For this humble scribe, from the second I glanced on the Kravis Middle’s 2022-2023 season lineup, one named jumped out as probably the most thrilling “get”—and subsequent week, the second lastly arrives.
Born in Auckland to a New Zealand father and Japanese mom, composer-musician Mark de Clive-Lowe has been mixing cultures and genres his complete profession, excelling as a hard-hitting jazz pianist and borrowing simply as a lot from hip-hop, R&B and digital music. His current venture MOTHERLAND, which he’ll current March 23-24 on the Kravis Middle, represents a departure of types for the 47-year-old musician, deploying a minimalist, ambient, mesmerizing sonic language, coupled with curated projected visuals created by Rieg Rodig, in an exploration of his Japanese heritage.
He discusses MOTHERLAND and extra on this Q&A with Boca journal.
Inform us in regards to the genesis of MOTHERLAND; how did this idea come to you?
Over the previous six or seven years, I’ve been taking place this path of deep-diving into my ancestry and cultural roots and heritage. My mom is Japanese, and that’s all the time been an enormous a part of my life. I’ve all the time stored it separate from my music, and after a major period of time, as a profession musician touring and recording and so forth, I’m getting to some extent the place I’m like, what does this all imply? Past the music, how does my life, how does my lineage and my story intersect with my craft and what I wish to share? And so, I used to be exploring issues like Japanese folktales, and samurai mythology, and my household identify in Japan, and all types of issues that might be totally different sort of touchstones to mirror on roots—and essentially convey that means to what I needed to.
Has it labored?
I believe I’ve found extra about myself than something, within the context of our ancestors, which incorporates our instant household, after all, and the concept that households are their ancestral lineage, and that I’m a part of that lineage too. So it’s taught me loads about my id and sense of belonging, which is one thing that’s been a lifelong theme for me. Rising up mixed-race, and never fairly understanding the place I belonged, and falling in love with the entire lineage of Black music, and understanding that’s not mine both. And so, by this journey, all of it makes extra sense to me, after which it introduced me to some extent the place I’m discovering numerous satisfaction in simplicity, versus overcomplication.
Proper, it looks like you’re embracing a brand new musical language for this venture. It appears far afield out of your jazz roots.
Yeah, as a result of I got here up by this aspiration of eager to be this super-hardcore straight-ahead jazz piano participant, after which fell in love with hip-hop and home music and a complete spectrum of the digital music world, and I’ve been taking part in in these totally different playgrounds to totally different extents, however this has been … possibly I’m maturing lastly, I don’t know! It’s totally different, and likewise, I don’t wish to keep the identical. I don’t wish to eat the identical meal each evening for the remainder of my life.
I see “MOTHERLAND” as extra within the custom of Philip Glass, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Brian Eno, Laraaji, and David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy.
One identify I’d add into that blend is Ryuichi Sakamoto. He’s all the time been a touchstone for me, however I’ve by no means understood fairly why. And now I’m like, Oh, now I get it on a deeper stage. But in addition, all these individuals you talked about … firstly, I’m completely humbled to be in any method in the identical sentence. … I used to be impressed however what I’d name muscular gamers. And whether or not that was popping out of the Coltrane college, it was, “how exhausting can I hit this?” After which within the digital world, it was, “how a lot can I bump the dance ground? How exhausting can I hit that?” And so, it’s been a yin-yang expertise, the place you go to this point in a single course, you need to go in a unique course to search out the stability between the 2.
I really feel like style distinctions have gotten much less essential to music customers than ever earlier than; is style one thing you even think about much less essential now when approaching a venture?
Yeah, style, at the moment, is a advertising device greater than something. As human beings, we’ve got this superb breadth, and so regardless of the medium or area of expression is, it is smart to me that that too ought to have breadth. I don’t know why it’s popped into thoughts, however I simply considered when Michael Jordan modified to baseball. I’m an enormous basketball nerd, in order that’s nonetheless humorous to me in its method … but in addition, why shouldn’t he go and play baseball?!
Do you see MOTHERLAND as one 40-minute suite that might be listened to as one observe?
I completely see it as a set. On the identical time, every of the items has a complete story behind it. Fairly a number of of the items I first recorded on my Heritage double-album collection—a full quintet, and exploring them that method. After I did these exhibits, I’d go to nice pains to inform your complete story of every piece earlier than we performed it. And I really feel prefer it supplied numerous that means for the viewers, particularly within the context of instrumental music. However then, presenting it as MOTHERLAND on this context, as a reside audiovisual expertise, I would like it to be immersive and to have a water-like move, that isn’t a lot about stop-starts, and “when do I applaud?” I simply need you to sink into the spirit and the vibe of the second, and allow us to transport you someplace.
Versus your quintet performances, would you say these live shows might be a stripped-down take in your sound?
Completely. After I first did the MOTHERLAND venture as a digital audiovisual venture, it was simply me, and I relished the chance to take my compositions and simply strip them right down to the bottom fundamentals of them. And so with this presentation on the Kravis, I’m having Eric Harland be a part of me, who’s one among my favourite drummers on the planet. Eric is as joyful zoning out in some rubato freeness as he’s digging into one thing. So to have somebody with that breadth who can simply convey some extra dynamics to the story is superb. On the identical time … given my catalog, they know to anticipate the surprising. However another person may be like, “wait, I believed this was a jazz gig, or an digital music gig.” We’re bringing the essence of every little thing into an expertise I hope individuals will go away with a sense of depth and substance.
Is improvisation part of it?
Yeah, to some extent. Greater than something I’ve accomplished, this venture is extra in regards to the compositional themes, and pushing and pulling that considerably within the improvisation sense, as a result of that’s a part of the core of what I like to do, but in addition … that is so innately private that I don’t really feel the necessity to show something with it. And due to this fact, I really feel very assured in simply, let me simply current the compositions and the intention with which this venture was put collectively. And let that translate.
You launched this album in an uncommon method; you didn’t put it on CD or vinyl. It’s an NFT?
That’s proper. It was the primary audiovisual album on the blockchain. After which I finally put the audio on Bandcamp and the video on YouTube.
Why did you go that route and embrace this know-how?
That is one thing I can converse for hours about. On the one hand, fundamentals in regards to the music trade which might be simply flawed, extremely exploitative and don’t remunerate pretty, and blockchain has numerous means to rebalance. After which on the opposite aspect of it’s that in the event you consider within the tech, that is just like the digital archive, the time capsule, for future ancestors. And the concept that the way in which individuals love vinyl and may go record-digging by some obscure little store, I’m imagining 100 years in a future, and individuals are crate-digging on the Ethereum blockchain. That’s loopy to me! So I’ve all the time cherished know-how and the intersection [with music], and I’ve all the time considered that by way of my musical craft; however now, with this tech, I believe, wait … I can discover this and have enjoyable with it too.
Lastly, I’d wish to ask you about your 2022 album Freedom, your interpretations of works by the late large of the saxophone, Pharoah Sanders. What impressed you about Pharoah’s music?
The primary time I heard Pharoah’s music was his album Thembi, and I used to be very younger, I used to be in Japan, and I used to be already into jazz, however I hadn’t heard one thing that … had I been born 10 years earlier and heard that, I’d have instantly chopped it up right into a basic hip-hop beat. It had such a draw to me. And it was totally different from all of the jazz I’d been listening to, whether or not that was ‘50s bop or experimental ‘60s stuff. However Pharoah settled all that power however nonetheless had a burning depth with it, and the entire thing, I felt, was very reflective of the human sprit. I believe all music is, however some music is extra clearly that.
Once we did that reside present, which turned the Freedom document, a two-night present in L.A., I felt like … I like this music, I wish to play it, however I don’t wish to write the physique of labor within the model of Pharoah Sanders; that simply sounds ridiculous. So let’s simply pay homage to his music. And Dwight Trible, who’s on the document, is a longtime collaborator of Pharoah’s, and he was in contact with Pharoah proper earlier than the present, so he knew about it. Dwight was telling us that he was so grateful to have these musicians doing two nights of his work, which isn’t the commonest factor to occur. So, that he was touched was actually candy as effectively.
Do you will have any new initiatives for this 12 months?
Sure, on March 24, there’s a brand new album dropping known as Resort San Claudio. It’s a collaborative album with Shigeto, who’s drummer from Detroit, and Melanie Charles, a vocalist, flute participant and pattern chopper from Brooklyn.
See de Clive-Lowe carry out MOTHERLAND at 7:30 p.m. March 23-24 on the Kravis Middle, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Seashore. Tickets price $29-$49. Name 561/832-7469 or go to kravis.org.
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