Desert Quill Quartet (DQQ) is a performer-composer collective featuring Dan Gonzalez (clarinet), Yvette Holzwarth (violin), Patrick Behnke (viola), and Ben Finley (double bass).

In February of 2019, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic, they recorded in one of their favorite places: their friend Jared’s basement in LA’s Chinatown.

“Nightbloom” emerged as a reconnection.

Nightbloom Cover with names

Dan, Yvette, Patrick and Ben met at CalArts. In 2014, Dan relocated to California from Mexico City; Yvette from Northern California; Patrick from Detroit; and Ben from a small town in rural Ontario, Canada. Improvisation has been their meeting point ever since, their watering hole.

For DQQ, Jared’s basement—a low ceilinged, well-kept clean and cluttered with cultural trinkets like old VHS walls, vintage music gear, vine lights, action figures, lanterns and fake grass—has oftentimes sparked a sigh of refuge from life’s diversions.

“Nightbloom” is an unscripted rekindling of friendship. It scratches, grooves, boils, lifts and soars as a form of contemporary music making that searches for human (and nonhuman) connection.

Like a cactus flower that blooms once a year for a single night, the tracks unfolds. Scraping and breathing organically finds tonality. As instruments intertwine – agreeing or contradicting each other, an active conversation emerges. Kinetic energy pulls you into a strong current and a blooming crescendo. At times it is difficult to discern where one voice ends and another begins. After its crest, the pulsing settles and matures into a place of serenity and softly trails off into air and harmonics.

Recorded shortly before the world’s landscape changed due to coronavirus, this track is a treasured reminder of making music in a room together with friends. DQQ would especially like to thank Jared Rodriguez for his exceptional aura, ears, and generosity in recording the piece.

“A cactus flower blooms once a year for a single night
Scraping and breathing unfolds into tonality
Sounds intertwine
At times agree
Then contradict
In an active conversation
Kinetic energy drives
Pushing forward
Pulling into a strong current
A blooming crescendo breaks into harmonic pulsing
Moves towards serenity”

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