I bought my first David S. Ware record when I was 16 years old. It was a CD actually. It was the album called Go See The World. It was mind blowing, I think it had just been released and it featured Susie Ibarra on drums. I was too young to understand it but I now look back on this moment and realize that I was holding my first copy of an album by Coltrane's torchbearer. Ware was a Cecil Taylor-alumnus and it completely shows in not just his playing, but also in the detailed and complicated improvisations of Matthew Shipp.
I soon became acquainted with albums like Godspelized, Surrendered, and Renunciation. These were at odds with the proclivities and limited worldview of the death metal and goth/industrial crowds I ran with through the early 2000s, but I still enjoyed them and I loved them. I know there are metal heads (but probably zero goth kids) who could dig his music. He creates this intensity that is akin to the hardest shredding on the planet. There is often a multitude of notes contained within a flurry, within an outburst, but it is achieved by way of improvisation. The improvisation and the imperfections inherent in an improvisation are what make his music exciting. Right now, we live in an era where everybody is so used to having their thoughts, actions, and ideas logged by surveillance, they remain afraid of saying anything. Ware is a model for the transcendence of this state of fear.
Noise music has attempted to achieve what he did, but the so-called freedom and non-music of noise is actually just obscured by distortion, it's about obscuring the surveillance. Ware put himself on a limb and it is up to us as humans in this epoch of the 21st century to achieve a similar openness in terms of our art. If we can't, we might as well keep waiting tables, keep scrubbing floors, and keep paying off debt, because that is where we belong.
Below is a video of a David S. Ware performance and the first 20+ minutes are just mind blowing. It's so beautiful. Enjoy.
Composer, Artist, Writer