Nat Baldwin album release with Lauren Tosswill and special guests
doors at 7:30 PM
$10 day of show
Double bassist Nat Baldwin’s AUTONOMIA I: Body Without Organs represents a departure from the rich body of solo work he’s amassed as a songwriter and core member of the band Dirty Projectors. It instead marks the return to his roots as an improvisor equipped with a unique arsenal of extended techniques, picking up where his potent, albeit little known, first album Solo Contrabass (Peacock Recordings, 2003) left off. The saxophonist and composer Jackson Moore, a longtime colleague (and author of the Solo Contrabass press release), commented appropriately upon hearing this new work, “it feels like we froze you in a block of ice and just thawed you out because you were the superhero we needed.”
An old broken bow in Baldwin’s family home plotted the path of AUTONOMIA I: Body Without Organs, inspiring new explorations of expanded textural possibilities on his contrabass, using the malfunctioning bow to prepare the instrument in new and novel ways. The bow’s primary defect—the metal heel had detached from the frog’s ebony handle—became the foundation for new sonic exploration. By propping the bow through strings and fingerboard, or balancing between strings and bridge, timbral vibrations intensify when activated by an additional bow. Tracks “scorch atlas” and “hackers” are the only cuts on the album that do not feature two bows, instead using the prepared bow exclusively in the right hand to produce harsh scraping effects or inject visceral punctuations of rhythmic intensity.
Baldwin creates his own primal sonic language celebrating the fragmented and unpredictable, the anti-hierarchic and anti-virtuosic. Guided by poet Antonin Artaud’s use of the phrase “body without organs”, which emphasizes a “language without articulation”: the primal act of making sound. “Autonomia” refers to the insurrectionary and imaginative social movements overtaking Italy in the late 1960s through the 70s, described as “a mosaic made of different fragments, a gallery of overlapping images, of circles and collectives without any social organization.” On the album’s final track, he repositions the bass from its traditional upright stance to lying flat on its back, evoking a radical transformation of hierarchic verticality into horizontal decentralization. The bows then become equal sonic producers while maintaining their singular characteristics, the fresh perspective of all surfaces of the strings and body become new terrain for invention. The album certainly reflects the harsh violence and complex realities of the past and present world, but it also envisions an alternative future filled with playful creativity and the abundance of freedom.
Nat Baldwin will be joined by avant performance and sound artist Lauren Tosswill and a new musical project from Hudson Fern, Bee Daniel, Pete Swegart, and Jonathan Downs.