Nate Wooley | Hugo Antunes | Chris Corsano | MALUS | No Business Records

Nate Wooley – trumpet, amplifier | Hugo Antunes – double bass, amplifier | Chris Corsano – drums, amplifier (track 6)

All compositions by Wooley, Antunes and Corsano. Recorded at De Werf, Brugge, by Michael Huon on the 28th and 29th May 2012. Mixed by Michael Huon and Hugo Antunes at Air Odeon studio on the 5th and 7th September 2012. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist LP Side A: 1. GENTLEMAN OF FOUR OUTS 2. 4 CORNERED 3. SAWBUCK Side B: 1. SEVEN MILES FROM THE MOON 2. SANDBAGGED 3. SEWN 4. GENTLEMAN OF THREE INNS

nate-wooley

Nate Wooley

hugo

Hugo Antunes

chris

Chris Corsano

An often inspired study in post-noise atmospherics

Malus brings together three pioneering improvisers in their late thirties. Nate Wooley deploys vocalisation and extreme extended technique to turn his trumpet into a hissing steam engine and a bubbling cauldron, channelling electricity to create groggy lo-fi textures. Chris Corsano is in a reflective, exploratory mood, dragging objects across amplified skins to create queasy high-pitched drones and dull metallic rings. Double bassist Hugo Antunes steadies the ship while Wooley and Corsano scramble up the rigging, yet he’s far from conventional: hear him loom into orbit on ‘Seven Miles From The Moon’, carving monolithic obsidian slabs out of deep space silence. The trio’s sense of timing, texture and space is impeccable. In ‘4 Cornered’, a manic Wooley declaims over Corsano’s accelerating scuttle before Antunes walks the muttering trumpeter home. Wooley’s compositional nous, meanwhile, radiates in the Andalucian blues ‘Gentleman of Four Outs’. — Stewart Smith

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5 thoughts on “Nate Wooley | Hugo Antunes | Chris Corsano | MALUS | No Business Records

  1. An often inspired study in post-noise atmospherics, Malus brings together three pioneering improvisers in their late thirties. Nate Wooley deploys vocalisation and extreme extended technique to turn his trumpet into a hissing steam engine and a bubbling cauldron, channelling electricity to create groggy lo-fi textures. Chris Corsano is in a reflective, exploratory mood, dragging objects across amplified skins to create queasy high-pitched drones and dull metallic rings. Double bassist Hugo Antunes steadies the ship while Wooley and Corsano scramble up the rigging, yet he’s far from conventional: hear him loom into orbit on ‘Seven Miles From The Moon’, carving monolithic obsidian slabs out of deep space silence. The trio’s sense of timing, texture and space is impeccable. In ‘4 Cornered’, a manic Wooley declaims over Corsano’s accelerating scuttle before Antunes walks the muttering trumpeter home. Wooley’s compositional nous, meanwhile, radiates in the Andalucian blues ‘Gentleman of Four Outs’.

  2. “There are three reasons to walk into a minefield: ignorance that it exists, being naïve about the dangers therein, or curiosity about its true destructive potential. Ignorance and naiveté are essential parts of the third, curious reason. But, if you can find a way to limit their presence, that reckless curiosity can take you, and everyone around you, a long way toward a greater understanding.”

    So begins the 8th issue of Sound American (edited by Nate Wooley), in which he posed the question ‘What is Jazz?’ to over 30 musicians, each of whom have a musical relationship to Jazz. Two specific questions were asked; “What one thing HAS to be present (musically, socially, historically, whatever), in your mind, to constitute “Jazz”?” and, “Thinking in the same broad terms, what one thing CANNOT be present in “Jazz”?” The varied responses are worth reading in full, and whilst little in the way of consensus was reached regarding the second question, themajority of responses to the first said “some sort of improvisation. The way people chose to define improvisation varied…Certain ideas around rhythm, whether “swing” or a more abstract concept, were mentioned…as well”.

    The debate surrounding these questions was fresh in my mind as I approached ‘Malus’, which reprises three of the quintet found on last year’s ‘Posh Scorch’. Considered from this perspective, the LP almost reads as an allegory to the changing nature of the post ‘bop Jazz landscape; opening with a composed tune which follows a head-solos-head structure, followed by a more obtuse but still traditionally dialectic piece, through increasing levels of abstraction into more textural freely improvised areas, before (d)evolving into noisy amplified squall. Finally, as if burnt out from the strain of its own forward momentum, it restates the approach of the initial piece like some Marsalis helmed/Crouch endorsed revisionism.

    Shorn of the additional horn & Fender Rhodes of Posh Scorch, the overall sound is relatively spare with each player afforded plenty of space within the music. Corsano shines in smaller group settings (as those hipped to his duo with Joe McPhee will already be well aware), the increased headroom highlighting the subtleties in his fizzing polyrhythms and breadth of articulation in his kit’s extended palette. In the more traditionally musical moments, Wooley’s lines carry melody or punctuate with keening cries. At its most splintered, his rasps and smears add texture and rhythm in the pockets around the percussion, eliciting sounds which explore the furthest reaches of the horn’s potential. Arguably, under-recorded Antunes makes the most productive use of the diffuse nature of the music. Afforded the first solo of the first side, the bass is never far from centre stage. Engaging and unconventionally melodic runs provide a sense of consonance as the music abstracts, his thoughtfully chosen phrasing underpins the music at its most full and galvanises at its most disparate.

    Given the extremes Wooley has visited investigating the potential of amplified trumpet (see High Society with Peter Evans), the droning textures found on his previous trio date with Corsano (the second instalment of his ongoing Seven Story Mountain project), and Corsano’s own regular associations with the more feral end of the musical spectrum, it is surprising just how straight the pieces which bookend this release feel, but it doesn’t take long before more fractured, grittier approaches start to dominate. A considered use of space and empathetic interaction is apparent throughout, and lends a sense of skilfully negotiated poise to the set. Even at its most dissonant moments, measured restraint guides the trio from ever committing fully to the (sonic or rhythmic) fray, and ensures that the ‘curiosity’ here is never truly ‘reckless’.

    There are elements fundamental to this record which, to some, cannot be present for this music to be thought of as Jazz, but the foundations of ‘improvisation’ and ‘ideas around rhythm’, agreed upon by most Sound American contributors, are apparent throughout. So, if this is to be considered ‘Jazz’, then it serves to re-ask the question ‘What is Jazz?’. Louis Armstrong’s answer to which is still as pertinent today as when he gave it decades ago, “Man, if you have to ask you’ll never know.”

  3. O trio deste “Malus” seleccionou os 45 minutos de música que aqui podemos ouvir de quatro horas de improvisações gravadas num estúdio belga, não sendo, pois, de estranhar que o contrabaixista português Hugo Antunes, o mentor do projecto, apresente o álbum como um “cartão-de-visita”. Até aqui chegar, esta formação rodou pela estrada, em simultâneo com o mais alargado Posh Scorsh (os mesmos músicos mais Daniele Martini e Giovanni di Dmenico), que teve o seu primeiro disco no ano que passou. “Malus” levou mais tempo a ser documentado, mas a espera vale bem a pena: está aqui um vinil de deliciosa audição.

    A abordagem é a da improvisação integral, mas com uma forte âncora na linguagem do jazz e envolvendo todas as inclinações musicais dos três participantes. Começando pela experimental, definida pela utilização de técnicas extensivas, preparações e recurso a processos electroacústicos, mas indo também a aspectos mais formais, levando a que pareça haver um envolvimento composicional. Em algumas passagens todos eles exploram as potencialidades de dispositivos tão óbvios – ou tão pouco óbvios para estes efeitos – como os amplificadores. Dois de baixo nos casos de Antunes e, por estranho que pareça, do baterista Chris Corsano, e um de guitarra por parte do trompetista “extraordinaire” Nate Wooley. Os resultados são particularmente curiosos.

  4. Jag tjatar ofta i mina recensioner om hur gruppspelet och det gemensamma soundet blir viktigare än de individuella prestationerna, hur musikerna blir sammanfogade delar av gruppen och tillsammans för musiken framåt. Fri improvisation verkar ofta ganska demokratisk. Malus är en skiva som är precis tvärtom. Här är det just det individuella som bär upp musiken. Gruppsoundet och musikens uppbyggnad är ganska tråkiga och det är inte en särskilt väloljad trio vi talar om, nej, här får vi istället tre supermusiker som var och på varsitt håll vänder upp och ner och ut och in på såväl sina instrument som på musiken.

    Skivans sju spår bjuder på varierade stilar och ljudvärldar. Skivan inleds med ganska klassisk frijazz följt av lågdynamisk impro och ljudskapande utsvävningar. Vi får även två fina duos och en rejäl omgång elektronik. Alla spår genomsyras av musikalitet och en viss mystik. Nate Wooley är en trumpetare att följa uppmärksamt. Han är otroligt, fruktansvärt, vansinnigt bra! Allt han rör vid verkar utmynna i intressant musik och i mina öron är det något helt nytt som kommer strömmande ur hans trumpet. Wooley har full kontroll och spelar på Malus allt från avancerade bopinfluerade linjer till underliga ljud som inte alls går att härleda till en trumpet. Hans melodier är vackra och stundtals sköra, men när han ryter till vågar man inte säga emot. Kreativiteten och viljan att utforska känns uppfriskande och välbehövlig. Wooley är den avgjort mest spännande trumpetaren just nu.

    Supertrummisen Chris Corsano ger mig på Malus en glad överraskning; hans trumspel brukar sätta världsrekord både i antal slag per minut och i decibelnivå. Han kan lätt skövla ner allt som kommer i hans väg, men här, här spelar han genomgående ganska lite, väldigt svagt och extremt musikaliskt. Han ger plats, skänker dynamik samtidigt som han ger bränsle till hela tron. När hans korta, torra sounds smattrar på blir musiken härligt koncentrerad. Underbart trumspel. Corsanos rörliga spelstil passar även bra ihop med Hugo Antunes som är en mycket drivande basist som spelar hårt och mycket. Han för resolut musiken framåt och är inte rädd för att ta en ledande roll. Kanske är det tack vare Antunes som Corsano låter så mjuk och avslappnad; Corsano behöver inte vara den drivande kraften, det sköter Antunes. Som sagt handlar detta inte om musikalisk kommunikation som vi är vana vid. Detta är inte en trio utan tre solister som spelar solo samtidigt. De råkar göra det på samma våglängd och med samma mål, så allt hänger ändå ihop och de rusar fram sida vid sida.

    Dessa tre äventyrliga och helt orädda musiker skapar musik som man blir imponerad av. Inte bara för att det är tekniskt briljant (vilket det för all del är) utan för att alla har en sådan tydlig riktning och bestämdhet i sitt spel. Jag köper allt de försöker sälja. Musiken flyger iväg och 45 minuter känns som 45 sekunder. Det är händelserik och varierad musik som är lika spännande varje gång man hör den.

  5. Named musician of the year in the El Intruso 2013 critics poll, trumpeter Nate Wooley looks to be on a roll. That’s in spite, or perhaps that should be because, of being so hard to pin down. His output stretches from experimental solo works such as Trumpet/Amplifier (Smeraldina-Rima 2011) and The Almond (Pogus Productions, 2011), to his more tradition-orientated quintet on (Put Your) Hands Together (Clean Feed, 2011) and (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship (Clean Feed, 2013). Malus pitches midway between the two extremes, and close to Six Feet Under (No Business Records, 2012) with Paul Lytton and Christian Weber. An airy, even lyrical, quality pervades the set notwithstanding its improvised genesis and attention to novel timbres.

    That melodicism stems not only from Wooley’s trumpet, which at times evokes distant echoes of Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis, but also the lush unhurried bass stylings of Hugo Antunes. Wooley hooked up with the Belgium-based Portuguese bassist in 2011, and their interactions are also documented on Posh Scorch (Orre Records, 2013), recorded the day previous to the current outing. Alongside others, that outing also includes the third member of the trio here, acclaimed drummer Chris Corsano whose credits range from Björk to Evan Parker, as well as contributing to Wooley’s Seven Storey Mountain project. Perhaps stemming from the reduced instrumentation, spacious interplay forms one of the key features of this LP, accentuated by the marked channel separation of the bass and the trumpet.

    While the cast changes between cuts, careful programming makes for a cohesive album which hangs together well. Judicious placement of sound and lack of grandstanding both play a large role in the collective endeavor and, as heard most notably on “Seven Miles from the Moon,” they are not afraid to let silence hang between the notes. Even Wooley’s most conventional playing is informed by his adventurous attitude, as on “Gentleman of Four Outs” where languid fanfares deconstruct into breathy noise. While Antunes proceeds with masterly restraint, as in the spare duet with the trumpeter’s whinnies and snorts on “Sandbagged,” he also revels in abstract textures, particularly in evidence in his careening bow work in duet with Corsano on “Sawbuck.” Indeed of the three, the drummer proves most inclined towards propulsion, albeit with a tuned drum sensibility. Such a distinctive set prompts the hope that this threesome proves more than a one-off in Wooley’s diverse discography.

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