All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Magnetism(s)

Magnetism(s)

Rogue Art
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Live In London Volume II CD/LP/Track Review
Live In London Volume II
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait CD/LP/Track Review
Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Lost Days CD/LP/Track Review
Lost Days
by Don Phipps
Published: August 16, 2018
Read "This Was Now" CD/LP/Track Review This Was Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "The Source" CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Melodious Drum" CD/LP/Track Review Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Celebrating William Parker at 65" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by John Sharpe
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "Returnings" CD/LP/Track Review Returnings
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 13, 2018
Read "Faces and Places" CD/LP/Track Review Faces and Places
by Kris Perdew
Published: October 25, 2017