Ariadne’s Notes: On Jan, 17, at 1:30 PM PST, The World Poetry Café was delighted to have our second guest,the talented Quinsin Nachoff calling in from New York to talk about his new CD Path of Totality out February 8, 2019 via Whirlwind Recordings. The collaboration with six filmmakers is outstanding. I loved the connection with science and space as well as Quinson’s passion for his work and attention to detail. I also want to thank our tech Victor Shartzman and special volunteer Sharon Rowe for another wonderful show. Great thanks to Braitwaite and Katz for sending such great musicians and for providing source material.
About Quinsin Nachoff ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfVIHDsQYq8) NYC-based saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff has earned a reputation for making “pure, bracing, thought-provoking music” that is “cliché-and convention-free” (Ottawa Citizen). Since moving from his native Toronto to New York City, Nachoff has made a habit of freely crossing borders: his music moves fluidly between the jazz and classical worlds and manages to be soul-stirring at the same time that it is intricately cerebral. His passions reach into both the arts and the sciences, with concepts from physics or astronomy sparking inspiration for exhilarating compositions. As a saxophonist, Nachoff’s playing has been described as “a revelation… [p]arsing shimmers of Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Mark Turner” (DownBeat). He was a semifinalist in the renowned Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition and has been nominated for numerous Canadian National Jazz Awards. His diverse ensembles include Flux, the Ethereal Trio, Horizons Ensemble and FoMo quartet as well as the Pyramid Project.
Quinsin Nachoff Internationally acclaimed composer and saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff has commissioned six cutting-edge filmmakers to create original work in response to his new recording Path of Totality out February 8, 2019 via Whirlwind Recordings. The recording features Nachoff’s remarkable ensemble Flux which thrives in the space between genres, styles and inspirations.
Nachoff asked each filmmaker to create an artistic response to miniature versions of individual tracks from the CD.
“I wanted to do something different than a music video and I’ve always loved animation and film,” says Nachoff. “The compositions on this recording are very expansive and cinematic in scope; they lend themselves well to a creative visual. I provided each filmmaker the background inspirations for their piece and gave them a lot of freedom in their approach. It’s been fascinating to see how each of them interprets the music – both the differences and similarities!”
Bounce by Lee Hutzulak was released on January 14. The next films will be:
• Monday, February 4 – Path of Totality by Anne Beal, is based on the disc’s title track inspired by the 2017 solar eclipse.
Anne Beal is an animation artist, filmmaker, and installation designer based in Brooklyn. Her fully hand-painted film Balance and Swing premiered at the renowned Annecy International Animation Festival (France) in 2013. Her work has been featured at dozens of international exhibitions including Brazil’s Festival of Electronic Language and London International Animation Festival. A musician herself, Beal loves to explore relationships among sound and animated imagery. She is developing a watercolor animation and jazz orchestra collaboration with composer Christopher Zuar called Tonal Conversations. The first iteration of the piece premiered in October 2018 at 150 Media Stream, a sculptural video art installation in Chicago. Beal has been awarded artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo in support of her current animated short film This Is Not For You which examines the default male voice in mid-century nonfiction. www.annebealanimation.com.
• Monday, March 4 – Splatter by Udo Prinsen.
Udo Prinsen started his career as an animation designer. Having learned many tricks of the trade at Rocketship Animation in Vancouver in the late 90s, he started working as a creator of identity for television and film. In 2000 Prinsen moved to England for the Bristol Animation Course, which was set up by Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run. He spent a year in England working for Phew TV/BBC Eduation and other production companies and always worked on independent projects on the side. His short film Audition was created with the musical help of Eric Vloeimans and Martin Fondse. Into Spring was made in collaboration with Han Bennink and the short film LOOK!, was inspired by Dutch Sign Language. More recently Udo has been exploring different forms of visual storytelling. Examples are the audio book Last Words in collaboration with Amsterdam Forest; Shapes of Time, an exhibit, art book and musical show based on long exposure photographs created during a Dutch scientific polar expedition to Svalbard; and Wood, a cultural exchange in wood design celebrating the friendship between the cities of Utrecht and Portland, Oregon. www.udoprinsen.com.
• Monday, April 1 – March Macabre by Željka Blakšić.
Željka Blakšić AKA Gita Blak is an interdisciplinary artist who currently lives and works in New York City. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and the Jan Mateiki Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. In 2010 she received her Master of Fine Arts with Distinction from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Recent exhibitions and performances include D’EST at Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf; a group exhibition Performing Words, Uttering Performance curated by TOK and Inga Lāce; Trauma & Revival project, group presentations at Bunkier Sztuki Gallery in Krakow; The Witnessing Event curated by Rashmi Viswanathan at Los Sures Museum in New York; and exhibitions and performances at Framer Framed in Amsterdam, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Recess in SoHo, Herzlyia Museum, Gallery Augusta in Helskini, among others. She was a recipient of the Residency Unlimited & National Endowment for the Arts Award 2017, Session Residency and Via Art Fund Grant 2016, 2014/15 AIR Gallery Fellowship in New York, the District Kunst und Kulturförderung Studio Award in Berlin, and the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award in New York City. www.gitablak.com.
• Monday, May 6 – JiYe Kim’s video for the John Cage-inspired Toy Piano Meditation.
JiYe Kim, born in South Korea in 1984, is a Brooklyn-based artist and film editor. She has worked on a number of films and art projects, ranging from narrative to documentary to experimental. Her most recent editorial credits include High Maintenance (HBO), Share (A24), Halston (Sundance Film Festival), Her Smell (Toronto Film Festival), AlphaGo (Tribeca Film Festival), and others. She has worked with artists Anita Thacher, Judith Barry, Karen Azoulay, and Barbara Hammer. In her artwork, she often works in a variety of mediums—video photo, prints, and installation, building a world using cinematic language. She holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and a BFA from the Korean National University of Arts. www.foundincafeteria.com.
• Monday, June 3 – Trent Freeman’s film for the recording’s closing track Orbital Resonances, which is based on the intersecting pathways of orbiting bodies in space.
Trent Freeman is a Juno Award-winning musician whose unique approach to film has led him to create music videos for Grammy nominees and Juno winners. His inventive eye for the abstract and his celebrated musical mind lead to a seamless connection between music and visuals as he turns kinetic sculptures into an immaculately captivating reflection of sound. www.trentfreeman.com.
Previously released: • Bounce by Lee Hutzulak. The video, which was released on January 14, reflects the piece’s percussive outbursts and thrilling call-and-response built on the mathematical model of a bouncing ball. The film can be viewed at https://youtu.be/EfBNkSxkZx4.
Lee Hutzulak’s interest in making video started in the early 90s at art college, shooting 8mm film and Video 8 for his recording project/band Dixie’s Death Pool. A couple of decades later, with the advent of affordable, powerful personal computers, tiny digital video cameras and YouTube as a platform, a return to the medium felt relevant. Since 2008 he has put up hundreds of videos on YouTube. While most are simple documents of live music performance, some incorporate additional footage shot by Hutzulak and special fx using both software and real world, performance. Some incorporate additional footage shot by Lee and special fx using both software and real world, physical techniques. Some pieces, like the video for “Bounce” are companion works of art using composition, movement, light, color and texture to echo elements in the music. www.leeutzulak.com.
About Flux and Path of Totality Neither Toronto nor New York, the two cities that Nachoff calls home, offered prime viewing conditions as the moon eclipsed the sun in August of 2017. But Nachoff, who has long drawn inspiration from the scientific wonders of the universe, couldn’t help but be moved by this rare astronomical phenomenon – and to find a degree of solace in it. In the Path of Totality could be found hope that this, too – whatever “this” might be in the moment, whether political, personal or environmental – will indeed pass. At its foundation Flux is a quartet, though at times on Path of Totality a quintet and sometimes more, employing a vast array of instruments and a vivid palette of musical colors to create something that is consistently surprising as its shape morphs from moment to moment over the course of these six epic-length pieces.
In saxophonist David Binney, Nachoff has a frontline partner with a keen-edged tone and a refined ear for texture, having integrated electronics into his own work as an artist and a producer that expand and mutate his sonic environments. Matt Mitchell is a rigorous boundary pusher, a pianist and composer who astutely avoids obvious choices in favor of pressing fervidly into the unexplored. Kenny Wollesen couples a similarly adventurous instinct with a passion for the playful, as reflected not only in the eccentric arsenal of invented instruments known as “Wollesonics” but in the buoyant swing he maintains even in his most complex and abstract rhythmic excursions. The new addition this time out is Nate Wood, who alternates and at times shares the drum chair with Wollesen, lending the band an urgency and avant-rock propulsion familiar from his work with Kneebody. While that combination of voices would offer a wealth of possibility for any composer, Nachoff was handed an even larger palette by Canada’s National Music Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Canadian music through exhibitions, performances and educational programs. As one of the NMC’s first Artists-in-Residence, Nachoff was granted access to the Centre’s extensive keyboard collection, an enormous resource of both acoustic and electronic instruments. Raised in a household where electronic music was not only heard but composed, Nachoff has long been spurred to follow his own, more acoustic path, but the NMC’s collection proved too tempting to resist. Both Mitchell and producer David Travers-Smith have a field day with the array of instruments.