Atlantic Extraction

by Nick Dunston

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    CD of Nick Dunston - Atlantic Extraction (OOYH 004), featuring a full inside spread of original artwork (CD only) by TJ Huff (huffart.com) as well as liner note insert with words by Noah Becker.

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1.
2.
Tattle Snake 07:31
3.
Dunsterlude 04:18
4.
5.
6.
S.S. Nemesis 02:40
7.
Vicuña 05:57
8.
9.
10.
11.
Zoochosis 02:17
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

about

Between those happenings that prefigure it
And those that happen in its anamnesis
Occurs the Event, but that no human wit
Can recognize until all happening ceases.
– W.H. Auden, inscription for Homage to Clio (1960)

It is with great audacity that a composer imposes their music and will upon the free-thinking musicians of their band. What a joy for us that Nick Dunston has taken such a leap and made Atlantic Extraction a reality! His courage is well-deserved, for he roots his music profoundly in these principles:

ARCHITECTURE (prefiguration) | The elegant melody and counterline of Dunsterlude shimmer like a prism refracting light, and the denizen-from-the-deep rhythmic vitality of Globular Weaving wrenches the body into motion. Nick’s economic treatment of ideas, on full display in Vicuña, grounds even the wildest improvisations. He loves a good tone row, and loves a trim, organic structure that seems to grow right up out of the material—in the four Collages especially, content and form are inseparable. He seems to believe that these structures will speak for themselves, and as we listen and fall in with this conviction, we delight as the music hums and spirals, and the wheel of composition spins the sound to life.

TRUST (the Event) | It is not just a wheel, but a whirring centrifuge that separates substances: There is remarkably little timbral overlap amongst the instruments here, a marvel of orchestration, because Nick seeks to empower each musician at every moment in their full creative singularity. This leads to wonderful, unpredictable results. In Delirious Delicacies, Louna evokes the sky, Ledah the earth, Tal the sea. Stephen artfully stages the space in Tattle Snake, while Nick’s compositional layering preserves the clarity of each voice. Through this individualism, the band builds together: an array of sensitive rhythmic placements in Zoochosis, a groove reigning strong and proud in Contraband Peanut Butter... And how could so haughty and sinister an intro ever give way to the frantic bird wails, rustic urban fiddling, and country yodeling of S.S. Nemesis without Nick’s complete belief in the band to make it so? Through Nick’s compassionate trust, the complexity and intrigue of each musician’s sound roars forth in all its beauty and mystery.

SECRECY (anamnesis) | This mystery lives in the gestures of sound themselves. We do not get to hear every improvised idea that occurs to the musicians because they do not choose to play them all. Writers further reveal their genius each time we read their text, but music is
expressed in process, not product, so all such depth compounds within each moment as an accumulation of parallel, unrealized realities. The musicians here understand this faculty of secrecy, and are able to manipulate us into remembering things that have not happened, a false anamnesis, a shadow of the music. The three String Solos reveal this most nakedly, where we can revel in the music as an irradiation of the soloists’ hearts and minds, greater than just the decisions they actually enact. There is more than meets the ear. The present moment expands beyond the bounds of itself.

DIALECTIC (recognition) | Everything about Nick’s music expands beyond itself, because he is a dialectical, pluralistic composer. This comes right down to the diversity of his bandmates. Ledah lives inside, foregrounds and backgrounds, shadows and struts; Louna soars above, finds within from a consciousness without, a monk, a wise and watchful observer. Louna magnificently discovers her place in the sound in the moment of creation, shapeshifting to continuously reassert her role; Stephen begins by forming a complete image of the mosaic, and then he sounds, already vibrating at his frequency within the whole. Stephen concerns himself with how his presence will alter the space, what sorts of ripples his pebbles will create; Tal finds the sound that will contextualize the space as it is, seeking the right place for a pebble in the already-rippling pond. Tal is a steady bastion, creating intrigue with the subtle gradient that unfolds from his firm will over time; Nick weaves, in the true sense of the word—he is the threader of the tapestry, the connective tissue, the sound and presence which unites all. To recognize the totality of his music is to recognize a sum greater than its parts, in which its elements are in a constant, swirling state of becoming-other.

A Rolling Wave of Nothing is impossibly beautiful. It is a sublime lamentation, and from the lyrics we can infer a dissatisfaction within Nick over his own art. He seeks to transcend himself and his limitations: a rolling wave is not enough; it must be a rolling wave of something. Atlantic Extraction, his first release as a leader, is a spectacular record—and we can be sure that with such ferocious and passionate drive, this is the first of many powerful musical statements from Nick Dunston.

– Noah Becker

credits

released November 1, 2019

Nick Dunston - double bass, vocals (track 15), compositions
Louna Dekker-Vargas - flute, alto flute, piccolo
Ledah Finck - violin, viola
Tal Yahalom - guitar
Stephen Boegehold - drum set

Recorded by Quinn McCarthy on March 15th, 2019 at The Creamery in Brooklyn, NY.
Mixed and Mastered by Lee Meadvin.
Produced by Nick Dunston and Lee Meadvin.
Artwork and design by TJ Huff.

All compositions 2019 Nick Dunston (Nick Dunston Music, ASCAP)

OOYH 004

This album, in part, was made possible by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust.

Special thank you to Edel Cordova, Nelson Dunston, Gaby Dunston, Marcia Roth, Hannah Wolf, Ariel Wolf, Reggie Hawkins, Louna Dekker-Vargas, Ledah Finck, Tal Yahalom, Stephen Boegehold, Lee Meadvin, Quinn McCarthy, Gaya Feldheim-Schorr, Joe Morris, Rosita Kess, Zach Lane, Rio Sakairi, Cathy Hung, Jim Staley, Vijay Iyer, Jeff Lederer, Darius Jones, Elvira Sullivan, Linda May Han Oh, Missy Mazzoli, and Tyshawn Sorey.

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Out Of Your Head Records New York

An artist-run Brooklyn-based record label dedicated to creative music and original visual art in limited runs.

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