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Aug. 5: Josh Modney Releases Near To Each, His Debut Album as a Composer and Bandleader, on Carrier Records

July 5, 2022 | By Katy Salomon
VP, Public Relations



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact: 
Katy Salomon | Primo Artists | VP, Public Relations 
katy@primoartists.com | 212.837.8466 


 Josh Modney Releases
Near To Each

His Debut Full-Length Album as a Composer
and Bandleader, Featuring 9 Compositions
Performed by Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock,
Cellist Mariel Roberts, Pianist Cory Smythe,
and Josh Modney on Violin

Out Friday, August 5, 2022 on Carrier Records
Physical Press Copies Available Upon Request

“new-music luminary” – The New York Times

www.joshmodney.com 

 

New York, NY (July 5, 2022) – On Friday, August 5, 2022, composer, solo improviser, bandleader, and writer Josh Modney releases Near To Each, his debut full-length album as a composer and bandleader, on Carrier Records. The album features nine compositions for a quartet of adventurous musicians including Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), Mariel Roberts (cello), and Cory Smythe (piano), with Modney on violin.

A highly detailed relationship to sound production on the violin is foundational to Modney’s creative practice, with a particular interest in complex timbres, Just Intonation, and in exploring the perceptual space between improvisation and notation. Modney explains “while my previous solo release, Engage, represents an attempt to forge a violin practice that to me feels personal and authentic, Near To Each is rooted in relationships, expanding this violin language outward to a chamber ensemble that is founded on dialogue with three extraordinary artists who share a fascination with the in-between spaces of soundmaking.” This interest in liminal states permeates Near To Each, as the compositions blend improvised and precisely notated music while often deliberately playing with listeners’ perception of the space between those two modes, and deal with the juxtaposition and overlapping of various musical elements, for example, three distinct approaches to intonation.

Modney begins the liner notes of Near To Each by recounting a particularly memorable day in the Appalachian Mountains involving an encounter with an extraordinary phenomenon, and the wide range of feelings that accompanied the experience. The story serves as a metaphor for various musical ideas present throughout the album. Modney writes, “Musically, I’m interested in these irrevocable changes, the feeling of crossing the threshold from one state to another, and in occupying in-between spaces for extended durations. These ideas not only shape compositional forms, but also reflect mental/emotional states that I find fulfilling as a performer and listener: heightened awareness, anxiety around the unknown, navigating change, the joy of discovery.”

He continues, “The music of Near To Each is laced through with thresholds, changes of state, inevitability, and the buzzing energy of disparate systems and practices striving to work in harmony. In some instances, active textures that occupy a liminal perceptual state between notation and improvisation crystallize into tightly structured, unison identities. In others, blocks of saturated sound create the conditions for the emergence of new materials. And sometimes, these same materials inhabit more familiar musical forms... Ingrid Laubrock’s saxophone thrives in the world of equal-tempered quarter tones, while the violin and Mariel Roberts’ cello are innately capable of Just Intonation harmonies and glissando. Cory Smythe performs on a unique setup that includes piano as well as two custom software instruments of his own design that enable access to equal-tempered quarter-tones and a continuous pitch spectrum, respectively. As an ensemble, the quartet is free to move along a wide continuum between gleaming consonance and grinding dissonance, and to embrace an ecstatically resonant pitch space comprised of overlaid grids that are close but don’t quite line up.”

The compositions of Near To Each were tailor-made for the distinctive voices of Laubrock, Roberts, Smythe, and Modney over an extended period of close collaboration, and the music is emblematic of the shared interests of the bandmates and their relationships with one another. Modney sums up, “The word 'between' comes from the Old English betweonum (literally ‘near two each’), which, in addition to the meaning we are accustomed to, could also refer to a reciprocal relationship among several people. The music of Near To Each aims to resonate with both senses of the word – a communal exploration of the interstices of sound.”

About Josh Modney
Josh Modney is a violinist and creative musician working at the nexus of composition, improvisation, and interpretation. A “new-music luminary” (The New York Times) hailed as "one of today's most intrepid experimentalists" (Bandcamp Daily), Modney is a foremost interpreter of adventurous contemporary music, and has cultivated a holistic artistic practice as a composer, solo improviser, bandleader, writer, and collaborator. Modney is the violinist and Executive Director of the composer-performer collective Wet Ink Ensemble, and a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Modney has composed music for violin solo, chamber ensemble, and film (Dreamland on Paramount Pictures with Patrick Higgins), and has received awards and residencies from The Shifting Foundation, Millay Arts, and Queens Arts Council. A highly detailed relationship to sound production on the violin is foundational to Modney’s creative practice, with a particular interest in complex timbres, Just Intonation, and in exploring the perceptual space between improvisation and notation. Modney’s compositions are rooted in relationships: with particular artistic collaborators, and with listeners who find that adventurous sound-making provides nourishment to a part of our emotional being that is otherwise difficult to access.

Modney's triple-disc debut solo release, Engage (New Focus Recordings, 2018), featuring works written for Modney by Kate Soper, Eric Wubbels, and Sam Pluta alongside music by Anthony Braxton, J.S. Bach, and Modney’s own solo violin music, was lauded by The New York Times as “one of the most intriguing programs of the year.” As a collaborator and performer of new music, Modney has worked closely with leading composers of his generation including Ash Fure, Ingrid Laubrock, Nate Wooley, Rick Burkhardt, and Tristan Perich, and with major figures including Kaija Saariaho, Mathias Spahlinger, Helmut Lachenmann, George Lewis, and Pauline Oliveros.

Modney's writing on Just Intonation and collaborative musical practices has been published on Sound American and New Music Box, and he is the co-founder and editor of Wet Ink Archive, an online journal of adventurous music. Learn more at www.joshmodney.com

Near To Each Tracklist
1. Josh Modney – Violin Solo [1:48]
2. Josh Modney – Whalefall [11:49]
3. Josh Modney – Tenor Solo [1:19]
4. Josh Modney – Crystallization I [10:31]
5. Josh Modney – Opening [2:39]
6. Josh Modney – Ballad [10:29]
7. Josh Modney – Rift [2:43]
8. Josh Modney – Ritual / Crystallization II [9:34]
9. Josh Modney – Chorale [23:55]

Total Time - 74:47

Josh Modney, violin
Ingrid Laubrock, saxophones
Cory Smythe, piano
Mariel Roberts, cello

Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio (Mt. Vernon, NY) on April 12, 2021

Mastered by Sam Pluta
Artwork and design by Alexander Perrelli
Layout by Emma Van Deun

Carrier Records 067

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