's long form electro-acoustic work Seven Storey Mountain gains additional players and momentum with these two live performances. The music was originally commissioned for the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which has seen a shuffle in its performers, but the concept of muscle rapture endures in these sounds.
Wooley, a central figure in the world of modern improvisation, has been heard in bands led by Anthony Braxton
. Those two players return for III and IV, with the addition of many other musicians.
The concept of this cycle is to simulate the ecstatic experience described by Trappist Monk Thomas Merton in his book of the same name. The music is both introspective and noisily rapturous. Wooley applies equal parts silence, extended technique, electronics, feedback, and progressing drone sounds to build from a seemingly internal meditation to an external expression. Part III adds guitarist David Grubbs, drummer Paul Lytton, two vibraphonists Matt Moran
to Wooley's core of Yeh and Corsano for this 2011 live performance. IV swaps drummer Ryan Sawyer for Lytton and Ben Vida (electronics) for Grubbs, Moran is the sole vibes player here, and Wooley adds the Tilt Brass Sextet for more depth.
The two discs, each populated with a single track, begin simply, III with the ringing of vibraphones, and IV Corsano's brushwork and vibes. Each piece progresses not unlike a Merzbow noise piece, except Wooley paints his crescendos without the violence inherent in Japanoise music. The music, a direct descendant of John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965), builds upon Coltrane's discovery (towards the end of his life) of the spiritual nature of free jazz. Wooley has taken the raw materials of Coltrane, Merton, and perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh and begun his own journey.
Personnel: CD1 Seven Storey Mountain III: Nate Wooley: trumpet/amplifier, tape;
electric guitar; C. Spencer Yeh-: violin; Paul Lytton: drums; Chris
Corsano: drums; Matt
Moran: Vibraphone; Chris Dingman-: vibraphones.
CD2 Seven Storey Mountain IV: Nate Wooley trumpet/amplifier, tape;
C. Spencer Yeh:
violin; Ben Vida: electronics; Chris Corsano: drums; Ryan Sawyer-:
drums; Matt Moran:
vibraphone; Chris Dingman: vibraphone; TILT Brass Sextet: Chris
conductor; Gareth Flowers: piccolo trumpet; Tim Leopold: trumpet;
trumpet; Jen Baker: trombone; Will Lang: bass Trombone.