New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Marfa, Texas-based multidisciplinary artist Rob Mazurek's new album with Exploding Star Orchestra, Dimensional Stardust, is out now via International Anthem / Nonesuch Records, available here. Mazurek has made an indelible impact on creative music over the past thirty years since emerging from the musical nexus of the 1990s Chicago
scene. He has written more than 400 compositions, is featured on more than seventy recordings from various labels, and has led or co-led many ensembles, including Exploding Star Orchestra (his flagship large ensemble), Chicago
Underground, Isotope 217, and more.
Following the 2018 JazzFest Berlin debut of the new Exploding Star Orchestra music, Mazurek returned to Chicago, where International Anthem took the opportunity to capture his new ESO compositions with a cast of collaborators from their collective constellation of artists. Over a handful of studio dates between August 2019 and March 2020, Mazurek arranged his pieces for eleven musicians—Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Jaimie Branch, Joel Ross, Mikel Patrick Avery, Tomeka Reid, Chad Taylor, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Macie Stewart, Angelica
Sanchez, and John Herndon. He also commissioned his long-time lyrics collaborator Damon Locks to draft original texts for each of the songs; Locks also recorded vocal tracks. After three months of rigorous post-production, editing, and assembly work, Mazurek completed Dimensional Stardust.
recalls an array of Mazurek's symphonic influences—from Béla Bartók to Morton
Feldman to Gil Evans to Sun Ra to Pedro Santos
to Bill Dixon to The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Opting to focus on tight ensemble orchestration over passages of open improvisation, Mazurek distills an orchestra of explosive improvisers into a beautifully restrained, graceful group exercise in melodic minimalism. Mazurek himself is sparsely present as an instrumentalist, only occasionally joining the ensemble with his piccolo trumpet. All the way through, the electro-acoustic poly-rhythmic percussion section (Chad Taylor, Mikel Patrick Avery, and John Herndon) churns, peaking in rare soloist moments by flutist Nicole
Mitchell (on the opener "Sun Core Tet") and guitarist Jeff Parker (on "The Careening Prism Within").