Neither/Nor Records

While We Still Have Bodies (n/n 009)



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After several years of performing regularly in New York City, While We Still Have Bodies present their eponymous debut album. The single extended improvisation presented here is imbued with an arcane ritualistic quality and ranges from trance-inducing slow builds to noisy tape collage, from environmental soundscapes to a raw and abstracted take on free jazz. The four musicians utilize a variety of lo-fi electronics and found objects along with their acoustic instruments, creating vibrant textural contrasts and mysterious timbral affinities.


Ben Gerstein - trombone, radio, cell phone 

Sean Ali - double bass, cassette player 

Michael Foster - tenor and soprano saxophones, cassette player 

Flin van Hemmen - percussion, mp3 player

Recorded by Nathaniel Morgan at the New Museum artist-in-residence studios on September 11th, 2016. Mixed and mastered by Nathaniel Morgan. Cover photo by Ben Gerstein. Interior photo by Cheng Ran. Design by Carlo Costa. The music from this recording was integrated into Cheng Ran's "Diary of a Madman," which exhibited at the New Museum in New York City from October 19th, 2016 to January 15th, 2017. All music by While We Still Have Bodies.

Release date: October 31, 2017


The New Noise

Scabro, ostico, respingente a tratti, desolato, desolante, arido e acido, sobrio fino all’ascesi, mitologico, minimo, mistico. Il video artist cinese Cheng Ra ha chiesto ai quattro di registrare musica da utilizzare per una sua opera intitolata “Diary Of A Madman”. L’esito è stato trasmesso attraverso dodici speaker diffusi nell’ambiente del New Museum a New York, fornendo così un ambiente sonoro ai film proiettati. Non è facile l’ascolto di quest’ora abbondante di incosciente flusso di coscienza, come una fase rem di una improvvisazione low fi, ma il consiglio è di non mollare la presa e di restare assieme a questi suoni duri, difficili, a questi esercizi per (r)esistere nel nulla.”(March 6, 2019)


“Created as a spatial soundtrack that was integrated into artist Cheng Ran’s audio/video Diary of a Madman during its four-month museum exhibit, this nearly 67-minute improvisation can stand on its own. Even without visual though, appreciation for the program that the four New York-based musicians created is predicated on accepting the aleatory sonic collage as an immutable found object. While forged by melding and distending the timbres of acoustic instruments and small everyday electronics, in essence While We Still Have Bodies alludes only to itself.” (June 21, 2018)

Citizen Jazz

“Imaginons un instant, puisqu’il n’est question que de perception tout au long de cette pièce unique, un lieu vaste, aux murs de béton brut sur lequel le son se fracasse sans volonté d’enjoliver quoi que ce soit. En train de jouer, un quartet new-yorkais finalement classique avec contrebasse et batterie au fond, trombone et saxophones en première ligne. Mais très vite, on voit qu’une foultitude d’objets jonchent le sol et participent à un grand exercice de jonglerie avec les instruments : lecteur cassette, téléphone portable, MP3… Tout ce qui peut générer des bruits, aléatoires ou non, dans une atmosphère où chaque son a loisir de modifier l’ensemble ; cela peut être les rafales de batterie qui vous accueillent dans le chaos, ou le silence du quotidien qui nous installe dans un cocon. Impossible de savoir cependant si ce dernier est sécurisant.” (June 17, 2018)

Vital Weekly

One could call this very abstract and cerebral music. But one could equally say their improvisations are very concrete, physical and lively. And that is what in my experience of their music reflects best what it is. This is really a group improvisation. Each one contributes to the whole, being an instantly produced sound painting. Music that is vibrant, organic and very spirited and a very strong incarnation of their musicality.“ (March 5, 2018)


“While We Still Have Bodies” to ponad godzinny ciąg przeróżnych odłamów ekspresji, rozkładających się w nielinearnych przedziałach rytmicznych. Bywa, że chimeryczna amplituda dźwiękowego „chaosu” – przesiąkniętego surowym free jazzem i plemienną aurą – łagodnieje albo przechodzi w inny rodzaj awangardowego rytuału przypominające odgłosy dżungli, ale bardziej tej miejskiej (okolice 25 minuty, z kolei bliżej 33 minuty: saksofonowo-puzunowe sola wbijają w fotel!). Twórczość Amerykanów wychodzi daleko poza oczywiste formy mieszczące się nawet w zakresie swobodnej improwizacji czy free jazzu. U nich obostrzenia gatunkowe nie istnieją. Według mnie fani muzyki improwizowanej powinni wejść w posiadanie ‘While We Still Have Bodies’. Naprawdę warto!” (March 4, 2018)

All About Jazz (Tyran Grillo)

In this hour-long free improvisation consisting of tape collages, lo-fi electronics, and acoustic instruments, we encounter far more than any such description could express. The overall effect is born of specific impulses, each more integrated than the last, until the sounds coalesce, golem-like, into a living organism. Said organism absorbs agency from its surroundings in microscopic amounts until its entire body is self-sufficient and ready to crawl. Over time, it stands upright, conveys its intentions through gesture, and, in a way, speaks. Its songs range from tactile onslaughts of cellular information to drone-like textures of divination. At any given moment, there is something to give us purchase, as if we are standing in the middle of an environment that never sleeps, and of which we are being granted merest glimpses. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★” (February 23, 2018)

All About Jazz (Mark Corroto)

Behind the industrial din heard here are subtler, more refined moments. Metal sticks and cymbal scrapes, fluttered brass, and upper register bass notes replace the natural sounds of wind, rain, thunder, and insects. Early man certainly would recognize the music, and so, too, can listeners with open ears.” (February 14, 2018)