14/12/2018
Amirtha Kidambi's Elder Ones

AMIRTHA KIDAMBI
vocals, harmonium, synthesizer, compositions

 

MATT NELSON
soprano saxophone

 

NICK DUNSTON
bass

MAX JAFFE
drums and sensory percussion

 

 

As Ben Ratliff wrote in the New York Times, “the aggressive and sublime first album by the band Elder Ones, Holy Science, is a kind of gauge for how strong and flexible the scene of young musicians in New York’s improvised and experimental music world can be". Seth Colter Walls writes in Pitchfork, “This sound isn’t merely the product of well-chosen reference points; in its abstract way, it makes a unique argument for the virtue of cross-cultural curiosity. Appropriately, the nature of this music is constantly morphing. When a muted introduction gives way to a more celebratory aesthetic, the change is achieved gradually, through small changes in the arrangement. When a demonstration of rage reaches a peak that cannot be sustained, the musicians in Elder Ones are able to navigate back to a more stable feel, without losing the passion and awareness that has animated those foregoing blasts of harshness. The result is an astonishing debut for a composer, and her band.”

Kidambi formally trained in classical music, singing works by avant-gardists includingNono and Stockhausen, but the pull of free jazz and Alice Coltrane drew her toward a different path. The influence of both Alice and John Coltrane is especially apparent on the new album, as is her work with composer and saxophonist Darius Jones, and her study of Carnatic music.

The forthcoming release From Untruth builds upon the bedrock foundation of Kidambi's previous compositional and conceptual work with Elder Ones, while forging uncharted territory. After a journey into wordless abstraction on Holy Science, Kidambi felt the urgency of the political moment required a direct and verbal call to action. The lyric fragments in "Eat the Rich", "Decolonize the Mind", "Dance of the Subaltern" and "From Untruth" critique power structures of capitalism, racism, colonialism and fascism, distilling heavy post-colonial theory into concentrated visceral battle cries. The instrumentation adds a layer of technology as a metaphor for modernity, with Kidambi on analog synthesizer and Max Jaffe's drumming talents extended to electronic Sensory Percussion. The frenzied improvising of Matt Nelson on soprano sax and gravity of Nick Dunston on bass, anchor the music in the tradition of free jazz, while it pushes into new futurist realms. The aesthetic seamlessly reels from modal meditation, atonal expressionism, free improvisation and melodic invention, to unabashed bursts of punk rock energy. This is Elder Ones at an unadulterated breaking point; on the edge of a knife that cuts.

 

 

Press:

New York Times "10 Fall Pop and Jazz Albums You Shouldn't Miss", by Ben Ratliff

Pitchfork Review Elder Ones' Holy Science

Solo in New York Times

News files
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