The Underflow – Mats Gustafsson / Rob Mazurek / David Grubbs
David Grubbs – electric guitar and voice
Mats Gustafsson – saxophones and live electronics
Rob Mazurek – trumpet and electronics
The Underflow is the newly minted trio of Mats Gustafsson (reeds, electronics), Rob Mazurek (trumpet, electronics), and David Grubbs (electric guitar). Their self-titled debut album was recorded live in Athens, Greece at the record store/performance venue Underflow and will be released in the fall of 2019 by Corbett vs. Dempsey.
Although Gustafsson, Mazurek, and Grubbs have played together separately and operate within an extensive, overlapping network of collaborators, the three had not convened as a trio until John Corbett proposed the grouping for two nights of concerts in Athens in the summer of 2019. But there is a history: although originally from Sweden, Mats Gustafsson was a regular, vital presence in Chicago during the period when Mazurek and Grubbs were making their mark. It’s Rob Mazurek’s cornet that pushes Gastr del Sol to new highs on the track “The Seasons Reverse,” and Grubbs and Gustafsson released two duo albums in 1999 and 2003 (Apertura and Off-Road), and have been primed for years to take it to the stage again.
The Underflow shows the trio hitting their stride instantly, ranging widely and weirdly with utter self-possession as they veer between a dense frontline of electronics; Gustafsson’s lapidary fluteophone and explosive baritone sax; Grubbs’s crystalline, athematic voice on the guitar; and Mazurek’s all-bets-off improvisatory wildness on trumpet, sampler, and hollerin’ vocal. Satisfying as it is, this recording is only a hint of what lies ahead for the trio as they plot their first tour in early 2020.
David Grubbs has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 190 releases; his most recent solo recording is Creep Mission (Blue Chopsticks, 2017). Grubbs was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has performed with Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, the Red Krayola, Matmos, Royal Trux, Will Oldham, Loren Connors, Otomo Yoshihide, Jan St. Werner, Eli Keszler, and many others. He is known for his ongoing cross-disciplinary collaborations with poet Susan Howe and visual artists Anthony McCall and Angela Bulloch, and in 2000, his The Spectrum Between (Drag City) was named “Album of the Year” in the London Sunday Times. Grubbs is the author of Now that the audience is assembled and Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (both Duke University Press) and, with Anthony McCall, Simultaneous Soloists (Pioneer Works Press).
“Grubbs self-consciously split[s] his brain to exacerbate the essential creative conflict, the experimental academic battling the sentimental artist on a darkling plain. The listener wins again.”
Stewart Lee, London Sunday Times
Mats Gustafsson – saxophones and live–electronics
Improviser and composer. Soloartist. Worldwide tours in working groups, Fire!, NU – emsemble, Fire! Orchestra, Luft, The End, Anguish and related. Collaborations with contemporary dance, theatre, visual arts as well as projects within noise, electronica, contemporary rock, contemporary music and free jazz.
Projects together with Jim O´Rourke, Christian Marclay, Albert Oehlen, Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark, Eye, Joe McPhee, Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide, Sabu Toyozumi, Derek Bailey, Paul Lovens, Neneh Cherry, Yoshimi and others
Producer and curator of International festivals and concert tours as well as work with his own record labels Slottet, Crazy Wisdom, OlofBright Editions, Blue Tower Records and TROTS.
“Mats is the most modern of the players where the genre tags of jazz, noise, experimental, avant-whatever are finally transcended to a new millenium – where compositional concepts are at once in check with open improvisation and a super-postmodernism becomes what we always wanted: rock n’ roll !”
-thurston moore, 1999
“There’s not much I can add to that. Very beautiful, very original…Full of surprise and very stimulating. More power to him.…I would vote for him, yeah”
-steve lacy, 2000
“one of the world’s most original and exhilarating saxophonists” Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine
-olof madsen, 2005
Rob Mazurek is a multidisciplinary artist/abstractivist, with a focus on electro-acoustic composition, improvisation, performance, painting, sculpture, video, film and installation, who spent much of his creative life in Chicago, and then Brazil. He currently lives and works in Marfa Texas with his wife Britt Mazurek.
Over the years Mazurek has lead/co-lead many ensembles of various sizes and shapes including Exploding Star Orchestra, Exploding Star International, Desert Encrypts, Immortal Birds Bright Wings, Pharaoh and the Underground (featuring Pharoah Sanders), Chicago Underground, Jeff Parker Duo, Pulsar Quartet, São Paulo Underground, Alternate Moon Cycles, Alien Flower Sutra, Star Splitter, each of which possesses its own distinct musical personality. He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, such as the great Bill Dixon, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Ladd, Roscoe Mitchell, Yusef Lateef, Fred Anderson, Nicole Mitchell, Fred Hopkins, Liam Gillick, Naná Vasconcelos, Rodrigo Brandao, Jim O’Rourke and others.
…all of Mazurek’s work, draws from multiple traditions, each of them already porous and absorbent, and combines ideas from each into something utterly new, while keeping it welcoming to almost any curious listener.”
– The Wire
“Mixing the opaque with the diffused and blurring the lines between electric and acoustic, Rob Mazurek’s wide ambition continues to race toward the outer limits of what is possible in music.”
– Something Else