Matthew Shipp

The Sorcerer Sessions

The second issue in the Blue Series Continuum from Thirsty Ear Records, THE SORCERER SESSIONS, brings to light a mutiplicitous range of sound, spiced with a round of stretched limits within which exist combinations of seemingly incongruous instrumentation.

Matthew Shipp spearheads the recording with an incredible spine of chords, single notes and melody lines. Surrounding the centrality of Shipp’s musical and compositional influence is the work of Gerald Cleaver on drums, William Parker on bass, Daniel Bernard Roumain on violin, FLAM taking care of programming and synthesizer, and Evan Ziporyn on bass clarinet and clarinet.

This group tends to behave more like a classical chamber music ensemble than an improvisatory band, but the listener has to expect the unexpected direction in which the sound produced by the group evolves. The inclusion of Ziporyn and Roumain in this sextet incorporates into the nature of the music sets of outreaching parameters which speak to the push of the envelope, as it were, of stringency that touches nerve-endings not unlike the artificial extremes to which the electronics can move the sound.

The music opens with a fanfare of sorts giving us entrance into the fantastical world in which we will travel. This world has within it the dreamlike qualities evoked by the idea of sparkling dust as it falls on our bodies when we enter a place that only dreams are made of. This world has within it the melancholy that can accompany an unrelenting sense of pain and longing & the bravura that stems from carrying on through the roller coaster juxtaposition of comforts and peculiar tenuous circumstances that arise out of everyday life.

This music induces a perception of the balancing act of living on the edge which allows for the inclusion of a total existence --- where choosing for this or that way is not a choice----where everything just is as it is. And the story that is this journey is the one we suddenly find ourselves on....not because we put ourselves in a specific place at a certain time but because we put the CD into the player. In hindsight, we can look where we have been and realize that we were led briskly, thoughtlessly, every step of the way from a marked beginning to a resolute one-note conclusion.

The predictability of the process of the music is banished by the closeknit richness of every prolonged stroke and pluck on a string, every brush and click on the drum, every vibration of the reeds, every meeting of the hammer to piano string and every interlinkage of electronic embellishment with acoustic straightforwardness.

What is predictable in the music, and what we cannot shirk because we identify with it, is the march of time. The march of time is cited three times: with a pizzicato on the violin, with the clarity of the measured rhythmic rolls on the snare drum accompanied by the squareness of a piano theme, and lastly in the possibly and probably synthesized simulation of a clock ticking. The squeaks of the door, the whoosh of the wind, the repetitive large piano chords and right-handed melody, the long blue minor strokes on the violin sink us back into a sometimes distant groove that is our mind, our experience of life. The truth. Right there or here as the case may be.

< back^ home ^

all contents © 2000-2013 Matthew Shipp