Press Quotes 2020+
what others say
This page consists of descriptive reviews from The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Cadence magazine, The Wire, The Voice, Realtime Magazine, The Australian, New York City Jazz Record, Cyclic Defrost, Time Out New York, All About Jazz, Limelight Magazine, and many more.
'Some improvisers paint themselves into sonic corners, where they naively regurgitate their prior much-masticated exploits. Then there's Jon Rose. Forty years on and Rose still surprises the hell out of me with his sheer audacity; still dumfounds me as if I'm encountering beauty in music for the first time; still bamboozles me as deadly seriousness and blithest whimsy cease to lie at segregated points on an artificial grid, but intermingle freely and erratically as they do in life. So art, ceasing to imitate life, becomes it. To call Rose an improvising violinist is like calling Leonardo a bit of a painter. He is a deviser of possibilities and a realiser of the most improbable ones. His volatile imagination results in exquisitely crafted instruments of no fixed parentage and in music that is a restless quest for the new. The first disc of this brain-detonating double album has him enjoying improvised duets with fellow adventurers Jim Denley, Freya Schack-Arnott, Clayton Thomas and Robbie Avenaim. The second disc reaches still further beyond the sonic horizon, making instruments of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a humble Hills Hoist. Yes, really. This is my favourite Jon Rose album of all. Until the next.'
Sydney Morning Herald
'Australia based violinist, composer, improviser and instrument builder Jon Rose is something of a national treasure. He has appeared on something around 90 albums and has played with everyone from John Zorn to the Kronos Quartet and is extremely active in improvisational realms in Australia. He's probably best known for his Great Fences of Australia project which saw him venture into the outback and play the â€'Rabbit Proof Fence' amongst numerous others. Rose has displayed an ongoing commitment to the creation of uniquely Australian art and has gone to great lengths to record and perform in remote outback locations. He's also gone to great lengths to collect and alter violins and some of these really peculiar forward thinking examples appear in this extensive 2CD collection. Rose's pieces are a series of experiments, a series of 'what ifs', that push his chosen instrument in some really unique and unexpected directions, many of which he has documented in this extraordinary collection. It begins with a series of pretty incredible duo recordings with Jim Denley, cellist Freya Schack-Arnott, bassist Clayton Thomas and in particular Robbie Avanaim's automated percussion systems which are remarkable. On disc two its about ensembles and installations. There's his Sydney Harbour Bridge recordings (recorded via contact mics) that he has merged with a choir of all things, creating a really odd unsettling tension. Then there's his Hills Hoist Music, where he has attached propellers to the washing line with a thin gauge of wire that would then stroke the strings controlled by the winds. Then there's The Gamble, in which a player piano is driven by midi data derived from a Las Vegas Casino and a data violin is driven by 24 Wall Street Traders. It's pretty impressive conceptual work that is kind've like freejazz honky tonk. I guess the dollars were flowing pretty quickly. There's so much here a treasure trove to trawl through, all augmented by 44 pages of liner notes, pictures, explanations of pieces and an in depth essay about Rose's work. The back cover lists the other artists performing on this disc and they're too numerous to mention here, everyone from Judith Hamann to (the late) Cor Fuhler. It's a demonstration of the revere with which he's held that artists of this calibre want to engage and participate in his explorations, because his curiosity is infectious - and you never quite know what he'll find.'
'This is going to sound pretty odd, considering the body of work I am talking about, but something is freeing about Jon Rose's 'State of Play' album. At its heart 'State of Play' is two and a half hours of improvised music split across two discs. The first CD is filled with relativity short sharp tracks, apart from one 13-minute monster, and features Rose playing assorted violins including a Thai pumpkin soup violin, tenor violin, keyolin, El lubricato (a 20-litre oil-drum with wheel-bows), 12 string clusterfuck violin, slow bow automaton and the St. Sebastian violin. As you can guess the music is pretty fast and fluid, but that isn't all. Rose has brought some friends along for the ride too... This is an album that cements Rose as one of the greats. His playing is delicate and tender. The notes flow from him and create emotions of love, loss, and redemption inside. Then he changes into a snarling beast thrashing about in pain. Both are wonderful but without the other neither would be as effective. Or is that affective? What is plain to hear is at 70 years old Rose has plenty to say, and play. 'State of Play' isn't just a clever pun, but a snapshot of players so in love with their craft, and interplaying, with others, that it, well, it plays itself. '
'Anyone who has ever seen 50 angelic children playing the violin descend an escalator can confidently describe themselves as familiar with the diverse oeuvre of the Australian musician, inventor, artist, curator, rogue and activist Jon Rose. The double CD State of Play, released on the renowned British label ReR, testifies to his diverse talents. The loving design of the sound carrier including the illustrated, 22-page booklet is worth mentioning. Musically, the first disc begins with a series of duo improvisations, right at the beginning with Rose's longtime companion, the saxophonist Jim Denley. It is simply experimental, improvised music of the very highest quality that is on offer here. Nobody plays himself in the foreground, nobody points out, but everyone listens, everyone produces their sounds in a refreshing, unusual way, which come from typically invented instruments, which are then called, for example, the Thai Pumpkin Soup Violin or, as in the case of Freya Schack-Arnott, the Nyckelharpa, in German the key violin (a seldom played, traditional stringed instrument, the i.a. is played via keys).
The double bass player Clayton Thomas, who is quite well known in this country, has been living in Australia for a long time. Jon Rose improvises with him on five pieces. Right at the beginning he introduces El Lubricato in the percussive piece The Large Pocket, another instrument invented by Rose that works with a 20 liter oil drum and two wheel bows, only to return to his beloved violin for two other pieces. In the duo with Robbie Avenaim, who is largely unknown to us, the music reinvents itself. Here Automated percussion systems are used, everything sounds wider and more flat. But maybe that's also due to the 12-string Clusterfuck violin that Jon Rose uses, a rogue itself one suspects. The second disc focuses on the presentation of Jon Rose's recent ensemble projects. With the first piece, a new instrument is introduced again, The Web, a 32-string automaton, i.e. a machine that does and does what it pleases. In the further course of the piece, the three violinists change their instruments and exchange them for three cheapest Chinese brands. The second ensemble piece brings choral-like singing, combined with four audibly different and distinguishable sounds and noises that have something to do with traffic over a bridge in Sydney. Elastic Band, the third piece, composed by Jon Rose together with Elena Kats-Chernin, premiered at the Angelica Festival in Bologna in 2015 and was conducted by the Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov.'
'Almost a celebration this double CD for the great Australian experimenter, swears to 70 years of life. Violinist, tireless electroacoustic researcher, and lucid composer. The first CD features improvisations in duo with various musicians and situations while the second CD offers a glimpse of his latest works. A rich libretto accompanies the album with a beautiful retrospective. Certainly it is not a disc with a simple function: moving between free and contemporary, but, if you enter this dissonant and polychrome world, there are many possible discoveries and the paths indicated. An opportunity to get closer to one of the greats.'
'There is only one direction for Jon Rose: Forwards! Since the mid-1970s he has been on the road in a variety of ways, improvising in various formations, writing music for the Kronos Quartet, among others, or winning the Karl Szuka Prize for a radio play. So how do you get hold of this musician?'
'Not necessarily the best introduction to Rose but one confirmed fans will enjoy. On cd 2 'Music in a Time of Dysfunction 3' is alternately anxious and playful while 'Singing Up the Bridge' combines the sounds of Sydney Harbour Bridge and choral singers and is one of the most unique and eerie pieces on the album. Another highlight is 'Elastic Band' a classical work featuring Rose's demented fiddling and more formal orchestration, though not without darker and stranger aspects.'
'Even though this is a double record, I could sum it up in one word: strings. Shibari lovers calm down, do not enter here. Seventy-year-old Jon Rose probably, wherever there are strings, must have found a way to sound them out. This 'State of play', released by ReR Megacorp Records, collects countless testimonies of the Australian artist's creativity.
In addition to composing, Rose is also a builder of personal instruments, made with automation and midi, and a great experimenter. His bow does not rest only on his violin, but also for example on the wires (as in 'Great fences of Australia', 1983).
The first cd consists of 19 Jon duets with other musicians. The first four pieces are for violin and alto sax, exploring their timbre and noise possibilities. In the fourth, 'Asian centuries', Rose uses the 'thai pumpkin soup' violin to obtain an undulating sound. The next six pieces are for keyolin (a monochord violin, excited with the bow, to which black and white keys are connected that intone the notes) and a nyckelharpa - if I start explaining every single instrument, I should write ten pages. Forgive me if I overlook something, because everything is like this here!
In fact, then we meet El Lubricato, a string struck with telegraph keys, and a rotating disk. At a certain point I seem to hear a drill, because the 'notes' obtained are tied with a mechanical glide, which recalls the modulations of the tip of a Black & Decker when it pierces the wall. The 'slow bow automaton', on the other hand, are four strings with an automatic bow, and the musician simply modifies the tuning to increase or decrease the pitch of the sounds produced. SARPS, on the other hand, are semi-automatic percussions. The Saint Sebastien violin has a tone that confuses, because at certain moments it seems like a breath.
And who knows why a 12-string violin was named 'Clusterfuck'! Moving on to the second CD, there are seven compositions. But each has surprises, even hilarious ones. 'Music in a time of dysfunction 3' is for violins, violone, viola, cello, deliberately forgotten Chinese violins, and... the web: an automatic network with 32 strings, with double rotating pick. Exciting 'Singing up the harbor bridge': it's a composition for a choir of 6 voices and...a bridge. Jon Rose hooked up microphones at four points on Sydney's Harbor Bridge. Thus the vowels of the choir meet, with the joints of the bridge (reminiscent of the wood of boats in the sea) and a background vibration (like drone music) created by traffic.
From Australia we move on to Italy with 'Elastic Band'. The Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna performs this composition for orchestra and solo violin, and here you can feel the compositional heritage of Rose, between references to Ligeti, Bartok and Saint-Saens, which converge in his identity, precisely Elastic. In 'Dueling banjo and banjo duality', a tenor violin is played (which is halfway between viola and cello), and accelerometers are connected to the musician's arms that operate two banjo midi.
Are they enough for you as surprises? Otherwise let's move on to 'Hills Hoist music', where Jon Rose plays a clothesline! And for this he earns my devotion, as an inveterate loiter. Two are missing, hold on! 'The gamble': a 'data piano' and a 'data violin' contain the sounds of Las Vegas casinos and the sounds of Wall Street, respectively. This also has a social significance: we compare the rich who get richer, and the poor who waste their savings in slot machines. And finally 'Music in a time of dysfunction 1': performed at the Rosenberg Museum, the musicians constantly activate the light switches, via a pedal, while Jon Rose activates electric discharges. I list the other instruments: keyolin, violins, 'stressed' organ, enclosed. This is Jon Rose's universe, and the double disc title is really spot on: his state of mind is a state of play. '
Music Map (Italy)
'Released via the longtime standing ReR Megacorp label this month is 'State Of Play', the new, truly monumental album by 1951-born Australian musician Jon Rose which clocks in at well over 150 minutes total playtime in 2CD format, accompanied by massive linernotes and an in depth booklet catering detailed information on compositional processes and more. Presenting a total of 26 pieces on "State Of Play" - 19 of them on the first part dubbed 'Duo Improvisations' whilst CD2, 'A Selection From Recent Project' holds an additional seven, more extended bits - the album is a true homage to Rose's work in highly advanced Avantgarde Music featuring not only a heapload of collaborators as well as a wide array of obscure, rare or even self- invented instruments like various musical automatons, the thai pumpkin soup violin, nyckelharpa, impossible banjos as well as - sic!!! - The Sydney Harbour Bridge, data input from Wall Street traders and a 12-string clusterfuck violin amongst others. This being said, it is nearly impossible to describe the vast richness and oftentimes unique angle of Jon Rose's sound and compositional approach or even pick out a single favorite, yet if you are well versed in the field of Improv, Free Improv as well as FreeJazz, Contemporary Classical and a realm often described as 'new music' alongside bits of electroacoustic composition this truly is a hot contender for your 'must buy' extended album of the month for a reason.'
'It is a museum of torture and assault on the violin. By Jon. If Jon had lived in the Middle Ages, it would have been much worse for heretics, traitors and the unfaithful of both genders as he devised yet more novel ways to have them change their minds or lose body parts. Jon's instruments have a sort of species memory of violindom. He has devised an extraordinary number of ways of getting a sound from a stretched string. It is fair to say that none of these instruments has sought, or even failed, to perform Massenet's Meditation from Thais. Join Jon on this museum tour and discover concepts of music from a world order other than the one you have lived in until today.'
Music Trust E-zine
'Violin avant-garde player Jon Rose has been familiar with free play for many years, and I still consider his Slawterhaus project with Johannes Bauer, Dietmar Diesner and Peter Hollinger to be a criminally undervalued feat of the 90s! On CD1 of the double-decker 'State of Play' (ReR Megacorps) the master presents 19 duo improvisations, among others with the great bassist Clayton Thomas or the Nyckelharpa player Freya Schack-Arnott. Incidentally, Rose accompanies them on the Keyolin invented by Cor Fuhler. As in general, the often self-made instruments would be worth their own book. The thick and photo-rich booklet is a little consolation, because it shows, among other things, images of some of the installations sounding on CD2 (a selection of recent projects) from sound generators, some of which are used in the most obscure way. 154 minutes of hardly tamed will to total art - exhausting, but full of surprises for people with open ears and a sense of humor.'