Medeski Martin & Wood with Alarm Will Sound have announced the release of a new album, Omnisphere, due September 14th via MMW’s own imprint, Indirecto Records. The seven-track program on Omnisphere presents an ideal balance, with original music by members of both groups, plus new AWS arrangements of two cuts off MMW’s 2004 release, End of the World Party (Just in Case). Today, the bands release the first single off their collaborative album, “End Of The World Party”, a reimagined take on the 2004 track, via DownBeat. Listen up:
Medeski Martin & Wood with Alarm Will Sound – “End of the World Party”
Omnisphere poses a compelling question: “What would happen if one of the most adventurous groups to emerge in jazz and improvised music in the last three decades were to join up with an orchestra that counts among the boldest forces in contemporary classical?” According to the press release, “The results are both expected, in the peerless level of the musicianship, and stunning, in the sweeping stylistic range of the program. But more than anything, Omnisphere speaks to the respect and creative kinship shared between these two trailblazing ensembles.”
“The more we worked together, the more I realized how perfect this is. How they are, for their universe, very much like us,” says keyboardist John Medeski. “We have a certain connection that’s like family and they’re like a family, so it’s like these two families coming together.”
Recorded live at The Newman Center in Denver, Colorado in February 2015, Omnisphere fulfills a long-held aspiration for Medeski, drummer-percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood. In the earliest days of the band, they would often listen to classical and chamber music as a source of musical inspiration, conceptualizing the idea of how to merge their freewheeling improvisational jazz explorations with the more composed approach of orchestral music.
“We had a collection of over 500 CDs, and that’s what got us through,” Martin said onstage in Denver, recalling MMW’s early road-warrior years. “And there was a lot of chamber music, contemporary classical music: Ligeti, Feldman, Sun Ra even. So sharing that and now we’re here, it’s a dream come true, and we love it.” For Alarm Will Sound, the feelings were mutual. “We knew we had a winner of an idea,” says Alan Pierson, the ensemble’s artistic director and conductor. “A number of [our musicians] have really idolized Medeski Martin & Wood for years, and so there was a lot of excitement in the group.”
The new “End Of The World Party” track will be available on all DSPs this Friday, August 14th, with the full album dropping on September 14th. You can pre-order that here.
OMNISPHERE Track Listing
1. “Kid Tao Mammal (Unworldliness Weirdo)”
2. “Anoymous Skulls”
3. “Coral Sea”
4. “Oh Ye Of Little Faith… (Do You Know Where Your Children Are?)”
5. “Eye Of Ra”
6. “Northern Lights”
7. “End Of The World Party”