In keeping with the most glorious and noble of protocols, Nevermore, Inc., and MoonJune Records proudly offer Worthless!: the new chapter in the continuing exploration of subatomic existence and sonic freefall from the artist presently known as Copernicus. Showcasing eight fresh, original pieces of spontaneous mayhem, our hero and his band of mischievous cohorts weave, wind, glide, grind, and forge their way through their most ambitious, engaging material yet.Recorded in the comfortable familiarity of the majestic panorama of Hoboken, New Jersey, the iconic artist returns to the scene of previous crimes with a group of no less than sixteen musicians (and one additional vocalist) in tow, delivering arguably his most powerful effort to date in the process. While conceptual themes of a familiar nature are revisited, the musical terrain they cover is fresh, anew, and brimming with vitality, humor and imagination -- displaying a refreshingly-cohesive and -consistent central focus that is typically lacking in most "free jazz"-based undertakings.This is very ambitious music, which succeeds on all levels in confident, convincing style. From the gleefully sarcastic 'Go tell it on the mountain' pedal steel intro of "What Is Existence?" to the elegant, graceful, classically-inspired synthesizer and strings section tapestry featured on the title track, the album's closer, the players display a wonderful collective chemistry -- covering an expansive breadth of musical stylings which develop and uncoil in a bold, pioneering-yet-organic fashion.Intellectually observing and, at the same time, participating in spontaneous evolution can be a great adventure ... it’s like watching a movie and you are the star. That is why, by its very nature, this most recent addition to the distinguished catalog of Copernicus is both fascinating and documentary: over the course of his nine records we bear witness to the intellectual and philosophical evolution of an aggressive, far-reaching being, confronting the implications of the atom upon human reality. This is daunting, epic work.Lurking behind the foreshadowing magnititude of Copernicus' introspective musings, his ever-faithful musical director and long-standing compatriot, Pierce Turner, masterfully orchestrates proceedings. Proving equal to the task, the end results echoe the "continually evolving" perspective which defines their approach. Fueled by a supporting cast that displays a joyful willingness to embrace wholesale risk -- while clearly operating on the same wavelength -- the songs take on a life of their own, bucking tradition and resoundingly rejecting even the most remote fragments of orthodoxy.Copernicus' loyal legion of fans will rejoice at this latest installment in the evolving saga of his revolutionary philosophical discourses regarding life at the quantum level and its practical (or impractical) implications. While the elephant in the room is clearly of metaphysical origin, the musical landscape upon which the beast stampedes is as vast and uncharted as it is compelling.Monumental in its scope with a voracious appetite to boot, Worthless! is a challenging work -- but sonic disembowelment has never been a sport for the weak and timid. Don't miss out on this special opportunity to engage yourself in an extraordinary cosmic sojourn! ... Your front row seat awaits.
TRACKSClick on any highlighted track title to listen to individual audio samples, or listen to them all on the player to the right.
Perhaps the most fitting way to describe Copernicus is as a "performance poet." Even though the gentleman originally named Joseph Smalkowski plays keyboards, Copernicus refuses to be categorised as a musician. Despite often having inhabited the alternative New York rock'n'roll scene, his music also exudes strong elements of jazz, classical and the avant garde. Even though Copernicus' preferred recording strategy is that of improvisation, his epic pieces tend to revolve around themes, riffs and repeated clusters, moving along a clearly linear pathway.
The booming delivery and abstract texts evoke the spirit of classic beat generation poetry, but the Copernicus stance goes back even further to the theatrical confrontations of the Dada movement. He's always preferred the improvisatory approach, even though each poem's grist might be prepared in advance, their rhythms and content might be disassembled in the moment.
Copernicus has always been fiercely independent, since he first started recording in this manner, back at the dawn of the 1980s. He organises the recording sessions, sculpts the assembled band, oversees the album artwork and releases each disc on his own Nevermore, Inc. label. 1985 brought Nothing Exists, which emphatically laid out the themes of his subsequent work. A burst of creativity led to the swift succession of Victim Of The Sky (1987), Deeper (1989) and Null (1990). Often, Copernicus would perform with large-scale ensembles, but in 1991 he initiated the practice of giving completely solo performances, revealing his declamations in a stripped, confrontational space. He views himself as a conduit for abstract ideas and philosophical notions. Copernicus decided that his particular marriage of music and narrative was the best way to communicate his thoughts and concepts to a receptive audience.
He released "No Borderline" in 1993, but there was to be a longer gap before the eventual release of 2001's "Immediate Eternity" -- which moved in a completely different direction, as its creator was spending increasing amounts of time in Ecuador.
Copernicus was evolving after having spent three years penning his book, also called Immediate Eternity. He linked up with Los Nomadas from Guayaquil, the country's biggest city, and his music moved temporarily more towards the zone of jazz-rock fusion. With 2010's Disappearance, Copernicus made a return to the old established methods, refining them into a distillation of an ongoing obsession with the freedom and beauty of nothingness.