KUZU is a hard-charging but patient trio that came together in the fall of 2017, after saxophonist Dave Rempis, a stalwart of the Chicago improvised music scene, worked with both Tashi Dorji(guitar) and Tyler Damon (drums) individually as part of a lengthy solo tour of the U.S. that he undertook in the spring of that year. Dorji and Damon’s work as a guitar/percussion duo has become well-known, a highly refined and specific language developed through relentless touring and recording over the last few years, with a sound that straddles improvised music, rock, and any number of as-yet-undefined territories. These two provide an incredibly fresh take on the possibilities inherent to spontaneous composition. Superimposing Rempis into this mix was a logical next step after the relationships they’d forged individually. The trio’s forthcoming debut record Hiljaisuus (“silence” in Finnish…) is slated for release on the well-known Astral Spirits label in summer 2018, to be followed by two separate tours of the United States in late summer and fall.
“Hard to pin down, harder to hold onto. Bent circuit board snake charmers unfurl across hexagonal grids. A seemingly familiar sound but then you realize you have your ear pressed against a reflection. Sunwatchers are a distorted prism to so many past greats. Reminiscent of Ethiopiques, John Handy Band, Terry Riley, Art Ensemble meets Laddio Bolocko…Forever swirling saxophone blended belly to belly with elastic guitar and tin foil thin phin (a thai instrument not unlike an electrified tenor guitar or sitar). A whirlpool of repetitious interpretations. Militaristic marches ascend into meditations. These songs map out great pyramids and deep buried labyrinths. They are massive. They are leviathans.
The band is comprised of NYC improv heavy hitters:
Jim McHugh: Guitar, Electric Phin – Peter Kerlin: Bass – Jeff Tobias: Alto Sax – Cory Bracken: Vibes, Percussion – Jason Robira: Drums – and sitting in are: Dave Harrington: Guitar, Synth – Ben Greenberg: Guitar – Dave Kadden: Keyboard – Jonah Rapino: Fiddle
Notable previous projects include Dark Meat, Arthur Doyle’s New Quiet Screamers, NYMPH, and Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band AND comes with an amazing cover painting of Handsome Jimmy Valiant by artist Scott Lenhardt. A strange but somehow sensible match made in heaven. Dream machinery. Just plain far out. Look for traces of this one in your brain jelly afterwards… cheers” – John Dwyer
Musically, these three create a highly focused pallet of sounds. At times, spacious gestures carve up the canvas with the austerity of a calligrapher, while at others those sparse gestures build into an unstoppable tsunami of energy. Those waves are never impulsive or impetuous though, they ebb and flow logically and patiently out of simple and clearly defined sources. This trio pursues every gesture with tenacity, passing them back and forth until they’ve explored every facet of an idea.