Larry Ochs – sopranino and tenor saxophones | Dohee Lee – voice | Scott Amendola – drums + electronics | Liz Allbee – trumpet + electronics (tracks 1, 2, 5) | Fred Frith – guitar (track 2) | Joan Jeanrenaud – cello (tracks 2 + 5)
Recorded in California 2009. All music by Larry Ochs, except DeeHyak by Ochs and Lee. Tracks 1,2,4,5 recorded by Eli Crews on 4/27/09 at New and Improved, Emeryville, California. Track 3 recorded at KFJC FM, Los Alto, California by Ryan Peterson on 8/14/09. Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Lab, Oakland, CA. Produced by Larry Ochs.Cover art: Emilie Clark. Photos: Dohee Lee by Jason Lew, Scott Amendola by Peter Wochniak, Larry Ochs by Stanimir Ivanov. KiHNOUA Trio by Matthew Campbell. Layout Marek Wajda.
Special thanks: Carla Harryman (for the title of track 2). Dale Self, Ali Tabatabai, Henry Kaiser, Michael Zelner, Lyn Hejinian and all the musicians.
Tracklist: 1. Slat [14:02] 2. Nothing Stopped But A Future [19:45] 3. DeeHyak [07:11] 4. Weightless [12:17] 5. Less Than A Wind [07:30]
Kihnoua is a classical Greek word which might have meant “the difference” or “the difference-makers”
Nihilism is a word better applied to Kihnoua
another Ochs project that shares his redilection for unusual instrumental groupings. Featuring Scott Amendola, a co-conspirator from the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core, and Dohee Lee, a vocalist and dancer from the inkBoat collective with whom ROVA has collaborated, Kihnoua’s extremely free improvisation is bolstered on Unauthorized Caprices, their first release, by Liz Allbee (trumpet/electronics), musical ally Fred Frith (guitar) and former Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud. The abrasive tenor sax of Ochs and Amendola’s scattered kitwork on track one, “Slat”, indicate a sound world more reminiscent of a Peter Brötzmann or Frank Wright blowing session than the cerebral compositions of Planetary. Within half a minute, however, the two men are joined by Lee’s throaty, unintelligible singing style and a bevy of electronic waveforms. Allbee plays with brash, militaristic fanfare to match Lee’s excessive palatilizations. Elsewhere, as on “Less Than a Wind”, the electronic duties shared by both Allbee and Amendola take on the zap’-em tonalities of science fiction as Jeanrenaud’s cello traverses their strange frequencies with classical solemnity.
Here Ochs forgoes virtuosity for atmosphere and texture, his simple phrases undulating around Lee’s elegiac voicings; the subtle synthetic ornaments keep her proceedings from becoming too maudlin. Frith appears only once, on “Nothing Stopped But a Future”, a sprawling epic of a composition that allows him to punctuate the music with shards of noise or spaghetti-western-like tension at his discretion. The one real cause for complaint is Lee, who does not sing often enough with the range of which she is capable. Take “DeeHyak”, for instance, a piece she c-penned with Ochs. It’s a marvelously wrought duet, she whispering furiously, working herself into high- pitched tweets, him crafting twisting lines on the sopranino or drawing them out into quavering multiphonics, warbling, trilling against her unknown tongues, the two sounding like steam from a kettle, wind passing through the lungs with deliberate obstruction – and all ending with a softly exhaled “dee- hyak!” – this concentrated effort is perhaps Kihnoua’s best moment on record as yet and hopefully a precursor of more to come.– Seth Watter, AllAboutJAzz – New York)
Leading the trio, Kihnoua
saxophonist Larry Ochs directs his interest to both literal and musical voices in Unauthorized Caprices. In more than one of the five tracks, trumpeter Liz Allbee, guitarist Fred Frith and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud expand the trio of Ochs, vocalist Dohee Lee and drummer Scott Amendola.
The main character of this group is vocalist Lee. The instrumentalists’ contributions complement her purely syllabic utterances. They balance out her frequent guttural growls, squeals, grunts, oohs, aahs, and phonetic skipping. To create beauty seems to be not the intention of this unusually colorful group, rather it is to use its capacity to express what might be construed as actual human conversation, as nonsensical as it may be.
The musical instruments often sing out a purity of tone away from which Lee veers even in solo form. In contrast to Lee, the instruments go through successions of their own voice explorations: where Albee flutters or blurts single notes on the trumpet; or Amendola presses the drums through periods of bass drum or tom thumping, rustles the cymbals, and beautifully builds an ambient rumbling; or Jeanrenaud strikes the bow heavily against the strings of the cello as if it were a bass; or Ochs non-melodically sputs and spews, converting his part eventually into semi-emphatic high and low, perhaps tremolodic, phrasing.
The intensity of this music never retreats. Perhaps only in the solemn cello interlude in the last “Less Than A Wind ” is a marked switch in tempo so that the last breaths of each player, minus Frith, can coast through to the close, electronic bubbling, siren-like soprano singing, soulful tenor riffing, high-pitched string up-bowing and all. These musicians break their own rules to follow musical lines that have no history. The improvisations are non-negotiable and happen only once. — Lyn Horton, Jazz Times)
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