Ben Monder, Pete Rende, Andrew Cyrille, Paul Motian – Amorphae (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2kHz | Time – 44:55 minutes | 683 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © ECM
Recorded: October 2010 at Sear Sound; December 2013 at Brooklyn Recording
Guitarist Ben Monder first recorded for ECM as a member of the Paul Motian Band on Garden of Eden in 2004, and Amorphae was originally conceived as a series of duets for Ben and Paul. A first exploratory duo session was recorded in 2010. After Motians death the following year it was decided to expand and complete the project with another highly influential and innovative drummer, Andrew Cyrille, adding also Pete Rende on synthesizer on two pieces.
So here we hear Monder solo, in duo with Motian, in duo with Cyrille, and in trio with Cyrille and Rende. This range of expressive options casts light upon Monders musical concepts and their adaptability. A guitarists guitarist, Monder is also a master of texture and unusual voicings, creating what one reviewer has called detailed sonic landscapes of mystery and power.
All the music on Amorphae is his, apart from, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” the Rodgers & Hammerstein chestnut from the musical Oklahoma!, performed here by Monder and Motian.
Ben Monder is a New York jazz guitarist who can play in a number of traditions but has gone further into his own, involving complex chords; deep sustain and swell-and-recede dynamics; fast picking; and long-form composition. Listening to his music can give you a strange, weightless, confusing sensation. He was part of the circle around the drummer Paul Motian, and “Amorphae,” his first album for the label ECM, was initially going to be a set of improvised duets between Mr. Monder and Motian. They finished some of these, but after Motian’s death in 2011 the balance of the record was completed through solo improvisations and duets with another drummer with a similarly expansive sense of time: Andrew Cyrille. (The keyboardist Pete Rende is obliquely present here and there.) The two drummers, using brushes and open space, encourage Mr. Monder in one of his natural tendencies: They help him explore sound. They help him get galactic. The album is an extended listening experience and a great one, especially late at night; its milestone here is a trippy, sepulchral version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” -Ben Ratliff, New York Times
1. Tendrils 05:21
2. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning 05:23
3. Tumid Cenobite 04:50
4. Gamma Crucis 05:15
5. Zythum 07:06
6. Triffids 02:56
7. Hematophagy 06:58
8. Dinosaur Skies 07:06
Ben Monder, electric guitar, electric baritone guitar
Paul Motian, Andrew Cyrille, drums
Pete Rende, synthesizer