Grosse Abfahrt : Everything that disappears

Grosse Abfahrt : Everything that disappears Tom Djll (trumpt, pocket cornet & preparations), Matt Ingalls (Bb clarinet, bass clarinet), Frédéric Blondy (piano), John Shiurba (electric guitar [1, 3, 4]), George Cremashi (doublebass, electronics), Lê Quan Ninh (surrounded bass drum), John Bischoff (electronics [1, 3, 4]), Tim Perkis (electronics [1, 3, 4]), Gino Robair (energized surface & voltage made audible)

1 - The lack Americans connected What disappears - 10:01, 2 - negativity paradox achieved in humour realm - 10:22, 3 - Admittedly, social relations This - 14:53, 4 - geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters - 38:48

Digital recording by Michael Zelner of Zoka Recording- Mills College Ensemble Room, Oakland, California. March 13th, 2007 - Total Duration 74:29

Emanem 4146

Reviewed by Guillaume Tarche in ImproJazz

Empressé à l'idée de retrouver l'extraordinaire duo de Lê Quan Ninh (perc) et Frédéric Blondy (p) - [qu'on avait adoré dans leur enregistrement pour Potlatch, P203], on se rue sur Everything that disappears (Emanem 4146) pour comprendre que le couple de jongleurs y apparaît intégré au collectif intitulé Grosse Abfahrt - ce troisième avatar d'un projet élaboré par Tom Djll (tp, ct) regroupait, le 13 mars 2007, un brillant détachement d'improvisateurs californiens : Matt Ingalls (cl, bcl), John Shiurba (elg), George Cremaschi (b, electr), John Bischoff (electr), Tim Perkis (electr), Gino Robair ("energised surfaces & voltage made audible"). Pour discrète qu'elle soit dans l'architecture à l'oeuvre, l'influence du percussionniste et du pianiste semble porter comme un principe subtil : une tension fuselée, des arcs se bandant. Quatre longues improvisations sont développées, comme dépliées au fil de l'audition, devinées dans une matière textile fourmillante ; quatre cours de rivières glaciaires tintant, quatre dunes de sable chantant, une trace vibratoire complexe ; quatre houles nocturnes puis "tout s'évanouit" ; ce fut cela, c'est ça.
Reviewed by Stuart Broomer for Point of Departure

Grosse Abfahrt (German for "great departure") is a free improvisation ensemble launched by trumpeter Tom Djll to combine a group of Bay Area musicians with visitors, usually European. Here the Bay-area musicians include guitarist John Shiurba, bassist George Cremaschi, clarinetist Matt Ingalls, and Gino Robair (on "energised surfaces & voltage made audible" which I take to mean electronically altered percussion). The ensemble also includes Tim Perkis and John Bischoff, whose pioneering work in computer-based improvised music was recently celebrated on the New World collection, The League of Automatic Music Composers. The guests are French, the percussionist Lê Quan Ninh and pianist Frédéric Blondy. Each is a master of resonance, Ninh working on an assortment of cymbals and drums on top of a large horizontal bass drum, Blondy -- perhaps best known for his work with the quintet Hubbub - concentrating on the piano's interior with a range of techniques that includes bowing the strings. It is that focus on resonance that often defines this work, including an idea of circular, oscillating sound (the very movement of bowing) that seems concentrated at times in Cremaschi's bass and his particular use of electronics.

The group's focus is on extended improvisation, long unwindings of sound in which instrumental identities submerge into collective mind. Even the track titles - vertical readings from Jean Baudrillard's America - hint at new relationships in which sudden coherence may be as much the result of chance as intention and in which the fragmentary or discontinuous is equally valued. Thus, the longest track, "geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters." Is, at nearly 39 minutes, a world unto itself, populated with radio beeping, somber bowed bass and bass clarinet tones and a host of sounds that may defy ready identification. Everything appears hyper-resonant, from prepared trumpet to a sudden electric squiggle. While there's an underlying continuum of sound for long stretches, and individual gestures might sound deliberated, this is by no means minimalist. Near the half-hour mark, there's a sudden episode of skittering trumpet and bass that emphasizes the underlying unpredictability before the piece ends with a period of sustained high frequencies. Its ultimate shape, though, is always secondary to its immediate being, its sense of collective process.

The other tracks have their own distinctive qualities, at times reflecting a dominance of acoustic or electronic sound. "[N]egativity paradox achieved in humor realm" is a relatively rambunctious piece that - without Shiurba, Bischoff and Perkis - is virtually acoustic. "Admittedly, social relations This," with substantial electronics, seems more abrasive and, at times, much closer to conventions of improvised dialogue. Throughout, though, this is valuable work, with its own distinctive concordances and frictions.s
Reviewed by Edwin Pouncey in The Wire June 2008

Devised by San Franciscan trumpet player Tom Djll, Grosse Abfahrt (Great Departure) is a project where a group of Bay Area musicians are teamed with guests from another state or country. For the third of these collaborations Djll invited French pianist Frederic Blondy and Vietnamese percussionist Le Quan Ninh to join a group that was made up of bass clarinettist Matt Ingalls, guitarist John Shibura, bass player George Cremaschi, John Bischoff and Tim Perkis on electronics and Gino Robair on "energised surfaces and voltage made audible." What emerges is a series of highly tactile abstract sound paintings,each one flecked with vibrations from Djll's frantically active and ambitious ensemble. A title like "Geometric Undulating Driveway Symmetrical, All The Road Of Masters" could easily be associated with AMM, and in many ways -- the ensemble's almost Rowe-like use of electronics for example -- Grosse Abfahrt could be viewed as a reflection of that great group, with guest musicians Blondy and Ninh (admittedly unintentionally) taking on the roles of John Tilbury and Eddie Prevost. That aside, this is a masterfully played and constructed example of big band improvisation with equally big ideas swarming through it.
Reviewed by Jon Dale in Signal to Noise issue #50, summer 2008

Tom Djll formed Grosse Abfahrt (German for "great departure") to facilitate the interaction of Bay Area improvisers with visiting musicians.; The ensemble's membership is always in flux, but Djll, Matt Ingalls, Tim Perkis, Gino Robair, and John Shiurba appear on both Everything that Disappears and erstes Luftschiffe zu Kalifornien. With more than half the line-up constant, there's almost quantifiable consistency between the recordings, although EtD is the busier of the two -- perhaps unsurprisingly, given Emanem label owner Martin Davidson's reservations about reductionism or minimalism. It's also the more immediately engaging. Joined by Frederic Blondy, Lê Quan Ninh, George Cremaschi and John Bischoff, here Grosse Abfrahrt make explicit connections between electro-acoustic improvisation and the laminal approach of AMM. Though they do move through episodes of great pause and restraint, there is always someone etching away on the sidelines, and it's the passages of gently piled group activity that are most arresting. The forty-minute closer "geometric undulating driveway..." is a case in point: its first ten minutes see the members developing a nomadic scrum of incidental detail, weaving long tones from brass and clarinet and arco bass peals while pointillist electronics tickle the cochlea, their low volume having them sound like benign parasities chattering around your head. [...]