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Projections of sound + vision using technology and non-technology to push the limits of universal love wave correspondence.





  1. Double Demon
  2. Vodou Cinque
  3. Orange Blossom
  4. Andromeda
  5. Triple Hex
  6. Skull Cave
Rob Mazurek - Cornet
Jason Adasiewicz - Vibraphone
John Herndon - Drums

All compositions by Rob Mazurek (OLHO) ASCAP
Arrangements by Starlicker

Recorded and Mixed by Greg Norman at Electrical Audio B Room Chicago
March, 2011

Mastered at SAE

Artwork by Damon Locks
Layout by Sheila Sachs and Damon Locks

1. Double Demon
2. Vodou Cinque
3. Orange Blossom

vinyl split

4. Andromeda
5. Triple Hex
6. Skull Cave

Liner Notes: John Corbett

Other Delmark releases of interest:

Exploding Star Orchestra - Stars Have Shapes
Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms
Rob Mazurek Quintet - SOUND IS
Chicago Underground Trio - Chronicle, Flamethrower, Possible Cube
Rob Mazurek - Silver Spines

Liner Notes:

Put together musicians whose music you know and admire, assemble them into a new
configuration. What are possible results? I can think of three: 1) additive – music that’s
the sum of the parts, great in a way you would expect; 2) multiplicative – music that’s
more than the sum of the parts, great in a way that exponentially amplifies the known
characteristics of said players; 3) transportational – music that takes everything and
everyone to a completely different place, great in an unforeseen and brilliant new way.

Listening to Starlicker’s debut, I hear number three.

Of course, there are recognizable elements, sounds that are identifiable with the three
venerable principals, Rob Mazurek, John Herndon, and Jason Adasiewicz. And
Double Demon is by no means without its roots, primarily to be found in the music that
Mazurek’s been crafting for the last two decades, in a variety of settings from duo to
big band, ever since he leapt from a hard-bop career into the deep end of creative music.
The roots are there, but the tree that grows from them is not what you might anticipate.
Imagine a baobab growing from the base of a juniper, a weeping willow from the trunk
of a redwood. Illogical outgrowth? Let’s say instead that it’s an outgrowth that obeys its
own, higher logic.

“I feel like I’ve been looking for this sound for twenty years,” says Mazurek. The sound
he’s talking about is very, very concentrated. It’s about the amassing of overtones, piling
on of partials, intensification via ringing and thwacking and hitting, hard hitting, the huge
acoustic buzz that comes from layered tones repeated, joining their predecessors, which
hang in the air. Sometimes the product takes the shape of a dense cloud – picture dust or
mist rising off the cymbals or vibraphone keys as they’re being smacked – and sometimes
it’s more diaphanous or rumbling, a hum or murmur. Or a field, marked by a melodic
line. Like a curlicue of paint flung atop a textured background, Mazurek’s cornet cuts
through the trembling percussion.

In some clear ways, the massed, resonant SOUND IS related to the work he’s done with the
larger ensemble with a related name, Exploding Star Orchestra. But it’s also, perhaps
surprisingly, related to the electronic and computer elements of the Chicago Underground
Duo, his longstanding partnership with drummer Chad Taylor. I hear Starlicker as a
condensation of the basic instinct that led them to incorporate electronics, which always
seemed like a desire for a really heavy, concentrated acoustic experience to contrast
with the spare, brittle, awkward vulnerability of the acoustic instruments. In a broader
context, Starlicker brings together different kinds of music – jazz, contemporary classical,
rock, traditional – not by cleverly referring to and pastiching together genres, but by
tapping different music’s common energetic resources.

Starlicker’s direct origins were in SOUND IS, the record that Mazurek waxed for Delmark
in 2009. His initial notion for that session was percussive. “It was the idea of the flam.
I’d been listening to a lot of gamelan, that ringing quality. I wanted it to sound like a
Chinese street parade, slamming cymbals, fireworks. Hitting hard, making it ring.”
Mazurek convened the trio with Adasiewicz and Herndon, wrote structures for the group,

and in the end decided that it needed to have two basses (Josh Abrams, acoustic, and Matt
Lux, electric). But the seed was planted, and after some time he decided to return to the
initial trio.

The opportunity came with an invitation to present new music in the Canary Islands.
Mazurek had been listening to plenty of piano music at the time, in Fall, 2010, including
Toru Takemitsu, Morton Feldman, Leo Sowerby, and John Cage. He found Cage’s “The
Perilous Night” particularly resonant. The three musicians rehearsed together, freely
improvising, and found the experience galvanizing, inspiring. Over the course of a
feverish day-and-a-half, Mazurek wrote all the music for Double Demon. The trio
played its first gig in November, embarked on a short Spanish tour and then in January,
2011, toured the Midwest, all the time playing the tunes on the record, in the same order,
exploring the music, eventually realizing that it shouldn’t be extrapolated but needed to
be more compact and focused. This was not music as a jump off, but a joint maneuver,
true ensemble music. Is it democratic? Maybe it’s better seen as consensual. “It’s about
illuminating what’s already happening,” says Mazurek. “Nobody’s stepping out for a
solo; everything’s working towards the sound.”

The particular instrumentation was key. “The absence of bass opens up the sonic field
almost in reverse of the idea of the classic piano-less trio. Instead of using the fixed or
unfixed bass sound as the grounding force in the music, we are attempting to create a
grounding from the resonances of the harmonics from the top down.” There are, to be
sure, moments where the melodic and rhythmic components come together in a more
expected way, the instruments adopting conventional roles, but just for a moment, to
articulate a theme or introduce a new feel, then often overtaken by shimmering cymbals,
sustained vibes, rolling snare, shards of bright cornet. Let the sound accumulate, gather
tension, momentum, intensity, illumination. Soon, a fire started with a stick, they begin
to glow, to billow smoke, spit fire. Hop on board and allow yourself to be transported by
the new top-down grounding force of Starlicker.

– John Corbett, Chicago, March 2011