (

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

"Kate Gentile is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer interested in forward-thinking creative music, including the synthesis of elements from many kinds of music.

In addition to her quartet with Jeremy Viner, Matt Mitchell and Adam Hopkins on her debut album Mannequins (June 2017, Skirl Records), other projects Kate is a part of include Snark Horse, in which she co-leads and shares compositional duties with pianist Matt Mitchell; Mitchell's projects Phalanx Ambassadors and A Pouting Grimace, Dustin Carlson's septet Air Ceremony, and Davy Lazar's trumpet/drums duo Pluto's Lawyer.

Kate has also worked with Michael Attias, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Marty Ehrlich, Michael Formanek, God Is My Co-Pilot, Helado Negro, Chris Speed, Anna Webber, and John Zorn."

-Kate Gentile Website (

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

Track Listing:


1. Pulse Capsule 1:12

2. Laugh Magic 6:57

3. Find Letter X 0:09

4. Subsurface 10:27

5. Recursive Access 5:47

6. The New Basics 2:28

7. In Casks 9:54

8. Ore Whorls 3:42

9. Stelliform Lamellae 1:11

10. Prismatoid 4:16

11. Contrarianism 3:47

12. Prescience 1:34

13. Erinome 4:24

14. The 5th Clone 7:34

15. Invisible Wolvees 3:17


1. r.a.t.b.o.t.B 5:00

2. Raze 8:30

3. Nine Fog 1:27

4. Garbage Juice 4:09

5. ...Va Zisroas 7:04

6. Blankeye 1:03

7. Zislupme Tnilyive Tsoam Ath... 4:04

8. Clovd 8 6:34

9. Smother 0:57

10. Importunate Babble 7:42

11. Four-Bladed 0:39

12. Dissolution 3:16

13. Offing 1:47

14. Jupiter Vs. The Sun 10:10


1. Psychoradiant 9:48

2. Clarion Fluorescent 5:31

3. Q Quiet 0:40

4. Eternal Lapse 5:04

5. Bask 4:31

6. Effulgence 1:02

7. Spectrescope 8:28

8. Quantum Exits 13:39

9. Epitome 2:57

10. Open Epoch 6:00

11. Synaptic Blazes 8:29

12. Supergiant Incineration 1:22

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