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spi​-​raling horn bpaltd20020 & IMR003

by Jason Stein, Marilyn Crispell, Damon Smith, Adam Shead

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This album releases May 3rd, however, CD pre-orders will ship when the CDs arrive from the factory - so you will get them earlier. The cover features artwork by Cy Twombly & an 8 panel accordion fold insert with a previously unpublished poem by Nathaniel Mackey.

    Includes digital pre-order of spi-raling horn bpaltd20020 & IMR003. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    shipping out on or around May 3, 2024
    Purchasable with gift card

      $14.95 USD or more 


a song paid by singing
the ground laid open
saturant moon water
so close it cut my ribs
back and back out


This is a pre-order. You get two tracks now and the rest of the album as well as a PDF of the full CD artwork on May 3rd.

The trio of bass clarinetist Jason Stein, double bassist Damon Smith, and drummer Adam Shead’s collaboration with master pianist Marilyn Crispell came to fruition by way of Smith and Crispell’s mutual admiration of iconoclastic visual artist Cy Twombly. Due to their shared
appreciation and dialogue surrounding Twombly’s work Smith began to conceptualize what shape a collaboration between the two might take. Smith’s ideation ultimately resulted in two concerts and a studio engagement with Crispell and the prolific trio of Stein, Smith, and Shead. On spi-raling horn the listener is invited to experience the aforementioned studio date as it happened, having the album’s tracks sequenced in the order in which the quartet recorded them,
leaving nothing on the cutting room floor. On a “song paid by singing” Crispell pokes and prods the quartet with pin-point rhythmic
accuracy and constant harmonic motion, bolstering the angular motifs of Stein and Smith forward, building pressure that fulminates with each of Shead’s focused punctuations. On “the ground laid open” the ensemble takes a different approach than the previous two tracks’ all encompassing intensity, inviting the listener into a world of rolling duos which ultimately culminates in a drastically stripped back quartet sound. The fifth track on the album, “so close it cut my ribs”, brings the quartet into a beautiful, floating, and melancholic melody reminiscent of the romantic sound world that can often be attributed to Crispell. Stein shines as his bass clarinet soars over Crispell’s masterful chords, while Smith and Shead provide forward momentum and atmosphere to boot. The last two tracks of the album, “back and back out” and “a rusted bell’s clank”, harken back to the non-idiomatic and rhythmically complex sound world that was introduced at the outset of this roughly 62 minute entry. Shead’s ability to provide an unrelenting onslaught of rhythmic cacophony that is deeply rooted in the interactions between himself and his compatriots is showcased wonderfully here, displaying influences from the likes of Tony Oxley and Rashied Ali. With cover art by Cy Twombly and liner notes by Nathaniel Mackey spi-raling horn is a fully conceptualized document providing the listener with top tier free improvisation from four of the finest musicians working today.


releases May 3, 2024

Jason Stein - bass clarinet
Marilyn Crispell - piano
Damon Smith - double bass
Adam Shead - drums

Cover art by Cy Twombly
99 1/4 x 217 1/4 inches (252 x 552)
Untitled, 2007 Acrylic & wax crayon on wood
© Cy Twombly Foundation
Udo and Anette Brandhorst Collection
© Cy Twombly Foundation
Photo: Haydar Koyupinar, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen,
Museum Brandhorst, Munich
Thank you to Nicola Del Roscio
Liner Notes by Nathaniel Mackey
Joint release by Balance Point Acoustics (bpaltd20020) & Irritable Mystic Records (IMR003)
Mixed & mastered by Bill Harris
Recorded by Nick Broste at Palisade Studios on June 19, 2023
Design by Alan Anzalone


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Balance Point Acoustics St. Louis, Missouri

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