American bass clarinettist-comics illustrator-visual artist Aaron Novik defines himself as avant-garde pop composer. He celebrates this summer his 45th birthday and his marriage, so there is no better time than now to clean the slate and unveil five EPs’ worth of material – packed into one album – that have been incubating amidst Novik’s myriad musical involvements.
Each of these EP’s consist of a short suite corresponding to a particular locale and/or musical framework. The five suites encompass Novik’s versatility, as well as his personal journey since uprooting from the Bay Area, where he led a few bands, his recent move to New York and culminating with 2012’s «Secrets of Secrets», his investigation for John Zorn’s Tzadik label Radical Jewish culture series, telling of the quest for God and meaning in a brutal, unforgiving world as inspired by a 13th-century Kabbalistic text by Rabbi Eleazer Rokeach. These EP’s also highlight Novik’s rich and inclusive language that weaves elements of old and modern jazz, noise, minimalism and East European themes.
The musical journey – literally – of Novik visits imaginary Los Angeles, inspired by Steve Erickson’s book «Our Ecstatic Days», telling about a gondola that traverses a water-logged L.A. through a Hotel, where each room signifies a different loss in you life. Then re-visits emotional, swinging melodies with his New York-based band O+O+ (pronounced ought-ought) sextet; exploring elements of noise and touching abstract, contemporary territories with another New York-based band, No Signal, featuring fellow clarinettist Jeremiah Cymerman and guitarists Ava Mendoza and Matt Hollenberg; and enjoying playing Klezmer-tinged East-European themes, written in Rotterdam, or strict, tribal minimalism composed in Berlin, where Novik spent some time there, thinking about settling there.
The programming of «The Fallow Curve of the Planosphere» may remind us all that through our lives journeys we not only suffer losses, but our perspectives about distinct experience keep shifting and shaping all the times. As a literary loss becomes a musical gain.
Aaron Novik (cl, bcl, field recordings), Matt Nelson (ts), Evan Francis (fl), Mark Clifford (vib), Lisa Mezzacappa (b), Tim Bulkley (dr), Jeremiah Cymerman (Bbcl), Ava Mendoza (g), Matt Hollenberg (g), Kyle Bruckmann (obo, english horn), Crystal Pascucci (c), Jordan Glenn (found object perc)