Gordon Beeferman / Dafna Naphtali duo – album “Pulsing Dot”

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Pulsing Dot, is the debut release by the duo of Gordon Beeferman (piano) and Dafna Naphtali (voice, electronics) on Clang label (Denmark) September 2017, with cover art by Julia Stoops.

In settings and improvisations for piano and voice, with kinetic sound processing, fractal rhythms, and generating polyphonic / kaleidophonic disturbances, Gordon Beeferman fleshes out protean fragments into strikingly visceral structures and landscapes that take the piano to its limit, and Dafna Naphtali augments her high energy live processing of Beeferman’s piano with extended vocal techniques/sounds/multi-modal singing and her custom take on hand and voice-activated electronics.  Pulsing Dot press release.

Available here:

downloads:  iTunes  or   Bandcamp
Preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xXYtBu3QYM
CDs from: • Downtown Music Gallery (NYC),       Squidco (by mail)
Discogs.com Page: https://www.discogs.com/Dafna-Naphtali-Gordon-Beeferman-Pulsing-Dot/release/11638914
CLANG Label: http://clang.cl/clang054_naphtali-beeferman_pulsing-dot/

“An extraordinary and stunning release…extended and multidimensional..almost of orchestral and theatrical proportions to use an inadequate comparison. The music really breathes and is full of energy, not losing itself in meaningless experimentalism and stays focused and very together.” (Vital Weekly)

Gordon Beeferman & Dafna Naftali - SOUP & SOUND 09-09-17
Gordon Beeferman & Dafna Naphtali – SOUP & SOUND 09-09-17

“live interaction between the collaborators makes for some truly groundbreaking improvisation” (Peter Thelen, Exposé

“The well-thought-out evolution…slowly unfolds into something more like a sonic daylight.” (Chain D.L.K.)

“Naphtali & Beeferman have hit the nail on the head with this release.. a feedback loop of seamless interaction” (Sigil of Brass)

“quirky & playful”, “unpredictable, yet constantly active track that balances scuttling tension with slurred alien tribal-ness.” (Musique Machine)

watch the video: Dafna Naphtali / Gordon Beeferman live at The Firehouse, Brooklyn, NY, January 2015  https://vimeo.com/149483714


Gordon Beeferman & Dafna Naphtali - SOUP & SOUND 09-09-17
@ SOUP & SOUND 09-09-17 (Scott Friedlander)
Gordon Beeferman & Dafna Naftali - SOUP & SOUND 09-09-17
Gordon Beeferman & Dafna Naphtali – SOUP & SOUND 09-09-1

Luis Tabuenca / Dafna Naphtali duo—— Index of Refraction

“Index of Refraction” is the debut album of the duo of Luis Tabuenca (percussion/ drums), Dafna Naphtali (voice/ electronics), recorded at Harvestworks in NY.  An Index of Refraction of a material is a dimensionless number that describes how light propagates through that medium.  Inspired by this definition, and translated/transposed to musical vocabulary– an index of refraction could be an analogy to the way in which acoustical instruments and the human voice behave when they are sound processed through electronic devices.

Tabuenca and Naphtali first met and performed together October 2013, when Tabuenca invited Naphtali to Festival Audio Tangente in Burgos, Spain, which he curated with the theme of voice and electronics. The duo’s communicative and energetic performance at the festival was the beginning of a long term project, continuing in NY, and in a new recording — “Index of Refraction” was released in April on Acheulian Handaxe as CD or digital download (also iTunes).  The album is also available on naucleshg and Bandcamp: https://handaxe.bandcamp.com/album/index-of-refraction

“secret codes of impromptu action.. elegance behind the expressiveness..Naphtali’s non-figurative melodic diversions, glimpses of a cross of Tenko Ueno and a slightly inebriated Meredith Monk.. “
Massimo Ricci / Touching Extremes.

at work in NY:

After the duo’s initial performance in Spain, Luis Tabuenca came to NY in Spring of 2014 for a residency at NYU’s Waverly labs.   He and Naphtali performed shows around NY —  as a duo, and with other collaborators — trio with Izzi Ramkisssoon (bass), and a quintet at The Firehouse Space with Briggan Krauss (sax), Stephanie Griffin (viola) and Jonas Tauber (bass).    Their work together in NY culminated in the first album of this duo.

..about Index of Refraction:
This new duo release “Index of Refraction” was recorded at Harvestworks in NY.  An Index of Refraction of a material is a dimensionless number that describes how light propagates through that medium.  Inspired by this definition, and translated/transposed to musical vocabulary– an index of refraction could be an analogy to the way in which acoustical instruments and the human voice behave when they are sound processed through electronic devices.

This concept in mind, we improvised music while processing and manipulating our sounds, both electronically and acoustically, in order to create new sonic landscapes, each track is based on the refractive index of a different medium.

Tabuenca-Naphtali duo is available for bookings in Europe
March 11-28th 2017.

Dafna Naphtali y Luis Tabuenca / Festival Audio Tangente, Burgos España Nov. 26, 2013 from Dafna Naphtali on Vimeo.

BicycleWheel-and-Feedback from Dafna Naphtali on Vimeo.

CD Ricardo Arias: New York | Bogotá 2000-2010


Artists: Ricardo Arias, Diego Chamy, Luis Conde & Gabriel Paiuk, Pascal Boudreault, Dafna Naphtali & Yasunao Tone, Sean Meehan, Jefferson Rosas & Juan Sebastián Suanca, Roberto García, Daniel Leguizamón, Daniel Prieto & Rodrigo Restrepo, Nate Wooley & Hans Tammen, Tim Feeney & Vic Rawlings.


Track 5. Miscelánea en General
Ricardo Arias, interactive mapophone, recordings; Pascal Boudreault, computer; Dafna Naphtali, sampling and processing; Yasunao Tone, wounded CD’s. Recorded by Jim Staley live at Roulette (228 W. Bway), New York City, March 26, 2000.


more information: http://tammen.org/cd-ricardo-arias-new-york-bogota-2000-2010/

CD Chatter Blip

Dafna Naphtali – sound processing, electronics & voice
Chuck Bettis – electronics & voice

Buy CD here, or buy at iTunes

Recorded March 2009

1 – council 64 (7:17)
2 – gab jiba (6:33)
3 – hybrid chatter (1:54)
4 – renegade (9:45)
5 – fade flatlands (12:26)
6 – breach (8:05)
7 – blip wiki (6:20)
Total Time: 63:20

CHATTER BLIP is a duo performance piece by Chuck Bettis (electronics/voice and Dafna Naphtail (electronics/processing/voice) — an interstellar multi-character audio operetta involving a multitude of human, alien, and machine voices, in a mash-up of primal and classic sci-fi and electro-acoustics.

Dafna Naphtali + Chuck Bettis: Chatter Blip by hansteg

Track 1:
a petition from a lowly human causes much debate among the Devices (the hybrid electronic beings from planet_64).   The living oracle predicts that all humans must return to earth in order to survive and will soon start an uprising.   The greek chorus are hybrid children — interrupting the proceedings, invading, and playing some ancient earth music they have discovered.

Track 2:
gab jiba
the Supreme Device agitatedly debates with itself about whether or not it can allow the human petitioner to return to her planet.  It fondly recalls the quaint human traditions, and their influence on the culture of planet_64, and especially a favorite– the ritual office dance.    to calm himself he gives orders for some of the humans to be brought in to amuse him.   Meanwhile, unseen, the petitioner surreptitiously slips into an idle transporter.  She starts desperately hitting random buttons, and is suddenly successful and serendipitously and instantly transported elsewhere in the galaxy.

Track 3:
hybrid chatter
the petitioner, now far from planet_64 discovers that her transporter is also itself a hybrid being (although it is not as intelligent as a Device).   To save herself, she befriends it, impersonating a Device. remaining quiet about her identity, she is able to keep the transporter unaware that she is actually a runaway human.

Track 4:
back on planet_64, at a renegade human settlement, humans toil side by side and live in harmony with lower caste machines and decommissioned (former) Devices.     The tribal leader calls the humans together and declares that the time has come for the great uprising and for humans return to their home planet as had long been foretold.   Energized, the humans immediately set to the task of completing the work of many generations, secretly building a transporter of materials that humans have grown and mined themselves (and using designs stolen from the Devices).

Track 5:
the humans  finally lift off in their homemade transporter, to scour the galaxy and find the petitioner in her stolen craft.    But their navigation system is very primitive.   They can only navigate by using their feelings and intuition to communicate with the instruments and locate the petitioner.    As they built the ship themselves, their transporter is not a hybrid, nor a device.  It is powered with the help of mysterious flat beings who also were long ago enslaved by the hybrids and so are in alliance with and loyal to all humans.

Track 6
on planet_64 the council discovers the breach. They angrily realize that the petitioner has made off with a vehicle, and worse, that a renegade group of humans has followed her in rebellion.

Track 7
blip wiki
the renegades’ transporter has located the petitioner and her ship. The two transporters begin to communicate and discover an affinity for each other —  they begin to move closer and attracted to each other both physically and emotionally.   The petitioner, lonely and hopeful, knows that very soon she will be with her people again and finally on her way back to earth.   She sings an ancient song she remembers from a previous life.  She does not know what awaits her.

cd reviews..
François Couture / Monsieur Délire
There are lyrics buried in the effects (and included in the booklet), sci-fi metaphores that give the music a futuristic aura it wears well. These are not songs but edgy improvisations with in a rough though stimulating style.

Massimo Ricci / TemporaryFault
Certain solutions are quite humorous – occasionally awesome – in their warped glory, completely unrecognizable voices utilized as instruments for the generation of baffling soundscapes abounding in rhythmic diversifications, clustery indeterminations and instant outgrowths dressed with timbres from the depth of a black hole.

Andrea Ferrari / Chain DLK
..strange analog-electronic, bleeps, angel vocals, lyrical intersections, outer space yodels .. creates this strange “life after death” experience.



CD Third Eye Orchestra

Innova 225, recorded 2006 at Roulette, New York, released 2008 on Innova, the label of the American Composers Forum. Total Time: 79:34 Minutes. With Mari Kimura (vio), Mark Feldman (vio), Stephanie Griffin (vla), Tomas Ulrich (cel), Briggan Kraus (as, bari), Marty Ehrlich (bcl, fl), Robert Dick (fl, cbfl), Detlef Landeck (tb), Dafna Naphtali (voice, live sound processing), Ursel Schlicht (p/kb), Deman Maroney (p/kb), Stomu Takeishi (b), Satoshi Takeishi (perc), Hans Tammen – concept, realtime arrangement.

To buy check Innova’s website here: http://www.innova.mu/artist1.asp?skuID=336

Liner Notes by Howard Mandel
Composer-conductor-endangered guitarist Hans Tammen is fascinated with creative spontaneity, which is not to say improvisation, if “improvisation” suggests a lack of planning, disregard for expectations and acceptance of casual results. Everything about Third Eye Orchestra, in which Tammen directs 13 of the most virtuosic instrumentalists to ever elude labels or boundaries, indicates mastery and control.
Yet Third Eye Orchestra’s musicians are called upon to assert and enjoy — for their composer-conductor, audience and not least of all themselves — enormous freedoms in their contributions to the ultimate shape of multiple movements adding up to a heroic chamber symphony (or two). Given the multiple results which issue from a single “composition” conducted (and so, created) twice through by Tammen in successive sittings of his ensemble, this album’s two versions, “Antecedent” and “Consequent” (each broken into six titled parts, according to Tammen by coincidence but for convenience) demonstrate how compositional and interpretive processes can work together to everyone’s benefit. Neither composers nor improvisers subjugate themselves under such a plan. And the music that emerges can boast both enough rigor of form and flights of fancy to satisfy all involved.

This was, no doubt, Tammen’s plan from the point of his inspiration by Earle Brown’s “Available Forms” and his determination to assemble an all-star ensemble for an evening-length concert. Third Eye Orchestra documents an extraordinary gathering in December 2006 of New York “downtown” players at Roulette, the most venerable yet diversely lively of all independent downtown performance spaces to feature new and experimental music, as it’s done since 1978. Glancing at the convened personnel, one is hard-pressed to find a player who has not presented music of their own design at Roulette, and several of the soloists (they are all soloists) are acclaimed as not just virtuosi but innovators on their instruments. As spontaneous composers-improvisers-call-them-what-you-will, these musicians do not stop even at devising new techniques; their aim is to use those techniques for purposes of self-expression. Considering the sensitivity and sophistication of their accomplishments across all these dimensions, it would be wasteful folly for a composer to dictate notes to them. But considering the wealth of ideas the collective can summon instantaneously, preconceived plot and guidance through it seem desirable, if not essential.

Though Tammen draws from a single repertoire of some 150 pre- conceived musical units for both performances of Third Eye Orchestra here, he never intended to cast the two performances in a single mold. “Opening” (set 1, part 1) starts with Mari Kimura’s exquisite violin exposition backed by low pitch alternations and a second intersecting part for a different subgroup of instruments, and makes the concert instantly welcoming by posing it as calm, perhaps meditative, clear and enveloping, moving gradually from near-unison towards polyphonic, polytimbral, polyrhythmic and polymetric complexities.

The mood changes radically as alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss asserts a rough-edged leading voice in “Death Clock,” and the brothers Stomu and Satoshi Takeishi (bass and percussion, respectively), along with pianist Ursel Schlicht, become ever more insistent, but the strings that follow them refer to the parts established in “Opening,” even as flutist Robert Dick takes off on a tangent of his own. The live sound processing Dafna Naphtali conjures in “Mdina Experience” even as she’s singing wordless harmony, triggers an episode that floats over Marty Ehrlich’s bass clarinet and rhythmic outbursts, leading to Detlef Landeck’s heroic trombone feature (he flew to New York from Germany, just for this concert), out of which comes a flute-contrabass flute (Ehrlich and Dick) duet that’s almost pastoral in nature, joined by Stephanie Griffin on viola, then Tomas Ulrich on cello. Mark Feldman’s tender violin, leaping to a penetrating high note over pianists Schlicht and Denman Maroney’s contemplative chords in “Verrano,” reset the overall mood. “Triadic Closure” commences with high-string tension, gains lowest register rumbles and Naphtali’s voice and processor-sweeps, horn riffs, off-kilter drum punches, Schlicht’s keyboard-spanning touches, and Krauss’s baritone sax squall to a pin-point end.

Suffice it to say Tammen’s second set has none of the first’s passages; “Consequents'” six parts do not even match the lengths of “Antecedent’s.” The moment was different, for players and audience alike certainly as cast to a degree by the effect of the first set’s parts. So how could the musicians, or the conductor/ composer, settle for the same?

It is difficult, nay impossible, to assert that either performance is “better” than the other, especially when the digital format of this album allows a listener to reshuffle the sequence of parts to his or her own heart’s content. There are many strikingly beautiful moments — for instance, the tutti comprising much of “Subtle Inconsistencies” — due to the combined talents of Tammen and his musicians; they would surely be less “beautiful,” cogent or coherent without either composer-conductor or this particularly alert and quickly responsive musical cohort. The combination of the two arrives at something inseparable, a sonic event that wraps impulse around forethought in a way that each survives and thrives. Take the single point of view of a composer-conductor, add in the multiple perspectives of a baker’s dozen top-flight instrumental improvisers, and come up with sound that’s broad and penetrating, all encompassing yet selective, too. Every listener may decide, individually, whether this is composition or improvisation, or a third thing that springs from the intermingling of those two, bearing forth Third Eye Orchestra. — Howard Mandel

Howard Mandel, contributor to Down Beat, SignalToNoise, The Wire and National Public Radio, is author as well of Miles Ornette Cecil — Jazz Beyond Jazz (Routledge, 2008).

Jacob Baekgaard (AllAboutJazz)
In jazz circles, New York is known for cultivating the sounds of the cutting edge; club Roulette has shown a particular seismographic ability to know what’s happening at the fringes of jazz. If anything, the release of Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra underlines this with striking clarity.
An innovative avant-garde guitar guru, Hans Tammen is mostly known for his elusive technique of endangered guitar, but he’s also the visionary behind the interesting contemporary avant-garde ensemble, The Third Eye Orchestra. Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra presents a live concert recorded at the Roulette. The pure thrill of exploring a world of sound really shines through on this release, which is nothing short of breathtaking.

The idea behind The Third Eye Orchestra is to gather some of the most exciting musicians on the improvising scene and let them perform music of instant composition under Tamman’s guidance. The result is an otherworldly music that feels both thoroughly composed and purely improvised. Formally, the album is split into two sections: “Antecedent” and “Consequent.” Each section is divided into six parts and every part brings forth different solo voices. “Part V – Verrano,” for example, features Mark Feldman’s awe-inspiring violin, who lets the notes soar like birds above the ground, spreading the light against the night sky of Denman Maroney’s muffled, repeated keyboard figures.

The conclusion to “Antecedent” is just as impressive, with vocalist Dafna Naphtali chanting over washes of violin sounds and gentle noise. This is the language of poetic creation, with words compressed to pure sound: humming, scatting and screaming. “Consequent” starts with Briggan Krauss’ honking baritone sax and settles into an abstract groove, only to evolve into a beautiful dialogue between Maroney and violist Stephanie Griffin.

The orchestra includes a wealth of musical voices, but what’s most amazing is how the individuals intuitively find their places in the sheets of sound, alternating between intimate, whispering confessions and cacophonic chaos. Overall, the mood of the album is tranquil, with rich textures and explorations of sound, rhythm and melody.

Ideally, music should appeal to all senses but it is as if this music actually instills a sixth sense or, perhaps, a third eye. What is cultivated then, is a new way of listening, which is what the historical avant-garde was always about—a new way of perceiving the world. Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra is a complete work of art that has the ability to change the world: a masterpiece of musical evocation.

Original Link

Marc Medwin (AllAboutJazz)
This is a stunning live recording from one of improvised music’s most fascinating proponents. Hans Tammen has gathered a dream team of 13 improvising musicians, but that’s hardly the totality of this project, which combines composed material with extemporization to create a score whose modus operandi is constant change on every level.
This is one of those discs that verbiage won’t encapsulate. The music on offer here is not to be compartmentalized, though it exists in discrete but connected sections. These large-scale vignettes might morph and grow with slow intensity or they might groove hard, but they share the performers’ penchant for timbral exploration. Check out the engagingly free inter-registral solo that opens the disc, courtesy of the wonderful violinist Mari Kimura. Below and around it, long-toned exhalations bloom and hang suspended, pause, then recur. They prefigure the final section of “Antecedent,” with its long looming tones shot through with tasteful signal processing, bringing a perfect sense of closure to the disc’s first half.

Journalist Howard Mandel’s liners state that “Consequent” is an alternate version of “Antecedent”‘s material. So different is the execution that resemblances become less important than what occurs in each moment. As its second part, “Subtle Inconsistencies,” unfolds, we can revel in the unique pianism of Denman Maroney as it dissolves effortlessly into Stephanie Griffin’s viola lead.

The production is as good as the music is diverse. Each musician’s identity is readily apparent while a unity is maintained. The Roulette audience is remarkably restrained and it is hard to believe this is a live recording without the accompanying documentation. Mandel’s notes are to the point; he resists hyperbole, focusing instead on simple elucidation of Tammen’s concepts and their genesis.

This is an excellent disc from a musical maverick whose approach keeps evolving. Not easy listening by any means, it will please those with a taste for long-form adventure.

Original Link

Ken Waxman (JazzWord.com)
Expanding his electro-acoustic expertise to a creation for large ensemble, on this CD German-born, New York-based endangered guitarist Han Tammen presents two mesmerizing suites from his 13-piece Third Eye Orchestra.
Apparently unfazed by the superstition about 13, Tammen doesn’t perform, but instead conducts and arranges in real time. Likewise ignoring the superstitious angle, some of Manhattan’s most accomplished and innovative musicians – and one ringer – handle with aplomb Tammen’s creation which calls for equal facility with improvisation and notated music, acoustic instrumental techniques and familiarity with electronic excursions. Although billed as two, six-part versions of the same piece – “Antecedent” and “Consequence” – it’s a tribute to all concerned that neither version mirrors the other. While the separately titled tracks exhibit certain homogeneity, soloists never eschew individuality even while blending with the others in section work or contrasting passages.
The ringer here is trombonist Detlef Landeck, a musical associate of Tammen’s from the Fatherland. Having flown from Germany especially for the concert, his contributions are particularly expressive. On “Antecedent: Part III: Mdina Experience” for instance, the measured dual keyboard pulsations and backbeat percussion cushion a contrapuntal duet between Stomu Takeishi’s thumb-popping electric bass and Landeck’s wide-ranging brays and blurts that finally swell to full-fledged gutbucket slurs. Mixing Trad Jazz-style wah-wahs and New music-like staccato tonguing on “Consequent: Part I: Istres Control”, Landeck matches Briggan Krauss’ baritone saxophone growls which in themselves proceed chromatically with the single-mindedness and strength of a boar searching for truffles. Then as part of Consequent’s finale, the last measures of pitch-sliding strings plus percussionist Satoshi Takeishi’s dense backbeat are superseded by dexterous tongue slaps and unaltered air forced through Landeck’s s horn’s body tube, adumbrating the concluding silence.

Overall nearly every sonic incursion corresponds with Tammen’s game plan, and eventually becomes interlocking parts of the whole. Hear Krauss’ work for other instances. Not just a low-pitched sax specialist, on alto saxophone he contributes jagged glissandi that at times balance the subtle murmuring from Dafna Naphtali’s sound-processed voice and elsewhere provide altissimo comments on metronomic piano chording. Meanwhile, Robert Dick’s sharp flute shrills moderate Krauss’ low-pitched sax lines at points and in another instance operate alongside spiccato slides from the string quartet.

Among the other textures in use by members of the lucky 13 are mercurial pitch-sliding and sharp, dissonant string slices from cellist Tomas Ulrich; zither-like twanging and rebounding from Denman Maroney’s prepared piano; plus Ursel Schlicht double-timed syncopation that expands from pecking, clipping and popping whether she plays acoustic piano or electric keyboard.
Not that some instruments’ traditional tones are neglected either. “Antecedent: Part V: Verrano” for example, begins with a violin solo from Mark Feldman that is almost classically pure in execution. As Maroney’s keyboard contributes further flowing patterns, the result resembles a chamber recital – especially when the other strings join with unison romantic glissandi.

Taken as a whole, both versions of the composition abound with similar connections and contrasts. “Consequent: Part IV: Intentionally Left Blank” for one, layers abrasive and shuddering multi-stops from the strings alongside vamping horn timbres and burbling, motor-driven electronic whizzing, held together by a solid bass line. But to isolate the praiseworthy skill that goes into the band members creating yet another slithering keyboard run or a bit of flying spiccato from a fiddler would be pointless.
More generic to the session is the realization that as a conductor, arranger and conceptualizer, Tammen now appears to have equaled his skill as an instrumentalist. One would hope that more large-scale works are planned for the future.

Original Link

Bruce Gallanter (DMG)
…for this disc, perhaps’ Hans finest moment yet, he has dispensed with his guitar altogether and he plays or directs an amazing downtown all-star orchestra. At first I was surprised that I missed this dynamite concert, but realized later that it was the same month that Manny & I curated at The Stone, hence I was there every night but Mondays, when The Stone is closed.
This disc is split into two halves with 6 parts in each. The first six parts are called “Antecedent” and the second are called “Consequent.” Hans brought together a most impressive downtown all-star orchestra for this concert and session. Right from the beginning of “Opening,” the great microtonal specialist violinist Mari Kimura is dazzling us with her beyond-the-limits of normal range playing. I love the minimal, haunting background suspense while Marty Ehrlich plays his cautious bass clarinet. Each section features a different soloist or handful of soloists playing an inspired solo(s) over Hans’ consistently engaging charts and/or direction. I dig the bent and barbed music that Hans has written, sections often don’t last too long before they are transformed into another quirky section. Hans’ wife, Dafna Naphtali is an extraordinary experimental vocalist and performs a few short but exciting solos. There are a number of superb solos from Mark Feldman, Detlef Landeck (a new name for me), Briggan Krauss, Robert Dick and Denman Maroney. This entire piece sounds well-planned, well-recorded and well-executed. Plus it is nearly 80 minutes long and it is consistently riveting for that long duration. Quite a great of big bang for your ($14) buck. Again, the good folks at Innova have provided us with another modern day classic.

Chris Kelsey (Jazz.com)
Those familiar with Hans Tammen most likely associate him with “endangered guitar,” the term he’s given his highly processed, largely textural electric guitar concept. Third Eye Orchestra is another aspect of his musical personality. Recorded live at Roulette, Downtown NYC’s premier presenter of experimental music, Tammen guides a group of 13 exceptional free improvisers through two performances of his minimalist-inspired, multi-movement composition titled “Antecedent” (in its first guise) and “Consequent” (in its second). “Part I: Opening” begins with the eel-y improvised squiggles of Mari Kimura’s violin. Groups of instruments make measured entrances. The atmosphere intensifies, then calms, as Marty Ehrlich plays a tightly focused, dynamically restrained bass clarinet solo. Ehrlich’s improvisation ends the movement, yet serves largely as a segue into the next section, as Tammen’s charges go on to explore nearly 80 minutes’ worth of a nicely balanced mixture of improv and composition.
Matthew A. Somoroff (Jazz Perspectives 2009)
Hans Tammen’s Third Eye Orchestra documents a 2006 live concert at New York City’s Roulette venue. Roulette—along with the Knitting Factory, NuBlu, the now-defunct Tonic, and its successor, The Stone—remains a stronghold of the Downtown experimental music scene in Manhattan. Melding elements of free jazz, experimental rock, electronica, and contemporary concert music, Third Eye Orchestra sits comfortably within the (anti)genre of “Downtown.” Tammen’s role on this album is similar to that of Butch Morris in the latter’s “conductions.” Here, Tammen directs a thirteen-piece ensemble through two semi-structured improvisations titled “Antecedent” and “Consequent.” The members of this ensemble will be familiar to followers of the Downtown scene, as this group includes violinist Mark Feldman, multi-wind player Marty Ehrlich, flautist Robert Dick, and keyboardist/hyperpianist Denman Maroney.
Most fans of avant-garde jazz can recall times when collective improvisations that deliberately flout generic boundaries have become self-indulgent, runaway musical trains that alienate the audience. Thankfully, this is not the case with Third Eye Orchestra. What I assume to be Tammen’s direction tempers the prodigious talents of the group’s thirteen musicians and keeps the musical events flowing with an attention to timbral and stylistic variety. A passage early on in “Consequent,” might be found in a chamber work by Olivier Messiaen or Toru Takemitsu. Here, winds and strings play in a high register accompanied by bright dissonant chords on piano. Ultimately, electric bassist Stomu Takeishi enters with a riff resembling Miles Davis’s “Ife,” now accompanying a flute solo (track 8, 5:35, through track 9, 3:26). Later on, brass and strings play an agitated, one-note riff as a background to free blowing by winds and electronics (track 9, 8:15-10:35). Just as this texture veers further toward a chaotic mass of convoluted and overlapping melodies, electric bass and drums enter to provide a heavy, rock-influenced bottom to the proceedings, eventually taking over the texture to engage in a drum and bass duet (track 10, 4:30-7:43; this time marking refers to the entire descriptive sentence which precedes it).

Third Eye Orchestra is the brainchild of New York composer Hans Tammen. The thirteen-piece ensemble consists of some of the Big Apple’s most notable modern improvisers, each capable of delivering on-demand virtuosity. Recorded live in 2006, the disc consists of two lengthy suites: “Antecedent” and “Consequent.” The performances are all slightly pre-conceived, lightly structured provocations, enticing group oriented spontaneity from each musician.
Dark, sometimes brooding ensemble passages mix and mingle with extended solo cadenzas, creating layers of intensity, at times unsettling and frantic. Tammen’s compositional arsenal includes simple vamp figures (“Opening,””Coup D’Archet” and “Triadic Closure”) and bombastic clusters (“Istres Control,””Intentionally Left Bank”). Each piece melds into the next, creating a continuous motion of ever-changing sonic coloring.

One of the disc highlights, and there are many, is the string section extravaganza on “Treadmill” featuring violin soloists Mark Feldman and Mari Kimura with violist Stephanie Griffin and cellist Tomas Ullrich. Other notable solos come from alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss on the rocked-out “Death Clock,” trombonist Detlef Landeck on “Mdina Experience” and fretless bassist Stomu Takeishi rendering a distorted tirade at the end of “Intentionally Left Bank.”

Full of spontaneity and unconventional risk-taking, Third Eye Orchestra is a captivating ride, winding through improvised peaks and valleys.

Jay Collins (Cadence Magazine)
…The proceedings unfold cohesively, though there are many high water marks worth mentioning. As for the first section, “Antecedent,” thrives due to Mari Kimular’s textual musings on “Opening,” Briggan Krauss’ turbulent alto on “Death Clock,” Detlef Landeck’s haughty trombone amidst the Takeshi brothers’ roiling groove on “Mdina Experience” and the marvelous string-play during the last two sections, especially Mark Feldman’s violin and the processed vocals of Dafna Naphtali.
As for “Consequent,” Krauss’ excitable baritone work boils against the Takeshi groove, the strings swirl and an electronically manipulated vamp eventually emerges on “Zipangu,” spurred by Ehrlich’s fierce bass clarinet reverie. The final three sections continue the vibrant mix of instrumental collages, a blending of foreboding minimalism, solemnity, high-level sound processing and terse, hidden melodies meant to remind that within these shrouds of experimentalism, melodic counterpoint can serve as an effective hallmark. On the whole, the experience is, for the most part, riveting. While some of the moments do become somewhat unwieldy, Tammen’s unique fusion of composerly and improvisational terrains and a collective of brilliant soloists provide a wonderfully unique endeavor.

Bill Meyer (The Wire)
As improvising orchestras go, Hans Tammen is rather conservative. By setting himself up as a composer and conductor – the carefully articulated string passages should clue you to the presence of a score even if you never see the picture of Stomu Takeishi reading sheet music in the CD booklet – he retains a fair degree of control over the shape its music takes. His habit of rearranging the composition between performances, as he has done here, introduces enough variability that you might never know that the album’s two pieces are founded on the same material, but it also tips the balance away from total freedom.
Sam Prestianni (East Bay Express)
…too much ugly, too little beauty…

CD Mechanique(s) Live at Logos, Ghent

AHA 0801, recorded 2001 at Logos Foundation, Ghent, Belgium, released 2008 on Acheulian Handaxe. Total Time: 62 minutes. With Dafna Naphtali – voice, live sound processing, Hans Tammen – endangered guitar, Martin Speicher – altosax, bassclarinet.

Buy here or buy at iTunes

mechanique(s) is an ongoing collaboration between Dafna Naphtali, Hans Tammen and Martin Speicher involving live electronics, endangered guitar, reeds and voice. The trio was formed to investigate the overlap of various elements of their technical and aesthetic practices — in compositions and improvisational settings for Naphtali’s interactive processed sound/noise system, Speicher’s extensive sound palette of extended techniques on saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet, and Tammen’s mechanical and electronic manipulations for guitar.

Dafna Naphtali (www.dafna.info) singer, sound artist/improviser and composer, comes from a genuinely eclectic background of music-making. In the early 90’s she began studying classical voice and turned her attention to contemporary classical and experimental music. She performs and composes using her own custom Max/MSP programming for sound processing of voice and other instruments, appearing in venues and festivals in NY, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Israel and Russia.

Hans Tammen (www.tammen.org) calls his style of performance “Endangered Guitar,” because of the extreme alterations he enacts upon his instrument’s sound and construction. Signal To Noise called his playing “…a killer tour de force of post-everything guitar damage”.

Multi-reed player Martin Speicher has his roots in contemporary classical music as well as in Free Jazz. Since his early concerts in the 80s he performed with Paul Lytton, Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Cecil Taylor, the London Jazz Composer´s Orchestra among others. “Signal to Noise” wrote about him: “Speicher’s (excellent) clarinet playing recalls Boulez’s “Domaines” one minute, Peter Brötzmann the next.”

Massimo Ricci (BrainDeadEternity)

The components of this group share a proclivity to confounding the listeners in regard to the origin of the sonic matter they bring into being. Dafna Naphtali’s voice is processed by a computer running custom Max/MSP programs, its fundamental nature and a gazillion of refractions – altered, intermingled or just obsessively repeated – weighing exactly the same in the overall context. Martin Speicher’s alto sax and bass clarinet appear as pretty normal on a first approach, then non-conform wickedness and idiosyncratic impatience gradually become essential traits in the improvisational setting. As far as the “endangerment” of Hans Tammen’s guitar is concerned, much has already been written; suffice to say that one gathers very different interpretations of concepts such as “virtuosity”, “harmony” and “open-mindedness” after hearing what an instrument originally born with parlour purposes can do in the munificent hands of a bright manipulator.

Interested in “the overlap of various elements of their technical and aesthetical practices”, Mechanique(s) recorded this great disc in 2001 at Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium. That’s right, eight years have gone away meanwhile. But make no mistake – this music proudly shows no wrinkles, sounding as if taped two weeks ago. The musicians wander around structures that glitter as pure diamond and sound absurdly periphrastic at once, pretty distant from certain liturgical behaviours currently found in the reductionist faction of EAI. The improvisations exploit the single members’ total attentiveness in relation to the procedural possibilities, accomplished contortions crowded with sparse culminations, stomach-churning sneering and breathtaking apogees. The only way to escape the logic of rambling transparency shown by the trio is abandoning ourselves to a fantasy of timbral spitefulness, decomposed protocols and, ultimately, extraordinary complexity defining the absolute gratification of organisms ready to accept and swallow hundreds of consecutive contrasting messages that, miraculously, make the whole work like a perfectly oiled machine.

Emotions are hidden everywhere if we only want to find out – even behind warped sounds. There’s an urgent need to launch a repulisti of all the convention-derived encrustations of the intellect to realize what’s actually possible. This is much better than letting someone dictate the rules of your knowledge – in the name of an aim that does not exist – tracing a depressing trail according to which one arrives at the end of life without having done nothing meaningful or at least intelligent. Wasted time is not returned to anyone.

Andrea Ferraris (ChainDLK)

This live recording at the Logos Foundation in Ghent presents the performance of another interesting live-impro trio using a massive dose of electronic filters and sounds: Dafna Naphatali (voice, live processing) and Hans Tammen (endangered guitar) twist and reshape heavily the nature of their “instruments” while Speicher’s alto-sax and bass clarinet is more easily distinguishable. One of the most interesting characteristics offered by the trio is represented by their natural attraction for dilated atmospheres and for we can label as a visionary approach. Don’t expect it to be your usual abstract aphasic fragmented performance, they superimpose different layers without creating a wall of sounds but at the same time they team-up to paint the whole room of a single color. They also throw in several odd melodies which ease the tension a little bit, infact even if this’ not exactly a nervous release most of these odd melodies end resulting weird or deep. Believe it or not the whole work is not just odd or weird, these improvisations have a melodic heartbeat pulsing underneath and its intensity sometimes is really catchy. Some really long tracks showing improvisation world sometimes can be looked at with a psychedelic eye.

CD What Is It Like To be A Bat?

Kitty Brazelton has been a mover and shaker in the downtown scene for well over a decade; a singer, bandleader and composer of striking originality. Along with Dafna Naphtali, she performs two extended suites of twisted, powerful chamber rock blending a raucous punk aesthetic with vocal harmonies, noise and much, much more. Complex, visionary weirdness from two of the strangest minds in contemporary music.   Released August 2003.

Buy physical CD here at Tzadik Website or on Bandcamp.

Band website:  http://www.kitbraz.com/bndl/bat

Kitty Brazelton: Voice, Computer Soundtracks, Electric Bass, Sampler
Dafna Naphtali: Voice, Live Audio Processing, Max/MSP, Electric Guitar
Danny Tunick: Drums, Octapad, Voice, Electric Bass, Sampler, Soprano Recorder
with Paul Geluso: Filtering, Voice