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JESSE STEWART - MUSIC FOR FOUND OBJECTS
C3R 009
$14.00 CAD
Released June 17th, 2006

This release is Jesse Stewart's first solo album, and demonstrates his phenomenal skills as a percussionist over an assortment of unconventional found objects. Stewart has long been regarded as one of the leading percussionists in Canada, and this disc makes clear the fact that his ability is by no means restricted to conventional instrumentation. The CD consists of nine tracks, three using water, three using metal, and three using stone. This disc makes for an invigorating listen, yet also contains many subtle layers and timbral changes. Try it alone with headphones, or with your friends!

Track List:
1. Pockets [3:00] -<<- listen
2. Steel Bowl and Cylinder [5:02]
3. (71.5 x 1 x 2) + 2 [4:14]
4. Hiding Places [3:19]
5. Sliding Music [2:08] -<<- listen
6. Shell Game [6:26]
7. Different Strokes [4:12]
8. Hand to Blade [6:13]
9. Junctures [3:49] -<<- listen

 

Reviews :

[...] For Stewart, these items that came from thrift stores, garage sales or were given to him by friends are as much about the exploration of sonorities, overtones, pitches, timbres and tones of the objects as they are about their tactile, physical quality. Indeed, in some cases, these inquiries come off more like science projects than sonic inquiries. [...]
Musique concrete? How about concrete music? Stewart hopes we discover a sense of wonder from these "(extra) ordinary" objects and the resulting sounds are at once familiar yet mysterious and marvellous, primal and somically complex; linking the amateur acoustics sleuth with instrument building pioneers like Harry Partch, Hal Rammeel or Moe! Staiano.
- Richard Moule, Signal to Noise - Full Review

Ingenious jazz percussionist Jesse Stewart has performed his astounding “Found Objects” set in countless venues near his hometown of Guelph, ON but this is his first attempt to make a record around them. The result is tasteful and organic, an album of unadorned acoustic sounds produced by varied objects when struck by Stewart. [...] Stewart’s gifts stem from his visionary curiosity and his willingness to expand upon the accidental clunks humans create with all of their stuff. Coupled with his detailed anecdotal liner notes, Music for Found Objects is an endlessly fascinating exploration of sound.
- Vish Khanna, Exclaim! Magazine
- Full Review

[...] Moving away from the conventional percussive music, Stewart plays nine short, and highly diverse pieces of music. Carefully strumming the objects, finding sounds and exploring them. Ringing and sustaining by repetitive playing, this is a great work. The works are placed not in three blocks, but mixed together, so that the diversity is maintained throughout this work. Not quite onkyo as Stewart doesn't too much silence or plays the real drum kit in a different way, but Stewart has his own way of approaching the percussion at hand, and in doing so he is spot on. Great CD!
- Frans DeWaard, Vital Weekly

 

 

"One of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today"
- One Final Note

"truly exciting"
- Musicworks

"phemonenal"
- Cadence

"hauntingly bizarre"
- Guelph Mercury

"frisky"
- Globe and Mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the music on this recording was created using found objects. The tracks have been organized such that each piece relates, in succession, to the elements of water, metal, and stone.

Water:

1) Pockets (3.00)
Pockets features my variation on an African instrument known as the water drum. An assortment of wooden salad bowls, gleaned from garage sales and thrift stores over many years, float upside-down in water such that an air pocket forms between each bowl and the water. This air pocket allows the bowls to resonate when they are struck. In the courcse of the performance, the floating bowls jostle one another with the ebb and flow of the music causing bits of trapped air to be released in occasional flautulent-sounding belches. As the amount of air trapped between the bowl and water decreases, the pitch of each bowl goes up. This version of the piece was recorded in Lewis Melville's bathtub.

4) Hiding Places (3:19)
This piece features a seashell known as a "Giant Tun shell" (Tonna galea L. to conchologists) that has been partially filled with water. Tipping the shell back and forth causes the water inside to emit delicate gurgling sounds. After some time has passed, I introduce percussive sounds by tapping the outer surface of the shell with my fingers. As the water level inside the shell continues to fluctuate, the pitch of the seashell changes.

7) Different Strokes (4:12)
"Different Strokes" is performed on a series of well-worn canoe paddles. By striking the paddles at different points along their shafts, I am able to elicit a range of timbres similar in effect to that of a guitarist's "flange" pedal. When i perform this piece, I am often asked what kind of effects processor I am using. I generally respond: "What you talkin' about, Willis?"

Metal:

2) Composition for Steel Bowl and Cylender (5:02)
This piece uses a stainless steel mixing bowl and a twelve-inch piece of steel electrical conduit. Holding the bowl in my left hand, I begin slowly moving the cylender in a counter-clockwise motions, maintaining steady contact between the cylinder and the inner surface of the bowl. Eventually the shaft of the cylinder comes into contact with the bowl's rim. Vatying the angle of incidence between the bowl and the cylinder results in a surprising range of timbral variation, not unlike the sound of a "wah" pedal.

5) Sliding Music (2:05)
"Sliding Music" features a fifty-inch length of galvanized steel electrical conduit. At the outset, the conduit is held in a vertical position at its midpoint. As I strike the conduit with a mallet, gravity causes it to slide slowly through my fingers. My fingers thus come into contact with different nodal points thereby eliciting a variety of overtones from the resonating cylinder.

8) Hand to Blade (6:13)
"Hand to Blade" features a 22-inch circular saw blade that was given to me by my friend and mentor, baritone saxophonist David Mott. Using my fingertips, I build up a series of sound waves by gradually invreasing the intensity of each finger stroke. Mid-way through the piece, I stop striking the blade and instead use my hands to interfere with the sound waves without actually touching the blade. When I perform this piece, I am often asked if it hurts. It does. Quite a lot actually. Physical gesture is a determinant of the form in this piece; actions are repeated until they become too painful to continue. One of the ways in which music functions in my life is as an opportunity to discover limitations within muself. Limitations can be technical in nature; they can be conceptual. In this piece, I'm interested in discovering physical limitations in hopes of moving beyond them.

Stone:

2) (71.5 x 15 x 2) +2 (4:14)
"71.5" features a piece of marble measuring 71.5 cm by 15 cm by 2 cm. I found it in a dumpster. Sitting cross-legged on the floor with the stone supported by my knkees at its nodal points (roughly a quarter of its length from either end). I strike the stone with felt mallets that elicit a variety of sonorities when they come in contact with different parts of the marble. Midway through the piece, two small rounded stones are added to the marble creating a buzzing sound.

6) Shell Game (6:26)
"Shell Game" uses two circular marble tables, two stone cups (mortars from stone mortar and pestle sets), and two spherical iron/sandstone concretions known as "moqui stones." The stone cups are placed on the marble tables in an inverted position with the spherical stones concealed within them. Staying in contact with the table tops, the cups are moved in a circular fashion causing the stones to roll across the surcface of the table. Lifting the edge of the cups creates timbral variation. Mid-way through the piece, the stone cups are removed from the tables and are rubed together. Varying the way in which the mouths of the two cups come in contact with one another results in sonic variation.

9) Junctures (3:49)
"Junctures" features fifteen cylindrical stone drill core samples that were given to me by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Thirteen drill cores are placed on a table in three paralell rows. Two additional stones are used to roll, scrape, and strike the stones. As with several other pieces on this recording, many listeners assume that this work involves some sort of electronic-processing. Nope. Just rocks. All of the sounds on this recording are the result of acoustic experimentaion with seemingly ordinry objects. One of my hopes is that through this work, others might come to see (and hear) as I do, that these objects are, in fact, far from ordinary. They remind us that a sense of wonder is always within our reach, waiting to be discovered in the "ordinary" things around us. This is the way in which these pieces function in my own life. It is my sincere hope that they might do likewise for others.

Jesse Stewart
January 2006

 

 

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