Acustica was a large ensemble that percussionist and composer Carlo Costa led from 2011 to 2014. The band performed compositions by Carlo which aimed to explore the timbral and textural possibilities of acoustic instruments through long form compositions which made use of a variety of types of notations, cue systems and improvisation.

Press quotes

“Layers of sedimentary rock and soil, viewed in cross-section, inspired percussionist and composer Carlo Costa to conceive Strata, a 45 minute excavation of texture and timbre, recorded live at Brooklyn’s Ibeam performance space in 2014. Costa and 12 other acoustic instrumentalists gently sift through the sonic shingle, which is thinly scattered or banked in more densely compounded layers. Overall Strata has the open-cast feel of a guided improvisation, an air of being loosely coordinated rather than a close-knit composition. Its structuring is obvious nonetheless: motifs recur, surfacing in different voices, jutting from a variety of contexts, helping to bond more elusive or abstracted material into a coherent and attractive form. Delicate acoustic guitar figures carry as much weight in the mix as double bass, trombone, trumpet or tenor sax. That carefully maintained balance and clarity suits the simplicity of the underlying idea. The result is satisfying music, worth returning to.” (The Wire, review of Strata)

“Carlo Costa’s website states that the ultimate result of the piece would be to create “the effect of a change of perspective in the aural space.” I think that Costa and the musicians involved were largely successful in doing so; listening to it is like occupying a palace of sound, in which the floors and staircases are constantly shifting, and doors that you intended to go through disappear, only to reappear in other places entirely. However, there is never a sense of chaos or turbulence - the movements here are glacial, deliberate, and frequently imperceptible. For a piece that utilizes thirteen musicians, it’s surprisingly minimalistic. The emotions and sensations that it conjures up, on the other hand, are immense.” (Free Jazz Blog, review of Strata)


Strata, Neither/Nor Records (2015)

Kyingmi Lee - flute and piccolo flute

Joe Moffett - trumpet

Ben Gerstein - trombone

Dan Peck - tuba

Jonathan Moritz - tenor and soprano saxophone

Nathaniel Morgan - alto saxophone

Jean-Brice Godet - clarinet and bass clarinet

Miranda Sielaff - viola

Todd Neufeld - acoustic guitar

Jesse Stacken - piano

Sean Ali - bass

Pascal Niggenkemper - bass

Carlo Costa - percussion