Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Paper of Note

Ben Ratliff says nice things about Crackleknob!

It's Hot....I'm outta here!

I officially recognized that I was going to sweat for the next 9 weeks solid. There is always that morning when I"m going through my shirt drawer and it dawns on me that it really doesn't matter what I wear, I'm going to be a totally gross, stinky sweat mess for 63 days. It doesn't matter how many showers I take, the fact remains that I am from Oregon. I am of broad countenance. I am hirsute. Therefore, I'm just going to leave in July and leave you "oh, I love the warm weather" people to slowly wilt. Let's talk again mid-September when the first rains hit and you can complain to me. I will gladly listen.

Until I leave, however, I have a couple of performances I'm calling "sweating to the....." I hope you'll come out and feel the burn.

Local 269
Vision Festival!
269 E. Houston, Manhattan
Come sweat to the progressive music interplay of CRACKLEKNOB!
Nate Wooley/Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding
Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley
Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley/Mary Halvorson

We play at 10:30.

Issue Project Room
232 3rd Street, Brooklyn
Come sweat to compositional linguistics!
Critical Theory discussion about the music of Kenneth Gaburo
featuring performances by Megan Schubert, Warren Burt, Chris Mann, and a very rarely seen video piece of Gaburo's
and a panel discussion led by myself and featuring David Dunn, Larry Polansky, Warren Burt, and Chris Mann

8 pm

168 7th street, Brooklyn
Come sweat to a reductionist version of THE NATE WOOLEY QUINTET
Nate Wooley
Josh Sinton
Matt Moran


and finally,

Wednesday, June 30!
6th and 9th in Brooklyn
Come sweat to the same thing you sweat to tonight!
see above
early show 7 pm
followed by Huntsville from Norway!

woohoo, get out your electric fans and let's get this mess on the road.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Review and show tonight!

Saturday, May 22, 2010 from Killed in Cars

Also, the quintet will be playing tonight, May 24th at Douglass Street Music Collective.....2 sets, good times....starts at 8 pm on the nose! See you there!

Nate Wooley & Paul Lytton - Creek Above 33 (Psi, 2010)



For such a young trumpeter, Nate Wooley has performed and recorded with a healthy range of challenging experimental artists, from Wolf Eyes to John Zorn to Akron/Family. The first time I saw him perform was with a trio consisting of C. Spencer Yeh and Chris Corsano, and the last time was with Trevor Dunn’s PROOFReaders (with Darius Jones and Ryan Sawyer) who were presenting selected works by Ornette Coleman for Ars Nova Workshop's Composer Portrait Series. Both were very different but immensely rewarding music experiences that demonstrated the full force and diversity of Wooley’s abilities as a player. With the first ensemble, Wooley did not produce a traditional note or scale all evening, instead emphasizing the instrument’s hidden potential for emitting whispers, heavy ghost breaths, industrial screams, and deep, earth shattering, low-end booms. With the second, Wooley nailed Coleman’s complicated trumpet phrases, excellently representing Coleman’s ability to create pieces that simultaneously reinforce and push beyond the traditional jazz idiom.

On Creek Above 33, both of these aspects of Wooley’s playing are united. This is the second time that Wooley has recorded as a duo with percussionist and electronicist Paul Lytton, the first being a 2008 limited edition LP on Brokenresearch. The two have performed together on many occasions, however, including in trio form along with David Grubbs at 2007’s Festival of New Trumpet Music, where Wooley debuted a composition that was recorded and released last year titled The Seven Storey Mountain (read my Tiny Mix Tapes review of the album here). Lytton is a veteran in experimental circles, working with Evan Parker for many years, and more recently with Ken Vandermark’s various Territory Band large ensembles, that include Paal Nilssen-Love, Kevin Drumm, Dave Rempis, Kent Kessler, and many others. The creative partnership between Lytton and Wooley has no doubt been a beneficial one, as Wooley confesses in the liner notes for this release that Lytton led him to completely re-evaluate his approach to making music. The harbinger of this transition was a “mind map” created by Lytton – which appears here as the cover art – in which he attempted to visualize both of their intertwining and agonistic trajectories as artists within jazz and improvised music continuums. The sonic result of this radical rethinking is Creek Above 33.

Lytton’s screeching friction opens the album with Wooley’s amplified horn pushing out rapid, reverb-drenched blasts. “The Mbala Effect” is a spatial delight as Lytton produces poly-textural percussive splatters that enter from near and far. Wooley’s approach to the horn is reminiscent of Bill Dixon’s playing on 2009’s fantastic Tapestries For Small Orchestra, though his inclusion of more breathy, volcanic notes and moans is significantly more violent and disruptive. The piece gets truly terrifying around the 8 minute mark: it’s as if Lytton is cranking up a jackhammer, or commanding a demolition squad, rather than working behind a drum kit. Meanwhile, a possessed Wooley resurrects a Takashi Miike-esque demon-growl with his horn. Lytton has been experimenting with electronics for many years, as well as homemade instruments like the Lyttonophone and Dopplerphone, which were both used in the Evan Parker Trio. However, given Lytton’s textural and friction-centric approach to percussion, as well as the multiple instruments that his infamously massive kit contains, it’s difficult to tell what sounds are the result of electronics and what are not.

Lytton shines on “The Gentle Sturgeon,” creating a chaotic array of mysterious scrapes and bangs while Wooley’s breath-play drones and screams above the myriad layers. Half-way through the track the demolition squad returns, but this time more lunar (or, perhaps given the song-title, deep sea) drops of electro-ping and tension follow. Whatever revelation Wooley and Lytton sparked in one another from their pre-recording ruminations on their artistic pasts and futures worked. Creek Above 33 is a fantastic journey through the music histories of both artists and the reference nodes span across the diverse, but overlapping, traditions of experimental musics and jazz (perhaps most evident in Wooley’s deconstructed bop tendencies on “Filtering The Fogweed”). This is an excellent display of both artists’ perpetual development. Lytton continues to be pushing music further forward, as he has been for over 40 years, and Wooley’s approach to his instrument somehow gets even more perplexing and engaging.

Elliott Sharp

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm a Capitalist, dammit.

I've locked my blog in the basement for a couple of months because it used wire hangers.

No, that isn't funny, I agree.

I am finally back on it to announce a boatload of releases in the month of Marpril and to promise to be more on top of getting those gig emails on here more regularly.


for those of you that don't have a computer, you can't read this anyway, so it doesn't matter.

The Almond, an excerpt from a longer piece that I'm coddling on its way out the door to a nice record label in the country where it can run around all it wants, is up now on Compost and Height

It's a new kind of piece for me, not really sure what that means, but I find it kind of exciting nonetheless. Plus it has this nice photo from the lovely and talented Sarah Spears (sorry Sarah, I turned it upside down).

There is also a new solo LP out on the great Smeraldina-Rima label called "Nate Wooley Trumpet/Amplifier". Fantastic cover art, great liners from Ben Hall and nice heavy wax. Side A is two completely acoustic tracks and side B is one long feedback piece with the trumpet being used to mold things.

And finally, and the most recent!

Paul Lytton/Nate Wooley Creak Above 33 on Emanem/Psi!!!!!!!!

I"m so excited about this, I can't even tell you. Paul has been one of my heroes for a long time, and to get to work with him over a long period has been life changing. I'm really proud of this record. It's a tough one, and that makes me really excited, something to sink the teeth into. Beautiful cover by Anna Lytton and some real weird liner notes/drawings by Paul and I. Special thanks to Evan Parker for getting this one going!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I generally think of every single aspect of my life as its own discrete cycle. Everything from the banality of work scheduling and train schedules down to keeping track of which people ride the same train car as me and at what rate they cycle their outfits. At my most metaphysically lucid, I can almost see myself as a walking set of billions of ephemeral perambulations consisting of every relationship I have to animal, vegetable, mineral, or ideology. I think most people would find this a touch obsessive, and there are times that I would agree with them, but I view it in another way that, while definitely more dark, tends to take on more of a philosophical bent. Jean Baudrillard, the great French semiologist/philosopher, take a similar stance in view of the human need to collect. He says that we collect things in a series (the people that do collect things, and most musically minded people are like this in my experience) to rehearse completion. In other words, we collect a series to either complete it and thus rehearse the only thing in our life which is absolutely a positivity....its end, or we collect a series to prove to ourselves that there is always something else, thus giving ourselves a false sense of immortality. Now, as a firm believer in reincarnation, I don't really see how it would be any different with my lust for cyclical tabulation. I watch the cycles of my life, or enforce a subconscious cycle on things to rehearse or deny the end of my existence in this form, depending on the situation. That's the way I justify the amount of energy that goes into these exercises at least.

Now, that has nothing to do with the meat of this email, which is this story I'm about to relate, but I think you need the background to understand why such a seemingly banal occurrence could be so incredible to me. One of the cycles that I pay close attention to, because I experience it almost every day consists of my walk from the PATH train at World Trade Center to my office on Broad Street. I always take the same set of streets (are you really surprised by that?), and they cycle consists mostly of a set of people, a series of thoughts, and generally a group of a/b psychic switches. It is basically a binary cycle...."at this news kiosk there will be the old black man yelling at the younger Middle Eastern man...or not"...."the blond woman that always wears tweed jackets will cut through Trinity church....or she will continue straight"...."I will have the urge to buy a coffee at the Wall Street deli....or I will not think about it". One part of the cycle is always the same though and it has always kind of bothered me. On the corner of Broadway and William Street there is a Travelex office, a place where they do currency exchange. As I walk up William, I pass by their office on the left and at the last cubicle on the Broadway side there is a woman. I have never actually seen this woman, so I don't know if she is young or old, beautiful or homely, radiant or dull. All I have ever seen, in fact, is the part in her hair as she hunches over her desk, working on her computer. Every day, I see this part. I have wanted it to change, somehow, looking for small discrepancies in the slightly off center nature of the part, but it always remains the same. There was a period of time when I thought perhaps she was a mannequin, seated there as part of an elaborate scheme for Travelex to pay a seperate salary. That is insane, obviously. Today, a day that has forever rocked my "going to work cycle" by its ever loving foundations, I walked up William Street, hoping perhaps she would be wearing a beret, or would have gotten a hair cut. But, as I turned eyes left to take in the part, my darling Travelex worker had not only finally looked up from her computer, but was standing behind her desk.....dancing. I don't know why she was dancing. I've been in Travelex and it is not that exciting a place, nor have I ever heard any dance worthy music (or any music at all) played in a Travelex, but there she was, exploding a small part of a small part of my perambulations. I was in shock. I stopped on the sidewalk and watched her dance. Finally, inevitably, she looked out the window at the beardo in the army jacket. I was using all of my Scandinavian power of self control, but I couldn't help it and danced a little with her. Nothing big, a few white boy steps, the best I could do in my bulky jacket and glittens. She smiled and sat down. Now I have to come to grips with the fact that there is a possibility of something more in this cycle. Was this just an aberration, or can I at least count on my Travelex buddy for a new binary....."Travelex girl sits in front of computer showing only the part in her hair.....or busts a wicked move". I"m hoping for the latter.

Enough of that, lots of super fun gigs this week.

Come out, let me add you as a part of my spinning spinning spinning:

Tuesday January 12
Issue Project Room
232 3rd Brooklyn
Bram Stadhouders-solo guitar from the Netherlands
Heave and Shudder (Audrey Chen/Nate Wooley) with Gil Arno (video)
Kenta Nagai-solo something (you never know with Kenta, always good though)
8 pm

Wednesday January 13
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand StreetManhattan
FONT's 4 night festival (this is the first night, you should check the schedule, looks pretty rocking)
I'll be playing the piece "Rugby" with John Zorn

Friday January 15
IBeam Studios
168 7th Street
Telluric Currents Series, curated by Jeremiah Cymerman
Dafna Naphtali/Chuck Bettis
Nate Wooley (solo)
Alexander Waterman/Ryan Sawyer (woohoo)/Zach Layton
8 pm

thanks, see you soon! Nate