Dave Rempis, Elisabeth Harnik, Fred Lonberg-Holm & Tim Daisy / Earscratcher - Earscratcher

2022 CD release

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This newfound quartet was conceived in 2019, as a way to celebrate Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik’s 50th birthday in 2020. For the occasion, Harnik called on several longtime collaborators from Chicago with whom she’d connected at the Umbrella Music Festival back in 2008, on her first visit to the city. Since that time, she’s continued to stoke the fires she started there, not only in various collaborations with these three musicians, but also with Chicago legends like Ken Vandermark, Michael Zerang, and Renee Baker. And this new configuration – Earscratcher – was fully primed to celebrate her milestone with a May 2020 European tour.

For obvious reasons, that May tour was postponed until October 2020. Then May 2021. That didn’t quite work out either. Finally, in May of 2022, the coast was clear. Fourth time’s a charm? As you can tell from this recording, made on the first concert of that tour, the band was ready to break the reins by then.

Individually, Harnik’s astounding ability to draw unimaginable sounds from her instrument pairs well with the limitless sound generator into which alchemist Lonberg-Holm consistently transforms his cello. Daisy is the rare percussionist who can pivot logically from momentum and drive to texture and touch, giving the band a similarly panoramic vista from which to explore. With that pastoral breadth in mind, Rempis decided to challenge himself by limiting his arsenal for this tour to his first horn – alto. Because of that, you might hear the obvious connection between this band and the small groups led by Cecil Taylor in the 60’s and 70’s featuring Jimmy Lyons, whose fleet and angular lines are undoubtedly a touchstone for Rempis.

When these four combine as Earscratcher, we sometimes end up with swirling spirals of sound that twist up ribbons of tension into a cyclone, and sometimes find ourselves in the eye of that storm, swaddled in a wash of patient and centered calm. Two poles that in this context have an endless set of routes in between, conjured up during an outing that was definitely worth the wait.


SKU 769947425122
Barcode # 769947425122
Brand Aerophonic Records

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