Balance Point Acoustics Bpa007 Zero plus
Aurora Josephson/Philipp Wachsmann/Jacob Lindsay/Damon Smith/Martin Blume
Aurora Josephson, voice; Philipp Wachsmann, violin, electronics; Jacob Lindsay, Ab clarinet, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet; Damon Smith, double bass; Martin Blume, drums.
The hairy heel of Achilles
1. Scissors cut paper (13.05)
2. Tiger, Tiger! (09.05)
3. Long tail on a ghost (03.48)
4. The deadly tube (07.18)
5. Two men in straw hats/big fleas have little fleas (07.59)
6. A bird with a wing down (04.42)
7. Facts or figures (03.50)
8. Table Z (03.57)
9. Zero minus (03.22)
10. Zero (08.16)
11. Zero plus (03.39)
Tracks 1-4 recorded on 16 April 2003 at 21 Grand, Oakland; tracks 5-6 recorded on 17 April 2003 at The luggage store, San Francisco; tracks 7-11 recorded on 18 April 2003 at 1502 8th St, Oakland.
Front cover art (reproduced above) reservoir district 209 by D.E. May; graphic design by Alan Anzalone.
" One cannot accuse the musicians that comprise the international ensemble featured on Zero Plus of mere professionalism. (Not that they aren’t professional musicians.) This is pure improvisation, unfettered and free. Violinist Phil Wachsmann is an asset to any group in which he appears and this disc is no exception. He’s a player of great delicacy. Check out the early moments of “Long Tail On A Ghost” or the middle section of “The Deadly Tube.” Yet when this ensemble is going full bore, his violin is an integral part of the group fabric. Aurora Josephson’s wordless vocals place her on an equal footing with the rest of the group. (This is not a vocalist with instrumental accompaniment.) Her vocal swoops, shrieks, barks, and god-knows-whatelse work as a particularly good foil with clarinetist Lindsay. Bassist Damon Smith has particularly good arco technique and drummer Blume has a kinetic energy that continually pushes the music forward but never swamps it. But most impressive about this quintet is its group interaction. The beginning of “A Bird With A Wing Down,” with high-pitched clarinet sounds, Josephson chirping and whistling, Wachsmann’s pizzicato, and the rhythm section pattering around the perimeter is one of the high points of the set. It builds to a remarkable climax and then decays with a satisfying finalness. To these ears, the improvisation has British qualities. It’s a spacious, conversational approach. It’s clearly a group music and all members appear to be on the same wavelength. Worth hearing."