released July 23, 2013
pfMENTUM CD 074
All music (c) 2013 Simon Rose and
Paul Stapleton (PRS)
Recorded and mixed by Elmar Susse
22 September 2011
Hoffnungskirche, Pankow, Berlin
Mastered by Paul Stapleton
Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Belfast
Photograph and cover design
The Bonsai Sound Sculpture (BoSS)
is a portable modular musical instrument
(Paul Stapleton and Neil Fawcett, 2010)
combining a repurposed turntable,
DIY electronics, amplified metallic
percussion and strings.
"…like some old, forgotten animal from the beginning of time,
silence towers above all the puny world of noise; but as a living
animal, not an extinct species, it lies in wait, and we can still see
its broad back sinking ever deeper among the briers and bushes
of the world of noise. It is as though this pre-historic creature
were gradually sinking into the depths of its own silence. And
yet sometimes all of the world today seems like the mere buzzing
of insects on the broad back of silence."
Max Picard (1989)
Recommended by Andrey Henkin, Editorial Director of The New York City Jazz Record (October 2013)
Extracts from album reviews:
"The pairs' improvisations could be the migratory songs of android whales or the piezoelectric abrasions that develop inside an old timepiece. Without the visuals, the sounds constructed are chimeric fantasies."
Mark Corroto - All About Jazz
"This duet offers a non-concessional free music, shares a sublimes sonic adventure. The first time the record is over, you just want more." (translation by Palem Candillier)
Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg - Orynx (French)
"Stimulating and outstanding is “Shift” which is built around the contrast between stentorian saxophone growls and delicate resonations from the BoSS. Here Stapleton’s interface is shaped into string-like strums and cascades as Rose exactingly constructs his tonal expansion from irregular pressures, vibrations and squeaks, culminating in a bubbling, circular-breathed exercise. Other pieces like “Felt” finds the BoSS’ premeditated shakes and vibrations causing Rose to turn to circular breathing and reed sucks, while “Zeiteinheit” concludes as a slow-moving exercise in basement tones as the saxophonist deepens his output from slurps and tongue-stops to shaking snorts in response to equally compelling aviary-like shrills from Stapleton."
Ken Waxman - Jazzword
"The Paul Stapleton and Simon Rose partnership was just waiting for this sort of documentation... Fauna provides a peek into the depth, grit and whimsy informing their collaboration."
Marc Medwin - New York City Jazz Record (June 2014)
"Stapleton and Rose successfully smooth out the seams and stiches of this Frankenstein with a sensitivity to their craft and each other while exploring an uncharted android aesthetic. One thinks about musical inventor Harry Partch who tried to find an almost more refined musical dialect, or replace Latin with Sanskrit as a baseline for his and his client's endeavors; however — and no insult to Partch — whereas he sought an extension, this duo looks for what's on the other side."
Dave Madden - Squid's Ear
"What counts is that there is a Zen ON quality to be heard in the phrasing, sequencing, and silences. These guys have that extra-sensory antennae that allow them to think in mutual blocks of sound and more sound. It works and works and works. That's rare!... Highly recommended."
Grego Applegate Edwards - Gapplegate Music Review
"By turns harsh, playful, forceful or delicate, the pair’s spontaneous and uncompromising inventions are full of surprises and unusual sounds that will grab your attention and not let go. Stick with them and be transported to their unique and vibrant sound world."
Stuart Kremsky - Mr. Stu's Record Room
"Very fine collaboration between sax player Simon Rose and Paul Stapleton, who makes and plays bonsai sound sculptures. Nice blend of ideas and sonics between alto/baritone sax and metal percussion. Rich and thoughtful playing."
François Couture - Monsieur Délire (French & English)
"[FAUNA] gives you a glimpse into a sonic world you never knew existed – somewhere between cave-days and the deepest, darkest jungles of today, inhabited by strange creatures you’ll never find in a zoo. I’ll tel you right up front, though, if you’re an “MOR” (middle of the road) listener, you’ll never make it out of the forest!"
Rotcod Zzaj - Improvijazzation Nation
"The album features strange spontaneous creations in which the two musicians feed off each other's energies...and allow anything to happen […] Eight intriguing cuts...sounds range from bizarre to spooky...and then splinter off into other parallel universes."
LMNOP aka dONW7 - babysue
"...signals that appear to come from space..."
Vincenzo Roggero - All About Jazz (Italian - translation needed)
[link currently broken]
Extracts from live gig reviews:
Rose and Stapleton’s bold soundscapes transport the listener to rarely visited sonic dimensions. The peculiar language that these musical Argonauts converse in won’t be to everybody’s taste, but the innovation and drama of the vocabulary is undeniable. And, in its ability to transfix audiences from Berlin to Belfast, it is somehow universal as well.
Ian Patterson - Culture NI