Ingrid Laubrock / Anti-House / Strong Place

Anti-House / Strong Place - Intakt CD 208/2013


  • INGRID LAUBROCK: Saxophones
  • KRIS DAVIS: Piano
  • TOM RAINEY: Drums 

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Recording track list

An Unfolding 7:48
Cup In A Teastorm (for Henry Threadgill) 6:01
Here’s To Love 6:28
Total time 57 : 16 

Anti-House / Strong Place: release info

Intakt CD 208/2013

Ingrid Laubrock's Anti-House new release on Intakt Records, available now on this website. On general release from January 15, 2013

Group identity in hand, Laubrock’s compositions reflect a wide range of formal challenges and present a contrasting, shape-shifting (but far from schizoid) palette. As Rainey puts it, “each piece is its own universe,” self-contained but related facets of Laubrock’s personality that are distinct and unrepeated. Feldman-esque footfalls, gritty rock-derived choogle, lushly seafaring minimal hooks (the beautiful elisions of “Alley Zen”) and heel-digging tenor that nods in the direction of messengers like Shepp and Evan Parker are all part of the landscape. As trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon once said, “Picasso never really had a ‘Blue Period’ – he just painted some blue paintings, right?” In that sense, there is an extraordinary amount of cohesiveness to this music, even as its sinewy limbs might amply and jarringly point in a series of quirky directions. Strong Place evinces warm bedrock firmly in place, even as Laubrock and her mates regularly shift the sands around one another. That’s as good a definition for composition as I can think of. 

Clifford Allen, liner notes


Ingrid Laubrock, a saxophonist, and Kris Davis, a pianist, share an aesthetic of unsettled calm
andurried revelation. With the drummer Tyshawn Sorey they make up Paradoxical Frog, a
trio that can make free improvisation feel structurally inevitable, like the logical conclusion to a
far-reaching argument.
With their own bands Ms. Laubrock and Ms. Davis favor a slightly more careful arrangement of
ideas, and compositions with discrete parameters. They both like chamber-group dynamics but
shot through with rough texture and a vigilant avoidance of sentimentality. That they appear on
each others' new albums is no surprise. It confirms that their interaction is adaptable as well as
sturdy and suggests that they haven't begun to exhaust its potential.
Both albums — Ms. Laubrock's "Strong Place," released in January, and Ms. Davis's "Capricorn
Climber," due out on March 18 — feature quintets driven by the alert and sinewy drumming of
Tom Rainey, who happens to be Ms. Laubrock's husband. Each album also includes a resident
mischief maker with a melodic instrument. On "Strong Place" it's the guitarist Mary Halvorson,
and on "Capricorn Climber" it's the violist Mat Maneri. On both albums it's the second track,
more than the first, that pulls you in.
The second track on "Strong Place" is "Der Deichgraf," its title a nod to Ms. Laubrock's German
origins. The piece opens with a stern rumble of pianism before the ensemble gives halting chase,
and then tapers off into balladic terrain without relaxing its intensity. (At one point the rhythm
drops away to leave only Ms. Laubrock, circular-breathing a single note, and Ms. Halvorson,
playing a wobbled-pitch version of the same.)
Ms. Laubrock's band, Anti-House — which appears on Tuesday night at Cornelia Street Café,
before embarking on a European tour — has an insistent rhythmic footprint. One track here,
"From Farm Girl to Fabulous Vol. 1," pushes the idea almost to the point of irritation, with a
strobelike repetition assigned to piano and guitar.
But the ensemble, anchored by the bassist John Hébert, also has a way with drift and flow. "Cup
in a Teastorm (for Henry Threadgill)" features Ms. Laubrock's focused meanderings over a
garden of exotic chords outlined by bass and guitar. "Alley Zen" revolves around a swirl of
arpeggios played, with lovely impassivity, by Ms. Davis.
The second track on "Capricorn Climber" is "Pass the Magic Hat," which begins with a fluid piano
solo over an amorphously syncopated groove. Gradually Ms. Laubrock enters the picture, and
into sync with a melody that briefly surges before its ebb. What follows is a solo by Mr. Maneri,
slipping through the cracks between tempered pitch. The entire track is an engrossing lesson in
ensemble flux, carried out with finesse.
A similar energy spills into the next track, "Trevor's Luffa Complex," named after the band's
bassist, Trevor Dunn, and featuring an initial melody played on glockenspiel. Several other tracks
begin in hazy but thoughtful quietude, only gradually picking up heat and speed. The quieter
moments aren't necessarily more placid, since Ms. Davis is wizardly with tension. And like Ms.
Laubrock, who also does some serious work on this album, she's comfortable leaving an openended
NATE CHINEN; New York Times, March 4, 2013

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