Exposé Online banner

Matthew Shipp — Harmony and Abyss
(Thirsty Ear THI57152.2, 2004, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2005-03-01

Harmony and Abyss Cover artPianist Mathew Shipp is still gradually pushing himself into the use of electronic instruments in his jazz endeavors. By embracing dance and hip hop rhythms he has become one of the latest acoustic pianists to branch out electronically until he had become satisfied that he had something substantial to say. Harmony and Abyss is the man’s seventh CD in five years and it finds him in evaluation and refinement mode. Flam has now become an essential element to his recordings adding much flavor to the jazz sound map besides essential rhythms. William Parker has been Shipp’s co-pilot as his upright bass provides a compass to steer by as on “Galaxy 105.” Pieces such as “3 in 1” show a balance to acoustic piano grounded tracks supported by Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver. “String Theory” is a key experimental track with Shipp’s distant watery piano entering the musical foreground with electronic smears and cuts encircling the backwards looping melody line. “Invisible Light” is one of the few free moments on the disk as Shipp and Parker walk an estimable fine line between conversation and telepathy. Alternately, “Amino Acid” relies on a samba rhythmic thrust to drive a penetrating theme. Closing out the recording is an electronic ballad that wallows in a morass of synthesizer despair. Taken as a whole Shipp has come to a crossroads where he has found a method on each path that works entirely for himself.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 31, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): William Parker, Matthew Shipp

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ring of Myth - Unbound – First impressions are generally correct. This could be a likable excursion down a well trod path, however, I found it pretty much impossible to listen to this CD all the way through. This LA band is a...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues