Susie Ibarra is one of the most significant female percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music, having worked with the likes of John Zorn, Yo La Tengo, Mamadou Kelly, Marc Ribot, and many more. Perception, self-released in December 2017 and now being distributed through Thrill Jockey, is a beautiful piece of art, layering sound and centered around the way one perceives the world around them, and how this dictates one’s reality. Ibarra also released an album earlier this year on Thrill Jockey, Flower of Sulphur, with multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB) and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens, OM).
Perception was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Olivier Chastan and performed with the DreamTime Ensemble, consisting of Claudia Acuña (vocals), Jennifer Choi (violin), Yves Dharamraj (cello), Jake Landau (piano and guitar), Jean-Luc Sinclair (electronics). While processing grief and loss in her life, Ibarra found her senses more vivid and channeled those heightened feelings into dynamic, expressive pieces, from melancholic contemplation to percussive bombast to jagged grooves. Ibarra crafted the detailed arrangements of the album to reflect varied impressions and perspectives of the album’s musicians as well as the listener’s. The range of sounds and emotional artistry on the album are bolstered by Ibarra’s own unique perspective as a practitioner of traditional Philippine Kalinga music, jazz, and contemporary composition.