‘AUDIOBOOK’ Out Today! New Album From Sam Gendel & Marcella Cytrynowicz
October 6, 2023 - By Psychic Hotline
Today, prolific LA-based improvisational jazz musician Sam Gendel has released his latest album, AUDIOBOOK, an instrumental album created alongside filmmaker+visual artist Marcella Cytrynowicz. AUDIOBOOK consists of 13 alphabetically-named tracks and corresponding illustrations that feel like dispatches from outer space, or unearthed ancient runes. At points melodic and cartoonish and at others glitching and somewhat unnerving, it’s a visual work and instrumental album rooted in a strange in-between, in a shadowy and vivid chasm between terrestrial and otherworldly. A puzzle that doesn’t ask to be completed, but invites you to play.
ORDER/LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOK
Cytrynowicz and Gendel have been consistent collaborators since 2020, with Cytrynowicz providing photography as well as music videos and visuals for Gendel’s work, including for DRM and their AE-30 documentary, as well as the short form video work for the Pino Palladino, Blake Mills, Sam Gendel, Abe Rounds project. Gendel has previously contributed snippet scores to Cytrynowicz’s short-form video work.
In viewing Cytrynowicz’s illustrations, it feels like the originals must have been done on a larger scale – a wall, a room, an entire town, an unknown expanse of land. Is it a map or a language? But the illustrations are on 8.5×11 pieces of paper, each drawn in stretches of 6-8 hours across 3-4 days, on a drawing pad of thick paper favored by manga artists, completely freehand and guided by intuition. She prefers to achieve the sort of smooth perfection look that AI might create, with nothing out of place – even if the place of subject feels unknowable. Gendel composed all of the music in real time next to her, improvising, with the bulk of the sonics coming from a Suzuki Waraku III. It’s an instrument he chose for no real reason other than finding it enjoyable to improvise on.
“It makes it easy to explore,” Gendel says. “In the same way Marcella describes how she draws, I sort of unlock these weird puzzles in my own mind, and sometimes just having one interface to deal with takes that mental pressure off. It has a strange quality sonically, too… I just gravitate toward that.”
AUDIOBOOK is the meeting of something distinctly analog weaving into a soundscape that could be at home in a 90s sci-fi soundtrack, the parallel play of a visual artist and prolific musician, abstract art and sound reaching out to touch.
“It’s the sound of us just individually trusting ourselves, and then aligning the two together and letting them meet, and also trusting in that,” Gendel says. “I don’t think about it that directly, though – this isn’t art inspired by art. I would say this is just a piece showing two people trusting in their subconscious and then trusting in that meeting point, wherever that is. And shepherding it along.”