Emissions Transparents

Emissions Transparents

Invisible (but audible) communications
Paul Elwood
Christian Wolff
Paul Elwood
The Callithumpian Consort
Stephen Drury
Eddie Prevost
Iowa Percussion
Daniel Moore
Aly Olson
Rose Chancler
Cary Fridley
Catalog Number: 
#1 005

Marseille, France

Release Date: 
Jan 25, 2019
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Paul Elwood has many strings to his bow: among them, banjo player, composer, and improviser. From Colorado to Marseille, Iowa City to London and Boston, Émissions Transparents documents his far-flung visions and musical adventures.

The title track, Émissions Transparents, features Pablo Gomez on electric guitar with the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory, directed by Stephen Drury. This five-movement composition explores invisible communications – be they radio transmissions, angelic apparitions, or ghostly voices from the unknown, that manifest Elwood’s interest in the paranormal and interstellar space travel. 

Since he was a teenager Elwood has been drawn to the New York School of composition from the 1950s and 60s that highlighted composers John Cage, Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown. Elwood has been fortunate to work under the baton of Cage and to perform on a couple of occasions with Wolff. He commissioned Wolff to compose a work for solo banjo, the result being the aptly-named “Banjo Player,” completed in 2015. This is the premiere recording of this virtuosic tour de force. 

Two tracks on the recording were improvised with percussionist Eddie Prévost of the legendary AMM ensemble, during a long and leisurely summer Sunday afternoon session in London in 2016. For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation(s) 4a and 4b combine bowed banjo with Prévost’s tasteful bowed percussion.  

Ashe County Lament features pianist Rose Chancler and the voice of Freight Hoppers alum, Carrie Fridley, singing the Appalachian folk tune The Girl I Left Behind. The track mixes live piano with manipulations of Fridley’s voice – all reflective of both Elwood’s background in folk music and his fascination with electronic sound design. Another stellar voice on the album is that of Aly Olson with the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble singing text written specifically for this project by poet Albert Goldbarth, two-time National Book Critics Circle Awards winner. Plutonic Winds connects with Émissions Transparents in a science-fiction-like world in which cold winds from Pluto rake the Kansas plains. 



"a singular blend of folk, bluegrass and contemporary experimental jazz with radical and modernist soul.” [FULL ARTICLE] - Filippo Focosi


"A five-part “Emissions Transparents” mixes solo electric guitar and mellotron with a band conducted by Stephen Drury, resulting in a mix of heavy Deep Purple metal, moody strings and electronica and creepy percussion that goes bump in the night. The ensemble produced “Plutonic Winds” features haunting vocals by Aly Olson floating over stark percussion. Elwoods solo five string banjo brings a classical feel to “Banjo Player” and an artsy feel along with some blues hollering vocals by Cary Fridley on “Ashe County Lament.” Grey matter for the ears." [FULL ARTICLE


"Émissions Transparent is an unusual, even sometimes strange collection of Elwood compositions and improvisations, though it's no less commendable for being so. Whatever else it is, it provides an effective and never less than fascinating overview of the musical realms this one-of-a-kind figure inhabits and the various directions he's explored." [FULL ARTICLE]


"unusual instrumentation where the divergent colours come together seamlessly...It's an eclectic release with a unique and distinctive approach to new music." [FULL ARTICLE]