* Limited edition double CD + 12-Page Booklet. Six panel gatefold CD package beautifully designed by Lasse Marhaug and featuring an exclusive essay on the social and artistic philosophy behind Mutual Aid Music by the composer (including notated examples) * A Double-CD of of Eight Ensemble Concertos by Wooley Performed by Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, Violinist Joshua Modney, Cellist Mariel Roberts, Pianists Sylvie Courvoisier and Cory Smythe, Percussionists Matt Moran and Russell Greenberg, and Nate Wooley on Trumpet.
Mutual aid points to the concept of community action and the human drive to provide succor to our fellow humans. Mutual aid is the primary ethic of an anarchistic utopia in which each knows what they have, is honest about what they need, and is prepared to give and receive accordingly. Every human want is met by a commensurate surplus and all are lifted equally above suffering. Wooley’s Mutual Aid Music asks the musicians to take stock of their gifts and to ask themselves, in each moment, how their use of that gift will affect the community (ensemble) of which they are currently a member. His compositional system asks musicians to question what they add to the ensemble as human beings first and musicians second. Rather than the traditional aim of faithfully reproducing a score through its mastery, the musicians are prompted to make decisions that purposely force the music away from facsimile and toward a spontaneity that may feel awkward and uncomfortable.
They support each other in the search for something new and interesting; a music that is not only greater than the compositional whole, but has the potential to recast the way we think about the balance of virtuosity and improvisational spirit in our practice. Wooley says, “Mutual Aid Music is as much a conceptual risk for me as the composer as it is a performative one for the musicians on this disc. The music here is a step – not an end – on a continuing search for a way of conceiving music that lives outside the dialectic bubble of improvisation/composition. In the best moments of improvisation, the complexity of individual musical spontaneity is beyond what I could ever conceive of reproducing on paper. Contemporary notated composition creates complexity on the page, but doesn’t take into account the personal history of the player. So, the question is how to find a way that contains the best of both worlds by embracing both and neither at the same time? I felt that my best hope was the radical spontaneity and empathy of human beings rather than musical tradition, history, and theory.” He continues, “ Mutual Aid Music provides material as a form of limitation that allows the mind to free itself of egoistic concerns, in turn, keeping the players from relying on muscle and musical memory as they enter and retreat from the slowly forming chaos of the group sound. By giving the ensemble members a choice of materials, the composition allows them to spend their energy on the most creative way to engage with those materials and, hopefully, with the ensemble at large.”