Suitable Benchmarks of Reform

Collin Sherman

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"Suitable Benchmarks of Reform", my thirteenth release, sticks to the same process I have used on past releases, where I play all of the instruments myself and overlay the parts. This album is essentially in two sections; the first being a collection of three independent tunes, and the second being a four-part suite.

The opening tune, “Phalanx Strictures”, has a rolling, propulsive 15/4 rhythm and a repetitive melody that makes use of the tendency for the odd meter to feel as if each measure is falling over the top of the next. It’s also the most instrumentally dense piece on the record. Although built around a repeating sequenced bassline, the harmony instruments and horns liberally apply accidentals, providing a sense of free exploration even with the bass continually returning to the tonic.

“Rival Machinations” is completely improvised, with no stated melody or pre-planned elements other than the instrumentation.

“Worthless Objects and Photographs Thereof” slows things down quite a bit and employs a memorable clarinet melody. The Bb soprano clarinet and bass clarinet are the only horns used on this piece, giving it an earthy vibe.

The rest of the album is comprised of the four-part “Rumination Suite” in C minor, which is intended to represent an arc of burgeoning self-awareness and accompanying psychological and spiritual recovery. Each movement in the suite is built around the soprano saxophone and bass tongue drum, providing a steady, metronomic foundation for the tunes.

The first movement, “Meditation on Resentment”, begins the suite with the slow (60 bpm) tongue drum establishing the pace and harmonic framework. Vibraphone provides color and expands the harmonic portrait before the saxophone enters. Eventually strings join the mix, and as the harmonies get more dissonant, the saxophone responds with increasing activity, eventually becoming frenetic and restless, expressing discontentedness.

The next movement, “Faults and Missteps”, explores the mindset one naturally has after nurturing one’s resentments. A repeating, bluesy electric guitar riff sets the tone for the piece along with the tongue drum, insistent and throbbing.

“Things Turn Around” begins with near silence as the tongue drum occasionally provides a lone “C” note. Gradually, various other percussion instruments enter the fold, as well as an oboe, before the saxophone begins its exploration. As the parts flesh out and become busier the piece builds to a dense finale. The slightly quicker tempo and busyness of the piece provide a sense of moving forward; while not exactly providing happiness or resolution, there is the sense that one can move beyond the mistakes that nurturing one’s resentments inevitably yields.

The suite ends with “Foundations of Serenity”. As the most harmonically consonant movement in the piece it establishes a sense of calm. It is meant to reflect a mindset where, although not everything is perfect, there is enough to build a solid path forward.

I hope you enjoy this music and can relate, no matter where along your path you have found it.

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Arc of a Slow Decline

Collin Sherman

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With "Arc of a Slow Decline", Collin continues the focus on jazz and free improvisation of his past several albums. As with all previous releases, he plays all the instruments himself and overlays the parts.

The first disc is the more composition-focused and elaborately arranged program of the two discs. Each piece, with the exception of “Sycophant Parade”, begins with a clear statement of melody followed by solos on saxophones and/or clarinets. The solos are “free” to varying degrees, depending of what the compositions and arrangements allow.

The second disc is generally sparser, both from a compositional standpoint and with respect to the arrangements. Most of the pieces on this disc have no stated melody or pre-planned chord progressions. The arrangements tend to utilize either only drums and horns, or piano/bass/horns without any percussion, with occasional electronic flourishes.

Free improvisation is a search for truth and transcendental beauty. Although that search may never end, through this music, hopefully, we may all come a little closer to knowing that truth which we seek.

For more information, promo requests, or to set up an interview, please contact Collin Sherman.

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Liberties and Delights

Collin Sherman

One-person jazz performance of parts layered in the studio utilizing saxophones, clarinets, bass synths, drum programming, and various other acoustic and electronic instruments for a unique, eclectic experiment.

"Liberties and Delights", the eleventh release by New York-based musician Collin Sherman, explores the boundaries between free improvisation and composition using saxophones, clarinets, electronics and noise.

Like his previous releases, Collin recorded "Liberties and Delights" by playing every part himself, overlaying the separate instruments in the studio. Woodwinds are featured on every track, with the one constant wind being the alto saxophone, Collin’s primary instrument. One focus across these pieces is how the approach to free improvisation changes when there is only one person creating and overlaying all the parts. The different pieces explore this by creating structures with varying levels of complexity – some fairly structured with clear melodies, others with almost no structure or built only on propulsive vamps – to allow a soloist to respond to a predictable change, or total freedom to create the emotional core of the piece from the ground up in real time. The results range from steady and measured, to wild and unhinged.

Free improvisation is a search for truth and transcendental beauty. Although that search may never end, through this music, hopefully, we may all come a little closer to knowing that truth which we seek.

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Violence of Faction

Collin Sherman

Experimental jazz combining free jazz saxophone and drums with analog synth bass and ambient drones.

Violence of Faction, the tenth release by New York-based musician Collin Sherman, presents experimental jazz that fuses saxophones and hard-swinging rhythms with a variety of electronics and distorted drones.

Like his previous releases, Violence of Faction created with Collin playing every part, overlaying the separate instruments in the studio. This album weaves together intricate melodies, harmonies and solos with saxophones and clarinets, bass lines from rich analog synths, and realistic-sounding drum programming, along with other electronic flourishes and virtual instruments. Collin’s alto saxophone, as his primary instrument, takes the focus in these six compositions, as he plays jagged, aggressive lines that create excitement throughout.

Free improvisation is a search for truth and transcendental beauty. Although free jazz is a primary influence on Violence of Faction, Collin maintains a keen sense of melody which helps define that search in each piece. Although that search may never end, through this music, hopefully, we may all come a little closer to knowing that truth which we seek.

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Fungible Deities

Collin Sherman

"Fungible Deities", the ninth release by New York-based musician Collin Sherman, is a continuation of the jazz-centric execution which began with 2017’s "Biologic Obligations". The pieces use jazz rhythms and free improvisation, while incorporating metallic soundscapes and ambient drones.

While the focus of "Fungible Deities" is clearly on jazz, many of the pieces eschew the common head/solos/head structure for a more fluid theme-based structure, with short refrains repeating at various points throughout each composition. Drawing, to various degrees, from New York’s Downtown avant-garde, early electronic experimentation, New Orleans collective improvisation, 1960s spiritual jazz, noise and drone music, Collin fuses disparate influences to create a coherent sound reflecting contemporary anxieties.

Since the release of his first album of ambient electronic music in 2012, Collin’s style has expanded with each release to incorporate more live instrumentation, layers of sound, and greater complexity. "Fungible Deities" represents his most stylistically focused release to date.

Instrumentation: Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Keyboards/Synths, Guitar, Electronics, Drum Programming.

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Biologic Obligations

Collin Sherman

Horns, analog synths, and propulsive rhythms provide the ingredients for unexpected compositions and free improvisation.

This is best described as left-field, sludgy DIY jazz. Oily analog synths gurgle simple harmonies over shifting rhythms while reeds blow melodic, dissonant, then consonant, and always free enough to smudge the outlines of what you thought was the structure, but keeps changing. Classic jazz combo sensibilities blend with electronic experiments, drones, and noise to create something truly unique.

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Pleasant Enough

Collin Sherman

This is a foray into harsh noise, made from the unrepentant abuse of various analog synths, outboard mixers, horns, novelty instruments and other junk.

I don't consider myself a noise artist per se, but the musical structures I utilize tend to be rather loose, which lends itself well to a noisy or collage effect. This album is the product of lots of experimentation with different techniques for making some truly awful sounds, lots of editing large troves of the resulting sound files, and more obsessive tweaking than one might think for something that is going to end up sounding like noise anyway. The results act as a nice steel wool to scour away the buildup of frustration and resentment that keep you up at night.

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Accompaniments for Sparse Rhythms

Collin Sherman

A forceful combination of electronic, jazz, improvisation, noise and drone formats.

As the title suggests, this is the first of my projects to consistently use rhythm throughout the album. I use a variety of instruments, including soprano sax, alto sax, soprano clarinet, bass clarinet, analog synths, electric guitar, and various electronics to create a sound that melds improvisations rooted in jazz with distorted drones and electronic textures.

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Extended Sonority

Collin Sherman

Long-form ambient piece which utilizes digitally treated acoustic instruments and non-traditional sound sources.

This piece utilizes alto saxophone and bass clarinet, both digitally treated to alter their original sounds, as well as synthesizers and static. It slowly evolves over the course of over thirty minutes with repetitive mechanical sounds ebbing in over time.

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