Photograph by Dave Rempis.
Presenting the release of the latest Kuzu document on Aerophonic Records, All Your Ghosts In One Corner. I must acknowledge the contribution of my Grandma Boots – wit, wordsmith & master of turns-of-phrase – for providing the title of the record. Thanks Gramma. The official release date is October 5th, but all preorders via Aerophonic ship immediately:
Via Aerophonic Records / Dave Rempis:
“From March 8th-14th, 2020, Kuzu was on a seven-concert tour of the United States in the South and Midwest. During that week it became apparent in this country that the world was on the brink of a crisis unknown to humanity for almost exactly a century. In those seven days, the feeling on the street changed from one of anxiety to one of impending doom. By the time the band arrived at Elastic Arts on Thursday, March 12th, their home base in Chicago, it was clear that these would be the last concerts any of them would perform for quite some time. It would also be one of the last gatherings of the small, dedicated, cohesive, and highly interconnected communities built around the music in all of the cities where they performed. So the final concerts documented on this album from Chicago and Milwaukee were wrapped in a depth of emotion that’s impossible to convey with words; a moment of friends bidding farewell for who-knows-how-long. A few days later, the entire country was in full lockdown. There isn’t a better group to provide that soundtrack.
Kuzu is a band already known for the raw emotion baked into their musical language. All of their previous records – Hiljaisuus (2018), Lift To Drag (2019) Purple Dark Opal (2020), and The Glass Delusion (2021) have ratcheted that approach up further and further as these three stellar musicians have continued to refine their trio dynamic through regular work. But their ability to construct musical tension in an almost agonizing way reaches a new peak on All Your Ghosts In One Corner. Drawing on these musicians’ love for a range of weighty musical expression from doom metal to the deeply-rooted spirituality of saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, this record perfectly captures the depth of the abyss into which we faced. And yet this record isn’t about fear. Redemption is found in the life-affirming energy of these performances, which reflect a will to survive in the band’s committed focus and tenacity. These are spontaneous rituals performed to brace an entire community for the upcoming storm.”
At long last we are hoping to return to the EU for a three-week jaunt after having the entire tour pushed back a year due to the pandemic. If all goes off without a hitch you can plan to find us zigging and zagging across Europe in November:
– Friday, November 5th – Kuzu @ Centro D’Arte (Via Luigi Luzzatti, 16b), Padova, IT
– Saturday, November 6th – Kuzu @ Sound In Motion, Antwerp, BE
– Sunday, November 7th – Kuzu @ Kaap (Zeedijk, Koning Boudewijnpromenade 10), Ostende, BE
– Monday, November 8th – Kuzu @ Punctum (Krásova 803/27), Prague, CZ
– Tuesday, November 9th – Kuzu @ Martinschlossl (Martinstrasse 18), Vienna, AU
– Thursday, November 11th– Kuzu @ Stockwerk (Jakominiplatz 18), Graz, AZ
– Friday, November 12th – Kuzu @ Villach Kulturforum, Villach, AZ
– Saturday, November 13th – Kuzu @ Alte Gerberei (Lederergasse 5), St. Johann, AU
– Monday, November 15th – Kuzu @ Dialograum Kreuzung an Sankt Helena (Bornheimer Str. 130), Bonn, DE
– Tuesday, November 16th – Kuzu @ Live Im Speicher, Leer, DE
– Wednesday, November 17th – Kuzu @ OCCII (Amstelveenseweg 134), Amsterdam, NL
– Thursday, November 18th – Kuzu @ POM (Ruysdaelbaan 106), Eindhoven, NL
– Friday, November 19th – Kuzu @ Club Manufaktur (Hammerschlag 8), Schorndorf, DE
– Saturday, November 20th – Kuzu @ Club W71 (Zwischen den Sportplätzen), Weikersheim, DE
– Sunday, November 21st – Kuzu @ Offene Ohren, Munich, DE
– Monday, November 22nd – Kuzu @ Dokkhuset (Dokkparken 4), Trondheim, NO
– Tuesday, November 23rd – Kuzu @ Blow Out! Festival, Oslo, NO
Announcing the latest release from Dave Rempis’ Aerophonic Records, an aptly titled double CD, The COVID Tapes. Here’s an excerpt from Dave’s excellent liner notes:
“…the Hyde Park Jazz Festival (for which I also work as a producer…) invited Joshua Abrams to present an outdoor concert as part of their “Postcards” Series. He convened our trio with Tomeka Reid for this on August 14th, and we scouted out a location at a park two blocks from my house in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Seeing how well it worked, I continued this Friday evening series for the next two months. I mostly worked with Tyler Damon as a duo, sometimes adding Joshua on bass, and once adding Bill Harris for a double drum lineup. Matt Butchko, who I would refer to as a “superfan” of the music, generously came to each concert with the same portable mobile setup that he uses regularly at venues, with two small bud microphones positioned on top of his baseball hat. He managed to get good-sounding recordings, even outdoors. A huge debt of gratitude goes out to him for being there right up front for these and so many other concerts.
One of the interesting benefits of playing outside is evident on these recordings: all of the great background noises that play into the improvisations. Check out the overwhelming swells of sound from the chorus of cicadas, the punctuation of passing cars on Lake Shore Drive, and the cardinal calls at the end of the trio with Abrams and Reid for example. Or the truck beeping as it backs up at the end of the duo with Tim Daisy. Or the barking dog that passes through during the trio with Abrams and Damon. Those events all became a part of the music, and they’re presented here without any effort to filter them out, to give a better sense of what the experience of these concerts was actually like.”
Getting together for these impromptu shows and playing directly for an otherwise-atomized community week after week kept a fire in my belly through this mind-shattering time. I had always wanted to bring my music into the public sphere for the fun of it, anyway, so this was a perfect opportunity. I hope the music contained herein offers you respite like it has for me, a model for what is possible for live music even when barriers emerge for everyone in every direction. Preorder here:
Artwork by Robert Beatty.
What is there to report? On the bright side of things Kuzu (Dave Rempis / Tashi Dorji / yours truly) has a new LP out on Astral Spirits entitled The Glass Delusion. Classic Chicago record shop Dusty Groove says:
“Kuzu is fast becoming one of the more compelling settings for the saxophone talents of the great Dave Rempis – as the blend of sounds here really sets things apart from other improvised combos, even though the elements are all very familiar! Tashi Dorji has a way of handling the guitar that creates lots of sharp edges and bold moments – much fiercer than the legacy of improvisers like Derek Bailey or Fred Frith – and really full-on at moments when the drums of Tyler Damon take off! Rempis is as deft at these moments as he is in some of the sparer, more open passages – blowing alto, tenor, and baritone on the two long tracks on the record – “It Simply Becomes Jammed” and ‘Gnash.'”
Thanks to homie Robert Beatty for providing the excellent elemental artwork for the LP. Robert was at the very first duo show Tashi and I ever played (as well as one of the last Kuzu shows pre-COVID and many in-between) and it’s a pleasure to have his exceptional artwork gussy up the sleeve. I have copies available for those interested – drop me a line over at the CONTACT page if you’d like to order directly…
There is some hope that I will be playing some dates in Europe in August and November of this year and should have more information on that soon. For those interested, keep an eye out on my LIVE page…
I’ve “gone dark” as they say; you will no longer find me shamelessly self-promoting or offering graceless, pedestrian opinions on any social media platforms. This beacon, along with my Bandcamp page, seems like enough online presence to me. Content nausea hit me hard during the lost year. I’m trying to break out of the corner instrumental reason put us in and can no longer justify use of these platforms that flatten discourse & creativity and so on…
I did participate in a handful of online streams since this all started; I lacked the resources / know-how to do this effectively and ultimately found it diminished my work under these circumstances (the exceptions being the incidentally streamed outdoor sets Rempis & I did last year). I’ve felt little or no motivation to correct this, either. The idea of being more effectively online is, well…repellent to me. About as appealing as learning to code or joining the military. Being an “artist” at this juncture feels more like being a process manager or administrator, and I’m not sure I have the stomach for that path…certainly not the desire. It reminds me of the old Mitch Hedberg joke:
“Alright you’re a stand-up comedian…can you act? Can you write? Write us a script. They want me to do things that are related to comedy but not comedy…that’s not fair. It’s as though I was a cook and I worked my ass off to become a good cook and they say, ‘Alright, you’re a cook – can you farm?'”
It’s true, it isn’t “fair,” not that fairness is relevant or even matters. Another disruption some will bend to and some won’t, though if this is the New Way™ I might just stick to playing drums for people in my direct vicinity. That said, participating in well-executed live streams with technologically knowledgeable operators at the helm was a pretty-alright experience (as a stand-in for the visceral nature of live music with an audience physically present) and I’m grateful for their efforts. Thanks to Nolan & Ed at Constellation & Ben at Elastic for hosting a couple of first-time outings with me on the tubs (a trio with Gerrit Hatcher & Joshua Abrams and a quartet featuring Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom & Steve Marquette):
Both units plan on having a future together, so keep an ear to the ground if you find promise in either of the above ensembles…
“Tim has recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD). Over the past 2-3 years, his symptoms have become more defined, affecting his ability to recall words and concepts and express himself verbally. He has issues with concentration, using technology, and spatial and simple math problems. After two years of medical testing resulting in an unclear diagnosis, Tim and Erica sought help from the Mayo Clinic. The doctors there believe EOAD is the best fitting diagnosis at this time.”
I was and am deeply saddened to hear this news. Beginning with his (unfortunately defunct) DIY performance venue, Louisville’s Dreamland, Tim was incredibly encouraging to me as a young musician trying to find my place in the broad world of free / experimental music and the effect it had on my development is incalculable. I can only imagine that if you ask around you will hear countless stories from other artists about the profound impact he had on them as well. I have witnessed it enough first hand to know this is true. His solo CD All Acoustics, released on his own Quakebasket label in 2002, remains a strong, unique statement in the realm of solo percussion almost two decades later and is held in high esteem by drummers ranging from Chris Corsano to Glenn Kotche. I could go on about Tim’s wide ranging contributions to independent music in general, but would rather encourage you to listen for yourself and, if you’re able, to please donate to alleviate some of the burden on Tim and his family:
Lastly, my longtime friends/collaborators/cohorts at Indianapolis’ Medium Sound label have released their first “sheet music” compilation with a small contribution from me. My “piece,” a kind of map of my work from 2018 entitled Successes & Failures Both Public & Private is featured amongst “…sheet music and visual scores from Gnat Bowden, Tyler Damon, John Collins McCormick, Mac Blackout, Nick Yeck-Stauffer, Jordan Munson, Mark Tester, and Landon Caldwell.” It is available to order here: https://mediumsound.bandcamp.com/merch/medium-sound-sheet-music-one
Thanks for checking in. ‘Til next time…
April 17, 2021 [permalink] Astral Spirits, blog, Brian Sandstrom, Constellation, Dusty Groove, Elastic Arts, fundraiser, Gerrit Hatcher, Joshua Abrams, kuzu, Mars Williams, Medium Sound, Mitch Hedberg, modernity, Robert Beatty, Steve Marquette, stream, Streaming, streams, Tim Barnes
Photo by Ricardo Adame. Margate Park, Chicago, September 2020
Dave Rempis and I have been shaking the rust off for about an hour every Friday evening over the past month, hitting on occasion with Josh Abrams on bass. Setting up on Chicago’s north side adjacent to Lake Michigan, we have been performing for friends and strangers alike and have relished the opportunity to do so safely during the pandemic. Dave has been streaming these via his Instagram page if you’d like to check them out: @daverempis
Ken Vandermark wrote of one performance:
“Jazz On A Summer’s Day 2020: Thanks to Dave Rempis and Tyler Damon for bringing challenging music to a safe place to listen on Friday afternoon, August 21st. It was a beautiful day and a group of listeners, masked and safely distanced, met to hear the duo under a canopy of trees in the park near Foster and Marine Drive. Based on the current circumstances and projections on the near future, it looks like this may be one of the only viable ways to make live music possible in front of an audience sharing the same space for a while. Much appreciation to Dave and Tyler for giving an example of how to work through this period as a musician, and for playing with passion under challenging circumstances.”
Many thanks Ken!
Photo by Ricardo Adame.
To Catch A Bird In A Net Of Wind, my latest LP with Tashi Dorji released this past April on Austria’s Trost label, was recently reviewed in Wire Magazine #440 in conjunction with a broader feature on Tashi’s excellent new LP on Drag City, Stateless. Marc Masters reports: