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Music sweeps in...as a fully fledged instrument of thought. For the same reasons that make it suspect in Plato's and Kant's eyes, music escapes from the concept. Philosphers can describe its theoretical codes...but the musical effect escapes philosophy as it still escapes the human sciences today. ...discontinuity they search for, and hatred of the subject's imprisonment in a system of thought. It is a syncope of thought. - Catherine Clément

patrick brennan Reviews Recordings Compositions Sound Samples

"An abstract conception balanced with plenty of wit and soul." - TIME OUT
CONTACT sonispheric@hotmail.com

present personic

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Sunday
November 2
3-3:30 pm


TRIBES
IDEA KITCHEN

285 E3st (C&D)
NYC

Africans gave us a way to see the multi-layered authenticity of human experience through polyrhythm and syncopation. That gift allows us to realize a daily connection to the essential motion of all things. - David Pleasant see: IDEAS IN MOTION

 

 

idea kitchen at TRIBES
285 E 3 St., 2nd Fl., (Bet C & D) NYC
1st Sunday of each month 3 -- 5:30 pm.
a new guest composer each month

organized by patrick brennan w/ Steve Cannon

This is an unfunded musician initiative for musicians & interested listeners to create one setting where musicians can share ideas & learn from each other, where compositional ideas get worked out in a public domain among a variety of personalities & dispositions. For listeners, this is about demystifying music & ... click here for more info

sonic openings under pressure

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INFO ABOUT THE MUSIC PERFORMANCES RESIDENCIES & EDUCATION BIOS SOUND VIDEO SCORES PRESS INTERVIEW

 

new release:
muhheankuntuk

patrick brennan
- saxophone
David Pleasant
- -- Densemetrix!
Hilliard Greene
- - --- - bass

 
Many observers have theorized that jazz, taken to the brink by the rhythmic fury and apocalyptic questing of John Coltrane's late-'60s bands, played itself into a corner with nowhere left to go. patrick brennan and his elegant and fiery band just may have found a way back out, a sonic opening, if you will. - John Chacona

We are moved by music because musicking creates the public image of our most inwardly desired relationships, not just showing them to us as they might be but actually bringing them into existence for the duration of the performance.

This will clearly involve our deepest feelings, and thus the act of musicking, taking place over a duration of time, teaches us what we really feel about ourselves and about our relationships to other people and to the world in general, helping us to structure those feelings and therefore to explore and evolve our own identity.

Clifford Geertz has said: 'In order to make up our minds we must know what we feel about things; and to know how we feel we need the public images of sentiment that only ritual, myth and art can provide'

And again: 'Human thought is basically both social and public - its natural habitat is the house yard, the marketplace and the town square. Thinking consists not of 'happenings in the mind', (though happenings there and elsewhere are necessary for it to occur) but of a traffic in significant symbols -

- or as Alice might have said, 'How do I know what I feel until I hear what I play?' In musicking, in fact we are being touched in the deepest parts of who we are.
- Christopher Small

sudani project
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patrick brennan, Najib Sudani, Nirankar Khalsa and company build upon the commonalities of African-American and African-Maghribi music not only at the level of melody and rhythm, but also at a deeper level of interactive structure, each one giving and taking in turn. Sensitive listening on the part of each musician and a willingness to follow each other without being bound by typical genre constraints makes this recording one of the most satisfying and genuinely collaborative Gnawa explorations to date. - Dr. Tim Fuson

Entrainment is the term coined by William Condon for the process that occurs when two or more people become engaged in each other's rhythms....

...music is a highly specialized releaser of rhythms already in the individual.... Music can also be viewed as a rather remarkable extension of the rhythms generated in human beings....

the definition of the self is deeply embedded in the rhythmic synchronic process. This is because rhythm is inherent in organization, and therefore has a basic design function in the organization of the personality.

Rhythm cannot be separated from process and structure; in fact one can question whether there is such a thing as an eventless rhythm. Rhythmic patterns may turn out to be one of the most important basic personality traits that differentiate one human being from the next.

All human rhythms begin in the center of the self, that is with self-synchrony. Even brain rhythms are reliable indicators associated with practically everything that people do.... - Edward T. Hall

which way what patrick brennan Reviews Sound Samples How to Order
  Recordings Compositions Projects Index


Every instrument a drum

Sonic Openings Under Pressure makes
precise yet adventurously rhythmic jazz
by John Chacona

You could make the case that Detroit in the 1960s changed the direction of American music. In pop music, the immensely popular string of R&B hits from the Motown label raised rhythm above melody in American -- and maybe even world -- pop.

At the same time, as the inner-city studios of Hitsville U.S.A. was making "The Sound of Young America," another rhythmic revolution was quietly going on just a couple blocks away. So quietly, in fact, that most musicians are still unaware of it.

patrick brennan is not among them. As a teenage saxophonist, brennan heard firsthand what almost-forgotten players like saxophonist Leon Henderson (Joe's brother) and drummer Bud Spangler were doing in out-of-the-way venues such as the Strata Concert Gallery.

"What I was hearing was all these polyrhythmic structures that resembled the kind of things that Miles was doing, but they did it in a more deliberate compositional fashion," brennan told me by phone from his New York home.

"It took me years to decode it, but it made a big impression on me. That and following the music back ... to Africa."

When asked if being unschooled contributed to his saxophone sound, Brennan described himself as "schooled and a half. I like to play Charlie Parker backwards, but I don't have any feeling that I need to do that in my own music." While this seems to imply that brennan is an anything-goes free improviser of the "energy music" school, the saxophonist doesn't see it that way.

True, the music played by his latest Sonic Openings band has energy to burn, most of it emanating from the extraordinary drummer David Pleasant. But brennan's approach is rigorously compositional.

"Look, there's no such thing as music without composition, because there's always agreement, right? I slowly started to work with a language that made the whole band think rhythmically like the drummer, so that the tactility and the sculptural elements of rhythm become more prominent."

Naturally, Pleasant is central to this concept.

"When he joined the group, he took stuff that takes people six months to learn and got it in a couple of hours. He's Gullah Geechee [from the Sea Islands of Georgia], born in Savannah, and he keeps these polyrhythms going. He knows exactly what he's doing."

Many observers have theorized that jazz, taken to the brink by the rhythmic fury and apocalyptic questing of John Coltrane's late-'60s bands, played itself into a corner with nowhere left to go.

patrick brennan and his elegant and fiery band just may have found a way back out, a sonic opening, if you will.


Erie Times-News ShowCase - October 26. 2006 - -http://www.johnchacona.com

 

 

about the music: sonic openings under pressure

 

This is music composed specifically to unfold through collective improvisation, which means that the form of the music itself is directly shaped through mutual interplay among its participants, and that collaborative drama contributes centrally to the musical narrative a listener hears.

This approach to coordinating music poses a deliberate alternative to the relative one way flow of information that passes between composer & performer in much euroclassical practice as well as to that genre’s orientation toward the construction of sonic monuments, a propensity also shared by much pop music. Pop formulations furthermore have tended to compress rhythmic scope down to basic denominator background beats. And, while much contemporary improvised music may emulate open form as developed through jazz, the root African elements & attitudes out of which this evolved have many times been distilled out.

Collective improvisation can also be recognized as a theatrical personification of the dynamics of polyrhythm - that intricately sophisticated African model of coordinated multiplicity. Polyphonically organized music is able to integrate divergent voices, levels, directions & narratives; but the wave matrix of polyrhythm’s gravitational convergences & suspensions further enriches each moment of music with a holographic sensation of depth. This especially charges & activates the gaps & silences that envelop musical gestures & encourages attention beyond linear & sequential interpretations of activity to include more multidimensional perceptions of time & movement.

This music often explores making polyrhythm central to the organization & participation of the entire ensemble. One strategy has been to code polyrhythm into the music via a stacking of interrelated countermelodies that places each instrumentalist in a position of direct responsibility for the composite ensemble sound. The countermelodies - & the relationships among them - provide a thematic interface that supports both extemporized development & communications among improvisers as the music progresses. MetagrooveTM is an allied compositional process that associates successive, contrasting polyrhythmic constellations (i.e. grooves) to create a overall groovic resonance (in other words, a meta- groove).

Each voice in this ensemble maintains an equal distinct narrative foreground persona; & it follows that much of the compositional focus has been on developing music through the rhythm section. As Bakongo scholar Fu-Kiau Bunseki has put it, “Treble voicings represent our world, but bass patterns come from the spirit.” The bass not only carries on an independent melodic narrative at a pace appropriate to its register, but often functions as conductor of the ensemble, cueing shifts from one metagrooveTM constellation to the next. These shifts are also multidirectionally jointed, allowing an overall form to wrap around itself & construct an ensemble narrative that’s more oriented toward immersion than linear progression from beginning to end.

It’s also natural that drums figure prominently in a music that explores rhythmic harmony & multidirectional movement. Some listeners may at first be disoriented by percussion’s abundant role here. But, as a trap kit enables the playing of as many as four simultaneous lines, it can also be considered as contributing more than one instrument to the ensemble. The non-tempered tones enunciated by drums contribute a significant component of this music’s melodic & tonal framework. Even a casual listening to Dou Dou Njaye Rose’s orchestra of sabar wolofs from Dakar, for example, can reinforce a recognition that drums, all by themselves, have more than enough range to enact complete & nuanced statements on as high a level as any music.

Some market oriented & cultural perspectives argue that music shouldn’t overly stretch or challenge listeners’ imaginations. Contrarily, this music aims toward a threshold where some aspect is slipping just enough beyond a listener’s comprehension to invite a sense of wonder & mystery as a small reminder that there’s always something more happening anywhere than is already known & recognized.

- patrick brennan

 
RECORDINGS from sonic openings under pressure
 
 


 

muhheankuntuk Clean Feed #CF081

The title of this CD by the sonic openings under pressure troupe is the term used by the Lenape nation to name the Hudson River, and it means "river that flows two ways". The music acts accordingly, and surely is a New York product. Everything happening in these tracks has those two interactive sides; one open, the second closed in such a way that some materials are getting out, going very far away, while others are coming in, adjusting to the roots and identity of the "great black tradition," with a conscious and determined attitude. So, if your foot taps and your heart rejoices with this music, your mind will awaken..

with David Pleasant-Densemetrix!, Hilliard Greene-bass
Recorded June 13, 2006.

the drum is honor enough


Reviews

 

the drum is honor enough CIMP #305

Listening to patrick brennan's music is a bit like looking at a bowl that has been shattered and reassembled but whose fit isn't quite right: you know what it is when looking at it, but it requires some reassessment to take it all in. Extensive Artist and Producer Notes may take you one listen just to get through, another listen to digest, but by the third listen the joy and genius of this concert should be evident. A valuable addition to this veteran's slight but growing discography.

with Newman Taylor Baker-drums, Hilliard Greene-bass, Steve Swell-trombone
Recorded February 17 & 18, 2004.

rapt circle

rapt circle Cadence Jazz Records 1168

Recorded live 3 weeks apart in June 2002 at the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Vision Festival. A sly rhythm falling in and out of funk initiates the series of transitory time signatures, never without the sweat of the blues. At times the writing resembles dub, with an instrument dropping out at a time shift, resuming at the next change. Brennan calls "metagroove...a synthesis of juxtapositions of contrasting grooves" creating an overall groove. CJR would call it a hip dialogue built off (talking) drums projecting light where there is none through interactive improvisation. Or you could just sit back and enjoy the the expositions and declarations of these fine improvising minds.

with Newman Taylor Baker-drums, Hilliard Greene-bass, Juma Santos Ayantola-dun dun & percussion Recorded June, 2002.

ALSO...
 

Sudani CD Cover

 

 

sudani deep dish dd-104

patrick brennan, Najib Sudani, Nirankar Khalsa and company build upon the commonalities of African-American and African-Maghribi music not only at the level of melody and rhythm, but also at a deeper level of interactive structure, each one giving and taking in turn. Sensitive listening on the part of each musician and a willingness to follow each other without being bound by typical genre constraints makes this recording one of the most satisfying and genuinely collaborative Gnawa explorations to date.

with M'allim Najib Sudani-guimbri, voice, t'bal, Nirankar Khalsa-drums, voice, flute Recorded May, 1999 near Essaouira, Morocco.

 

which way what

 

which way what deep dish dd-103

There's little more to say about this album other than to recommend it very highly. brennan's an abstract expressionist with chops. He's utterly coherent in his free associative improvisations, and he imbues his music with a great deal of timbral and rhythmic variety. His compositions are fresh and quite original. patrick brennan's a first class saxophonist and composer, and his trio is one of the most interesting I've heard in some time.

with Rachiim Ausar-Sahu-bass, Acácio Salero Cardoso-drums
Recorded August, 1995.

 

which way what patrick brennan Reviews Sound Samples How to Order
  Recordings Compositions Projects Index