Monday 8 February 2016, 8pm
Great, visceral double bill with Forebrace – the quartet of Alex Ward (clarinet), Roberto Sassi (electric guitar), Santiago Horro (electric bass), and Jem Doulton (drums) – lining up alongside the New York trio of Chris Pitsiokos (saxophone), Noah Punkt (bass), and Philipp Scholz (drums).
“Bad Folds is a first-rate debut album which suggests that Forebrace will be an exciting group for some time to come. It reveals many fruitful avenues for the foursome to explore more deeply, and hints that theirs is going to be an intriguing story to follow.” – All About Jazz, review of Bad Folds by Forebrace
FOREBRACE is a new quartet led by Alex Ward and featuring Roberto Sassi (Vole, Cardosanto, Snorkel), Santiago Horro (Nøught, Luke Barlow Band), and Jem Doulton (Dead Days Beyond Help, Mr. Ron Jetson). Their debut album "Bad Folds" was recorded over the course of two intense days in the studio, prior to which the four had never played together as a unit. The material generated during these sessions (including not only several free improvisations, but also a number of performances based on compositional ideas made up by Alex on the spot) was then structured into a complex and absorbing whole in which paranoiac funk, disturbing atmospherics and full-throttle ensemble interplay co-exist side by side. While some immediate reference points for Forebrace's music might be the raging electric violence of Last Exit, the dense contrapuntal babble of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time ensembles, or even the pummelling immersiveness of Swans, "Bad Folds" also ventures into more abstract and unclassifiable realms drawing on the extended sonic vocabularies of all four musicians, and in particular Sassi and Horro's astute and disorientating deployment of a wide range of electronic treatments. (Ward also at points employs a defiantly crude form of electric tonal modification, by feeding his clarinet through a small amplifier pushed to the point of unhealthily overdriven feedback.) The strength of understanding and rapport between the band members can be seen to have its roots in their involvements and prior collaborations in both the London improvised music and avant-rock scenes (including Ward and Doulton's ongoing 7-year partnership as the duo Dead Days Beyond Help); and in Forebrace they draw from both worlds to create a distinctly new ensemble identity. "Bad Folds" is out now on Copepod Records.
Chris Pitsiokos (b. 1990) is a saxophonist and composer based in Brooklyn, NY. Aesthetically, his work combines the lyricism of jazz and the go-for-broke intensity of extreme rock forms and noise with the attention to detail and abstraction of contemporary classical music. His compositions often function as a platform for performers to express a singular aesthetic vision without subjugating their individual voices as creative agents in their own right. In this way his work contrasts with more traditional modes of composition in which the composer or band leader is the sole, or primary arbiter, of a unified vision. He has been praised by Rolling Stone for his “startlingly original vision” and “astonishingly fleet sax work.” Pitsiokos has worked with Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Evans, Joe Morris, Philip White, Otomo Yoshihide, C Spencer Yeh, Nate Wooley, Brandon Seabrook, Lydia Lunch, Paul Lytton, Miya Masaoka, Mick Barr, Susana Santos Silva, and many more. He is currently the saxophonist in Nate Wooley’s quartet, Knknighgh. He has toured throughout Europe, the United States, and Japan. He was a contributor to Arcana VIII, a book of essays edited by John Zorn, and was a resident at Zorn’s club the Stone in November 2016. In addition to performing and composing music, Pitsiokos was a longtime DJ at radio station WKCR-FM and has been producing concerts in Brooklyn and Manhattan for five years.