Reviews that mention Sean Ali

June 21, 2018

While We Still Have Bodies

While We Still Have Bodies
Neither/nor Records n/n 009

Created as a spatial soundtrack that was integrated into artist Cheng Ran’s audio/video Diary of a Madman during its four-month museum exhibit, this nearly 67-minute improvisation can stand on its own. Even without visual though, appreciation for the program that the four New York-based musicians created is predicated on accepting the aleatory sonic collage as an immutable found object. While forged by melding and distending the timbres of acoustic instruments and small everyday electronics, in essence While We Still Have Bodies alludes only to itself. MORE

August 24, 2017

Sean Ali

My Tongue Crumbles After
Neither/Nor Records n/n 007

James Ilgenfritz

Origami Cosmos

Infrequent Seams 12

Kyle Motl


Rope Metal Records 003

Starting in the 1960s, when improvisational experimenters threw the proverbial musical cards in the air to see where they landed, the idea of solo instrumental recitals became as common as they were in so-called classical music. Although reed and brass players were early adapters, Jackie Robinson-like breakthrough skill demonstrators by the likes of double bassists Barry Guy and Joëlle Léandre among others become so commonplace, that by the turn of the century a bass solo disc became nearly mandatory for those improvisers with skill … and courage. These American bull fiddlers have produced versions of singular double bass mastery. Although none signals the coming of a low-pitched-string-Messiah, each is worthy of respect. Like the distinctive presents offered by the biblical Three Wise Men, each player’s individual gift(s) allows for an original take. MORE

November 16, 2016

Franz Loriot/Systematic Distortion Orchestra

The Assembly
Out Now ONR 024

Christoph Erb/Frantz Loriot


Creative Sources CS 356 CD

Fissure not fusion could be the word that most closely mirrors the activities of French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot. A former resident of both Paris and New York, he’s now set up shop in Zürich where he moves among so many multidisciplinary project that it would appear he can clone himself. Take the two CDs here which showcse his talents for either micro or macro invention.

Concerned with the singular and reductionist qualities of duo playing, the tracks on Sceneries are the equivalent of peering through four murky glass panes in the same window. The vision is the same but slightly distorted, depending on which angle is least clouded. Loriot’s partner is Lucerne-based tenor and soprano saxophonist Christoph Erb, another day tripper who has played with stylists as varied as Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zernag stateside and Paul Lovens and Han Koch in Europe. In contrast, like a party balloon that can be inflated to zeppelin size, The Assembly assembles an assembly of 11 New York-based players to poke and probe at the four tracks that are either Loriot or group instant compostions. Ironically the additional players add expanded abstract timbres rather than group harmonies. Unconventionally formulated the Systematic Distortion Orchestra consists of one saxophonist, four brass players, two double bassists, three percussionists and Loriot. MORE

July 11, 2016


Leo Records CD LR 738

Known for pricier substances Switzerland may also be exporting harsh minimalism overseas if Ramble is any indication. This is n a session that could be sub-titled bassoon meets Brooklyn. Like the army recruit whose presence is the final additional element that helps mold other newcomers into a crack fighting unit, Zürich-based alto saxophonist and bassoonist Sandra Weiss contributes a startling, connective roughness to the five group improvisations.

Speckling the tracks with congested sour gusts from her instruments, the South African-born, Swiss resident puts a finer point on the gashing micro-tonality explored by the quartet of Brooklynites she joins here. The equivalent of expanding short stories to novella length with different imagery, Weiss’ jagged textures enlarge strategies drummer Carlo Costa has been exploring with bands he’s part of that also include bassist Sean Ali and tenor and soprano saxophonist Jonathan Moritz. Trumpeter Kenny Warren, who has worked in experimental setting with saxophonist Rob Brown, fills out the ensemble MORE

January 6, 2016

Carlo Costa's Acustica

Neithernor n/n 004

By Ken Waxman

Having firmly established himself with smaller bands, percussionist Carlo Costa's ups the ante with Strata, an extended score for 13 musicians, which like the sedimentary matter it reflects, intermingles graphical and notated scores plus improvisation to simultaneously expose sonic layers of substratum. Usually part of stand-alone duos, trios and quartets, the Italian-born, NYC-based Costa is just one of many younger musicians exploring the possibilities implicit in creating large-scale, cyclical performances, including his frequent associates, violinist Franz Loriot – who isn’t on this disc – and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, who is. MORE

June 21, 2015

Carlo Costa Quartet

Neither Nor Records n/n 001

Basement Research

Hat And Shoes

Between The Lines BTLCHR 71238

Having paid his dues in experimental – and other – music(s) since the mid-1970s, New York-based trombonist Steve Swell has become an eclectic, respected commodity in both North America and Europe. While this means that Swell is as likely to be gigging with Peter Brötzmann as Rob Brown, it also pinpoints the dissolving differences between so-called American and so-called European free music MORE

February 7, 2013


Suspicious Activity
Creative Sources CS 213 CD

Gebhard Ullmann/Chris Dahlgren/Clayton Thomas

Bass X 3 Transatlantic

Leo Records CD LR 625

By Ken Waxman

Experiments with ensembles featuring double basses-and-low-pitched instruments or just double basses aren’t exactly commonplace, but over the past couple of decades experimenters such as Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy and William Parker have demonstrated that this unusual instrumentation can be both appropriate and stimulating. Here are other two sessions that add to that canon. MORE

July 6, 2012

Natura Morta

Natura Morta
Prom Night Records No #

By Ken Waxman

Using only acoustic instruments, the members of Natura Morta replicate the harsh textures of musique concrete with juddering crunches, abrasive squeaks and vibrating pops. Eschewing amplification, the Brooklyn-based trio of violist Frantz Loriot, bassist Sean Ali’s bass and drummer Carlo Costa operate in a dense landscape where extended techniques and instantaneous timbral actions reconfigure their instrument’s conventional timbres into sometimes unidentifiable pieces of a jagged sound picture. MORE