Patchwork (Noa Even, saxophones and Stephen Klunk, drum set) releases its dynamic debut album featuring works written for them by Erin Rogers, Eric Wubbels, Dan Tramte, Osnat Netzer, and Hong-Da Chin. Influenced by the worlds of free jazz, metal, progressive rock, and the avant-garde, Patchwork's commitment to stylistic hybridity is matched by their fidelity to the score.
|01||Zwang und Zweifel|
Zwang und Zweifel
|02||...time was not passing... it was turning in a circle...|
...time was not passing... it was turning in a circle...
“Patchwork” opens with Osnat Netzer’s Zwang und Zweifel, a work exploring the tension between constraint and ambiguity. Stephen Klunk begins the work with three annunciatory tom-tom rolls that quickly devolve almost before they begin, each time breaking apart into phrases that lose strength with each new attack. Noa Even enters with a shrouded line that begins like a hesitant, exploratory dance. Netzer establishes layers of implied counterpoint through registral leaps and distinct timbres in the saxophone, while the percussion highlights specific voices in this linear chorale by playing figures in rhythmic unison with the sax. The “chaos and mayhem” that is referenced in the liner notes is characterized by raw saxophone multiphonics and proto blues riffs. The manic pace of change in the work slows in its middle, as an extended section explores delicate multiphonics and cymbal rolls. Just after the midpoint of the piece, the two instruments join together again for an off-kilter dance, this time more extroverted and angular, before retreating to the inward material that preceded it. As the work builds in intensity and moves towards its close, Netzer creates a texture where the two instruments are filling in a composite rhythm between them, with the percussion frequently hearkening back to the opening rolls, this time on varied instruments.
Hong-Da Chin writes that ...time was not passing... it was turning in a circle... was inspired by Gabriel García Márquez’ iconic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the cyclical nature of time and history. The saxophone plays elliptical, repetitive phrases of snaking microtones as the percussion answers with insistent figures on the cowbell, bass drum, wood block, and tom-tom. The texture explodes momentarily for cathartic crashing figures on the drum set underneath sax multiphonics that conjure distorted power chords. Chin’s cyclical organization manifests itself both on the micro and macro levels in the piece — through the circular, repetitive figures in both instruments, as well as a larger structural pattern of reprising similar material over the form of the work. The piece ends with a rhythmic augmentation on the wood block, briefly echoing the subtle triplet figure that opens the piece on the cymbal.
Eric Wubbels’ Axamer Folio is a modular work consisting of twenty four individual pieces (including solos, duos, and duos that can be combined with other pieces) to be performed in any order determined by the performers. Wubbels has included a wide range of notational approaches in this set, from extremely specific notation to graphic and text scores. Throughout the course of Patchwork’s nineteen minute realization of the piece, one hears tightly coordinated ensemble music, free improvisation, and mechanistic loops. The saxophone part is vivid and colorful, a melange of squeaks, multiphonics, key clicks, and slap tongues that allow the instrument to inhabit sonic worlds evocative of the cacophony of a mass production line one minute and an eerie fragility the next. The percussion palette is equally wide ranging, from vaudeville slapstick coordination to atmospheric ephemera.Read More
In her liner note for Fast Love, Erin Rogers cheekily explains that the piece is divided in six sections, each referencing, albeit tangentially, famous pop songs with the word “love” in the title, by such artists as Tina Turner, Robert Palmer, and The Beatles. The piece we hear on the recording is somewhat less radio ready but no less captivating. Rogers revels in hybrid gestures between the instruments that fuse one timbre with the next; a saxophone inhale gesture is completed by a percussive scrape, a tight roll on a drum is punctuated by a sax tongue ram. Later in the work, the duo settles into a groove broken up by brief vocalizations by Even. After a raucous section of oscillating multiphonics, Fast Love ends with an echo of those alternating pitches, heard now stripped of their bombastic bravado.
Dan Tramte’s scene for his work G®¡ND is a late night deep dive into an obscure corner of the YouTube universe focused on wind-up toys. The piece opens with a one and half minute airy, composite texture that evokes the repetitive sound of gentle snoring, with gestures that combine key clicks, breathy sounds, and a short melodic fragment. Midway through the piece, the sax plays a mournful line, enhanced by shifting multiphonics while Klunk plays actual wind-up toys, adding a subtle range of noise and static timbres. High pitched squeals and glitchy electronic sounds bring the listener inside the cavernous catacombs of the internet’s largest video archive. G®¡ND evolves in fits and starts, consistently retreating to static moments that unfold at the speed of a loading browser. The work’s coda contains its most sustained, regular material, a disembodied march of breath sounds and finger taps, anchored by a repeating, accented three note figure. The calming hiss of white noise leads to a final exhale to close the piece.
Patchwork establishes itself as a duo at the cutting edge of avant-garde repertoire with this recording. The repertoire on the album demonstrates a vanguard instrumental vocabulary that places non-pitched sounds on the saxophone and timbral exploration in percussion on equal footing with conventional techniques. This vocabulary and Patchwork’s virtuosity is put at the service of music that takes nothing for granted, prizing conceptual rigor and a disciplined management of musical material.
– Dan Lippel
Mutually interested in exploring a wide range of contemporary genres, Noa Even and Stephen Klunk formed Patchwork, a saxophone and drum set duo that collaborates with composers to build an eclectic body of new music for their unique instrumentation. The duo has been described as demonstrating "astonishingly tight ensemble” by ClevelandClassical.com and "creating the effect of a hybrid solo instrument" by I Care if You Listen. Since forming the group in 2013, Noa and Stephen have enjoyed the process of working with Osnat Netzer, Erin Rogers, Hong-Da Chin, Jonn Sokol, Eric Wubbels, Nick Didkovsky, Charlie Wilmoth, Dan Tramte, and numerous other composers whose music reflects diverse influences and styles.
Patchwork has been a guest ensemble on numerous college campuses, such as Peabody Conservatory, University of Texas - Austin, College-Conservatory of Music (University of Cincinnati), Washington University, and Ohio University, where they frequently combine performances with composer readings, master classes, and presentations. While Noa and Stephen primarily perform in the Rust Belt region, they have also brought their music to audiences in Toronto, Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Antonio, Austin, and Omaha. During the 2018-2019 season, Patchwork collaborated with Cleveland's No Exit New Music Ensemble on two world premieres by Ohio-based composers.
Noa Even is a Cleveland-based saxophonist dedicated to sparking deeper interest in the arts of today through the performance of contemporary music. She is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project, a non-profit organization aimed at strengthening the artistic engagement of the Northeast Ohio community by championing the creation and performance of new music. Her duos, Ogni Suono and Patchwork, collaborate regularly with composers and provide educational experiences for students of all ages. They have been featured as guest artists at many notable festivals and concert series, including the Singapore Saxophone Symposium, Bowling Green New Music Festival, NEOSonicFest, Omaha Under the Radar, SEAMUS, Outpost Series, Permutations, and Frequency Series. Noa has also presented numerous master classes and clinics at schools across the country and abroad. She teaches at Kent State University and holds a DMA in contemporary music from Bowling Green State University. Noa is a Conn-Selmer and Vandoren artist.
Stephen Klunk is a percussionist and educator based in Northeast Ohio. His performance credits span a range of styles, including contemporary art music, orchestral percussion, and rock and metal drumming. Patchwork, Stephen’s saxophone and drum set duo, has commissioned new works from over a dozen composers, including Eric Wubbels, Osnat Netzer, Dan Tramte, and Nick Didkovsky. Formed in 2013, Patchwork has appeared in St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toronto, and at music schools across the Midwest and Northeastern United States. Stephen holds a master's degree from Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Roger Schupp. He has participated in master classes and taken lessons with accomplished artists Bill Bachman, Travis Orbin, Casey Cangelosi, Michael Burritt, Kevin Bobo, Aiyun Huang, Naoko Takada, and the world famous percussion group, NEXUS.http://www.stephenklunk.com/about
Osnat Netzer (/osˈnat ˈnɛtsɛʁ/) is a composer, performer and educator. Her kinetic, visceral and highly theatrical compositions take inspiration from Embodied Cognition, Newtonian Mechanics, Composed Theatre and Aristotelian Energy Potentiality and Actuality, have been commissioned and performed by soprano Lucy Dhegrae, bass David Salsbery Fry, saxophonists Kenneth Radnofsky, Doug O’Connor and Geoffrey Landman, Patchwork, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), Spektral Quartet and Winsor Music, among many others, published by Edition Peters and earthsongs, and recorded on Bridge Records.
Her opera, The Wondrous Woman Within, was described as “riotously funny” in The New York Times when its first scene was performed at New York City Opera’s VOX festival in 2012 and “challenging and fascinating” by critic Amir Kidron when it received its premiere in a sold out run at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theatre in 2015.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Netzer studied composition and piano at the Israel Arts and Science Academy and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where her primary composition teacher was Menachem Zur. She came to the United States in 2003 for graduate studies in composition with Robert Cuckson at Mannes and continued her studies with Lee Hyla at New England Conservatory, where she earned her doctorate in 2011.
As a pianist and performer, she regularly plays and conducts new music by fellow composers, as well as her own songs and compositions. Also a committed and passionate educator, Netzer teaches at The Walden School and has served on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music of Bard College and Harvard University. This fall, she joins the faculty of DePaul University as Assistant Professor of Composition and Musicianship.http://osnatnetzer.com
Originally from Kajang, Malaysia, Hong-Da Chin explores multiculturalism and diversity. He incorporates cultural elements from the Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures from Malaysia into his music. Being a Chinese flutist of the Chinese orchestra at his high school, he was invited to perform with gamelan groups and Indian traditional ensembles at cultural and political events. Exposure to traditional Malaysian musics instilled the importance of diversity in his creative output.
Chin’s music has been performed in the US, Germany, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Austria, Poland, Israel, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore. The ensembles and performers include the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej (Poland), Bowling Green Philharmonia, Bel Canto Trio, Karr and Mattingly Duo, Altered Sound Duo, Vive Ensemble, Ogni Suono, Patchwork, and Orlando Cela.
The festivals and residencies where his music has been performed include Spoleto Festival USA, World Saxophone Congress, Asian Composers League Festival and Conference, Bowling Green New Music Festival, NEOSonic Festival, Threshold Festival, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Rasquache Artist Residency and Avaloch Farm Institute.
In addition to his work as a composer he is a (Western) flutist and an accomplished Chinese flutist specializing in contemporary music. As a flutist, he has won the Denise Jennings Solo and Ensemble Competitions (Undergraduate Division), the Del Mar College Honors Recital Competition (twice) and the Texas Community College Band Directors’ Association All State Band Concerto Competition. As a Chinese flutist, he has performed at venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall (NYC), Alice Tully Hall (NYC), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington D.C.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Asia Society (NYC), the Phillips Collection (Washington D.C.), the Huntington Library (LA), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C.), Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Silesian Theatre (Katowice, Poland), Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Global Exchange and Spoleto Festival USA.
Chin earned his A.A from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi studying composition with Neil Flory, and flute with Joy Kairies, B.M. from the University of Houston studying composition with Rob Smith and flute with Jennifer Keeney, and M.M. from the University of Louisville studying composition with Steve Rouse and flute with Kathy Karr. He studied composition with Marilyn Shrude and Mikel Kuehn at Bowling Green State University. Chin earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from BGSU in December 2017.
Chin is currently Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Western Illinois University.
Beyond his musical activities, Chin is an avid badminton player.https://hongdachin.com
Eric Wubbels (b.1980) is a composer and pianist, and a Co-Director of the Wet Ink Ensemble.
His music has been performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S., by groups such as Wet Ink Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, yarn|wire, Splinter Reeds, Kupka's Piano (AUS), SCENATET (DK), Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and featured on festivals including Huddersfield Festival, Chicago Symphony MusicNOW, New York Philharmonic CONTACT, MATA Festival, and Zurich Tage für Neue Musik.
Wubbels has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYFA, NYSCA, Fromm Foundation, Chamber Music America, ISSUE Project Room, MATA Festival, Barlow Endowment, Jerome Foundation, and Yvar Mikhashoff Trust, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony ('11, '16, '20), Copland House, L'Abri (Geneva), Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and Civitella Ranieri Center (Italy).
As a performer, he has given U.S. and world premieres of works by major figures such as Peter Ablinger, Richard Barrett, Beat Furrer, George Lewis, and Mathias Spahlinger, as well as vital young artists such as Rick Burkhardt, Francesco Filidei, Erin Gee, Bryn Harrison, Clara Iannotta, Darius Jones, Cat Lamb, Ingrid Laubrock, Charmaine Lee, Alex Mincek, Sam Pluta, Katharina Rosenberger, and Kate Soper.
He has recorded for Carrier Records, hatART, Intakt, New Focus, Spektral (Vienna), quiet design, and Albany Records, among others, and has held teaching positions at Amherst College and Oberlin Conservatory.
Named a “rising star” (Broadway World), saxophonist/composer Erin Rogers is co-artistic director of thingNY, Popebama, New Thread Saxophone Quartet, and Hypercube, and has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, wildUp, Wet Ink, and Talea. Featured on the Ecstatic Music Festival, Prototype Festival, MATA Festival, Decoder's “Unterdeck,” and NYmusikk Bergen (Norway), Rogers has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Centro Nacional de las Artes Mexico City, and the Park Avenue Armory. She can be heard on New Focus Recordings, New World Records, Edition Wandelweiser, and Gold Bolus labels. Her solo album "Dawntreader” is available on Relative Pitch Records.http://www.erinmrogers.com/
In his compositions, Dan Tramte [b. 1985] embraces his digital-nativeness, acknowledging what it means to live in a media saturated post-internet wasteland. As such, his music resembles the experience of playing a video game, or scrolling through a social network feed. For Tramte, mobile social media is in fact his primary platform for composition. 500+ videos on his Vine feed thoroughly documents nearly all of the constituent audio-visual composition materials in his [notated] work and installations from 2014 through 2017—works often featuring oddity-instruments such as DJ Hero controllers, morse code straight keys, GoPro cameras, and mobile devices. Persistent in his efforts to find and cultivate his voice, Tramte values building enduring relationships with performers. He collaborates with musicians/ensembles Nico Couck (two solo works and Ine Vanoeveren duo), Noa Even (solo work and Patchwork duo), Weston Olencki (solo work and Wild Rumpus), Morehshin Allahyari (two audio/visual collaborations), InterSpheres Trio, Murat Çolak, Marek Poliks, Keith Kirchoff, working on multiple projects with each performer/composer/group.
In his research, Tramte examines video game music by building his own apparatuses to facilitate mediated analysis and showcase design models for composition. For his dissertation he built an a/v media player optimized for theoretical analysis of video games, whereas users may modify video playback rates/seek-points in real-time to both experience the media [as a game in itself] and digest theorists’ subtitle-style textual analysis at desired rates. At the 2016 North American Conference on Video Game Music, he presented a paper on single-seed procedurally generated video games (like No Man’s Sky and Desert Golfing) and demonstrated a piece he wrote at IRCAM modeling this technique called Fever Dream. He is currently focussed on game development of audio-only creative sandbox games, and will present a demo of this game at the AMS Ludomusicology study group in 2018.
As a YouTuber, Tramte volunteers much of his remaining free time every week at his standing desk contacting composers for materials, producing recording+score videos, and uploading/sharing them online. Having founded the 501c3 nonprofit organization “Score Follower” (YouTube channels Score Follower, Incipitsify, and Mediated Scores), he is responsible for the most widely used legal new music audio+score resources on the net. In addition to following scores, Tramte also runs a web audio programming tutorial series called Browser Noise on the youtube channel, The Audio Programmer.
Tramte earned a Ph.D. in Music from the University of North Texas, a MM in composition at Bowling Green State University, and a BM in performance also at BGSU. Although he rarely performs anymore, he continues to master various party tricks such as multi-order polyrhythms, or singing the alphabet backwards while solving a rubik’s cube. From 2014-2017, he worked as a teaching fellow at Harvard University teaching courses in musicianship and physics of sound. in 2018/19, he was an adjunct instructor at Central Connecticut State University teaching courses in computer music. Tramte currently teaches music technology and composition at Virginia Tech.http://dantramte.com
Yep, it’s a solid case of eggheads on parade as an avant garde sax/drum duo rope in a bunch of their pals to provide them with the kind of out sound tunes they need to make this happen. While you can rest assured they will probably never open for Taylor Swift, they might just wind up headlining a John Cage festival near you. Far from the controlled chaos of their elders that managed to break through to subsidiary labels of majors, this is indie improv that genre splices with abandon as it goes through the chrome plated megaphone of destiny.
— Chris Spector, 5.09.2020
On their recent, self-titled debut album, the Cleveland-based duo Patchwork — Noa Even and Stephen Klunk — present five commissioned works that draw on free jazz, metal, progressive rock, and the avant-garde. Released on New Focus Records, the album takes you to a sonic world never dreamed possible from a saxophone and drum set duo. As we have come to expect from Even and Klunk, the five works are an exploration of extended techniques. More importantly, their performances are bewitching — ensemble playing at its best.
The album opens with Osnat Netzer’s Zwang und Zweifel, a work that vacillates between orderly and discombobulated musical lines. Klunk’s opening tom-tom rolls immediately grab your attention. Even’s introductory comments are tentative, almost unsure, but later they become manic as she and Klunk goad each other into a frenzied dance. Netzer paints a wide color palette for both instruments which holds you at the edge of your seat, waiting to hear where the next line will go.
Inspired by a quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Hong-Da Chin’s ...time was not passing... it was turning in a circle... is an engaging work of cyclical passages. Soft tongue slaps from the saxophone are underscored by the drum. Even’s serpentine, microtonal sax lines dare Klunk to catch her if he can with outbursts from cowbell, bass drum, and wood blocks. The work ends as it began until a stinger from both players says a final goodbye.
Eric Wubbels’ Axamer Folio consists of 25 short sections with no pre-set order, form, or duration. During the duo’s excellent 19-minute performance, listeners are faced with a barrage of extended techniques from Even, including squeaks, multiphonics, key clicks, and tongue slaps. Klunk proves himself to be a chameleon as he brilliantly shifts from one musical style to another.
Pop songs containing the word “love” in the title serve as a point of departure for Erin Rogers’ Fast Love. In her composer note, Rogers lists What is Love, What’s Love Got to Do With It, I’d Do Anything for Love, I Want to Know What Love Is, The Power of Love, and All You Need Is Love. But if you’re expecting to hear the iconic sounds of artists such as Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Foreigner, Robert Palmer, and The Beatles, think again. As Dan Lippel writes in his performance notes: “The piece we hear on the recording is somewhat less radio ready, but no less captivating.” Rogers uses a variety of musical gestures, including vocalizations by Even, that she makes new time and time again throughout the nine-minute work. It’s whimsical and noisy, but most of all, Even and Klunk have fun with it.
In his composer note, Dan Tramte explains that the YouTube video “Showing off my wind up toy collection” from 2013 is the inspiration for G®iND. Tramte also asks listeners to imagine that you “wake up from a disturbing dream.” If all this sounds overly complicated, perhaps it is. Nonetheless, the piece is an interesting juxtaposition of the complex sound world of wind-up toys with the calm of white noise. Klunk outdoes himself as he makes music with a variety of wind-up gadgets, while Even’s soft breaths bring the piece and the album to a close.
— Mike Telin, 5.21.2020
Sometimes the daring of the how and the what of some music and music makers is unusual enough that the results are nearly automatically something important to pay attention to. For me, anyway. That is the case with Noa Even & Stephen Klunk's Patchwork (New Focus Recordings FCR255). Why? The duo of saxophone and drum set is ordinarily one encountered in Avant Jazz/Free Improv channels. Here we get to experience such a duo for Avant New Music works in the equally edgy realm of ultra-Modern "Classical."
Stephen is on drums, Noa on sax. Patchwork is the name of the album and also of the duet itself. Five compositions comprise the whole of the program. Each has its own trajectory but all strive for a convergence of the two instruments/instrumentalists and put them through paces with a syntax more intensely dialogued with linear or cyclical content in an overt way than one might generally come across on a typical improvisation for such a duo. And the relative lack of composed drum-set sequences is also the case, so even just for that this is good music to encounter
There is a definite experimental daring to these works by Osnat Netzer, Hong-Da Chin, Eric Wubbels, Erin Rogers and Dan Tramte. As such the music most definitely feels its way through at times more than it supplies definitive pre-fab solutions. Eric Wubbels Axamer Folio struck me as being one of the most interesting compositions of the bunch for its complicated cyclical and non-cyclical event sequences.
The music clearly thrives in its challenging the duet to express things that sound lucid and progressively reasoned, as a new sort of abstracted language of sound production that comes out of the last 70 years of avant improvisations for the two instruments. You might call this a kind of synthetic codification of that. But taken on its own it is completely self-sufficient as well. Even at tines exciting.
Patchwork goes boldly where no music has quite gone before--at least for sax and drums, anyway. That is quite a feat. One admires and congratulates all involved for having the chutzpah, perseverance and talent to come up with it all. Listen.
— Grego Edwards, 5.28.2020