Sean Noonan Alex Ward
NOONWARD is the duo of Sean Noonan and Alex Ward, two composer/performers working at the intersections of rock, jazz, improvised music and contemporary classical composition. The duo’s collaboration began in informal improvised meetings, but when the chance to play a whole evening’s worth of music in public arose, both musicians elected to bring along some pieces from their extensive books of compositions to include as well. Inspired by how well this worked, Noonan and Ward then each began writing new pieces intended specifically for the duo. The results of this evolution can heard on this, their debut CD - which, as anyone familiar with Noonan and Ward’s individual bodies of work would expect, covers a wide and constantly surprising stylistic terrain, bound together by the utter distinctiveness of the musicians’ instrumental approaches. Pieces like Ward’s “Packed” and Noonan’s “Circle Of Willis” burst out of the starting gate with explosive rock energy; whilst by contrast Ward’s “Leaf Count” and Noonan’s “Funnel Weaver” establish in their opening sections a subdued and evocative melodicism. The improvisational rapport and exploration that provided the first point of contact for the musicians is fully on display throughout, but is equally fully integrated into the compositional structures - the pieces eschew head-solos-head predictability in favour of rich multi-part forms frequently carrying strong suggestions of an underlying narrative, to which Noonan’s vocal contributions on three pieces provide tantalisingly cryptic clues.
Alex Ward - Multi-instrumentalist British clarinet/guitarist (Thurston Moore Sonic Youth/Eugene Chadbourne/Derek Bailey)