Hailed by Pitchfork as “a collaboration that adds to creative legacies from two different generations” in which “improvisation and composition operate simultaneously,” A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke features Vijay and his “hero, friend and teacher”, Wadada Leo Smith, together on ECM, produced by Manfred Eicher. The record comes on the heels of a particularly inspiring collaboration at New York’s The Stone early in 2015 that underlined the affinity of their sounds and concepts and made the documentation of the duo a priority.
The centerpiece of the album is the spellbinding seven-part title suite, dedicated to Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990). Though the musical form of the suite was largely shaped in the moment in the studio, the recording was preceded by studying and discussing Mohamedi’s work and reading her journals.
Vijay Iyer is currently artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he and Wadada Leo Smith will be premiering A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke there in March 2016, in the context of an exhibition dedicated to Nasreen Mohamedi’s art and writings.