Artist: Matthew Shipp

Date Released: September 28, 2004

Label: Thirsty Ear

Produced By:


  1. Ion
  2. New Id
  3. 3 in 1
  4. Virgin Complex
  5. Galaxy 105
  6. String Theory
  7. Blood 2 the Brain
  8. Invisible Light
  9. Amino Acid
  10. Abyss


Just in case this is your first encounter with Matthew Shipp, let me give you a bit of background. Shipp could be the most noted and important jazz artist of the 90s and 00s, with his eclectic and experimental recordings of seamless free jazz and modern classical. A mainstay of Connecticut’s unparalleled jazz label Thirsty Ear, head of The Blue Series Continuum and the curator of the Blue Series (which includes albums by El-P, Big Satan, DJ Spooky, Spring Heel Jack and others), Shipp very rarely takes a break. This is the reason he is most impressive; during 2004 alone, Shipp has been a part of 6 albums (so far) which sound absolutely nothing alike, save the jazz aesthetic. For his latest solo outing, Harmony and Abyss, Shipp cuts down on musicians, only including William Parker, a regular Shipp contributor, on bass, Gerald Cleaver on live drums and FLAM, the co-producer who takes care of the slicing, dicing, synths and programming. The result is Matthew Shipp’s intense improvisational piano playing battling a number of atmospheric noises and beats. Falling closer to his collaboration with the Anti-Pop Consortium rather than the more traditional jazz releases, Harmony and Abyss is nothing short of amazing and is a ray of shining light in this rather dark era of jazz. Michael Ardaiolo

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