Alec Haavik | Friction Alliance

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Jazz: Jazz-Rock Jazz: Progressive Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Friction Alliance

by Alec Haavik

A futuristic saxophone trio, using electronic effects in the performance of jazz-rock operatic excerpts and other original music by saxophonist, composer, and inter-dimensional traveler Alec Haavik.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The #6 Intro
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0:41 $0.99
2. Cruise Control
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6:17 $0.99
3. Step Into the Red Ball (...and You Will Expand!)
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15:07 $0.99
4. Instant Death, Pt. 2
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9:42 $0.99
5. Mind Is a Time Machine
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13:46 $0.99
6. Over-Time
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12:53 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
We experience the world in three dimensions, but in our dreams we see something much greater. When we awake we try to express and integrate our visions back into three dimensions—in my case, rhythm, melody, and bass.

My world began as a trio. Upon embarking on my artistic life, I wrote music for saxophone, drums, and bass. Then I entered the fourth dimension with electric guitar, injecting rock-n-roll into my music. My two-guitar quintet led to my first CD as a bandleader: Rocks.

In Shanghai I held a five-year weekly residency at JZ Club, rejecting stereotypes of Jazz, and confronting audiences with polyrhythmic mayhem, theatrics, and shamanic ritual. I played saxophone while running around the club or while lying on my back on stage; I assembled musicians with conflicting styles and together we charged into dangerous musical battles. The Friction cosmos began with five players (the “Friction Five”) and finally expanded into eight.

Composing and performing semi-improvised modern jazz for eight musicians was an enormous orchestrational and conceptual challenge. I was developing open-ended structures, mapping out transformations without hard-coding them. By the time I created The Mind Is a Time Machine, featuring different rhythmic divisions of a 35-beat cycle, I was at the outer reaches of eight-dimensional space. I knew I had to return to the fundamentals, my three-dimensional world.

With this new trio, Friction Alliance, I have added electronic effects to the saxophone to build the orchestral density and to explore the future of the saxophone—but also to return to my teenage rock-band days, when I was shredding my purple Ibanez guitar and stomping on pedals.

I first heard Fred Grenade and Jhonny Joseph in 2007. Fred and Jhonny are long-time musical collaborators from the island nation of Mauritius who worked in Beijing and Hangzhou before finally landing in Shanghai. The first time they sat in at JZ, when Gilbert Kuppusami was singing “Spain,” they exploded with unbelievable virtuosity and intensity. I was onstage, too, and playing with them was like racing a motorcycle down Huang Shan’s peaks between two fire-breathing dragons. I couldn’t wait to do it again.



1. The #6 Intro

Originally part of Step Into the Red Ball, this section became the intro for the band during live performances. Let the show begin!

2. Cruise Control

The middle “bridge” section features a “round” in which the instruments step in then echo each other. This was simulated in trio with a “looper pedal” effect.

3. Step Into the Red Ball (…and You Will Expand!)

This piece was conceived as a modular composition with sections that could be cued live by my hand signals. After many performances, the piece coalesced into a fixed arrangement. It was amazing to feel the act of performance guiding the composition, like the wind propelling a sailboat across an ocean.

4. Instant Death, Pt. 2

This is the earliest composition on this CD, composed in the summer of 1992. Over the years, it has morphed to accommodate synth and piano, trumpet, and percussion. Her, the harmonizer pedal creates the guitar part.

5. Mind Is a Time Machine

A story about prescient dreams and the fragility of human existence. This composition is based around a 35-beat rhythmic cycle, first stated in the short drum intro. The piece then begins in normal 4/4 time, then moves to two bars of 4/4 followed by a measure of 3/16 (totaling 35/16). After that, five groups of seven is introduced, and then seven groups of five, and even more divisions.

6. Over-Time

This tune was spontaneously composed while performing with the Shanghai band, Fuze-Tastic. By using my harmonizer pedal in a band without a chord instrument, I determined the chords—an unusual situation for a saxophone player



Step Into the Red Ball (and You Will Expand!)

Step into the red ball and you will expand
Expansion is a doorway
That leads to other lands
Encompassing the planets
The galaxies and then
Our entire universe inside this globe of red
We start as a dot
And then become a line
Flatland is the next stop
And then we go beyond
Speed is not a constant
And you can’t measure time
Can we find connections
Traveling through dimensional highways
stepping into
the next reality
and you will expaaaand!!!!!

Step into the red ball
The opening portal
And then you will expand!

To into the sun
Get out into the world
Go into the sun
Get out into the world
I want to be alone
I want to stay at home
Where I can be free
To be just what I want to be
Go into the sun
Get out of my head

I spend the whole day singing my new song
I don’t know where I’m going and I won’t know when I’m done
I’m feeling like a rainbow in an empty sky

Mind Is a Time Machine

I said the mind
Is a time machine
Baby the mind
Is a time machine
I love you, you love me, that’s
how it was meant to be oh!
Look in my eyes, and we can travel through time, when we
reminisce, kiss, remembering our first date
Imagine a time, a place, in the future
Love is the engine baby
I said the mind is a time machine!

Human energy is taken from
stars which live in explosion
Transform the death of the dinosaurs
Into fossil fuels
Take life as our decision to eat a bucket of chicken!
Life and death are not for us to have control of!
Meteors can crush our planet!

Sailing in and out of days
Dreaming out of time
Falling off the cliff into the water
Swimming with the spirit that is both


Alec Haavik plays Aizen Jazz Master tenor saxophone and Aizen Tenor LS mouthpiece on this recording

Equipment used on this recording:
AMT Wi-5 sax mic, Eventide Pitchfactor harmonizer, Diamond Memory Lane 2 analog delay, Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron envelope filter


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