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...

1

: While We Still Have Bodies

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Has music always been about making something from nothing? Before the invention of instruments, birds sang and nature kept time. Jimi reminded us, "and the wind cried Mary." Before notes on a page, there was just blank paper, after notes, came improvisation and things got interesting. Class dismissed.

I'm betting the quartet While We Still Have Bodies follows the lesson above, applying the concept of devolution. Not the classical definition of transfer of rights, powers, property to another, but the adoption of the seminal alternative band DEVO's definition of devolution as the act of reverse evolution. From sound to music, to composition, back to music and sound.

This concept is evidenced by the quartet's hour-plus performance recorded at the New Museum to accompany an exhibition by the video artist Cheng Ran. Without the benefit of the visual, listeners can construct their own storyline to accompany the sounds. Stripped of traditional song form, the quartet approaches sound as topography. Trombonist Ben Gerstein (Ingrid Laubrock, Dan Weiss, Tony Malaby), bassist Sean Ali (Pascal Niggenkemper, SWQ, Carlo Costa), saxophonist Michael Foster (Lydia Lunch, The Ghost, Weasel Walter Large Ensemble), and percussionist Flin Van Hemmen (Eivind Opsvik, Carlo Costa) eschew the traditional approach to their instruments in favor of distortion, augmented amplification, and deconstruction. Besides that, each takes on (now) primitive lo-fi electronic devices like cassette players, cell phones, mp3 players, and found objects to add textures to their soundscape.

Behind the industrial din heard here are subtler, more refined moments. Metal sticks and cymbal scrapes, fluttered brass, and upper register bass notes replace the natural sounds of wind, rain, thunder, and insects. Early man certainly would recognize the music, and so, too, can listeners with open ears.

Track Listing: 1:06:23

Personnel: Ben Gerstein: trombone, radio, cell phone; Sean Ali: double bass, cassette player; Michael Foster; tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, cassette player; Flin Van Hemmen,: percussion, mp3 player.

Title: While We Still Have Bodies | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Neither/nor Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read The Martian's Playground Album Reviews
The Martian's Playground
By Geno Thackara
January 24, 2019
Read Ex Nihilo Album Reviews
Ex Nihilo
By Chris May
January 24, 2019
Read Path Of Totality Album Reviews
Path Of Totality
By Roger Farbey
January 24, 2019
Read Time Like This Album Reviews
Time Like This
By John Sharpe
January 24, 2019
Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019