Jeff Kaiser and Andrew Pask with Steuart Liebig and G.E. Stinson: The Choir Boys with Strings (PFMCD037)


The Choir Boys with Strings
Jeff Kaiser: Trumpet, Quarter-Tone Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Electronics
Andrew Pask: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Bass Penny Whistle, Electronics
G.E. Stinson: Electric Guitars, Electronics
Steuart Liebig: Contrabass Guitars, Electronics

Visit The Choir Boys home page at:

1. Needlework Alice 11:59
2. Impromptu Lateral Drop 7:26
3. Tobacconist from Rimini 10:59
4. Frenchwoman Luggage Cart 8:39
5. Adulterous Dishwasher 9:40
6. Definitely Jack 10:23
7. Rest of the Skeleton 15:12
8. Wir Sind Hier 5:28

The music was created in two continuous suites.
Track numbers have been added for convenience.
Suite One: Tracks 1-5. Suite Two: Tracks 6-8.
Total Playing Time: 79:46

All music © 2006, Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP and Kaleidacousticon, ASCAP
Digital multitrack recording by Wayne Peet, October 5, 2005 at Ventura College Theater, Ventura, California
Art, Layout, Mixing and Mastering by Jeff Kaiser, January 2006
pfMENTUM • • Box 1653 • Ventura • CA • 93002

Special thanks to Robert Lawson and Ollie Powers for the invitation to perform,
and to Roger Meyer for staging and lighting the show.



SKU: PFMCD037 Category:

1 review for Jeff Kaiser and Andrew Pask with Steuart Liebig and G.E. Stinson: The Choir Boys with Strings (PFMCD037)

  1. 0 out of 5

    Trumpeter JEFF KAISER and clarinetist/saxophonist ANDREW PASK perform together as “The Choir Boys”; on their latest album, they’ve teamed up with guitarist G.E. STINSON and bass guitarist STEUART LIEBIG for THE CHOIR BOYS WITH STRINGS (pfMentum PFMCD037). Kaiser has a lively approach that makes equal use of acoustic and electronic effects – he’s one of the few players I’ve heard lately to make genuinely creative use of echo – and Pask gives the music plenty of bite with his distracted, angry-hornet alto and clarinet playing, reminiscent at times of Anthony Braxton. The guitarists are stranger and more elusive presences, whose activities are often responsible for shifts in the entire sonic environment: soundscapy bits where jazz horns stand out against abstract electronic backdrops, noisy four-way blitzes, passages of electroacoustic austerity, awesome pile-ups of distortion and reverberation, intricate on-the-hoof fugues created by means of loops and echo. Indeed, it’s the way that the disc steers a path between various genres of improvisation that’s particularly impressive: at one point, for instance, the electronics give way for a lovely passage of straight-up acoustic improv on “Frenchwoman Luggage Cart,” and there’s a nice, squelchy groove that comes into play on “Definitely Jack.” Excellent stuff all round, the quartet sustaining nearly 80 minutes of improvisation at a consistently high level of invention.

    Nate Dorward, Cadence, August 2006

    Recorded live in two large suites at Ventura College Theatre by the quartet of Andrew Pask clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and bass penny whistle, Jeff Kaiser on trumpet and a version of Don Ellis’s quarter tone instrument and GE Stinson and Steuart Liebig on guitar and bass guitar respectively, The Choir Boys With Strings serves to show how slow someone like Anthony Braxton has been to wake up to the potential of electronics in improvised music. One can imagine someone like George Lewis taking part in something like this, though the language is closer to the saxophonist’s. Everyone’s plugged into something and the result is an urgent, witty and often moving collage of acoustic and electronic sound which doesn’t draw attention to itself, but lets some genuinely powerful music come through.

    -Brian Morton, The Wire May 2006.

    Electronics spin the ruptured progressions of Kaiser’s trumpet into so many kaleidoscopic variations, thickening the texture of the music and constructing a bevy of relationships, each fraught with significance…highly cerebral electronics perform an act of cannibalism on the other instruments, blurring the crests and tropes of the compositions and emitting a pastiche of wailing horns and low synthetic hum that is uncanny…It is an onslaught that, though unnerving, does not destroy, but rather tests and strengthens the conceptual apparatus through which one engages with such music in the first place.

    Max Schaefer, Signal To Noise, Summer 2006

    CHOIR BOYS WITH STRINGS [JEFF KAISER/ANDREW PASK/STEUART LIEBIG/G.E. STINSON] (pfMENTUM 037; USA) This is quite far from what most folks would expect from a quartet of trumpet, clarinet, bass guitar, and electric guitar, but it won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with Kaiser and Pask’s previous duo work under the Choir Boys moniker. This is an electronic processing blowout, all four players largely masking the conventional sounds of their instrument with outer space swooshes and asteroid streaks. Kaiser (trumpet, quarter-tone trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics) and Pask (clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, bass penny whistle, electronics) are damn fine players, so my favorite parts come when the organic feeling of their horns finds a balance with the electronics. The playing is thoughtful, varied, and controlled, but it’s a far cry from the kind of restrained improv that’s common these days. These cats let loose with a rambunctious and gleeful spirit that reminds me of Sun Ra going into his most cosmic zone. Liebig and Stinson are hardcore veterans of the kind of multi-layered textural guitar extensions they focus on here, to the point where I’d strongly recommend this disc to fans of the general space/ambient genre who might have a hankering for some serious turbulence as they drift away.

    – Michael Anton Parker, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC, NY

    No, actually, no pure voiced choir boys or lush orchestrations turn up here. Hunt if you must and try and uncover them. At the opening pitches, your ear is plunged into an electronic search for signal playing tag with acoustic contributions from the clarinet. Sometimes the sonic clouds clear and off in the distance you see it, yes it, over there, but the fog rolls in before you can possibly get there. The lines are crossed, the vision blurred, the dream continues. But wait, over there, there it is. No, wrong again. Here is half of a cell phone call to Saturn relayed through an outdated videogame unit. Is he frustrated? Damn straight he is and he wants to go home. Please come and pick him up. He’ll be waiting, waiting over there, next to it. You know. And hurry if you can.

    — MS,

    The Choir Boys – The Choir Boys With Strings (CD, pfMENTUM, Experimental/modern classical/jazz/electronic)
    Anyone who is familiar with Jeff Kaiser, Andrew Pask, G.E. Stinson, and Steuart Liebig will have a good idea of what to expect from The Choir Boys. These four underground kings of improvisation got together and recorded two lengthy pieces at the Ventura College Theatre in California on October 5, 2005. Thus, The Choir Boys With Strings was born. Atmospheric electronics collide with elements of modern classical and modern jazz and rock to create heady and confusing music that will only appeal to a small, eclectic segment of listeners. Similar in intent and scope to early Tangerine Dream, The Choir Boys With Strings is an audio experience in which anything can and does happen. Despite the fact that the album features two continuous pieces “track numbers have been added for convenience.” Cool, creative, and ultimately obtuse…this album is creative, engaging, and thoroughly unpredictable. (Rating: 5+)

    March 2006,

    Album enregistré plus tôt par le trompettiste Jeff Kaiser et le clarinettiste et saxophoniste Andrew Pask, The Choir Boys est récemment devenu quartette. Avec le soutien des guitaristes G.E. Stinson et Steuart Liebig, la paire d’origine renouvelle en public ses expériences électro-acoustiques. Chacun des quatre membres faisant généralement usage d’apports électroniques variés.
    Et voici passées en machines clarinette basse (frénétique sur Needlework Alice), saxophone (prisonnier des échos sur Tobacconist from Rimini) et trompette (au charme retardataire sur Rest of the Skeleton). A l’image de la lutte engagée par l’alto de Pask contre le traitement informatique qu’on lui réserve, le quartette se fait acteur et témoin d’une époque défavorable à la résistance prolongée des instruments anciens.
    Une fois redéfinis, ils peuvent confectionner un collage aérien (French Woman Luggage Cart) ou servir une progression mesurée, et donc, plus saisissable (Tobacconist from Rimini), qui contraste avec Adulterous Dishwasher, où l’appréhension de la musique immédiate se trouve changée en combinaison d’expressions perturbées.
    Partis d’un principe vieux comme le monde – celui de la confrontation -, The Choir Boys a su démontrer de façon originale la malléabilité de l’acoustique sous l’effet des programmations. Ajoutant à la démonstration l’allure distinguée de ses formules.Chroniqué par Grisli

    Autres Chroniques de Grisli,

    In following their duo session, The Choir Boys, with this quartet performance a year later, Jeff Kaiser and Andrew Pask once again reach out into the realm of electronic music, unfettered by convention. The Choir Boys with Strings adds guitar and bass to the mix, giving Kaiser’s trumpets and Pask’s woodwinds an added layer of sounds. They’re wild and raucous throughout, making sure that eerie refrains capture the day.
    Each of the four artists converses through his instrument, taking nods from the others and employing a free-flowing stream of ideas. Kaiser’s trumpets come in open and muted form, with and without echo. Pask surges forward with his clarinets and alto saxophone, employing a conventional texture in a non-conventional setting. G.E. Stinson colors the session with light sparks from electric guitar as Steuart Liebig crawls raggedly across the bottom.
    Throughout the program, each player adds electronic blips and beeps that season the program lightly. They emphasize lyrical musical conversations which weave a thread through this performance among four improvising artists.
    Kaiser’s trumpet squeals and moans eerily on “Tobacconist from Rimini,” while guitar and bass provide walls of reflected sound. When Pask’s alto joins the melee, the scene turns helter-skelter. The quartet takes this one on a trip to the moon and back. ”Adulterous Dishwasher” brings an airy soliloquy from Kaiser that includes kissing sounds and all kinds of personal trumpet remarks. He’s followed by a mechanical tirade that lets guitar and bass imitate a machine while fusing electronics into their mix.
    The quartet combines noise with improvised soloing. The basic elements of melody, harmony and rhythm are absent, however, as each artist sculpts his idea of what free-form improvised music should endow. Don’t look for soulful impressions or pleasant musical amity. These “choir boys” prefer to stimulate the senses through eerie sounds and varied industrial machinations.

    Jim Santella,

    Jeff Kaiser abbandona per un attimo il suo Ockodektet ed in compagnia del neozelandese Andrew Pask ci sforna un dischetto agile/pesante di notevole spessore. In sintesi siamo di fronte ad un oscuro viaggio misticheggiante fra schizzi jazz, paturnie improvvisative più accese, deviazioni inqualificabili e un’elettronica stiracchiata verso il basso che sfiora spesso derive dark ambient (sto usando questo termine per la seconda volta in breve tempo ed in recensioni di materiali del genere.Che vuol dire?). Stupiscono di molto gli attacchi brutisti di Dim Effigies dove oggettivamente ci si trova di fronte ad una furia iconoclasta raramente data a vedere dai due strumentisti, assalti in quasi distorsione, cupe brutalità elettroniche di qualche lontana matrice industrial ed un belante motivo impro per fiati che malevolo si leva in alto. Confonde non poco le idee, e questo è un buon segno (1).
    Possibile variazione di Japa noise germogliato sotto il sole cocente della California, la frammentazione delle note di Pask che si disperdono nel vuoto looppandosi su se stesse provoca notevole senso di straniamento generale.
    Convince molto il processo d’interferenza elettronica continua alla quale viene sottoposta la performance del duo, innesta in qualche maniera la marcia in più; discosta in maniera determinante il tutto dalla solita uscita di settore. E questo è un buon segno (2).
    Avevamo apprezzato il lavoro in solitaria di Kaiser ma ad onor del vero lo consideravamo uno dei tanti nomi del panorama (senza nessun offesa sia detto, ognuno si sceglie il proprio orticello su cui pascolare), questa uscita sconfessa tutte le nostre cogitazioni irrispettose.
    Sarà l’asciuttezza data dalla formula a due, sarà probabilmente una fugace forma di insofferenza; sarà quel che più vi pare. Avete a che fare con uno dei più stimolanti prodotti degli ultimi tempi in campo improvvisativo. Bello constatare come l’accostamento acustico/elettronico se debitamente agitato può dar luogo a queste mutazioni sconsiderate. La sensazione di ascesa che si prova in Carbon Icon grazie all’entrata di un’onda cupa dopo la parte acustica è emblema unico di un linguaggio che pare volersi stiracchiare all’infinito sino a lambire (non sono impazzito) estasi rituali di lontana matrice tibetana. Si sguazza in una visione costantemente a mezza strada fra il sacro ed il profano. Da qualche parte si agitano spettri di Evan Parker, di Brötzmann, addirittura lontani richiami alle agitazioni storiche degli AMM; ma non abbastanza da non lasciar trapelare la sincera vena creativa che si agita sotto il tutto. Le frastagliate fasi che agitano The Variability Of Stammering Arrows fanno addirittura puntare lo sgurdo su certa scena inglese anni 80 con tutte le dovute cautele del caso (Clock Dva, Cabaret Voltaire; Hula). Incubica calata negli altiforni industrial che se martellata più sulla carrozzeria avrebbe potuto essere filiazione diretta dei God o degli Slab; chiaramente il tasso di tracimazione sonora qui viene tenuto molto più sotto controllo. Tromba e clarinetto senza nessuna esitazione stilistica, questo ci piace; lo spirito suicida esposto.
    Putrefazioni di materia jazz lasciata finalmente urlare libera senza giacca e cravatta a creare lo stile, maglie nere hardcore idealmente ad un passo (provateci ad immaginare dentro una sezione ritmica).
    Possibile epigono minimalizzato dei Fat o a scelta, rituale balinese al tramonto; e questo è un buon segno (3). (4 Stars)

    Marco Carcasi,

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