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What If?

by Alex Hamburger

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in beautiful digipack with eye popping art by Charles Prioleau.

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in beautiful digipack with eye popping art by Charles Prioleau
    Sticker design by Charles Prioleau, one circular and one rectangular sticker

    Includes unlimited streaming of What If? via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 10 days

      $25 USD or more 


Ladybug 04:35
In your shell you hide the parts you don’t understand Waiting for a loving friend To find your pieces Oh your pieces Ladybug where you going I don’t even think you know But knowing’s just a part of forgetting On the frayed edge of reality you lay Searching for another way To hold your pieces Oh your pieces Ladybug where you going I don’t even think you know But knowing’s just a part of forgetting
Lion's Den 07:07
Lion’s den Up in a tree Things aren’t all they seem to be Waiting for time To hold your hand Rearranging your plan Butterfly born from the womb Spider inside a cocoon Moments left unexplained Feeding on your brain Lion’s den Up in a tree Things aren’t all they seem to be
Forging paths unknown Ventures far from home Losing touch, finding time Things aren’t As they seem Giants with golden wings Battles in, our own mind
November 3rd 05:43
And in the long nights Guiding lights Plastic stars Far from mars Old scars Reflections of the light Imprinted on the passage of time
Come on in and leave your worries at the door You don’t have to hold on anymore Look at how they love you Memories you can’t undo Here up with the birds among the clouds Spending our days looking down Knowing where to be and when And whose dreams you’re visiting Tonight Oh tonight Oh tonight Even though you’ve left too soon They’ll be seeing us in every full moon Months and years passing by It’s so hard to say goodbye And although it seems we’re gone the memories live on and on In their dreams we’ll visit soon And they’ll be seeing us in every full moon


Washington DC-based flutist, vocalist and composer Alex Hamburger returns on her pictorial sophomore statement What If? due out June 29, 2023 via Unit Records. The release of What If? follows Hamburger’s conceptual debut And She Spoke (2021), an homage to the ferocity of trailblazing female creatives stretching from Maya Angelou to Terri Lyne Carrington to Hamburger’s own activist-poet grandmother. The highly-orchestrated, textural paths exhibited on And She Spoke became a sketch of Hamburger’s sensitivity to human experience and propensity for transforming feeling into sound. What If? continues this deed in the sublime and empirical fashion that its title suggests — across nine original compositions, Hamburger reminds us that such hypothetical questions entertain possibility and ignite our imaginations.

She enlists her routine roster of collaborators for the operation, including album producer José Luiz Martins, who is also heard here on keys, synths and piano, Tyrone Allen II on electric, acoustic and synth bass, Chase Elodia on drums and Patrick Graney on percussion. Special guest Andrew Bailie joins the track “Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron)” on guitar and bass. Like her debut, Hamburger called mixing engineer Patrik Zosso for the bright sonic developments we now know as her signature as well as recording engineer Mark Reiter. In 2021, Hamburger was named a recipient of the Chamber Music of America Performance Plus Grant, through which she was able to collaborate with powerhouse trumpeter Ingrid Jensen on the production of What If? “Both Ingrid and the whole band's insight really helped shape the music that I had written into these fully formed pieces they became,” the bandleader adds.

For Hamburger, composing means creating a visceral narrative and scene. As a result, the output of What If? is immense and multi-hued, combining electric sounds, synths and pedals with percussion and acoustic instruments. At times, moments are abstract, while other settings find comfort in more traditional songform moments with lyrics. Album opener “Ladybug” creates a sensible entryway for this kind of genre-bending, methodical tendency. Trading her words for winds graciously, Hamburger balances both instrumental roles without compensation, all while such intermittent sounds complement the track’s themes of dissociation.

Leaning deeper into the abstract, both pieces of “Molinos de Viento” source inspiration from Hamburger’s studies of Dadaist poetry. Honing in on the notion that art is made from randomization, “Molinos de Viento: Meditation on the Wind”, by virtue of track-producer Tyrone Allen II, is characterized by instrumental fragmentation and the especially-ridged textures of Patrick Graney’s percussion. In 2018, Hamburger wrote these sporadic sounds by a name-from-hat drawing method while a part of the prestigious Focusyear band in Basel, Switzerland. The tracks’ title is sourced from a hallucinatory scene in the Don Quixote epic, when Sancho mistakes windmills in the distance for a group of threatening giants. Hamburger connected a thread once more, morphing Sancho’s delusions into grounds for the fantastical. “Things aren’t always what they seem or appear to be,” she notes.

“Every song has a different process, a different starting point, be it a melody, a groove, another song or just a few words or chords,” Hamburger states. Tracks like “Surface Unknown” and “Plastic Stars” are soaked in ambient, trance-inducing and fusion atmospheres, the foremost unfolding into lush rhythmic stylings and resolving itself through transcendent harmonies brought forth by Hamburger’s flute and José Luiz Martins’ synths.

While at times her music grapples with notions of randomness and abstract principles, other moments such as “November 3rd” evoke concrete truths and memories. Written amid the infamous Biden-Trump Presidential election in November 2020, the composition is a device of her devout studying of Wayne Shorter’s catalog at the time and taking long walks in the woods to reflect. "November 3rd” portrays an effort to reach toward sanity, and it’s another moment where Hamburger’s style—here more straigthahead than the rest—matches the story behind it.

“​​The main concept of What If? is perception,” Hamburger shared in a statement. “The idea of challenging our perception of reality and how it relates to others and can change. It’s about exploring life in transition and questioning the boundaries of our human experience in today's society.” Keenly, Hamburger closes What If? with “Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron), a poignant, folk-flushed tribute to her two late friends. Through ethereal multi-tracking, she sings from Lowell’s point of view, relaying a message to Aaron and creating a symbol of eternal connection. This notion feels broadly understood in the context of loss and, too, an essential final impression of What If?, a record imbued with sensations, questions and multiple answers.

Lydia Liebman Productions ( Lydia Liebman and Bari Bossis)


released June 29, 2023

Alex Hamburger: flute, voice and compositions
José Luiz Martins: all keys, synths and piano
Tyrone Allen II: electric, acoustic and synth bass (except Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron)) & production on Molinos de Viento: Meditation on the Wind
Chase Elodia: Drums
Patrick Graney: Percussion (Surface Unknown, Molinos de Viento, Plastic Stars)
Andrew Bailie: Guitar and Bass on Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron)

All compositions by Alex Hamburger
Produced by José Luiz Martins

Recorded at Bias Studios by Mark Reiter in Springfield VA (except Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron))
Mixed by Patrik Zosso (except Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron))
Gone Too Soon (For Lowell and Aaron): mixed by Michael Turnwall
Mastered by Colin Girod at Master Tape

Photo by Nick Moreland
Hair and Makeup by Bravosbeauty
Styled by Emma Lurye
Art and Design by Charles Prioleau

Released on Unit Records
This project is funded in part by the Pathways To Jazz grant, a donor advised fund of the Boulder County Arts Alliance
This project is supported by Chamber Music America’s Performance Plus Program which funded the band to work on the music with Ingrid Jensen


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Alex Hamburger Washington, D.C.

DMV native Alex Hamburger is a flute player, singer, composer and educator who has lived and
played around the world with many world class musicians. After attending SUNY Purchase and
living in New York, she was chosen as a member of the 2018 Focusyear
band and moved to Basel Switzerland. Alex has returned to the DMV and released debut album “And She Spoke”. Alex is also a in the 2022 AIR class.
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