Category Battstone Music

The Voice of Robert Desnos – Pat Battstone and Antonella Chionna

From the moment I read Robert Desnos, I realized he was writing with the same process as musical improvisations. As I read his life and that of those around him during his creative period , the more I was convinced of this.

The creative processes of self-abandon, trance, automatic actions, spontaneity, etc. are means by which the artist transcends the “reality” of the six walls that surround us and peers into a new but deeper vision of a sur-reality; one where the “movie screen” that we are all viewing suddenly melts and we are left staring at that which was behind our illusory conception.

Desnos was a master of going into his subconscious, through hypnotic trances and séances, to where he could both see and describe, that which was beyond our normal perception. In words, he described what artists like Kandinsky and Klee ( as well as the surrealist painters of his time ) described in paintings and what composers like Scriabin described in sounds.

It was only natural that improvised music and Desnos’ poetry be fused. During the mid-80s, our musical circle captured the spirit of this idea, yet none of the fruits were ever realized into a recording. However, this idea haunted me for the next 30 years.

Finally, commencing this work became an obsession. Who could do it? I found poets, yet none of them wanted to recite other’s works. I observed people in bars and approached some. Theatre groups and operatic groups were also queried. Lastly, I started reciting a selection during recording sessions and performances.

In March 2016, during a collaboratory period with Italian vocalist Antonella Chionna, I sent the recordings to her. On the same day, I receive a book of her poetry ( I was unaware that she was a writer/ poetess ) and suddenly the pieces fit. A few months later, she arrived in America and we began to fuse Desnos with an improvisation ensemble. Two pieces were done publicly, and one was recorded for the CD Rylesonable.  Here is a video of their performance of “Spaces Inside Sleep”:

In September 2016, I spent time in Italy, and brought Antonella into a studio without any agenda. On the second track, we decided to try The Voice of Robert Desnos. We both looked at each other and knew what was next – A collection of Desnos’ poetry. The second session was booked and all the texts were in hand. One take for each poem was all that we needed. The results are this CD.

We would like to thank Marilyn Crispell, Gianni Lenoci, and Mimmo Galizia for their support and advice that helped realize this work.

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Rylesonable – Antonella Chionna meets Pat Battstone

Antonella Chionna, a young Italian vocalist and poetess fromSouthern Italy meets Pat Battstone, a long term Boston pianist. It started as a random contact – a friend of a friend – then a surprising response, followed by a dialog. Finally a collaboration was born that eventually included their musical circles spread across 2 continents.

The subject remained the same – Voice – as did the process of finding and developing it:

||: Record, critique, eliminate the worst, focus on the best : || ( repeat ad infinitum )

It was through this process that the Poole-Battstone, Demos-Battstone, and Demos-Poole-Battstone musical dialogs were formed which produced 6 CDs over the past 5 years.

In Spring 2016, La Chionna arrived in Boston for a vacation, and the process of finding a voice started. From the very first day, it was clear – we wanted to find our voice. After 2 weeks of touring and recording, a musical Voice appeared – Antonella Chionna Meets Pat Battstone – though a much different voice than the previous ones; this contains a 19th century romanticism and lyricism. Yet it did not abandon the “Chamber Improvisation” that was born with the initial Poole-Battstone collaborations. The addition of accompanying surrealist poetry recitations as well as playing de-constructed standards added even more colors and flavors to the existing voices.

Her final days in the US were spent recording with Richard Poole, Kit Demos, and myself. The results were the union of the new and previous Voices – 4 soloists, 6 duets, and 4 trios under the guise of a quartet. As with our other CDs, what is presented on this effort is a cohesive set of a tracks that fit together as a unified work, capturing the highlights. Our recording sessions are similar to live performances in that all combinations of instruments make up a set. But for the economy of the recording, not all made the final cut, even though they may have been the better tracks.

One day we hope to release a CD of Abandoned Tracks.

As LaChionna states:

“I met these cool guys, for the first time, on my way to USA in the spring of 2016. I was 25 and quite impressed by the easiness
that came from this kind of musical connection: blessed by the circumstances and privileged by a providential empathy, placed in
the charming town of Cambridge (MA) at Ryles Jazz Club.  To me, that sounds Rylesonable.”

Pat Battstone, 12 December, 2016, Cambridge, MA

 

SAMPLES:

1) Under a Persian Sky Under A Persian Sky (Rylesonable)

2) Rather Life Rather Life (Rylesonable)

 

You can PURCHASE this CD direct from the following locations:

Hard copies from the publisher, Dodicilune

On iTunes

Amazon (digital download only)

 

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Pat Battstone and Kit Demos (From Dream To Dream)

 

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From Dream to Dream

Pat Battstone and Kit Demos

 

This CD represents my latest musical effort in what has been become known as “conversational improvisations”. This voice began taking form in 2009 and has since continued to evolve. All the initial elements – the “chamber – jazz” sound, the ethereal aspect, the personal, solitary voice – have been preserved and various new sounds have been added. From the beginning, our development efforts hinged on the concept that “improvement is based upon eliminating the worst thing that you do”. That idea has become the process by which the music has progressed – recording, critiquing, discussing, returning to the studio, and consciously avoiding eliminated aspects.

Though Kit Demos and I have been playing in ensembles fall 2012, it wasn’t until spring of 2015 that I thought of forming a duo with him. At that point we started recording, hoping to find and develop our musical voice as a two piece ensemble. After our second recording session, it became obvious that we shared similar compositional concepts, as well as having a mutual understanding of the each other’s dynamics – melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically.

All of these tracks are free and spontaneous, yet they are not totally random. During our initial recording sessions, there were certain improvisational elements, or premises, which echoed our mutual voice. Notions like “Random Intervals up the Piano”, “The Mystic Chord”, “Ruthless Exchange”, and “Don’t Wake the Baby”, are examples of these premises and have become our repertoire.

When the sessions were over we noted that there were two categories of results – those of slow, trance-like odysseys and those of short “wake – up” tunes – tracks that got you out of the trance and prepared you for the next story. The lines separating these were not set in stone, and often the trances and wake-ups are intertwined. This CD has been arranged in the form of a suite, juxtaposing contrasting themes and sound to give this a cohesiveness.

Most of the track titles relate to our experiences during the time spent recording and relaxing in Woodstock, be it a fantasy or an impression of an event or place. Of course, one’s impressions are often different that the other’s. So rather than explain each title’s meaning, we invite the listener into our world of dreams with the hope they can realize a dream of their own meaning.

 

Pat Battstone

Woodstock NY

Dec 13, 2015

You can PURCHASE this CD direct from Patrick Battstone – SUPPORT the ARTIST with direct purchase!!!

OPTIONS:

1 CD – digital download $7.50

1 CD – Hard Copy $12.00

Song samples

 

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“Beyond The Horizon” – Patrick Battstone

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You can PURCHASE this CD direct from Patrick Battstone – SUPPORT the ARTIST with direct purchase!!!

OPTIONS:

1 CD – digital download $7.50

1 CD – Hard Copy $12.00

Song samples

 

 

 

CD Description!

 

“Keep your eye on the prize”

Whenever I sit at the piano, a diary entry is made; and whenever I record a song, that entry is captured in time. By the time the entries become a CD, a chapter in my autobiography has been written. This set of entries occurred during a period of great losses, any one of which could have been devastating. Yet this was also a very creative period in which many boundaries were crossed and previous obstacles were eliminated. The experiences gave me a new and deeper musical vocabulary to draw upon; hey also gave me a priority of what to preserve while what had been my world was suddenly disappearing in front of me.

All these pieces are spontaneous improvisations – nothing was written or thought of prior to sitting at the piano. What is being presented in this work is a selection of diary entries, arranged so that each track is a complement to the one preceding and following it, giving the CD a natural flow. As what often happens, the best pieces are not used as they have no context with the other pieces. A painter once explained that he often creates a portion on his canvas that is exquisite, but because it doesn’t fit with anything around it, it has to be scraped. The same thing happens with music.

One day I will make a CD from out-takes and call it My Masterpieces.

These recordings have their birth with the passing of my mother’s life and are concluded just before an anticipated, major chagrin. This work is therefore both very personal as well as being communicative; one could call it Life Stories, as these pieces reflect the depth of the drama, the sadness, and the revelations of what was happening to and around me at the time. When I finally sent the master for reproduction, it felt like all the events of that period went with it and that chapter in my life was closed.

 

“I REALLY love Beyond the Horizon– it’s very beautiful. I can feel the depth, sadness and beauty in it – I’m really looking forward to the release of the CD – as I said, I think it’s very beautiful and felt very affected by it.” ~Marilyn Crispell

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The Last Taxi (A Conversation)

You can purchase a digital download of the entire CD, or a hard-copy of the CD direct from the artist:

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FULL CD – all tracks, plus cover art and bios  ($7.50)

FULL CD HARD-COPY ($12.00, includes postage)

Song samples

This current work is a collection of musical conversations. Our initial works, “Through an Open Door” and “Mystic Nights”, established a language, a musical dialog, between Richard Poole on vibes and myself on piano. In this effort, we have kept our “chamber jazz” voice and expanded it to include Chris Rathbun on bass and Todd Brunel on bass clarinet. Richard now plays drums in addition to vibes.  Like most conversations, not everyone speaks at once and not everyone is a part of every conversation.

All of the works are spontaneous improvisations. Only “A Night at the Hotel Avery” had a predetermined theme – a blues, whose form was never once realized. What transpired were reminiscences of places and activities that happened either in reality, or in a subconscious state. Yet the act of recalling the past was, at the same time, an act of creating in the present tense.

Both Chris and I had been bell-hops at the Hotel Avery, a sleazy hotel in the middle of Boston’s red light district. Richard had played drums at the clubs. We knew the club owners and their “friends”, the dangers in the alleys, and the sights and people of the street. Our conversations went into the late hours where empty beer bottles were filled with cigarette ashes, yet we kept talking. Sometimes we talked of being at sea, of wandering around les rues désolés de Paris, of our escapes, and of our flights of fantasy.

Everyone has their vision of the Last Taxi – the sense of urgency, the sense immediacy, the sense that you have to catch it or you will be stranded in an undesirable place. All the passing faces, the trestles driven under, and the bumps of old trolley tracks are but a blur. You are going home and that’s all that matters. We’ve all been there.

Much can be said about how each of us envisioned the music. Yet none of our descriptions matched each others’. Each had his own interpretations of the colors, shapes, and varying textures that are presented here. With this in mind, we invite the listener to be drawn into these pieces and evoke his own vision.

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing.”
― William S. BurroughsPorts of Entry

Pat Battstone, July 27, 2014, Cherry Valley, NY

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Winter’s Poems

A suite of piano Improvisations, capturing the images and textures of a New England Winter. The performer’s influences make visitations on the various pieces , from Scriabin through Paul Bley, though the playing is nonetheless personal and sublime

 

You can PURCHASE this CD direct from Patrick Battstone – SUPPORT the ARTIST with direct purchase!!!

OPTIONS:

1 CD – digital download $7.50

1 CD – Hard Copy $12.00

 

Song samples

 

 

 

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Through An Open Door

This is actually the first musical meeting between pianist Pat Battstone and vibe-player/percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Richard Poole; it is a refreshing breath of fresh air in improvising and it takes you on a journey into mind images. You can close your eyes and see with your inner eye a host of visionary adventures.

If you would like to read what the critics had to say – visit the REVIEWS page for this CD

 

 

 

You can PURCHASE this CD direct from Patrick Battstone – SUPPORT the ARTIST with direct purchase!!!

OPTIONS:

1 CD – digital download $7.50

1 CD – Hard Copy $12.00

 

Song samples

 

 

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Mystic Nights

This is chamber jazz; an intimate conversation of improvisational music between two veteran musicians on vibes and piano, The conversation will draw the listener into a realm of surreal sounds and images that they have perhaps never experienced before.

Pat Battstone’s  piano weaves magic spells for you, with creative and energetic vibes being played by Richard Poole.

You can click here to read the REVIEWS of this great CD

 

 

If you’d like to listen to samples of the music, you can do that below:

 

 

1.  Scottish Heather
2.  Summer Sunset
3.  Gin and Tonic
4.  Something Lurking
5.  Newsreel
6.  Undertow
7.  When Creatures Reigned
8.  The Miller’s Tale
9.  Magical Morning
10. Life Stories
11. Reflections
12. Cross Current
13. Mystic Nights

If you would like  purchase the CD, visit the CD Baby site for this excellent album.

Pat Battstone: Mystic Nights
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