Curtis Macdonald, quartet
with Adam Jackson, drumset; Curtis Macdonald, alto saxophone; David Virelles, piano; Harish Raghavan, acoustic bass.
Macdonald, a New Yorker for nearly a decade and originally from the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, favors intertwining textures and concepts to create sonic arrangements that hinge on surprise, repetition and unexpected movements. His 2011 debut album, Community Immunity (Greenleaf Music), is a mosaic of rhythms and competing ideas inspired by his interest in digital art and graphic design. In Twice Through the Wall, released February of this year, Macdonald draws inspiration from various Eastern and Western philosophies (the pieces on Twice Through The Wall, ‘Social Inheritance’, ‘Comic Fortress’ and ‘Physical Memory’ are inspired by recurring a lucid dream he had), as well as the seemingly related technical disciplines―namely fractal geometry, generative algorithms, and chance operations have influenced his harmonic and rhythmic choices. He approaches the material with the soloist’s reliance on intellect, intuition and refinement, but he’s more interested in offering his band mates freedom to reshape his ideas than he is in producing a static product. The result is a resourceful and dynamic performance heavily arranged in concept, but relaxed in its execution, and it’s through this interchange that he achieves a stable balance between performance and composition. Macdonald says of his band, “They inspire such an unbelievably ferocious and fearless conviction in my music… I love that feeling of ‘I’m holding you at the edge.’”
Curtis Macdonald will perform on Thursday, May 30th, at 8pm at the Greenwich House (46 Barrow Street, NYC), as part of the Sound It Out music series curated by Bradley Bambarger. In addition to solos led by each band member, the quartet will perform selections from Community Immunity and Twice Through The Wall, as well as all-new material crafted specifically for this event.
A reception will follow the performance.
In 2012, I had the honor of collaborating with internationally acclaimed and award-winning choreographer Aszure Barton on a commission to co-compose the original music for her company’s latest work, “Awaa“.
We made the piece while in residence at The Banff Centre for The Arts, and at about the half-way point Aszure and I were interviewed. You can read that article here. More press converge is available here.
This piece is a 69 minute dreamscape epic. During its inaugural year the performance reached Europe, Canada and the United States. In 2014, it will continue touring internationally.
Only one of the tracks I made for this piece is available online. It’s called “Water Inheritance” and can be heard on “Selected Sketches 2009 – 2012“.
For a video preview, visit Aszure Barton & Artists’ video page.
Pictured above is dancer Andrew Murdock.
Read the complete credits here.
These sounds were recorded during a hike along the Bow River in Banff, Alberta. I used a Sony PCM-D50 field recorder for both recordings, using a H2-A hydrophone by Aquarian Audio held just below the water’s surface to capture underwater sound.
It’s amazing to me how a just a simple paradigm shift like this affects the sound entirely.
Photo by Greg B.
“An average man can ‘grab’ the things of the world only with his hands, or his eyes, or his ears, but a sorcerer can grab them also with his nose, or his tongue, or his will, especially his will. I cannot really describe how it is done, but you yourself, for instance, cannot describe to me how you hear. It happens, that I am also capable of hearing, so we can talking about what we hear, but not about how we hear. A sorcerer uses his will to perceive the world. The perceiving, however, is not like hearing. When we look at the world or when we hear it, we have the impression that it is out there and that it is real. When we perceive the world with our will we know that it is not ‘out there’ or ‘as real’ as we think.”
-don Juan Matus
Photo by Johannes G.
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