The Squid's Ear Magazine


Ballister (Rempis / Lonberg-Holm / Nilssen-Love): Smash And Grab [VINYL] (Aerophonic)

"Smash", "Even More Smashing" and "Grab" sums up the intense energy that the Ballister trio brought to their 2022 performance at Elastic Arts in Chicago as part of the Catalytic Sound Festival, impelled by Paul Nilssen-Love's powerful drumming and Fred Lonberg-Holm's demanding cello work, with Dave Rempis roaring on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; wow!
 

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Personnel:



Dave Rempis-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bari saxophone

Fred Lonberg-Holm-cello

Paal Nilssen-Love-drums


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UPC: 769947425146

Label: Aerophonic
Catalog ID: AR041LP
Squidco Product Code: 34222

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, Illinois, on December 2nd, 2022, by Bill Harris.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"When Ballister hit the stage at the Catalytic Sound Festival in Chicago in December 2022, no one in the band was quite sure what to expect. Although they'd done a two-week tour of the US in April of that year, their first reunion following an almost three-year break due to the pandemic, you never know what might happen after several months apart. Sometimes that first gig is magic. And sometimes it swims around searching for a center. That's just a danger of the art form.

But drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's hard driving tom rolls at the start of "Smash" called all three right to attention. And they dove in with a level of careless abandon that lesser groups would burn through like kerosene. But one of the defining characteristics of Ballister is the band's ability to shape spewing lava into meaningful form thanks to their many years of shared history. On Smash and Grab, a punk aesthetic wraps itself into the mature sensibility of seasoned improvisers to create one of those rare sets that simply unfolds calmly in front of you like an origami flower. Full-on energy melts into quiet solo explorations by every band member, which in turn morph back into fiery rhythmic juxtapositions that pulse forth like a quasar. Drive and density meet centered patience in a series of unpredictable transitions.

Although the band had already been selecting material recorded during their earlier spring tour for a new release, all that went out the window after this set. As soon as they walked offstage they knew this was it.

For a set of music that was so clearly the one, it also only made sense to treat it as the rare and special event that it was, with a limited edition vinyl pressing. And why not make it hot pink, just for fun? This is only the fourth vinyl LP that Aerophonic has pressed in our 10-year history, and it's a worthy addition to the other three sold out LP's on that short list. Despite having released 10 other albums in their almost 15 years of work together, it's also only the third LP in the Ballister catalogue. 2014's Both Ends and 2017's Low Level Stink are both long gone! So perhaps grab yours while you still can? (Also available on cd for the faint of heart!)"-Aerophonic

Also available on Compact Disc.

Artist Biographies

"Dave Rempis was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts on March 24th, 1975. He began his musical studies at the age of 8, inspired by a family friend who played clarinet in local Greek bands, and by Zoot, of the Muppets Band, to pick up saxophone. During high school he performed in his town, district, and all-state bands and wind ensembles, as well as in a jazz combo at a local music school.

In 1993, Rempis began a degree in classical saxophone at Northwestern University with Frederick Hemke. Finding this environment stifling, Rempis quickly ditched the music degree to pursue studies in anthropology and ethnomusicology. As part of these studies, he spent a year at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, Legon, studying African music and ethnomusicology. He also continued to perform with many different types of groups, ranging from highlife and reggae bands while in Ghana, to jazz, free jazz, funk, and contemporary music ensembles at home. He graduated from Northwestern in 1997.

Upon graduating, Rempis decided to focus on performing, and in March of 1998 at the age of 22 was asked to replace veteran saxophonist Mars Williams in the well-known Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. This opportunity catapulted him to notoriety as he began to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe playing clubs, concert halls, and festivals on both continents.

During his tenure with The Vandermark Five, Rempis also began to develop the many Chicago-based groups and international collaborations for which he's currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo. Many of these groups have been documented on the Okkadisk, 482 Music, Not Two, Clean Feed, Solitaire, and Utech record labels. Past collaborations have included performances with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, Tony Buck, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named regularly since 2006 in the annual Downbeat Critics's Poll as a "rising star" on alto saxophone, and as a "rising star" and "established talent" on baritone saxophone.

Aside from performing, Rempis is also active as a presenter. Since 2002, he's curated a weekly Thursday-night concert series for the Elastic Arts Foundation. The series has featured over 500 concerts by some of the best improvisers from around the world, while maintaining a focus on up-and-coming local musicians. In late 2005, Rempis helped form the presenters' collective Umbrella Music, working with a small group of musicians and presenters in Chicago to provide better playing opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. As part of this group, he organized the annual Umbrella Music Festival from 2006-2014.

Rempis is also one of the main organizers of the indie-rock Pitchfork Music Festival, a 60,000-person event which takes place in Chicago's Union Park every July."

-Dave Rempis Website (http://daverempis.com/bio/)
2/21/2024

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

"Fred Lonberg-Holm (born 1962) is an American cellist based in Chicago. He relocated from New York City to Chicago in 1995. Lonberg-Holm is most identified with playing free improvisation and free jazz. He is also a composer of concert works. As a session musician and arranger, he is credited on many rock, pop, and country records. Lonberg-Holm currently leads the Valentine Trio, with Jason Roebke (bass) and Frank Rosaly (drums). This jazz trio performs original compositions as well as tunes by both jazz composers (e.g. Sun Ra) and pop songwriters (e.g. Jeff Tweedy, Syd Barrett). The group released its first album Terminal Valentine, in 2007, which was reviewed by AllAboutJazz critic Nils Jacobson.

He coordinates and directs performances of his Lightbox Orchestra, an improvising ensemble with a flexible, ever-changing membership. Lonberg-Holm does not play an instrument in this group, but rather conducts its non-idiomatic improvisations via the "lightbox" and by holding up handwritten signs. The lightbox contains a light bulb for each musician which Lonberg-Holm switches on or off to suggest when they should play. Collective groups of which Lonberg-Holm is a member include Terminal 4 who released an album, in 2003, called When I'm Falling that received four and a half stars, and AMG Album Pick by Allmusic, and it was reviewed by Allmusic's Joslyn Layne, The Boxhead Ensemble, Pillow, the Lonberg-Holm/Kessler/Zerang trio (with Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang), and the Dörner/Lonberg-Holm duo (with Axel Dörner).

Among groups led by other people, he is a member of the Vandermark 5, the Joe McPhee Trio, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens, and Ken Vandermark's Territory Band. When he lived in New York, Lonberg-Holm frequently collaborated with the rock group God Is My Co-Pilot pianist and composer Anthony Coleman as well as multi-instrumentalist Paul Duncan of Warm Ghost. In Chicago, he has worked with Jim O'Rourke, Bobby Conn (on "Llovessonngs" [1999] and "The Golden Age" [2001]), The Flying Luttenbachers, Lake Of Dracula, Wilco, Rivulets, Mats Gustafsson, Sten Sandell, Jaap Blonk, John Butcher, and a great many others.

Lonberg-Holm's concert works have been premiered by William Winant, Carrie Biolo, the Austin New Music Co-Op, Subtropics Ensemble, Duo Atypica, the Schanzer/Speach Duo, New Winds, Paul Hoskin, Kevin Norton, the E.S.P. Ensemble, and others. His scores for dance have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Dance Theater Workshop as well as many other venues. He is a former composition student of Anthony Braxton and Morton Feldman. He performed improvised music in the role of a troubled composer who finds inspiration in the love of a couple he spots on the street in a short film for the Playboy channel."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Lonberg-Holm)
2/21/2024

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

"Paal Nilssen-Love was born in Molde, Norway, Dec 24. 1974, and raised at a jazz club in Stavanger, run by his parents. It was natural to choose his fathers drums as his instrument and jazz as his work. From 1990 on he took actively part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. In many ways, these collaborations were essential as they pointed out the directions for Paal's later musical development and career. During his studies at the Jazz dept at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, things developed really fast - and Paal was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20.

The forming of the quartet Element in 1993 in many ways represented the start of a new phase in Paal's musical life. Element musically became a platform for several other groups with bassist Flaten and pianist Wiik, and lead to collaborations with Iain Ballamy and Chris Potter, amongst others. Paal moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson.

Paal played his first solo concert in 1999, and since then the solo concept has been an important part of his work: "Everyone should try doing some solo work, just to feel who you really are and what gets you going". His solo album "Sticks and stones" was put out in 2001 on SOFA Rec.

Being active in several bands at the same time has always been Paal's deliberate working method. He is constantly conscious about the projects he is in, as his participation in each and one of them is fully dedicated. Playing is not about getting from start to goal, but rather being in an everlasting process, a continuous movement where each new piece of music performed is a prolongation of the latest. Hence, keeping focused and concentrating all energy around what's happening there and then is of greatest importance - as is the freedom in the music, the ability of being free within the expression.

All bands, although various styles and musical versatility in general, represent important pieces that make up a total, and all bands are formed or joined with a clear vision. Today Paal's portfolio includes Atomic, School Days, The Thing, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME, and various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug. And not to forget the recently joined Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet."

-Paal Nilssen-Love Website (http://www.paalnilssen-love.com/biography.php)
2/21/2024

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


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Smash 20:26

SIDE B



1. Even More Smashing 14:41

2. Grab 7:11

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Paal Nilssen-Love
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Aerophonic.


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