From drummer and composer Tim Daisy:
When the lockdown began in March of 2020, my initial reaction was to take a pause from music and just “wait it out” for a couple of months. When it became clear that COVID-19 was a virus that wasn’t going to go anywhere, I began to strategize on how I could best keep working in the absence of live performances and at least for most of 2020, the inability of even being in the same room with another musician.
Being someone who is super interested both performing and recording in a solo context, I thought I would use the isolation period to send some of my unreleased solo material to a few artists whom I admire with hopes to work in a virtual context. I first reached out to electronics musician, drummer and composer Ikue Mori to see if she would be interested in a collaboration with me. I was thrilled when she agreed to take part in it. My first release of the “covid period” is the result of Ikue’s remixing and reimagining of some of my solo marimba, percussion and turntable sounds. Light and Shade was released on my own Relay Recordings imprint, you can stream, download and/or purchase a cd:
Another great musician whom I had the pleasure of working remotely with is the Barcelona percussionist Vasco Trilla. Vasco has been on fire lately, making all sorts of wonderful records in many different contexts. I’m inspired by his drive and endless creative energy. I look forward to gracing the stage with him in the not too distant future. Bristling Duets is our duo effort, also released on Relay. Whereas the duet with Ikue centers on electronic manipulation of my source materials, the project with Vasco is a fully acoustic affair. You can check out the sounds:
My third pandemic remote recording project was called Imaginary Rooms. My idea with this was to send source material to various artists from a wide spectrum of soundmaking backgrounds and geographic locations. I asked each artist to construct once piece, or a series of short pieces using the materials at hand. Adding to, editing, remixing etc. I used a fairly small selection of files for this project and many of the artists got the same files. I was interested in exploring how a common source material can sound so vastly different depending on the collaborator. I released the material in two volumes, with many sound artists involved including the Austrian pianist and composer, Elisabeth Harnik, Chicago bassist and guitarist, Wayne Montana, and the electronics wizard from Kansas City, Seth Davis. These are only a few of the contributors. You can check out volumes 1:
And volume 2:
In addition to the remote collaborations that I made, I decided to spend some time digging through some of my unreleased live recordings. I came across a concert that I performed with fellow Chicagoan, the reedist and multi-instrumentalist Mars Williams. We did a short tour of Europe back in 2012, and one of the highlights was this concert from the famed Blue Tomato Club in Vienna. The Blue Tomato is on a short list of my favorite places in the world to perform. Incredible vibe, amazing owners, great staff, incredibly intimate, attentive crowd. Totally amazing! I was really happy that this night got recorded. You can listen to the results:
Speaking of live recordings. Another live release is a duet recorded with reedist and composer Ken Vandermark. “Consequent Duos Series 2:a” documents a live concert from Ken and I, performed at the Hungry Brain in Chicago after a US tour back in 2011. A homecoming concert after a two week jaunt around the southeast portion of the states. It felt great to be back in front of the home crowd, and speaking personally, I felt the music got to places really only possible by continuous, night after night performances. I miss the road, and I look forward to getting back on it soon. Consequent Duos is released by Catalytic Sound Music Cooperative, an organization designed to help create economic sustainability for its artists through patron support. I’m honored to be a part of this organization and I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already:
When things started to open up slightly, and it was deemed safe to at least perform outdoors. My dear friend, and longest running musical collaborator, Dave Rempis and I started performing once a month outside of the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee, WI. Remember that short list of amazing venues that I brought up a moment ago? Yep. The Sugar Maple is on that list as well. An amazing bar and performance venue in a great city. A huge thank you to owner Adrienne Pierluissi and the great staff for welcoming us and so many other like minded musicians both before, during, and . . . after (yes, after) the pandemic! Rempis and I recorded many of our montly duo concerts. Some of the material from one of the concerts was included in a wonderful release of Dave’s on his Aerophonic label titled “The Covid Tapes.” This double cd release features a mix of Dave’s solo playing (including a burning version of Joe McPhee’s tune Knox), duos with drummers Tyler Damon and myself, and trios with bassist Josh Abrams and cellist Tomeka Reid. This is a unique release made during a unique moment in time. The flow of the recording is great, the playing is superb and as a bonus a couple of the tracks include some really nice environmental background sounds. You can check out this release by heading over to the Aerophonic website.
Another live concert that was released on Aerophonic is “Sud Des Alpes” by the Rempis Percussion Quartet. This band features Rempis on reeds, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, Frank Rosaly and myself on drums. The Rempis Percussion Quartet formed back in 2004 and is the longest running active ensemble that I play in. This concert was recorded at the AMR club in Geneva, Switzerland. The music we made that night had a peculiar quality to it . . . in a good way in my opinion. It may have been the result of our crazy long travel day due to a broken down train halfway between Zurich and Geneva. Trains don’t break down so often in Switzerland. I think we made national headlines that night. Not the band, but the train.
Two very new releases of mine include solo efforts where I have edited and remixed some existing solo material. Opaque (relay digital 019) and In a New Dance (relay digital 020) are my initial forays into using editing software to remake some of my older material. Much of the sounds made on these recording use previously released sounds as well as foley sounds downloaded from various locations. Some of this material is also inspired by great films and the people who made them including Chantal Ackerman and her masterpiece “From The East” as well as pretty much anything involving Pier Paolo Pasolini. These new solo “reworkings” will be released on ltd edition cassettes soon as well. Digital versions can be heard here:
My very latest cd release will be available on February 1, 2021. Violinist Mark Feldman has recently relocated to Chicago and I have been lucky enough to work with him a bit. Back in October, we performed duo at the Catalytic Sound Festival at the Elastic Arts Foundation. We were both happy with our set and I have decided to release it as a CD on Relay. Pre-order is now available, you can give a listen here:
Outside of all these releases, what does the future hold? I guess it all depends on where we are heading with respect to the virus. I have many plans and some nice things that I am really looking forward to including a tour of Europe in May with Earscratcher (Elisabeth Harnik on piano, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Dave Rempis on reeds). A new quartet that I am writing for with Josh Berman on cornet, Molly Jones on tenor saxophone, and Jakob Heinemann on bass, a new trio called Birdwatchers with Marvin Tate on voice and Mars Williams on reeds. A new quartet with trumpeter and composer Russ Johnson, a slew of recording projects. The list goes on and on. For example, I plan to continue a monthly teaching and performance residency down in Columbia, SC. I’ve been fortunate to make it down there a handful of times in 2021 to and I look forward to meeting up with all of my dear friends and students there in 2022 as well.
Here’s a clip of the last performance I did down there from back in November. Luke Stewart on bass and Jacob Wick on trumpet. Live at the If Art Gallery:
So, that’s a rundown as to what I’ve been up to in the improvised music department since the world went on lockdown back in March of 2020. Many thanks in advance for checking out some of these releases as well as for your interest in non commercial music in general. I really look forward to seeing many of you up close and in person once it’s truly safe to do so. Until then, stay well!
Cover Photo Credit: Steve Kaiser