See: Experimental clarinettist Jeremiah Cymerman pays meditative tribute with ‘From The Metaphysical To The Transcendental (For Bill Smith)’ – his album’s out in August

Jeremiah Cymerman, photographed by Toby Driver

JEREMIAH CYMERMAN is a producer and clarinettist who’s been working within the New York avant-garde music scene for nigh on two decades now, and more specifically where the tectonic plates of improvisation, experimenta and electro-acoustic music meet.

Having recently celebrated his 40th birthday, with all the societal tradition and psychic numerological significance attached to that birthday, he was inspired to go into the studio and record a ‘coming of age’ album, which was to become Citadels & Sanctuaries, to be released on 5049 in August.

But instead of a taking stock of the self, Jeremiah instead took his favoured reed instrument and composed a set which celebrates and pays tribute to the composers who’ve been significant in his musical development, with a track apiece dedicated to the playing and the aesthetics of players as diverse as Alvin Lucier, Morton Feldman, Evan Parker, and others.

By way of announcement, he’s just revealed a first track, “From the Metaphysical To The Transcendental (For Bill Smith)”, a paean to the recently passed musician and major influence, the video for which you can watch below.

A piece rich in meditative atmosphere and space, an Eastern melodic feel, it has a breaking of dawn luxuriousness; the world poised and ready.

Jeremiah says: “Bill Smith was the 20th century’s greatest clarinetist. A true visionary of jazz, classical and electroacoustic music for over 60 years, Bill quite literally re-invented the language of the clarinet.

“When he passed away in February 2021, the world lost an irreplaceable composer, performer, teacher and mentor. Though I never got to meet Bill or see him perform in person, his music and writings changed the way that I think not only about the clarinet, but music as a whole.

“His work introduced a whole spectrum of sonic possibilities for woodwinds and electronics, a soundworld that will inspire, challenge and comfort musicians and listeners for years to come. ‘From the Metaphysical to the Transcendental’ is lovingly and dutifully dedicated to Bill Smith.”  

Recorded during a month-long residency at Brooklyn art space Pioneer Works in late 2020, Jeremiah’s fifth solo album eschews extensive edits, overdubs, and effects processing; nearly each piece on Citadels & Sanctuaries was captured in a single take.

“I wanted to inhabit the sound worlds of these artists, participating with the music as a player like I have as a listener,” he explains. “Some pieces were very deliberate from the start, while others happened more organically after they were being shaped. With different people in mind, it helped me focus each piece to get it to completion.

“This album was recorded when playing lines and melodies were feeling really good for me. It feels good to be able to share my work with people who might not have all this context about the music.

“They can just enjoy it because it has an immediacy to it. There are abrasive, dissonant parts that might be off-putting, but for the most part I like showing another side of myself. I don’t want to just make abstract, dark music all the time.”

Jeremiah Cymerman’s Citadels & Sanctuaries will be released by 5049 Records digitally and on CD on August 20th, and may be pre-ordered now over at his Bandcamp page.

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