Lyrics by Robert Hunter, music by Phil Lesh
Chopped olive sandwiches, roses and wine
Red ripe persimmons, my sweet Clementine
I go on, I go on, I can't fill my cup
There's a hole in the bottom, the well has dried up
There's a chill in the meadow, of bottomless time
I run through the forests of linear time
Chop through the branches and cut through the vines
I'll be back in a moment, though it may take me years
In the lava rock canyons corroded with fears
Of corruptible bodies and grief beyond tears
I'll go on till I hear the sweet voices behind
That I've left for the comfort of cold Clementine
The above song is a rare Grateful Dead song that was played live just a handful of times in early 1968 but never officially recorded for any Dead studio or live album. I just discovered it for the first time as I make my way through listening to each Dead live set in chronological order. I am currently listening to February 14th, 1968 at the Carousel Ballroom, which is more than 2 hours long! “Clementine” is not found in Robert Hunter’s ‘Box of Rain’ book of lyrics. What I like most about Mr. Hunter is the way he mixes images and fragments so that we must fill in with our experiences or imaginations to figure out what his words mean. Song songs seem to change (meaning-wise) over time as we grow through different experiences with our friends, families and strangers we meet. Sometimes, I will be listening to an old favorite song that I’ve heard many times. All of a sudden a line or verse will stand out and seem to have a new meaning that I never really considered. This is why it is good to go back to something that was once so familiar and try to hear it in a new way. Not so easy but well worth the effort. - BLG/DMG
THIS WEEK’S SONIC DELIGHTS BEGINS with This Treasure:
SYLVIE COURVOISIER TRIO with DREW GRESS and KENNY WOLLESEN - Free Hoops (Intakt 351; Switzerland) “Sylvie Courvoisier presents a new trio album at the height of her mastery and success. "Free Hoops" follows the widely celebrated trio album "D'Agala" (Intakt CD 300) which "The New York Times" counted as among the best records of the year. With every concert and every album this glorious trio's modus operandi becomes more clear – Sylvie Courvoisier, Drew Gress and Kenny Wollesen play morphing music by turns intricately detailed and ambiguously wide open. The music Courvoisier writes is rigorously organized and calls for ensemble precision, as a few thorny unison heads demonstrate. But the music also harbors a mysterioso, dreamlike quality that may surface at any time, induced by a wistful ostinato or moonlit piano arpeggio stubbornly repeated, or by a quiet episode that underscores the depth of the trio's sonic space. They also do that good stuff we prize jazz for – the happy swinging, the coming together when they make complex material sing, and the flying apart when the players explore it on their own.”
OM with URS LEIMGRUBER / CHRISTY DORAN / BOBBY BURRI / FREDY STUDER - It’s About Time (Intakt 348; Switzerland) OM stills features Urs Leimgruber on soprano sax, Christy Doran on electric guitar & devices, Bobby Burri on double bass & devices and Fredy Studer on drums & percussion. The Swiss quartet OM were one of the original European jazz/rock bands (pre-fusion) bands who existed from 1972 to 1982, cutting several great records for the ECM label. Once they split up, each member continued to work on their own projects or bands, recording dozens of discs for a a variety of labels: Leo, Hat Art & Hut, Challenge and Intakt. In 2008, OM reunited and recorded a new live disc for Intakt. OM decided to continue and has just made a new studio effort called, ‘It’s About Time’. For this disc, each member of the quartet has composed 1 or 2 pieces plus one quartet improv. “Like a Lake” starts off with eerie electronics and soon breaks into a skeletal groove, building up ever so slightly. This morphs into a an explosive Hendrix-like rock/jam with some wailing guitar by the ever-impressive Christy Doran. There is a good balance going on here between the more eruptive sections and the more restrained parts, everything flows well into whatever comes next. The title track was composed by Mr. Doran and features a sly ‘Bitches Brew’-like groove and superb soprano sax from Mr. Leimgruber interacting with Doran’s feisty guitar. Over the past decade or so, Mr. Leimgruber has been playing mostly solo sax sets, as well as the occasional duo or quartet improv sessions. His writing and playing is more stripped down to bare essentials. His two pieces here deal with a skeletal yet intense outings, where every note or sound counts. Doran’s “Fragments” opens with a smashing, near-violent riff which goes back & forth between some odd avant-funk sections. Even the final long improv piece, “String Holder”, sounds great since it flows together organically. This is a strong, spirited effort that will take some time to absorb fully, it already works as one united Creative work. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FINALLY A NEW DISC From The Ever-Amazing CHRIS PITSIOKOS & CO.
Although it was just only eight months since this disc/set was recorded, it seems like a lifetime since DMG stopped having in-store concerts in mid-March of this year. Like many of the regulars who found their way here just about every Sunday for the in-stores, it feels like there is a hole in my soul, in my life, something strong is missing.Considering that DMG turned 29 in May of this year, and we have had weekly shows for more than 25 years (more than 1,300 nights), only a handful have been released on CD, LP or DVDs. I am proud whenever this happens, knowing that many of those Sundays something magical has occurred whenever it was recorded or most-likely not. I am there every week, I am a witness to so much great Creative Music, this is the food or fuel to help me keep going!
CHRIS PITSIOKOS / JAVIER AREAL VELEZ / KEVIN MURRAY - First Blush (1039 Pool 001; USA) Featuring Chris Pitsiokos - alto sax, Javier Areal Velez - prepared guitar and Kevin Murray on drums. Recorded live at Downtown Music Gallery on January 12th, 2020, yes early this year, pre-Covid nightmare close-down…. I only vaguely recall this gig in my hazy memory of in-store sets, but I do recall that saxist Chris Pitsiokos was originally going to play solo and came up with this line-up closer to the date that it went down. For this set, Chris picked a young Argentinian guitarist named Javier Areal Velez and Stone volunteer drummer Kevin Murray. Mr. Velez us with a strange but great disc from his band El Helicoptero while Mr. Murray had played here at DMG previously with elders William Parker and Dave Sewelson.
The entire set was just 21 plus minutes and this is what we get on this disc. From the first eruption, the trio is off and soaring. The trio is tight, intense and well-matched. Mr. Pitsiokos still sounds like he is taking some of those Zorn or Tamio-like multiphonics (hi-end note-bending extremes) and pushing them even further out! Guitarist JA Velez and drummer Kev Murray do a fine job of matching the focused, blistering energy and rising and falling within the free-flowing powerful currents. Pitsiokos takes the mouthpiece off the sax and plays short yet feisty mouthpiece solo while the energy dies down to a more restrained level. In the last long section the trio erupt even more intensely, on the verge of exploding before calming down to some quieter free weirdness before things end. The last section features some impressive circular breathing, multiphonic explorations by Chris, perfectly matched by fractured guitar and drum frenzy. At just 21 minutes, the length and intensity seem just about right! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
EUGENE CHADBOURNE with DUCK BAKER and RANDY HUTTON - The Guitar Trio in Calgary 1977 - Concert and Studio Recordings (Emanem 5049; UK) Featuring Eugene Chadbourne & Randy Hutton on steel-stringed guitars and Duck Baker on nylon stringed guitar. These recordings were made in February of 1977 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, some are live in concert and the others are studio recordings. I met Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn early in 1980 at a funky performance place called Studio Henry in the west Village, both played duos with Fred Frith, as well as together. This was my introduction to the early Downtown Scene along with ensembles like Materiel, Fall Mountain and Massacre. I knew nothing about the backgrounds of Mr. Chadbourne or Mr. Zorn before hearing them play and was unsure that they actually could since they seemed they were playing in ways that made little sense to me as of yet. It turns out that both of these men had been working for the past few years at coming with new ways of improvising and composing. Mr. Chadbourne had moved to Canada for several years to avoid the draft and had befriended a number of musicians from up these who he ended up playing and recording with. This disc featured both live and studio sessions from a unique acoustic guitar trio: Duck Baker, Randy Hutton and Chadbourne himself. This long CD features two solos (EC & DB), a duo and several trio sessions. Everything but the last long studio track, was previously released on an early LP called ‘Guitar Trios” which was found on Chadbourne’s own Parachute label.
Acoustic guitar trios are extremely rare, especially if one was playing most free form music. This disc features compositions from each of the three guitarists as well as a couple of covers by Roscoe Mitchell and Ornette Coleman/Charlie Haden. This is not a complete free-for-all but more partially planned or written. Randy Hutton’s “KJ is a DS”, has a twisted yet tight repeating theme which quickly turns to chaos but each change in direction seems planned. Mr. Chadbourne wrote the longest piece, “Two Peafowl…”, which gets two versions, a live and a studio one. This piece has the trio switching between mostly sparse and occasionally busy sections, the layers of fractured guitars parts are unpredictable yet sound focused. The duo with Baker & Chadbourne is more extreme, shorter in length and erupts in short bursts. On a piece called “Ornette Mashup”, several Ornette or Charlie Haden pieces are played only skeletally and you must listen closely to hear where or when those fragments emerge from the clouds. It sounds like there are three conversations going on slowly, carefully around one another. For Chadbourne’s “So Long, Mom”, the rubbed strings disorienting at first, then violent/sparse bursts, with select usage of extended playing and then a short, sweet, suspense-filled, casting of hypnotic fragments for solo nylon string guitar by Mr. Baker called, “With White Foam”, it is long, intense, rocks out at times although it is all done on solo acoustic guitar. The last & second version of “Two Peafowl…”, was done in a studio and is pretty long, 27 & 1/2 minutes. It starts off extremely sparse and carefully plotted before moving into another intense frenzied trio section. All three guitarists stretch out here with layers of diverse acoustic guitar freak-outs all connected somehow. There is a cool section where all three guitarists are rubbing the bodies of their guitars with wet fingers. It actually sounds like a daxophone, an instrument invented by Hans Reichel and first brought to NYC in the early eighties and played in duos with Fred Frith. The studio version of this piece works better since it is carefully recorded and the trio can play extreme quiet at times with measured bits of silence. The future Doc Chadbourne would soon move to New York and work with John Zorn, Tom Cora, Charles Noyes, Polly Bradfield. etc., and add his often brilliant/frenzied/multi-genred/weirdness/humor to the emerging Downtown Scene. Chadbourne would work his way quickly through jazz standards, hardcore Downtown free improv, John Zorn’s Game Pieces and into the mighty Shockabilly, an astonishing blend of 70’s psych, HC punk, C&W covers, comedy routines & music, homemade instruments like The Plunger and The Rake. It is nice to see where Eugene’s creative weirdness began. There isn’t very much late seventies recordings from the Chadbourne/Zorn crowd, outside of Zorn’s ‘Parachute Years’ box, recordings with Andrea Centazzo (‘USA Concerts on Ictus) and one album with Frank Lowe (called ‘Lowe & Behold’, never officially reissued) and perhaps a few rare Chadula cassettes/CD-R’s. 73 minutes long and well worth exploring several times over. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE ALL-CHATTERBOX NO-STARS with EUGENE CHADBOURNE / WALTER MALLI / FLORIAN NASTONG / MOLLY CHADBOURNE - The Lost Years - Volume Five: Jazz Art Colony (Chadula PO5; USA) Featuring Eugene Chadbourne on guitar & banjo, Walter Malli on soprano sax & dialogue, Florian Nastong on bari sax, Peter Zach on soundtrack and Molly Chadbourne on vocals & recorder. Of the six new Pandemic-era discs by Dr. Chadbourne, the personnel here seem to be the most obscure of the bunch. Aside from Chadbourne’s daughter Molly, the only other name I recognize is saxist Walter Malli, who has worked with Derek Bailey and Bill Dixon and can be found on some dozen or so discs by Doc Chad and his revolving cast of worldwide improvisers. After reviewing four of the six new Doc Chad Omnibook discs, I am starting to notice certain themes. Mainly, it is Chadbourne’s guitar or banjo that is at the center of most of what is going on here. There is a central figure which keeps changing from guitar to banjo, with & without any effects and mucho extended techniques like banging on the strings with objects or rubbing the strings with whatever is at hand. Chad or someone else perhaps also adds layers sound effects, cheap synth or electronics and later someone adds sax(es) and ethnic choral voices and soundtracks sounds. Things build, get more dense and then mellow out into some more sparse, spacious sections. Most of the music here is continuous with occasional moments of silence in between different sections. At first I wasn’t so sure that much was actually planned yet now that I’ve had a chance to hear these five discs all the way through, I do hear a linear, connected series twisted stories going on throughout. It juts takes some patience and a willingness to let things unfold in their own weird way. I reviewed an early Chadbourne acoustic guitar trio session from 1977 yesterday (9/20/20) and now some 40 years later, I can still hear certain ideas that have become part of Chadbourne’s vocabulary so many years later. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE ALL-CHATTERBOX NO-STARS with EUGENE CHADBOURNE / JIMMY CARL BLACK / PAT THOMAS / TONY TRISCHKA / BILL BARRETT / RICHIE WEST / WALTER MALLI / TOSHI MAKIHARI / et al - The Lost Years - Volume Six: Chatterbox Freaker Bumout (Chadula PO6; USA) Volume Six features Doc Chadbourne on guitar, banjo & assemblage, Walter Malli, John Page & Brian Walsh on saxes & clarinets, Dan Clucas on cornet, Carey Fosse on electric guitar, Tony Trischka on banjo, Pat Thomas on keyboards, Bill Barrett on harmonica, Jimmy Carl Black, Toshi Makihari and Richie West on drums. This is certainly an eclectic line-up of musicians from varied scenes: Bill Barrett, Dan Clucas & Richie West from L.A., Tony Trischka from NJ, Pat Thomas from the UK and Makihara from Philly. Plus we get a few Charlie Parker covers as well: “Scrapple from the Apple”, “You Go to My Head” and “Dexterity”. Since Doc Chad doesn’t list who is doing what or when, it is hard to tell exactly. What does work is the way the good Doc has assembled this ever-changing swirl of connected parts. Chadbourne also inserts off things like an interview/discussion about violence in movies influencing folks to be more violent. It is Chadbourne’s own playing on guitar or banjo that is at the center of most of what happens here with layers of samples, some vocals or select noises, scattered throughout, most often utilized as a running commentary to Doc Chad’s twisted yet inspired playing or his own voice. Occasionally Chad will sample a rap, funk (James Brown) or rock song, mostly as varying changes in direction. When Chad breaks into the bebop licks of “Dexterity”, it sounds as if we are sailing through a strange history of music, jazz, rock, country, noise, improv, samples, all part of one connected world. Like the other five volumes in this Omnibook series, this disc is long (73 minutes), so be patient since there is quite a bit to take in and figure out. Everything is connected or related and hence it works. It seems that Dr. Chadbourne has taken the post-modern experiments or collages invented by Frank Zappa (in the Mothers of Invention) and then John Zorn (during the early Downtown Scene days) and made them his own. At one point, we get an audio letter sent by Derek Bailey to Doc Chad which adds a certain charm to this already bizarre sonic journey. Thanks bubbie! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHARLES K. NOYES - Crimes in High Places, Part 1 (ZOaR 061; USA) Featuring Charles K. Noyes on electric guitar, amplified resonator guitar, amplified guqin, recordings & production. Charles K. Noyes is one of founding fathers of Downtown percussion playing, having his own inscrutable style when I first heard him play around 1980 at Studio Henry, Inroads or the Kitchen. In the early eighties, Mr. Noyes (or as Stephanie Stone used to call him Mr. No Yes), played in Zorn Games Pieces, Elliott Sharp projects, Material/Laswell things and the Legendary Toy Killers with fellow drummer & the unpredictably explosive Mark E. Miller (who used to throw firecrackers in the audience & light his hand on fire on stage!?!). You can ask No Wave Expert Weasel Walter about that era. A bit later Mr. Noyes was part of an extraordinary trio called Invite the Spirit with Henry Kaiser on guitar and Sang-Won Park on kayagum. Check out either CD on Tzadik (from 1983 & 12006).
Which brings us to his new solo guitars disc. Mr. Noyes’ discography is relatively slim at around two dozen discs, but as a leader slimmer still. Around a decade ago Mr. Noyes came out of retirement and did an overlooked gem called ‘Full Stop’ for Thurston’s label Ecstatic Peace. For that long lost solo effort, Noyes plays: some dozen instruments besides percussion - organ, synth, fiddle, santoor, el. guitar, pedal steel, zither, piano, electronics and tapes. So, it shouldn’t surprise too many of us Downtown Music Freaks, that Charles has just released a disc of electric & resonator guitars & amplified guqin?!? What is a guqin?!? A guqin is “a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument and it is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as "the father of Chinese music" or "the instrument of the sages". - Wiki.
Starting with “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” opens and has swirling electric guitars pulsating in waves, throbbing, Henry Kaiser-like psych sounds, still stark & spacious at points; Noyes does a fine job of creating sonic soundscapes and creating both soothing and ominous moods. Occasionally that floating sustain sounds a bit Frippish. “That Trick with Mirrors” has several layers of blinking guitars floating in ghostlike clouds. And at 19 minutes it gradually mellows down to a dreamlike vibe. Each track here seems to evoke a different spirit or vibe. It sounds like Charlie Noyes has worked hard at exploring several layers of solo guitar and the Chinese guqin. It does take some time to work our way through these long pieces but there is quite a bit to absorb here and it is well worth the trip. - Bruce Lee Gallanterd
NEW DISCS and A RARE REISSUE from MARTIN ARCHER’S FABULOUS DISCS LABEL:
TONY OXLEY with BARRY GUY / PHILIPP WACHSMANN / IAN BRIGHTON / DAVID BOURNE - February Papers (Discus 99; UK) This is a rare reissue of an early Incus album from 1977. Featuring Tony Oxley on percussion, electronics & violin, Philipp Wachsmann & David Bourne on violins, Barry Guy on contrabass & bass guitar and Ian Brighton on electric guitar. There are large number of amazing British jazz drummers but remaining at the top of the heap since the mid-sixties is Tony Oxley. Ever since playing incredibly well on John McLaughlin’s first album, ‘Extrapolation’ in 1968, Mr. Oxley has worked with many jazz or avant giants: Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Bill Evans, Howard Riley, Cecil Taylor and the LJCO. As a leader himself, Mr. Oxley has only had a handful of his own leader dates. His first two as a leader, ‘Four Compositions for Sextet’ and “Baptized Traveller’ from 1969 & 1970 (on Columbia, UK) are considered to be essential classics of early British avant/jazz. After that, Mr. Oxley had a couple of albums released on Incus Records, both great but never reissued until now. ‘February Papers’ was recorded in February of 1977 and original copies are extremely rare. Besides being a great jazz drummer, Mr. Oxley started experimenting with handmade percussion and electronics, which can be heard for his next two releases for Incus. For this album, Mr. Oxley has two groups plus a couple of solo pieces. The first group is a quartet with two violins: Phillip Wachsmann (well-regarded UK improviser) & David Bourne (unknown to me) plus Barry Guy (considered to be one the greatest contrabassists ever) and Mr. Oxley on percussion, electronics & violin. The quartet plays what some later refer to as “insect music”, cautious yet focused British improv, minimal sounding yet filled with spirited interaction. The group is a trio with Wachsmann on violin, Ian Brightman on electric guitar and Oxley. This unti sounds simialr to the quartet. Guitarist Ian Brightman is a contemporary of Oxley, Bailey & Evan Parker and sounds similar in some ways to Mr. Bailey. Brightman retired from playing for many years until recently and is on very few recordings. Even the three solo tracks here sound similar to the group pieces since Mr. Oxley is concentrating on those careful, quirky, focused sounds no matter what he is playing. So glad that this session was reissued since it is an important addition to the recorded history of British Creative Music. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RON CAINES / MARTIN ARCHER AXIS with LAURA COLE / HERVE PEREZ / ANTON HUNTER / GUS GARCIDE / JOHNNY HUNTER - Dream Feathers (Discus 88; UK) Featuring Ron Caines on soprano, alto & tenor saxes, Martin Archer on bass clarinet, organ & electronics, Laura Cole on acoustic & electric piano, Herve Perez on field recordings & electronics, Anton Hunter on guitar, Gus Garcide on double bass and Johnny Hunter on drums. I am slowly working my way through shelves of vinyl and milk crates of CD’s, listening to many discs that I’ve never or rarely heard. As I organize one section at a time, I listen to records which help me to see & hear a bigger picture the many types of music that cherish. I have been on a binge of mostly UK-based psych/prog/jazz-rock from 1967 through the early seventies and there is quite a bit of this to marvel at. A British band that I have returned to recently is called East of Eden (from Bristol, UK), who made eight albums between 1969 & 1978. I just listened to their first album, ‘Mercator Projected’ (1969) the other night and marveled at its quirky, distinctive blend. The main saxist on this record is Ron Caines, who left after that first album and returned for a reunion version of the band in 1989.
Not sure what else Mr. Caines has done through his long musical life but now he co-leads a band with Martin Archer called AXIS and this is their second disc as far as I can tell. Over the past few months, Mr. Archer, who runs this, the Discus label, sent me a half dozen discs out of the blue, each one engaging in different ways. Mr. Caines wrote all of the music on this disc while Mr. Archer did the arrangements & production. All of the musicians here are part of Mr. Archers’ ever-growing team, appearing on most of the Discus discs in different combinations, as leaders or as collaborators. The opening two part piece “Rothko Veil/Dream Feathers”, goes through some hypnotic swerves for mostly soprano sax (Archer), keyboards (Ms. Cole) & relaxed rhythm team cushion. “African Violets” has a strong Trane-like vibe, super-fine toned sax from Mr. Caines, over a swell South African gospelish melody, simmering electronics and background horn section colors. It is the piano playing by Laura Cole that is most enchanting and dream-like at times which weaves its way through all of the pieces here. Ms. Cole also has a recent 2 CD set on Discus that I haven’t gotten to yet but will soon. Mr. Caines sounds great on soprano sax snaking his way through “Marcel”, sailing high over a solid bass clarinet, guitar, electronics, acoustic bass & drums fronted unit. On several occasions Mr. Archer’s bass clarinet plays the role of Benny Maupin for the ‘Bitches Brew’ sessions. There is a haunting, ghostlike vibe at center here. Another notch for the ever-growing Disc catalogue. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MARTIN ARCHER with CHARLOTTE KEEFFE / CHRIS SHARKEY / PAT THOMAS / COREY MWAMBA / DAVE STURT / PETER FAIRCLOUGH / et al - Anthropology Band (Discus 90; UK) Ambitious two CD set featuring two ensembles, a septet and a brass & wind ensemble. The septet consists of Martin Archer on saxello & electronics, Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet & flugelhorn, Chris Sharkey on guitar, Pat Thomas on piano, Fender Rhodes & electronics, Corey Mwamba on vibes, Dave Sturt on bass guitar and Peter Fairclough on drums. I’ve listened to more than a dozen discs with Martin Archer as the leader or co-leader and keeps surprising me. He seems to play different reeds and/or keyboards on each project, excelling at whatever reed he chooses. Here he plays a saxello, one of the rarest of saxes and one which was made popular by the late Softs saxist Elton Dean. I do recognize about half of this septet: Pat Thomas from his work with Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne and Lol Coxhill; vibist Corey Mwamba from a few recent releases with Paul Dunmall, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and with Ntshuks Bonga & Andy Champion; drummer Peter Fairclough has been around longer playing well with Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall & Mike Westbrook. I don’t know much about the other three other than this: Charlotte Keeffe worked with Alex Ward; Chris Sharkey plays with TrioVD and The Geordie Approach and Dave Sturt is in the current version of Gong and plays with Theo Travis.
Each of the two discs features the same 15 songs, each disc features the septet or the brass & wind ensemble. The septet if featured on the first disc and boy, do they sound great! Very ‘Bitches Brew’ like, vibewise. The two horns, saxello & trumpet, use just the right amount of Milesian echo to give this a sly, early seventies electric jazz sound. Guitarist Chris Sharkey sounds great in the John McLaughlin position, perhaps sounding closer to Terje Rypdal or Sonny Sharrock!?! The music here is suite-like and flows one piece into the next. “The Dancer and The Spark” is a sublime duo for flugelhorn and piano that feels just right. “Behind Another Sun” is another great Miles-like piece featuring super trumpet, electric guitar, vibes and a slamming rhythm team! Pat Thomas on Fender Rhodes & electronics is a great choice, since he really does get that early seventies pre-fusion electric keyboard sound. Another great piece with a slamming rhythmic groove is called, “Snap Call/Back Wall”, which has a space groove so greasy, it will definitely get you off your chair and onto whatever dance-floor is available! All members of the septet get their chance to stretch out. Ms. Keeffe plays a long, spirited solo on “People Talking Blues”, which is followed by another tasty jazz/rock guitar solo by Mr. Sharkey.
2 CD Set $15
MARTIN ARCHER With INGAR ZACH / SIMON H FELL / RHODRI DAVIES / et al - Heritages and Ringtones (Discus 18; UK) Featuring Martin Archer - sopranino & alto saxes, Bb & bass clarinets, violectronics, keyboards & processing with: Ingar Zach - percussion; Simon H. Fell - double bass; Rhodri Davies - harp; Tim Cole - acoustic guitar; Julie Cole - voice and Herb Bayley - trombone. This mostly a solo effort by multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer with some help from assorted cohorts: The main musicians I recognize are Scandinavian miminal percussionist Ingar Zach (from Mural & the Sofa label) plus two members of the great UK trio IST: Simon H. Fell (contrabass) and Rhodri Davies (acoustic harp). The other musicians here Tim & Julie Cole, Masayo Asahara and Chris Meloche are part of Martin Archer’s ever-increasing army of under-recognized mostly UK musicians.
Considering that I’ve listened to a dozen discs by Martin Archer so far this past week, I must admit that he quite eclectic at covering diverse directions and occasional odd covers. He starts off this disc with a rather poignant, stripped down, mildly eerie version of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” for electronic drones & sopranino sax. There are five pieces here titled “Ringtone”, which are scattered throughout this disc. Each ringtone features mostly Archer, Fell (bass) & Davies (harp) and Zach (percussion). These pieces are cautious and suspense-filled, not unlike the often mesmerizing, lower-case sounds of IST. They sound improvised yet are still carefully crafted. The next unexpected cover is Bert Jansch’s “It Don’t Bother Me”, Jansch being one of the two amazing acoustic guitarists from Pentangle. Archer plays this ancient folk song on sopranino with synth & drum samples and does a great job of taking that haunting old melody of moving it into a later electronic era. Tim Cole plays lovely ghost-like acoustic guitar on a couple of tracks and sounds fine with Archer’s softly disorienting electronics flowing through. Another unexpected song to cover is Anne Brigg’s “Wishing Well”, Ms. Briggs is another legendary British folky who made a few great albums in the mid-sixties. Again, Archer plays the tender, ancient melody on sopranino with appropriate yet somewhat scary samples underneath. Strangely enough, the next piece, “Angelus Vander” sounds like a quirky, cool synth pop ditty but never obnoxious, some sped up Terry Riley riffs?!? Sometimes this makes me wanna dance, OK, I will. What record am I listening to??? Oh yeah this one. After a long stretch of minimalist weirdness, we get one more folk standard, “Let No Man Steal Your Time”, sung partially alone by Julie Cole. Lovely. It ends with something called, “The Sheffield Sound”, where some of these musicians are from. It is another sutble synth & acoustic guitar refrain, tasty, refreshing and a good way to bring this bizarre mix of many transformational sounds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DEREK BAILEY / MICK BECK / PAUL HESSION - Meanwhile, Back In Sheffield (Discus 21; UK) “A live recording of 'non idiomatic' Derek Bailey's first gig for several years in his home town. In August 2004 at the invitation of the formidable musical partners Mick Beck and Paul Hession, Derek Bailey returned to his geographical roots, Sheffield, for a couple of gigs there, and in Leeds. Bailey now lives most of the time in Barcelona, and sometimes likes to get away from the heat of its summer. His trip to Yorkshire met this criterion. Sheffield's meteorological response was dramatic - cold, and so much rain that it necessitated buckets under a few drips. Possible onomatopoeic resonances from the openings of tracks two and three can be detected. Fortunately, the Red Deer pub was just round the corner. Bailey's mainly reflective performance is complemented by Hession's rhythmically grounded but always creative manipulations of a more or less conventional drum kit, and Beck's energizing explorations with the unusual mediaeval bassoon, along with authoritative tenor sax, and various inquisitive whistles. The three tracks, [about 54 minutes] only slightly edited from an excellent recording by Chris Trent, present the majority of the concert, which was supported by Sheffield's Other Music and staged in the hall of Sheffield Royal Society of the Blind (a public venue used for a variety of musical occasions). Despite the rain, and the staging of the gig in the holiday season, there was a good audience, whose responses we wish to acknowledge but not to include on the disc.
FOUR MORE DYNAMIC DISCS from CLEAN FEED & SHHPUMA:
PEDRO MELO ALVES with EVE RISSER / MARK DRESSER / et al - In Igma (Clean Feed 554; Portugal) Personnel: Aubrey Johnson, Beatriz Nunes & Mariana Dionísio - voices, Eve Risser - piano, Abdul Moimême - electric guitar and objects, Mark Dresser - bass and Pedro Melo Alves - drums, percussion & compositions. Portuguese percussionist Pedro Melo Alves is both the drummer and composer for this unique septet. This project features a female vocal trio fronting a quartet with Abdul Moimême on guitar, Eve Risser on piano, Mark Dresser on contrabass and Mr. Alves on drums. The main thing I noticed about this group is that all three singers are used as one mostly instrumental voice, just singing sounds, bending their tones but not singing words. These three women all sound great and combine their cool yet crazed voices in spirited swarms. French pianist, Eve Risser, has come a long way in a short time working with John Hollenbeck, Pascal Niggenkemper and Kaja Draksler, as well as solo, duos & an orchestra project, all for Clean Feed. Her playing on this entire disc is absolutely magical, especially when she plucks of taps on the strings inside the piano. Drummer/composer Pedro Melo Alves did a great job of getting the vocalists push themselves, spinning their voices into odd shapes and in unique combinations throughout. The three vocalists often remind me of the singing sirens who sang to Ulysses on his travels, his naked ears tortured by the spell they cast. West Coast arco-bassist supreme, Mark Dresser get a chance to stretch out, solo and create a great cosmic tapestry with the singers on “In Igma II - On Meaning”. The vocalists also get a chance to stretch out on the final piece, “In Igma III- On Void”, the singers spinning an intense web with the spirited instrumentalists. All soaring together into outer space or perhaps inner space, depending on where you are going. OUT-standing! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TYLER HIGGINS with GABRIEL MONTICELLO / PAUL STEVENS - Broken Blues (Shhpuma 060; Portugal) Personnel: Tyler Higgins - electric guitar, feedback, organ, composition, arrangements, Gabriel Monticello - upright bass and Paul Stevens - drums, piano. This is the second disc from the Tyler Higgins Trio for the Shhpuma label. His first disc was a trio with guitar, drums & vocals, but this one has a bassist plus the same drummer. The trio hails from Atlanta, GA, where this disc was recorded in a studio. This disc actually starts off with “Day is Done”, which is more of a closing song, yet it does feel like a haunting opening requiem. Most of these pieces are tradition gospel songs which are covered with a relaxed yet solemn sense of inner calm, a prayer-like reverence. Since there are no vocals this time, the music captures that somber, spiritual, sort-of religious vibe. I can see the mourners lined up and walking slowly down the aisles at a church or synagogue, humming these deeply haunting melodies, perhaps holding candles to light the way out of the darkness around us. Mr. Higgins uses minimal distortion and feedback to drench these songs with that thunderstruck Crazy Horse quality. If it sounds like the world is coming to an end, it might just be so, so give in to that powerful, earth-shaking, blues/rock phenomena. One of the last songs played here is “The Truth is Marching On” which Albert Ayler also did and which fits within that similar religious/free/jazz vibe. Time to break the wine or whiskey or herb to help guide us into the next world. Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel??? - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
NICOLAS SNYDER - Temporary Places (Shhpuma 059; Portugal) Personnel: Nicolas Snyder
electronics, field recordings & composition. The most unanimously accepted definition of music is the one presenting it as “organized sound”. In a literal and unique way, that’s precisely what Nicolas Snyder offers us in his debut album, “Temporary Places”. These are meticulously stitched together compositions constructed from field recordings made in several geographic locations, blended with various studio materials, like manipulated clay pots, organ flutes, branches, creaky chairs, chimes and bells. With a strong cinematic feeling, this new album is in Snyder’s words “a musical conjuring of impressionistic landscapes that serve as an antidote to the loss of mobility, both mentally and physically". Though it’s musical application is serendipitously ideal for the current quarantine period resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, it was originally composed with his incarcerated father in mind and for anyone imprisoned “by the stresses of contemporary human constructs”. These are Temporary Places indeed, moving and evolving, but all the while holding space for personal exploration and contemplation. Just beautiful.
LARRY OCHS & ARAM SHELTON QUARTET with MARK DRESSER / SCOTT WALTON / KJELL NORDESON - Continental Drift (Clean Feed 555; Portugal) Featuring: Aram Shelton - alto sax, Larry Ochs - tenor & sopranino saxes, Mark Dresser or Scott Walton - double bass & Kjell Nordeson - drums. Can musicians of different generations be like-minded companions? Yes they can, at least when their names are Larry Ochs and Aram Shelton, the two composers and bandleaders of this quartet. As they themselves acknowledge, “Continental Drift” is a kinetic meeting of sorts, with compositions that are designed to inspire magnificent contributions from the entire team of players, both individually and collectively. The resulting music profits greatly from each members' individual capacities and personalities. Mr. Ochs and Shelton's musical backgrounds are both quite varied, evidenced by their own separate pasts exploring the worlds of jazz, contemporary classical, electro-acoustic and "other" music. More than that, both have been important voices of the San Francisco Bay Area improvised music scene: Ochs being a cutting-edge Bay Area improviser since the 1970’s, while Shelton, now living in Europe, is also known for his connections to the very different Chicago scene. Each plays in his own way, but they share the same principles and look for very similar results - together creating new music with a jazz approach and an avant-garde attitude, not alienated from history.”
DAVID LEE MYERS - That Which Is It (Pulsewidth PW010; USA) In the vast world of electronic music, a genre that makes quicksilver alterations on a dime, lost in an ever-growing morass of downloadable gossamer, faceless rivers of data-streaming, and YouTube overkill, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the pioneers and innovators who doggedly pursue their muse through the years against all odds. Myers is one such artist, and thank the gods that he continues to believe in the compact disc’s immutability, for his cadre of singular sound painting is ideal for the format. Post-Arcane Device, his long-held and original imprimatur, Myers’s works have tilted towards a somewhat more ‘melodic’, even accessible, sensibility that runs counter to the dense waves of sounds forged through those early feedback generators. Regardless, whatever tools he employs now to foment his art doesn’t detract from his expertise as a sound-sculptor of the highest order. This latest missive is a thing of wondrous beauty indeed, a feast for the ears and the senses that never fails to delight. On the opening “Chipelaga”, Myers erects a polyglot matrix of digital gamelan, where synthetic kalimbas underpin a virtual rainforest of shifting atmospheres that wouldn’t be out of place on a Jon Hassell record. In fact, the creations of fourth, fifth, and numberless other worlds is the engine that drives the entire disc. “Hyperon”, with its tones phasing to and fro amidst percolating bleeps and blips, simulates the humid breezes blowing through palm fronds off an Amazonian highway, while the more abrasive “Monax”, with its insistent gurgles and preening Metallica, posits the sort of lifeforms half-glimpsed behind such windswept flora. Points on a curve can plot the influential markings of Tod Dockstader, Louis & Bebe Barron, California experimentalists The Hub, fringe Teutonic artists of the 70s, mid-90s Japanese proto-IDM, and others the mind might recall, but this music truly inhabits its own unique headspace. The inventiveness on display here is, quite frankly, stunning. Myers’s breadth of ideas appears boundless; he’s one of a dwindling pool of artists whose reach never exceeds his grasp, who brings to bear the last sixty-plus years of experimental electronic origination into the contemporary arena with singular force. And it’s a marvelous thing to behold. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
PEK - SOLO - An Orchestra of PEKs - Some Truths are Known (Evil Clown 9248; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinets, saxes, double reeds, flutes, recorders, electronics, strings, acquasonic, game calls and a long list of exotic percussion. While we were/are all cooped up inside for the past six months, Dave PEK, the leader/founder of Leap of Faith & numerous offshoot bands, has been spending more time in his own studio and working on several solo offerings. This, the first 3 CD set on Evil Clown, consists of three long sessions recorded in June & July of 2020. Each CD/each set is around 78 or 79 minutes long! Considering that this was recorded at home in Evil Clown Headquarters, PEK has full use of his vast collections of instruments which seems to around 100 items! From the opening of CD-1 (“The Universe is Under No Obligation to Make Sense to You”), we hear layers of electronics, samples and varied percussion (gongs, rattles, toys?!?). This doesn’t not sound like a solo effort since PEK knows how to add several layers simultaneously by overdubbing or sampling or perhaps some sonic magic. There are way too many instruments to point out here but I do recognize certain familiar sounds: synth/organ, melodica, thunder sheets, bassoon, gongs & cymbals too numerous to list. This entire CD set is around 4 hours long altogether, so it will take a while to fully absorb. I am in the middle of listening to Disc 2 right now and thought CD-1 was fabulous! More mind-blowing music from the ever irrepressible PEK, this is a large dosage and something we all need to help get through these troubling times. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
3 CD Set $18
TWO NEW DISCS FROM DAVE DOUGLAS’ WONDERFUL GREENLEAF ALBEL:
MANUEL VALERA NEW CUBAN EXPRESS BIG BAND with ROMAN FILIU / JOEL FRAHM / DAVID SMITH / SOFIA REI / et al - Jose Marti En Nueva York (Greenleaf 1080; USA) “Sometimes big lives require big bands. That’s what Cuban composer/pianist Manuel Valera discovered after he’d completed his 2013 Chamber Music Jazz Works commission for the project José Martí en Nueva York. Martí was the patron saint of Cuba, an activist/writer and fierce catalyst for the country’s independence from Spain, who martyred himself for the cause at age 42 at the Battle of Dos Rios in 1895. Four years earlier, exiled in New York, he completed Versos Sencillos, a book of poems regarded as his masterpiece. Valera composed music around nine of those poems and premiered the project with his New Cuban Express sextet in 2014. But he soon believed the material demanded a grander scope.
With the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the promise of a monthly residency at the Queens club Terraza 7, Valera expanded the score to accommodate a 20-piece band, plus female vocalist. On this recording, the work has been elegantly polished, celebrating the marriage of American jazz and Cuban rhythm with as much rigor and passion as it fêtes Martí. While there are obvious passages where you recognize the taut pirouette of danzon and the honeydrip of bolero, the orchestrations are more frequently reminiscent of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band’s taut swing and the tone poetry of Kenny Wheeler.
There isn’t a single clunker among the seven selections. Chilean rising star Camila Meza delivers the set’s best vocal on “Por Sus Ojos Encendidos,” a poem about (perhaps mistaken) jealousy, while the music threatens eruption yet ultimately recedes like waves in a harbor. On Martí’s indictment of Spain (the poem translates as “The Brutal Enemy”), Ricky Rodriguez’s liquid bass turn is tagged by a procession of stately percussion, then capped by blistering solos from guitarist Alex Goodman and conguero Mauricio Herrera. And the closer, “Si Quiere Que de Este Mundo,” is predictably rousing, with piquant solos from piano, trumpet, bari sax, and drums.
Valera wrote much of this music while his wife Lisa battled, and eventually succumbed, to cancer. He dedicates the album—which channels copious emotions into thrilling soundscapes—to her memory.”
MIKE FAHIE JAZZ ORCHESTRA with CHET DOXAS / QUINSIN NACHOFF / DAVID SMITH / JEFF MILES / RANDY INGRAM / JEFF DAVIS - Urban(e)(Greenleaf 1077; USA) I hadn’t heard much about Mr. Fahie before now, except for one earlier sextet release on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label from around a decade ago. Each of the seven pieces here were inspired by a select group of classical composers: Stravinsky, Debussy, Chopin, Bartok, Puccini, Tchaikovsky & Bach. Chopin’s “Prelude, Op. 28” opens and it has a lush almost organ-like drone at the center which is played by the warm brass section. Both pianist Randy Ingram (CD’s on BJU & Sunnyside) and bari saxist, Carl Maraghi, take strong solos here, as does the ever-incredible Jeff Davis on drums. Puccini’s most famous aria, “Nessun Dorma” also gets a lush, haunting reading with some sublime, lovely, warm-toned tenor sax from Chet Doxas (Dave Douglas Qt collaborator). One of the highlights here and a piece I was indeed looking forward to is Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite”. Although Mr. Fahie strips things down a bit, the arrangements are still thoughtful, quite hypnotic, with an impressive tenor solo from my former Canadian buddy, Quinsin Nachoff, as well as a lush brass duo in the last section by Mr. Fahie on euphonium & Jennifer Wharton on tuba. What makes this disc so striking is the way Mr. Fahie takes this formerly orchestral arrangements and expands them for a great jazz orchestra, still capturing their essence, beauty, grace and power. Another odd choice is Bartok’s “String Quartet - No. 1”, which gets an almost metalish reading, at least guitar-wise for Jeff Miles plus some spirited solos from Daniel Linden on trombone and Brad Mason on trumpet and a short tango section?!? This disc concludes with an excerpt from JS Bach’s “Cantata, BWV 21”, which gets a most haunting treatment. It is Mr. Fahie’s thoughtful arranging that really stands out throughout this entire disc, the solos are just the icing on the cake. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN - Alles In Allem (Potomak 195992; Germany) “After more than 12 years, Einstürzende Neubauten's long-awaited new studio album Alles In Allem is finally going to be released. The album marks the quintessence of the band's output, opening yet another unexpected door in 40 years of ongoing sound research by a very experimental group of musicians around Blixa Bargeld. This band, like nearly no other, has managed to create a musical cosmos. It has, in fact, built up its own genre by uniquely combining edgy sound with sophisticated poetry. Appropriately, in the Year of the Rat -- the symbol of ingenuity and versatility according to the Chinese zodiac -- the band is not resting on the laurels of its last four decades. Instead, it curiously continues to explore everything that the sound universe has to yield, with one eye on the future and with boundless playfulness The unique sound and textual landscapes of the band, founded in 1980 in Berlin, reveal the timelessness that Blixa Bargeld, N. U. Unruh, Alexander Hacke, Jochen Arbeit, and Rudolph Moser have continuously maintained. And yet, through experimental approaches to songwriting, instruments developed over four decades and collective input, the band sounds remarkably cutting edge within its own time. In fact, through its individual brand of music the Einstürzende Neubauten seem to always command each and every manifestation of the here and now -- whether industrial in its early years, the driving beats of the 1990s or its more considered later work. The verse "Wir hatten tausend Ideen / Und alle waren gut" (We had a thousand ideas / And all of them were good) from album track "Am Landwehrkanal" could easily be perceived as the band's description of itself. The sum total is a special compilation: Alles In Allem, Einstürzende Neubauten's first regular studio album in 12 years, presents an incomparable band that defies categorization to create a genre all its own.”
MARCUS SCHMICKLER // ENSEMBLE MUSIKFABRIK / YARN/WIRE / LOGOS FOUNDATION - Richters Patterns (Tochnit Aleph 162; Germany) “Double-CD collecting five of Marcus Schmickler's key-works composed and recorded between 2006 and 2016. "Richters Patterns" (2016), "Kemp Echoes" (2013), "E-UROPAS" (2006), "Fokker Bifurcations" (2014), and "Ata Oto" (2016). Full color digipak with eight-page booklet; edition of 400. "Richters Patterns" (2016) is a collaboration among Marcus Schmickler, artist Gerhard Richter, director Corinna Belz, and the Ensemble Musikfabrik. In 2011, Richter took an image of his work Abstract Painting and divided it vertically into strips and gave them to Belz who utilized specially developed software operations involving cuts, mirroring and reproduction to create a movie from these images. Schmickler and Belz worked in parallel, with the film and composition following their own independent logic. Schmickler's idea was to extend Richter's method to divide, mirror, repeat into sound and time. "Richters Patterns" was commissioned by Koeln Musik and had its premiere on September 9, 2016 at Cologne Philharmonic Hall. "Kemp Echoes" (2013) refers to a physical phenomenon in the ear discovered by physicist David Kemp in 1978. Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) are signals in the ear (that can be detected with high quality small microphones) that are emitted by the cochlea, either spontaneously or in response to stimuli (frequently clicks). Schmickler strived to create a piece that can seem "electronic" to the ear without actually utilizing electronics. "Fokker Bifurcations" (2014) marks a departure into microtonal works for keyboards and mallets and maintains the composer's penchant for juxtaposed fixed pitches with pitch continua. Recorded live at ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn on Nov 7, 2014. The recording has been edited for this publication. "E-UROPAS / Plurality of Centers" (2006): "Shall we say goodbye to modernism? I dare to confront the myths of new music in this music theater creation. Layers containing the manifestos of Cornelius Cardew, Guy Debord, and sound materials from six decades of the avant-garde create a collage that utilizes some of the formal principles guiding John Cage's Europera V". "ATA OTO" (2017) for Robot instruments TEMBLO, TINTI, TROMS, XY by Logos Foundation & computer.”
2 CD Set $26
CHRISTINA KUBISCH - Italienische Stücke/Italian Pieces (1974-1984)(Tochnit Aleph 158; Germany) “First release of the conceptual and performative pieces by Christina Kubisch, composed and realized between 1974 and 1984 during Christina Kubisch's years in Italy. Six-panel, DVD-sized digipak, illustrated with archival photos of Kubisch with extensive program-notes in English. Edition of 300. "Liquid Piece" (1975) for flute, contact microphone and 100 glasses of water (10:00): Personnel: Christina Kubisch - flute and voice. Fabrizio Plessi - water gargling and voice. Recorded live by Phill Niblock at Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York, 1976. "Identikit" (1974) for five piano players at one grand piano, five cassette tapes and headphones (12:59): Recorded live at festival Pro Musica Nova, Radio Bremen, 1976. "Circles 1" (1984) for voice and tape delay (5:34): Personnel: Christina Kubisch - flute. Realized at Studio RDS, Milan Costante. "Variabile" (1981): sedici percorsi per un paesaggio sonoro (19:12): Personnel: Christina Kubisch - flute, field recordings, custom made electronics, radio signals and electromagnetic objects. "Kleine Liebe Violet" (1983) (9:42): Personnel: Christina Kubisch - voice, flute, slide whistle, conch, objects. Arturo Morfino - voice, drums, guitar, objects. Realized at Studio RAI, Naples.”
AYALEW MESFIN - Che Belew (March Forward)(Now-Again 5192; USA)”Ayalew Mesfin stands aside the likes of Mulatu Astake, Mahmoud Ahmed, Hailu Mergia and Alemayehu Eshete as a legend of 1970s Ethiopia. Mesfin's music is some of the funkiest to arise from this unconquerable East African nation. Mesfin's recording career, captured in nearly two dozen 7" singles and numerous reel-to-reel tapes, shows the strata of the most fertile decade in Ethiopia's 20th century recording industry, when records were pressed constantly by both independent upstarts and corporate behemoths, even if they were only distributed within the confines of this East African nation. Though Mesfin was forced underground by the Derg regime that took control of Ethiopia in 1974, he has returned almost 50 years later with this triumphant set albums -- the first time that his music has been presented in this form. These albums give us a chance to discover a rare and beautiful moment in music history, in anthologies built from Mesfin's uber-rare 7" single releases and from previously unreleased recordings taken from master tapes. Che Belew gives us a chance to discover a rare & beautiful moment in music history, in an anthology built from his uber-rare 7" single releases."
KRONONAUT - Krononaut (Tak:Til/Glitterbeat GB 096; Germany) “Coming out of the fertile London jazz and experimental scenes, Krononaut is a richly textured new ensemble helmed by guitarist/producer Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Jon Hopkins) and drummer Martin France (Nils Petter Molvær, Evan Parker). The album features an esteemed group of collaborators and a sonic footprint that channels spectral ambiance, "fourth world" expansions and a gorgeous slow-boiling pointillism. Krononaut are a posse of time-expanding shapeshifters who, in the space of two sessions recorded early last year in London, have managed to produce ten cuts of arresting, deeply immersive instrumental music. The core of the album is provided by Leo Abrahams, whose startling guitar lit up Small Craft On A Milk Sea (2010), some of Brian Eno's best work of the last couple of decades, and who plays and produces here, and Martin France, the extraordinary drummer whose wide list of achievements and collaborators includes Evan Parker, Nils Petter Molvær, and, more tangentially, Elvis Costello. The two men came at it from two radically different backgrounds: Leo, who started off studying classic composition and who, in his own words, "can't play jazz", and Martin, whose playing rests precisely on what he refers to a "jazz sensibility", on everything about interacting within and shaping the music implied by that term. In on the first session was Shahzad Ismaily (Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Marc Ribot). Like many great multi-instrumentalists (on this album he plays bass), he was keen to find a frame for the "attitude" they should seek in the session; Leo obliged by playing some Madoh, shamanic funeral music from Tajikistan, whose unique rhythms ended up informing both the guitar and drums on this record. A second session was joined by bassist Tim Harries (June Tabor, Byrne & Eno), American saxophonist Matana Roberts, and Swedish trumpet maestro Arve Henriksen. Save for Henriksen's gorgeously melodic, flute-like lines, Krononaut was improvised live with no overdubs. Yet, these soundscapes never feel jammy or unfocused, possibly because of the influence of another of the album's spiritual touchstones: avant-garde pioneer Morton Feldman. The sessions produce overall a subtle and intricate record that expands with each listen. Pointillistic and often quietly restless. Rough edges butting against discrete spaces.”
KIKO DINUCCI - Rastilho (Mais 039; UK) On Rastilho, Kiko Dinucci absorbs the lineage of Brazilian guitarists such as Dorival Caymmi, João Gilberto, Baden Powell, Jorge Ben, and Gilberto Gil -- yet filtered through his uniquely "punk" musical vision. His style is raw -- technically, he seems to attack the guitar strings, lyrically he explores Afro-Brazilian culture, slavery, Brazilian revolutionaries, candomblé, and evangelical Christianity. Dinucci is one the most innovative artists in contemporary Brazilian music -- as well as a member of Metá Metá, who combine elements of Brazilian music, candomblé, punk rock, and free jazz, he has worked with Tom Zé, Criolo, and Elza Soares. Kiko: "I've wanted to make an album dedicated to the guitar for a long time. As a child, I treated it as a toy. In my teens, with my guitar patched with pieces of sellotape, I tried to reproduce heavy rock riffs whilst finding inspiration in the Afro works of Baden Powell and guitars of Dorival Caymmi, João Bosco, Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil. In the '90s my experience in the São Paulo hardcore scene was mirrored by time spent in candomblé activities -- both shaped the way I play guitar today." Featured as one of Pitchfork's "Great Records You May Have Missed: Winter 2020". Previously only available in Brazil. CD version includes two additional songs.
ORKESTA MENDOZA - Curandero (Glitterbeat 090; Germany)”Sometimes, things fall together as if they're simply fated to exist. Orkesta Mendoza found that; as soon as the songs began to flow for Curandero, their second album for the Glitterbeat label, the stars seemed to align and everything was composed, recorded, and mastered in just a few short months. In 2018, the band began work on new material, but it didn't quite click. The music crosses and re-crosses that fluid border between Mexico and the United States, mixing rock and pop with ranchera and cumbia alongside snatches of mariachi horns. And hovering over everything is the spirit of '60s boogaloo. Band leader Sergio Mendoza was born in Nogales, Arizona (USA) but grew up across the border in Nogales, Sonora (Mexico). Rock arrived in his life after he moved back to the US, when he was still a young child. Inevitably, the different styles simply blended in his mind and fit together in his life. "Eres Oficial" looks back to the 1950s to evoke the ghost of Buddy Holly in its insistent guitar chords, and the production that puts an emphasis on the drumbeat. A stripped-back sound is apparent in cuts like "Head Above Water" and "Little Space." They bristle with hooks and immediacy and the kind of Latin flavors that would have been perfectly at home on old AM radio. Curandero quickly became an album filled with guests, featuring Joey Burns of Calexico, Chetes from the legendary Mexican rock band Zurdok, and Spanish singer Amparo Sánchez. Curandero has a close, intimate feel, but this wasn't a band playing together in a room; all the musicians came in separately to track their parts. The consistency of sound comes having the touring band drummer and bassist on most of the songs, and from Mendoza's production which makes everything seem organic and bright. The album's sole instrumental, the toe-tapping "Bora Bora," sounds like it was recorded in a dark, smoky club, with the feel of a soulful big band fueled by the retro, percussive power of Mambo. A vintage sensibility even takes Orkesta Mendoza back further -- all the way to the 1940s on the closing track. "Hoodoo Voodoo Queen" is the Andrews Sisters on a fantasy trip south of the border. The harmonies of Moira Smilie, Carrie Rodriguez, and Gaby Moreno sparkle over percussion, pedal steel and glorious, honking sax. Curandero is border music, without borders.
The NEXT ATAVISTIC REISSUE CD LIST Week #3:
PETER BROTZMANN TRIO with PETER KOWALD / SVEN AKE JOHANSSON - For Adophe Sax (Atavistic ALP 230; USA) At Last, The Reissue Of German Saxophonist Peter Brotzmann's Long Out-Of-Print First Record, One Of The Most Auspicious Debuts Of Free Music, And A Trenchant Tribute To The Inventor Of The Saxophone. "For Adolphe Sax" Is A Roundhouse Punch Of European Free Jazz, Delivered In 1967 By The Saxophonist's First Classic Trio Featuring Drummer Sven-Ake Johansson And Bassist Peter Kowald.
ROVA ORKESTRA with NELS CLINE / FRED FRITH / IKUE MORI / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE / et al - Electric Ascension (Atavistic 159; USA) Massive interpretation of John Coltrane's ASCENSION, performed by an all-star ensemble featuring The Rova Saxophone Quartet, Nels Cline (Wilco), guitar legend Fred Frith, Ikue Mori (formerly of DNA), turntable wizard Otomo Yoshihide, plus other stellar guests. "Coltrane's Ascension belongs right up there in the pantheon of multi-recorded masterworks. We had a very heavy line-up of "free-jazz" players who we thought could handle the large ensemble improvisations, but somewhere in the middle of the performance, as I was standing onstage in a state of reverie listening - I looked up at the sky and thanked my lucky stars for the experience that I was then taking part in. The respect everyone has for the composer, for the other musicians involved, and for the form called "structured improvisation" makes the music what it is. We are indebted to John Coltrane (and other great artists) for inspiring us to engage uncompromisingly in the risky business of creativity." -Larry Ochs/Rova, 2003
ZU VS. MATS GUSTASSON - How to Raise an Ox (Atavistic ALP 168; USA) “It's surprising that it took this long for Zu to release an album with Mats Gustafsson! It's such an obvious and failsafe combination. And since this is (by my count) the 8th Zu album, coming on the heels of three releases featuring Gustafsson associates Ken Vandermark and/or Fred Lonberg-Holm, it's as though they've been beating around the bush! This group has a lot in common with Gustafsson's current flagship unit The Thing; he mostly sticks to baritone sax power blasting and doesn't delve into overtly sentimental or quiet territory (for that be sure to get his monumental solo album Catapult from earlier this year, but also check out the mysterious and slow irregularities of "Beasts Only Die to be Born" on this program). At the same time, Zu have a knack for creating brooding tension with soft and sparse passages, and this disc is not just a constant assault, besides the basic fact that Gustafsson's power blasting typically has a sense of space and rhythmic clarity even at its most aggressive. With Gustafsson's baritone in harsh blowing tandem with Luca Mai's baritone, Zu's dirgy side emerges more than their funky side, but what really makes Zu so special is the way they deconstruct power funk grooves into slow, bleeding studies in the timbral underbelly of electric bass guitar, drumkit, and saxophone. They are the Melvins of funk. Massimo Pupillo has no peers when it comes to making an electric bass guitar sound like a wild hairy beast from the Paleolithic era; his genius is frightening. Pupillo is in astonishing form as usual here, and on "Palace of Reptiles" the group even achieves something close to the sublime rhythmic tension and nuance of his mind-blowing trio disc with Lukas Ligeti and Gianni Gebbia released earlier this year. Despite its surface of aggression and Last Exit styled bravado, this music is not about simple visceral thrills, not even the ones Zu have often provided in the past; Zu and Gustafsson have discovered a profound realm of phrasal abstraction and timbral nuance by slowing the music down to an abject crawl where the ugliest sound can become an oasis of motion. Listen to this like a Scelsi album and not a free jazz album and you'll be deeply rewarded. - Michael Anton Parker
NELS CLINE / ANDREA PARKINS / TOM RAINEY - Out Trios Vol. 3 (Atavistic ALP 148; USA) Featuring our main man Nels Cline on el. guitar & devices, Andrea Parkins on accordion, keyboard & sampler and Tom Rainey on drums. This is an improvised studio recording, although the inside pix are taken from their set at Tonic, probably later that same day. Although this is improvised, there is a great deal of focused interaction and intricate dialogue going on throughout. All three players are masters of improv, creating structure and connecting layers of detailed sonic spice. Tom Rainey, who can most often be found working with Tim Berne, Mark Helias and Angelica Sanchez, has his own very special rhythmic magic going on, he spins his web while connecting the trio to an inner thread. Although Andrea and Nels play mostly keyboards and guitar, they create evocative moods and textures, by manipulating their instruments in different ways, making it difficult to tell who is doing what. There are actually a number of quieter and more suspense filled sections then one might imagine, but mainly, everything remains pretty mesmerizing throughout our journey. - BLG at DMG
BRIDGE 61 with KEN VANDERMARK / JASON STEIN / NATE McBRIDE / TIM DAISY - Journal (Atavistic ALP 172; USA) Given The Logistical Hiatus That Spaceways Inc. Has Found Itself Occupying, Ken Vandermark Was Seeking To Create Another Mode Of Expression For Those Groove-Centric Hunks Of Sound. Ergo: The Birth Of Bridge61, Featuring Kv, Spaceways Inc. Bassist Nate Mcbride, V5/Sia Trapman Tim Daisy, And Newcomer Jason Stein On Bass Clarinet.
Bridge61 Was Formed In Chicago During December, 2004; All Four Members Contribute To The Ensemble By Submitting Compositions, Considering Arrangements, Working Through Material Equally. Utilizing Its Existing Histories As A Source For New Potential In Musical Exploration, The Combination Of Instruments At Bridge61's Disposal Allows Them To Utilize A Startling Range Of Sound And Tactics With The Material, Easily Moving From The Character Of An Austere Chamber Ensemble To That Of Radical Electric Noise- Or To A Kinetic Energy Hymn In Any Given Set During A Performance. Most Importantly, The Band Makes The Connection Between These Varied Aesthetics, Giving Them A Formal Sense & Structure.”
TALIBAM! with SILKE EBERHARD And NIKOLAUS NEUSER - This Week Is In Two Weeks (ESP-Disk 5049; USA) “Recorded direct to lathe cut, this pair of spontaneous creations teams two Berlin-based horn players with two New Yorkers of broad-ranging vision. Talibam! (Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea) is a 14-year working unit based in New York City that can be described in various ways -- as a classic keyboards/drums expanded-jazz duo, as Dadaist provocateurs with an innate love for the history of music, as a Fluxus-informed theater troupe, as an electronic ensemble inspired by Stockhausen, or as a rhythm section at the cross hair of agility, speed, punctuation, and intention. Since their inception in 2003, Talibam!'s ultimate goal has been to wed disparate ideologies through proficiency, controversy, inquiry, and compassion. This is their fifth release on ESP-Disk'. Silke Eberhard is the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Jazzprize Berlin. Twice she has been awarded a spot in the "Rising Star Alto Saxophone" category in the Downbeat Critics poll. Leader of the Silke Eberhard Trio and the Dectett Potsa Lotsa XL, she has also played with Maggie Nicols, Aki Takase, Gerry Hemingway, Ulrich Gumpert, Dave Burrell, Wayne Horvitz, and more, and is a member of the collective trio I Am Three. Nikolaus Neuser, also in I Am Three, has played with Gebhard Ullmann, Matthias Schubert, Maggie Nicols, Matana Roberts, Matthew Herbert, Tyshawn Sorey, Nate Wooley, Satoko Fujii, Benny Bailey, Herb Geller, etc. His main interest lies in the border areas between jazz, free improvisation, and transdisciplinary projects. Furthermore, he has composed music for several plays, was a guest professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, and appears on more than 50 CDs. Personnel: Silke Eberhard - alto saxophone; Nikolaus Neuser - trumpet; Matt Mottel - piano, synthesizer, three-string guitar; Kevin Shea - drums. Artwork by the late New York poet/collage artist Steve Dalachinsky. Edition of 500.
15 KINDER & PETER BROTZMANN, FRED VAN HOVE, HAN BENNINK - Free Jazz und Kinder (Tochnit Aleph 164; Germany) “12" vinyl reissue of the rare and infamous double-7", originally published by FMP in 1973. Recordings from a workshop at Akademie der Künste, Berlin, April 1972, featuring 15 children (aged 8-11) and Peter Brötzmann, Fred van Hove, Han Bennink.”
COSMIC MACHINE - THE SEQUEL - A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde / Various Artists (70s-80s)(Because Music 5156603; France) “This sequel to the acclaimed Cosmic Machine compilation released in 2013 is another fantastic journey through time and space. At the time musicians were trying to capture the sounds of meteorites entering the terrestrial atmosphere thanks to machines developed by NASA engineers, a new generation of analog synthesizers enabled electronic music composers to take over the charts. It seemed the machines were definitely made to serve a radical avant-garde, and many years later, we're glad to be able to listen with this perspective, and most of all -- to dance to it. While moving your feet to Cosmic Machine The Sequel, you might identify Francis Lay, recognized as one of the best music composers in France, as well as Rosebud, who had the audacity to remix the main theme from the movie More, created by Pink Floyd. You'll also find "Les Soucoupes Volantes Vertes" from Heldon, the band led by electronic music visionary Richard Pinhas. Pascal Comelade, a friend of his, and worthy heir of the American minimalism also appears on this record, with a cold electronic sound called "Mouvement Décomposé d'Un Coup de Marteau." Arpadys, for their part, make an appearance with a more tribal and spatial track that will make you turn the volume up. Christophe's "Harp Odyssey," a track influenced by his collaborations with electronic master Jean-Michel Jarre. The father of electroacoustic music, Pierre Schaeffer used to head the Group of Musical Researches, a real musical laboratory in which both artists have worked together, trying to experiment with new sounds. Finally, the legendary "Pop Corn" instrumental from Anarchic System will bring some nice memories to the surface. Each and every one of the artists present on this compilation has dreamt of getting his one-way ticket to the moon. Some of them have managed to tread upon the land of our satellite, but one thing is for sure: all have participated in the spatial conquest on board of the Cosmic Machine. You have the right to get on it. Also includes tracks by Stereo, Queen Samantha, Nicolas Peyrac, Roger Roger, Video Liszt, Pierre Porte, Grand Prix, The Peppers, Joel Fajerman & Jan Yrssen, Moon Birds, Araxis, Georges Rodi, and Michel Magne.
2 LP CD $30
BOB BERT - I'm Just The Drummer: Photography & Interviews by Bob Bert (Hozac Records 008BK; USA) "Hozac Books is proud to present our third art book, I'm Just The Drummer the Bob Bert artist compendium of photography and interviews, establishing his irreplaceable link between the 1970s no wave movement and contemporary noise rock. Although Bert's immediate work is best known drumming in his wide array of musical projects he's been involved with (such as Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Chrome Cranks, Lydia Lunch, and many more) since the early 1980s, the focus of his book isn't drum-centric as it is an encapsulation of the artistic world he's developed within. It's not a drumming instructional guide, or a critical assessment of how the drummers in bands are treated, but a 200 page guide through Bob's musically adventurous life, and what a ride! Starting out with his teenage love of photography and his process of capturing the underground downtown figureheads as well as the emerging unknown no wave bands, Bob was just as much of an enthusiastic fan of music as he was a fixture in some of the most crucial music of the 1980s, '90s, and beyond. And that's what's really important in the long run, as his excitement for music bursts from each page, providing the springboard to his long-running life in bands on the fringe of the mainstream. But Bob Bert wasn't just that figure at the intersection of commonality of several pivotal bands with an edge over the last 30 years, oh no. He also has (not surprisingly) impeccable taste in music and culture, which could only sprout forth in the 1990s with an inevitable 'zine,' and thus, BB Gun Magazine was born. Spanning from 1995 until 2004, and covering emerging underground music, film, and outer artists sub-underground, as well as Hollywood-level impresarios, I'm Just The Drummer contains a wealth of interview excerpts from the elusive original magazines, along with his photography accompaniment. From Nancy Sinatra to Vincent Gallo, and from Suicide to Cynthia Plaster Caster, Bert's undeniable love of his subjects is hard to conceal, and his book is a perfect representation of an ongoing life of true adventure, traveling the world, and illuminating the darkest corners of our cultural curiosities. 200 pages, paperback."
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 FROM MY GOOD FRIEND JESSICA HALLOCK,
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.
THIS FROM CHRIS PITSIOKOS:
This Saturday, September 26th 6pm
Three performances, in the following order
Friends And Neighbors Circus Band: A multi-sensory spectacle whirlwind featuring many of NYC's finest: Tamio Shiraishi, Matt Mottel, Samantha Riott, David Watson, Wendy Eisenberg, Gyna Bootleg, Azume Oe, Richard Lenz, Genevieve HK, Kevin Shea, Sam Weinberg, James Tweedy, Scott Pfaffman, Keegan Monaghan, Eamon Monaghan, Kevin Murray, Rose Tang, No Land, Eva Novoa, Julian Rapaport, and myself (Chris Pitsiokos), and MORE
Millie Tamppert: Wunderkind
Relatives: minimal elegance in the form of songs, featuring Ian Davis and Katie Vogel
At the Red Hook Ferry Terminal in Brooklyn next to Portside New York (who has been so so kind in helping us organize these events). Entry to the parking lot/venue is at the intersection of Conover and Pioneer Streets.
FANS of LEAP OF FAITH, PEK, OFFSHOOT BANDS & The EVIL CLOWN LABEL:
LIVESTREAMING this Saturday 9/26 3:00 pm East Coast US Time...
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Null Hypothesis...
Revisiting the roots of Metal Chaos Ensemble
A return to Metal Chaos Ensemble roots... Revisiting the debut session Null Theory from 2015... PEK and Yuri real time duet... No overdubs, no prepared tape.... just two musicians tearing it up on an arsenal of instruments at Evil Clown Headquarters....
Subscribe on the Evil Clown YouTube site for Notifications:
This is from my good friend & Victo Fest comrade CHARLES HUTCHINSON:
The TUSK Experimental Music Festival from Newcastle, UK
Will take from this Monday, September 28th to Sunday, October, 11th.
The headliners include Sun Ra Arkestra, the Dead C, Matana Roberts and Senyawa.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Blood Stereo, Posset, Rhodri Davies and one performer that I highly recommend, Taming Power. TP is a guy named Askild Haugland who makes (mostly) guitar-based minimalist pieces that are mesmerizing and lovely.
Don't miss this - https://tuskfestival.com/
THIS IS FROM GUITAR MASTER HENRY KAISER:
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 best, Henry
ARTS FOR ARTS Presents:
FREEJAZZ WORKS IN A TIME OF CRISIS
Because of You
We surpassed our $50,000 Goal
Your Donation Made the Difference
What an amazing community! Your continuing support in the face of all of the challenges that are facing us is really impressive. Together, we raised over $60,000, including over $30,000 in small donations.
We continue to post weekly Artist Diaries (https://www.artsforart.org/artistdiaries.html) and special archival footage on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/ArtsforArt?sub_confirmation=1&utm_source=Audience&utm_campaign=987d803b9c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_08_18_04_51&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3be2db18a2-987d803b9c-85161517. So there will be plenty of amazing music and art to see and inspire.
On September 7th and September 12th, Arts for Art will present Live Outdoor Events at La Plaza in The Clemente. They will be carefully presented, socially distanced, inspiring FreeJazz performances. Look forward to more information coming soon.
Wishing You Strength and Justice with Compassion.
Patricia Nicholson Parker
Founder, Arts for Arts
From INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY:
Every Week for the entirety of this pandemic/lockdown INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM 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:
Zürcher Gallery invites you
To a LIVE OUTDOOR concert
in Washington Square Park...
Thomas Buckner and Robert Dick
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2020 - 6:30 PM
at Washington Square Park
Limited seating will be available.
Suggested donation: $20
ROULETTE AT HOME:
https://roulette.org/rtv/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd- Dr. Chadbourne! EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-andc19eeaa4fd-302668229#!/grs/0/id/92
https://roulette.org/event/joel-ross/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-c19eeaa4fd-302668229
https://roulette.org/event/nels-cline-from-cage-to-cunningham/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-c19eeaa4fd-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
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