Ernesto Diaz Infante & Chris Forsyth | march

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by Ernesto Diaz Infante & Chris Forsyth

range of moods and colours, austere, radically minimal, varied sonic terrain. "This CD stands in a class of its own and it's recommended" --Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
Genre: Avant Garde: Lower-case Music
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2. Part 2
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3. Part 3
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4. Part 4
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5. Part 5
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6. Part 6
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7. Part 7
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8. Part 8
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9. Part 9
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10. Part 10
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11. Part 11
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12. Part 12
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13. Part 13
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Album Notes
Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Chris Forsyth have a longstanding duo collaboration that now includes four releases, many performances, American and European tours. Their third duo release, "march," was recorded in Brooklyn, NY following their three week European tour in early 2002. This recording is a document of the concepts they honed together during numerous performances, train rides, conversations, and through collaborations with other musicians they met on that tour. The result covers a varied sonic terrain, incorporating spare, gestural preparations, electronic static, ringing open strings, and delicate piano/guitar interplay, all with an overarching compositional vision.

The thirteen tracks include duo pieces for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and piano, solo pieces (one by each artist), and three improvised songs featuring vocals and drums by Diaz-Infante. Within the final track is an extended, hidden piece recorded live at Roulette Intermedium in New York City by Jim Staley.



to write a review

Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews

This CD is one of the most radical issues I’ve heard in a good while...
This CD is one of the most radical issues I’ve heard in a good while, i.e. radically minimal, radically withheld, under the breath, radically twiddling thumbs!

I’ve heard a few CDs with these guys before, and they’ve always been very interesting and musically ingenious, like Left & Right on Pax PR90227 and Wires & Wooden Boxes on Pax PR90252, and also with other musicians on rev.99’s CDs on Pax; turn a deaf ear on Pax PR90251 and everything changed after 7-11 on Pax PR90255, and Infante himself has been heard on a multitude of CDs – but again; this one is probably the most barren, the most exposed, like a metal contraption in an electrician’s workshop, cardboard boxes with utensils standing around behind desks, a naked bulb extended from a cord in the middle of the room, overflowing ashtrays, coffee stained invoices and endless rows of cabinets with drawers full of screws and bolts in an order only understood by the proprietor…

Chris Forsyth

This magnificent, austere and turned-away CD was recorded by the duo in Brooklyn after a European tour in early 2002. The introductory text from the labels says that the recording “is a document of the concepts they honed together during numerous performances, train rides, conversations and through collaborations with other musicians they met on that tour. The result covers a varied sonic terrain, incorporating spare, gestural preparations, electronic static, ringing open strings, and delicate piano/guitar interplay, all with an overarching compositional vision”.
That sums it up pretty well, but there are other properties of this art that are important to mention, like the feeling through-out of working with residue, with remains of equipment, of tools; but also of sounds – like Forsyth and Infante catch straying residue of sound in large Japanese bird nets; involuntary sparks from the wiring or unforeseen screeches and static out of speakers and corroded amplifier potentiometers, never actually touching on the music that might be the unheard base, the unheard bottom line of this sparse fluttering and scraping, this rustling about in a fall-blown gust of leaves-like audio, finding their way with torch-lights through a dark apple orchard.
This music is like an absentminded fall receding into moist brushwood and late afternoon mist across the ploughed field, an occasional rabbit folding its ears…

The asceticism of expression makes the listener strangely alert, attentive, all ears, as every sound that actually seeps out of this spidery dew-web attitude takes on so much importance, like the precious words of rage and hope spread on loose notebook papers through dusky basements in the Soviet Union of Brezhnev. All that comes through has a meaning that far exceeds its normal proportions, due to the lack of surroundings, the lack of sound, the general cross-legged or bent-over preoccupation with sparse details of residue…

These sounds of Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Chris Forsyth gleam like sign-posts out of the hidden, curled-up dimensions of quantum string theory, lining out an approximate insight into the events of ground zero matter, at the Planck size level, beyond which we cannot yet think… (see Brian Greene: The Elegant Universe: Superstringsd, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for The Ultimate Theory [1999])

The vocals of Infante are themselves soaring, spiraling close by your face, moving around your head in the motions of a blue, glittering dragonfly of late summer, as meditative, as preoccupied with hypnotic inwardness, bending into itself in a gesture of self-analysis, porch-placed, wind-fondled…

Ernesto Diaz-Infante

Other section of the CD cast a different light on life, like track 4, which spurts trajectories of brilliant, Feldmanesque string vibrations, pointing out like knitting needles out of a ball of yarn, with which the kitten plays, reaching out his paw carefully, retreating, approaching, big eyes!

The blending of residual electronic (like static out of guitar amps etcetera; not actual electronic music) and instrumental and concrete sounds, spaced out in something that I would call silence – silence as a general place of birth of sounds – have me thudding and bumping, ear vise (ear wise?) down the tilting plane of this sound walk, as I make my way through the brush, pushing sharp branches and twigs to the side, to get to that rusty water pump at the overgrown and mossy remnants of an 19th century farmhand cottage, where, in this music, the forlorn and forgotten thoughts of the long since passed away inhabitants still swirl around the almost untraceable little mounds of kitchenware and rotten away furniture down in the soil around the outline of the old foundation of the building, the area reclaimed by nature since many decades…

Shapes of things rise in the music, pot and pans and kitchen utensils of all kinds that once had their purpose, but now dance a desolate dance through the shaman sounds of Forsyth and Diaz-Infante, celebrating the universal fact that all places are here, all times are now, which makes the 19th century kitchenware vision really heartbreaking, as you get so close to the feelings and thoughts and nowness of people you never knew and never met, who lived a long time ago in some far off land – but all is now, all is here; and the music makes this completely clear to me, the nowness and hereness of everything!

This music is as much hard-core philosophy and psychoanalysis as it is music! You name it, we like it! Marvelous!

Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

The focus throughout March is on sound...
March is Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Chris Forsyth's third duo release and was recorded hot on the heels of finishing a European tour in early 2002. Though improvised in the studio, the recording is "a document of the concepts they honed together during numerous performances, train rides, conversations, and through collaborations with other musicians they met on that tour" (taken from promo sheet). The album consists of 13 tracks, most being concise statements in the 2-4 minute range, though there are a few opportunities to develop their ideas further. Ernesto plays acoustic guitar, piano, drums and voice and Chris plays electric guitar and piano.

The focus throughout March is on sound... sounds made by a musician setting up in the studio... mic feedback, those head pounding blasts from a jack plugging into the guitar, scratching along the strings... all these sounds when given center stage represent works in themselves. We also hear several "scratching" duets, though the tone and effect of each scratch is clearly given careful attention and mic noise, feedback, and human voice and breathing are important elements for coloring and embellishment. The musicians rarely get aggressive though one of the lengthier tracks does include harsher sounds, including noise chords on the electric guitar and even machinery, though these last but brief moments. And one of my favorite tracks on the album sounds like an aggressive noise chamber ensemble. There are also three improvised songs by Ernesto, which actually are "songs" in the sense that there is singing and lyrics. Pop music for the avant-garde?

In summary, March is a considerably more subdued work than Ernesto and Chris' previous release, Wires And Wooden Boxes, and demands even more attention than usual from the listener and presents greater challenges. Don the headphones when you're feeling open minded and adventurous.

Sergio Eletto, Kathodik

Via titoli, via lunghe suitè, l'istante per sua natura è difficile...
La mia estetica musicale comprende diversi generi sorti durante tutto il XX° secolo: classica, avant jazz, musica minimalista, ma sopra ogni cosa la mia musica per raggiungere buoni risultati, deve racchiudere in se una forte e trascendente enfasi improvvisativa... racchiudermi all'interno di un solo luogo (San Francisco) per creare nuovi progetti lo trovo un' enorme limite... la mia prospettiva di osservare le cose va oltre, il desiderio di confrontarmi con gente nuova è più forte di me...e comunque la strada rimane una fonte d'ispirazione ineguagliabile...viaggiare e 'perdersi' ininterrottamente è un'ottima medicina per la mente.
Ernesto Diaz-Infante.

Sentire certi discorsi pronunciati da Infante, non so voi, ma a me catapulta indietro di diversi anni. Più precisamente intorno la fine degl'anni 60 quando diversi musicisti jazz (Don Cherry, il primo Charlie Haden) sentivano l'incombente bisogno di entrare in contatto fisico, psichico e morale con culture radicalmente opposte dalla loro. Altri invece dichiaravono che al posto di un Parker o di un Monk preferivano come maestri ed ispiratori gli articolati ingegneri dodecafonici del primo novecento. Esempio palese: i pezzi dedicati in "For Alto" di Antonhy Braxton al sofisticato Cage ed al gelido Stockhousen. Ora, ai nosti giorni qualcosa giustamente è cambiato, ma lo spirito nomade, la voglia di registrare e testimoniare anche una piccola senzazione sono rimaste, per fortuna, immutate. Dall' "A.A.C.M" di Chicago alla "Pax Recordings" di San Francisco. Da Sunny Murray & Arthur Doyle ad Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Chris Forsyth. "March", la nuova creatura, è la pagina numero tre del loro intimo diario (vedi recensione: "Wires And Wooden Boxes"); questa volta registrato durante il recentissimo tuor europeo. Chi li ha visti, sentiti di persona, spero provi quello che io appena percepisco dal mio lettore. Suoni che tralasciano alle proprie spalle tensioni e frustazioni, per abbandonarsi 'innocentemente' ad intermittenze sospese tra piccole melodie e voci sussurrate (la marchiata teatralità dela voce di Infante). Via titoli, via lunghe suitè, l'istante per sua natura è difficile, meglio impossibile, da descrivere in parole.

Jeremy Keens, Ampersand

an excellent improv album...
Diaz-Infante and Forsyth play guitars, drums, piano on their album – though infrequently playing straight guitar. It is a collection of mainly spare open and delicate improvisations, broken into 13 parts – loosely linked by style and mood, although parts 1 and 13 form a pair of bookends, where they play with the electronic possibilities of the guitar with buzzing crackles and humms, some percussive affects and space.
The intervening parts cover some different grounds – the second tumbles and clatters, scrapes picks, suggestions of string resonances. The third, eighth and eleventh feature Diaz-Infante singing – softly whispered vibrato mutters with guitar (feedback, twangy or burbling) with light drumming. An interweaving guitar and piano meditation occurs in the fourth part, the instruments responding to each other.
The centre of the album, its longest part, is the fifth: it sounds like one of the instruments is the piano, but played from the inside, combining the clatter, squeaks, tones, percussion, resonances of the guitar and piano, straying occasionally into noisier parts, then shifting into a tonal playfulness with feedback, burrs and cycles within the scrabble and twang.
Percussive effects in the sixth as drums and guitar seek similar ground, while the guitar solos in seven, pops and twangs. A prepared piano solo in the ninth section, sawing noises, spinning coins, scratching and a shimmering haze. In ten there is an almost harp-like sound of the inside of the piano plucked as a buzzing whirrs, and in twelve we get what sounds like guitars strum pick and loose slide, a lovely solo. Then the reprise buzz scrabble of the opening.
The back cover says 'parts 1-13 (65:58)', however part 13 is less than two minutes long, and after a silent period, an additional track extends for close to 16 minutes. This is a live performance (you can hear some auditorium sounds) on guitar and piano. Sparse and very quiet, it is a fine meditation on the sounds of the two instruments, carefully crafted. In a way it would have been 'better' to have this as a separate bonus disk: its extended form and musical structure are quite distinct from March, but it is a worthwhile addition to the album.
Overall an excellent improv album, where the range of moods and colours makes it a refreshing listen.

RKF, Dead Angel

hey certainly know how to get your attention...
I'll say this, they certainly know how to get your attention: the beginning of this cd (the first several minutes, actually) is a miasma of damaged-electronics sound and edits of pure silence so abrupt and random that you'll think your cd player is all screwed up. Or the disc. It's effective enough that you can't really be sure one way or the other right up until the second track begins playing.... This disc is one long, continuous work divided (possibly arbitrarily) into 13 parts, consisting of Diaz-Infante doing horrible things to acoustic guitars, drums, and piano, plus the odd vocal here and there, and Forsyth coaxing deviant sounds from an electric guitar and piano. As with much of their previous work (including WIRES AND WOODEN BOXES, which this collection resembles at times), they appear to be more concerned about the sounds they're making and the pursuit of their own cryptic structures to be real worried about how it sounds to the listening public. There's quite a clatter going on in some parts, near-random collisions of mutant sound from whatever's at hand, strange ideas about vocalization, and moments of unexpected beauty buried in the near-constant barrage of sonic distractions. This scattergun-of-sound approach is perhaps a more refined and academic suggestion of what you might get if you slowed down the Boredoms and Melt-Banana and limited them to instruments that don't require volume or power for the most part. After hearing a few of these collaborations, i'm growing mighty curious as to where they record them, because even though they employ a wide variety of sound sources, the final tracks are clear and distinct. You may well still wonder what it all means, but at least it sounds good....

Maurizio Comandini, All About Jazz Italia

se la prossima volta ci sorprenderanno con un disco di canzoni?
March di Ernesto Diaz-Infante e Chris Forsyth (pubblicato congiuntamente da Evolving Ear e Pax Recordings) probabilmente la proposta sperimentale fra quelle qui analizzate. Le tredici parti senza titolo di questo March ci propongono 66 minuti di musica irsuta e spigolosa, per nulla accattivante, densa di stimoli rigogliosi e di provocazioni sonore oltre ai rumori e ai singulti che i due temerari possono estrarre dai loro strumenti, con pratiche poco ortodosse, spesso ai limiti della deflorazione. La loro collaborazione ha dato altri frutti controversi ma sempre interessanti (Left and Right del 1999 e Wires and Woodden Boxes del 2001) e in questo album del 2002 il loro dialogo continua imperterrito verso una sorta di entropia fiammeggiante che assorbe tutte le loro fantasie perverse. I suoni provengono (o per meglio dire vengono estratti) dalle chitarre (acustica nel caso di Diaz-Infante, elettrica nel caso di Forsyth) e dai pianoforti suonati da entrambi. Ernesto Diaz-Infante si cimenta anche alla batteria e alla voce, aggiungendo altri colori alla sua distorta tavolozza espressiva di abnormi dimensioni. Come si diceva, gli strumenti sono utilizzati come fonte di suoni e rumori, usando e abusando delle loro risorse, comprese quelle nascoste ed insolite. I rumori statici provenienti dal cavo della chitarra elettrica, le corde sfregate, percosse, accarezzate, tutto fa brodo, tutto viene osservato ed utilizzato, senza pudore, senza compiacimenti. La voce di Diaz-Infante invece un elemento di contrasto, delicata filigrana che si sovrappone, qua e alla giungla scoppiettante estratta dagli strumenti e dalle loro estensioni, con un effetto di contrasto davvero singolare. Chiss se la prossima volta ci sorprenderanno con un disco di canzoni?

Moderne Klangkunst

...darf sich zu den Freaks der „experimental / new music“ zählen.
Musik fern von jeglicher herkömmlichen Musikkultur erzeugen Ernesto Diaz-Infante aus Salinas (Kalifornien) und Chris Forsyth aus Brooklyn an akustischer sowie elektrischer Gitarre, Schlagzeug und Piano. Wie im Rausch zupfen und quetschen, liebkosen und schlagen sie ihre Instrumente und leben einen psychotischen Albtraum aus geisterhaften Geräuschfetzen. Ihre experimentellen Klangexzesse erfordern ein Höchstmaß an Durchhaltevermögen. Wer die 66 Minuten dieses Albums heil und ohne psychische Störungen durchgehalten hat, darf sich zu den Freaks der „experimental / new music“ zählen.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

This CD stands in a class of its own and it's recommended...
"March" is a very mature piece of music; here, Diaz-Infante and Forsyth explore any kind of detail and nuance with careful love for timbral research and extreme respect of silence and space. Perhaps it's the best Pax Recordings release, as it shifts its balance from pure electroacoustics and gently noisy settings to improvisations akin to the last wave of "feldmanian" guitar players such as Taku Sugimoto or Burkhard Stangl. This CD stands in a class of its own and it's recommended to any new music aficionado; listen to it at "ambient" low volume (and you'll be delighted) or through headphones - and you'll discover a lot of strange things happening that you didn't get at first.

Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

there is a uniqueness to this duo's work that separates it from any other
You will know within the first few seconds of this strange release whether or not it appeals to you. The opening track sets the tone, as it crackles (literally) with scratches and static that in the hands of lesser players might sound like amateurs fiddling with a radio dial and coming up with extremely poor reception. The other tracks are equally bizarre, sounding as though pots and pans are being scraped or dropped, or a guitar is being randomly strummed, or a voice is muttering. Even more outlandish, though, is that this can all somehow be very appealing. It is certainly not easy to explain because on its face this is noise and worse, and yet there is an inner logic to it that simply does not let up. It cannot even be certain, based solely on the evidence of this recording, whether these two performers are accomplished on their instruments. Yet, technical proficiency is not at issue; what is important is the oddly compelling end result. Influences might include John Cage and Derek Bailey, but there is a uniqueness to this duo's work that separates it from any other. Even the periods of extended silence are somehow juxtaposed differently than similar attempts by Cage and others. There are, of course, no melodies or conventional signposts; those found in free jazz or even the "traditional" avant garde are useless as a starting point. There is generally plenty of action despite the interludes of silence and the generally low volume.