Neither/Nor Records

Carlo Costa Quartet, Sediment (n/n 001) 



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Over two years of performances and rehearsals the Carlo Costa Quartet has developed a distinct improvisational language which makes use of slow development, a large variety of textures, a wide dynamic spectrum, and spaciousness. The ensemble sound is emphasized over the individual voices to an extent where often the sources of individual sounds are obscured. “Sediment” is the ensemble’s recording debut.


Jonathan Moritz - tenor and soprano saxophones

Steve Swell - trombone

Sean Ali - double bass

Carlo Costa - percussion

All music by Moritz, Swell, Ali, Costa. Recorded at IBeam by Jonathan Goldberger on December 17, 2013. Mixed by Jonathan Goldberger. Mastered by Jon Rosenberg. Cover painting by Milivoj Uzelac. Layout and design by Carlo Costa.

Release date: November 29, 2014


The Sound Projector

“While boasting fairly conventional instrumentation, the quartet (led by percussionist Costa, with Jonathon Moritz on tenor/alto sax, Steve Swell on trombone and Sean Ali on double bass) does a splendid job of subsuming all humanity into a nightmarish, metallic pulp, pricked by instruments played pointillistically or ground together into a grim, black sediment. Tension is back-of-the-neck; the brittle barrage of bows, breaths, scrapes and bangs somehow providing panoramic possibility thanks to musicians who know every inch of their instruments and their potential for an unsettling sonic range.” (March 6, 2016)

The Squid’s Ear

Sediment is neither a typical free jazz album, with long solos and displays of virtuosity, nor a minimalist exploration; truly, it is in between. It has the organic freedom we expect from a jazz ensemble, combined with the patience and economy of delicate minimalist composition.” (August 20, 2015)

Todd McComb’s Jazz Thoughts

“The result is an incredible album. Sediment does more than simply "make" a sound: It's a very practical (useful) album for the way it reconfigures sonic space, both in memory & in the moment. When adding it to my favorites, capping 2014 (thus far), I wrote that it is "abstract process-music inducing stillness." More specifically, not only does it not feed an anxious desire for more stimulation, i.e. it calms the listener, but it's extremely effective at eliminating so-called "earworms," and indeed at incorporating the sounds of the environment into its musical flow. It's a fairly quiet album in general, and so does not cover or obscure environmental noise much at all, but rather makes it sound good, right. It basically creates its own sonic ecology, even without close attention from the listener: Although not unprecedented, this is a major achievement.” (March 2, 2015)

Son du Grisli

“Avec ce questionnement d’une musique improvisée collectivement et néanmoins affichée sous le vocable du Carlo Costa Quartet, Sediment se révèle être une agréable surprise. Ici et ailleurs, aura déjà été remarqué le cousinage du percussionniste italien avec les britanniques d’AMM. Et, de nouveau… Très rapidement se devine la matière et sa destination. Le cercle se forme, s’éveille, navigue. La sphère se nervure d’assauts et au loin se libèrent de lentes processions. Parfois la tentation d’une ruche ou d’une déstructuration pointe son nez. Apparaissent maintenant des mouvements mécaniques, des percussions décentrées. Mais le naturel demande toujours le retour à ses besoins giratoires. Ainsi circulent dans l’infini du cercle Jonathan Moritz, Steve Swell, Sean Ali et Carlo Costa, improvisateurs inspirés et inspirants.” (April 16, 2015)


“Die erste Veröffentlichung des neuen New Yorker Labels Neither/Nor ist

gleich etwas ganz Feines. Auch optisch. Ein schönes Pappcover mit Ölgemälde schmückt die Debüt-CD des Schlagzeugers Carlo Costa. Sound steht an erster Stelle, dunkler Sound. Es zischt und brodelt, die Bassdrum klingt lang, der Bass murmelt untendrunter. Die Bläser tun ihr Übriges dazu, loten die Möglichkeiten ihrer Instrumente voll aus. Aber auch Costa hat eine ganz eigene, sehr ruhige, aber spannende Sprache an der Percussion. Es herrscht ein toller Bandsound, ja ein gemeinsames Klangkonzept. Die Instrumente verschwimmen ineinander und sind doch transparent. Die sehr gute Aufnahme verstärkt das noch. Die sechs Improvisationen sind abwechslungsreich und formen ein dramaturgisch gut aufgebautes Album. Nach einem sehr klangcollagenartigen Opener geht es Stück für Stück mehr zur Sache. Es macht großen Spaß, sich das Ganze am Stück anzuhören. Sehr kurzweilig.” (March 1, 2015)

Avant Music News

“Costa and group have hit a high water mark with this unconventional release. It takes courage to release an album such as this one, as well as skill to make such disjointed music so engaging and listenable.” (Mike Borella, January 13, 2015)

Free Jazz Blog

“Costa is a musician with a very distinct musical vision, one that creates organic textures that grow almost naturally, quietly and intensely. (...) The music builds on the AMM and Edie Prévost stylistic legacy but then with a somewhat stronger attack and higher density, yet even then the music is more about the joint creation of sonic universes than on melody or rhythm, and the quality of the four musicians really makes it happen. And a lot happens, quite in contrast to the minimalism that you might expect from many of today's avant-garde music. The quartet is nervously active and agitated, yet that does not translate into speed or an avalanche of notes, quite to the contrary, the sounds are measured and well-paced, carefully positioned and placed to create this feeling of restless evolution, not radical, without step-changes, but gradually, naturally, created out of their own existence. The quality of the leader's vision becomes clear when you know what Swell and Moritz sound like or are mostly known for.” (December 10, 2014)

New York City Jazz Record

“The inaugural release on Costa’s own Neither/Nor imprint, Sediment is the group’s debut on disc and features six group improvisations that, like sculptor Richard Serra’s iconic verb list (1967-68), follow titles imbued with action: “Wither”, “Pulverize”, “Thaw”, “Bloat”, “Soak” and “Moulder”. There are no solos in the program, rather deep listening and subtle torques of sound and environment, which, despite raw abstraction, retain lyricism and pulse. Moritz plays puffs of metallic air with fluted electricity, often echoing a drier John Butcher, blending with Ali’s prepared bass against the spindly, fluttering songs of Swell’s brass. Costa’s sharp attack on drum kit, woodblocks, lamella and bells cuts through the entire process, poised and rumbling to give Sediment forward motion.” (November 1, 2014)

Jazz Right Now

“Throughout the record, Costa works as an alchemist, playing with the elements. His approach is to strip away the fluff and get down to the rawest sounds that coexist and intermingle in their purer forms. At times the music take a metallic or industrial turn, at other moments, a mellow pulse. These sounds, quite abstract in their initial form, seem to accumulate in our ears, layer upon layer, through the record building towards a cohesive overall musical aesthetic.” (November 11, 2014)