Canadian trumpeter-composer Stephanie Richards took her time before releasing her debut album. She has been busy playing, performing and recording with almost any one. Her resume include projects with Kanye West, David Byrne, St. Vincent, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, The Pixies and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, performances with mentors Lawrence D. «Butch» Morris and Henry Threadgill as well as with Anthony Braxton and John Zorn, a collaboration with Bang on a Can Asphalt Orchestra and co-producing (with Dave Douglas) the New York Festival of New Trumpet Music.
Finally, Richards, now a professor of music at the University of California San Diego, releases «Fullmoon», inspired by the phases of the moon, with another longtime collaborator, electronic pioneer improviser Dino J.A. Deane. And as can be expected from this unique, resourceful improviser, it sounds like nothing else. Richards played her trumpet unplugged, encircled by percussion instruments and choreographed to play within and against the resonant surfaces of timpani, gong, snare drum and piano, reflecting the trumpet against these percussion instruments, as the moon phases reflect its light (she did so before in the Resonant Bodies duo with drummer Andrew Drury). Deane live-sampled, manipulated and processed her trumpet in real-time, and later Richards re-composed the music while editing the live recordings,
The result is much more than a otherworldly exploration of timbre and groove. Obviously, «Fullmoon» is an experimental project in spirit but at the same time it is also quite engaging. The nine pieces began as an immediate and intense improvisations but together, reshaped and re-composed, sound as a coherent suite with a clear narrative. Richards’ trumpet sound as talkative instrument that keeps expanding and coloring its resonant, alien-sounding vocabulary and syntax. She sings-chants the strange songs as if she performs a playful, shamanic ceremony of her own, with a great sense of detail and elegance. The artwork on the cover and the video-clip of “Gong” (made by director-animator Cossa), clearly referencing the pop-art of Roy Lichtenstein, deepen the surreal, psychedelic vibe of these pieces.
Stephanie Richards (tp, flh, perc), dino J.A. deane (sampler)