The Squid's Ear Magazine


Mendoza / Hoff / Revels: Echolocation (Aum Fidelity)

Led by two assertive New York improvisers, guitarist Ava Mendoza and bassist Devin Hoff, their band Revels includes extraordinary saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and drummer Ches Smith, performing compositions from both Mendoza and Hoff that facilitate wild interactions between band members and great freedom in soloing, an exceptional start to a new unit.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Ava Mendoza-electric guitar

James Brandon Lewis-tenor saxophone

Devin Hoff-electric bass

Ches Smith-drums


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UPC: 642623311721

Label: Aum Fidelity
Catalog ID: AUMF117.2
Squidco Product Code: 33923

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Park West Studios, New York, New York, on January 23rd, 2022, by Jim Clouse.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Echolocation is the astonishing debut album from Mendoza / Hoff Revels, a formidable new unit led by Ava Mendoza and Devin Hoff and featuring James Brandon Lewis and Ches Smith.

While Mendoza and Hoff have floated around each other's musical orbits for decades, and have been friends for some time, this is their first work together on record. It is an electric and holy harmonic fusion of highly estimable musical forces; wholly rendered. The original impetus of this group was Mendoza's, based on the love she and Hoff shared for aggressive and polyglot electric avant-garde ensembles - artists like mid-80's Black Flag (w/ Roessler and Stevenson) and Ornette Coleman's Prime Time bands revolutionized the way they heard music. As stated in their liner notes, "we shared the writing of these pieces, though without the sizable stamps of both James and Ches, they would sound nothing like they do here."

The result - 21st Century progressive rock played by punk rockers with serious improv skills and a deep jazz feel. And vitally - non-stop wicked catchy tunes, riffs and grooves.

Strong sonic references on our initial hearing at AUM Fidelity were The Stooges' Funhouse, rendered by an entire band readily adept at rapidly swinging rhythmic and harmonic shifts (plus tenor sax on every track!) -and- minutemen, both their entire body of music and their fundamental egalitarian punk ethos. A higher combo accolade to any "rock-adjacent" band playing with electricity we at AUM cannot bestow."-Aum Fidelity



"Ava Mendoza is a singular guitarist-composer-songwriter best known for her solo guitar/voice performances & as leader of experimental rock band Unnatural Ways. Over the past decade, her prodigious & long-honed six-string skills have illuminated numerous projects, very recently w/ Bill Orcutt's Guitar Quartet & William Parker's Mayan Space Station [ williamparker.bandcamp.com/album/mayan-space-station ]. Fellow master guitarist Marc Ribot wrote of Ava's work, "beautiful, powerful and highly original - a new sound, a new voice".

Devin Hoff is a bassist-composer-arranger who has worked extensively with creative musicians & bands spanning genres & generations, incl. Sharon Van Etten, Julia Holter, Nels Cline, Yoko Ono. Hoff has appeared on over 100 records and performed at major rock and jazz rock festivals across 5 continents. Devin's 'Solo Bass' is on record as being one of Laurie Anderson's Top 5 Albums of All Time.

James Brandon Lewis is a tremendously gifted tenor saxophonist-composer, with a wide-open mind to the cosmos of Music and the ability to give powerful new voice to same. His Red Lily Quintet's Jesup Wagon swept the #1 slot in all major U.S. Jazz critics polls in 2022. Its follow-up, 'For Mahalia, With Love', released in September 2023.

Ches Smith's exceptionally deep & distinctive gifts on all manner of percussion have led to great work together with Tim Berne, John Zorn, Darius Jones, and, among his own creations as a leader is the remarkably beautiful, 'Path of Seven Colors', a bountiful fruit of his devout study of Haiti's Vodou musical traditions."


Artist Biographies

"My name is Ava Mendoza. I play guitars and stompboxes and write music. Currently I'm based out of Brooklyn, NY. I have played guitar for most of my life and been active for the last decade playing my own music and in many different groups. In any context I try to bring expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music I play. I've toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including singer Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Fred Frith (Massacre, Henry Cow, Art Bears), Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Weasel Walter, Tune-Yards, and more. I've played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, New Atlantis, and others.

Friendly critics have called me "Oakland's avant-jazz virtuoso" (Brad Cohan, Village Voice), "a versatile and virtuosic guitarist" (The San Francisco Film Society), "a wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique," (Lars Gotrich, A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz). I was recently named one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.

My main project these days is UNNATURAL WAYS .

PERFORMED/RECORDED WITH:

Scott Amendola (Nels Cline Singers, Charlie Hunter Quartet), Liz Allbee, Vijay Anderson, Bran(...)pos, Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Sheldon Brown, Tony Buck (The Necks), members of Caroliner, Nels Cline (Wilco), George Cremaschi, Tim Dahl (Child Abuse, Lydia Lunch), J.A. Deane, Marco Di Gasbarro (Squartet), John Dikeman (Cactus Truck), Thomas Dimuzio, Shayna Dunkleman, Marco Eneidi, Luc Ex, Ben Goldberg, Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre), Vinny Golia, Phillip Greenlief, Franz Hautzinger, Jacob Felix Heule, Devin Hoff (Good for Cows), Gerri Jager (Knaalpot), Darren Johnston, Henry Kaiser (Crazy Backwards Alphabet), Annette Krebs, Thollem McDonas, Lisa Mezzacappa, Butch Morris, Matt Nelson, Hexlove aka Zac Nelson, Kanoko Nishi, Nick Podgurski (Extra Life), Porest aka Mark Gergis, Gino Robair, Aram Shelton, John Shiurba, SF Sound, Damon Smith, Moe! Staiano, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Raphael Vanoli (Knaalpot), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers), Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE), Wobbly (Negativland), Tune-yards, William Winant (Mr. Bungle), Kenny Wollesen (Sex Mob), Theater of Yugen, dancers Leyya Mona Tawil, Yuko Kaseki, and Manuela Tessi."

-Ava Mendoza Website (http://avamendozamusic.com/bio.html)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"James Brandon Lewis (b.1983 Buffalo NY) is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist and educator . Lewis has received accolades from New York Times, Q Magazine and cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the "7 Young Players to Watch" in todays scene. Lewis has shared stages with Ken Filiano, Darius Jones, and Jason Hwang, William Parker, Hamiet Bluiett , Hamid Drake , Ravi Coltrane , Jimmy Heath Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Joe Lovano Dave Douglas, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman and many others. James Brandon Lewis Lewis has been endorsed by Jazz legend Saxophonist Sonny Rollins " Promising young player with the potential to do great things having listened to the Elders". - Jazz Magazine (France). New York Times had this to say about Lewis " James Brandon Lewis , A Jazz Saxophonist in his 30's, Raw Toned But Measured, Doesn't sound steeped in current jazz academy values There's an Independence about him." James Brandon Lewis Leads numerous ensembles and is the Co- Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts."

-James Brandon Lewis Website (http://www.jblewis.com/bio/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Devin Hoff is a double-bassist, bass guitarist, guitarist and songwriter. He began playing music seriously at age 15, and has continued to do so ever since, foregoing college as he was already working at his chosen profession. Torn between the visceral energies of punk and metal and the spiritual freedom of free jazz in his youth, he has spent the last 20-plus years exploring the resonance and dissonance of these musical tendencies. Devin has played and recorded with many musicians and bands over the years, including Carla Bozulich, Nels Cline, Vijay Iyer, Carla Kihlstedt, Joshua Redman, Kira Roessler, Mike Watt, and Xiu Xiu. His main creative vehicles of the past decade or so are the "crust jazz" bass/drums duo Good For Cows (with drummer Ches Smith) and his ongoing solo bass project, The Devin Hoff Platform. He also plays under a pseudonym in various crust punk and metal projects."

-Ken Vandermark Website (http://kenvandermark.com/2013/10/made-to-break-biography/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born in San Diego, CA and raised in Sacramento, Ches Smith came up in a scene of punks and metal musicians who were listening to and experimenting with jazz and free improvisation. He studied philosophy at the University of Oregon before relocating to the San Francisco Bay area in 1995. After a few years of playing with obscure bands and intensive study with drummer / educator Peter Magadini, he enrolled in the graduate program at Mills College in Oakland at the suggestion of percussionist William Winant. There he studied percussion, improvisation, and composition with Winant, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran. One of Winant's first "assignments" for Ches was to sub in his touring gig at the time, Mr. Bungle (here he met bassist / composer Trevor Dunn who would later hire him for the second incarnation of his Trio-Convulsant). During his time at Mills, Ches co-founded two bands: Theory of Ruin (with Fudgetunnel / Nailbomb frontman Alex Newport), and Good for Cows (w/ Nels Cline Singers' Devin Hoff). He currently performs and records with Xiu Xiu, and Secret Chiefs 3. He has also performed with Ben Goldberg, Annie Gosfield, Wadada Leo Smith, John Tchicai, Fred Frith, and Trevor Dunn. In addition to Ceramic Dog, he also leads his two of his own projects, Congs for Brums and These Arches. He currently spends his time between Los Angeles, San Francisco and Brooklyn."

-Ches Smith Website (http://www.chessmith.com/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Dyscalculia 07:05

2. Echolocation 06:44

3. Interwhining 06:50

4. Babel-17 05:44

5. New Ghosts 05:01

6. Diablada 04:44

7. The Stumble 06:52

8. Ten Forward 06:09

Related Categories of Interest:


Aum Fidelity
Improvised Music
Jazz
Jazz & Improvisation Based on Compositions
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Aum Fidelity.


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