The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Hi - our new cd from Public Eyesore is out; you can order it through the 
URL below. Please consider this; the cd, Avatar Woman, has taken over a 
year in production, and has had the terrific assistance of Bryan Day, 
Chris Diasparra, Ed Schneider, Steve Holtje, and Godelstring Studio. It 
includes eleven songs by Azure Carter, with accompanying improvisation 
from Chris, Ed, and myself.

The album is relatively inexpensive with high production values (I did the 
full-color images that Bryan turned into the cd graphics). By buying it, 
you would also be supporting our music, which we have given away, so many 
times, for better or worse, for free. Following is the one-sheet 
description of the cd, including Steve Holtje's liner notes:


Azure Carter & Alan Sondheim - NEW CD!

Avatar Woman

To Order:

1. Buried
2. Dark Robe 
3. Surely 
4. Among The Ferns
5. World
6. Making Boys
7. Blood Tantra
8. Avatar Man with Dream Woman
9. What Remains 
10. Marriage to Language
11. Buried II
12. Credo

Azure Carter : vocals and songs
Alan Sondheim : violin, dan moi, suroz, sarangi, electric 
guitar, oud, cura cumbus, electric saz, viola, cura saz, and 
Christopher Diasparra : tenor and baritone saxophones 
Edward Schneider : alto saxophone

"Listen to any track on this album. Have you ever heard someone 
else who sings like Azure Carter? I sure haven't. Have you heard 
anyone who plays as a wide range of instruments, with such 
gleeful abandon, as Alan Sondheim does? Me neither. Put them 
together and this may be the most original and unique sound to 
come along in years, even decades perhaps.

Carter's lyrics are, I am told, related to and/or inspired by 
Second Life, an online virtual world. That may have significance 
for some, perhaps even great significance, but even a Luddite 
such as myself can enjoy them and interpret them in the context 
of meatbag life: longings for contact and connection, 
deconstructions of our strategies for satisfying that longing, 
self-analyses and reflection. Between the conundrums and quirks 
of that search and the restless music underpinning them, this is 
an album of unease, of a hypermodern sense of overwhelming 
possibility, even though sometimes Carter's cadences sound 
eerily like Psalms or the Song of Solomon (you can hear this 
right off the bat on "Among the Ferns").

About that music. Alan Sondheim, an underground icon from the 
'60s thanks to a 1967 debut album on Riverboat that made the 
infamous Nurse With Wound list, followed up with two albums on 
notorious outsider label ESP-Disk', has made a 21st-century 
comeback (in the interim, he established himself as an academic 
pioneering cyberspace theory). His improvised music resists all 
genre labels, though one can hear, in the sounds of the 
instruments chosen if not always the non-traditional techniques 
he uses to play them, so-called world music; on the tracks Ed 
Schneider and Chris Diasparra play on, there are traces of jazz 
in their contributions; and Sondheim's early blues roots shine 
through on "Credo." It is music based on gesture and timbre 
rather than harmony and/or melody, and rhythmically abjures 
beats. "That 'mama heartbeat,' that 'bom-bom-bom' . it's so 
boring, it's so banal," Don Van Vliet AKA Captain Beefheart once 
said. "I want things to change like the patterns and shadows 
that fall from the sun." Sondheim's improvisations are like 
that, except as though played by a metabolism operating at a 
faster rate of speed, or filmed and fast-forwarded." . Steve 

Azure Carter is an artist, educator, and singer/songwriter. When 
she isn't collaborating on music, video, or performance with her 
partner, Alan Sondheim, she is busy studying education theory or 
working on an on-going performance/video piece, The Fairyland 
Around Us, based on the writings of the early 20th century 
naturalist, Opal Whitely. Before moving to Providence, Carter 
lived in NYC and performed at numerous venues in the city and 
elsewhere, including the 92nd Street Y, Dance New Amsterdam, The 
Bowery Poetry Club, Eyebeam, Jack, and Highwire Gallery. In 
2012, Fire Museum produced Cauldron, with Carter, Helena 
Espvall, and Sondheim, an album of improvisations and song- 

Alan Sondheim was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; he lives 
with his partner, Azure Carter in Providence, RI. He holds a 
B.A. and M.A. from Brown University. A new-media artist, writer, 
and theorist, he has exhibited, performed and lectured widely.


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