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Tide Tables : Lost Birdsongs

Duration: 33:47
Format: CD-R
Edition: 300
Cover ArtPeter Hasson

Download from Bandcamp


  1. columbia
  2. statictition
  3. working
  4. steam vents
  5. feet off the ground
  6. egg and orpheus
  7. vertical clouds
  8. eat some soul
  9. overlook
  10. passage

Tide Tables is a duo of Alex Vittum and Paul Kikuchi.  The two musicians met while studying percussion with Milford Graves at Bennington College in the late 1990′s.  Through their mutual studies with Graves and numerous collaborations over the years, Kikuchi and Vittum have developed a common musical language and a process of creating music together that draws on their interest in music of the African diaspora, electo-acoustic music, and sound art.  Lost Birdsongs is the culmination of several years of collaboration in Seattle and New York, and includes a great cast of musicians including Daniel Carter, Brian Drye, Matt Goeke, Matt Crane, and Sam Weng.

Artist Bio:
Paul Kikuchi is a percussionist, composer, sound artist, and educator originally from Indianola, WA.  After playing in rock bands as a youth, Paul went on to study music at Bennington College (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA).  He currently works as a musician and educator in Seattle, WA.  Paul is involved in a wide variety of musical projects, from percussion ensembles to jazz quartets, as well as his own groups that feature his compositions and invented instruments.    He is a founding member of the acclaimed Empty Cage Quartet, an ensemble has toured extensively and released seven albums since 2002.  Kikuchi’s recent work has emphasized performances and recordings in site-specific locations such as train tunnels, cisterns, and nuclear cooling towers. He actively performs internationally and his recorded music can be heard on a number of record labels both in the US and abroad.  Paul is the founder and artistic director of Prefecture Records, an organization that supports contemporary music through performance, documentation, and education.  As a music educator Paul has taught at West Sound Academy, The American International School of Budapest, the Oakwood School (Los Angeles) and the Community Arts Partnership (Los Angeles).  He is currently audio faculty at the Art Institute of Seattle, and teaches freelance at organizations such as Jack Straw Productions and The Wing Luke Asian Museum.  Paul’s work as a musician and composer has been recognized and supported by Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4 culture, Artist Trust, Earshot Jazz, Chamber Music America, the American Composer’s Forum, the Jack Straw Foundation, and the Montalvo Center for the Arts, among others.  He has been featured in publications such as the Earshot Jazz Magazine and the International Examiner.

Alex Vittum is a percussionist and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area who combines the disciplines of percussion, electronic music and instrument building. He is a member of several groups including Stratic, For Now, Tide Tables, and performs solo electro-acoustic works as Prism. Alex has collaborated with a diverse group of musicians, composers and choreographers including Roswell Rudd, Kitty Brazleton, Ben Goldberg, Daniel Carter, Stuart Dempster, and Gina Gibney Dance. He has a BA from Bennington College, an MFA from Mills College and has studied percussion with Milford Graves and William Winant. He is a recording engineer/producer and an educator in both music and wood working. Alex is an associate instrument builder/designer with the Paul Dresher Ensemble, a technician for synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla and the percussion instructor at Oakland School for the Arts.  alexvittum.com


Gapplegate Music Review
A few days ago we took a look at percussionist Paul Kikuchi and composer-performer Jesse Olson in their rather striking Open Graves CD. Today we look at another project that has a different sound, but is no less intriguing. This time out we have the group known as Tide Tables and their EP Lost Birdsongs (Prefecture). We get ten tracks of interest by a group that includes Paul Kikuchi and Alexander Vittum, who in addition to playing percussion and electronics on this date also pen the compositions. Tide Tables are a seven-man unit that includes two more percussionists (Crane and Weng), reeds and trumpet from Daniel Carter, the trombone of Brian Drye and Matt Goeke on cello.  This is music that is somewhere between a sort of ethnic music for some un-named planet, contemporary classical and avant jazz. Those stylistic pieces fit so well together that one may be justified in thinking of this as part of some new amalgam, one good example of the sort of newly syncretized hybrids that we’ve looked at recently on these pages and those of my sister sites.  Percussive grooves that don’t travel down the obvious paths, with freely articulated solo moments overtop, atmospheric spaces of calm and interesting sound color, these are what Tide Tables offer your ears; this the way they are in the moment of creation today.  They defy easy description but they do bestow on the listener a good deal of fascination and pleasure for the time spent listening. Twenty-plus minutes of something very different and very pleasing. It is time well spent.

All About Jazz
The music is stunningly beautiful, a highly rhythmic combination of organic and electronic sources that runs the gamut from ambient soundscapes to retrofitted gamelan.

Ken Shimamoto, Fort Worth Weekly
Recorded as Tide Tables, Lost Birdsongs documents the collaboration between Kikuchi and San Franciscan Alexander Vittum, who shares Kikuchi’s enthusiasm for electronic music and the masterwork of pioneering free jazz percussionist Milford Graves. Recorded in more conventional settings –– a Seattle gallery performance and two New York studios –– the recording juxtaposes the organic sounds of an ensemble that includes reeds, brass, a cello and plenty of tuned percussion with electronic treatments and effects.

Cynthia Lombard, KFJC Radio
Gorgeous sounds.