Track of the week: Matthew Shipp, The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp, Mahakala Music

Track of the week for week beginning 31 July 2023 Both album of the week and track of the week this week by complete coincidence land in the avant-garde domain. But neither album of the week Kairos nor track of the week 'The Intrinsic Nature of …

Published: 30 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

Track of the week for week beginning 31 July 2023

Both album of the week and track of the week this week by complete coincidence land in the avant-garde domain. But neither album of the week Kairos nor track of the week 'The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp' belong to a one size fits all dimension.

Take the true original, who has contributed a great deal to modernistic developments in improvised music for decades, pianist Matthew Shipp new in track of the week with the title track of September release The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp. Anyone who knows the uncompromising work of the American's will realise that he is a one-off. It's the tenderness that attracted us here, and for such a modernist there is too in Shipp the grandeur of a lost Ellingtonia, an unwritten parallel text accommodating a world since Ellington left us that needs expression.

Massively prolific - in recent years Codebreaker and Signature appealed to us most, recently a fierce intensity underpins the raw passion of We Speak (Relative Pitch) a fine new duo album with the alto saxophonist-clarinettist Frode Gjerstad - this upcoming album by contrast issued by another US label Mahakala Music is a solo piano affair comprised of 10 improvisations. Shipp says: "I believe a pianist's intrinsic nature comes out in the solo idiom". Who's to disagree? So far this track proves a formidable introduction to the full record, a track we have had on repeat play for days. The way Shipp packs clusters of notes into cell-like structures to embellish his melody lines keeps you guessing as you try to discern what the sound of the resolution of each phrase is likely to be. Shipp constantly comes up, within the space of this introductory track in not much more than five-and-a-half minutes, with conclusions to phrases that are both satisfying but also indicate that the story he is so adept at telling is never complete nor easily shaped into one short piece. As ever given his maximalist vision Shipp seems to contradict the saying that ''you can't put a quart into a pint pot.'' Matthew Shipp, photo: publicity shot

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Izumi Kimura and Gerry Hemingway, Kairos, Fundacja Słuchaj ****

ALBUM OF THE WEEK FOR WEEK BEGINNING 31 JULY 2023 It's a very private experience listening to the piano and percussion imaginings you find on Kairos from Izumi Kimura and Gerry Hemingway recorded in Ireland and Switzerland last year. It's almost as …

Published: 29 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK FOR WEEK BEGINNING 31 JULY 2023

It's a very private experience listening to the piano and percussion imaginings you find on Kairos from Izumi Kimura and Gerry Hemingway recorded in Ireland and Switzerland last year. It's almost as if you tiptoe in to pick up any track given the intensity of what you encounter and tiptoe out. But crucially your departure does not take place before becoming privy to a new, yes, kind of mindful reality and even mystical revelation given the surprises in store on the scene shifting 'Over the Tide'. Carefully calibrated improvisations in the main conducted quite strictly even severely given the power of Kimura's pithy chordal sense of attack, the pair know how to pull the rug from under your feet. The US born Hemingway reviewed earlier in the year heard along with Day & Taxi finds a warmth to his timbral journeying most when he uses marimba to add to the blend of quiet fracturings and strong punctuation from the prodigiously fluent quicksilver imagination of the Japan born, Ireland-based pianist Kimura. We liked their work with Barry Guy on Illuminated Silence and like this too for its serenity - it has an intimacy and a lot of strength. Some pieces have more of an episodic structure than others - you find that kind of construction on 'Day into Night' - what the pair are examining seems to embrace notions of time in an elemental sense as if crunching a clock under the microscope to know more about the mechanics of the machine, playing with our expectations, making us brood and delve into the silences of the afternotes and the physics of striking a note, filling a ticking silence in a vast universe somehow. The vocal that envelops 'Over the Tide' may jolt - it seems to belong on another record with its street preacher mystic intensity tapped from the peak of passion found in Hemingway's thunderstruck vocal. But the more you think about it subverting your expectations is just what this duo are all about.

Gerry Hemingway and Izumi Kimura, photo top via the label on Bandcamp.

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