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Man No Longer Me: CD

Man No Longer Me: CD

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"Independence might be the ruling concept of this drummer/leader’s career. It defines a common relationship not only among his hands, feet, and voice, but between his art and almost everything else in drumland". Modern Drummer Magazine

"Imagine a head on collision between Swell Maps, Gong, the Residents, the Magic Band and the Modern Lovers. Freeform jazzy struts, too many notes; outrageous, dayglo sonic curlicues."

Richard Foster Louder Than War

"The drummer and composer Sean Noonan approaches postmodern jazz and world music from the same angle of self-discovery ....he manages to make his pieces speak coherently, and in a unified voice." The New York Times

New York Rhythmic Storyteller Sean Noonan composes and conducts with a pair of drum sticks original multi-stylistic modern jazz-rock avant-garde chamber music. He sees himself as a modern-day sonic griot (storyteller), wandering the globe gathering stories, legends, and folklore like a punk-jazz Alan Lomax. The treasures that he finds along the way are filtered through his distinctive vision to become the unpredictable. The far-ranging sounds of Noonan’s wide-spectrum music combines the loquacity of an Irish bard, the narrative rhythms of Samuel Beckett, and the raw physicality of a street-smart boxer.

In the Ring - lyric photo book

In the Ring - lyric photo book

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In the Ring - lyric photo book accompanying music album

Rounding out the trilogy of albums that he has released since the start of 2014, drummer/ composer and storyteller Sean Noonan released, In the Ring is the second album in Noonan’s A Gambler's Hand chamber music series, in which Noonan writes for and performs with the NY-based Momenta Quartet: Emilie-Anne Gendron and Adda Kridler on violins, Stephanie Griffin on viola, and Michael Haas on cello.

On In the Ring, as he did on A Gambler’s Hand, Noonan utilizes the strings as extensions of his own limbs, both conceptually and literally. “I learned a lot from both making and touring with A Gambler’s Hand in how a string quartet strives to be one organism and similar to how I condition myself on the drum kit. As my compositions and performance on the drums were in effect a reflections and extension of one another, “ explains the drummer. “Yes both works belong to the same chamber series but however there is an aesthetical difference between In the Ring and A Gambler’s Hand. The relationship that I’ve established between the strings and myself behind the drums remains the central musical core of the two projects.”

On his latest album, the prolific Noonan presents a collection of song cycles that together tell a story about the transformation of a man who get tickled by a sunbeam one morning on a mountain top, and who, as the story progresses, wanders and gets lost in a desert and transforms into a coyote. The coyote hitches a ride from the American folk hero Casey Jones, whose train crashes at the bottom of the sea, where the coyote transforms into the Celtic mythological creature known as a Silkie, and eventually back into his human form. As a result of his adventures, he loses his shadow; he can only reclaim it by challenging his own shadow to a round of shadow boxing In the Ring.

“This song cycle is intented to be performed in sequence as a single entity, and is a reflection of the American cultural melting pot experience ,” says Noonan. “Often after riding the C Train in Brooklyn and wandering around the planet I found myself collecting stories and finding characters so much they invited me to dinner. Sometimes at the table there were folk heroes and even later I had tea later with Alex Lomax.

Noonan incorporates cultural archtypes from a variety of sources, such as Casey Jones, and the Native American trickster/deity, Coyote, into his stories to illustrate some common themes that he’s discovered in his personal explorations.

Pavees Dance - lyric picture companion book to album

Pavees Dance - lyric picture companion book to album

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“a musical journey full of poetry and magic, designed for the most curious ears and eyes." Pascal Bussy, author of the definitive biography of Can

In 2014, premieres a new collaboration, Sean Noonan Pavees Dance featuring Malcolm Mooney, original singer from CAN, Jamaaladeen Tacuma bass, and Aram Bajakian guitar

In Pavees Dance, Noonan describes himself as an "Irish griot", one who collects tales, legends, and life stories over the course of his journeys and transforms them into raw material, not only from drumming, but in all of his music. Together with Aram Bajakian, his alter ego, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, mutant bassist from Ornette Coleman's Primetime, they track down Malcolm Mooney, the original Can singer (back to "Monster Movie"). The latter remains famous for having been the shooting-star voice, half Soul, half psychedelic, of one of the more influential experimental Rock bands in History.

Bruised by Noon companion lyric photo book

Bruised by Noon companion lyric photo book

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SEAN NOONAN'S STORIES FROM BEHIND THE DRUM KIT CONTINUE WITH BRUISED BY NOON

Bruised by Noon, A Limited Edition Solo Drum Project Which Concludes the Tale of Finny Finnigan, the Gambler Who Was Introduced on Noonan's Critically Acclaimed 2012 Project A Gambler's Hand, Available as CD, Download and Vinyl and Accompanying Book

Drummer/composer/storyteller/producer Sean Noonan is among the most prolific and innovative musicians of his generation. Just a few months after the release of his punk-rock influenced Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night, which paired the 38 year old drummer with Malcolm Mooney, the original vocalist for the leading avant-garde rock group of the '70s, Can, Noonan will release Bruised by Noon, a solo drum CD and vinyl recording, with an accompanying print book, on August 26.

In the Ring

In the Ring

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SEAN NOONAN IS AGAIN IN THE RING WHOSE DRUMMING ENLISTS FURTHER WITH THE MOMENTA STRING QUARTET

Drummer/Composer/Storyteller Expand Upon Themes He’s Explored on Past Releases, Including This Year’s Pavees Dance, Bruised by Noo, and A Gambler's Hand

“…it’s safe to say that you’ve never heard music like this before…will have you wondering why Sean Noonan isn't a household name.” – Blogcritics.org

Rounding out the trilogy of albums that he has released since the start of 2014, drummer/ composer and storyteller Sean Noonan will release In the Ring on October 6. In the Ring is the second album in Noonan’s A Gambler's Hand chamber music series, in which Noonan writes for and performs with the NY-based Momenta Quartet: Emilie-Anne Gendron and Adda Kridler on violins, Stephanie Griffin on viola, and Michael Haas on cello.

For the last few years Noonan has been telling stories from the drum kit. His two previous 2014 releases, Pavees Dance:There’s Always the Night (which featured the original Can vocalist Malcolm Mooney) and his solo drum project Bruised by Noon were further steps along that path, although they were each distinctive projects in their own right. Pavees Dance featured six tracks of inspired spoken word performances layered over and entwined amongst intricate instrumentals from a band that also included bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and guitarist Aram Bajakian. Bruised by Noon concluded the story that Noonan began to tell on his 2012 Songlines release, A Gambler's Hand, in which a man by the name of Finny Finnegan is trapped in a wall. That solo drum project included twelve "bouts" that Finnigan has with the wall (eleven instrumental and one spoken word) and further coalesced the concepts that have driven Noonan's work as he has continued to evolve as a creative artist.

On In the Ring, as he did on A Gambler’s Hand, Noonan utilizes the strings as extensions of his own limbs, both conceptually and literally. “I learned a lot from both making and touring with A Gambler’s Hand in how a string quartet strives to be one organism and similar to how I condition myself on the drum kit. As my compositions and performance on the drums were in effect a reflections and extension of one another, “ explains the drummer. “Yes both works belong to the same chamber series but however there is an aesthetical difference between In the Ring and A Gambler’s Hand. The relationship that I’ve established between the strings and myself behind the drums remains the central musical core of the two projects.”

“What’s most different between In the Ring and A Gambler’s Hand is the narration from the drums, unifying the rhythms from the kit with my voice, and conforming my vocals to the cadence of the drums,” continues Noonan. “This has become a new vehicle in allowing the listener to experience the subconscious improvisational interactions I have on In the Ring .”

On his latest album, the prolific Noonan presents a collection of song cycles that together tell a story about the transformation of a man who get tickled by a sunbeam one morning on a mountain top, and who, as the story progresses, wanders and gets lost in a desert and transforms into a coyote. The coyote hitches a ride from the American folk hero Casey Jones, whose train crashes at the bottom of the sea, where the coyote transforms into the Celtic mythological creature known as a Silkie, and eventually back into his human form. As a result of his adventures, he loses his shadow; he can only reclaim it by challenging his own shadow to a round of shadow boxing In the Ring.

“This song cycle is intented to be performed in sequence as a single entity, and is a reflection of the American cultural melting pot experience ,” says Noonan. “Often after riding the C Train in Brooklyn and wandering around the planet I found myself collecting stories and finding characters so much they invited me to dinner. Sometimes at the table there were folk heroes and even later I had tea later with Alex Lomax.

Noonan incorporates cultural archtypes from a variety of sources, such as Casey Jones, and the Native American trickster/deity, Coyote, into his stories to illustrate some common themes that he’s discovered in his personal explorations.

In the end I noticed a similar pattern that range from John Henry to Pecos Bill and even Rocky Marciano. The story transcends time and place; its themes are derived from sources around America, but it’s also very personal. I wish I started doing all of this long a go and it was when I went to Mali in 2009 that I became to realize the importance of my job as an enthnomusicologist on a grant assignment.

In the Ring is launched by Noonan’s signature storytelling. Rather than playing the role of observant narrator, his poetic approach reflects the innermost thoughts of his protagonist as he experiences his transformation from Man to Coyoteman, to Silkie, and back to Man. From track to track, as the story progresses, the Momenta Quartet alternately takes center stage and provides atmospheric support for Noonan’s graceful recitations, weaving and embellishing a musical tapestry that is as integral to the story as are Noonan’s own drumming and lyrical presentation. This is neither background music nor soundtrack, but an ethereal and innovative contribution to Noonan’s spoken word performance.

While there are certainly a great many drummers who compose as band leaders aka - John Hollenbeck, Joey Baron and Paul Motian, to name just a few – Noonan’s exposure to and immersion into classical music makes him rather unique among them. While he’s earned considerable praise in the jazz world for his earlier releases, Noonan acknowledges that he has come to think of himself as a distinct hybrid: a jazz drummer and a classical composer.

“To be able to create through compositional music you really have to dedicate yourself exclusively in understanding Western classical music tradition, just as to play jazz which I spent more part of my life discovering,” says Noonan. In 2009, I took a two year drumming sabbatical to study classical composition at the Aaron Copland School of Music. During this period I completely ignored my jazz roots, and put aside the influences of drummers like Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, and Ed Thigpen, in order to learn from Western tonal innovators such as Stradella, Haydn, Beethoven and post tonal innovators Stravinsky, Bartok, Nancarrow and Ives. My questions were, what really made them tick, and what they went through as they composed. I imagined myself conversing with them to get answers to my questions, along with spending innumerable amounts of time studying scores and listening, listening, and studying scores. I had fun with this.”

Noonan composed the pieces on In the Ring with an ear to transforming various story elements into aural pictures that is immediate from the first track “Prelude to the Ring,” which captures the vast openness of a desert with separation and space provided by the ever accending and descending harmonics by the quartet. “Story of Jones,” feels like your riding high on top of a train in an accellerando into chaos piloted by the famous Casey Jone's speed demon whose crash this time throws Coyoteman straight to the bottom of the Salt Lake Line. After he witnesses John Henry's death by Big Steam it is the “Reincarnation of Several Hammers” that transfors all the hammers of the Earth to re-awake and reincarnate to defeat Big Steam and evil machine who killed John Henry the matyr of the working man. “The Final Conflict” the shadow boxing match; mimicked in right and left channels is narrated by boxing commentators apparitions from aka “Rumble in the Jungle”

“This album is multi-dimensionsal,” states Noonan. “In addition to the story, there is still another whole world to experience on In the Ring, if one wishes to explore the compositional development process, or harmonic, textural and melodic expansion of the numerous leifmotifs. I usually emphasize this with all kinds of percussion instruments, so often the drum kit is treated like a jazz instrument, often assuming the role as a soloist, improvising another layer of counterpoint over the rich textures played by the strings. I approached In the Ring to similar to how Gene Krupa really approached his role as the lead solo instrument in his orchestra. He is a heroe now for me and think that drum battle against his shadow Buddy Rich he still having at this moment.

Noonan’s dual passions – his “wandering” folk music theory and the utilization of strings as an extension of the drum kit – have come together on In the Ring in 15 tracks that consist of never before heard songs as well as a reworking of several works from previous projects. Noonan explains: “I really wanted to re-structure and further develop the musical ideas from older pieces like ‘Morpheus,’ ‘Dr. Sleepytime,’ and ‘Story of Jones, originally featured on the albums Stories to Tell and Boxing Dreams, performed by jazz and world musicians way back then before I knew how to truly compose. But I could even hear how I wanted to structure those compositions and and as a result they appear as such on In the Ring,” he discloses.

In the Ring is packaged in a 50 page portrait photo book animating all Noonan's poems. Both Pavees Dance and Bruised by Noon also included a striking visual companion booklet, the former featuring drawings and painting by Malcolm Mooney, who has developed a career as a visual artist over the past several decades, and the latter featuring abstract images in subtle shades of gray with a hazy vellum overlay, which are, in fact, x-rays of Noonan's shattered limbs after a nearly fatal car accident while on tour in Italy in 2003. Both of those books also feature lyrics and poetry, as does the one that accompanies In the Ring, which also includes photos by Dirk Eusterbrock, whose work has been featured in such outlets as Playboy, Muzikexpress, and Alternative Press, with special effects created by makeup artist April Townes.

“Lyrics and poetry are abstract but music is the consequence everyone can connect with. They don’t show the audience what I am seeing when I write them, or when I compose the music,” explains Noonan. “I’ve begun to include books as visual representations of the stories conveyed on these projects, so that anyone can experience the vision that inspired me.”

“Now that I’ve done these two albums, I feel like I want to continue to compose for the string quartet for the rest of my life, since it offers such infinite possibilities,” Noonan concludes. “Currently I am sketching the ‘Skarbnik Suites,’ which will be recorded in London at the end of my UK tour this November, and I’m already working on a series of works for my I.Q. Quartet, that are pure improv concepts.” credits released 21 October 2014

Sean Noonan drummer composer vocals NY-based Momenta Quartet: Emilie-Anne Gendron and Adda Kridler on violins, Stephanie Griffin on viola, and Michael Haas on cello.

Bruised by Noon

Bruised by Noon

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SEAN NOONAN'S STORIES FROM BEHIND THE DRUM KIT CONTINUE WITH BRUISED BY NOON

Bruised by Noon, A Limited Edition Solo Drum Project Which Concludes the Tale of Finny Finnigan, the Gambler Who Was Introduced on Noonan's Critically Acclaimed 2012 Project A Gambler's Hand, Available as CD, Download and Vinyl and Accompanying Book

Drummer/composer/storyteller/producer Sean Noonan is among the most prolific and innovative musicians of his generation. Just a few months after the release of his punk-rock influenced Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night, which paired the 38 year old drummer with Malcolm Mooney, the original vocalist for the leading avant-garde rock group of the '70s, Can, Noonan will release Bruised by Noon, a solo drum CD and vinyl recording, with an accompanying print book, on August 26.

Bruised by Noon concludes the story that Noonan began to tell on his 2012 Songlines release, A Gambler's Hand, in which a man by the name of Finny Finnegan is trapped in a wall which is also depicted in A Gambler's film by director and film maker Marta Kopec from Katowice, Poland. The new album, which includes twelve "bouts" that Finnigan has with the wall (eleven instrumental and one spoken word), in many ways coalesces the concepts that have driven Noonan's work as he has continued to evolve as a creative artist. He describes himself as an "Irish griot,' one who collects tales, legends, and life stories over the course of his journeys and transforms them into the raw material that informs the entirety of the music he creates; however, on A Gambler's Hand, he created his fantastic yet original tale based on personal experience. Still, elements of folklore are present in that work: Finny is actually a Pavee, an Irish traveler and tinker similar to a gypsy. Pavees have existed in Ireland since before the fifth century, and Noonan revisited them for inspiration on Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night. After each of the 11 bouts on Bruised by Noon, Finny's body ever so slowly becomes a permanent part of the wall.

Accompanying the Bruised by Noon CD or vinyl is an exquisite book, with graphics by Eva Scheer, containing the poem captured on the CD's final track which is read by Noonan portraying Finny. The "voice" of the wall is rendered by the drums. "There are a lot of spoken rhythms that mirror my drumming, and vice versa," explains Noonan. "That interplay is an important part of my musical concept. I try to speak like a drummer, and to drum words or say them from the drum set."

The cover of the limited edition book features what at first glance seems to be an abstract image in subtle shades of gray with a hazy vellum overlay. In fact, the image is an x-ray of Noonan's leg taken after a car accident while on tour in Italy in 2003 that left him with two broken legs and where he had a serious near death experience. "The cover actually shows my shattered femur and the x-ray was taken when I was in a coma," says Noonan, "but looking at it up close you can see a man shouting, as I imagine the man in the wall talking to Finny. To me, this image is powerful proof of the spirits watching over me as I was trapped in an induced coma; when I first saw the image that's the book's cover, I thought, 'Wow. That is some deep stuff I discovered: art can even come from your own body.' I kept the x-rays and decided to use them as artwork for the book, along with other images taken of every part of my body, like my lungs and my brain."

"This album is a reflection of some of the many different musical ideas I developed after the accident as I went through rehabilitation and recovery," he continues. "It was recorded in 2011 and wasn't' mixed until 2013, so I had time to develop and refine the concept - both musical and metaphorical - in the intervening years." "Finny the Gambler, as I imagined him, is an obsessive compulsive risk taker, who is trapped inside his own problem, his inability to break away from his gambling. The main idea of him being trapped in a wall is certainly a metaphor for being trapped inside our own personal struggles, our own symbolic walls."

As high concept as it may be in theory, Bruised by Noon is still a solo drum work, albeit one by an artist who consistently strives to expand the boundaries of his instrument. "Let's face it, a drum set is not a tempered pitch instrument, nor is played as a melodic instrument," acknowledges Noonan. "Yet on Bruised by Noon I have worked to create not only melodies with my drums, but harmonies as well, even though drums are nothing like a piano or a guitar."

A master collaborator (over the course of the 19 albums that he has recorded, the list of artists with whom he has worked includes Marc Ribot, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Tom Swafford, Mat Maneri, Alex Marcelo, Aram Bajakian, Abdoulaye Diabate, Matthew Bourne, Momenta Quartet and Susan McKeown), Noonan still managed to find a musical co-pilot for the solo flight that is Bruised by Noon. German audio wizard Simon Kummer, who also mixed and co-produced A Gambler's Hand, brought a Bavarian electronic music sensibility to the recording of Bruised by Noon, which was the inaugural project at his then-new NFO recording studio. "Simon believes in my vision and is a great friend and strong supporter of my career," Noonan notes. "Like me, he likes to try crazy things and take on challenging projects. For this album he mixed, mastered and also contributed sound processing, where the sounds created from the acoustic drums added even more color and texture to the album." Having been given something as rudimentary as a pure drum set playing iterative and short but very well elaborated patterns, my main goal was to implement a distinctive acoustic fingerprint for every 'bout,'" remarks Kummer. "Mostly I tended to create human analogies, like letting the drums whisper, moan or breathe, to translate Sean's playing and the book's text, as well as Eva's graphical adaption into an adequate acoustic concept that mirrors the ghostly and mystic spirit of the project."

Noonan is currently in the process of completing a another album: In the Ring, song cycles featuring him on percussion and vocals along with the Momenta string quartet - similar but more expansive than A Gambler's Hand - and has several other projects in the works to be premiered next fall. In one of those, he has literally traveled to the bottom of a coal mine in Bytom, Poland to study and collect Silesian folklore about "Skarbnik" the treasurer of the mine. It will be premiered in part during an extensive European tour scheduled for the fall with a Polish string quartet.

A seemingly tireless creative spirit drives Noonan to continually explore new terrain and blur the boundaries between music, art and poetry. "I always feel a natural need to re-invent myself and not to use the same concept more than a few times such as the relationship with A Gambler's Hand and Bruised by Noon," he concludes. "There are no limitations in to what boundaries I might establish and also influences that inspire me, but at the same time I find my vision to be more authentic when I truly follow my own musical instincts and to create art from my own voice." credits released 11 July 2014