Phantom Orchard is the pairing of American multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser Zeena Parkins, and Japanese electronic composer/improviser Ikue Mori. Here they are joined by London's percussion wunderkind Steve Noble who had previously recorded a blistering duo with Ikue for Fataka. As a trio things loosen up somewhat with passages of textural interplay bridging forthright declarations from both 'percussionists' amid some wonderfully unrestrained harp from Parkins shot through with distortion.
Ikue Mori / computer
Zeena Parkins / harp
Steve Noble / drums
Recorded by James Dunn at Cafe OTO on Tuesday 9 September 2014. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Photographs by Dawid Laskowski.
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC.
Part 1 23:59
Part 2 12:20
Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more.
In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins).
Multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser, Zeena Parkins, pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance, re-imagines the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” Parkins has built three versions of her one-of-a-kind electric harp and has extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of electronic processing.
Inspired and connected to visual arts, dance, film, and history, Zeena follows a unique path in creating her compositional works. Through blending and morphing of both real and imagined instruments, crafting, recombining, and layering mangled, sliced, massaged or possibly disengaged sounds, drawing from extra-musical sources for unusual scoring and formal constructions as well as utilizing multi-speaker environments, Zeena remains in process with sound as material and music, engaged in translations of sonic states in the concert hall, the black box theater, the dance studio, the recording studio, the classroom, the cinema, the skyscraper, the ocean and the gallery. Zeena has a particularly strong commitment to making scores for dance and continues to re-evaluate the nature and issues of the body’s imprint on sound and sound/music’s imprint on movement.
Parkins has released four solo records featuring her electric and acoustic harp playing and has released her compositions and band projects on six Tzadik recordings. As a sought-after collaborator Zeena has worked with: Fred Frith, Björk, Ikue Mori, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Chris Cutler, Elliott Sharp, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, William Winant, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Matmos, Yasunao Tone, So Percussion, Bobby Previte, Carla Kilhstedt, Tin Hat, James Fei, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore.
Ikue Mori left Tokyo for New York in 1977, began playing the drums and soon formed the legendary No Wave band DNA with Arto Lindsay and Tim Wright, appearing on the highly influential compilation No New York.
DNA dissolved in the early 80s and Mori began experimenting with drum machines, developing a singular improv style with an instrument people rarely associate with instant composition. As her technique evolved, she moved onto working with a laptop around 2000.
Over the past 3 decades, Mori has accrued an impressive reputation as an improvisor, testified by her stellar cast of collaborators, including John Zorn, Kim Gordon, Jim O’Rourke, Zeena Parkins, Mike Patton, Thurston Moore and an impressive discography courtesy of labels such as Tzadik and Mego. She regularly performs with Parkins as the duo Phantom Orchard and in various combinations with Zorn, and is a member of the trio Death Ambient with Fred Frith and Kato Hideki.
Over 3 decades since her first impact on avant garde music, Ikue Mori’s influence on musical explorers of all generations is still profound.
“Ikue Mori is one of the most respected musicians in the downtown scene, renowned for her abilities as an accomplished composer and improviser and as one of the foremost electronic music innovators” (allmusic)