The Squid's Ear Magazine

Berndt, John: New Logic For Old Saxophones (Creative Sources)

Using extended techniques, Baltimore-based saxophonist John Berndt--director of Multiphonic Choir ensemble, a member of the Red Room collective and curator of their experimental performance series, and creator of the "Relabi" style of arrhythmic pulse--presents 15 succinct improvisations pushing his reed instruments to their outer edges in astonishing ways.

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product information:

UPC: 5609063401066

Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: cs106
Squidco Product Code: 19062

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at 2640 Space, in Baltimore, Maryland on the 9th and 27th of May 2010, by Dave Carter.


John Berndt-Soprano saxophone, alto saxophone

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Always a multi-dimensional and intensely serious experimental musician, Berndt's activities as an electro-acoustic composer and instrument inventor took a dramatic turn when he heard Jack Wright's music during a pyrotechnic solo concert in 1992. Adding a focus on lyricism and experimental saxophone technique, Berndt focused on free improvisation and collaborated with the likes of Jack Wright, Joe McPhee, Eugene Chadbourne, and many others. Building on the existing tradition of avant-garde saxophone improvisation Berndt developed intense technical ability and a music of his own, beautiful examples of which can be heard here on his fourth and first saxophone-only solo album, produced by Creative Sources Recordings label in Portugal."

Artist Biographies

"John Berndt (born 1967) is a musician and organizer based in Baltimore, Maryland who is best known as an extended-technique experimental saxophonist and electronic musician. He participated in the second wave of the neoism cultural movement, the first wave having consisted of Monty Cantsin, Istvan Kantor, and Blaster Al Ackerman, amongst many others. Berndt's participation in Neoism began after the 1st eight Neoist Apartment Festivals (1980 to 1984) during the "64th International Neoist Apartment Festival" in 1986 in Berlin and subsequently in the "One Millionth" in New York City in late 1988 and the "13th" in Paris in 1994. Conceptual work by Berndt was shown at Documenta X, in Kassel, in 1997.

As the founder of, and a member of the Red Room -- a collective of artists and improvising musicians operating much in the spirit of the Los Angeles Free Music Society that is now called The High Zero Foundation--Berndt co-curates the Red Room experimental performance series, which has presented weekly events since 1996, as well as the High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music, a large annual improvised music festival begun in 1999 in Baltimore known for its qualification that improvising performers play in ad hoc groups organized specifically for the festival.

This group became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, High Zero Foundation, in 2001.

Berndt is the musical creator of the "Relabi" style, an approach to rhythm which suggests but ultimately denies a stable, regular pulse. He is also director of the Afro-Germanicist ensemble Multiphonic Choir, Second Nature improvising orchestra, and performance-art group Geodesic Gnome.

In 2009, The Emily Harvey Foundation in NYC held a retrospective show of Berndt's visual, language, audio and installation work. A festival of Berndt's music including collaborations with Elliott Sharp, Peter Zummo, Katt Hernandez, and Second Nature was held concurrently.

Berndt runs the "Recorded" record label which has issued twenty-five CDs of experimental music, including four discs by Berndt's collaborator Henry Flynt. Recorded was the first CD publisher of the music of Henry Flynt on CD, issuing four CDs of his music to date."

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:

1. A Slow Spiral Descent Into The Flower 3:42

2. Phantasm 1:40

3. Melancholy at the Base of the Volcano (for Gianni Gebbia) 4:14

4. Manifold 2:26

5. We Are Not Ourselves 2:17

6. The Alloy of Summer and Mind 1:49

7. All The Forgotten Conversations 3:04

8. A Material Answer (for Christine Sehnaoui Abdelnour) 5:54

9. The Levels 3:31

10. Specifics 3:42

11. The Long Road from Doha to Barsoom 2:16

12. Noncontinuum 3:44

13. Capsules (for Anthony Braxton) 5:56

14. Wheels Made of Water 4:38

15. Roiling Ascent 6:31

Related Categories of Interest:

Creative Sources
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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