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DOUBLE DEMON

DOUBLE DEMON

2011 - STARLICKER

Delmark

  1. 1. Double Demon
  2. 2. Vodou Cinque
  3. 3. Orange Blossom
  4. 4. Andromeda
  5. 5. Triple Hex
  6. 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

Reviews:

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=39511

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/arts/music/endangered-blood-and-starlicker-review.html

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=81415

http://chattanoogapulse.com/music/new-music-reviews/new-music-reviews-starlicker-thao-mirah/

http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=11011801074507906&ShowArticle_ID=11010405113637936

http://alarmpress.com/34601/features/best-albums-of-the-week/this-weeks-best-albums-may-17-2011/