Ken Filiano and Steve Adams | The Other Side Of This

Ken Filiano – double bass and effects | Steve Adams – sopranino, alto and tenor saxophones, flute and bass flute

Recorded and mixed by Myles Boisen at Guerilla Recording on October 5, 2002. Mastered by Myles Boisen and Steve Adams at The Headless Buddha Mastering Lab on February 19, 2003. Produced by Ken Filiano and Steve Adams. Executive production by Trem Azul. Liner notes by Rui Horta Santos. Design and artwork by Rui Garrido. Cover photos by A. Mateur

Tracklist: 1. Exoid (tenor sax) 2. Kleesh (tenor sax) 3. Tinver (bass flute) 4. Rumon (flute) 5. Senfui (flute) 6. Yowns (sopranino sax) 7. Mauhn (sopranino sax) 8. Ingope (sopranino sax) 9. Yataph (bass flute) 10. Droove (alto sax) 11. Larmin (alto sax) 12. Ossue (bass flute)

Much energy has been dissipated

in search for the Platonic ideal of Beauty. Both thinkers and artists alike have long searched the four quadrants of the heavens in pursuit of what they thought was the very basis of human experience. Perplexed with such vastness, these men returned with even more unanswered questions. Even though the title of this recording insinuates that there might be some inexplicable universe on the other side of the looking glass, as Lewis Carroll’s Alice eventually found out, the space that is explored here belongs unequivocally to the dramatic stage where fiction becomes the only tangible reality.

As abstract as the titles of these tracks may seem, their meaning lies in one’s emotional experience of the music itself and not in some a priori preconception of what art should be. In this aspect they are very accurate because they depict the freedom of a very open-ended music that could only be the result of a long standing artistic association. This is the case with Steve and Ken, who, rather than trying to prove a metaphysical point, have simply invited us to sit in and listen to their conversation. What’s fascinating about this music is that as soon as it familiarizes you with a certain mood it simply pulls the carpet from under your feet, plunging you into an absolutely unexpected scenario. There is anything but innocence in the juxtaposition of the pure flute notes with the electronically manipulated bass sounds, but at some point talent implies pushing things to the limit, allowing them to work outside of the initial frame of reference. Steve and Ken are constantly testing those limits. Nevertheless, they are always taking care to give us enough time to catch up with their unending exploration. In this respect tension and relaxation are extremely well balanced throughout this work and the moods sway as naturally as human temperament.

Colour is another important aspect of this repertoire, and complementing Steve’s careful choice of instrument, choosing the most adequate for each mood, Ken is accordingly changing his approach to the double bass, exploiting its melodic, rhythmic and percussive qualities as well as its capacity to transport us to the realms  of the fantastic. The underlying texture is always  shifting from piece to piece, thus highlighting the  tonal qualities of the flute or saxophone, as well’ as enhancing the particular character of each track. It seems that the combinations of colour and texture could go on forever. This possibility would not come as a surprise in the hands of these two masters.

Claude Debussy had a liking for compositions in arch form, where the climatic peak was reached somewhere near the middle of the piece. The sounds would then gradually subside, as if dissolving themselves in the vast continuum of space and time, insinuating that the music never really began or ended, quite to the contrary, it continued in an undetermined elsewhere. In “The other side of this” the movement is different but it invokes a similarity with Debussy’s intentions. The music here begins on a forte right at the beginning of the CD, subsides and then peaks in intensity near the middle of the record with Yowns , a piece that begins with the sopranino playing at its peak. The parallel with Debussy’s approach is that, after bringing their music to consecutive climaxes, in a somewhat wave-like gesture, the record dismisses itself with a series of relatively contemplative strokes that somehow give the sensation that, rather than ending, the music simply dissolves itself into some other space; possibly into the other side of this. If you let yourself go the music will definitely take you there. — Rui Horta Santos


Steve Adams

plays saxophones, flutes and electronics and composes music in Oakland, California. He’s best know as a member of the Rova Sax Quartet, whom he’s been with for twenty years. Steve is also a member of the Bill Horvitz Band, the Matt Small Ensemble and the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, as well as leading his own projects. He lived in Boston in the ’70s and ’80s where he was a member of Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and Composers in Red Sneakers, among others.

 

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