Luigi Ceccarelli – live electronics, Hamid Drake – drums and percussions, Gianni Trovalusci – flutes, Ken Vandermark – sax and clarinets
Vynil version 12″ and digital download version – from March 23 2020
Lacquer cut by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. Art by Fede Peñalva. Jacket includes download code.
Live recording by Luigi Ceccarelli
Includes unlimited streaming of Open Border via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Produced by Area Sismica and Ken Vandermark
This first-time encounter was recorded during a concert at the magnificent Chiesa di San Giacomo – Complesso Museale San Domenico – Forlì, for the Forlì Open Music Festival on October 14th, 2018. The music performed has the impact of that magnificent space and, like the architecture, is both expansive and extreme. Configurations of the participants shift from passages of solo to quartet, and the improvisations move between pure texture and evolving melodicism.
Luigi Ceccarelli, who has been working with electronics since 1970, and has won numerous electronic music awards, not only creates his own incredible web of sound, but also processes the other musicians’ playing in real time. Hamid Drake, one of the most respected percussionists in the world today, goes deep into free territory here, making the recording an even more unique document.
The reed combinations between Gianni Trovalusci’s flutes and Ken Vandermark’s clarinet and tenor sax give the proceedings a unique spacial and dynamic character, one that is informed by Trovalusci’s investigation of the contemporary repertoire and early music, along with Vandermark’s decades-long history of collaborating with musicians from around the world.
The music on Open Border defies musical conventions and boundary lines. Instead it focuses on a search for creative ground without categories. It is a recording of improvised music invented at the highest level, spontaneous and timeless, energized and austere, always exhilarating.
Time to live in the desire for research
“Open Border”, the album that reproduces the concert of the ensemble of the same name at the Forlì Open Music festival in 2018
Occasionally radical free improvisation and contemporary music of radical “learned” origin intersect and become the same thing. Contemporary music understood as the time of living with the desire for research, pleasure, the composition of open relationships. An event like this took place in October 2018 at the Forlì Open Music festival. The ensemble gathered for the occasion was called Open Border (precisely …).
And this name is also the title of the album that reproduces that concert.
LUIGI CECCARELLI, a well-known composer in the “contemporary” anti-dogmatic, makes the director (re-inventor, inventor) of the completely improvised session somewhat to electronics. Hamid Drake, a beloved jazz percussionist, a great virtuoso, a practical seducer of avant-garde and Africanism, pantry touches that would make Stockhausen’s envy.
Gianni Trovalusci, flutist who willingly switches from free music to neue musik (he is Roscoe Mitchell’s favorite partner), blows long and pointed sounds that travel in galaxies into tubes of various sizes. Ken Vandermark, saxophonist and clarinetist, shows off his best skills as an ultra-free jazzman, forgets Rollins and draws on Ligeti. Yummy cocktail.
(Mario Gamba- Il Manifesto (https://ilmanifesto.it/edizione/il-manifesto-del-08-04-2020/)
How to open the curtain on a sidereal abyss: Open Border, an open border, worlds that we don’t know yet and are familiar and that we return to visit with great joy in listening …
This stellar quartet, assembled by Ariele Monti (deus ex machina of the Forlì club [Seismic Area]), closed the edition two years ago with a thrilling live which now (edited) becomes a 12 “vinyl (and download) for Ken Vandermark’s Audiographic Records, which produces the work together with Ariele Monti and Area Seismica. What we listened live and we hear now on lp was the tasty and forbidden fruit of the first ever encounter between these heavyweights: Ken Vandermark on saxophones and Hamid Drake on drums to guard the avant-jazz side of the territory, Gianni Trovalusci on flutes and sound pipes (at dinner then on the evening of the concert he would have told me that they were the pipes of a tent … when the genius is said) to probe the land of the contemporary and Luigi Ceccarelli, who turns out to be the real sorcerer,
to process the sound of the other three live, adding scientific delirium to delirium, bright confusion to confusion. Pagan music and cultured arm in arm in Hyperuranium, dense and tense silences, stalking, escapes, ambushes, clearings, archaic and forbidden fantasies, lux aeterna, drums.
Thanks to Ceccarelli’s abstract and punctual electronics, the sound is refracted in bottomless wells; the acoustic rain of tenor, flute and percussion becomes hyperreal, a filigree dream. The climate sometimes resembles a more shaggy Threadgill, then there are explosions like in Coltrane’s Interstellar Regions, with live electronics adding quarters of strangeness and impregnability, but every reference is in vain because the music we listen to is truly new and unheard of, creepy. Trovalusci at the sound pipes is a shaman in the academy, the tenor sax turns into a cello, it is the sound of a perennial metamorphosis, a free chrysalis that take off as a contemporary butterfly.
The clear feeling is that this is an important musical encounter, the seed of a forbidden and tasty fruit, which no God will be able to prevent us from tasting. A sincere praise therefore to those who thought of bringing these musicians together in space, allowing us to sail with them. At times the ears imagine the music of the pygmies played by Stockhausen, the heart listens to ancient and brand new speeches, elusive secrets, the eyes are dazzled by so much monolithic, kaleidoscopic clarity.
This music creates (and needs) space: a long theory of vanishing points, a cold that tastes of galaxy, cosmic wind, black holes, delicate and powerful epiphanies, sounds in constant movement, pregnant with questions, vague and storytellers yet steadfast in their drift, philosophical and orgiastic, unstoppable, fluid, natural as a breath. Music that seems the transcription in score of a Nietzsche book, ruthless and bloody human. Thirty-five minutes simply amazing.
Nazim Comunale – The New Noise 11/04/2020
Music and More
General thoughts of fun stuff, like music, books and the like. Thanks for reading.SATURDAY, APRIL 04, 2020
Vandermark / Drake / Trovalusci / Ceccarelli – Open Border (Audiographic, 2020)
Open Border is a beautiful, truly collaborative project between Ken Vandermark on reed instruments, Luigi Ceccarelli on electronics, Hamid Drake on drums and Gianni Trovalusci on flutes. The music was recorded by Ceccarelli live at the Forlí Open Music Festival in October of
2018, and captures a gracefully flowing and exploratory performance. Musicians weave in and out of the sound tapestry, shifting from solo to full quartet sections, as the improvisations evolve from melodic to abstract freedom.
There is only freely improvised track, “Open Border” which emerges slowly as the music has pops and clicks like a transmission from a far off world, Vandermark’s clarinet meeting electronics and fluttering in open space, gradually gathering intensity with percussion and piercing flute entering the frame. Drake’s masterful fractured free drumming and Vandermark’s caustic clarinet further slip the boundaries, with sparse electronics adding to the action. Drake’s solo drumming reverberates through the theater, as Trovalusci joins him on flute providing an ethereal sound amid swirls of electronic noise building an alien soundscape. The instruments can create a alarming buzzing motif, then change just as rapidly into with popping and chattering reeds in a nervous, yet fascinating section.
Vandermark moves to tenor saxophone for powerful bursts of loud and stark playing, backed by Drake’s excellent drumming, and swirls of electronic sound, creating a raw and vibrant section of the overall performance, and diving into an excellent collective improvisation with flute soaring and flowing amid the other instruments. Interplay between Drake and Vandermark stellar as always, as is the light and fluid section for flute and electronic sound, and graceful spoken vocalization leading everyone to come together for a elegant and memorable conclusion. This was a unique and very enjoyable album, taking three stellar instrumentalists and adding Ceccarelli to create electronic sound and process the other band members playing in real time creates a vibrant and rich performance that continuously moves in dynamic and spontaneous ways. by Tim Niland
This LP is a fascinating union of pairs of musicians, two based in Rome and two in Chicago, at the 2018 Forlì Open Music Festival. Two improvisations, though having little in common, are of almost the exact length (17:51 and 17:52) and of seemingly equal parts electronic and acoustic. The latter is a bit of a stretch, but each member of this quartet led by electronics artist Luigi Ceccarelli indulge in sonorities that can sound anything but organic. Drummer Hamid Drake approaches his collection of instruments like an orchestra while reedplayer Ken Vandermark often revels in coaxing riveting sounds from his saxophones and clarinets. Italian flutist Gianni Trovalusci, even during melodic flights, blends so well with the others that his instrument recalls analog electrical sounds.
Throughout the first selection, side-long “Open Border, Part 1”, the ensemble operates fully as a collective, with few moments of any singular voice coming to the front.
Trovalusci shines on Side B (“Open Border, Part 2”), bouncing and sputtering off of Drake’s softly dictated pulsations, vocalizing through his head joint both with and in opposition to his standardly- played sounds. Vandermark blows with fervor and at least a degree of abandon, carrying the gritty urbane into this European session. Electronics then take the lead with a wall of sound as cymbals sound and simmer, but Trovalusci moves to center again, filling the soundscape live and in response as his instrumental voice is manipulated by Ceccarelli. The result is fascinating and, frankly, could have gone on longer.
This piece closes with a pensive, calming repetitive melody shared by electronics, saxophone and flute in varying degrees of rhythmic uncertainty, creating a cascading effect.
While the title indicates a positive meeting of international artists, the turbulence within appears to carry stronger symbolic meaning referencing the political strife around our government’s austere vision of border security. Most striking, particularly towards the close of side two, is the image of national boundaries as imagined by the global creative community as opposed to the bearers of arms.
John Pietaro Novembre 2020 The New York City Jazz Record