Alan Sondheim

Galut: Ballads of Wadi-Sabi

Alan Sondheim was the first artist from ESP-Disk's 1964-75 heyday to return, since it was revived in 2005, to issue an album of new material on the fabled label. Sondheim joined the roster with a 1967 session, Ritual-All-7-70, then followed up with 1968's T'Other Little Tune. Cutting Board (2014) with Chris Diasparra and Edward Schneider, Dragon and Phoenix (2017) with Stephen Dydo, and Plaguesong (2020) with Azure Carter followed this century, and now ESP has issued twice as many albums by him in the 21st as it did in the 20th. Though he's a pure improviser, Sondheim rightly insists that he doesn't play jazz. Sondheim got his musical start as a guitarist, but soon moved into a much more original sound utilizing a vast array of instruments from around the world. His instrument collection has only grown in variety all these decades later. He is an impulsive musical adventurer who uses his dizzying array of instruments for what their sounds can contribute to his musical style; he is not unaware of the traditional performance techniques of his instruments, but he never lets his musical expression be limited by or to those techniques. Azure Carter is a singer/songwriter living in Providence, RI. She is a frequent collaborator on music, video, and performance with her partner, Alan Sondheim. Before moving to Providence, Carter lived in NYC and performed at numerous venues there and elsewhere, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Providence, Limassol, London, and Toronto. She has recorded seven albums with Alan Sondheim and others. Edward Schneider stretches the timbral limits of the saxophone through a variety of extended techniques. He helped found the Minneapolis Free Music Society and documented their work on his recording (Again) Against/Because. Schneider met Sondheim and Carter while living in Brooklyn, NY, where he studied saxophone with J.D. Parren. Rachel Rosenkrantz is a French luthier based in Providence, Rhode Island. Born and raised in Montfermeil, France, Rachel studied Design at l’ESAG while performing first as a classical guitar player, then as a bass player once in the USA in various bands from electronic to new classical music. Some of her artwork was shown in the Société des Artistes Décorateurs exhibits at Le Carrousel du Louvre and at the Hangaram museum of modern art in Seoul. She teaches at Rhode Island School of Design and has lectured at Harvard and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

GALUT reunites Sondheim with Carter and Schneider and adds Rosenkrantz. Sondheim writes of their album: “We explore a difficult roam and ruin of dis/interested uncoupling and moments of inconceivable knotting. The music falls out from music. The instrumentation is unlisted, as are the locations of its production. … I wanted to do something awkward, filagree, oppositional to war, almost not there but there, almost not-body but body, almost not music, perhaps not music but music. Certainly sound and not sound. I've been thinking about this for a long time, hands and mouths on our end, feet elsewhere, unmeasured. Even intensity, present and absent, how to hold something making sounds before, within the mouth, among the fingers, cradled in arms. I'm well aware this is a moment in time, that humans and biospheres are the gristle of a minor planet in a random galaxy, how did we get to be here, leaving sound behind, on the edge of being non-being, non-being being. Listening among the sound or its absence.”

Please buy downloads here: GALUT: Ballads of Wadi-Sabi | Alan Sondheim (

Track Listing:

1. 2024

2. Beforethefield

3. Bleaksong

4. Bombrun

5. Cifeti

6. Dayfall

7. Mmxxiilast

8. MnoGoethe

9. Myanmar

10. Notawar

11. Oud

12. Qinguitar

13. Restless

14. Reveree

15. Rsh

16. Said

17. Sein

18. Shaku

19. Thunder

20. Whatnow


Personnel: Azure Carter, voice and song; Edward Schneider, alto saxophone; Rachel Rosenkrantz, bass; Alan Sondheim, various instruments

Musicians: Alan Sondheim

Compact Disk CD-r in jacket
  • Product Code: ESP5076
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $9.99

Add to Cart

Related Products



Alan Sondheim was the young, exuberant leader of a pack of improvisers living in a communal loft in..


T'Other Little Tune

T'Other Little Tune

PersonnelPaul Phillips (tp) Gregert Johnson (fl, picc, moog) John Emigh (ts -2,4) June Sondeim (p, ..


Cutting Board

Cutting Board

Alan Sondheim is the first artist from ESP-Disk's 1964-75 heyday to return, since it was revived in..


Dragon and Phoenix

Dragon and Phoenix

Dragon and Phoenix refers to the names of the sound holes on the Chinese instrument known as the g..




Alan’s notes for this album: “Plaguesong was produced under quarantine; there’s minor background ..