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CD LR 288


Steve Cohn Featuring Reggie Workman, Jason Hwang, Tom Varner 

Bridge Over the X-stream

Release date: 2000

Single CD (audio): GBP 10.00
listen CD_LR_288
Recorded live at the Knitting Factory in January 1999, this band of top New York musicians performs six compositions by Steve Cohn.

Reggie Workman is on bass, Jason Hwang on violin and Tom Varner on French horn; and the leader of the group, Cohn himself, plays diversely on piano, shakuhachi, hichiriki, shofar and percussion.

The total time is 60'41

Liner Notes

( Collapse liner notes )

   If it is obvious that when we are alive we will eventually die and that
we don't know from where we came into living, is it possible that when we're
dead we know that we will eventually be living but know not where we came
from to be dead.

Where upon   my traveling   a cave was entered
absolutely afar when an instant was everywhere    We
out on a roof    in small cars speaking Japanese
absolutely left

I do today like I think tomorrow
and I think today like I am today
therefore no matter where I am, I am here
and for no matter how long, I will always think of myself
as tomorrow. For today passes as no day passes
and tomorrows past is the problem of today
for today's memory ends when today is present.

   To describe a shape as a sound or a theory as a shape, even to suggest a
theory as a sound brings all three of these elements to our attention as
being manipulative in creating music. Not only are there combinations of
sounds which can be used, but there are also combinations of shapes which
may be used and likewise combinations of theories to reach expressions in
the music language. It also may be said that the concept of a theory may be
described in the form of a shape on the instrument, a very physical element
as in the sculpting of clay. Sound may be sculpted in the same way and
theories are used as suggestions to possible sounds. With the element of
shapes taking a new and strong role which is not based alone on theories but
highly affected by possible sounds sculpted into shapes on the instrument we
are now more in need of feeling as in the physical reality to touch, for
sounds to express our music. Theory then lends its hand by implying certain
shapes known to be effective and in combining these shapes through time and
the confines of the sound or harmonic and melodic suggested movement, to
start our journey of expression on our instrument. The instrument has
definite physical qualities that affect its makeup. We are using its
physical makeup to add as another element for finding the most rewarding
type of expression. A new sense is being developed here. To just think of
music as shapes then makes us aware of sound from a very different
perspective.    Now mental activity will be stimulating the unconscious
elements of your playing as well as influencing the decision upon what
shapes to choose and how the sounds be best developed through shapes of more
or less tension. You will be developing melodic and harmonic movement
without pre-theoretical advice, yet retained knowledge of the mind will
always be there to heighten musical expression.
   No longer does sound first go through the typical theoretical discovery
to indicate what is best to be played, but being that theories have already
affected the shapes which may produce possible sounds we are going to go
first through shapes which produce sounds, and theory becomes only a
suggestion to certain shapes that may describe more or less tension.
Essentially we move directly from shape to sound. Theory is the stored
information which further hurdles us into sounds that express deeply. This
makes playing more intuitive or unconscious than conscious. Mental activity
is given less burden thereby can relax and release its information more
naturally rather than forcefully. If mental activity is relaxed and the
unconscious worlds of the physical senses and the ethereal element of sound
are at work it would seem that the mind's activity would not be stopped but
instead continue to release its information pertaining to those moments of
music making.

   Paintings are like people. Some are more intelligent, talented, gifted,
or evolved than others. But we must produce the ordinary in order to find
the divine.

The Flash takes subject towards search object
joins turnabout

the stash fears public temptation
joins together
trust trapped shut off

the light burst beats blazing
shift straight flash

the burn backward
out throb business cast

tightrope  hat
thistle   soup

breezy trust trap rhythm beast flower tray,
in yellow garden gear

trust trap short

   There is no such thing as an idea which is not original if it is created
from the source of original thought. This is the thinking which pours out in
the creative process. Even though the material is familiar, the release of
creative juices only produces a final result which is original.

Infinite Tonality

   This is a description of playing improvised music in a way which still
takes advantage of what we call tonal centers. In twelve tone music we are
limited to any one of twelve possible tonal centers or rather a multitude of
variations of all twelve tones. I am looking to expand from this tonal
progression by introducing the special effects of the overtone series on the
human ear in particular. We know that the overtones heard above any given
fundamental tone will reach into an infinite amount of pitches, literally
covering all possible sound pitches possible to be heard by the human ear. I
must also emphasize a high compassion for the concept of a progression of
sound evolving out of any one tonal center. In hearing any infinite possible
pitches, we may start our progression from that point. Obviously we are no
longer only dealing with twelve tones. It could also be understood that the
combination of certain intervals placed or superimposed upon a given chord
structure will even more complexly divide the overtones such as to hear or
if not heard, be emotionally affected by, further unknown tonal centers. It
is these new tonal centers from which our ideas will begin. Yes, we will
also use modulation, moving our progression from one key area to another. It
is impossible to imagine playing these tones single notedly (if playing the
piano, for instance) so we must rely on dividing the overtones as much as is
humanly possible through the combination of tones. Example: Complex
counterpoints, intervals superimposed upon each other or any possible chord
formations. Also the effect of melodic idea introduced above certain
intervals or chord combinations will dig out other unknown overtone pitches.
I will emphasize that in listening to microtonal music the effect of my
ideas could no more easily be accomplished simply because we are not just
considering an alteration of the common twelve tone scale but all possible
pitches available to the human ear. As far as I can tell the only true and
natural way to receive this information is through the overtone series.
Based on the definition of what is infinite the human ear can most rely on
discovery through this process. Even with man-made altered pitches there is
always an unknown about the infinite via its true definition. One might
describe this search as analogous to any understanding of the workings of
nature itself.
   In speaking about infinite tonalism I am not saying that the human ear
may hear all possible sounds in the universe and in fact it is the scholarly
system of scales and tonalities that we have discovered today that will help
lead us in searching for an infinite amount of tonal center possibilities.
It is the combination of these systems, put together in odd and different
ways or graphings that bring about overtone subtleties. This subtlety may
not ring out as just one tone and even at that the overtones may be
completely out of immediate distinguishable range. But being that the making
of music is by nature an emotional or intuitive outpour rather than only a
scientific expelling of audible fact we must exercise the affect intuitively
or emotionally that subtle overtones are having on us. Even if they are
inaudible to the human ear they are still none the less vibrations on the
planet. We are sensitive to the meaning of many vibrations we can not touch,
hear or see. I believe the present systems of music handed down to man
through all its cultures are great tools by which to reach and keep
searching from these overtones subtleties. It is not necessary to invent
ways for man to scientifically hear an infinite amount of pitches in all
ranges, but more so that we work with the potential of man's emotional range
and intuitive genius. From intuitive awareness we can go beyond scientific
or tangible proof to the abstract of feelings, images as in dreams or
hypnosis, etc., to stimulate man toward his origin and chaotic creative
beginnings. And more so to meld together this abstract and factual
experience we have on earth. I think scientists as well as metaphysicians
would love to be aware of the most certain connection between their two
   Searching for these overtones is an infinite search like unto our
infinite search for new truths.

Life is a bumpy road. So bumpy, that I think I'd rather fly!
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