NNA086: Wanda Group – ‘Ornate Circular’ CS
Wanda Group valiantly returns for their third release on NNA Tapes. Since the project’s debut “Bass Urine” in 2011, Louis Johnstone seems to have worked diligently to eradicate all traces of traditional “music” from his work, leaving behind only the acousmatic sounds of life itself. The 2013 NNA LP “A Slab About Being Held Captive”, his recent digital releases on his own imprint Umbro G, and most recently the “We All Mutate Around The Mountain” LP on Italy’s Second Sleep label have all been further evidence of this musical deconstruction and deepening journey down the rabbit hole of musique concrete. Wanda Group’s brilliance is demonstrated through the use of juxtaposition of multiple levels. Johnstone’s recurring use of liquid, aqueous sounds are paired with the stifling hiss of room recordings, pitting oceanic vastness and claustrophobic confinement against each other. The muffled sounds of distance clash with magnified texture, giving birth to a palpable dynamic tension. The warm organics of tapping, squeaking, shuffling, scraping, and other sonic by-products of human physicality’s interaction with its surroundings are paired with the eerie coldness and faceless sterility of electronic frequency detritus and mechanical noise pollution. The result of all this constant friction is the atmosphere of anxiety and dread that has become a signature of the Wanda Group sound world. Although “Ornate Circular” seems to be constructed from various tape and field recordings, electronic signal processing, radio interference and digital effects, Wanda Group refuses to make these elements the emphasis of the work or give any clues as to their origin. What Johnstone presents us with instead is purely the creative manipulation of the sounds of earthly existence, void of context or traditional musical structure. His masterful use of layering and composition gives the work a deeply personal expression of abstract sound, perhaps meant for the artist alone to fully know the meaning behind. As humans, it is our nature to want to assign a reality-based narrative to sounds we cannot see the source of, but Wanda Group denies us this through the complete deconstruction and rearrangement of everyday sounds, creating a totality of abstraction which nullifies context altogether. Comes with free digital download coupon.
NNA087: Travis Laplante & Peter Evans – ‘Secret Meeting’ CD/CS
NNA Tapes is proud to present Secret Meeting, the collaboration of Travis Laplante (tenor saxophone) and Peter Evans (trumpet). Laplante and Evans are each devoted to creating multi-dimensional improvisational spaces, pushing their instruments to the edge in the service of a musical experience that travels beyond the realm of the mind. The deeply mysterious, epic improvisations on Secret Meeting points toward a seemingly ancient relationship between these two boundary-breaking improvisers. Encompassing a vast array of sounds and an umbilical cord-like connection, Secret Meeting embodies profound exhaustion in one moment, as though the players’ collective weariness might altogether slump them over, and manages unparalleled vitality and vigor in the next. Through all of these sonic undulations, Evans and Laplante place the listener within a visceral, symbiotic torrent of beauty. Peter Evans is a trumpet player, and improvisor/composer based in New York City since 2003. Evans is part of a broad, hybridized scene of musical experimentation and his work cuts across a wide range of modern musical practices and traditions. Peter is committed to the simultaneously self-determining and collaborative nature of musical improvisation as a compositional tool, and works to use the great music of the past as a springboard to forge new directions with his colleagues. His primary groups as a leader are the Peter Evans Quintet and the Zebulon trio. In addition, Evans has been performing and recording solo trumpet music since 2003 and is widely recognized as a leading voice in the field, having released several recordings over the past decade. He is a member of several fully cooperative groups, such as Pulverize the Sound, Rocket Science, Premature Burial and is constantly experimenting and forming new configurations of players. Evans’ work as a band member extends to groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble and Wet Ink. He has been commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, the Donaueschingen Musiktage Festival, the Jerome Foundation’s Emerging Artist Program and was a 2014 Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY. He has presented and/or performed his music at many major international festivals and has toured his own groups extensively in Europe, Canada and the United States. Travis Laplante is a saxophonist, composer, and qigong healer living in southern Vermont and Brooklyn, New York. Laplante leads Battle Trance, the acclaimed tenor saxophone quartet. He is also known for his solo saxophone work and his longstanding ensemble Little Women. Laplante has recently performed and/or recorded with Trevor Dunn, Ches Smith, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Formanek, Mary Halvorson, Darius Jones, Matt Maneri, and Matt Mitchell, among others. He has toured his music extensively and has appeared at many major international festivals throughout the US, Canada and Europe. As a qigong student of master Robert Peng, Laplante has undergone traditional intensive training. His focus in recent years, under the tutelage of Laura Stelmok, has been on Taoist alchemical medicine and the cultivation of the heart. Laplante is passionate about the intersection of music and medicine. He and his wife are the founders of Sword Hands, a qigong and acupuncture healing practice based in Brooklyn, New York and Putney, Vermont. Cassette version comes with free digital download coupon.