Mutual Aid Has A History


It 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.


The music on this disc is, to a degree, about this political conception of mutual aid history but, rather than celebrating its primary act of what to give, it concentrates on the decision of how to give it. It 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. Will their addition provide:


1. A refined musical gesture that simply makes the group sound better

2. A raw idea that opens new sets of possibilities for the other musicians, or

3. The inspiration to others of making the difficult, selfless musical choice.


This set of eight ensemble concertos sprouts from a compositional system that 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 members of the ensemble are prompted to make decisions that purposely force the music away from facsimile and toward a spontaneity that may feel awkward and uncomfortable. Each supports each 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. After all, if we, as an ensemble can enjoy jumping off musical cliffs together within the relative safety of this compositional system, then what’s to stop us from trying to find that same exhilaration in the other music we make?




The two-CD release of MUTUAL AID MUSIC on Pleasure of the Text Records is now available for preorder on Bandcamp. This set of eight chamber concertos was warmly recorded at Oktaven Studio and comes with a Lasse Marhaug-designed package featuring a 12-page booklet with musical examples.


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MAM made its 'live' premiere in December of 2020 at Brooklyn's Roulette Intermedium. The concert was beautifully recorded and filmed by their team and is available here.


This presentation featured ensemble members Ingrid Laubrock, Sylvie Courvoisier, Joshua Modney, Mariel Roberts, and Russell Greenberg in new, smaller settings of MUTUAL AID MUSIC.