February 24, 2023
"The effect is astounding. Whatever magical threads tether this group together do not disappear when they are separated."
Caroline Mallonée, composer
"The band has a rich and recognizable sound, and as I
would say, 'they play like one person with multiple
personalities.' […The EP] perfectly describes not
only the pandemic period but the general state of
mind of a person living in modern times."
Maria Faust, international saxophone artist
imaginary chamber music from an alternate universe
The Evolution of the Arm materialized from Buffalo's vibrant experimental music scene six years ago. Their most recent release is Telepathic Music Vol. 2, its second EP of music improvised on the astral plane.
Having muddled through the indeterminate and isolated reality of the year 2020, the band found themselves at the dawn of 2021, longing for a way to connect musically while preparing logistically for the release of their first record, Sounds Like. Tired of meeting endlessly on Zoom and teaching music lessons riddled with poor internet connection and inherent time lag, pianist Michael McNeill proposed instead that they meet on the astral plane. The concept was simple: telepathy is instantaneous, it has no latency! Decide on a date, select a start and end time, and record individually, unable to see or hear each other on the physical plane. Something interdimensional happened on January 9th from 6:00-6:05pm, but they didn’t know what until later, when they heard their four individual recordings combined.
This album, the first in their series of Telepathic Music releases, is a document of that first group improvisation on the astral plane, and of many that followed. It lives in a wormhole between the known and the unknown, where the attitude of listening transcends the physical space between us.
The Evolution of the Arm first convened in November 2017 in Buffalo, NY under the creative auspices of then-Western New York expatriate (now returned) Michael McNeill (keyboards, composition). Having worked together in various combinations in Wooden Cities, Buffalo Bach Project, and Parvenue, Mike called upon Megan Kyle (oboe, English horn, composition), Evan Courtin (violin, voice, composition), and Katie Weissman (cello, electronics, screaming) to join him in this new endeavor. Very quickly, the group decided to focus solely on their own compositions.
An unconventional quartet drawing on collective experience in classical, jazz, noise, theater music, and beyond, The Evolution of the Arm combines the subtle precision of notated concert music performance with the wild spontaneity of free improvisation, superimposing or moving seamlessly between these extremes in their original compositions. The instrumentation of oboe, piano, violin, and cello allows unique timbral amalgamations, while their heterodox approach to counterpoint and form manifest as a kind of doppelgänger of classical music—built from the flotsam and jetsam of Baroque intricacy and Romantic lyricism.
Their March 2023 tour took them to Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Brooklyn, Harrisburg, and Baltimore.