As always, I hope you are reading this in both good spirits and good health. I wanted to share with you my latest drum video, a solo that I captured while testing out a few lights in the studio and after a rather lengthy and long-overdue practice session. Initially, I wanted to share this video this past Friday, but some of the recent events both abroad and domestically, as well as the subsequent public reactions, weighed heavily on my conscious and I felt it best to let what took place be, choosing instead to take time to reflect. Some of my writings can be found on my personal Facebook account, while the other writings shall remain in my journal. For now though, please enjoy this video as it does truly come from the heart, and if anything, be good to one another.
As always, it is my hope that this message finds you well and in good spirits. I quickly wanted to brief you all on the goings-on over in this neck of the woods pertaining to John Zorn’s Simulacrum band and Imperial Triumphant.
‘The Painted Bird,’ the most recent offering of John Zorn & Simulacrum, is available now via Tzadik Records and to my knowledge, is currently ranked #15 out of 100 for Contemporary Jazz Album and #50 out of 100 for Top Jazz Album. This came as a bit of a shock to all of us since the majority of the list is comprised of some of the most popular names in Jazz today, who more often than not create music that is significantly easier on the ear (as well as the eye, most likely) and palette, so to be ranked among them is quite a treat. Perhaps the Jazz audience is a bit more adventurous of things most would deem frightening than I’ve always assumed but none the less, we are all proud of this release and can’t wait for you all to hear what’s in store for the trio. We already have a fifth record “in the can”, and we may have some touring news for you all very soon. If you want to hear what it would sound like if Moonchild and Nova Express had a love child, look no further than this album. Now, speaking of touring…
Imperial Triumphant will heading to the west coast starting next week in support of Uada & Witchavenin the Devoid of Light Tour, but we will not do so empty handed. We will also be sharing our latest offering, an EP we call ‘Inceste‘, so for those of you on the west coast, you will be some of the first to receive our latest physical release. Official release date will be April 15th via Redefining Darkness Records. I’m proud to say that not only does this release feature my drumming, but also some of my choral arranging and song writing as well, with “Oblivion in Morsels” being an original composition of mine that we thought could fit well with the dynamic of the EP, as well as the choir in the beginning of “Breath of Innocence” being an original row of mine composed for the release. A bit of personal trivia: This release also marks my first foray into working with my wife, writer, make up artist, and vocalist Julie Castro, who along with multi-instrumentalist Aaron Kruziki of Dapp Theory and vocalist Sarai Chrzanowski performed the Choir parts in both “Breath of Innocence” and “Oblivion In Morsels”.
Lastly, I will leave you with my latest video, documenting our last rehearsal for the upcoming IT tour. Thanks for checking in and I will hopefully see you soon. Until then, be well and remember that the Future is Now.
I hope you are all well these days. I wanted to share with you a recent interview I did with drummer Jody Smith of Beast Modulus for his music podcast entitled, “CrashBangBoom!”, where I talk about the forming of Abraxas, Simulacrum, working with Secret Chiefs 3 & Zorn, plus a bit of my personal history. For those of you into that sort of thing, take a listen below!
I hope this message finds you all well and and at ease. Now that January is in full swing and my schedule has lightened, I will come back to updating this site and keeping you all abreast as to what is going on. As it is, I do have some rather happy news to tell you, so on with the info.
Earl Maneein-violinist and founder of the bands Resolution 15 & Seven)Suns– and I have been working on a new project together that we call, “Black Heart Sutra”, a group that exists well within the bounds of Metal, but is a place where Earl and I can explore our writing and improvisatory impulses, a medium for us to keep composing together. As of this week, we begun reworking one of the first songs that we wrote together under the new moniker titled, “The Transitioning”. I made a quick behind the scenes video of our session earlier this week documenting our new ideas for the song and making plenty of adolescent jokes.
As always, I hope this message finds you in the best of spirits and moods. Lately, it seems as though there is much turmoil in the world and let’s be frank about it; The world is not doing so well these days. But, I believe it can still be better and that ultimately, one way or another, it shall. Perhaps it could be that as I write this I’m watching South Park, a show that always tends to put me at ease in ever so strange as that may seem. It works wonders.
I wanted to take some time to update this site since it’s been quite a while, but it feels grossly inappropriate to be talking about what’s been happening the last few weeks and the in the weeks to come, but I can say that at least on a personal level, it has been wonderful. Dapp Theory had a wonderful little stint in the north east, performing in New York City’s Cornelia Street Cafe, Montreal’s Resonance Cafe, and New Haven’s Firehouse 12, which was followed by a very special show of John Zorn’s Simulacrum at The Village Vanguard. To be honestly cliched, it went by in a blur of a whirlwind, one that I will never forget. Many thanks to those of you who came out to support us. Immediately following this show, Simulacrum returned to Eastside Recording Studios to record the fourth studio album, featuring Kenny Wollesen on Vibes. It took us two day’s to track and a little over a day to mix, once we all was said and done with this we went out for our very first run as a band. It truly was a fun and spectacular run, another milestone for the band and for us personally. It will have been only a year this coming December that this band has existed, and already it’s been a dream come true. All in all, it’s been wonderfully fun.
As I’ve finally updated the calendar- not completely, but soon it will all be sorted- There are some exciting shows coming up this very week, starting Thursday with Felix Pastorius & Hipster Assassins at one of our favorite haunts, The 55 Bar. We will also be playing this coming Sunday along side Mass Mental at the premier of Rob Trujillo’sJaco: A Documentary Film, at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Before that, Braindance will once again be performingin NYC at Santos Party House. Pretty soon I will have a couple of videos up from one of our practices, once again in the crude, guerrilla-style, spiderman-angeled way that I seem to take videos. While we are on the subject of videos… Abraxas, Live in Bogota
Dapp Theory, Live at Cornelia Street Cafe
Simulacrum, Live in Philly
I will leave this post here for now, but as always be well and I hope you enjoy yourselves! till next time…
As always, I hope that this message finds you all in good spirits and in good health. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, then you probably already are aware of what I’ve been up to, but for those of you who only follow me here the summer has been quite hectic. Between the near-release of the 2nd Simulacrum Trio, lead by John Zorn and entitled ‘The True Discovery of Witches and Demons‘ where we are joined by Trevor Dunn on Bass and Marc Ribot on Guitar, as well as the recording and completion of the 3rd Simulacrum Trio, entitled ‘Inferno‘, The Secret Chiefs 3 Residency at the Stone, the recent release of Jonathan Powell & Nu Sangha’s latest album, ‘Beacons of Light‘, and the more recent recordings of Nora McCarthy’s upcoming solo album which features members of Jorge Sylvester’s ACE Collective and lastly the completion of guitarist Rez Abbasi‘s upcoming album for his new band called Junction. To say the least, it has been quite a epic and time consuming-yet-rewarding summer.
Rez’ new group is in the vein of Modern Jazz Fusion and consists of Ben Stivers on Hammond Organ, Synths and Rhodes, as well as Mark Shim on Tenor Sax and MIDI Breath Controller. We had a blast recording the album, all of which took two days to track at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY. For those of you who would like a sneak peak, or for those who are simply drum enthusiasts, I am in the process of editing and uploading some isolated drum videos to my YouTube page from the sessions entitled “In Studio With Rez Abbasi’s Junction“, of which two of the four have gone public. I am currently editing the 3rd video before my show tonight with Richard Padron Trio over at Bar Next Door so if you are free tonight and in NYC we play three sets starting at 7:30pm. The music for this new group is adventurous and enigmatic and I feel that the energy behind what we captured is powerful and should hopefully cause a few heads to turn. We shall see, but lets say that it was insanely fun to record this album ;).
Digressing, below are the two videos I’ve uploaded so far for the songs. I hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed playing this material and although there are no more dates in the book currently, Junction will be playing out and touring in the very near future- Nearer would be the upcoming tours with Dapp Theory and Simulacrum both this fall, more news on that as the time nears- so once those dates go public I will post them here and everywhere that I can!
Until next time, be well and enjoy the music and if you haven’t already, find me on all my social media outlets where we can actually connect and communicate!
Thank you for joining again on what appears to be a slow transition into Spring and I must say that it is a welcome one at that! I’m beyond excited to announce that John Zorn’s ‘Simulacrum’ is now available via Tzadik! I don’t think I can accurately describe how happy I am that this record is now in the world, not to mention that this is only part of a whole series to come still. Thus far, we’ve tracked two albums with a third being composed as I write. There are a few more albums that I will be working on with Zorn in the very near future, some involving Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’ Abraxas, another project with John Medeski, and a few more things to come but for now here’s a brief description of the new album:
The most extreme organ trio ever, Simulacrum is yet another wild new direction from Downtown Alchemist John Zorn, who continues to explore new worlds and new ensembles into his sixth decade.
Dramatic through-composed pieces that unfold with a cinematic logic, this genre bending music defies classification, touching upon metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise and more. Passionately performed by an unusual all-star trio of John Medeski (MMW), Matt Hollenberg (Cleric) andKenny Grohowski (Abraxas) this is powerful and fascinating music that highlights the MENTAL in experimental! Riveting!”
Also available now is the critically acclaimed release by Imperial Triumphant entitled ‘Abyssal Gods’ which is available now via Aural Music & Code666! This effort I’ve talked about several times in the past, but despite how tricky it is to find the link, here it is for all your digital downloading glory. This May we will be hitting the road with Thantifaxath for a brief US run throughout the midwest and East Coast- unfortunately sans Alex Cohen and Erik Malave– but I will be holding down the fort with bassist Steve Blanco for the outing. I will post tour dates on the site very soon.
Thank you for checking out the music and stay tuned as I will be posting a new video tonight. NO, it’s NOT the quintuplet lesson video part two, because all the raw footage for that is gone and needs to be re-shot and cut all over again, but instead tonight you will get to see and hear the raw files of selected takes on Richard Padron’s upcoming solo album. I’ve labeled it as ‘Episode 1’ and I will continue to post them as we go song by song over the next several months. Richard and I have been friends for almost 20 years and have been making music together for almost as long. He is basically the guitar equivolvent of my playing style, if that helps shape the perception of his musical prowess His writing is beautiful and rich mixture of Cuban Timba, Jazz, Folkloric musics, Electronica, and Classical all rolled into the manic expression of pure art. I cannot wait for this album to see the light of day.
As always, thank you for watching and check out my Itinerary for upcoming tour dates!
I wanted to quickly write you all to let you know that some reviews have been coming in for the upcoming album of avant black metallers, Imperial Triumphant. Here is a link for the No Clean Singing and for The Metal Observer reviews. I will let their words speak for themselves…
Here are a couple of places where you can hear two tracks that I’ve recorded for the album, entitled Dead Heaven, premiered by Decibel Magazine and Krokodil, premiered by No Clean Singing. These are two tracks that I’m rather proud of, so give them a listen and if you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it, spread the word. This was from the flagship full length recording of Solitude Studios and since then we’ve made vast improvements, with the thanks of a few wonderful friends. I have to say that it’s been an honor making music with these guys as well as incredibly and wonderfully cathartic. Perhaps I have many issues in life that I need to work out, but all in all it has been a wonderful experience sharing the drum chair with my good friend and studio mate, Alex Cohen, who has been doing a great job with Malignancy and Pyrrhon, as well as IT. If you can join us, we will be performing this Friday at The Acheron as both Alex and I will be splitting the set, keeping the songs that we’ve each recorded on the record. The new record will be out on March 10th via Aural Music/Code666.
I hope this message finds you in fine spirits and Inwill aim to have some more vids and other news coming up soon. As a little extra and for those of you who may have missed it, here’s my latest video from YouTube entitled, “Practicing Quintuplets With Kenny Grohowski“. (I’ve started you at the “drumfoolery solo in 7”).
I hope all of you have been doing well in this new year, despite some of the craziness that has been taking place in the world. While I am here waiting for some videos that I just shot to upload for editing, I figured now would be a good time to Finally update this page! I’ve added a couple of dates for upcoming shows.
So far, this year has been a bit strange but still rather kind. The NAMM Show was a blast. Seeing old friends, making new ones, checking out some really nice instruments and gear, and it was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating to perform with Felix and the guys in Social Experiment at the 2015 Bass Bash, opening for Victor Wooten. Serious nerves but also tons of fun ensued. For your enjoyment, here are some vids from the gig:
A great way to start the year for sure, but I’m also happy to announce that Imperial Triumphant will be releasing a new album this year, quite soon in fact, via Code666 and Aural Music entitled ‘Abyssal Gods’. You can hear a stream of one of the songs I tracked for the album, “Dead Heaven” at DecibelMagazine.com
Also to be released soon, the first of the new John Zorn– who has taken over The Village Vanguard, so get there and check out those shows!– records that myself, guitarist Matt Hollenberg of the band Cleric, and John Medeski have been working on since December of 2014 entitled ‘Simulacrum‘, will be released this March through Tzadik! It makes me incredibly excited and proud that these records will start to make their way into the world. A lot of hard work went into the creation of this particular album, but it was done so with joy and excitement. We did all the tracking in a couple of days and every minute of that time was spent creating and exploring and having a blast! I’m not sure when the second record is slated to be released, but I assure that both of the records will be something you’ll love to listen to. Rarely do I say that I’m actually proud of my playing on anything I’ve done, but between the latest Dapp Theory Album, ‘Forward In All Directions‘, ‘Abyssal Gods’, and now ‘Simulacrum’, I can safely say that this is a good start ;). There will also be some added merch for Simulacrum, so stay tuned for that announcement as well.
Well, it looks like the videos are all uploaded, so it is now time for me to work on those, so hopefully they will be ready by tonight or tomorrow! I think and hope you guys enjoy it ;). Till next time, stay warm if you’re in the northern hemisphere and I will hopefully have a bit more to write about soon. Actually, there will be more to write about very soon, but until the news is broken I shall remain silent.