SONTAG SHOGUN (2006 - on)
Sontag Shogun was borne from the ashes of the fiery phoenix. This blazing winged creature produced a wet mewling pup, crawling blindly through the slick muck that was wet, ashy birth. Sontag Shogun is, put simply, an ongoing experiment. Somewhere between a lullaby and a dirge, Sontag Shogun takes their lullanoise and tries to find the strange, eery moments that exist within beauty. The snapshot before and after a bright, wide smile. The warm gleam of bones on the beach, picked clean of meat and tendons.
Sontag Shogun is an ambient, electronic piano trio comprised of former members from [the] slowest runner [in all the world]. Pooling their influences from modern classical, improvised and ambient musical spheres, they create longform shape-shifting compositions that are at times lush and melodic as well as textural and unpredictable. They have improvised with artists as diverse as Matana Roberts, Tom Carter, Aki Onda as well as a collective of Japanese contemporary video artists. Sontag Shogun performs alongside black and white video-loop collages from films and archival footage, embracing the evocative and emotive nature of their melodic textures. They make music to dream away to, or from.
“There’s a tangible loneliness to Sontag Shogun's music, but there's a wistful loveliness present, too. The Brooklyn trio assumes a sort of songwriting assembly line, with Ian Temple's emotive, tremulous piano figures falling prey to Jesse Perlstein's legion of atmospheric, laptop-catalogue samples and the oscillator/tapes/electronic militia at Jeremy Young's command. Borne thereof are instrumentals that hover somewhere between quiet-storm raucous and New Age quiescent: giggly ivory-tickles brush elbows with industrial found sounds; funny-bone effects trill like cicadas or fireworks or distant slide whistles; sonatas and pitch-shifted drones suck face. Unlikely antecedents turn up in this mournful and meditative melee (The band counts composers like Arvo Part, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Philip Glass, and Max Richter among their influences.) Perhaps it's just that they seem to, for succumbing to a Sontag Shogun song is like wandering into a mist or thinny in a mystery novel: the first few seconds are universally objective, but beyond that, the experience is colored by what the listener brings to the table. ”
-Ray Cummings, Village Voice
Even more simply put, Sontag Shogun is:
Jeremy Young, Jesse Perlstein & Ian Temple
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