Bassist Damon Smith Helps Steer Astral Plane Crash’s Improv

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Damon Smith (left) and Ra-Kalam Bob Moses

(Photo: Craig Marshall)

Why did you decide on Native Pulse as a recording location?

The studio is in Moses’ home, and he has an amazing expanded kit there. The primary reason was to work with the sounds he’s developed on that kit. It meant playing in very close quarters, but that’s something Henry has always loved anyway, and it actually gives good results in the interactions. Engineer David Sullivan runs Native Pulse, and got an incredible sound.

What’s the manifesto of your label, Balance Point Acoustics?
It started in 2001 with a duo bass recording I made with the great Peter Kowald. The focus is free improvisation and free jazz. The artwork for each album is very important to me, and I like having a place where I can make a release look and sound exactly how I want, which helps when I work with other labels. I can just go with the concepts they are working with, knowing I have an outlet for making releases exactly how I want. I have good luck getting labels to release my music, but BPA is really for releases I want to keep control of, and release when I want to.

One of the reasons this was able to come out so soon after recording is that we’d chosen the cover art before we even played. I saw an article on the pastel drawings of the important abstract filmmaker Jordan Belson. Henry knows the family and was able to get permission to use them; the CD release of Astral Plane Crash has a 12-page booklet with 10 of the drawings, instead of liner notes. DB

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