Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Matthew Shipp 


Wednesday, Jan 25 2006
In a surprising departure from his groove-deep, electro-acoustic explorations of the past few years as the head of Thirsty Ear's "The Blue Series," forward-jazz vet Matthew Shipp channels his kaleidoscopic vision into a dozen concise, mesmerizing pieces for solo piano on his latest album. The composer-improviser's longtime fascinations with the tough-minded art of the pugilist and the endless possibilities of space travel come together on the kick-off track, "Arc," which sets the tone for the entire recording. Shipp bangs out heavy chords as if vying for a knock-out punch, then presses the foot pedal to the floor to create an enormous cosmic resonance where the notes swirl in and out of each other's harmonic spheres, as if unbound by gravity, until returning with a kind of circular logic back to the launching pad. Other titles like "Module" and "Patmos" present equally lucid forms, constructed out of big tumbling motifs interspersed with flashes of sensitivity, while the elliptical "Zero" and the elegantly minimalist "Milky Way" lean toward lyrical abstraction. The entire album is intensely dramatic (but not sensationalist), sharply focused (yet free-feeling), strong and dark (but not forbidding) -- a spellbinding union of Shipp's multifaceted selves.

About The Author

Sam Prestianni


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • A Look Back at Summer 2014
    Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer -- back to school, the days grow shorter, and fall weather is just around the corner. So have a look back at San Francisco's 2014 summer.
  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular