The NYC Jazz Record reviews “Expressed By The Circumference”
Elliott Sharp/Álvaro Domene/Mike Caratti (Iluso)
by John Sharpe:
Iluso Records founders guitarist Álvaro Domene and drummer Mike Caratti may live on different sides of the globe, but that doesn’t stop them getting together to make music on a regular basis, with the fruits of their collaborations released in short order on the label. On Expressed by the Circumference they are joined by multi-instrumentalist and Downtown sage Elliott Sharp. As well as electric guitar, he’s billed as playing electro-acoustic bass clarinet, though the emphasis falls firmly on the first part of that compound word.
Although the program includes three compositions, their freshness means that they sit comfortably alongside the six more discursive improvisations. Caratti’s drifting dirge-like title track soon opens up into animated sparring between Sharp and Domene, underpinned by tappy percussive coloration. Domene’s “Civil Tongue” and “Uncivil Tongue” intermittently reveal a skeletal framework, forged from a loping guitar and drum groove, round which Sharp circles like a moth drawn to a flame. For those who take pleasure in discerning intent amid seeming chaos (and that includes most free improv fans, right?) Domene often anchors the collectives with repeated motifs like the bottom-end figure on “Toad Style Blues”, which utilizes the range of his seven-string guitar.
Although Sharp’s name comes first on the sleeve, it’s unequivocally a group endeavor, with ensemble interaction paramount. The closest they get to a solo is when Domene emerges all guns blazing from the violet-tinged haze at the finale of jittery “Mr. Magnolia”. With the electronic manipulations, bass clarinet often sonically resembles a guitar, although at times the origins of particular sounds are only just distinguishable around the fraying edges of its phrases. It’s not until “In Your Head”, murmuring in dialogue with restless percussion, that the woodwind comes through in its unmodified state. But whatever instrument Sharp wields they hit on a winning tactic by adopting contrasting registers, exemplified during the bristling exchanges on “Morphinomania”.
This album is the debut from the trio of Rick Parker (trombone, electronics, and synths), Álvaro Domene (7 string guitar and electronics) and Jeremy Carlstedt (drums and electronics), who come together as Sly Horizon. In short, the result is a highly compelling amalgam of free improv, metal, and electronic music that comes across as the homicidal step-child of David Torn’s Cloud About Mercury.
The opening track, literally self-titled as Sly Horizon, builds from slow echoing trombone and guitar atmospherics into a loosely structured improvisation driven by Carlstedt’s aggression. Domene bends mildly distorted notes while Parker uses space to accentuate his statements. She is a Hero consists of extended guitar techniques with feedback and effects over jagged rhythms and synth noodling, with the electronics taking on a leading role. This continues throughout A Moment of Clarity, with Parker and Domene fighting one another across angular, rhythmic themes. Magic Spells and The Anatomy of Light are the closest the group comes to being melodic (in something of a jamming post-rock fashion), with Domene’s generous use of delay, Parker’s brighter tones, and Carlstedt’s periodic restraint. But even that is a stretch as the emphasis remains on distortion, feedback, and an indistinct sense of menace.
Collectively, Sly Horizon has accomplished a remarkable feat with this release. It is an album in which every note, twist of the knob, and beat has something to say. Where raw electronics are tamed just enough to blend into the acoustic instrumentation. And in which each track ends in a place you could not have possibly predicted given its beginning. Bravo, gents.
Requiem for a New York Slice reviewed in the New York City JazzRecord!
“Alongside Bisio are the volatile stylings of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and downbeat lyricism of cornet player Kirk Knuffke. They unite in an outpouring of feeling transmuted into peerless chamber-inflected music. Although collectively conceived, Bisio plays an anchoring role, imparting movement and mood through his choice of steady resonant pizzicato or keening bow work. “Sanctus” shows how such masters can invent form on the fly as it progresses through three distinct sections: at first serene and funereal with overlapping drones; then with lightening atmosphere as the strings braid and cornet whinnies joyfully; before a final more abstract conclusion with rattling percussive noises supplementing the bowing and fragmented cornet phrases.” … “This tribute is deeply moving.”
John Sharpe NYCJR May 2019
Wild Courses is out-and-out heaven. Not only Kaiser and Kutner possess the necessary curricula and expertise; they are gifted with an intrinsic discernment of how the components of a vibrating guitar self-organize when stimulated in a knowledgeable way.
“Ambient clean tones morph into Wagnerian waves of distortion, as he employs the entire range of his 7-string guitar. Álvaro Domene has mastered the art of turning non-pitched abrasive sounds into a kind of beauty.” Michael Ross
Álvaro Domene’s THE COMPASS is “Pick Of The Week” on Avant Music News, along with Coltrane!
3 July 2018: Álvaro Domene’s THE COMPASS is “Pick Of The Week” on Avant Music News, along with:
Flamingo – Loud (2018)
Alvaro Domene – The Compass (2018)
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (1963)
Jack O’ The Clock – Repetitions of the Old City – II (2018)
Reid / Kitamura / Bynum / Morris – Geometry of Caves (2018)
Eyal Hareuvenisays “Stray wastes no time before entering an uncompromising, restless mode that leads the quartet into endlessly uncharted, labyrinthine territories, forcing all to shift and adapt strategies constantly.” Read the full reviewhere
Antonio Poscic describes Shifted as a “a cloud of free improv and noise metal madness”. Read the full review here
And from, Heavy Blog Is Heavy:
Bruce Gallanter from the Downtown Music Gallery reviews Iluso’s releases!
12th December 2017 – The boss at DMG just released his December newsletter, in which he has included four fantastic reviews of some of our recent releases. Here they are:
STRAY [JOHN BUTCHER / JOHN RUSSELL / DOMINIC LASH / STALE LIAVIK SOLBERG] – Into Darkness (Iluso 09; Australia/USA) Stray features John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxes, John Russell on electric guitar, Dominic Lash on contrabass and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums & percussion. This internationally mixed quartet was recorded live at Iklektik in London in December of 2015. Both John Butcher and John Russell are leading lights of the London Underground Free Music scene, stretching back to the 1970’s. Both played together in the Chris Burn Ensemble, a trio with Phil Durrant which turned into a quintet called News from the Shed. A generation younger is London bassist Dominic Lash who is on some two dozen recordings although still in his thirties and is a member of Convergence Quartet, working with Alex Ward and the Wandelweiser composers. Scandinavian percussionist, Stale Liavik Solberg has turned up on discs with Joe McPhee, Steve Beresford and Paal Nilssen-Love (Pan-Scan Ensemble).
This disc is especially well recorded so that each member of the quartet is integral to the overall sound. John Russell, a contemporary of Derek Bailey, is playing electric guitar, something he rarely plays as he prefers an acoustic guitar on many of his recordings. Russell sounds like he is using some pedals like a wah-wah and distortion at times. Is he rubbing the strings? Is the distortion going into overdrive?? Mr. Butcher is at his most Evan Parker-like, spewing out those intense fractured notes on tenor sax. Whoa! This disc bristles with intensity, showing a common ground between all four musicians” focused and forthright. Bowed strings? Rubbed cymbals or drums? Guitar or sax or something else? Keep guessing. This is edge-of-your-chair improv at its best! Quite extraordinary! – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DOMINIC LASH QUARTET With ALEX WARD / RICARDO TEJERO / JAVIER CARMONA – Extremophile (Iluso 06; Australia/USA) Featuring Ricardo Tejero on alto sax & clarinet, Alex Ward on electric guitar & clarinet, Dominic Lash on contrabass and Javier Carmona on drums. British bassist Dominic Lash seems to straddle several strands of the UK improv scene, playing with the Convergence Quartet (half British/half NY), from the intense improv (Tony Bevan) to the more subtle (Axel Dorner & Wandelweiser Collective). It makes perfect sense that Lash would choose fellow London extremist Alex Ward, who plays amazing clarinet (with Derek Bailey) and often brutal guitar. The other two members of this quartet are very familiar although Mr. Carmona has worked with Alexander Hawkins and Ingrid Laubrock.
Instead of the usual group improv date, Dominic Lash wrote four of the seven pieces, with a couple of select covers, like “Mixed, Mixed” by Cecil Taylor (from 1962) and “Fumeux Fume” by Solage (14th century French composer). Mr. Lash’s “Mr. S.B.” has some intricate arranging with strong interplay between the alto sax & guitar over an ever-expanding rhythm team which seems to speed up and slow down in a most organic fashion. What’s interesting is getting to hear Alex Ward stretching out on jazz/rock guitar, not drawing from his more noisy guitar side. Oddly enough, the song by Solage (mysterious composer of whom little is known) is done quaintly and probably not very different from the original. It was considered to be unusual for its time. “Palpito” erupts with some waves of furious strummed guitar and sax tightly interwoven and soaring over the rhythmic currents underneath. Each piece shows another side to this quartet which is consistently unpredictable. Alex Ward unleashes some powerful fractured note guitar on “Unbeknownst”, with equally splintered sax tightly interacting. Mr. Tejero performs a Zorn-like alto sax blast/solo on “Slailing” which has number sections showing off Mr. Lash’s diverse writing. Cecil Taylor’s “Mixed” first appeared on an Gil Evans’ ‘Into the Hot’ album and was performed by the Cecil Taylor Sextet, arranged by Mr. Evans. Cecil taylor was still composing in a somewhat more traditional way at this time before launching off into more freer terrain afterwards. The balance between free and occasionally charted or directed sections in blurred but still filled with surprising twists and turns. Another winner for the ever-evolving Iluso label. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ÁLVARO DOMENE & BRIGGAN KRAUSS – Live at the Firehouse Space (Iluso 05; Australia/USA) Featuring Álvaro Domene on electric guitar and Briggan Krauss on alto sax. Mr. Domene is a Madrid born guitarist, currently living in New York, co-runs the Iluso label and has played here at DMG in the not too distant past. Saxist Briggan Krauss is a longtime member of the Downtown Scene, having worked with Wayne Horvitz at different times as well as being a member of Sex Mob, Babkas and several projects with Andrew Drury. Like most of the original members of the early Downtown Scene, Mr. Krauss had worked long at creating his own distinctive sound on his alto sax. His unique, ultra-careful bent note sound is what we first here when this disc begins. Both he and Mr. Domene play quietly at first, taking their time and weaving their notes around one another masterfully. Over time both players start stretching their notes in similar ways, weaving their bent notes into a dense, complex tapestry. Eventually things erupt into a mind-blowing crescendo. Things calms down after that with sublime, slower paced, dream-like duo improv or dialogue. Mr. Domene used several pedals to coax long, dark, sustained tones (rather like bowed strings) which work well with mutated tongue or lip-twisting notes that Mr. Krauss has long specialized in. Both of these musicians are well-seasoned and sound like they are coming from a common place of mature and thoughtfully crafted improv. Extraordinary! – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MICHAEL CARATTI / RACHEL MUSSON / STEVE BERESFORD – Hesitantly Pleasant (Iluso 07; Australia/USA) Featuring Steve Beresford on piano & electronics, Rachel Musson on saxes and Michael Caratti on drums. British keyboardist Steve Beresford is often the wild card in many situations/sessions since he is at home in so many different projects. Who else has worked with a cast like this: Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, John Zorn & Masada, the Melody Four, the Slits and Alerations. This set was recorded at the Vortex in Lonon in January of 2017 and features tow collaborators: Mike Caratti on drums (from Australia & co-runs this label) and Rachel Musson on saxes (CD with Federico Ughi, as well as with Olie Brice, John Edwards & Mark Sanders).
There is something special going on here, tight yet free-flowing, focused and inspired. Several spinning lines are coalescing. Beresford appears to be is working inside the piano, manipulating the strings with assorted objects. Things actually calm down to a spacious, sparse section on “Complex Footwork and Violent Movement” and then slowly build pup to another more frenzied part. Overall, much of this is more restrained with playful yet spirited interplay. A most organic and often hypnotic vibe pervades. Hard to believe that this was a first time meeting of this trio as they sound like old friends creating a stimulating dialogue. Mr. Beresford’s subtle electronics are not heard until around halfway through and are utilized most carefully, adding mysterious shades to the trio. The three musicians consistently shift between duo and trio improvs, weaving several lines around one another gracefully at times and rambunctiously at other times, listening closely and flowing together. There are a number of magical moments here when the complex tapestry transcends the combined sounds of all three players. Superb. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
‘The NYC Jazz Record Magazine’ interviews Iluso Records!
27th November 2017 – John Sharpe interviewed Álvaro Domene, Mike Caratti, Josh Sinton, and Dominic Lash for the December issue of the staple in jazz press, The NYC Jazz Record. Check out the December issue for free HERE!
The article is below (click on the images).
“Record Label Spotlight: Iluso
By John SharpeEven in this age of widespread digitally-connected communities, there can’t be many small independent labels run by partners on the opposite sides of the globe. But that’s exactly the situation for Iluso Records, helmed by Madrid-born, New York-based guitarist Álvaro Domene and Australian drummer Mike Caratti. Artists performing this month include Álvaro Domene and Briggan Krauss at Bushwick Public House Dec. 18th and Josh Sinton at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Dec. 3rd and Bushwick Public House Dec. 18th.”
‘El Intruso’ features and reviews our latest releases!
25th November 2017 – Sergio Piccirilli, from the fantastic and supportive website El Intruso, specialised in creative music, just featured an article on Iluso, in which he reviewed four of our latest recordings. Check it out HERE!
‘Hesitantly Pleasant’ well reviewed on All About Jazz ****
12 November 2017 – “Their spontaneous outpourings recall a wide array of musics in a flowing inventive stream which doesn’t deny its jazz roots…” **** ‘Hesitantly Pleasant‘ by Mike Carattti, Rachel Musson and Steve Beresford insightfully reviewed by John Sharpe on All About Jazz, check it out HERE.
NY Times reviews musicianer
25 September 2017: Giovanni Rusonello from the NY Times reviews Josh Sinton’s protest song “Evening of Mourning (Ferguson Goddam)” describing it as “a lament for racial justice evoking chaos and determination”. Read the review HERE.
Jazzword reviews Hesitantly Pleasant!
September 2017: “Without showy solipsism, the trio ingeniously springs from so-called inside to outside considerations; with Musson propelling stream-of-consciousness screams on “Still Horrible” following an episode of hide-and-seek with Caratti’s grounded clatters and kinetic piano glissandi. This reed outpouring culminates in bagpipe-like expressions which inflate and color the improvisational space so that the contributions from each can blend comfortably.”
September 2017: Josh Sinton’s MUSICIANER will be on tour soon to promote the release of “Slow Learner”. Check them out and buy the record!
CD release shows are as follows:
9-26 – Bop Stop in Cleveland, OH
9-27 – Constellation in Chicago, IL
9-28 – Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY (w/ ElSaffar/Mathisen/Fujiwara & Anteloper!)
9-29 – Rhizome in Washington, D.C.
9-30 – Kava Bar in Asheville, NC (w/ Shane Parish!)
10-2 – Neptunes Parlour in Raleigh, NC
10-3 – AND Gallery in Jackson, MS
10-4 – SideBar Nola in New Orleans, LA
10-5 – AllWays Lounge in New Orleans, LA
10-6 – Black Iris Gallery in Richmond, VA
WATCH THE VIDEO:
Musicianer’s Slow Learner reviewed by Bruce Lee Gallanter
September 2017: Loving words by the main man at Downtown Music Gallery, Bruce Lee Gallanter:
“Not long ago, I had a long talk with bari saxist & composer, Josh Sinton, about the difficulties of being a creative musician when paying gigs and recording opportunities are few. I was surprised since I thought that Mr. Sinton’s band, Ideal Bread, a tribute to Steve Lacy, were one of the brightest stars on the Downtown scene. Although Sinton has worked with Nate Wooley, Harris Eisenstadt and Jeremy Udden (in Hol-Us Bo-Lus), he says he has been somewhat discouraged in recent times. Perhaps this sentiment has pushed him to reach deeper and push harder since this disc showcases his immense sound on bari and composing skills as well. Plus he has selected one of the hottest rhythm teams around, two great Chicago transplants, worth their wait in gold, Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor. Right from the gitgo, this trio sounds like they mean business. “Outside (today)” kicks thins off with a great, rather greasy groove. Yeah, get down! I dig the way the trio often strips things down to their skeletal parts yet that spirited slow-burn flame remains at the center. There is a quaint section on “Sunday’s Rehearsal” where the bowed bass and vibes (electric piano?) sound like a somber yet surprising oasis from the darker times that surround us. Considering that this is just a trio, Mr. Sinton allows the rhythm team to add their own earthy flourishes, bringing things down to their organic elements and then erupting into some joyous rip-roaring sax blasting moments. There is something rather magical yet modest going on here: without very much bluster, the trio is able to evoke a certain earthy grittiness which sounds like a reaction to the comforts of the past and the lack of a safety net for our futures. This disc sounds like a story unfolding with each song setting a different scene or part of the ongoing tale. This is one of the few discs I’ve heard recently which works its way into my heat and soul without knocking me upside my head. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG“
August 2017 -Jan Grainle from the well-respected European jazz website, Salt Peanuts, reviews “Live at The Firehouse Space” by Álvaro Domene and Briggan Krauss. Check it out HERE!
SLOW LEARNER PREVIEW ON “BIRD IS THE WORM”
August 2017 – Check out Bird is the Worm’s preview of Josh Sinton’s forthcoming release, “Slow Learner” HERE!
VIDEO – EXTREMOPHILE SESSION
August 2017 – check out Dominic Lash Quartet’s ‘Extremophile‘ session video produced by Miguel Gaggiotti
‘Hesitantly Pleasant’ reviewed by Something Else!
9 June 2017: ‘Hesitantly Pleasant’ by Caratti/Musson/Beresford is “a ridiculously endearing album which takes the listener on a corkscrew journey through different mindsets, concepts and ideologies.” Read the review by Sammy Stein here.
Dominic Lash Quartet ‘Extremophile’ reviewed by Free Jazz Collective
30 APRIL 2017: ‘Extremophile’ by Dominic Lash Quartet excellently reviewed by David Menestres on the Free Jazz Collective, check it out here.
The Quietus review Dominic Lash Quartet ‘Extremophile’
24 APRIL 2017: ‘Extremophile’ by Dominic Lash Quartet excellently reviewed by Stewart Smith on The Quietus, read it here alongside other excellent album reviews.
‘Extremophile’ reviewed on All About Jazz
APRIL 2017: ‘Extremophile’ by Dominic Lash Quartet receives a glowing review from John Eyles on All About Jazz, check it out here.
Jazzwise review – 20th Anniversary Edition April 2017
APRIL 2017: ‘Synaptic Self by dMu is a “determined, furiously dark, animalistic blast of metal-jazz improv…” according to Selwyn Harris’ review in the 20th Anniversary edition of Jazzwise magazine. Both this and ‘Live at The Firehouse Space’ by Domene/Krauss are reviewed in the UK’s best and biggest selling jazz magazine!
‘Extremophile’ makes Avant Music News ‘picks of the week’ 23 March 2017
MARCH 2017: Avant Music News names Dominic Lash Quartet’s outstanding album as a ‘pick of the week’ alongside other great releases, check out the list here.
dMu makes Avant Music News ‘Best of 2016’ list
JANUARY 2017: Following a glowing review, Avant Music News has named dMu’s ‘Synaptic Self’ on its ‘Best of 2016’ list of albums alongside a host of other incredible releases, check out the list here.
Live at The Firehouse Space by Domene/Krauss reviewed by The Free Jazz Blog
DECEMBER 2016: Paul Acquaro from The Free Jazz Blog, has this to say about this live recording:
“The atmosphere the duo develops is enveloping, the slow ooze at the start is created by Krauss’ intensely rhythmic phrases and Domene’s deliberate chordal movement. The fog burns off quickly though as the two engage in an intensely percussive passage that raises the tempo and quickens the pulse. Throughout the performance, they move seamlessly from sound-sculpting to earth-scorching.”
dMu’s ‘Synaptic Self’ reviewed by Avant Music News
“This slab of aggression features the trio of Mike Caratti on drums, Josh Sinton on sax and bass clarinet, and Álvaro Domene on electric guitar. Channeling both free jazz and a punk/metal vibe, Domene’s heavily distorted riffing and speed picking are juxtaposed with drones and urgently angular melodies from Sinton. Underneath, Caratti provides staggered rhythms.
All three of these explorers have a penchant for twisting notes, irregular phrasing, and left-of-center explosiveness. Sinton’s bass clarinet, in particular, adds a rich texture to Domene’s doomy grinding. But not all of Synaptic Self is improv. Several tracks are based around pre-established themes, though some of these lead to an open blowout or two.
Comparisons? Slobber Pup’s Pole Axe, for one, but without the quiet parts. A commendable release that explores untrodden paths.”
dMu’s ‘Synaptic Self’ recommended by New York City Jazz Record
DECEMBER 2016: dMu’s ‘Synaptic Self’ features on Andrey Henkin’s ‘Recommended New Release’ list in the December issue of the New York City Jazz Record.
dMu featured on Tomajazz Podcast
NOVEMBER 2016: dMu gets heavy rotation on the November 24 edition of the Tomajazz podcast, check it out here.
Briggan Krauss and Álvaro Domene on Tomajazz Podcast
NOVEMBER 2016: Pachi Tapiz, the man behind Spain’s most reputable jazz and creative improvised music website, Tomajazz, featured ‘Live at The Firehouse Space’ on his November 11 podcast, listen here.
Life is Noise Review of Low My Guy
SEPTEMBER 2016: Scott Bishop from Life is Noise gives his anger management review of Low My Guy’s ‘Failure to Thrive’, describing the album as “seven completely improvised tracks of noisey, metallic chaos.” We think he likes it?!
SEPTEMBER 2016: Clare Neal from 4ZZZ FM Radio has this to say about dMu’s release:
“Drawing their name from an evil Tibetan earth demon, dMu’s album Synaptic Self is certainly nothing if not otherworldly. Composed by Australian Mike Caratti, who performs on drums along with Spaniard Álvaro Domene on guitar and American Josh Sinton on bass clarinet and baritone sax, each track is as eclectic as the band members themselves, bridging the gaps between avant-garde jazz, heavy metal, grunge and tribal sounds. Throbbing electric guitars, erratic brass and unpredictable drums really do make for the imagery of an ancient demon wreaking havoc. An album like nothing you have heard before.”
RTRFM Radiothon Interview: Low My Guy
AUGUST 2016: Tune into RTRFM‘s ‘Out to Lunch’ program on 12 August 2016 at 2pm WST to hear Sandy interview Low My Guy as part of the station’s Radiothon week. Hear the band discuss their music and long-standing obsession with the world’s best radio station! Check the interview here and stream Out to Lunch anytime here.
MARCH 2014: The most popular jazz website on the internet, All About Jazz, has featured a song from ZÖBIK-3‘s debut album as download of the week. The track has been downloaded close to 3,000 times so far!
Here’s the editor’s comments on the track “Öpik”:
“Light touch free jazz intro, cycles a bit and then goes into full mosh head zone. If you’re having an Advil day…computer says no.”
FEBRUARY 2014: ZÖBIK-3‘s debut album, “Öpik-3”, has been chosen as record of the week by the very popular avant-garde news website, along with work by Ben Goldberg, Wade Matthews, Javier Carmona and Dominic Lash.
JANUARY 2014: Gran Masa and ZÖBIK-3 are now available for purchase at our favourite record store in the whole wide world, Downtown Music Gallery in New York City. Enjoy!
Zona de Jazz reviews GRAN MASA
AUGUST 2013: Read the latest review by Juan Antonio Serrano Cervantes on theSpanish Jazz website, Zonadejazz.com. Cervantes describes an album that “is able to move indistinctly between melody and total improvisation, like a work of theatre with a continually changing set”. (Read the full review here)