Exploding Star Orchestra – Sting Ray And The Beginning of Time Part 1
In 2005, cornetist Rob Mazurek was approached by The Chicago Cultural Center and the Jazz Institute to put together a group that would represent the more contemporary / avant-garde side of sound in Chicago for a concert in Millennium Park’s Frank Gehry-designed concert hall. The music was conceptualized/composed in Manaus Brazil, Fontevraud, France and Chicago, and developed over more than a dozen performances of the Orchestra before it was recorded by John McEntire at his Soma Studio in Chicago.
We Are All From Somewhere Else is comprised of 3 distinct sections, and corresponds to a story involving an exploding star, cosmic transformation, a sting ray, the travels of the sting ray, intelligent conversations with electric eels, the destructive power of humans, the death and ascension of sting ray, the transformation of sting ray ghost to flying bird, and the transformation of bird to phoenix to rocket to flying burning matter to a new-born star.
Says Mazurek, “I could clearly see and hear the events as a kind of animated adult/children’s story that could be presented in book or video form. In the end you have a poem text based on the original story line that is then flipped backwards to reveal another perspective on the poem. The flipped text was orchestrated by Portuguese video artist and conceptualist Joao Simoes, while I was in Lisbon making final preparations for the release of this recording.”
As the arrangements of the parts of the pieces came together it became more and more evident that Nicole Mitchell’s flutes would play a major role in the realization of the music. That said the intent of the music is not to featuring individual players (although this very well could have featured any individual in the group, as they are all very strong soloists and improvisers) it is more about the projection of a certain sound pertaining to imagination and the trajectory of the sound as movement in time and space, weaving patterns and non-patterns around and inside the idea of the poem. The overall organic approach included actual organic sounds – for example, the sounds of electric eels recorded by Mazurek at INPA research laboratory in Manaus. The juxtaposition of two drums, two basses, two mallets, multiple flutes, two cornets, bass clarinet, ARP synthesizer, guitar, trombone, voices and flugelhorn all played important roles in the development of the final sound.
The Exploding Star Orchestra is, for this recording:
Rob Mazurek – Composer, Director, Cornet, Electronics
Nicole Mitchell – Flutes, Voice
Jeb Bishop – Trombone
Corey Wilkes – Flugelhorn
Josh Berman – Cornet
Matt Bauder – Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Jeff Parker – Guitar
Jim Baker – Piano, ARP Synthesizer, Pianette
Jason Adasiewicz – Vibraphone
John McEntire – Marimba, Tubular Bells, Edits, Recording Engineer
Matt Lux – Electric Bass Guitar
Jason Ajemian – Acoustic Bass
Mike Reed – Drums, Percussion, Saw
John Herndon – Drums
All compositions, arrangements, text and concepts are by Rob Mazurek