Neither/Nor Records

Sean Ali, My Tongue Crumbles After (n/n 007) 



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Sean Ali's stunning solo bass debut album ‘My Tongue Crumbles After’ features eight improvisations for acoustic double bass. On a few selections Sean also makes use of tape collages which he assembled from field recordings and voice recordings.

One of the most original and influential voices of his generation in the New York City improvised music scene, Sean Ali has developed a unique vocabulary employing preparations and extended techniques with which he creates riveting and visceral improvisations.

"'My Tongue Crumbles After' is an introspective chronicling of my life as a bassist, spoken word performer, and sound collage artist. The title refers to an image that came to my mind in which my tongue turned to stone and then began crumbling with every subsequent effort to talk. It conveys my anxiety about the futility of "saying something" in our digital age that has amplified chatter to deafening levels and reduced listening to nil. Teetering between vowing silence and speaking out, I hope this album will resonate with my listeners who have felt themselves similarly swallowed up." - Sean Ali


Sean Ali - double bass, cassette player

Recorded by Andrew Barker at his studio, Brooklyn, NY on August 8th, 2016. Mixed by Andrew Barker. Mastered by Jim Clouse. All music by Sean Ali. Cover photo by Wenxin Zhang. Design by Carlo Costa.

Release date: January 19, 2017


Jazz Convention

“Tra forti eco industriali, sonorità ambientali pervasive, bordoni di fruscianti e non intellegibili vocalità umane, il solista si concede una gamma di soluzioni nel trattamento del corpo strumentale, non dispensandosi da un'ampia quota di teatralità, segnata da un pathos interpretativo che conferisce scavo drammatico alle esplorazioni del solista.” (April 18, 2017)

Avant Music News

“On this recording of improvised music he employs preparations as well as tape collages using recordings of the spoken word as their source material. On each of the pieces, Ali teases out the implications of a single or related set of sonically well-defined gestures and techniques. His use of preparations allows him to distort the instrument’s native sound while maintaining enough of its natural profile—through the recognizable actions of bow and fingers—that it still makes itself known as a double bass. This is as true of pieces like Heartstack and Fingerdeep, rooted in a pizzicato technique that links them directly to a more conventional double bass sound, as it is of a track like Salutations, which largely takes place in unpitched territory, or Lime Works, the industrial sounds of which seem far removed from the wooden acoustic instrument that produced them.” (April 17, 2017)


“Improntato ad uno spirito profondamente sperimentale, ‘My tongue crumbles after’ costruisce un percorso interiore certamente di non semplice assimilazione, ma proprio per questo capace di definire un universo sonoro interessante da scandagliare con estrema attenzione alla ricerca di ogni suo prezioso frammento.” (April 11, 2017)

All About Jazz

“Among Ali's eight original pieces, there are none that would fit into conventional categories. Within the empirical program, he offers a wide range of sonic experiments. Whether the squeaky wheel sound of "Lime Works," the minimal percussion of "Queens Gothic" or the bowed drone of the closing piece, "Hunger," Ali—a student of global linguistics—has found a unique platform for his narratives on the eclectic label, Neither/Nor Records.” (April 1, 2017)