May 20th 2013


2013 started with a series of releases by undocumented bands: Made To Break, The Ex & Brass Unbound, The Margots, and Rara Avis. Made To Break (with Tim Daisy [drums], Devin Hoff [bass six], Christof Kurzmann [electronics]) has now become one of my main projects- as a composer, improviser, and performer- but, as it can be with anything new and complex, it took time to develop the group’s aesthetics before the music could be recorded (this took place during concerts in Lisbon in November of 2011) and for it to be issued. The quartet’s initial two albums were to be released by Clean Feed before the band toured Europe in March of this year. Entitled “Provoke” (cd, named after the Japanese photo journal of the same name) and “Lacerba” (lp, designation from the Futurist periodical, and the first document on vinyl issued by Clean Feed) these recordings feature different performances of the modular compositions (see the liner notes to “Provoke” for full details on the music’s construction) used at the time of the ensemble’s European tour in November 2011; listening to both will give audiences a clear picture of how the material can be shifted, changed, and developed. A lot has happened in Made To Break’s history since these albums were made, including features at the Voll-Damm International Festival of Jazz in Barcelona, the L’Arme! Festival in Berlin, the Konfrontationen Festival in Nickelsdorf, the Chicago Jazz Festival, as well as the above mentioned European tour in early spring this year. So, on March 11th, the band went into the studio in Vienna to record a new book of material with Christoph Amann. The group was so prepared that all the music was completed in 90 minutes of first takes. This set of material (which adds baritone sax to the mix) will be released by Trost in early 2014, in time for a North and South American tour that’s being prepared for Made To Break next year.

“Enormous Door” (Ex Records), by The Ex & Brass Unbound (with Kat Bornefeld [drums/vocals], Arnold de Boer [guitar/vocals], Terrie Ex [guitar], Andy Moor [guitar], Mats Gustafsson [baritone], Roy Paci [trumpet], and Wolter Wierbos [trombone]) also went through a long series of developments in rehearsal and performance before the group recorded and released this album- a process which started with the band’s first tour, which took place in the UK in January and February of 2010. The main part of the recording was done by Riccardo Parravicini in Roy Paci’s studio, Pasada Negro, which is in a beautiful part of Italy, Lecce. Due to scheduling conflicts, Mats Gustafsson couldn’t be at the May 2012 recording session- though luckily he could be a part of the June tour that directly followed this studio time- and his parts on “Enormous Door” were overdubbed this January in Stockholm. In addition, there were some guitar, vocal, and bass parts added to the tracks to complete the recording, which was released in time for the group’s tour this May (with Ab Baars subbing for an again missing Mats), both on cd and lp.

Another 2 new projects put out albums in the spring of 2013 as well. The first, an ensemble organized to develop and record the songs of Adrienne Pierluissi (with Tim Daisy [drums], John Dereszynski [guitar], Nick Macri [electric bass], Adrienne Pierluissi [vocals], and Rick Reger [keyboards]), which came to be called The Margots, recorded in Chicago during August 2012 (at Strobe Recording) and January 2013 (at Minbal) with Bob Weston engineering; extra parts were recorded by Jen Paulson on viola and Tomeka Reid on cello, with Joe McPhee reading his poem, “Echoes of Memory.” The record, “Pescado” (Okka Disk), was partly inspired by Robert Wyatt’s, “Comicopera,” and music from South America, particularly Brazil. The second project, Rara Avis, came together in the studio after The Ex & Brass Unbound finished its May 2012 tour in Rome. Stefano Ferrain (soprano & tenor sax) organized the studio time, and in discussions I had with him via email, we put together a group that also included Luca Pissavini on bass, Simone Quatrana on piano, and Mimmo Sec on revox/electronics (an adapted reel to reel player used as a pickup and processor); Matteo Spinazze’ was the recording engineer. All the material was improvised, in quintet and smaller settings. The music focused on textural exploration, with surprising combinations of sound that often, unintentionally, disguised their source. The album was released as a double cd in time for the ensemble’s European tour in May, and is called, “Mutations/Multicellulars Mutations” (dEN).

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