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Type first few letters of name: artist title
CD LR 309


Ivo Perelman 

The Seven Energies of the Universe

Release date: 2001

Single CD (audio): GBP 10.00
listen CD_LR_309
Recorded in 1998 with Joseph Scianni on piano, Jay Rosen on drums and Ivo Perelman on tenor sax. Liner notes for this CD have been written by Eleanor Heartney, New York based art critic and contributing editor to Art in America. Why? What does an art critic have to do with sounds? It transpires that Ivo is an artist whose paintings are beginning to find the way into the galeries. We are printing three of his colour paintings in the booklet.

Liner Notes

( Collapse liner notes )

The Seven Energies of the Universe passion, fruition, conversion, living
and life,
maleness, femaleness and endlessness derive from the 27 letters of the
ancestral Hebrew alphabet as prescribed and preserved in the sacred Torah
scroll, hand-lettered on calfskin parchment by a devout and learned scribe
in India ink with reed, quill or pen, sewn together with tendon and attached
to wooden rollers at each end. Nothing artificial is or may be used in the
process. So, too, the seven energies natural, cosmic and organic.

Rabbi Avraham Gilman

To rephrase Kipling, conventional wisdom maintains that "art is art and
music is music, and never the twain shall meet." Art, after all, exists in
space, while music unfolds in time. Art appeals to the sense of sight while
music appeals to the ear. An art work can be viewed all at once, while a
piece of music is inseparable  from the succession of moments which it
   And yet, the two disciplines seem to exhibit an insatiable longing to
meld into each other. This is obvious from the language used to discuss each
art form. Music writers often take the poetic liberty of speaking of the
"colors" of notes and phrases, while art critics have embraced the word
"tone", which originated as a musical term, to discuss the subtle shading of
light and darkness in a particular hue. The movement of brush strokes across
a canvas is frequently described in ways that draw on musical metaphors
critics speak of crescendos of color, lilting lines, dancing rhythms.
Conversely, the range of polyphonic sounds in a musical work are referred to
as its sonic spectrum, while an emphasis on the lower registers is said to
darken the palette of the work as a whole.
  But the mysterious affinity of music and art isn't limited to the realm of
metaphor.  Artists on both sides of the divide have frequently crossed the
line which separates  one side to the other. Musicians like Mussorgsky and
Debussy attempted to recreate paintings in sound. For their part, many
contemporary artists have embraced jazz as a source of inspiration for
paintings and sculptures. The smoky clubs where jazz musicians and jazz
lovers congregate, the intense concentration displayed by the individual
saxophonist or piano player, and even the syncopated sounds which issue
forth from their instruments have all formed the subject matter for artists
like Piet Mondrian, Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden and Stuart Davis. Some
artists have gone even further, creating sculptures which can be played like
instruments, and designing "color organs" and other devices which
mechanically translate sound into color.
   Given these interconnections, it was perhaps inevitable that saxophonist
Ivo Perelman would find himself drawn into the world of visual art.
Perelman's own music, a form of free jazz, bears striking parallels with
Abstract Expressionism, the influential art movement which emerged in the
United States in the late 1940s. Just as Perelman's music grows out of his
liberation of the improvisational impulse from musical conventions like
chord changes, steady beat, and tonality, Abstract Expressionists like
Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler and Franz Kline dispensed with the
conventions of traditional representation in order to showcase the raw
energy which went into the painting's creation. Pollock's work, in
particular, with its whiplash lines, spatters of color and free flowing
drips of paint, suggests an analogy with the careening melody lines and
sprays of sound which make up Perelman's music.
   Inspired by a writer's suggestion of his affinity with Abstract
Expressionism, Perelman has begun to experiment with painting himself,
translating his range of musical effects into visual form. The intense flows
and abrupt breaks of sound which emerge from his saxophone are reborn as
zigzagging lines of color flung on the canvas from a loaded brush or spit
from his mouth. The layers of sound produced by the melody's interplay with
bass and drums have their counterpart in the layers of colors which lead
one's eye in and out of the tangled skeins of paint. Some of the paintings
are full of agitated energy, while others are more lyrical, creating a
visual moment of near silence. Like his music, Perelman's visual
compositions soar and dip, break down into fields of spattered color, regain
force to assert themselves with a moment of remarkable solidarity.     When
completed, the paintings serve as records of various psychic states. One
work, an abstracted self portrait, is dominated by thick pools of brilliant
red. These spill over a dark, deeply layered ground. With a little
imagination, one can make out an eye, a mouth and the schematic outline of a
saxophone. The sense of emotional heat in this painting is in sharp contrast
with another one in which smudges of yellow and blue appear upon a largely
white background, creating an effect which is almost zen-like in its
expanses of emptiness. Yet another work is at once serene and active,
consisting of calligraphic whiplashes of black paint flung over a brushy
blue background.
    For Perelman, the experience of painting is very similar to the
experience of making music. He throws himself into the process, in a sense
becoming one with the notes or the paint. In this he brings to mind the
unforgettable description of Abstract Expressionism provided by one of the
movement's most illustrious advocates. Abstract Expressionism, said Harold
Rosenberg, is a form of "action painting". It reflects a moment when the
canvas became "an arena in which to act   rather than as a space in which
to reproduce, redesign, analyze or "express" an object, actual or imagined.
What was to go on a canvas was not a picture but an event."
    The key to Perelman's creative output, whether it takes the form of
painting or music, is always improvisation. In his music, one note leads to
another, as the music itself draws him along. The paintings evolve in the
same way. Instead of working from some preconceived artistic idea, Perelman
lets the flowing, skittering, dancing paint tell him what to do next. Each
painting is like a performance   a set of actions in time which can happen
in that particular way only once.
    In both painting and music, Perelman refuses to accept the concept of
limits. He experiments with combinations of sound and combinations of color
without regard to traditional notions of harmony or propriety. In this he
embraces a precept voiced by another of the Abstract Expressionists   the
sculptor David Smith. "Art", Smith noted, "is born of freedom and liberty
and dies of constraint."

Eleanor Heartney
(New York based art critic and Contributing Editor to Art in America.)
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