Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
ICONOCLAST is a duo from New York City comprised of Julie Joslyn (alto saxophone, live electronics, violin, vocals) and Leo Ciesa (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals). Ciesa and Joslyn have been composing and performing together since the beginning of 1987 and have developed a bold and distinctive sound. ICONOCLAST's music and performance is known for its intensity, physicality and larger than duo impact. Acoustic and electronic sounds exist side by side as the music moves between improvisation and composition without stylistic limitation.
ICONOCLAST has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Ciesa and Joslyn have also performed at numerous renowned festivals, including the Avantgarde Jazz Festival in Imola, Italy; Audio Art Festival in Krakow, Poland; Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary; International Ring Ring Festival in Belgrade, Serbia; Pohyb-Zvuk-Prostor Festival in the Czech Republic; II Festiwal Muzyka z Mozgu in Bydgoszcz, Poland; Interzone International Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia; The Humanisticni Maraton in Slovenia; The DUMBO Arts Festival, Festival of Women Improvisers and NYU Independent Music Fest, in New York City. ICONOCLAST has been featured on various radio and television programs worldwide. Joslyn and Ciesa have done numerous radio and television interviews as well as a live on-the-air concerts including WFMU, WBAI and TV Metropolis (Belgrade). ICONOCLAST composed and performed the title theme music for the cable television series Labor at the Crossroads, and has been featured on the TV series Welcome to Nocturnia (The Art World). The duo composed and performed the music for the documentary film Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs and Empire and the website “The Lost Museum” (American Social History Productions, Inc.). ICONOCLAST’s music provides the soundtrack for the short films “The Bench” (Poland, 2010) and “Con gli occhi di domain”/“With Tomorrow’s Eyes” (Italy, 2006). ICONOCLAST contributed compositions to the compilation CDs “The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music” (Innova, 2010) and Transforms: The Nerve Events Project (Cuneiform, 1993). The duo has collaborated and performed with noted Polish poet Andrzej Dorobek. Ciesa and Joslyn have received grants from Meet the Composer and from Arts International: The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions and are recipients of Artist's Fellowships in Music Composition from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
ICONOCLAST's CDs “Dirty Jazz” (2010), “The Body Never Lies” (2006), “The Dreadful Dance” (2005), “Paradise” (2000), Blood is Red (1995), The Speed of Desire (1992) and City of Temptation (1990), all on Fang Records, as well as “In the Vodka Garden” (2005) on the Russian label Record One and the cassette Sins of New York (1989), have been enthusiastically reviewed in publications such as The Village Voice, All About Jazz, Cadence, Jazzwise (UK), Tone Clusters, EAR, Creem, Option, New York Review of Records, Toronto Eye Weekly, The Gazette (Canada), The London Free Press, Margen (Spain), Il Manifesto (Italy), La Republica (Italy), Rumore (Italy), Rockstar (Italy), Music Club (Italy), Batteur (France), Informator ‘ARS’ 2 (Poland), Dziennik Polski (Poland) and Afisha (Russia).
LEO CIESA (Drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals) is based in New York City. In addition to ICONOCLAST he has a solo project and recently released the CD “Coat of Arms — Music for Solo Drumset” (Soundyard). He is also a member of the octet Doctor Nerve with whom he has performed at renowned festivals such as Moers Jazzfestival (Germany), FIMAV (Canada), Mimi (France) etc. He is on the Doctor Nerve recordings “The Monkey Farm” (Punos Music), “Ereia,” “Every Screaming Ear,” “Skin,” “Beta 14 OK,” Did Sprinting Die?, (Cuneiform Records), and on Live at the Knitting Factory, Vol. 3 (A&M Records). He is also on Micro-East Collective’s CD “Out of My Face” (Umbrella) and Larry Polansky’s “Change” (Artifact). Leo Ciesa also teaches drums. He has an endorsement with Pro-Mark drum sticks. More information on his website www.leociesa.com.
JULIE JOSLYN (Alto saxophone, live electronics, violin, vocals) is a native New Yorker. She studied for a number of years with soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom. She has played with the Indian-influenced rock quintet Church of Betty, and can be heard on MacLean and Ponomarenko's album Music Without Computers and as guest screamer on Doctor Nerve's Skin. In addition, she is a practicing psychoanalyst and painter.
For More information about Julie Joslyn please consult The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians by Lewis Porter: http://www.jazz.com/encyclopedia/joslyn-julie
Awards:Fellowship in Music Composition (1996)
New York Foundation for the Arts
Meet the Composer Grant
Arts International Grant
Dirty Jazz Selected:
Best CDs of 2010 —Matthew Marshall, Jazz Journalists Association
Recommended New Releases, October 2010 Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz-New York
“Iconoclast at Bowery Poetry Club -sometimes band names seem random but other times they don’t even tell half of the story.” —All About Jazz- New York (Twitter, October 16, 2010)
If your ears have been begging for something different, it's time to check out Iconoclast. A vibrant duo consisting of Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa . . . With their film noir visuals, irreverent humor and fabulously devious imaginations, Iconoclast is a group deserving of its name. —All About Jazz- New York
The duo known as Iconoclast, (comprising drummer Ciesa and alto saxophonist/violinist Joslyn) has been playing as a unit for over two decades. As is typical considering the group’s previous output, Dirty Jazz (presumably an ode to “Jazz with a little dirt on it”) covers a variety of approaches, with a tally of eighteen pieces of mostly brief lengths. An agitated mood inspires the opening “40 Seconds With You,” a galloping alto/drum duet, a setting where the duo seems to work best. This alto/drum axis also forms the core of the joyful “Samteque,” the Jazz-like “Black Jack” and the intensity that turns to the sweetness of “Zappo.” Punk and Rock influences are a large part of the group sound . . . For instance, Punk inspires “Razoresque” and the tumultuous “Boiled Kneepads,” both fitting snapshots of the group’s fervency, while Ciesa’s vigorous playing also provokes Joslyn’s effects-drenched sax work on both “You’re In Distress” and “Burn and Solidify. . . . they should be applauded for their quest for originality and a personal path. . . —Cadence
. . . [T]hey create rugged, angular sound sculptures with a metallic sheen and gripping nervous energy. Not for the fainthearted. —Voice Choices, The Village Voice, NYC
“Drummer Leo Ciesa and saxophonist Julie Joslyn bare sharp teeth in their electronically augmented duets; their sometimes disturbing neon-noir effects always demonstrate more harnessed musicianship than your garden variety noisemongers. —Richard Gehr, The Village Voice, NYC
Duets between saxophone and drums typically invite the former to become more rhythmic and the latter more tuneful in an effort to make up for absent accompanists. However stripped down to the bare essentials, intense communication becomes the order of the day, although less in the sense of conversation that requires sequential input than as simultaneous arcs of proclamation that combine to form a whole, greater than the constituent parts.
Dirty Jazz is the ninth recording by the duo Iconoclast consisting of alto saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa, who have been playing together some 23 years. . . . [T]he 19 pieces can be loosely broken down into noise-inspired numbers combining skirling violin and electronics with drums (Dirty?) and more melodic cuts featuring alto and piano or drums (Jazz?). Most often they create a mood or ambience . . . from the tight energetic opener “40 Seconds With You” to the folkish “One Oh One”, the calypso-like “Samteque” or the Balkan-tinged “Black Jack”. However the strongest moments come when they stretch out as on “Après Vous”, where Joslyn’s coolly songlike alto is underpinned by Ciesa’s spare tumbling drums, and “The Forbidden”, featuring a solitary alto dirge alternating with singleline piano ruminations before native American drum cadences kick electronically modified sax. It’s no surprise to discover that their music has accompanied TV series and films as it manifests a distinct cinematic quality. —All About Jazz-New York
”Since 1987, saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa have been honing a surprisingly rewarding performance style built around short, sharp works that pick you up and throw you against the wall over the course of about two minutes. The Dreadful Dance is their latest set of jagged tonal tantrums.” —Richard Gehr, The Village Voice, NYC
“Their 17 pieces last 40 minutes and each is a perfectly sculpted rock vignette with as much structural integrity as any two-minute workout could need. Their hard-edged energy is nonstop, but, refreshingly, doesn't slide into ruts; it jumps, it turns corners, and changes tempo with finer attention to detail than you expect from such Downtown noisemakers. —Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, NYC
These are two mighty dexterous musicians. Like beatniks on speed, they create stark, jagged-edged music, tunes located at the intersection of atonal punk-funk, be-bop, and free improvisation. . . . Kind of like drinking 12 cups of coffee, but nice. —Ear Magazine
All the way from New York City, headlining act Iconoclast was simply amazing. . . . The raw power is entrancing, the performing energy of the duo is untamed. Julie Joslyn pumps the notes out of her saxophone like a high pressure fire hose. At other times, her saxophone's sound is melodious and pure. Leo Ciesa's lightning percussion work is enough to stir anyone's blood. The music is seamless. When they play they're incredibly sensitive to each other's playing direction, breathing as one individual. —The Gazette, London, Ontario
“Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn arrive hereupon [In the Vodka Garden ] with a widescreen, very Easter European attitude without sacrificing any more of their post-avant-;punk energy than they need to. I’ve actually looked upon Iconoclast as a near-direct descendant of the original No New York bands . . . they began from the platform of a chaotic music (rock) and bled greater and greater complex language into it, as if trying to show that the chaos was actually carefully scripted. . . . Iconoclast retains their laser-gunshot ability to amaze.” —Tone Clusters
“Iconoclast are Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn, a New York based improvisational duo who have been together since 1987. Their music is a wild hybrid of various styles including free jazz, progressive rock, hardcore and cabaret. Their latest offering The Dreadful Dance serves up an equally diverse mixture of musical styles that are probably not for the faint of heart. Pounding drums, snake charmer sax interludes and scary vocals all come together to produce a heady musical brew that is peppered with song titles like “Crayfish Platter,” “Dead Dressed Girls,” and “Weird Sex.” —Jazzwise, England
“[M]ulti-instrumentalists Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn, on their sixth outing as Iconoclast. It’s [The Dreadful Dance ] a strange little record, to be sure, consisting of twenty separate tracks of variable length with wacky titles. They’ve built up their own eclectic sound over twenty years of working together, with an approach that is a quite varied mix of composition and improvisation. A sample of this diverse weirdness, one need only ponder the first track, “Cranium Mist,” merging Ciesa’s rolling tom work amidst the clattering of keyboards and Joslyn’s alto saxophone that sparks frightening death metal vocalizing. Some of the strongest tracks include the melodic “You Know Too Much About Me” or “L’Orange,” the groove of “Midday Romp,” the Eastern influence, interrelated “Woman With an Index” and “Lonely Courtesan” or the thrilling sax-drum duet, “Tom Colada.” —Cadence
Rich in motivic material, this duo conducts a ballet of modern mechanistic musics. Iconoclast's debut grows ever more engaging. —The New York Review of Records
Like Iconoclast, a New York-based avant-garde jazz duo, who've definitely got a distinctive sound. What does it sound like? Imagine you're a hard-core speed freak. You haven't slept in weeks. Psychosis is setting in. You begin to hallucinate. There are millions of little bugs beneath your skin, crawling madly over your ruined veins. Now imagine if each of those bugs was playing an alto saxophone. That's Iconoclast. Pretty cool, huh? —The Music Paper
“Some say they’re descendants of the late 1970’s No New York semi-wave; others scratch their heads and shrug. But Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa merely continue to spread their impish humor and no-holds-bared musical message throughout their new CD, entitled Paradise. What I really like about Paradise is that though it’s in 24 small bits it comes off to the ear like a suite, and in repeated listenings you always go somewhere different. You might hear a whiff of Ellington jungle music here, a hint of Stravinsky there., Also there are these wonderful contrasting arrangements, like one piece with a hurdy-gurdy, kalimba and a sax melody not unlike Ravel. Elsewhere there’s a piano being played like a trap kit’s cymbals . . . and elsewhere a violin is being played like a washboard.” —Tone Clusters
“Two musicians performing on multiple instruments over 24 tracks in just over an hour of time. . . . How can so many largely unrelated tracks be crammed into one recording? Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn do it with humor and constantly changing moods. . . . How to describe the music found on this disc [Paradise]? All over the lot. On some tracks, such as “Wonder Wheel.” Joslyn blows sweet, repetitive, simple riffs at medium volume over a pleasantly forceful drum background. Others, such as “Machinery of the Flowers,” have an Oriental feel. “Ultramort,” on the other hand, starts with droning sax and segues to wild electronics and voice. “She Said Hello” finds Ciesa whispering over Joslyn’s mournful sax. Along the way, there is lots of variety, as one piece may be pleasantly melodic and the next bursting at the edges. . . . Occasionally, the duo seems comfortable with vocal shrieks and cries, coupled with harsh avant-gade squeals, while on others, such as “Move it Smartly” and “Flan is Like a Woman,” Aftrican drums lay the backdrop. Several of the pieces were evidently part of soundtracks. Moments of intense interest appear interspersed among slowly developing interludes.” —Cadence
The key to Iconoclast's success is in keeping the listener off guard with a diverse palette of rhythms and sounds. —Option
The duo end up with an approach that is reminiscent of Meditations-era Coltrane sliced into itty-bitty slivers and chased around the room by munchkins wielding tiny rubber mallets. The results would not be out of place on certain segments of Frank Zappa's 'Uncle Meat' LP. I think the key to understanding all of this is summed up in the selection titled 'Take off your shirt and scream' . . . [W]ould that there were more topless blowers and levelers like Iconoclast to grace the world with. —Spotlight Magazine, Hamilton, Ontario
There exist far too few truly 'progressive' bands performing music in present American culture, and even fewer full-blooded rich-sounding duos. New York's Iconoclast fuels a universe of melody, unique arrangements and rhythm patterns, of which the best are forward thinking. . . . As moods vary, tumble and hover throughout the course of a frenetic living human being's daily breathing moments, so too do Iconoclast's musical moods behave. —The Retriever, Baltimore, Maryland
If you threw Ornette Coleman sax, punk songlengths and aggression, new wave synths, and Knitting Factory anything-goes experimentalism into a blender and hit the puree button, it might sound like Iconoclast, except your blender would break down long before reaching the puree stage of smoothness. The atonal keyboards and barking sax of early Lounge Lizards are an obvious comparison on several songs, but the irony of the Luries' 'fake jazz' is replaced by a glee in creating a frothingly dissonant sound sculpture. . . . Very rarely does anybody in this scene escape to great recognition, but Iconoclast deserves to. —New York Perspectives
Hailing from New York, what sounds like a large ensemble is merely the creation of two people's amazing energy and ability. . . . Compared with other duos, Iconoclast are a pretty unusual outfit. With the speed of amphetamine addicts they juggle an incredible array of instruments without appearing overly insane, while still coming up with a full, diverse sound which plows through funk, avant garde jazz, rock and other genres. . . . Iconoclast. They defy classification and render workout gyms useless. —Vox, Calgary, Alberta
As part of the Festival of Women Improvisers . . . Iconoclast splattered fragments of jazz (from bop to free), noise, prog-rock, humor, and various uncategorizables, sculpting intricate, energetic sound structures in which new textures flew by as though inventing new vocabularies of sound is something they do every day. —The New York Review of Records
Sax and drums geek-funk, electronic nocturnes, dance-rock spoofs reduced to ectoplasmic pandemonium, Cab Calloway at 156rpm. . . . And they don't cheat with multitracking; a live performance would be no less insane. Amphetamines and raw milk. Tight, cool, and fun. —Ear Magazine
The emotion on the band's recently released CD ranges from fun and frivolous to downright disturbing. . . . As raucous and riveting as a noisy neon sign, this sonic poetry is brimming with energetic insight. —The London Free Press
This hard-edged sax/drums duo builds industrial sound sculptures by hitting notes and noises all over the range, but they'll surprise you with vulnerable moments, too. —Voice Choices, The Village Voice, NYC
A hardy CD #2 from multi-instrumentalists Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa, further blurring the lines between madness and genius stirring up a wilderness of genre-collision and volatile energy in a cosmic dreamscape of impossibly fervent derangement. —Northern Virginia Rhythm
Saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa enhance their instruments with various devices—which can collectively bootstrap a duo improvisation into a real tight quartet. What makes this of more than academic interest is their sense of time, and of humor. Joslyn potentiates a sinuous lyricism with fearless exploratory outbursts and Ciesa's tough and resilient. It's avant- gardism that boogies. —Boston Rock
On its second CD, this Avant-garde duo gets even more far-out than before. Their sax and percussion based tunes weld the manic energy of Looney Tunes soundtracks to part post-Bop, part Ornette Coleman blowing and dissonant weirdness. Exquisitely eclectic. —The New York Review of Records (Top Ten)
In a better world, the slap-happy urban experimentalist approach of this Gotham improv duo would reap ample rewards. Anybody who makes hip-hop tracks from mouths of rubber duckies and spins out spazzed-out energy blow outs like EKG deserve your undivided attention. —National Chart: Canada's National Alternative/Campus Trade Magazine
Lest you think this is strictly a cerebral aerobics class for loft-dwelling eggheads, this duo can, as they say, get down and boogie, too. —Toronto Eye Weekly
Joslyn and Ciesa are flexible, mischievous musicians. . . Blood is Red is actually their fourth recording, bristling with gritty urban workouts, bare- bones avant-jazz, horns squeals and even some violin thrash. . . . [T]he trade-off vocals stick out on the title track, Blood is Red, Bruises are Blue. Ciesa's raspy narration is punctuated by shattering screams from Joslyn. The pair work hard here and manage to earn their name's distinction. —Option
Dynamic syncopation. Devious melodies. . . . Infectious rhythms, unsettling yet hypnotic. Ecstasy in a blur, Blood is Red has all the wiles and subtlety of a snake charmer, . . . You've been threatened without knowing it and you enjoyed it didn't you? The uneasy, queasy feeling that makes you squirm. Exciting isn't it? —Vanishing Point, Toronto
Iconoclast is comprised of two very talented people with musical ideas culled from another dimension. . . . This stuff is out ! If you're into the avant garde, the strange, the little bit of mind-bending, this is for you. Park your space sled, fix yourself an Io cocktail, sit back and dematerialize. —The Music Paper
What can I say about Iconoclast? They are a duo from N.Y.C. that takes elements from free jazz, funk, rock, film noir soundtracks and other less easily tagged sources, strips them down to their barest bones and puts them through horrifically comic (or comically horrific) dance routines. —Toronto Eye Weekly
“Only by constantly looking at the photographs is it possible to keep in mind the fact that there are only two of the “iconoclasts”. It’s one of their special tricks — to sound like a large ensemble. The sounds crash from everywhere as it fighting off the attack, electronic and acoustic, furious like wild horses, and yet skillfully controlled. The vocals sometimes cut in — mixed with laughter, growling and teeth grinding. All this creates an extremely intense musical picture that radiates with hundreds of elements. The main advantage of Iconoclast is that by taking material from all sources and combining improvisation with carefully thought-out composition they manage to demonstrate the talent of melting all elements into one simple sigh — a furious percussion heartbeat with a quiet squeaking of toys; the warm, breathing sound of instruments with a general image of schizophrenic horror. Few can reach what Iconoclast handle with ease. That is to play overtly intelligent music with a completely teenager-like fever.” —Afisha, St. Petersburg, Russia
Le duo explore diverses formes musicales aventureuses, plutot enlevées, mais jamais ennuyeuses ou gratuites. La virtuosité de ces deux-là n'a d'égale que leur curiosité et leur goût du risque. . . . L'énergie déployée est impressionnante. Le duo est créatif, swinguant et techniquement monstrueux. —Batteur Magazine, France
“Iconoclast è un duo formato dal batterista (tastierista) Leo Ciesa e dalla sassofonista (violinista) Julie Joslyn che dal 1987 frequenta festival d'avanguardia di mezzo mondo, scorazza per club e cantine, compone per documentari e cortometraggi (tra cui l'italiano Con gli occhi di domani) e come un tornado spazza via convenzioni, ipocrisie, melensaggini, furbizie, e arroganze che da tempo aleggiano sul grande circo della musica chiamata jazz.
Dirty Jazz (mai titolo più appropriato) racchiude in poco più di un'ora ben diciannove episodi, alcuni meri frammenti musicali, altri maggiormente strutturati e formalmente compiuti, quasi tutti comunque devastanti dal punto di vista musicale. Il jazz del titolo è un ipotesi, un tratto semantico che crea connessioni mentali ma sul campo viene sporcato, maltrattato, rivoltato come un calzino dai due protagonisti. Così che è quasi impossibile descrivere in maniera efficace la musica che ne risulta.
Perché violenza (sonora) e dolcezza convivono, cortine di suoni inestricabili, bordate che richiamano l'energia selvaggia del punk si alternano a paesaggi che sanno di tramonti nordici attraversati da lampi e tuoni improvvisi. Melopee dal sapore arabo vengono squarciate dal contralto tagliente di Joslyn, sperimentalismi vocali alla Ursula Dudziak vengono ingentiliti da un improbabile calipso che non sarebbe dispiaciuto al Saxophone Colossus. E vi è posto anche per un sontuoso brano - Boiled Kneepads in stile progressive rock...
Ciesa e Joslyn mettono in campo oltre alla loro maestria sugli strumenti principali una grande abilità nell'uso dell'elettronica e della voce così che l'effetto complessivo va ben la di là del duo, con risultati che in qualche caso hanno la potenza, la massa d'urto e la varietà timbrica di una orchestra. Nonostante questo tipo di approccio musicale trovi normalmente sublimazione dal vivo, Dirty Jazz, ne è comunque una potente testimonianza discografica e una salutare boccata d'ossigeno.” —All About Jazz — Italia
“Con una strumentazione ridotta all'osso, i due membri degli Iconoclast riescono a comporre una musica che rivela un'ampissima gamma di sfumature, aggressiva come impone certo jazzcore di matricetipicamente newyorkese (Leo Ciesae anche batterista dei Doctor Nerve), ricca di calore e carica comunicativa (la voce melodica del sax di Julie Joslyn in Samteque), violenta e dalle connotazioni fortemente metropolitane (le risonanze da incubo di Animated Flesh), spirituale e coltraniana (The forbidden), dissonante e drammatica (il violino in distorsione di The Punishment Office). Tutti i brani che compongono l'album hanno una propria ben definita identita, frutto del perfetto equilibrio fra improvvisazione e composizione raggiunto grazie al rapporto simbiotico istauratosi fra i due musicisti, che lavorano assieme dal 1987 con vari album gia pubblicati alle spalle.Mai titolo poteva essere piu azzeccato: Dirty Jazz, spurio, imperfetto, anomalo, meticcio ma ricchissimo di idee, sorprese e significati. “ — Blow Up Magazine, Italy
. . . [F]orse la migliore si trova nel nome che Leo Ciesa e Julie Joslyn si sono scelti. Iconoclasta: critico spregiudicato e irriverente di principi e credenze comuni. Spinto e motivato da una indiscriminata polemica distruttiva. Blood is red segue di tre anni The speed of desire e di cinque City of temptation, lavori che hanno fatto guadagnare rispetto al gruppo ma scarsa o nulla attenzione, almeno qui in Europa. Peccato, perché la musica offerta dal duo è tagliente, fredda e fresca, con punte di tribalismo metropolitano parecchio interessanti. . . . Blood is red (ma è l'attitudine del duo in genere) sia ancora piú cannibalesco, tenendo conto dei segnali attuali che gravitano dentro la Grande mela, penso a certi inserti di classica contemporanea, piú un free imparentato con Coleman e alle cavalcate dei Lounge Lizard, ma anche al tiro soffocato di certo hard-core punk. Non si fanno certo scrupolo di appartenere ad una corrente gli Iconoclast. E hanno ragione, perché alla fine il disco funziona e suona bene, Scomodo, scontroso, umoristicamente arrabbiato, ma è lo specchio dei tempi. —Rumore, Italy
“Quarto album er il duo newyorchese Iconoclast composto a Leo Ciesa (batterista dei Doctor Nerve) e Julie Joslyn, Paradise ne tradisce l’apparetnenza downtown coniugata con inconfondibile vigoria avant-jazz, divisa tra scrittura e improvvisazione,febbrile impeto zorniano (“Fit for Surgery”, “The Worst Woman” etc.) ed emozionalita` di matrice coltraniana (ma nella dieta di svezzamento dei nostri c’e` stata sicuramente anche la vitamina C(oleman) …), sound design cinematografico (“Violent Keys,” le musiche per i documentari della American Social History Productions) e suadenti tratteggiature etniche. Per di piu i due titolari si destreggiano perfettamente nella congerie dei differenti strumenti impiegati (percussioni, tastiere, sax alto, violino, live electronics e cosi via), benche poi le cos migliori arrivino quando il gioco passa al drumming muscolare dell’uno e al fervore fiatistico dell’atra, segno (non bastassero le foto di tutti I loro dischi) del curioso attaccamento cutaneo ai primigeni ferri del mestiere.” —Blow Up Magazine, Italy
. . . [A]crobati in quel buio che sta fra tango e trash funk, nonché sperimentatori del lato selvaggio della metropoli, che fanno tutto da soli, rigorosamente live, ma in studio. I loro album riflettono il suono del concerti: nervi tesi su tecnica inossidabile, anche quando il caos sembra sovrano. —la Repubblica, Italy
Iconoclast e' un duo che vede uniti dal 1987 i polistrumentisti Julie Joslyn (sassofono, live electronics, violino, voce) e Leo Ciesa (batteria, percussioni, piano, tastiere, voce). Occhiali neri lei, occhiali neri lui. Sguardo intenso lui, sguardo accattivante lei. Newyorchesi entrambi, hanno registrato da sempre l'etichetta indipendente Fang.
In the Vodka Garden e' in loro primo CD - selezione dei loro quattro precedenti album - per l'etichetta russa Record One che rende bene il sapore musicale di questa formazione di ‘feroci (jazzisti) rumoristi.’
La musica [ma anche le performance a giudicare dal sito] e' intensa, fisicamente sudata, dal largo impatto sonoro. Ma, anche dissonante, un po' stonata, provocante e inquieta, dadaista senza volerlo. Coesistono - cozzando senza problemi - elementi acustici ed elettronici, vere e proprie zaffate dark, sprizzi classicheggianti, in un jazz comunque e sempre granuloso, dal sapore (volutamente?!) klezmer. I diciannove brani proposti oscillano tra composizione e improvvisazione puramente libera, come i segni di pittura della copertina dell'album, come l'appartenenza e la devozione alla scena downtown. Un vero e proprio cocktail di sapore agrodolce, in sostanza, delizioso nei vari stati emotivi che offre al gustarlo in un giardino alla [o di] vodka. —All About Jazz—Italia, Italy
'Una proiezione della realtà in un'atmosfera obliqua e surriscaldata, su un piano di riferimento irregolarmente ondulato e un poco distorto.' Queste parole di Boris Vian sono la migliore fotografia del contorto magma sonoro degli Iconoclast. . . Terzo album ufficiale che in 55 minuti spara 18 originali schegge di futurismo sonoro—fra Beefheart, John Zorn e Laurie Anderson, tango, free e trash. Composto, suonato, urlato in assoluta autarchia, Blood is red è la 'fine di un orecchio' per chi pensa che l'underground sia morto. —il Manifesto, Italy
Su música es enérgica, a veces un pelin salvaje y se codea de igual modo con fases de improvisación y momentos perfectamente organizados en una continua pugna entre variadas experiencias de jazz en desintegración y rock inteligente. Blood is Red es un disco fresco. . . . —Margen, Spain
“Amplifikowany saksofon i skrzypce Julie Joslyn oraz instrumenty perkusyjne energicznego Leo Ciesa z nowojorskiego ‘Iconoclastu’ zabrzmialy w kilkunastu krótkich utworach balansujacych na granicy improwizacji i zamierzonej kompozycji. Geste granie, organiczny rytm z pogranicza rocka, jazzu, afroobrzedu i balkanskich ‘aksakow’ (rytmow kulawych), przeciwslawial sie dosadnej liryce barwy saksofonu. W melizmatycznej podrozy na Wschod odzywala sie turecka zurla na przemian z kontrolowanym liryzmem kieczowatego saksofonu. Diaboliczne sensy magli i transu wyzwalone zostaly przez artystke w feeril elektronocznego ‘szczypania’ skrzypiec, a dopelnione ‘brudnymi’ glissandami,hukiem, wyciem bliskim wykonaniom heavy metalu. Caly wystep intensywnie budowal napiecie w kilkunastu krotkich formach, balansujac na osi ogromnej mocy dzwieku jako oczyszczenia oraz lirki,chociazby w postaci zdeformowanej melodii tanga.” —Dziennik Polski, Poland
“Na koncercie dominowaly ostre, niezwykle dynamiczne, nieco hipnotyczne ale mocno osadzone w rocku kompozycje. Leo Ciesa jest niezwykle sprawnym, z duza wyobraznia i ogromnym temperamentem, perkusista. Uzywa olbrzmiej ilosci uderzen podstawowych i ozdabiajacych i jest przy tym niezwkle precyzyjny. . . . Julie Joslyn uzupelnia go wprowadzajac linie melodyczne, plamy dzwiekowe, zgrabne riffy i improwizacje. Tworzy tez rytm kiedy. L. Ciesa rozplywa sie w przestrzen. Wspiera sie ona elektronika znieksztalcajac oryginalne brzmienie saksofonu i skrzypiec, poszukujac w ten sposob szerszego pola do swojego wedrowania i opowiadania. Muzyka na koncercie najbardziej zblizona byla do materialu z ostatniej plyty Blood is Red. Rowniez na niej dominuje ostre rockowe granie z wlasciwymi zakretami i odpowiednim polamaniem. To bardzo energetyczna muzyka. Na poprzednich dwoch plytach material jest bardziej zroznicowany i bardziej awangardowy. Znajduja sie utwory calkiem eksperymentalne, electroniczne kolaze na dzwiek preaprowany, szorstka muzyka noise, wywrocony pop, awangardowy jazz i poskrecany rock. Rytm na nich nie jest az tak dominujacy.” —Informator ‘ARS’ 2, Poland
Tracks:1. 40 Seconds With You; 2. You're in Distress;3. Aprés Vous; 4. The Punishment Office; 5. The Regular; 6. One Oh One ; 7. Razoresque; 8. The Forbidden; 9. Philosophitating; 10. Mistaken Seduction ; 11. Samteque; 12. Accidental Touching; 13. Animated Flesh; 14. Burn and Solidify; 15. I Am So Thirsty; 16. Black Jack; 17. Boiled Kneepads; 18. Dead Dressed Girls (Live) ; 19. Zappo.
Personnel: Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, grand piano, Pro-Mark drumsticks and mallets. Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals.
As a Leader< ICONOCLAST
The Body Never Lies
Tracks: 1. The Body Never Lies;2. A Corrective Jerk;3. Little Sweet Weak Bitter (Take 2); 4. The Lucky Secretary; 5. No Wave Bitte; 6. Fly North/Cymbal Song; 7. Jazz Funnies; 8. Beyond the Red Road; 9. We Should Soon; 10. There’s People; 11. The Girl With the Naked Knees; 12. Whisper in my Eye; 13. Thunder and Seduction; 14. The Exhibitionist’s Dilemma; 15. Community Service; 16. The Fried Dairy Pig; 17. Lot Lizards; 18. Framboise; 19. Tom Colada (Live Version); 20. The Rage is Magic (Live Version); 21. Zappo.
Personnel: Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, copper shawm, percussion, homemade instruments. Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, grand piano, percussion, vocals, Pro-Mark drumsticks and mallets, homemade instruments. Homemade Instruments: Plastic tubes ("Fly North/Cymbal Song"), copper pipes ("The Fried Dairy Pig").
The Dreadful Dance
Tracks: 1. Cranium Mist; 2. You Know Too Much About Me; 3. Bert Holds Breast; 4. Midday Romp; 5. EKG (Revisited); 6. Insurmountable You; 7. Woman with An Index; 8. Weird Sex; 9. Little Sweet Weak Bitter (Take 1); 10. Hoboken; 11. I Think I Thought; 12. Crayfish Platter; 13. Lonely Courtesan;14. Dead Dressed Girls; 15. L’Orange; 16. Midsummer Night’s Day; 17. The Corrupter; 18. Who’s in the Window; 19. Tom Colada; 20. Half Crazy.
Personnel: Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, grand piano, percussion, vocals, kora, Pro-Mark drumsticks and mallets. Julie Joslyn: Alto Saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, kalimba, ocarina, percussion. Thank you to Christopher Howard, our engineer, for guest vocals on “Half Crazy.
In The Vodka Garden
Record One (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Tracks: 1. In the Vodka Garden; 2. Big Gunpowder Falls; 3. The Worst Woman; 4. Violent Keys; 5. Move it Smartly; 6. Spontaneous Combustion II; 7. EKG; 8. Litany of the Lost; 9. Spontaneous Combustion III; 10. Squeak Baby Squeak; 11. Wonder Wheel; 12. Beat Generation; 13. Fast Legs; 14. Mudslide; 15. Bermuda Triangle; 16. Fit for Surgery; 17. Bob; 18. The Rage is Magic; 19. Tango Ritzo.
Personnel: Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, percussion, train whistle. Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, grand piano, octapad, percussion, orchestra bells, vocals, nightingale, live electronics.
Tracks: 1. In the Vodka Garden; 2. Wonder Wheel; 3. Big Gunpowder Falls; 4. The Worst Woman; 5. Dirty Lounger; 6. Fit for Surgery; 7. Move it Smartly; 8. The Rage is Magic; 9. Machinery of the Flowers; 10. Mudslide; 11. Forced to be Sane; [12-15 Savage Acts Suite] 12. Savage Acts Theme; 13. The Midway; 14. Howling Wilderness; 15. Violent Keys; 16. The Lost Museum; 17. Subway Serenade; 18. Voice of Destiny; 19. Three Wheel Drive; 20. Interlewd; 21. Flan is Like a Woman; 22. The Green Elevator; 23. Ultramort; 24. She Said Hello.
Personnel: Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, kalimba, percussion, train whistle. Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, grand piano, percussion, Roland SPD-20, vocals, gongs, congas, trumpet, nightingale, whistle.
Blood is Red
Tracks: 1. Sugar Shock; 2. Jubileum; 3. Bob; 4. Carbonic Machines; 5. Caught in the Dark; 6. Signalization; 7. La Sagrada Familia; 8. Blood is Red, Bruises are Blue; 9. The Raven is Waiting; 10. The Slenk; 11. Drive Shaft; 12. No Soap Radio; 13. Doomsday Report; 14. Red Stripe; 15. Flasher 491; 16. Blue Jay; 17. Jamais; 18. Tango Ritz.
Personnel: Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, octapad, percussion, vocals. Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, percussion.
The Speed of Desire
Tracks: 1. Teod Teod; 2. Uptown Scene; 3. In a Big White Car; 4. Spontaneous Combustion I; 5. XXXtasy; 6. Squeak, Baby, Squeak!; 7. The Cheese You Left Behind; 8. Spontaneous Combustion II; 9. EKG; 10. Litany of the Lost; 11. Spontaneous Combustion III; 12. Inward 2 1/2; 13. Nearly But Quite Somewhere Between; 14. Shame; 15. Raw Dog Ho; 16. Point West; 17. Mom’s in the Kitche.
Personnel: Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, violin, live electronics, vocals, percussion. Leo Ciesa: Drums, keyboards, octapad, percussion, vocals.
City of Temptation
Tracks: 1. Downtown Scene; 2. Sugar Pops; 3. Six Feet Below; 4. Itschwings; 5. Messing With the Boss I; 6. Bells Solo; 7. Night Legs; 8. Hooligans; 9. Beat Generation; 10. Fast Legs; 11. Something and Eat; 12. Bermuda Triangle; 13. Funk Junky; 14. Take Off Your Shirt and Scream; 15. Messing With the Boss II; 16. Scotch and Eggs.
Personnel: Leo Ciesa: Drums, percussion, keyboards, octapad, orchestra bells, vocals, live electronics. Julie Joslyn: Alto saxophone, live electronics, violin, vocals, percussion.
Transforms: The Nerve Events Project
Tracks: Salvation; Damnation.
Personnel: ICONOCLAST (Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn).
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