After 10 years of existence, and gradual growth from a print zine to the website you’re currently reading to a beloved podcast, Burning Ambulance is expanding yet again. Our label, Burning Ambulance Music, will be releasing its first two full-length albums in February 2021, and both are available for pre-order now.
Indonesian art-doom duo Senyawa — vocalist Rully Shabara and instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi — will release their new studio album Alkisah through a cooperative arrangement with a number of labels across the globe, in an attempt to decentralize the hierarchical structures of the music industry, particularly the distribution system. Each label will be releasing a variant form of the record; some will be on vinyl, others on cassette, and some will feature remixes by local artists. Burning Ambulance Music’s version will be a limited edition CD in a heavyweight mini-LP sleeve printed on linen paper, and a digital download, available exclusively through our Bandcamp page.
The members of Senyawa have been working together for a decade, both as a duo and as members of the trio Mahanyawa in collaboration with Japanese improvising musician Kazuhisa Uchihashi. Since their first full-length album, 2014’s Acaraki, their music has advanced steadily, incorporating various improvisatory strategies and Suryadi’s ever-evolving, hand-built instruments, which create unearthly sounds, both ancient and modern, like an electric guitar torn straight from the earth.
The new album’s title, Alkisah, translates roughly to Once Upon a Time, and it tells the tale of a formerly rich and powerful country that comes to recognize the impending destruction of its society. They seek to redeem themselves, but it becomes more and more clear that their efforts are futile — doom is here, and what happens afterward is all that matters.
Alkisah was recorded and mixed by Iwan Karak at Eloprogo Arthouse in Magelang, Central Java. The Minang proverbs incorporated into the track “Kabau” were compiled by composer and multi-instrumentalist Taufik Adam. During the writing, recording and mixing of the album, Sopeng, an artist from Blitar, East Java was also present in the studio. His drawings, made on 100% handmade paper, accompany the various editions of Alkisah. The Burning Ambulance Music CD features one of Sopeng‘s drawings, with a photo by Burning Ambulance co-founder I.A. Freeman (who designed the CD package) as backdrop, and another drawing on the disc itself.
Polarity, a collection of improvised but deeply considered duo encounters between tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and trumpeter Nate Wooley, will also be available digitally and as a limited edition CD, with cover art by I.A. Freeman, and can be pre-ordered now.
Perelman, a saxophonist, painter and jewelry designer, is as committed to the art and craft of improvisation as anyone alive. Over a 30-year career, he has released more than 100 CDs, building creative relationships with players from all corners of the free music world. His intensity and devotion to spontaneous music-making is virtually without equal, and he has developed a unique and highly recognizable language on the horn, while always remaining open to hearing what his bandmates have to say.
Wooley is an open-eared and innovative improviser, composer, and all-around creative spirit who has worked extensively with Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Ingrid Laubrock, Ken Vandermark, and many others, and has built up a vast and fascinating discography of his own, encompassing everything from solo work to recordings and performances with groups of all sizes.
This is the fifth encounter between Perelman and Wooley, but their first duo recording. They played together with pianist Matthew Shipp on Philosopher’s Stone and with bassist Brandon Lopez and drummer Gerald Cleaver on Octagon, both released in 2017, and reunited for Strings 3 with violist Mat Maneri and Strings 4 with Maneri and Shipp, from 2019.
The ten pieces on Polarity are intimate and beautiful, yet also rigorous and challenging. As Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg writes in the liner notes, “The rewards of their improvising method, their sensitivity and skills are offering us constant variations and extensions of forms, feelings and sounds…Their duo was not planned, but responded to an existential need to create beauty and surprise.”
Burning Ambulance Music will release additional titles throughout 2021.