ice cream time

nick didkovsky / arte saxophone quartett / thomas dimuzio

new world records

2007 CD


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“This is "downtown" music, lighthearted in character even as it maintains a generally high level of musical sophistication. Ice Cream Time is fast moving and fun...” — All Music Guide

“... fascinating and a bit unnerving, just like life itself.” — Downtown Music Gallery

All Music Guide

New World's Ice Cream Time begins with a kid's voice singing "It's Ice Cream Time! It's Ice Cream Time!" It is taken from old, burned-out audio and sounds like one of the kids in The Little Rascals, except that his use of the word "funky" suggests a recording of more recent vintage. This gives way to a slurry of drunken saxes and palpitating guitar that gradually peps up into a mix that is funky indeed, alternatively loose and complex, zany, Zappa-esque, and not, whatever you would like to call it, it is. It is an hour-long adventure orchestrated by iconoclastic New York composer Nick Didkovsky in collaboration with sampler/processor Thomas Dimuzio and crack European saxophone ensemble ARTE Quartet. Prior to making this recording, the ARTE Quartet had already distinguished itself through fine realizations of works by Terry Riley in a previous New World release. Dimuzio is a San Francisco-based audio artist who offers his work through his Gench Music online catalog. Ice Cream Time is a long suite built out of 12 separate parts, some of which connect together and some that do not, but it feels all of a piece -- not so much a "suite" in the conventional sense so much as a long theme park ride with a number of separate attractions. There are parts of it that are mysterious, atmospheric, and even a little menacing, particularly in the latter half, although it is seldom profound in the sense that most "serious" music tends to be. However, profundity doesn't seem the overall aim Didkovsky is shooting for. This is "downtown" music, lighthearted in character even as it maintains a generally high level of musical sophistication. Ice Cream Time is fast moving and fun, especially in the first half, although the artists do not confide in us the source of the little kid audio at the beginning. As in the mystery of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, "the world may never know." (4/5) —Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide

Downtown Music Gallery

Featuring Nick Didkovsky on electric guitar, laptop & composition, Thomas Dimuzio on sampling & processing and the ARTE (Sax) Quartett. Over the last decade, Nick Didkovsky, has concentrated more on composing, working with his computer and improvising, than running NYC's foremost "progressive" band, Dr. Nerve. With Dr. Nerve performances and recordings few and far between, Nick has continued to refine his composing and improvising skills. The six pages of enclosed liner notes by Ross Feller are illuminating and helpful in understanding this music, but I leave it to you to read them for yourself. The first part of this piece, after a short silly vocal refrain, features purposefully drunken sounding twisted sax lines. Nick's writing for the sax quartet is spirited, fun and his guitar fits in just right. I dig the way the layers of samples weave their way around the saxes like a festive fabric that is as much fun to hear as it is to look at. Nick's music often has that quirky yet difficult Zappa-like vibe that makes me smile because it feels so good and is a challenge to play and listen to as well. There is a great section on "Fall" where the saxes play layers of twisted notes together and then become intertwined in layers of manipulations. It sounds as if they are playing backwards! Like Lasse Marhaug in the Territory Band, Tom Dimuzio, does a great job of providing strange, electronic textures or samples and is featured on "Seltzer Section" and on "I Cheer Pet Eater", where the samples turn the saxes inside-out at times. What I dig about this piece is that has some unexpected twists and turns. "Calm" is just that, with long hushed drones for the saxes, that is quite lovely. The final section, "Rise" is long and most impressive. It begins with more somber sax drones that are rich and haunting and build exquisitely in cautious layers that both fascinating and a bit unnerving, just like life itself." —Bruce Gallanter


"Nick Didkovsky s music reflects current trends and practices including the use of live, interactive computer-assistance, genre jumping, and blurring the distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow. Although the accoutrements of Western tonality are never far off, his musical sensibility allows for some radical departures from the stock-and-trade of tonality. Didkovsky is attracted to the ambiguous boundaries between human-generated and software-generated materials. Ice Cream Time (2003) is a multi-movement piece scored for saxophone quartet, electric guitar, and live electronics. As might be expected, Ice Cream Time embraces, or engages with, a wide range of influences and material contrasts. Nine of the movements feature live sampling by Thomas Dimuzio, whose job was to capture and process the saxophone and guitar sounds in real time, using his Kurzweil K2600RS. Because the unaltered signals are also heard, a rich and subtle texture is produced."