New Releases

New Releases available at Catalytic Sound are brand new albums by the musicians represented by the cooperative, both as individual artists or through their independent record labels, available for the very first time.

Heart of the Ghost II

Heart of the Ghost

2019

"I first saw Heart of the Ghost in Ypsilanti, MI in July of 2018 having heard of them through mutual friend and percussionist Sam Lohman. Immediately, I was floored by their unapologetic, aggressive and bass heavy take on classic free jazz music.Their sound is challenging and cerebral yet contains distinct ebbs and flows of sound that is difficult to ignore. Bassist Luke Stewart is ubiquitous on the Baltimore/DC improvised music scene both as a solo artist and as a member of Trio OOO (with my buddy Sam), New Artists Orchestra, Irreversible Entanglements and others. Luke has already done more in his short time as a performing bassist than most musicians do in entire lifetimes. His thoughtful and challenging approach to stand up bass playing is at once mesmerizing and overwhelming. Multi-instrumentalist Ian McColm graduated from the Oberlin Music Conservatory and experiments with a wide variety of sounds both internationally and in and around the DC area and releases music under his IGM moniker. Ian brings a nuanced set of sounds into an otherwise hulking mountain of sonic chaos. Alto saxophone player Jarrett Gilgore, though unassuming in person, takes a blistering approach to the sax, leaving audiences feeling as if they have been hit with a pot of boiling water. In addition to Heart of the Ghost, he plays in Triage with Noah Jarrett and Kevin Ripley, Anthony Pirog's Body Puzzle, Xenga. Baltimore Afrobeat Society, Chris Pumphrey Sextet, Jaimie Branch's Bombshelter. -Pete Larson (Dagoretti Records) "

New Brazilian Funk

Paal Nilssen-Love

2019

"FOR PREORDER NOW: For the Roskilde project (now to become a steady band) he put together a Norwegian/Brazilian combination that proved to be especially potent: Bass-player Felipe Zenicola is a new figure on the scene of improvised music and is mostly known for his work with Chinese Cookie Poets. Guitarist Kiko Dinucci has been active the last years as a leader and songwriter of the group Metá Metá and has received noticeable recognition in Brazil and Europe. Then there’s percussionist Paulinho Bicolor, a rare figure in the Brazilian music scene, who adds a special ingredient to the stew: the Cuíca – which is actually a friction drum, but mastered by Bicolor in a completely idiosyncratic way. Paulinho is also a frequent guest with Nilssen-Love’s 15-piece band, Large Unit. Rounding off the line-up Nilssen-Love included what is his longest musical parter: Norwegian saxophone player Frode Gjerstad, a legend of Norwegian free improvised music who asked Nilssen-Love to play with him at the age of 16, a collaboration that now has lasted 28 years. The pair usually works in duo and trio constellations, so it’s a rare treat to hear such a solid musical pair as the gravitational center of this project. The “New Brazilian Funk” title can almost be read as tongue-in-cheek, as this really is not just free jazz on top of tropical grooves - this is the sound of five dedicated musicians coming together to make a completely new type of music. The Roskilde gig went down so well that not only is it being released on CD, it also became the birth of a regular group. "

New Japanese Noise

Paal Nilssen-Love

2019

"FOR PREORDER NOW: For the 2018 edition of the Roskilde festival in Denmark Paal Nilssen-Love was asked to put together two special projects. Nilssen-Love chose to put together two groups: The first was a Brazil-based band. The second was a Japan-oriented band, bringing together three giants of Japanese free jazz and noise music for the first time: Saxophone player Akira Sakata is the biggest legend of them all — since the 60s Sakata has left a permanent mark on Japanese music. With more than 200 recording credits to his name Sakata first made his mark with the Yosuke Yamashita Trio, and then over the years has gone on to numerous projects. Noise artist Kohei Gomi is best known for his Pain Jerk project, which since its foundation in the early 1990s perfectly encapsulates the classic Japanese noise sound, but also exhibiting a clearly personal style that has evolved over the years. Toshiji Mikawa has as the leader of his Incapacitants project since the early 80s shown an absolutely uncompromising dedicating the craft of pure noise music. Paralell to this he has been a member of the equally seminal Hijokaidan band. Very few artists in the field of noise music enjoys the kind of respect Mikawa does. To make a link to the other Roskilde project Nilssen-Love also added Brazilian guitarist Kiko Dinucci to the line-up, which of course shows the connection between the two bands, but also is a clear proofs of Nilssen-Love’s method of combining expressions and crossing musicial borders to kick the music forward. And with musicians from three continents it also shows that noise music is a global language. Play loud. "

Screen Off

Paal Nilssen-Love & Ken Vandermark

2019

"This is Paal Nilssen-Love and Ken Vandermark's tenth album, and this time the duo have decided to look backwards at the last ten years of their career, although in a very unusual way. In collaboration with producer Lasse Marhaug they have gone through the numerous clips of live performances that exist on YouTube, unofficial documentation recorded and uploaded by members of the audience without the duo’s involvement. None of these clips were full concerts, neither were they recorded on professional gear, often containing artifacts that compresses and distorts the audio. The idea was to embrace the limitations of the format and to make a collage out of the material, but using only the audio and not the video from the recordings. By drawing inspiration from experimental cinema – especially the Structural film movement of directors like Michael Snow, Hollis Frampton and Tony Conrad – Marhaug set a rule of only 60 seconds from each clip should be used, and since the duo does not play short pieces the cuts would often be disruptive, cutting the music off in the middle of movements. The cuts were then assembled together not in a chronological manner, but rather what made sense musically, often jumping back and forth years in the process. The results was that this stylization doesn’t distance the listener from the music, but rather creates a viable document of activity, much in the same manner a film would - just with the screen off."

New Additions

New Additions to Catalytic Sound are all albums that have not been available through the collective before, including re-issues, hard to find rare recordings, past releases.

Bop Stop

Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell

2018

"Frode Gjerstad’s name can be legendary in Norway and all the European continent, due to the fact that he was practically the only one to contrast himself, from the beginning, to the saxophone style which defined the Scandinavian approach to jazz for 40 years, the one defined by Jan Garbarek, but his trio with Jon Rune Strom and Paal Nilssen-Love is relatively new on the scene. It started in 2011 and there’s only another recording with trombonist Steve Swell as special guest, “At Constellation”, from 2015. Of course, there were some previous cumplicities between these musicians: Nilssen-Love was a member of Gjerstad’s Circulasione Totale Orchestra since 1992 and the alto saxophonist and clarinetist played with Swell in several occasions, mostly when visiting the United States. Musically, the quartet proposes a very particular kind of free improvised music with strong connections to the free jazz tradition, reinforced by the participation of the American who collaborated with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Anthony Braxton. The energy level is very high, but the delivery isn’t always on the red: lots of dynamics and sudden contrasts keep the group interactions interesting and unpredictable. Frode Gjerstad’s approach to improvisation is distinctive in itself: he’s a melodic player, even if asymetrical, and he prefers the “old school” jazz phrasing to «reed-fueled bric-a-brac», as a music critic once wrote, managing to present it as if it’s a novelty."

Brace For Impact

Joe McPhee & Mats Gustafsson

2018

"Some recordings, the world is just not ready for them when they're made. In 2008, Swedish born, Austrian resident saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Poughkeepsie, New York multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee made a suite of studio recordings that they loved so much they immediately culled, mixed, and mastered them. A decade later, when the original label for which they were planned had not yet issued them, Gustafsson and McPhee offered them to Corbett vs. Dempsey, and when we heard them we couldn't believe the music. As searching and searing as anything either of them has made, the duets lived up to their explosive title. Gustafsson is known for his energy, and it's here in droves, but there are other nuances brought out by McPhee, a supple sense of melodicism (hey now, Gustafsson is a Swede, so by birthright he's melodic) and the love of experimental sound-making that McPhee displayed on his sound-on-sound recordings in the late '60s. Although the two wind-players have worked together very extensively – in Peter Brötzmann's large groups, with McPhee as a guest in Gustafsson's band the Thing, and in all manner of large and small group improvisations – but they have never issued a record of duets before. This duo debut, now a decade in the can, is insanely powerful. We recommend that you prepare yourself for the impact. Cover image by Charline von Heyl, interior photo of McPhee and Gustafsson bracing themselves back in 2002, by John Corbett. The package is completed by a haunting cover image by artist Cauleen Smith credits "

Keep Going

Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake

2018

"It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. "