Recording Polymer with Michael and Ray was a musical highpoint for me. It is such a treat to play with people whose musical languages mesh with mine in such an interesting, fun and challenging way. I particularly enjoyed being able to play my invented instruments (winslaphones, slide3whistle & basseuphium) and hear how these guys matched my strange sounds, Michael with various effects and Ray with his gongs and cymbals. I find the final product beautiful, funny, intricate, harsh, deep, subtle and curious. I hope that you find something to your liking in our sounds.
-Richard Johnson (zownts.com)
This group is not a group as much as a yearly conference. We work individually on various projects throughout the year, each in different states, different worlds. When we do come together, various languages rub up against each other, tensions that for me lie at the heart of improvisation. We are not a well oiled machine (on the contrary we function in our breaking down...), because of this we are forced to create new templates for authentic interactions. This is how I approach my instrument (guitar) as well--I don't practice much. I am not proud of this (as a music theorist I spend my time analyzing others' music). As a result I approach the instrument in an attempt to play in a way that doesn't demands daily technical practice, the opposite of the concerto model so to speak. I do not practice, but I listen, and most importantly I now 'how' I listen; this is the art I pursue, and in a larger sense explains the 'magic' we feel in playing together, despite all the reasons it shouldn't work.
Zatsu kind of fell into my lap right around the time I needed something just like it in my life. Being a frustrated part-time composer with a love for improvisation, I was introduced by a mutual friend to Richard, who was already doing a project with Michael. We all played a concert of our own pieces and decided we should get together and make some sounds together sometime - no rules or compositions, just make music based on spontaneous creating, listening, and reacting. A dream come true...
Zatsu does not improvise in the jazz sense. The improvisations are as impromptu as a conversation between two or three individuals; at times serious, introspective, frenetic, or downright hilarious, we respond to one another based on what another "says." Sometimes these 'dialogues' can go on for quite a while, or someone may instead decide to just change the subject entirely! It's up to us! We hope you enjoy our first release, "polymer."
-Raymond Kingston (rmk-arts.com)