By Peter Blegvad from ‘Just Woke Up’ (released 1995)
Everyone's too nice to me,
The way Vincent Price would be
With midnight coming on
They say everything twice to me,
they look me in the eye and say
We love you like a son (we love you like a son)
But it's just sinister diplomacy,
and anyone with eyes can see
They're leading me on
Oh, soon it will come: Special delivery!
Though there's nothing to deliver me from
And everything in life could be a cutting edge or a knife
So we'd better watch our eyes
Through pinholes in the meat we see portions of eternity
That go unrecognized
While our cells obey biology and do what we do endlessly:
The great divide
Oh, soon it will come: Special delivery!
Though there's nothing to deliver me from
(Delivered in an unknown tongue)
The king protects his subjects,
drawing all his strength from objects
We pay for with our blood
And the prince is a catastrophe,
but only cos he's asked to be
He's bad for the public good
The old moth-eaten monarchy,
The cretinous aristocracy
Nostalgia for the mud
Oh, soon it will come (What's gonna come?) Sight to the blind! (Oh, sure) Conversation to the dumb And courage to the cowardly Sensation to the numb!
PETER BLEGVAD was once a member of Slapp Happy (with Dagmar Krauss & Anthony Moore), a great pop/rock trio who joined forces with Henry Cow. Ever since deciphering the lyrics on both Slapp Happy and Henry Cow albums that Mr. Blegvad was involved with, I have been a major fan. In the early 1980’s, Mr. Blegvad was a member of the Golden Palominos, collaborated with Fred Frith & John Zorn and started making his first solo albums. His first album was called ‘The Naked Shakespeare’ and it was released in 1983. Since then there have been ten solo records, as well as a handful of collaborations with John Greaves (‘Kew Rhone’ - amazing!) and Andy Partridge. More recently, Recommended Records released a 6 CD set of his earlier catalogue and last year (2017/2019), Rec Rec released Blegvad’s first album of new songs ‘Go Figure’ since 2001. I believe that Peter Blegvad is one of the greatest of all lyricists, I keep going back to many of his songs, older & newer, and marveling at his ingenuity. I urge you to check any of his albums, all are wonderful! Time to play ‘King Strut’ again tonight! - BLG/DMG
TO ALL DMG WALK-IN CUSTOMERS: WE ARE NOW OPEN 4 DAYS A WEEK!
Downtown Music Gallery is back open just 4 days a week, Tuesdays - Fridays, from noon til 6pm. We ask that you wear your masks and that you clean your hands when you enter. We will allow only 3 or 4 folks in at a time so that the proper social distance can be maintained. We are still not open on weekends and are unsure when our Sunday series will continue. And yes, many of us do miss that weekly series. It became more of a social gathering and something that many felt was an important part of our weeks. I haven’t been to a live concert in over four months (ouch!), probably the longest period of time since I started going to hear live music regularly in the summer of 1968.
This Week’s Sonic Treasures Begin with this Gem:
THUMBSCREW with MARY HALVORSON / MICHAEL FORMANEK / TOMAS FUJIWARA - The Anthony Braxton Project (Cuneiform Rune 475; USA) Thumbscrew remains Tomas Fujiwara on drums & vibes, Mary Halvorson on guitar and Michael Formanek on contrabass. This is the fifth disc from Thumbscrew, a formidable Downtown all-star democratic trio featuring three musician/leader/composers on their own. For this disc they’ve decided to challenge themselves by performing 11 early compositions by visionary composer Anthony Braxton. Most of these pieces have either never been recorded and/or have rarely been performed. This is a timely release since Mr. Braxton turned 75 on June 4, just last month, hence we are celebrating this entire year by listening to his vast catalogue of creative music, as well as reading about or listening to interviews of his thought-provoking philosophy and ideas. Ms. Halvorson is the perfect point person for this session since she has collaborated with Mr. Braxton from more than a decade and can be heard on some dozen great discs from the Diamond Curtain Wall Trio to the 12-Tet. Drum wiz Tomas Fujiwara also worked with Mr. Braxton in a trio with Tom Rainey for a 4 CD set that came out in 2014. Although contrabass great, Michael Formanek, hasn’t recorded with Mr. Braxton, he has worked with both Ms. Halvorson and Mr. Fujiwara for several different projects, the one that stands out is his own (large) Ensemble Kolossus.
All of the music here was recorded over four days (In September of 2019), when Thumbscrew did a residency at City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, PA. Considering that Mr. Braxton has been playing, composing and recording his music for more than fifty years, it is fascinating to hear music from his early days. His earliest piece here is No. 14, which gets three solo treatments and Braxton has long used visual symbols (aside from numbering them in chronological order) to name his pieces. Each of these pieces appears to have a different strategy, set up or unique way of unfolding. “Composition No. 52” opens with some intricate unison lines for the trio, which bounces between some tight/loose/tight/loose interlocking gambits. The picture for “Comp. No. 157” has 3 figures playing basketball, so I get the feeling that we are hearing or seeing some sort of team spirit going on. I had to listen to this piece several times in a row to hear how it fit together. What I did notice was that the bass & drums seemed to be playing a tightly directed part while the guitar inserts several different fragments on top. A neat trick with unexpected results. The first version of “Comp. No. 14” is for solo guitar and thanks to some effects (like a looping device), Ms. Halvorson has several lines going on simultaneously. “Comp. No. 68” is the longest piece here and unfolds slowly with both spacious and occasionally tight segments. Mr. Fujiwara switches to vibes & minimal percussion, while the guitar and bass move in dream-like waves. Mr. Formanek is featured here, increasing and decreasing the tempo and intensity with powerful force. One of the great things about Mr. Braxton’s composing is that he has always explored a wide variety of approaches to many instruments, genres and strategies. On the second version of “Comp. No. 14”, Mr. Fujiwara plays solo drums, mostly mallets on tom toms & hi-hat, the piece seems fully fleshed out idea-wise. “Comp. No. 35” is the next longest piece and features some restrained yet furious, fractured semi-acoustic guitar, vibes and bass, swirling around one another in tight episodic sections. Like all of Mr. Braxton’s music, there is quite a bit here to consider since each piece involves a variety of ideas or structural approaches. Most impressive throughout! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TREVOR WATTS - The Lockdown Solos (Hi4Head Records 029; UK) Featuring Trevor Watts on alto & soprano saxes. Legendary UK saxist, Trevor Watts, has been playing creative music (in SME, Amalgam & Moire Music) for more than fifty years and seems unstoppable at touring, recording and creating new music. Although Mr. Watts has several dozen recordings out there, very few are solo sax records. In the liner notes, Mr. Watts mentions being influenced by bebop and other older jazz forms, something he says is still part of his sound. Just yesterday at DMG (7/21/20), we listened to a soon-to-be-released Charlie Parker disc on Hat-Ezz-Thetics (‘Bird at 100’), which still sounds fresh and exciting today, more than 70 years after it was recorded! I have also been a longtime Trevor Watts fan, ever since hearing his work with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the 1960’s, Amalgam in the 1970’s and checking out the Moire Music group in the 1990’s at FIMAV and his duo with Jamie Harris (on congas) in the early 2000’s in NYC.
Each of the eight pieces here are called “I So Elated”, and I can hear that sense of joy within each one. Mr. Watts (on alto) takes a phrase on the first piece, states it and then repeats it over & over, slowly varying the line of notes, picking certain notes in the higher range and stretching them out carefully, making them special in the way they touch our heartstrings. Mr. Watts has a bittersweet (somewhat Trane-like) tone on soprano sax and slows things down a bit for the second piece. After he states the opening theme, he spins his lines around the opening phrase, tastefully caressing the theme as he carefully bends & twists the notes on his way up or back down. Watts slows things down on the third piece, his tone on alto even more poignant, a sort of slow, bluesy, near solemn vibe. There are some notes that Mr. Watts stretches out which remind me of the way Billie Holiday or Robert Wyatt also stretch them out, in a way which will reduce us sensitive souls to tears. When Watts speeds up some lines, I can hear those bebop like licks dancing in his fingers, the joy of musical ecstasy being released. There are those who consider solo sax (or other instruments) offerings to be indulgent for some reason but this is never what I feel when I hear this one. Trevor Watts has been around long enough to make each piece here work and evoke many different feelings and thoughts. This is truly a tour-de-force! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GGRIL with JOHN BUTCHER / ISAIAH CECCARELLI / XAVIER CHARLES - Façons (Tour de Bras Microcidi 014; Canada) The Grand Groupe Regional D’Improvisation Leberee (GGRIL) hail from a small town in eastern Quebec known as Rimouski. GGRIL have been around since 2007 and now have a dozen discs out on their own Tour de Bras/Circum-Disc label. They have already collaborated with established musicians like Jean Derome, Evan Parker, Danielle P. Roger and Ingrid Laubrock. It is often rare to find more experimental musicians & ensembles outside of the bigger cities or cultural centers, but things are obviously changing as the need for expression during times of repression continues to grow. A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the CD, ‘GGRIL Plays Ingrid Laubrock’ which was released last year and showed how far the GGRIL has evolved since I reviewed their record with Evan Parker from 2012. Keep your eyes and ears on this ensemble, they are bound to keep making strides with each disc.
The GGRIL release has just arrived and it is an immense 2 CD set with guest musicians providing a composition and/or direction: British saxist John Butcher, Quebecois drummer Isaiah Ceccarelli and French clarinetist Xavier Charles. The title of this disc is called ‘Façons’, which means “the way” of perhaps direction of the flow. The first piece was instigated by Isaiah Ceccarelli, the mighty fine drummer who I’ve heard with Ensemble SuperMusique, the Rachet Orchestra and Henry Crabapple Disappear. His piece here is entitled, “Organon”. The current version of GGRIL has some 20 musicians plus three guest players: Caroline Kraabel (from the UK) on alto sax, Ingrid Laubrock (living in NYC) on tenor sax and John Butcher (UK) on tenor & soprano saxes. “Organon” bursts open with a dense, shimmering, monolithic, throbbing mass of drones. It feels as if we are standing on an ocean liner that is very slowly sinking and we are slowly losing our balance as we sway back and forth, back and forth. Certain instruments can be heard on the top of mass like low-end brass (tubes & trombones), perhaps bari sax, bowed bass or several electric guitars, hard to differentiate. The sound is quite dense, somewhat disorienting and most effective. Eventually the mass of sound comes down in volume as if we are getting further away from the sinking ocean liner. Once the volume decreases we start to hear other instruments slowly poke through, an organ, some amplified objects or electronics and perhaps rubbed surface and/or subtle percussion. The second is directed by Xavier Charles and the title is “Sur les Genoux”, which means to drop to one's knees. This piece begins quietly with rustling fragments carefully unfolding, you must listen closely to hear what is going on. If you think not that much, you must listen closer.
The third is called “Local Fixations” and it was composed/directed by John Butcher, who also plays on it as well. This piece takes up the entire second disc is 43 & 1/2 minutes long. It begins with some disturbing fractured electric guitar(s). One or two instruments enter at a time: two or three strings then soft bent-note reeds, frantic muted horns back to silence or just space. This piece sounds less directed or focused, perhaps more improvised with just some occasional directed moments. The flow of events here is more sporadic sounding hence the feeling that is mostly improvised. There are some disturbing eruptions which occur when you might not expect them. There seems to be a more careful, partially crafted or directed vibe going on. There are some both magical and occasional disorienting moments going on, perhaps directed or perhaps not. Overall, well worth exploring, especially with each piece being completely different. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $16
JACOB GARCHIK with ANNA WEBBER / ADAM O’FARRILL / DAVY LAZAR / JONATHAN FINLAYSON / ROMAN FILIU / et al - Clear Line (Yestereve Records 06; USA) Featuring Jacob Garchik - composer & conductor with a thirteen piece ensemble of reeds and brass. The featured soloists here include: Anna Webber & Roman Filiu on saxes and Adam O’Farrill & Jonathan Finlayson on trumpets. I have long been fascinated by the work of trombonist, Jacob Garchik, who has self-produced four discs of his own music, each one quite different instrumentally, personnel-wise and concept-wise. Who else but Mr. Grachik would name his album, ‘The Athiest Gospel Trombone Album’?!?!?
This is Mr. Garchik’s fifth disc as a leader and he has again unleashed another new concept work, this time for a thirteen piece ensemble of just 4 trumpets, 4 trombones and 5 saxes. Mr. Garchik was inspired by Hergé (Belgian cartoonist), the creator of ‘Tintin’, a graphic novel from the 1920’ & 1930’s. This along with Grachik’s fascination with architecture, “ serves as an audio analogy to graphic artists’ and architects’ translation of 3 dimensional space to 2 dimensional drawings.” Garchik also claims to be influenced by Duke Ellington, Raymond Scott and Wolfgang Rihm. When I first heard this music on -ine, it reminded me more of those Frank Zappa or Stan Kenton-like complex charts. The first piece is called “Visualization of Interior Space” and it starts with some quick intense, spiraling lines. I love the way the horns & reeds are being stretched with odd layers of twisted yet tight harmonies. Wow! Unlike most chamber music that I listen to, this music is more exciting and consistently engaging while several layers of interlocking lines all swirling tightly together. “Stacked Volumes” seems like an apt title since what we hear are slow moving lines carefully placed one on the other. The way that Mr. Grachik writes this music does remind me of the way an architect also has to balance several layers of interlocked lines. Although there is no rhythm section here, Mr. Garchik is able to get a wide range of rhythmic and extended musical ideas across, using all of the reeds and brass in a fully orchestral way. There are a number of shorter solos from Mr. Finlayson, Mr. O’Farrill and Ms. Webber but what works best is the way Grachik paints his canvas (or created his space) with the complex harmonies and stacked lines, which makes things most fascinating throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STIRRUP 6 with FRED LONBERG-HOLM / NICK MACRI / CHARLES RUMBACK KEEFE JACKSON / RUSS JOHNSON / MARS WILLIAMS / et al - The Avondale Addition (Cuneiform Rune 473; USA) “The Avondale Addition” is my first interaction with Stirrup’s output, and the fourth in their catalog. The core trio of Charles Rumback, Nick Macri and Fred Lonberg-Holm is bolstered by a wonderfully balanced 6 piece ensemble of key players from the Chicago jazz scene. The most familiar all-stars to me are Keefe Jackson and Mars Williams, but man are there great moments from everybody! While there is very engaging solo work shown from all players, it is the way this ensemble is sequenced together and the sections align which is most compelling. Lonberg-Holm is one of my favorite cellists and a world class improviser (veteran collaborator with Brotzmann, Braxton, Vandermark et. al) but doesn’t play a note here, instead functioning as “lightbox operator”, using a tool for conducting/conduction developed elsewhere in his discography and on beautiful display here. Little to no context is given for the lightbox methodology or process, but it certainly explains the optical and kinetic ensemble arrangements on this disc. There are clear heads and written out sections that square up with a familiar vocabulary of experimental “big band” and harmolodic group writing, but the transitions between them feel controlled with a tasteful splash of precision and ease. One can imagine and almost hear visual cues fading in and out, like multiple projectors firing static loops set in motion upon the same surface and producing repetitive and evolving patterns. Bassist Nick Macri carries rock steady ostinatos throughout many of the pieces with a firm pizzicato, over which the Lonberg Lightbox drives dynamic solos and combinations from the ensemble, several of whom are switching instruments throughout. One is reminded of the Zorn game pieces, if they incorporated more repetition and slower groove oriented rhythm sections. Players are paired against and on top of each other, heads are brought back at just the right time to accentuate a soloist wailing, and the timbral blend from each of the melody players is chameleon-like. Violist Jen Clare Paulson stands out as a great ensemble glue-machine, able to occupy a full sound range inside of the horn section, and against the other strings. Clearly something new to be found with every listen here, and I expect we’ll be spinning it in the store for a long while!” - Frank Meadows, DMG
PAUL VAN KEMENADE with JASPER VAN'T HOF / THREE HORNS AND A BASS / BUDHA BUILDING / et al - Stranger then Paranoia (Kemo 022; Netherlands) Featuring Paul van Kemenade - alto sax with Three Horns and a Bass: Louk Boudestejin - trombone, Angelo Verploegen - flugelhorn, Eric Vaaron Morel- flamenco guitar, Wiro Mahieu - double bass plus Jasper van’t Hof - piano, Maria Portugal - drums, Budha Building on electronics & manipulations and another project called Hammond Sandwich. Dutch saxist Paul van Kemenade is most ambitious and has released some two dozen discs on his own Kemo label. Each of the nine pieces here match Mr. Van Kemenade with a different duos or small ensembles, with just two repeated units. It is Mr. van Kemenade's soulful, striking, bittersweet alto sax tone that is at the center of each piece, always bringing things up another notch. The duos are all strong and distinct, with legendary pianist Jasper Van't Hof (once of Euro fusion bands Pork Pie & Association P.C. plus work with Greete Bijma & Manfred Schoof), drummer Maria Portugal and Budha Building (a/k/a Hans Timmermans) on electronics. The group, Three Horns and a Bass, is especially laid back and most enchanting. I hadn’t heard of members of the Three Horns or their bassist, but I am most impressed by their quaint, sublime sound. They remind me of that Brazilian/jazz/pop sound that was popular in the mid 1860’s yet without any of the commercial syrup. If they have their record out, I will have to find it. There are some unexpected delights found throughout this disc like the playing of Flamenco guitarist, Eric Vaarzin Morel on the opening track, the Cappella Pratensis vocal ensemble on two tracks, bowed contrabass great Wiro Mahiue on “Shout, Sh*t and Sing” and the ethnic hand percussion of Simone Sou on several pieces. Mr. Van Kemenade occasionally lets out those striking blasts but does so on rare occasions, knowing when to lay back and be lyrical in some more reflective moments. Van Kemenade also gets to stretch out with an older sounding organ unit called, Hammond Sandwich. The duo with Van Kemenade and Budha Building (a/k/a Hans Timmermans) on electronics is slow, spacious and most haunting. I found this disc to be consistently enchanting, reminding me of being outside in the heat, softly swinging on a hammock and sipping on a daiquiri or tequila sunrise or something bitter sweet to wet (y)our whistle. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAUL VAN KEMENADE / BUDHA BUILDING - Russian Roads (Kemo 025; Netherlands) Featuring Paul Van Kemenade on alto sax and Budha Building a/k/a Hans Timmermans on live electronics & audio manipulation. Dutch saxist Paul Van Kemenade runs his own Kemo label and has been sending us CD’s for the past few years. Each disc has different personnel and a different concept. Everything I’ve heard so far (perhaps 10 discs) has been impressive in different ways. On this disc, Van Kemenade works with someone named Budha Building (a/k/a Hans Timmermans) who plays electronics and manipulates sound. I hadn’t heard much from Mr. Timmermans before now although he does appear on a disc called, ‘Anthology of Dutch Electronic Music - 1999-2010’. Mr. Timmermans creates beats or grooves for the opening song, “Koersk”, it sounds like an ancient drum machine with some somber background synth swirling underneath. The sampled pattern sounds like a small toy box or perhaps a glockenspiel, rather charming with Van Kemenade’s lovely, bittersweet alto sax floating on top. It sounds as if Van Kemenade sax is triggering the sounds that are accompanying it. On each piece, Mr. Timmermans samples a charming groove-oriented sound so that Mr. Kemenade can a series of strong, spirited solos, rarely too far out but still engaging nonetheless. The overall vibe here remains haunting, thoughtful and calm at the center. Perfect music to drift away to. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAUL VAN KEMENADE / STEVKO BUSCH / MARKUS STOCHAUSEN / MARKKU OUNASKARI - Double Solo / Fugara (Kemo 024; Netherlands) Review next week.
2 CD Set $18
SABU TOYOZUMI / RICK COUNTRYMAN / YONG YANDSEN - Future of Change (Chap-Chap Records CPCD-017; Planet Earth) Featuring Sabu Toyozumi on drums & erhu, Rick Countryman on alto sax and Yong Yandsen on tenor sax. Legendary Japanese drummer, Sabu Toyozumi (currently 73 years), is from a small group of musical pioneers who comprised the first generation playing free improvisation music in Japan. Starting out with the equally legendary figures, Masayuki Takayanagi and Kaoru Abe, both deceased. He has also played with many of the great free music improvisers like Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, Wadada Leo Smith and Kenny Millions. Recently Mr. Toyozumi has been working a new bunch of younger players: Rick Countryman (American-born saxist, currently living in the Philippines) and tenor saxist Yong Yandsen who recently recorded with Paal Nilsson-Love and a more recent disc with Sabu, Mr. Countryman and bassist Simon Tan, on this same label.
This disc was recorded in February of this year (2020) in the Philippines, just a few months ago. The first thing I noticed about this disc is how well it is recorded, the sound is splendid, well-balanced and completely focused. Unlike the earlier session by the same musicians, this date had no bassist. Yet, tight, explosive balance of energy is tightly woven. Mr. Toyozumi is a master drummer and does a great job of supporting and interacting with both saxes at the same time. At times it sounds like he is using the higher percussive sounds like cymbals & snare with Countryman’s alto sax while he also matches his bass drum closer to the sound of Yandsen’s tenor sax. Still, it rarely remains that simple since both saxes work their way through both the higher and lower end of their ranges. When both saxes start to bend their notes together at the upper end, it hard to tell them apart plus they work well at exchanging dialogue spinning quick lines around another in a furious fashion. As these pieces unfold, the trio slow down so that either or both saxes get their chance to stretch out, carefully bending and twisting certain notes which Toyozumi keeps the energy flowing from underneath, navigating the rapids that saxes weave their way in and out of. This is power, intense and inspiring free music played at its best. Dig in today! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LIBRARY OF BABEL with SHANE PARISH / EMMALEE HUNNICUTT / FRANK MEADOWS - Sing to Me Of… (Hypnic Jerk; USA) Featuring Shane Parrish on guitar & vocals, Emmalee Hunnicutt on cello & vocals and Frank Meadows on bass. Prog guitar freaks should know the work of Shane Parish, longtime leader of the great Ahleuchatistas, an incredible prog/math rock power trio & duo from Asheville, North Carolina. I wasn’t familiar with cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt before this disc arrived but multi-instrumentalist, Frank Meadows, has been the manager here at DMG for the past few years, keeping DMG afloat and helping me/us through some difficult times. Hence, thank you Frank from myself and all DMG customers who order from us and/or come to visit. This disc was recorded in Hot Springs, NC in March of 2018.
All but one of the pieces here have one word titles. “Winter” is first and has a lovely, haunting, hypnotic, repeating melody line. The music here has a warm, folky, charming sound with and is mostly acoustic. The music here has an older, familiar sound, almost ancient in nature. Frank’s bass is often at the center of these pieces, holding down the sublime soulful vibe/pulse. The cello on “Idumea” creates a soft pulsating drone while the rest of the trio flutters around that drone. On “America”, the trio play with skeletal restraint, I can hear a solemn, haunting vibe in there but we all must fill in the rest of the canvas to see, hear or feel the complete picture. The Golden Harp is powerful and a living object of magic. The song here with that title is also most enchanting, like finding a long lost memory of something that made you feel good and being reminded of that fleeting feeling. Ms. Hunnicutt’s cello has an ancient sound, as if coming from the time before technology alienated all of us mortals. The last piece, “Coston”, features two voices, one spoken word (Shane) and one sung (Emmalee), it sounds as if both voices are coming from different worlds, so that we have to listen closely and divide our attention to hear the whole picture. This is only 25 minutes long, which works out fine since it does feel complete. We can just play it again when it is done. So nice to hear some acoustic for a change without very much angst that we usually get in most DMG discs. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALVIN LUCIER - Works for the Ever Present Orchestra (Black Truffle 060; Australia) “Black Truffle's documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer, as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier's works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O'Malley, for whom it was composed (BT 033LP, 2017). Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier's works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier's instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behavior of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. "Titled Arc", for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano, and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where "Double Helix", for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier's excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier's continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work. Cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier. Double-CD release comes in four-panel digipak with a 16-page booklet with live photos. Disc two of the double-CD version release includes the bonus Adaptions for the Ever Present Orchestra featuring two pieces ("Two Circles" and "Braid"), not included on the vinyl version.”
2 CD Set $20
K. LEIMER - A Figure Of Loss (Palace of Lights 12020; USA) "A Figure Of Loss takes K. Leimer's music into highly personal terrain. Written and recorded during two dark years, the resulting work hovers in proximity of a calm and placid consistency, tenuously balanced on expanding and contracting foundations. Built mostly around modeled and treated piano and digital synthesis, a sense of coherence emerged from piece to piece during the recording and editing process, yielding a sustained, but disturbed elegiac atmosphere, seemingly content to meditate on its own specific set of limits. But A Figure Of Loss reaches from well-defined patterns to fragmented and shifting densities. This is a music of reflection, setting itself at a distance from loss in order to possibly comprehend it. The CD includes a portfolio of photographs by Tyler Boley and a download code for the entire album. It was mastered by James Savage. K. Leimer founded Palace Of Lights in 1979. Leimer's work has also been issued by Autumn, First Terrace, Les Giants, Invisible Inc., Origin Peoples and RVNG. His early cassette work is included in the critically acclaimed VOD box set American Cassette Culture and is included in Cherry Red's Noise Floor series. Leimer has been actively producing music since the mid-1970s -- his current catalog includes eighteen solo albums plus collaborative albums with Savant and Marc Barreca. His work is included in the collection of The British Library."
TYRANNOSAURUS REX - Elemental Child Live In 1970 (London Calling 5057; UK) Tyrannosaurus Rex, live from the Progressive Rock Festival, Sporthalle, Köln, Germany on April 4th, 1970. Marc Bolan replaced Steve Took with Mickey Finn in late October 1969, and the revised duo recorded A Beard Of Stars, which was released in March 1970. A few days later, they traveled to Germany to play at Cologne's Progressive Pop Festival. Appearing late in the afternoon of the second day, they performed a mixture of psychedelic folk, pop, and rock, clearly pointing the way towards their huge success later in the year. Their complete set, broadcast on WDR-FM, is presented here, digitally remastered, together with background notes and images. Personnel: Marc Bolan - acoustic & electric guitars, organ, vocals; Mickey Finn - drums, tablas, percussion; Moroccan Clay drums, finger cymbals, vocals.”
DMG Book Department:
EDWIN PREVOST - An Uncommon Music for The Common Man - A Polemical Memoir (Matchless/Copula; UK) “An uncommon voice that weaves together an extraordinary life of musical exploration and trenchant, relentlessly discomfitting observations on improvised musicking, Eddie Prévost’s unsettling An Uncommon Music for the Common Man excoriates critical pretense and academic cant while getting at uncomfortable truths about how and why music matters.” - Daniel Fischin
“A very different kind of musician’s memoir, a provocative and stimulating account in which the founder-member of AMM questions every aspect of his life and purpose in making music.” - Richard Williams
I am currently reading the Keith Rowe book and am about 2/3 of the way through this large (500 page!), fascinating book. I am a longtime fan of AMM, the ensemble which began in the mid-sixties with Eddie Prevost on drums & percussion, Keith Rowe on guitar (played horizontally) and Lou Gare on sax. I once booked them for a show in New York in 1994 when their gig fell through, but know very little about their backgrounds. I certainly didn’t realize that they were actually older than me when I picked them up at the airport and had them stay at my apartment in sleeping bags on my floor. Oops! That gig turned out to be great, well-attended and reviewed in the NY Times, hence I’ve maintained friendships with Mr. Rowe, Mr. Prevost and John tilbury ever since. I found the Keith Rowe book to be consistently fascinating as a way to understand how their music (AMM's) evolved over a long time. I know that Mr. Prevost and Mr. Rowe eventually had a falling out, which I am reading about in the Rowe book now. We just got in the Prevost book which I will read as soon as I finish the Rowe book in a week or two. I have always enjoyed Mr. Prevost’s articulate and honest writing so I look forward to reading it soon enough. - BLG/DMG
BOOK [250 pages with illustrations] $38
JOHN STEVENS - Search & Reflect - A Music Workshop Handbook (RockSchool 902775; UK) John Stevens (6/10/1940-9/13/14) was one of the greatest of British jazz drummers, leading seminal ensembles like Spontaneous Music Ensemble, as well as running workshops to help nurture hundreds of creative musicians in the UK and elsewhere. Mr. Stevens worked with, experimented with and taught the magic and understanding of free improvisation throughout his long musical life and was an inspiration to many. This book features “Concepts and Pieces” written by Mr. Stevens as a guide to help creative musicians expand their talents. I have been reading through this book, picking one exercise or idea at a time, so that I have a better understanding of the way that “free” or “creative music” works. Although I am not a professional musician, I did once take drum lessons in high school and played in a few rock bands. In college and afterwards, I did start and continue to jam/improvise with other musicians, non-musicians and poets, something I still do on occasion and which helps to keep me sane and inspired. Although this book is meant for musicians on all levels, there is quite a bit to learn if one is a lifelong serious listener. I love this book and I admire John Stevens even more now. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOK [112 pages, 12” x 10”) $25 [very limited & we have 5 copies only]
PHILL NIBLOCK - G2,44 /X2 (Room40 4122; Australia) Matte laminate embossed sleeve; includes insert card and 24-page book with liner notes from Bill Meyer, interview, and photos. Design by Traianos Pakioufakis.
From finer notes from Bill Meyer: "In 2001, Phill Niblock wrote, 'You should play the music very loud. If the neighbors don't complain, it's probably not loud enough.' In 2019, Niblock can no longer host his annual six hour-long solstice concert at the Experimental lntermedia loft; not only did the neighbors complain, the landlord sued. But the validity of his prescription is undiminished, for it takes sonic volume and spatial confinement to unlock his music's true nature. Give the sound waves a boost and something hard to smack against, and they begin to shiver and multiply so that tones transform tones and every turn of the head (or every new room) yields a new listening experience. But 'Guitar Too, For Four' is notable in Niblock's oeuvre for its independence from loudness. While it sounds great turned up, the additive process that yielded the CD's two versions has resulted in music that changes most rewardingly, even when heard at modest volume. Victor Frankl opined that in the hierarchy of essential human motivations, meaning eclipses pleasure. In some ways, this music hews closer to the pleasure principle. Once you let go of the yearning for tunes and grooves, it's a sensuous delight to dunk yourself in the warm sound-bath of his music. And Niblock would be the first person to scotch any efforts to assign the sort of cosmic significance that certain other drone-oriented minimalists did to their art. But consider this notion; Niblock's music is fundamentally social. It only truly happens in spaces where people gather. While he does much of the composing and assembling of this music alone, Niblock didn't treat 'Guitar Too, For Four' as finished until he got some more people in on the act. He asked Rafael ToraI and Jim O'Rourke to contribute to a CD edition. And when O'Rourke declined to play on his own production, but instead invited Kevin Drumm, Alan Licht, Thurston Moore, and Lee Renaldo to do the honors, Niblock's reaction was: the more, the merrier. To the extent that connecting people is an essentially meaningful activity, this music is the connective tissue of meaning."
BOOK CD $25
EVAN PARKER - Monoceros (Treader 008; UK) "Originally recorded direct to disc and released by Incus in 1978, this new edition from Treader is pressed from the original stampers. Hand-finished sleeve. 'Parker uses rapid tonguing techniques and circular breathing to create a sound all his own, marked by the simultaneous intonation of multiple notes. One hears a note as well as all the residual tones around it; each breath ends up sounding like a battle between the different registers of the horn. At various times, Parker's saxophone sounds like dolphin speech, electronic tape squeals, or human murmurs; namely, anything but what it actually is. His language on the instrument is essential listening for anyone interested in acoustic experimental music' --AllMusic. 'Eight years after Topography Of The Lungs, and two years after his Saxophone Solos, Monoceros was the most muscular statement of Evan Parker's solo saxophone muse. Superbly recorded, it seemed to place the listener within the chaotic air flows of the saxophone's own tubing. Philip Clark said: 'Parker's dialogue with the saxophone throws up so much that is unexpected, and indeed unknowable, that the problem he faces is how to keep pace with his own invention' --The Wire, Best Albums Of The Year."
JIM O'ROURKE - Shutting Down Here (Portraits GRM 001; Austria) “Shutting Down Here is a special work. Symbolically, it covers a period of thirty years, between two visits by Jim O'Rourke to the GRM, the first, as a young man fascinated by the institution and his repertoire, the second, as an accomplished musician, influential and imbued with an aura of mystery. Shutting Down Here is a piece shaped like a universe, a heterogeneous world in which collides the multiple musical facets of Jim O'Rourke: instrumental writing, field recordings, electronic textures, and cybernetic becomings, dynamic spaces, harmonic spaces, silent spans. This variety of approach, strangely, does not in any way weaken the coherence of the whole and this is the talent of Jim O'Rourke, a talent, properly speaking, of composition, where all the sound elements compete and participate to stakes that exceed them and of a common destiny, that is to say of an apparition. Due to the wide dynamic levels, please adjust your volume accordingly.
JODY HARRIS / ROBERT QUINE - Escape (Sorcerer Records 1009; Australia) Sorcerer Records present the first reissue of Jody Harris and Robert Quine's Escape, originally released on the New York based No Wave label Infidelity (Lust/Unlust subsidiary) label in 1981. Jody made his name on the NY scene mainly through his work with the legendary avant-funksters, The Contortions, while Robert Quine, who sadly passed away in 2004, was one of the most acclaimed guitarists of his day, noted for his work with Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, John Zorn, Matthew Sweet, and many more. The two recorded Escape in Quine's apartment with a whopping budget of $7 (that's what it cost Quine for the tape). The album sees them both engaging in guitar duels over a primitive drum machine, a kind of skeletal minimal-synth with avant-guitar excursions overhead. Outward-bound yet wholly listenable, the five tracks represent a great lost gem of the NYC underground scene of the day. Recommended to fans of No Wave, Rhys Chatham, Suicide, and the music of Robert Quine and Jody Harris, of course. This edition also comes with an inner sleeve featuring liner notes from Jody Harris detailing the recording, as well as exclusive photographs of the two. Remastered by Mikey Young and fully authorized by Jody Harris and Robert's brother, Van. Edition of 600.
ASHTRAY NAVIGATIONS - Greatest Imaginary Hits (VHF 148; USA) "27th Anniversary set for the multi-dimensional midland screw, led by Phil Todd and Melanie O'Dubhslaine. Nearly six hours of cosmic, psychedelic, mind-boggling sounds, featuring a newly recorded LP plus four max-length CDs curated by AshNav connoisseurs Rob Hayler, Henry Rollins, Pete Coward, and Neil Campbell. The CDs are drawn from the band's massive back catalog of mostly small run / private releases, covering activity dating back to 1994. Mining a deep well of thousand-yard stare psychedelia, Ashtray Navigations possess of one of the most exciting outré music catalogs of the contemporary era, matching the classics from any era in originality and straight-up bonkers fun. This epic release includes a full range of hypnotic jams, including sequencer-led cosmic workouts, drifty ambience, and a heavy dose of Phil Todd's ripping, laser guitar leads. The gatefold LP also includes pithy liner notes from Matt Valentine, Henry Rollins, Jon Dale, and more." "Phil. Well I am glad you're finally back from your place in Monaco and getting to work. The pictures of you with the polo mallet and the horses you sent were impressive, sure but when you sell yourself as an artist type and then are seen cavorting with those over tanned Euro trustfunders, it is alienating to your audience. You are, however, the only person I have ever met who has actually cavorted and that's why you will always be a mid-level god to me." - Henry Rollins
LP 4 CD Set $36
ATTENTION ALL CREATIVE MUSICIANS OUT THERE, Around the world.
If you have a link, for some music that you are working on and want to share it with the folks who read the DMG Newsletter, please send the link to DMG at DMG@Downtownmusicgallery.com. Many of us are going stir crazy staying at home so if you want to inspire us and help us get through these difficult times, please show us what you got. I listed some these last week but have also a few more.
MORE THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE WAITING AROUND FOR THE WORLD TO END OR GET BETTER:
STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
This is the section where I usually recommend upcoming concerts in the NYC area. As far as I can tell there are no upcoming shows anywhere around here, except perhaps on-line. All places I usually frequent are now closed for the foreseeable future. And everyone is worried about the near future, their health and their sanity for their friends and family. I am trying to come up with something inspirational to put out there but I am also very worried about myself, the store, all of the creative musicians that we need and support, as well as everyone else who has lost their jobs.
I have been at home at my old apartment in New Jersey, cleaning, reorganizing my collection, finding lots of doubles, listening to dozens of records, CD’s,cassettes and DVD’s. And working on my ongoing series of discographies and assorted music lists.
Over the past month a number of musicians have been putting up some music on-line for anyone to check out. I know that many of us are going a bit stir crazy so it is time to do some soul searching and serious listening. Here is a list of some music links to check out:
THIS IS FROM MY GOOD FRIEND JESSICA HALLOCK,
who runs the New York Noise website and helps to promote creative music from hundreds of different musicians! At the beginning of April, Jessica convinced me not to go to the store and stay at home & work from there/here. Thanks to Jessica, Frank Meadows and Charmaine Lee, I have taken their advice seriously and I remain safe and alive (at home) while the store continues to do mail-order. Thanks Jessica, I do appreciate your tough love, this is what it takes sometimes to get the elder folks to break with their usual routine or habits and think more clearly about life.
This is from Jessica Hallock, please do check it out, there is so much to explore here and I know some of you are bored and need some inspiration/distraction:
Livestreams are obviously no replacement for live shows, but they're all the community we have right now––so experimental music calendar NYC-Noise.com now provides links to livestreams (with artist / curator donation info); a roundup of local musicians' releases; COVID-19-related resources, including links to grants, petitions, & a local venue donation list; & an Instagram account (@NYC_Noise) promoting artists and releases. Please let me know about your livestreams &/or new records at www.nyc-noise.com/submit.
The Steve Circuit by Yuko Otomo & Matt Mottel:
Anthology Film Archives with Andrew Lampert
This Summer, 2020, ISSUE and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council present The Steve Circuit, an episodic series of videos and digital artwork dedicated to the late beloved poet Steve Dalachinsky developed by his wife, painter and poet Yuko Otomo, and interdisciplinary artist Matt Mottel. Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Dalachinsky was an unforgettable fixture within particular strains of experimental music, poetry, and art—and at cultural happenings and gatherings of all kinds in Lower Manhattan and beyond. Dalachinsky was an important figure to many. He passed away September 16th, 2019.
Steve’s art was created in tandem with the public life he lived. The places he inhabited—arts venues, community gardens, the New York Public Library neighborhood branch, his Spring Street sidewalk store—were all part of his daily routine. He was influenced by the culture he witnessed. He created his art both in public and at home. Late at night, in his apartment, after returning from film screenings, art openings, and multiple concerts, he returned to his collage artwork and to type up the poems he had written by hand during the day out in the world.
Over the course of six events throughout the Summer, 2020, these historical sites will be revealed in a weekly online presentation. Each week, videos made by Otomo & Mottel will be streamed pairing Dalachinsky text, recordings, and artwork, with additional artistic collaborators who were part of the Dalachinsky orbit. The online cultural map and presentation will provide a “virtual polaroid snapshot” of Downtown New York’s cultural history.
In addition to Otomo and Mottel, the series will feature contributions from Vito Ricci & Lise Vachon, Andrew Lampert, Jean Carla Rodea & Gerald Cleaver, Tom Surgal & Lin Culbertson, William Parker & Matthew Shipp, Lee Ranaldo & Leah Singer, and Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TERRY RILEY - June 24th!
Here is a new version of Terry’s “In C” (Covid Version)
Organized by Benjamin Miller in Detroit
COVID ENSEMBLE: John D Morton electric Guitar Pulse, Ben Miller acoustic-electric-bass guitars, Mike Khoury violin, Molly Jones flute, Kevin Gosa alto-soprano saxophones, Roger Clark Miller jaymar toy piano, Mike List marimba, Thom Monks vibraphone, John Keith wurlitzer and Clem Fortuna accordion.
1 hour long and truly transcendent! - BLG
THIS IS FROM GUITAR MASTER HENRY KAISER:
I have been recording video performances weekly and they get posted on Thursdays on the Cuneiform Records Youtube page.
once in a while they are historical old thangs from my video archive
and I will be doing more collaborations with other improvisors.
I plan to keep this up until there are live gigs again
so there will likely be a lot more of these
From INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY:
Every Week for the entirety of this pandemic/lockdown INGRID LAUBROCK & TIM RAINEY have been posting a new duo offering. I have listened to every one of these as they were sent out and am much impressed by the way this duo continues to evolve and work their way through many ideas. You can check out each one here:
This comes from electric bassist, GIACOMO MEREGA:
My series is called ‘Solipsism Digest’. More vids to come!
This is from good friend DON WHITE from Texas and who goes to the FIMAV Fest every year:
Two Live Sets with Experimental Guitarist SANDY EWEN:
They Who Sound Special Delivery - Sandy Ewen, Houston, TX, 5/30/20:
Etched In The Eye with Sandy Ewen - Guitar, Objects, Danny Kamins - Alto and Baritone Saxes & Robert Pearson - Keyboards
Space HL, Houston, TX, 12/19/19: https://youtu.be/zO19zhPrQhI
This is from Kevin Reilly at Relative Pitch Records:
JAMES BRANDON LEWIS Live at The Spectrum, In Brooklyn:
Support your favorite artists on Friday through bandcamp.
They are waiving their revenue share.
THOMAS SAYERS ELLIS is the leader of the great Poetry/Music/Confrontation Band HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS a/k/a HAGL.
HAGL has a website that you should check out at: www.heroesaregangleaders.com
for the latest intersection of music-minded words and word-minded music and while you are there also check out The Lokotown Reverb where classic overlooked Oral Literature, Studio Recordings and Live Performances are given a fresh look!
GIANTHOLOGY is a forum for writing not whining, aesthetics not agenda, ideas not issues, vision not victimhood, GIANTHOLOGY is edited by the members of Heroes Are Gang Leaders.
Send 2 to 4 unpublished works to HeroesAreGangLeaders@gmail.com.
ROULETTE AT HOME:
Roulette TV: Nick Dunston
In early 2019, Roulette TV sat down with bassist and composer Nick Dunston ahead of the first concert of his year-long Van Lier Fellowship. In addition to the interview, this episode features live performance footage of Dunston's quintet Atlantic Extraction and the world premiere of The Floor is Lava! written for five double basses. Dunston also premiered La Operación—a multi-movement composition written for soprano voice, two alto saxophones, two double basses, and two percussionists—as part of his fellowship in the same year. Check out:
https://vimeo.com/342125717?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=34384bb216-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-34384bb216-302668229
Playlist: Excerpts from the Black Avant-Garde - Tracks by Tomeka Reid, Reggie Workman, Diedre Murray, Anthony Davis, Amiri Baraka, Henry Threadgill, William Parker, Matana Roberts from the Roulette concert archive. - https://soundcloud.com/roulette_intermedium/sets/blackavantgarde?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=34384bb216-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-34384bb216-302668229
The weekly stream on WFMU features concert recordings by Roscoe Mitchell & Francesco Filidei, John Oswald/Miguel Frasconi/Marvin Green, and Wadada Leo Smith’s Nyabinghi Arkeztra from 1991 at Roulette. Tune in: 1. https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/93933?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=34384bb216-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-34384bb216-302668229
2. https://roulette.org/event/wadada-selasie-leo-smith-2/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=34384bb216-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-34384bb216-302668229
ARTS FOR ART Presents:
Oliver Lake Big Band:
Vincent Chancey Trio:
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 3pm EST on Facebook. Different songs on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836
STREAMING SESSIONS FROM THE EARlY GROUP:
A friend of mine named Mauro Stocco from Italy is producing a series of streaming sessions, to sustain some great contemporary musicians and improvisers in this "pandemic" period:
10th ALVIN CURRAN ( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/894396004303660/ )
17th GERRY HEMINGWAY ( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1108428936207002/ )
24th ARTURO STALTERI ( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/3053199028096720/ )
EARly (www.earlygroup.org) is proud to present a series of live streaming performances, broadcasted via a high-resolution, dedicated platform, at the following address: https://eventi.kromeidon.it
Ticket: 10 euro per performance, all the proceeds will go to the Artists.
A "replay" will be available for all ticketholders.
Time: 8.30 p.m. Italy (CEST) = 7.30 p.m. London = 2.30 p.m. Eastern time (NYC) = 3.30 a.m. Tokio 4.30 a.m. Sidney
June 12th - JON ROSE (Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/1520424481459326 )
June 19th - ROBERTO ZORZI DANILO GALLO
( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1652279368274532/ )
June 26th - ROGER TURNER (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/595396221095467/ )
July 03rd - ANDREA CENTAZZO ( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/554567335422570/ )