Record Of The Week! SML - Small Medium Large

July 1, 2024
Record of the Week
Record Of The Week! SML - Small Medium Large

out now via international anthem


SML is bassist Anna Butterss (Jeff Parker, Daniel Villarreal, Makaya McCraven), synthesist Jeremiah Chiu (Ariel Kalma, Marta Sofia-Honer), saxophonist Josh Johnson (Jeff Parker, Makaya McCraven, Nate Mercereau, Marquis Hill), percussionist Booker Stardrum (Amirtha Kidambi, Carl Stone, Lee Ranaldo, Patrick Shiroishi), and guitarist Gregory Uhlmann (Sam Wilkes, Meg Duffy, Perfume Genius). Their debut album Small Medium Large began as a collection of long-form improvisations recorded during two separate two-night stands at beloved Highland Park venue ETA, a major development site for the burgeoning new LA jazz & improvised music sound, which unfortunately closed its doors permanently at the end of 2023.

The venue, perhaps best known outside of LA for Jeff Parker’s 2022 album Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy, was the perfect location for the start of SML, especially given that both bassist Anna Buterss and saxophonist Josh Johnson are in the quartet featured on that record. Small Medium Large was engineered and recorded in stereo direct to Nagra by Bryce Gonzales and compiled, arranged, and edited with additional production, recording, and studio composition by SML.

While editing, chopping, and rearranging stereo mixed improvisations is hardly a new concept (for a modern and relevant example we can look to Makaya McCraven’s output on IARC) these results are a stunning expansion of the Teo Macero / Miles Davis editing concept explored on classics like Bitches Brew, On The Corner, and Get Up With It. Stylistically though, these recordings have more in common with the proto trance repetitions of Harmonia, and with Holgar Czukay’s re-assemblage technique used in his work with Can. Throw in a supremely intuitive utilization of Susumu Yokota’s floating patterns polyrhythm concept and we have a truly entrancing take on time-clocked electronic rhythms augmenting with live percussion, yet maintaining that elusive human sway.


A1. Rubber Tree Dance

A2. Industry

A3. Herbie for Commercials

A4. Search Bar Hi Hat

A5. Window Sill Song

A6. Switchboard Operations

A7. Soft Sand

B1. Three Over Steel

B2. Chasing Brain

B3. History of Communication

B4. Feed The Birds

B5. Greg's Melody

B6. Dolphin Language