Cordyceps is the third release from the Psychotic Quartet, recorded over the course of a tour in fall 2011. The Psychotic Quartet is made of four musicians who have made homes in a wide array of genres, who use the band to explore the darker sides of their individual sonic vocabularies. The subject of the album title provides an apt setting for the group’s volatile improvisations: Cordyceps is a genus of fungi in which each species of the genus targets a specific insect or other arthropod, and then eats the host from the inside. The fungus eventually completely replaces the host tissue. When mature, the fruiting bodies of Cordyceps literally burst from the head or other parts of the remains of the host. The unsettling combinations of sounds that make up these improvised pieces, from twisting microtonal lines to strained dynamic drones, resonate with the bizarre nature and disgusting beauty of these organisms, while expanding the lexicon of free music. Renowned mushroom expert Daniel Winkler contributed the many photos of Cordyceps that grace the album.
Trombonist Dan Blacksberg makes his home equally in experimental music and in traditional klezmer, co-leading the new music group Archer Spade, performing with free jazz legends Anthony Braxton and Joe Morris, and regularly appearing with klezmer musicians Frank London and Alan Bern. Violinist Katt Hernandez draws her fiery array of electronic-like sounds and keening melodies from her work with microtonality, inspired by folk musics from Turkey, the Balkans and her extensive study with Joe Maneri. Thurston Moore says that “Katt plays in a style that flies through the valley separating new music and free jazz, like a hive of cunning bees.” Bassist Evan Lipson plays with experimental rock bands Satanized and Normal Love, and has performed with Jack Wright, Nate Wooley and Weasel Walter. Percussionist Michael Evans embraces the collision of sound and theatrics, whether working with jazz groups or in performance with dancers. His work with unusual sound sources such as found objects, homemade instruments, and various digital and homemade analog electronics creates many of the unstable textures that underlie the band's music.
Scott Scholz of Killed in Cars says of the group: “The music breathes with the kind of control many groups can only get through composition, but this is what you can achieve when you put four virtuosos who all have their own compositional chops together: cooperation truly equals instant composition.” Cordyceps is the third release in New Atlantis Records cassette series. Lovers of out sounds take note!