Dirty Jazz Selected:

Best CDs of 2010
--Matthew Marshall, Jazz Journalists Association

Recommended New Releases, October 2010
-- Andrey Henkin, The New York City Jazz Record

The 25 Best Jazz Albums of 2011 (#11 Dirty Jazz)
“Julie Joslyn's liquid mercury alto sax (and snarling violin) and Leo Ciesa's slasher drums (and icily melodic piano) are in full noir effect on this uncompromising, smartly aware, assaultively lurid effort.”
--Lucid Culture

Interview in Black Syrup zine (2020):
"Blending quasi-jazz with pop-rock and classic melodies, movie-like music with noisy improvisation and fast hardcore, this duet brought their own elegant freakiness to the stage and their show remained unforgettable."
--Stevan Lenhart, Black Syrup zine #4Read full interview

“ICONOCLAST is consistency itself and this recording [Demolition of Wisdom] is just as great as the previous . . . you have thrashing, shrieking, percussion mayhem galore, screamalongs, and faux drunken sentimental drinking songs . . . I enjoy the texture and consistency of each and every one.”
--The Wild Wild World of Spin Turlock

“The duo works its sound [on Demolition of Wisdom]--they have done so consistently since Sins of New York (1989)--steeped in "dirty" jazz, rock-in-opposition, progressive sentimental-Marxism, no-wave (like that of Lunch, sprinkles of Contortions), American Gothic ("Oxidation"), archaic melodies of sarcasm ("The Realistic Optimist"), guignol-expressionist cabaret ("Tour of the Wild Moons"), grind-core ("When the Mermaid Sings"). This cyclothymia is fun and enthralling, including semi-free and contemporary excursions ("Bangers and Mash," "Now is Yet to Come"), piano clusters ("Indulgence No. 505") and lyrical longings at the reed "Slippery Up the Road"). The fragmentation is recomposed in a "blues" sentiment of restlessness and grotesque unease, close to the mood of American Horror Story, this dark and angry age.” (Translation)
--Blow Up Magazine (Italy)

"In the case of Iconoclast, we have an extremely original combination of two phenomenal, versatile personalities . . . The program, which featured pieces from their latest album Driven to Defiance (2017) as well as freshly premiered works, was dominated by short forms, abundantly marked by sharp dynamic-expressive contrasts, transparent sound textures, and a wealth of unusual expressive techniques."
--Andrzej Dorobek, Jazz Forum (concert review 2019 Jazz Od Nowa Festival)Read full review

"After three decades spent blending influences from the fringes of Western music, this duo breaks new ground on its tenth album.”
--Modern DrummerRead full review

"Driven to Defiance? Iconoclast was bred on it. Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa create explosive free music and soaring melodies that mingle gorgeously on an unpredictable playlist. The duo is a grand array of sound now celebrating their 30th anniversary. And there’s much to celebrate.”
--The New York City Jazz RecordRead full review

"It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since Iconoclast, one of the world’s definitive noir jazz acts, put out their first album. Since then, the duo of Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa have built a distinctive body of work that’s part rainswept nocturnes, part edgy downtown improvisation and part punk jazz. . . . Perennially fresh and always with a dark undercurrent, Iconoclast have more than earned themselves iconic status."
--New York Music Daily/Lucid Culture

"The History of Jazz is cut up and thrown in a blender with sundry 20th Century composers, film soundtracks, double kick drums, and discarded ink blot test results. It’s poured out as funny, smart and pan territorial cocktail. Drink up!"
--Vulcher, Canada

"Thirty years of original and untamed sounds are a great trip and it’s nice to think that over time they leave their mark."
--Posthuman, Italy

“Falling in the cracks between genres, sounding like nobody else on the scene, Joslyn and Ciesa have carved out a brave niche for themselves as Iconoclast.”
--Culture Catch (Concert Review, 2014)

YET ANOTHER GREAT NOIR ALBUM AND A RARE NYC SHOW FROM PUNK JAZZ LEGENDS ICONOCLAST: New York punk jazz group Iconoclast’s latest album Naked Rapture is a masterpiece of noir . . . Saxophonist/violinist Joslyn’s evocation of the quintessential solitary busker, back up against a midtown brick wall sometime after midnight, serenading herself with a rapt, bittersweet beauty (heavier on the bitter than the sweet) is picture perfect, unselfconsciously plaintive and worth the price of admission alone. Joslyn, for the most part, maintains a stiletto clarity on the sax, occasionally diverging to a haphazard wail, or creepily cold and techy when she hits her pedalboard. Drummer/pianist Ciesa is a similarly nuanced player, even thought he may be best known for his ability to summon the thunder. In addition, he provides alternately moody, resonant, Satie-esque or rippling, hammering Louis Andriessesn-ish piano . . . The album is best appreciated as a suite, a single, raindrenched, wee-hours urban mood piece . . .Dancing, furtively stalking motifs hand off to more austere, poignant passages. Ciesa leaps and bounds through the more jaunty parts, but he’s always there with a muted roll of the toms or a skull-cracking thud to signal a return to the mystery. There are also occasional moments of humor, a death-obsessed, Burroughsian jazz-poetry piece, and a hint of gamelanesque mayhem. It’s a Sam Fuller film for the ears.”
--New York Music Daily/Lucid Culture

“Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn demonstrate with their ninth opus [Naked Rapture] that they are as determined as ever, and that the two of them—and only the two of them—offer us music as dynamic as always . . . The listener feels throughout the disc a lasting search for virgin territory, as well as the promise of adventures to come, which will be just as exciting.”
--Impro Jazz, France (Translation)

"If you are leaving for the holidays and want to bring something really strong and love Frank Zappa, John Zorn and the Lounge Lizards then Iconoclast is for you. . . .This is Naked Rapture . . . dirty jazz at a very high volume: a wall of unsettling sound that hits the listener’s auricles and nerve centers like a Frecciarossa going more than 300 km/hr. A disc for militants of the alternative."
--All About Jazz--Italia (Translation)

“Iconoclast are Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn, a New York based improvisational duo who have been together since 1987. Their music is a wild hybrid of various styles including free jazz, progressive rock, hardcore and cabaret. Their latest offering The Dreadful Dance serves up an equally diverse mixture of musical styles that are probably not for the faint of heart. Pounding drums, snake charmer sax interludes and scary vocals all come together to produce a heady musical brew.”
--Jazzwise, England

"With Naked Rapture, New York’s no-jazz ultra indie duo releases the eighth studio album in 24 years of proud militancy on the frontier of music without compromise . . . What comes now with this eighth album Naked Rapture: as many as 25 pieces and 75 minutes of music, as always radical and unsettling."
--Posthuman, Italy (Translation)

"If your ears have been begging for something different, it's time to check out Iconoclast. A vibrant duo consisting of Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa . . . With their film noir visuals, irreverent humor and fabulously devious imaginations, Iconoclast is a group deserving of its name."
--All About Jazz--New York (now The New York City Jazz Record)

“The duo known as Iconoclast, (comprising drummer Ciesa and alto saxophonist/violinist Joslyn) has been playing as a unit for over two decades. As is typical considering the group's previous output, Dirty Jazz (presumably an ode to “Jazz with a little dirt on it”) covers a variety of approaches, with a tally of eighteen pieces of mostly brief lengths. An agitated mood inspires the opening “40 Seconds With You,” a galloping alto/drum duet, a setting where the duo seems to work best. This alto/drum axis also forms the core of the joyful “Samteque,” the Jazz-like “Black Jack” and the intensity that turns to the sweetness of “Zappo.” Punk and Rock influences are a large part of the group sound . . . For instance, Punk inspires “Razoresque” and the tumultuous “Boiled Kneepads,” both fitting snapshots of the group's fervency, while Ciesa's vigorous playing also provokes Joslyn's effects-drenched sax work on both “You're In Distress” and “Burn and Solidify. . . . they should be applauded for their quest for originality and a personal path. . .”

“Iconoclast at Bowery Poetry Club--sometimes band names seem random but other times they don't even tell half of the story.”
--The New York City Jazz Record (Twitter, 2010)

". . . [T]hey create rugged, angular sound sculptures with a metallic sheen and gripping nervous energy. Not for the fainthearted."
--"Voice Choices," The Village Voice, NYC

"Drummer Leo Ciesa and saxophonist Julie Joslyn bare sharp teeth in their electronically augmented duets; their sometimes disturbing neon-noir effects always demonstrate more harnessed musicianship than your garden variety noisemongers."
--Richard Gehr, The Village Voice, NYC

“Iconoclast's Noir Jazz Vibe is Unstoppable: This is what happens when you sleep on a great album--other people review it first. All About Jazz liked New York duo Iconoclast's latest album Dirty Jazz; we love it. It unwinds like a good noir film score, which is unsurprising considering that noir has been their signature style pretty much since they played their first gig at CBGB. There's a lot going on in this movie for the ears: gritty cityscapes, a menacing cast of characters, pretty much relentless suspense, occasional brutal violence and sudden shifts from one to the other. It's picture perfect . . .”
--Lucid Culture

“Duets between saxophone and drums typically invite the former to become more rhythmic and the latter more tuneful in an effort to make up for absent accompanists. However stripped down to the bare essentials, intense communication becomes the order of the day, although less in the sense of conversation that requires sequential input than as simultaneous arcs of proclamation that combine to form a whole, greater than the constituent parts.
    "Dirty Jazz is the ninth recording by the duo Iconoclast consisting of alto saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa, who have been playing together some 23 years. . . . [T]he 19 pieces can be loosely broken down into noise-inspired numbers combining skirling violin and electronics with drums (Dirty?) and more melodic cuts featuring alto and piano or drums (Jazz?). Most often they create a mood or ambience . . . from the tight energetic opener “40 Seconds With You” to the folkish “One Oh One”, the calypso-like “Samteque” or the Balkan-tinged “Black Jack”. However the strongest moments come when they stretch out as on “Après Vous”, where Joslyn's coolly songlike alto is underpinned by Ciesa's spare tumbling drums, and “The Forbidden”, featuring a solitary alto dirge alternating with singleline piano ruminations before native American drum cadences kick electronically modified sax. It's no surprise to discover that their music has accompanied TV series and films as it manifests a distinct cinematic quality.”
--All About Jazz--New York (now The New York City Jazz Record)

"Since 1987, saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa have been honing a surprisingly rewarding performance style built around short, sharp works that pick you up and throw you against the wall over the course of about two minutes. The Dreadful Dance is their latest set of jagged tonal tantrums."
--Richard Gehr, The Village Voice, NYC

"Their 17 pieces last 40 minutes and each is a perfectly sculpted rock vignette with as much structural integrity as any two-minute workout could need. Their hard-edged energy is nonstop, but, refreshingly, doesn't slide into ruts; it jumps, it turns corners, and changes tempo with finer attention to detail than you expect from such Downtown noisemakers."
--Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, NYC

"All the way from New York City, headlining act Iconoclast was simply amazing. . . . The raw power is entrancing, the performing energy of the duo is untamed. Julie Joslyn pumps the notes out of her saxophone like a high pressure fire hose. At other times, her saxophone's sound is melodious and pure. Leo Ciesa's lightning percussion work is enough to stir anyone's blood. The music is seamless. When they play they're incredibly sensitive to each other's playing direction, breathing as one individual."
--The Gazette, London, Ontario

"These are two mighty dextrous musicians. Like beatniks on speed, they create stark, jagged-edged music, tunes located at the intersection of atonal punk-funk, be-bop, and free improvisation. . . . Kind of like drinking 12 cups of coffee, but nice."
--Ear Magazine

"Iconoclast has spent the last 25 years or so consistently falling between the genre cracks of Western Music. Neither fish nor fowl, they do their own thing on a consistent basis. That enough people get what they do is a small miracle in itself. You can pick out bits of jazz, orchestral bits from the past three centuries, speed metal, kitsch exploitation soundtrack music, and all sorts of stuff in their musical make-up if you’re clever. . . . Naked Rapture is the name of their new recording, their tenth in more than 25 years. It has all those titles I mentioned before, plus 18 other big and small Iconoclast hits, plus their renditions of “Night in Tunisia” and “The Revolutionary Etude.” Neither Dizzy Gillespie or Chopin could be reached for comment, but I feel safe in saying the authors never imagined their work done up like that."
--The Wild, Wild World of Spin Turlock

“Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn arrive hereupon [In the Vodka Garden ] with a widescreen, very Easter European attitude without sacrificing any more of their post-avant-;punk energy than they need to. I’ve actually looked upon Iconoclast as a near-direct descendant of the original No New York bands . . . they began from the platform of a chaotic music (rock) and bled greater and greater complex language into it, as if trying to show that the chaos was actually carefully scripted. . . . Iconoclast retains their laser-gunshot ability to amaze.”
--Tone Clusters

“[M]ulti-instrumentalists Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn, on their sixth outing as Iconoclast. It’s [The Dreadful Dance] a strange little record, to be sure, consisting of twenty separate tracks of variable length with wacky titles. They’ve built up their own eclectic sound over twenty years of working together, with an approach that is a quite varied mix of composition and improvisation. A sample of this diverse weirdness, one need only ponder the first track, “Cranium Mist,” merging Ciesa’s rolling tom work amidst the clattering of keyboards and Joslyn’s alto saxophone that sparks frightening death metal vocalizing. Some of the strongest tracks include the melodic “You Know Too Much About Me” or “L’Orange,” the groove of “Midday Romp,” the Eastern influence, interrelated “Woman With an Index” and “Lonely Courtesan” or the thrilling sax-drum duet, “Tom Colada.”

"Rich in motivic material, this duo conducts a ballet of modern mechanistic musics. Iconoclast's debut grows ever more engaging."
--The New York Review of Records

"Like Iconoclast, a New York-based avant-garde jazz duo, who've definitely got a distinctive sound. What does it sound like? Imagine you're a hard-core speed freak. You haven't slept in weeks. Psychosis is setting in. You begin to hallucinate. There are millions of little bugs beneath your skin, crawling madly over your ruined veins. Now imagine if each of those bugs was playing an alto saxophone. That's Iconoclast. Pretty cool, huh?"
--The Music Paper

"Some say they're descendants of the late 1970's No New York semi-wave; others scratch their heads and shrug. But Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa merely continue to spread their impish humor and no-holds-barred musical message throughout their new CD, entitled Paradise. What I really like about Paradise is that though it's in 24 small bits it comes off to the ear like a suite, and in repeated listenings you always go somewhere different. You might hear a whiff of Ellington jungle music here, a hint of Stravinsky there. Also there are these wonderful contrasting arrangements, like one piece with a hurdy-gurdy, kalimba and a sax melody not unlike Ravel. Elsewhere there's a piano being played like a trap kit's cymbals . . . and elsewhere a violin is being played like a washboard."
--Tone Clusters

"Two musicians performing multiple instruments over 24 tracks in just over an hour of time. . . . How can so many largely unrelated tracks be crammed into one recording? Leo Ciesa and Julie Joslyn do it with humor and constantly changing moods. . . . How to describe the music found on this disc [Paradise]? All over the lot. On some tracks, such as "Wonder Wheel," Joslyn blows sweet, repetitive, simple riffs at medium volume over a pleasantly forceful drum background. Others, such as "Machinery of the Flowers," have an Oriental feel. "Ultramort," on the other hand, starts with droning sax and segues to wild electronics and voice. "She Said Hello" finds Ciesa whispering over Joslyn¹s mournful sax. Along the way, there is lots of variety, as one piece may be pleasantly melodic and the next bursting at the edges. . . . Occasionally, the duo seems comfortable with vocal shrieks and cries, coupled with harsh avant-garde squeals, while on others, such as "Move it Smartly" and "Flan is Like a Woman," African drums lay the backdrop. Several of the pieces were evidently part of soundtracks. Moments of intense interest appear, interspersed among slowly developing interludes."

"The key to Iconoclast's success is in keeping the listener off guard with a diverse palette of rhythms and sounds."

"The duo end up with an approach that is reminiscent of Meditations-era Coletrane sliced into itty-bitty slivers and chased around the room by munchkins wielding tiny rubber mallets. The results would not be out of place on certain segments of Frank Zappa's 'Uncle Meat' LP. I think the key to understanding all of this is summed up in the selection titled 'Take off your shirt and scream' . . . [W]ould that there were more topless blowers and levellers like Iconoclast to grace the world with."
--Spotlight Magazine, Hamilton, Ontario

"There exist far too few truly 'progressive' bands performing music in present American culture, and even fewer full-blooded rich-sounding duos. New York's Iconoclast fuels a universe of melody, unique arrangements and rhythm patterns, of which the best are forward thinking. . . . As moods vary, tumble and hover throughout the course of a frenetic living human being's daily breathing moments, so too do Iconoclast's musical moods behave."
--The Retriever, Baltimore, Maryland

"If you threw Ornette Coleman sax, punk songlengths and aggression, new wave synths, and Knitting Factory anything-goes experimentalism into a blender and hit the puree button, it might sound like Iconoclast, except your blender would break down long before reaching the puree stage of smoothness. The atonal keyboards and barking sax of early Lounge Lizards are an obvious comparison on several songs, but the irony of the Luries' 'fake jazz' is replaced by a glee in creating a frothingly dissonant sound sculpture. . . . Very rarely does anybody in this scene escape to great recognition, but Iconoclast deserves to."
--New York Perspectives

"Hailing from New York, what sounds like a large ensemble is merely the creation of two people's amazing energy and ability. . . . Compared with other duos, Iconoclast are a pretty unusual outfit. With the speed of amphetamine addicts they juggle an incredible array of instruments without appearing overly insane, while still coming up with a full, diverse sound which plows through funk, avant garde jazz, rock and other genres. . . . Iconoclast. They defy classification and render workout gyms useless."
--Vox, Calgary, Alberta

"As part of the Festival of Women Improvisers . . . Iconoclast splattered fragments of jazz (from bop to free), noise, prog-rock, humor, and various uncategorizables, sculpting intricate, energetic sound structures in which new textures flew by as though inventing new vocabularies of sound is something they do every day."
--The New York Review of Records

"Sax and drums geek-funk, electronic nocturnes, dance-rock spoofs reduced to ectoplasmic pandemonium, Cab Calloway at 156rpm. . . . And they don't cheat with multitracking; a live performance would be no less insane. Amphetamines and raw milk. Tight, cool, and fun."
--Ear Magazine

"The emotion on the band's recently released CD ranges from fun and frivolous to downright disturbing. . . . As raucous and riveting as a noisy neon sign, this sonic poetry is brimming with energetic insight."
--The London Free Press

"This hard-edged sax/drums duo builds industrial sound sculptures by hitting notes and noises all over the range, but they'll surprise you with vulnerable moments, too."
--"Voice Choices," The Village Voice, NYC

"A hardy CD #2 from multi-instrumentalists Julie Joslyn and Leo Ciesa, further blurring the lines between madness and genius stirring up a wilderness of genre-collision and volatile energy in a cosmic dreamscape of impossibly fervent derangement."
--Northern Virginia Rhythm

"Saxophonist Julie Joslyn and drummer Leo Ciesa enhance their instruments with various devices--which can collectively bootstrap a duo improvisation into a real tight quartet. What makes this of more than academic interest is their sense of time, and of humor. Joslyn potentiates a sinuous lyricism with fearless exploratory outbursts and Ciesa's tough and resilient. It's avant-gardism that boogies."
--Boston Rock

"On its second CD, this Avant-garde duo gets even more far-out than before. Their sax and percussion based tunes weld the manic energy of Looney Tunes soundtracks to part post-Bop, part Ornette Coleman blowing and dissonant weirdness. Exquisitely eclectic."
--The New York Review of Records (Top Ten)

"In a better world, the slap-happy urban experimentalist approach of this Gotham improv duo would reap ample rewards. Anybody who makes hip-hop tracks from mouths of rubber duckies and spins out spazzed-out energy blow outs like "EKG" deserve your undivided attention."
--National Chart: Canada's National Alternative/Campus Trade Magazine

"Lest you think this is strictly a cerebral aerobics class for loft-dwelling eggheads, this duo can, as they say, get down and boogie, too."
--Toronto Eye Weekly

"Joslyn and Ciesa are flexible, mischievous musicians. . . Blood is Red is actually their fourth recording, bristling with gritty urban workouts, bare-bones avant-jazz, horns squeals and even some violin thrash. . . . [T]he trade-off vocals stick out on the title track, "Blood is Red, Bruises are Blue." Ciesa's raspy narration is punctuated by shattering screams from Joslyn. The pair work hard here and manage to earn their name's distinction."

"Dynamic syncopation. Devious melodies. . . . Infectious rhythms, unsettling yet hypnotic. Ecstasy in a blur, Blood is Red has all the wiles and subtlety of a snake charmer, . . . You've been threatened without knowing it and you enjoyed it didn't you? The uneasy, queasy feeling that makes you squirm. Exciting isn't it?"
--Vanishing Point, Toronto

"Iconoclast is comprised of two very talented people with musical ideas culled from another dimension. . . . This stuff is out! If you're into the avant garde, the strange, the little bit of mind-bending, this is for you. Park your space sled, fix yourself an Io cocktail, sit back and dematerialize."
--The Music Paper

"What can I say about Iconoclast? They are a duo from N.Y.C. that takes elements from free jazz, funk, rock, film noir soundtracks and other less easily tagged sources, strips them down to their barest bones and puts them through horrifically comic (or comically horrific) dance routines."
--Toronto Eye Weekly

“Only by constantly looking at the photographs is it possible to keep in mind the fact that there are only two of the “iconoclasts”. It's one of their special tricks - to sound like a large ensemble. The sounds crash from everywhere as it fighting off the attack, electronic and acoustic, furious like wild horses, and yet skillfully controlled. The vocals sometimes cut in - mixed with laughter, growling and teeth grinding. All this creates an extremely intense musical picture that radiates with hundreds of elements. The main advantage of Iconoclast is that by taking material from all sources and combining improvisation with carefully thought-out composition they manage to demonstrate the talent of melting all elements into one simple sigh - a furious percussion heartbeat with a quiet squeaking of toys; the warm, breathing sound of instruments with a general image of schizophrenic horror. Few can reach what Iconoclast handle with ease. That is to play overtly intelligent music with a completely teenager-like fever.”
--Afisha, St. Petersburg, Russia

"Leo Ciesa et Julie Joslyn démontrent avec ce neuvième opus [Naked Rapture] qu’ils ont toujours la même détermination, et qu’à eux deux, et seulement eux deux, ils nous offrent une musique toujours aussi dynamique. . . On sent à travers ces thèmes la recherche permanente de terrains encore vierges, avec la promesse de nouvelles aventures à venir, toujours aussi excitantes."
--Impro Jazz, France, 2015

"Le duo explore diverses formes musicales aventureuses, plutôt enlevées, mais jamais ennuyeuses ou gratuites. La virtuosité de ces deux-là n'a d'égale que leur curiosité et leur goût du risque. . . . L'énergie déployée est impressionnante. Le duo est créatif, swinguant et techniquement monstrueux."
--Batteur Magazine, France

“Décidemment notre couple américain persiste et signe. Pour leur huitième album [Dirty Jazz], Leo Ciesa et Julie Joslyn poursuive leur radicalité improvisée avec autant de Bonheur, tout en développant et élargissant leur champ musical vers d’autres forms d’expression, dont un certain lyrusne ('Après vous'). Une manière contemporaine d’utiliser le chant et une utilization de l’alto proche d’un classicism mélancolique. L’utilisation du violon à travers l’électronique rapproche le duo de ses experiences passes, son image de marque, à savoir qu’il n’est nul besoin d’être nombreux pour faire grincer les tympans des plus réfractaires aux douces mélopées!”
--Impro Jazz, France, 2010

“Le duo nous vient de New York où, depuis vingt ans et une sept d’albums bien sentis, il continue de defrayer la chronique par sa réelle énergie, son éclectisme sincere et une once de provocation bon enfant fondée sur une punk attitude plus facétieuse que revendiquée.…Ils semplent, l’un comme l’autre, se livrer à une sorte d’orgie sonore paienne et dionysiaque où les sens ne sont plus que des chiffons entre leurs mains, ballottés d’un bord à l’autre du spectre sonore et totalement désarmés.
    "Vingt et une vignettes expressionnistes [The Body Never Lies], aussi varies que bien assorties, et don’t les titres memes semplent participer à la thématique générale, cruelle et dérisoire, mais que l’énergie transcende, pourtant. Ecoutez donc la plage 14, étrangement intitule 'The exhibitionist’s dilemma'! En 2mn30, et par le seul truchement d’un alto sinueux et d’un tom martelé, Iconoclast nous plonge au coeur d’un monde somber à la sourde beauté, au fond d’un polar noir, humide et fascinant.”
--Impro Jazz, France, 2007

“La muisique des deux Iconoclast [The Dreadful Dance] est éclectique et bouffe, certes, à tous les râteliers, mais avec un appétit qui fait plaisir à entendre. Qu’ils s’immergent dans la fusion, plutôt rare, somme toute, du jazz, de l’opéra et du death metal ('Bert holds breast') avec voix d’outre-tombe et rythmique assassine (qui d’autre que Mike Patton osa cette alchimie?) ou qu’ils esquissent des harmonies impressionnistes très début du siècle (le XXeme, bien sur) comme dans 'Insurmountable you,' qu’ils glissent tout schuss d’un free style incendiaire à une envolée lyrico-pompiériste à faire pâlir Wagner et Iron Maiden eux-mêmes ('EKG revisited') ou qu’ils entonnent des rengaines newyorkaises qu’auraient pu cosigner Tom Waits et Jim Jarmusch, Ciesa et Joslyn font montre d’une culture réjouissante et prevue de bon goût dans la provocation. C’est-à-dire qu’il visent juste et atteignent leur cible."
--Impro Jazz, France, 2005

"Su música es enérgica, a veces un pelin salvaje y se codea de igual modo con fases de improvisación y momentos perfectamente organizados en una continua pugna entre variadas experiencias de jazz en desintegración y rock inteligente. Blood is Red es un disco fresco. . . ."
--Margen, Spain

“Iconoclast è un duo formato dal batterista (tastierista) Leo Ciesa e dalla sassofonista (violinista) Julie Joslyn che dal 1987 frequenta festival d'avanguardia di mezzo mondo, scorazza per club e cantine, compone per documentari e cortometraggi (tra cui l'italiano "Con gli occhi di domani") e come un tornado spazza via convenzioni, ipocrisie, melensaggini, furbizie, e arroganze che da tempo aleggiano sul grande circo della musica chiamata jazz.
   "Dirty Jazz (mai titolo più appropriato) racchiude in poco più di un'ora ben diciannove episodi, alcuni meri frammenti musicali, altri maggiormente strutturati e formalmente compiuti, quasi tutti comunque devastanti dal punto di vista musicale. Il jazz del titolo è un ipotesi, un tratto semantico che crea connessioni mentali ma sul campo viene "sporcato," maltrattato, rivoltato come un calzino dai due protagonisti. Così che è quasi impossibile descrivere in maniera efficace la musica che ne risulta.
   "Perché violenza (sonora) e dolcezza convivono, cortine di suoni inestricabili, bordate che richiamano l'energia selvaggia del punk si alternano a paesaggi che sanno di tramonti nordici attraversati da lampi e tuoni improvvisi. Melopee dal sapore arabo vengono squarciate dal contralto tagliente di Joslyn, sperimentalismi vocali alla Ursula Dudziak vengono ingentiliti da un improbabile calipso che non sarebbe dispiaciuto al Saxophone Colossus. E vi è posto anche per un sontuoso brano --"Boiled Kneepads " in stile progressive rock. . .
   "Ciesa e Joslyn mettono in campo oltre alla loro maestria sugli strumenti principali una grande abilità nell'uso dell'elettronica e della voce così che l'effetto complessivo va ben la di là del duo, con risultati che in qualche caso hanno la potenza, la massa d'urto e la varietà timbrica di una orchestra. Nonostante questo tipo di approccio musicale trovi normalmente sublimazione dal vivo, Dirty Jazz, ne è comunque una potente testimonianza discografica e una salutare boccata d'ossigeno.”
--All About Jazz--Italia, Italy

"Se state per partire per le vacanze e volete portarvi dietro qualcosa di veramente forte e amate Frank Zappa, John Zorn e I Lounge Lizards allora gli Iconoclast fanno per voi. . . Si tratta di Naked Rapture . . . di dirty jazz ad altissimo volume: un muro del suono spiazzante che arriva a colpire padiglioni auricolari e centri nervosi dell'ascoltatore come un Frecciarossa lanciato ad oltre i 300 km/h. Un disco per militanti dell'alternativa."
--All Abut Jazz--Italia, Italy

“Con una strumentazione ridotta all'osso, i due membri degli Iconoclast riescono a comporre una musica che rivela un'ampissima gamma di sfumature, aggressiva come impone certo jazzcore di matricetipicamente newyorkese (Leo Ciesae anche batterista dei Doctor Nerve), ricca di calore e carica comunicativa (la voce melodica del sax di Julie Joslyn in "Samteque"), violenta e dalle connotazioni fortemente metropolitane (le risonanze da incubo di "Animated Flesh"), spirituale e "coltraniana" ("The forbidden"), dissonante e drammatica (il violino in distorsione di "The Punishment Office"). Tutti i brani che compongono l'album hanno una propria ben definita identita, frutto del perfetto equilibrio fra improvvisazione e composizione raggiunto grazie al rapporto simbiotico istauratosi fra i due musicisti, che lavorano assieme dal 1987 con vari album gia pubblicati alle spalle.Mai titolo poteva essere piu azzeccato: "Dirty Jazz", spurio, imperfetto, anomalo, meticcio ma ricchissimo di idee, sorprese e significati. “
--Blow Up Magazine, Italy

". . . [A]crobati in quel buio che sta fra tango e trash funk, nonché sperimentatori del lato selvaggio della metropoli, che fanno tutto da soli, rigorosamente live, ma in studio. I loro album riflettono il suono del concerti: nervi tesi su tecnica inossidabile, anche quando il caos sembra sovrano."
--la Repubblica, Italy

“Trent’anni .di suoni originali e indomiti sono un bel viaggio ed è bello pensare che nel tempo lascino un segn.”
--Posthuman, Italy

"Se l'energia di una formazione potesse essere espressa in termini di quantità, il duo Iconoclast, composto da Julie Joslyn e Leo Ciesa, distruggerebbe lo strumento di misurazione! Poco male perché in oltre vent'anni di venerata carriera questa minimale, ma essenziale, formazione ha dato dimostrazione di poter essere essa stessa ricettacolo di tali energie e forze infuse in ogni registrazione ad libitum.
"Insieme al bel 'In the Vodka Garden' il vibrante duo ha pubblicato nel 2005 altri due album, questa volta per l'etichetta indipendente Fang Records, entrambi frutto di una maratona di quattro giorni nelle sale di registrazione. Speculari, poiché ciascuno di essi contiene circa venti tracks, 'The Dreadful Dance' e 'The Body Never Lies' sono più interessanti del CD recensito in precedenza. Follemente e scuramente interessanti . . .
"Atmosfere dark-jazz, volate di rock, schizzi di improvvisazione, il tutto urlato, suonato e composto in una clima completamente rovente. Schizzati al parossismo i quaranta pezzi girano all'impazzata con la sola bussola, se si può chiamar tale, del titolo che portano. Gancio ideologico, assolutamente privo di senso se si ascoltano i CD uno di seguito all'altro. 'Bella musica quella che propone il duo, intelligente, profonda, sempre inquietante ed obliqua, molto aggressiva e irriverente. Quel che ci vuole per far saltare in aria il lettore CD . . .'"
--All About Jazz--Italia, Italy

"Con Naked Rapture il duo newyorkese del no-jazz ultra indie pubblica l’ottavo album in 24 anni di orgogliosa militanza nella musica di frontiera senza compromessi. . . Che arriva ora all’ottavo album con questo Naked Rapture: ben 25 brani per 75’ di musica, come sempre radicale e spiazzante."
--Posthuman, Italy

". . . [F]orse la migliore si trova nel nome che Leo Ciesa e Julie Joslyn si sono scelti. Iconoclasta: critico spregiudicato e irriverente di principi e credenze comuni. Spinto e motivato da una indiscriminata polemica distruttiva. Blood is red segue di tre anni The Speed of desire e di cinque City of temptation, lavori che hanno fatto guadagnare rispetto al gruppo ma scarsa o nulla attenzione, almeno qui in Europa. Peccato, perché la musica offerta dal duo è tagliente, fredda e fresca, con punte di tribalismo metropolitano parecchio interessanti. . . . Blood is red (ma è l'attitudine del duo in genere) sia ancora piú cannibalesco, tenendo conto dei segnali attuali che gravitano dentro la Grande mela, penso a certi inserti di classica contemporanea, piú un free imparentato con Coleman e alle cavalcate dei Lounge Lizard, ma anche al tiro soffocato di certo hard-core punk. Non si fanno certo scrupolo di appartenere ad una corrente gli Iconoclast. E hanno ragione, perché alla fine il disco funziona e suona bene, Scomodo, scontroso, umoristicamente arrabbiato, ma è lo specchio dei tempi."
--Rumore, Italy

"Quarto album er il duo newyorchese Iconoclast composto a Leo Ciesa (batterista dei Doctor Nerve) e Julie Joslyn, "Paradise" ne tradisce l¹apparetnenza downtown coniugata con inconfondibile vigoria avant-jazz, divisa tra scrittura e improvvisazione,febbrile impeto zorniano ('Fit for Surgery,' 'The Worst Woman,' etc.) ed emozionalita` di matrice coltraniana (ma nella dieta di svezzamento dei nostri c¹e` stata sicuramente anche la vitamina C(oleman). . .), sound design cinematografico ('Violent Keys,' le musiche per i documentari della American Social History Productions)e suadenti tratteggiature etniche. Per di piu i due titolari si destreggiano perfettamente nella congerie dei differenti strumenti impiegati (percussioni, tastiere, sax alto, violino, live electronics e cosi via), benche poi le cos migliori arrivino quando il gioco passa al drumming muscolare dell¹uno e al fervore fiatistico dell¹atra, segno (non bastassero le foto di tutti I loro dischi) del curioso attaccamento cutaneo ai primigeni ferri del mestiere."
--Blow Up Magazine, Italy

“Iconoclast e' un duo che vede uniti dal 1987 i polistrumentisti Julie Joslyn (sassofono, live electronics, violino, voce) e Leo Ciesa (batteria, percussioni, piano, tastiere, voce). Occhiali neri lei, occhiali neri lui. Sguardo intenso lui, sguardo accattivante lei. Newyorchesi entrambi, hanno registrato da sempre l'etichetta indipendente Fang.
   “In the Vodka Garden e' in loro primo CD - selezione dei loro quattro precedenti album - per l'etichetta russa Record One che rende bene il sapore musicale di questa formazione di 'feroci (jazzisti) rumoristi.'
   “La musica [ma anche le performance a giudicare dal sito] e' intensa, fisicamente sudata, dal largo impatto sonoro. Ma, anche dissonante, un po' stonata, provocante e inquieta, dadaista senza volerlo. Coesistono - cozzando senza problemi - elementi acustici ed elettronici, vere e proprie zaffate dark, sprizzi classicheggianti, in un jazz comunque e sempre granuloso, dal sapore (volutamente?!) klezmer. I diciannove brani proposti oscillano tra composizione e improvvisazione puramente libera, come i segni di pittura della copertina dell'album, come l'appartenenza e la devozione alla scena downtown. Un vero e proprio cocktail di sapore agrodolce, in sostanza, delizioso nei vari stati emotivi che offre al gustarlo in un giardino alla [o di] vodka.”
--All About Jazz--Italia, Italy

"'Una proiezione della realtà in un'atmosfera obliqua e surriscaldata, su un piano di riferimento irregolarmente ondulato e un poco distorto.' Queste parole di Boris Vian sono la migliore fotografia del contorto magma sonoro degli Iconoclast. . . Terzo album ufficiale che in 55 minuti spara 18 originali schegge di futurismo sonoro--fra Beefheart, John Zorn e Laurie Anderson, tango, free e trash. Composto, suonato, urlato in assoluta autarchia, Blood is red è la 'fine di un orecchio' per chi pensa che l'underground sia morto."
--il Manifesto, Italy

"Amplifikowany saksofon i skrzypce Julie Joslyn oraz instrumenty perkusyjne energicznego Leo Ciesa z nowojorskiego 'Iconoclastu' zabrzmialy w kilkunastu krótkich utworach balansujacych na granicy improwizacji i zamierzonej kompozycji. Geste granie, organiczny rytm z pogranicza rocka, jazzu, afroobrzedu i balkanskich 'aksakow' (rytmow kulawych), przeciwslawial sie dosadnej liryce barwy saksofonu. W melizmatycznej podrozy na Wschod odzywala sie turecka zurla na przemian z kontrolowanym liryzmem kieczowatego saksofonu. Diaboliczne sensy magli i transu wyzwalone zostaly przez artystke w feeril elektronocznego 'szczypania' skrzypiec, a dopelnione 'brudnymi' glissandami,hukiem, wyciem bliskim wykonaniom heavy metalu. Caly wystep intensywnie budowal napiecie w kilkunastu krotkich formach, balansujac na osi ogromnej mocy dzwieku jako oczyszczenia oraz lirki,chociazby w postaci zdeformowanej melodii tanga."
--Dziennik Polski, Poland

"Na koncercie dominowaly ostre, niezwykle dynamiczne, nieco hipnotyczne ale mocno osadzone w rocku kompozycje. Leo Ciesa jest niezwykle sprawnym, z duza wyobraznia i ogromnym temperamentem, perkusista. Uzywa olbrzmiej ilosci uderzen podstawowych i ozdabiajacych i jest przy tym niezwkle precyzyjny. . . . Julie Joslyn uzupelnia go wprowadzajac linie melodyczne, plamy dzwiekowe, zgrabne riffy i improwizacje. Tworzy tez rytm kiedy. L. Ciesa rozplywa sie w przestrzen. Wspiera sie ona elektronika znieksztalcajac oryginalne brzmienie saksofonu i skrzypiec, poszukujac w ten sposob szerszego pola do swojego wedrowania i opowiadania. Muzyka na koncercie najbardziej zblizona byla do materialu z ostatniej plyty Blood is Red. Rowniez na niej dominuje ostre rockowe granie z wlasciwymi zakretami i odpowiednim polamaniem. To bardzo energetyczna muzyka. Na poprzednich dwoch plytach material jest bardziej zroznicowany i bardziej awangardowy. Znajduja sie utwory calkiem eksperymentalne, electroniczne kolaze na dzwiek preaprowany, szorstka muzyka noise, wywrocony pop, awangardowy jazz i poskrecany rock. Rytm na nich nie jest az tak dominujacy."
--Informator 'ARS' 2, Poland

"Naked Rapture: miniaturowych, glownie ekspresyjnych, dynamicznych, awangardowo skreconych i intrygujaco uporzadkowanych, wirtuozyjnych piosenkach instrumentalnych nasyconych namietnosciami niepokornego jazzu, wywroconego punka, odkreconego popu, zamieszanego rocka i poszukiwan muzyki eksperymentalnej."
--ARS 2, Poland

The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music
(Innova Recordings)

ICONOCLAST was chosen for inclusion in the prestigious 2010 compilation The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music (Innova Recordings). Two of ICONOCLAST's tracks were selected for the collection: “Accidental touching” (2010) and “No Wave Bitte” (2005).

The NYFA Collection Reviews:

Editor's Pick, October 2010
--Downbeat Magazine

100 Best albums of 2010 (#4)
--Lucid Culture

“The compilers, composers Cristian Amigo and Philip Blackburn, have thoughtfully programmed the five CDs to make listening flow and to convey a sense of coherence, but the range of the material is still extremely wide. . . .The plurality of voices is unquestionably healthy; there's no prevailing orthodoxy nor air of a narrow clique.
   ". . .There's punchy No Wave minimalism from the duo Iconoclast . . . It's a release designed with no one in particular in mind, but with an achieved body of work to commemorate.”
--Julian Cowley, The Wire

“The new NYFA Collection, just out on Innova, aims to be the Rosetta Stone of cutting-edge new music in New York . . . by any standard, this massive five-cd set is extraordinary, a genuine classic. . . . it's a brain-warping, provocative feast for the ears, a triumph of smart curating and reason for absolute optimism for this generation's composers. The collection opens with . . . and an acidically crescendoing chamber-metal piece by Iconoclast. . . . It wouldn't be a difficult choice for best album of 2010.”
--Lucid Culture

“This five-CD set by The New York Foundation for the Arts provides an expansive, refreshingly open-minded overview of the new music scene in New York over the past two-and-half decades. . . . sax/drum duo Iconoclast's “No Wave Bitte” moves with lively mechanicality . . . 25 Years is a fascinating, thought-provoking, educational, wonderful resource.”