Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

October 15, 2016

TOM CREAN / MATT ROBIDOUX, “Blank Space” (KSE #359, cdr album)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:14 am


“Blank Space”

cover art by Jennifer Baron

(KSE #359, CDR album)

Nice to welcome back Western Massachusetts-based guitar/banjo pioneer and composer/theoretician TOM CREAN for his third KSE album, BLANK SPACE.  Tom appeared on KSE three years ago with WIRED LOVE (KSE #260), one of our best-received albums, and an album which STILL gets positive comments when I meet people who are familiar with the label (“You put out those KSE albums? That Tom Crean album was great….when’s he going to do another one?”). I first became familiar with Tom through his association with Anthony Braxton, and Tom represents the same kind of combination of extreme discipline and absolute freedom (and mixing/overlaying of genres) as his former teacher, along with the dry humor and the logical programmatic approach. Tom can play in any format, and he can do everything from street busking to participating in contemporary avant-garde ensembles. I asked Tom to do two new duo albums in 2015-2016, and BLANK SPACE is the second of those (the first, CASUAL LUDDITES with Mike Barrett is still available, see below).

This new duo album pairs Tom with multi-instrumentalist and composer Matt Robidoux, a man who has worked in many bands (Pony Bones, Speedy Ortiz, Graph, Curse Purse), runs the Hidden Temple Tapes label, and ran the much-acclaimed Jaume I arts-and-culture center. Matt has worked with Tom Crean’s BANJO ASSUALT group, and that has led to what Tom describes as a “deep personal and music connection”….so “spiritually it felt deeply communicative and fulfilling from planning to recording to mixing” the BLANK SPACE album with Matt.

Tom showed himself to be a sensitive duo partner in his work with Mike Barrett on CASUAL LUDDITES, and he’s equally in telepathic communication with Matt R. here.   Most pieces grow out of compositions and according to predetermined rules, but both gentlemen have clearly learned the “deep listening” approach to duo improvisation exemplified by the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and the like. It’s also a very atmospheric album…I listened to it a number of evenings past midnight in the dark with the windows open, the only illumination being the street lights in the distance and the indirect glow of a random car or truck every few minutes. BLANK SPACE—-six canvases on which Crean and Robidoux paint with stringed instruments….paintings that suggest but do not assert….paintings that breathe and are not afraid to stop and listen. This album also features new dimensions in the banjo, so you can add it to the list of other KSE albums by Marcus “More Eaze” Rubio, Sir Plastic Crimewave, and Mr. Crean himself where the banjo is featured.

If you want a double-barreled taste of contemporary forward-thinking work on stringed instruments, why not also pick up our recent album from west-coast guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante, “Tunnels” (see KSE cdr list below). We’ve got Crean on the East Coast and Diaz-Infante on the West Coast (and Marcus Rubio here in Texas), exploring the possibilities of guitar/banjo/bajo-sexto etc…

And on the album cover we have a beautiful photograph by Pittsburgh musician/composer/bandleader (The Garment District)/photographer/Renaissance Woman JENNIFER BARON. You can learn more about her work here:

TOM CREAN AND MATT ROBIDOUX…”BLANK SPACE” (KSE #359)…available NOW….only $8 postpaid in the US….see notes below for ordering info and overseas pricing….

KSE’s next album will feature another amazing duo: VENSION WHIRLED (Lisa Cameron) meets SMOKEY EMERY (Daniel Hipolito)…expect that in a few weeks…


still available, Tom’s duo album with electronics master Mike Barrett (Belltone Suicide):    KSE #320, MIKE BARRETT & TOM CREAN, “Casual Luddites”

TOM CREAN & MATT ROBIDOUX, BLANK SPACE (KSE #359)….the second of seven new albums coming from KSE between now and the end of the year….

Payment is via paypal, using the e-mail address   django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com   . It might be helpful for you to also shoot me an e-mail telling me you’ve sent funds and what books you want…or if you prefer, tell me what books/cdr’s you want, and I’ll send you a paypal invoice.

Cost in the USA is $8 postpaid.

OUTSIDE THE USA , one album is $18.00 postpaid, first two albums are $20.00 postpaid, then $8 each postpaid after that—sorry, but it now costs almost $14 US to send one CDR overseas….you save A LOT by buying more than one—in fact, the price on an order of two or more HAS GONE DOWN!     Outside US: 1 album= $18, 2 albums= $20, 3 albums= $28, etc. Thanks for your understanding of this. The Post Office now charges $13.75 to mail ONE cdr without a jewel box to Europe or Asia!)


KSE #353 (CDR), FOSSILS, “Camelot Towers”

KSE #336 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Kepler 452b Edition”

KSE #351 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Music In 3 Spaces”

KSE #350 (CDR) ANTHONY GUERRA / BILL SHUTE, “Subtraction” KSE reissue of album originally released in 2011 on Black Petal Records, Australia 

KSE #335 (CDR album), REVEREND RAYMOND BRANCH, “Rainbow Gospel Hour…On The Air!”—a wonderful hour-long AM-radio broadcast, mastered from cassette, capturing the warmth and joy of Rev. Branch in both music (lots of it) and spoken message

KSE #334 (CDR album), BRIAN RURYK, “Actual Size…degress again” (sic)

KSE #333 (CDR album), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Tunnels” solo 12-string acoustic mantra guitar


KSE #328, LISA CAMERON & NATHAN BOWLES, “Liquid Sunshine” percussion duo

KSE #326, MORE EAZE (aka Marcus M. Rubio), “Abandoning Finitude”….cover art by Bob Bruno

KSE #322,  WEREWHEELS (Sir Plastic Crimewave & Dawn Aquarius), “Live, Raw and Psycho In Japan”

KSE #320, MIKE BARRETT & TOM CREAN, “Casual Luddites”

KSE #318, ALFRED 23 HARTH & JOHN BELL, “Camellia”

KSE #310,  MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Accidental Prizes”

KSE #293, MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Stylistic Deautomatization” (reissued)

As always, thank you for your support of independent grass-roots arts organizations/collectives such as KSE….

Finally, we are in the midst of compiling a KSE 11th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM with all-new material and featuring about 3/4 artists who WERE NOT on last year’s acclaimed 10TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM…we’re hoping to have that out by the end of January 2017.

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