Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Matthew Shipp: Symbol Systems

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded originally in 1995 and released on No More Records, Matthew Shipp's Symbol Systems finds new life on Hatology in 2018. This was Shipp's first solo-piano recording whose genesis lay in the ideas of producer Alan Schneider. The recording is the result of a day spent in the studio by Shipp effusing what Shipp described to writer Lyn Horton in All About Jazz as thirteen "compact miniatures of ideas imposed on a structure." If Shipp sounds like a brainy mystic, then no moss grows on those ears of yours.

Shipp's music is well represented within the electrons of All About Jazz. His forward-facing avant-garde, intellectual approach to performance pushes the envelope set into improvisational motion by the likes of Cecil Taylor and Martial Solal (though conventional wisdom places Shipp closer to Marilyn Crispell than either of these two). Shipp extends that language while never disintegrating into the ravenous particles of malignant musical freedom (which some consider noise). Shipp is not a post-modern deconstructionist, but he may abide by the New Criticism that each "composition" or even each note must be taken on the value of itself without considering anything else.

On Symbol Systems, Shipp presents 13 dramatically different improvisations, each accenting a different element of the pianist's psychic composition. The pianist is a meta-architect plumbing harmonic and melodic depths while engaging the flow of notes in the order they present as the performance reacts to time. The result is music, if that is what it is even called anymore, that is at once, tactile, textural, and sonic. This music is the violent antithesis of what passed for "New Age" in the 1980s and '90s. It is as listenable but requires of the listener a heightened awareness of what Shipp is trying to say and how he is trying to say it.

Track Listing: Clocks; Harmonic Oscillator; Temperate Zone; Symbol Systems; The Highway; Self-Regulated Motion; Frame; Flow of Meaning; Dance of the Blue Atoms; Bop Abyss; Nerve Signals; Algebraic Boogie; The Inventor, Pts 1&2.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano.

Title: Symbol Systems | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Signature

Signature

ESP Disk
2019

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2019

buy
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2018

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb25Mon
Matthew Shipp Trio
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
New York, NY
Mar5Tue
Shipp/lowe/cleaver/ray
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$18

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019
Read Perception Album Reviews
Perception
By Paul Rauch
February 20, 2019
Read I Love the Rhythm in a Riff Album Reviews
I Love the Rhythm in a Riff
By Mackenzie Horne
February 20, 2019
Read Head First Album Reviews
Head First
By Roger Farbey
February 20, 2019
Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019