Eli Keszler and ESP-Disk' Present Oxtirn
Who: Eli Keszler , Ed Askew , Thollem McDonas, and Steve Dalachinsky
What: Release Party/Concert
When: Wednesday, May 25, 7-10 PM
Where: Tribes Gallery, 285 East Third St. (between Avenues C & D), 2nd floor
How Much: $10
ESP-Disk' will celebrate the arrival of the CD edition of Eli Keszler’s Oxtirn at Tribes Gallery, the famed Lower East Side loft space run by poet Steve Cannon and his organization A Gathering of the Tribes. Long-time ESP events MC Steve Dalachinsky, a Beat poet of ever-increasing renown, will be reading his work between performances and introducing the evening’s musical performers. There will be sets by drummer/composer Eli Keszler, outsider folksinger Ed Askew (whose LP Ask the Unicorn came out on ESP-Disk' in 1969), and genre-smashing pianist Thollem McDonas, leader of Tsigoti (whose album Private Poverty Speaks to the People of the Party was released by ESP-Disk' last year).
“If Steven Stapleton ever updates his Nurse With Wound List, Keszler's name should be on it.”
–Clifford Allen, Paris Transatlantic Magazine
ESP-Disk' has released some far-out albums in its 47 years, but Oxtirn raises the bar. On Oxtirn, Keszler plays drums, guitar, piano, prepared piano, motors, cymbal, crotales (bowed and unbowed), snare drum, prepared/riveted sheet metal, spring harp, bass board, and microphones. He’s joined by clarinetist Ashley Paul on two tracks, plus Andrew Fenlon (trumpet, tuba, French horn, trombone) and Sakkiko Mori (prepared piano) on one track each. The Italian Futurists of the 1920s would have loved this magnificent din, so full of startling timbres and arresting textural combinations, like a cross between Xenakis and free jazz. Connoisseurs of outside music will know Keszler from his work with Jandek. Oxtirn is Keszler’s ESP-Disk' debut and most widely distributed album after self-releasing micro-edition CDRs, tapes, and vinyl via his label REL Records.
Last year, ESP-Disk's limited LP release of Oxtirn sold out immediately, prompting the label to issue Eli’s masterwork for the first time on CD for global distribution. The beautifully packaged CD recreates the original album art executed and designed by Eli, including a six-panel foldout showing the intricately detailed musical score of Oxtirn on one side and, now on the other side, a new Keszler artwork dedicated to the CD reissue. Oxtirn now includes not only the two tracks released on the vinyl but also the previously download-only third movement featuring Keszler plus Mori on prepared piano, making this CD the most complete-in-one-place physical edition of Oxtirn.
Oxtirn will also be released in a limited-edition deluxe release with a second CD, Oxtirn Live. Although it is a concert version of the same notated score that produced Oxtirn, it's with a different instrumentation of three guitars, drums, voice, motor harp, tenor harp, bass harp, microphones, clarinet, alto saxophone, crotales, and cymbals, played by the lineup of Keszler, Ashley Paul, and Geoff Mullen. And Keszler's notation allows for interpretational freedom by the players, so while stylistically there are similarities between Oxtirn and Oxtirn Live, they don't sound the same. Thanks to the guitars, Oxtirn Live sounds a little closer to the rock avant-garde than Oxtirn as keening high frequencies collide and intertwine, free of standard tunings, setting up ear-cleaning vibrations.
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