IKZ gets in your face with music whose stylistic address is as difficult to pin down as its postal one. The quartet looks Chicago-ish enough; everyone’s lived there at some point. But the members’ current residences range from Virginia to Oregon. Likewise, double bassist (Restroy), Kevin Davis (Locksmith Isadore, Uncle Woody Sullender), John Niekrasz (John Wiese, Methods Body), and Toby Summerfield (Princess Princess, Ex Eye) have all contributed to records you could find in a jazz bin, but if you crank this platter up, you might get your jazz school DJ privileges revoked. “Cloud In The Serpent” opens the LP with some straight-up metallic shredding courtesy of Summerfield, who has been known to do the same thing in that band he shares with Greg Fox and Colin Stetson. But where you’d expect to beat to come down slow and steady, there’s instead a dust devil-stirring whirl of activity. Call it heavy improvisation. Davis’ amplified cello is more tectonic than melodic. Damann, whose double bass is as voltage-independent as Summerfield’s guitar is plugged in, conspires with drummer Niekrasz to rumble like a couple guys who see no conflict between collecting E.S.P.-Disks and committing flagrant fouls on the basketball court.
Reviewed by Bill Meyer for Dusted Magazine
IKZ is a collaborative quartet composed of Chicago experimental music expats— Toby Summerfield on guitar, John Niekrasz on drums, Christopher Dammann on double
bass, and Kevin Davis on cello and electronics. Their music combines open forms and real-time collaboration to create a propulsive, ecstatic mix of noise and
Christopher is a composer, bassist, and improviser. Raised in Virginia, he moved to Chicago to be a part of Chicago’s jazz and creative music scene and earn a BM in Double Bass performance at Northwestern’s conservatory, performing in Northwestern’s orchestra while also leading a monthly gig at Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge until he passed in 2010. He has performed at WXPN’s World Cafe, Chicago’s Millennium Park Downtown Sound Series, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, PRI’s Live Wire and SXSW.
Christopher's main composition/performance project Restroy’s last self-titled release charted in the top 30 of the National JazzWeek radio charts and received positive press from The Chicago Reader, Classicalite.com, JazzWeekly.com, Newcity Music, and midwestaxn.com. Recent work includes the score for Kera MacKenzie & Andrew Mausert-Mooney’s award winning non-fiction montage feature, Make A Distinction (2021) and the 2020 Restroy release, sketches, for ears&eyes records.
Kevin William Davis
Originally from Appalachian Tennessee, Kevin has been an integral part of the creative music communities of Memphis, Chicago, Istanbul, and now central Virginia. As an improviser and performer of experimental music, he has worked in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition to recording as a soloist, Kevin has duo recordings with Dave Rempis, Woody Sullender, and Mike Pride, and as a member of Locksmith Isidore, Desiring Machines, the ?stanbul-based Islak Köpek and Hoca Nasreddin, Human Shaped Objects, and more. He directed the University of Virginia New Music Ensemble, the Sonic Crafts Orchestra, and Null Set, and is currently cellist in the EcoSono ensemble, Restroy, and IKZ. His compositions have been performed by Dither guitar quartet, Ekemeles, the Verge Ensemble, the Hezarfin Ensemble, Chicago Sound Map, and the UVA New Music and Percussion ensembles among others. His work can be found on labels such as Clean Feed, Evil Rabbit, Innova, Ravella, Dead CEO, ears&eyes records, and Amalgam.
John Niekrasz is a drummer, composer, teacher, and writer from Chicago, living in Portland, Oregon. John composes and performs original music based on language and emancipatory texts with record releases on New Amsterdam, Beacon Sound, Esp-Disk, and Ecstatic Peace. His ensembles include Methods Body, IKZ, Orchestra Becomes Radicalized, Why I Must Be Careful, IXNAY, Thicket, and Poor School. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and created work as a fellow at Atlantic Center, ACRE Residency, and Résidence Point Dom. John lived, curated, and performed at Paris’s Cité International des Arts.
Toby Summerfield (b.1978)
Composer, Collaborator, Improviser.
Sometimes Conductor. Pedal Steel Amateur.
Complicated rock music and free improvising.
Formerly of Crush Kill Destroy, Larval, Princess Princess and others.
Leader of Never Enough Hope.
Currently with Ex Eye.
Chris Dammann - Double bass
Kevin Davis - Cello
John Niekrasz - Drums
Toby Summerfield - Guitar
Recorded and engineered by Nick Broste at the Shape Shoppe, Chicago, IL.
Mixed by Nick Broste and Travis Thatcher.
Mastered by Bill Harris.
Art by Heather Mease.
Thank you Thantip Kaeo-Arsa, Mia Magruder, Josh Berman, Cathal McCarthy, and Richard Hunt.