We use cookies on our website to provide you with the best experience. Most of these are essential and already present.
We do require your explicit consent to save your cart and browsing history between visits. Read about cookies we use here.
Your cart and preferences will not be saved if you leave the site.
Special 10% discount on all available Klanggalerie items until Sunday at midnight!

Jason Stein, Marilyn Crispell, Damon Smith, Adam Shead

Spi​-​raling horn

Label: Balance Point Acoustics

Format: CD

Genre: Experimental

Preorder: Releases May 3rd 2024


The trio of bass clarinetist Jason Stein, double bassist Damon Smith, and drummer Adam Shead’s collaboration with master pianist Marilyn Crispell came to fruition by way of Smith and Crispell’s mutual admiration of iconoclastic visual artist Cy Twombly. Due to their shared  appreciation and dialogue surrounding Twombly’s work Smith began to conceptualize what shape a collaboration between the two might take. Smith’s ideation ultimately resulted in two concerts and a studio engagement with Crispell and the prolific trio of Stein, Smith, and Shead. On spi-raling horn the listener is invited to experience the aforementioned studio date as it happened, having the album’s tracks sequenced in the order in which the quartet recorded them, leaving nothing on the cutting room floor. 

On a “song paid by singing” Crispell pokes and prods the quartet with pin-point rhythmic accuracy and constant harmonic motion, bolstering the angular motifs of Stein and Smith forward, building pressure that fulminates with each of Shead’s focused punctuations. On “the ground laid open” the ensemble takes a different approach than the previous two tracks’ all encompassing intensity, inviting the listener into a world of rolling duos which ultimately culminates in a drastically stripped back quartet sound. The fifth track on the album, “so close it cut my ribs”, brings the quartet into a beautiful, floating, and melancholic melody reminiscent of the romantic sound world that can often be attributed to Crispell. Stein shines as his bass clarinet soars over Crispell’s masterful chords, while Smith and Shead provide forward momentum and atmosphere to boot. The last two tracks of the album, “back and back out” and “a rusted bell’s clank”, harken back to the non-idiomatic and rhythmically complex sound world that was introduced at the outset of this roughly 62 minute entry.

Shead’s ability to provide an unrelenting onslaught of rhythmic cacophony that is deeply rooted in the interactions between himself and his compatriots is showcased wonderfully here, displaying influences from the likes of Tony Oxley and Rashied Ali. With cover art by Cy Twombly and liner notes by Nathaniel Mackey spi-raling horn is a fully conceptualized document providing the listener with top tier free improvisation from four of the finest musicians working today. 

Cat. number: bpaltd20020
Year: 2024

More by Jason Stein, Marilyn Crispell, Damon Smith, Adam Shead