We have the pleasure of announcing a new release by Jeff Gburek, an American composer living in Europe who should not be a stranger to readers of this blog. I consider him to be among the top five most important composers/improvisers living today, so each release is an event.
From Jeff’s Bandcamp notes:
Passages is the result of 2 live sessions, the second session over-dubbed onto the first, without any rehearsal, the only minor post-production changes I could make therefore where bits of localized compression here and there. I am both graced and doomed to be unable to alter the improvisational verities of the composition. Session one (1/16/19) consisted of, tympani, cymbal, piano, synthesizer, voice, shortwave radio noise tuned by theremin — the piano wires themselves being antennae and the transistor radio speakers also transmitting the piano strings sound, hence, the distortion you hear, which is deliberate, evocative of another medium, timbre and epoch — and as proof that this composition is improvisational: the cymbal used was a piece I found at the KM studio space and we just had to get it on, right there on the head of the old school Polish tympanic drum, goat-skin stretched over copper pot. The tracks were recorded one after another with the idea of becoming a spine for an album that I’d imagined as Passages for Joseph Jarman. What I did not know was that I would wake up and record the second session two days later (1/18/19) at the home studio on Bukowska, suddenly, without any time for much premeditation. Instruments for the overdub session: bluesky instrument, bass recorder, snare drum, voice, Bulgarian cow bells, Goa bells, aluminum homemade gamelan, pan-pipes, radiator, melodica, skin — with a bit of reverb on all that to create a magical Pranic shield against the trams and buses out the window just meters off. Not a trace of guitar in any of it.
While recording this ritual of passage for Joseph Jarman, great ancestral spirit now, gradually re-enfolding the neighboring cosmos of my life as a lonely alien sometimes feeling soon to follow, the wings of Alvin Fielder became sensible in moments and thusly the whole wake became many-mansions in one. I kept walking through one portal into another, spanning visions and centuries of ghost, ochre & jade princesses, ancestor fox, lynx, radium ladies and seminole redwoods lifting arms. This will probably be epic or at best just another rehearsal. I fell to dreams several times during the mixdowns as if Ayahuma, the flower spirit of Amazonia descended on my member and dripped up with the proboscis of a black butterfly my pineal offerings. I learned who’s brother saved another one in the Spanish civil war and the reason behind was the unbound Romany who hid the weapons of the church warden. These dreams are not mine, I thought. But that’s rather presumptuous.
This is either a trip, an epic travail or fail but I release it because it’s timely, the recent passing of spirits, that command, for some reason, yes, I could ignore it. When Jarman died, here, when Fielder did, here, within me, there was no one around me to share this sense of loss with. How absurd, even cruel, to create something in the mind of another person, only to show them it’s gone, doesn’t exist. So I do the work for myself and you few who are listening and who may read this. I publish my soul even when among my peers I have few people who take my music seriously, who never read my posts or click on a link for whatever reasons of their own: I can’t buy your wonderful albums because I’m too poor, all these years and you think I’m ignoring you. I can’t praise what I can’t hear but maybe I should learn and I know you, the non-listener, make room, grant me silence, peace. You don’t need me and my music as much I need me to live and the music comes through me to tell me I have through this purpose become dedicated to the non-suicidal pact, against all the inhumane indifference, driving with a new engine. In the absence of culture in which I have communion with community, I find my trips on such dream Titanics that icebergs have not been able to reach. I play a chord and it flies with the winds. Some bees, somewhere over the horizon, move in the direction of the hands the flowers petals of sound waves tremble and extend. Love.
Every release from Gburek’s catalog is a deep, personal, and provocative. You can find his catalog here, via Bandcamp.