You go through changes, it may seem strange
Is this what you're put here for?
You think you're happy and you are happy
That's what you're happy for
There's a man who can't decide if he should
Fight for what his father thinks is right
There are people wearing frowns who'll screw you up
But they would rather screw you down
At my request I ask for nothing
You get nothing in return
If you're nice she'll bring me water
If you're not then I will burn
This is the time and life that I am living
And I'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given's such a little while
And the things that I must do consist of more than style
There are places that I am going
This is the only thing that I am sure of
And that's all that lives is gonna die
And there'll always be some people here to wonder why
And for every happy hello, there will be good-bye
There'll be time for you to put yourself on
Everything I've seen needs rearranging
And for anyone who thinks it's strange
Then you should be the first to want to make this change
And for everyone who thinks that life is just a game
Do you like the part you're playing
I see your picture
It's in the same old frame
We meet again
You look so lovely
You with the same old smile
Stay for a while
I need you so, oh, oh, oh, oh
And if you take it easy
I'm still teethin'
I wanna love you, but
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
This is the time and life that I am living
And I'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given's such a little while
And the things that I must do consist of more than style
There'll be time for you to start all over
This is the time and this is the time and
It is time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time
I got Bar Mitzvahed in the third week of June in 1967 at the age of 13 and became a man according to the Jewish faith. Earlier that year, I had discovered FM radio (WNEW-FM) and would listen to it as much as I could, discovering new bands every day. I made a decision to start buying full-length records after several years of just buying 7” singles (1965-1966) when I became an adult. I took some my Bar Mitzvah gelt ($$$) and bought a half dozen greatest hits collections first. I had been reading two rock magazines, Hit Parade & Song Hits, starting in 1966, mostly to check out the lyrics of songs, since the lyrics seemed important to the understanding of the song and a reflection of what was going in life at that time. I also started to read about bands that I admired and checked out record reviews for the first time. That summer, thanks to those reviews and things I heard on FM radio, I started to buy non-greatest hits LP’s. Some of the first albums I bought were: Rolling Stones’ ‘Flowers’, Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’, Mothers of Invention’s ‘Freak-Out!’ and the first self-titled album by Love. I was soon a big fan of The Mothers, the Byrds and Love, all L.A. bands that I still cherish today. That first Love LP was released in 1966 and it is one of the great folk/garage/rock debut albums. Check out the song, “Signed, DC”, about the original drummer of Love who allegedly chose to pursue hard drugs instead of continuing with the band. It is harrowing. For their second album, the personnel had changed again by adding a sax player with their original drummer switching to harpsichord. That album was called ‘Da Capo’, their sound had changed quite a bit, moving towards jazz/rock or pre-progressive sounds. Check out “Seven & Seven Is”, a single from that album and closer to (futuristic version) of punk rock than anything else at that time.
The leader of Love was Arthur Lee, who wrote many of their songs, sang lead on most and played rhythm guitar. The band again changed after their second about and became a quintet again. There is a long story about Arthur Lee firing all or most members of the band due to drug problems while they were recording their 3rd album, only to hire them back when the studio players couldn’t quite play what Mr. Lee had wanted. Their album was released later in 1967 and it is called, ‘Forever Changes’. Right from the first time I heard some of the songs on the radio and purchased the album, we all knew it was their masterpiece. It still is. Every song on this album is incredible: musically, lyrically, arrangements and production. Every time I listen to it, I am still astonished. The above song, “You Set the Scene”, closes this album and it is a perfect closing song. Arthur Lee does a fine job of painting pictures for our mind’s eye to see and behold. If you’ve never heard this album, I would advise you to do so. Play it several times so that you get all that it delivers. The album was not played live when it was first released as that version of the band split up shortly thereafter with Mr. Arthur assembling a whole new band for the next three LP’s. When the band finally broke up, Arthur recorded a solo album in 1972 and then seemed to have disappeared for twenty years. He did show up, out of the blue, at a Love tribute concert at the Old Knitting Factory in the early nineties. He soon organized a new version of Love and went on tour doing ‘Forever Changes’ live with a band and string section. I caught that version of Love at Town Hall when they did that album in its entirety. Completely awesome! Arthur Lee eventually got in some trouble and ended up in jail for a period and has since passed away in 2006. A big toast and a big hug to Arthur Lee and the entire Love band! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HAPPY 31st ANNIVERSARY TO DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY!
This coming Sunday, May 1st of 2022, DMG will turn 31 years old. Wow! Hard to believe that we’ve been around so long and are still supporting Creative Musicians and serving Serious Listeners all around the world! I am immensely proud of all we’ve done over the long hall and continue to be inspired by the music and the musicians who create it, as well as you, the still serious listeners who believe in the power of Creative Music to continue to inspire us, feed us and challenge us in a variety of ways. The world has become more treacherous since the pandemic started in March of 2020, with many folks divided as who is to blame and who lo listen for advice. I still find that Creative Music has a way of bringing us together so that we can share with each other the magic that this music often provides. Some customers often ask how long will we be around: for as long as I can remain healthy, sane and inspired to continue. Working on the newsletter every week remains something I truly enjoy doing and remain committed to keep doing. I feel fortunate to have a job that I love and always look forward to working at the store, meeting with & talking to customers, working on mail-order and listening to music with my employees that helps to make our lives better.
Special thanks to our current crew: Frank Meadows, John Mori and Kevin Murray for all their hard work and putting up with me, an occasionally caustic old guy with a good heart and encyclopedic knowledge (opinion) of Creative Music in the 20th & 21st centuries. We are still struggling financially so thanks to anyone who made recent donations and to you, our dedicated audience of friends from all over. We are going to have a small party this Sunday at around 6pm with live music & refreshments. The audience will be small so we can all be safe. There are just a few invitees and the rest are first come, first serve. It will also (hopefully) be filmed for those to check out on line for anyone who couldn’t be there. Peace, Love & Creative Music Always, Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 31st ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Continues with:
This Sunday, May 1st:
DMG 31st ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
Starting at 6:30 and Featuring:
GARY LUCAS / ELLIOTT SHARP / JOEL HARRISON
Solo Guitars, Book Signings & Jam
15 guests only - reserve a seat thru this email
Tuesday, May 3rd:
6:30: ALIX TUCOU - Bass Trombone Electronics / KALAN LEUNG - Electronic Trombone!
7:30: FEDERICO BALDUCCI / BRIAN KASTAN / MIKE PRIDE - El Bass / El Guitar / Drums
Tuesday, May 10th:
6:30: SYMBIOTIQUE: MICHAEL EATON / SETH ANDREW DAVIS / CHERYL PYLE / KYLE QUASS
7:30: KATE BIRCH / TAL YAHALOM - Violin & Vocals / Guitar
8:30: KEVIN MURRAY / CHRIS PITSIOKOS
THE E#3 will Perform at
Rockwood Music Hall
This Saturday, April 30, 10pm.
Featuring instrumental renditions of tunes by Howlin' Wolf, Wes Montgomery, Bob Dylan, Freddie King, Thelonious Monk, Robert Johnson, William Penn & Spooner Oldham, Roy Acuff, Sonny Rollins, Herb Remington, Charles Mingus, Oscar Hammerstein II and Earl Hooker
Rockwood STAGE: 3
DOORS: 10:00 - SET TIME: 10:30-11:30
TICKET PRICE: $20
185 Orchard St. NY NY 10002
THINGS BEGIN WITH NEW MUSIC FROM:
MILES OKAZAKI with MATT MITCHELL / ANTHONY TODD / SEAN RICKMAN - Thisness (Pi Records 93; USA) “‘Thisness’ is guitarist Miles Okazaki‘s third album for Pi Recordings with his band Trickster featuring keyboardist Matt Mitchell, bassist Anthony Tidd, and drummer Sean Rickman. It is a sequel to The Sky Below, which was described by Allmusic as “an umbrella of labyrinthine lyricism, full of mischief and delight as a harmonic foundation,” and by Point of Departure as “overflowing with energy, and elegant despite its complexity.” Unlike the first two releases from this band, which emphasized fantastical, narrative storytelling, Thisnessis more about providing a platform for these masterful musicians to improvise in the construct of compositions that emphasize non-linear flow between musical ideas. Okazaki describes it as “a sound that discards notions of logic and control and strives toward something more like collective dreaming.”
Thisness captures the next chapter in the evolution of the Trickster sound. The original Trickster (Pi 2017) had the aesthetics of an acoustic jazz recording, while The Sky Below (Pi 2019) was more about the exploration of a multiplicity of sounds, with layers of effects that help evince a fantastical world. For Thisness, rather than a fixed book of compositions, the music is comprised of various themes that the group weaves in and out of, connected by hubs that Okazaki describes as “traffic circles, or bus stations.” Through hidden musical cues, the leader signals when the music is approaching the transition point and which path to take to exit. As Okazaki described it: “I had detailed blueprints, but at some point, surrendered to the dream logic of the collective. The intention was to make something like an exquisite corpse, the collective improvisations developed by the Surrealists. For this album my job as composer was to bring in some ideas, set them in motion and then listen, trying to recognize the value of serendipitous events at transitional points in the music and lead the band down whatever path may be opening.” The wonder lies in the journey, with beautiful new vistas opening with each turn in the road.
The album opens with a phrase that begins all three Trickster albums, signifying the onset of the trip. The music unfolds seamlessly, revealing the movement from one episode to the next only after the transition has occurred, which is only possible with musicians who are completely attuned and possess the ability to execute these changes at the drop of a hat. Bassist Tidd and drummer Rickman, whose synergy confirm almost a quarter century of playing together, provide an elastic foundation, hurtling and tugging on the ever-present groove. Mitchell and Okazaki together are a marvel of cohesion: Their constant weaving of contrapuntal, labyrinthine lines astound with their nimble precision. The layers of overlapping melodic lines and rhythms are made more synapse-jumbling by the textural chatter from a “robot” programmed to improvise along with the recorded tracks, further pushing the music towards an alien, super-human realm. Despite all the obvious complexity, the playing feels effortlessly in service of the music rather than pointlessly dazzling. Okazaki favors clean single notes in his playing, treating the guitar as primarily a percussion instrument. While he uses a variety of guitars on the recording, his primary axe is a recently-acquired Gibson ES-150 “Charlie Christian” circa 1940 with its accompanying EH-150 amp. The sound of that instrument bathes the recording in a warm glow.
When composing this music, Okazaki envisioned a surreal world as imagined by Linda Okazaki, his mother, in her painting “Dream at Salt Creek,” which is reproduced on the album cover. The titles to the four tracks further evince that fantastical feeling: They are taken from lines from the poem “The Far Off Place” by Sun Ra, which is found in the liner notes of his album Monorails and Satellites. It’s also influenced by the writing on Surrealism by the historian and author Robin D. G. Kelley, who summed up Thisness in the album’s liner notes: “convulsive beauty, propulsive rhythm, elusive meaning…a spontaneous and unpredictable work of art, accordingly discordant, subversively accordant, a pendulum crushing the cage of temporality. This is Surrealism in practice. This is jazz. This is freedom.”
SEMANTICS with NED ROTHENBERG / ELLIOTT SHARP / SAMM BENNETT - Bone of Contention (Klangallerie GG 398; Germany) Semantics features Ned Rothenberg on alto & tenor saxes, bass clarinet, ocarina, panpipe & FZ-1 programming, Elliott Sharp on doubleneck guitarbass, 6-string bass, lap steel & mirage and Samm Bennett on drums, acoustic & electronic percussion & voice. In the first half of the 1980’s, the Downtown Scene erupted with dozens of musicians/composers collaborating in a variety of sessions and bands. All three members of Semantics were constantly evolving between solo projects, improv sets and different ensembles. Saxist Ned Rothenberg moved to town as a mention of Fall Mountain who spit up around 1981, with Ned continuing to do solo sets and improv situations with other Downtowners. Mr. Rothenberg eventually founded his own double band which included fellow saxist Thomas Chapin in the frontline. I caught Elliott Sharp around 1980 playing sax & guitar and soon organizing bands like ISM and Carbon. Mr. Sharp was an obviously restless musician/composer/bandleader who was never held down by useless categories, collaborating with Wayne Horvitz in The President and John Zorn in SLAN. To call Samm Bennett just a drummer would be misleading as he was also a wizard of sampling, singing and songwriting. Check out his work with his own band Chunk, Third Person (with Tom Cora) or as a member of the Ned Rothenberg Double Band.
This is the second release from Semantics and it was originally released in 1987 on SST Records. I caught this band live on several occasions and recorded each set. There are three live bonus tracks included here taken from a gig where they first played this material live. The bonus tracks were supplied by yours truly and transferred to digital files by my pal Matt Vernon (who runs the Archive.org website). The music here is a unique blend of oddjob jazz/rock/funk that doesn’t quite sound like anyone else. Samm Bennett’s drumming & percussive samples are often at the center of these songs. Bennett plays a churning marching groove on “Trumped Up Charges”, while E# plays some pulsating psych guitar and Mr. Rothenberg plays a chorus of (overdubbed) saxes & bass clarinet. On “Addressee Unknown” E# plays some bluesy slide/psych guitar in the middle of Mr. Bennett’s hypnotic crawling beat with Rothenberg’s chorus of saxes churning on top. You can tell by the overall sound that this was recorded & produced in the late 1980’s as it has a distinctive layered sound which blends the acoustic & electric instruments into a swirling yet compelling mass of sounds. Samm Bennett became a master of the sampler which started around this time and got even better with his own band. Mr. Sharp also was refining his use of electronics & production so that we hear certain sounds which are hard to figure out (triggered sounds?) but remain most effective nonetheless. Ned Rothenberg, who was already a pioneer of the solo alto sax performance, here has his sax(es) bathed in echoes or what sounds like loops but could be he is just repeating certain licks. A few years after this disc was recorded, Mr. Rothenberg formed his fabulous Double Band which included Mr. Bennett at one point. The seeds of the Double Band sound like they started here since their are similarities in their sound. The main difference is that since this a just a trio, all three add (overdub) a variety of layers of assorted weirdness to great effect. Oddly enough, the three live tracks sound even better (sonically speaking) since they are not as compressed and do sound larger than live. Mr. Bennett samples what sounds like gamelan gongs, which also blends several unrelated strains into one strong blend. When this disc came to an end, it made me realize that Semantics had their own sound, created their own thing. It may sound alien or even dated (of its time) today, but does sound marvelous in its own way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MAW with FRANK MEADOWS / JESSICA ACKERLEY / ELI WALLACE - A Maneuver Within (Atlantic Rhythms - AR-54; Earth) MAW features Eli Wallace on prepared piano, Jessica Ackerley on prepared guitar and Frank Meadows on prepared bass. I’ve long admired and closely watched/heard as new members of the Downtown Scene move here, collaborate and evolve over time. Former west coast keyboardist Eli Wallace once worked here at DMG and has steadily grown into one of the most adventurous pianists on the scene. Eli has already recorded with Brandon Lopez & Sandy Ewen and has an amazing solo piano disc out from 2019. His prepared piano work is in a class of its own. Guitarist Jessica Ackerley has a great duo disc out with Daniel Carter on 577 Records and recorded her next disc here at DMG with William Parker, Patrick Shirioshi & Daniel Carter. Can’t wait to hear it. As some of you may know Frank Meadows, has been working here for the past five years and is a great manager. Frank is also a members of several bands (playing bass & keyboards), runs a label and will soon be leaving DMG to do some upcoming tours so say hello to him if & when he comes to your town.
I hadn’t heard about this trio beforehand until Mr. Wallace handed me a copy of their tape a couple of weeks ago. Plus there is no personnel listed on the outside or inside of the cassette case. No matter, I just spoke with Frank to find out who plays what. I’ve been listening to more cassettes at home since the pandemic gave me more time plus I’ve been checking out my old live tapes as Matt Vernon digitizes them for future streaming. Hence, I’ve gained a better appreciation for listening to cassettes with no digital signals involved. The sound here is clean, warm and well-balanced. We can hear all of the strings (of the piano, guitar & el bass) as they are being played. And since Mr. Wallace often plays inside the piano, it is hard to tell who is playing which sound on this tape. I do hear some of Ms. Ackerley’s unique guitar sounds, tapping on the strings and playing short odd phrases. Parts of this remind me some of the Dead jams (free form) that I’ve heard recently (1969-1971) in my long odyssey of listening the Dead almost every night. I like the way the trio evokes the sound of restless moving spirits which float like ghosts in a slow dance. Since I listen to quite a bit of “free music”, I know when things are working, communicating, conversing and evoking different vibes or scenes in my/our mind(s). Nothing here is too extreme, no screaming sounds, there is sense of calm at the center of the storm. Nice work from a fine new trio! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
T.ON with MATTHIAS MUCHE / CONSTANTIN HERZOG / ETIENNE NILLESEN - Plays Matthias Muche (Impakt 016; Germany) I’ve been getting discs from German trombonist Matthias Muche since 2014 and it looks as if Mr. Muche has been recording for the Creative Sources label since 2008. Mr. Muche works with the contemporary classical unit known as Studio Dan, as well as working with fellow trombonists Jeb Bishop and Matthias Muller. Last week at the JazzwerkStatt Fest at Roulette, Mr. Muche played with the Wolfgang Schmidtke Orchestra and an amazing sextet that performed Kurt Schwitters’ Dada classic “Ursonate”. Mr. Muche left us with three of his more recent releases.
T.ON is/are a trio with Mr. Muche on trombone, Constantin Herzog on contrabass and Etienne Nillesen on extended snare drum. I can’t tell you anything about bassist Constantin Herzog but percussionist Etienne Nillesen can be found on a couple of discs from the Konnex label, released in 2014. The first piece is a an epic length work called , “Punkt Linie” and it is based on an interactive graphic score composed by Sven Hahne. The sound on this disc is larger than life, with each instrument close mic’d. Both the trombone and the contrabass have deep, bass-droning sounds. Mr. Muche is using a mute to alter his sound, giving certain notes that wah-wah effect. The sound here is slow moving and assured, suspense-filled yet deliberate. Every sound is carefully crafted and since each musician deals with extended techniques, it is hard to tell who is who aside from certain recognizable sounds. There are some sections where the bowed bass and long toned notes on the trombone criss-cross and enhance each other’s sound. The last piece is called “Gleiter” whic mean “glide” and there is a poem by Eva Jeske printed in the booklet. I get the feeling that the “glide” they are referring to is the way things move behind sounds, air or ideas. Mr. Muche gets a chance to stretch out and solo intensely here with the rest of trio combining forces to make things even more focused as one spirit/force. A great endeavor on several levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MATTHIAS MUCHE with MATTHIAS MULLER / DANIEL RIGLER / ANKE LUCKS / et al - Bonecrusher (Col Legno CL3 1 CD 15011; Austria) This features a unique ensemble of Matthias Muche with nine other trombone players plus two percussionists. I know German trombonist Matthias Muche from his work with Studio Dan, Scott Fields and Ensemble X. I also know Daniel Rigler as the leader of contemporary New Music ensemble Studio Dan, who have collaborated with George Lewis and Elliott Sharp. Trombonist Matthias Muller also seems to keep busy working with Cranes, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin and the Astronomical Unit. Also, percussionist Etienne Nillesen plays on T.ON with Mr. Muche. All of the pieces here were composed by Mr. Muche with one by Mr. Muller.
The music ensemble here is ten trombones and two percussionists, which is certainly a unique situation. Since Mr. Muche is a fine trombonist on his own, hence his writing for himself and a trombone ensemble is most engaging. “Glocken” opens with several layers of long-toned drones, some in odd harmonies, some with select reverb (or room echo) selectively utilized. I recognize the sound of some of the trombones, yet there also odd resonating sounds which are ghost-like and hard to pin down. The percussion (cymbals, gongs or drums) is used as subtle skeletal seasoning. On “Gleiter”, the trombone drones get more dense and intense, with several currents moving in waves and coalescing in connected layers. The overall effect is most dramatic, reminding us that life can be dangerous or at least unpredictable at times. On “Lufft!”, the varied layers of chattering trombones start bouncing together with some percussion to enhance the rhythmic sounds of the chattering trombones. On each piece, it is the sound of the different trombones that blend together into a unified ensemble whose vibe/overall sound keeps changing and affecting us in different ways. Just the sonorous sounds of the trombones is often captivating, yet here those sounds seem to be in constant motion, altering our perceptions as this disc unfolds. Consistently well thought out and performed. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOZEF DUMOULIN & LIDLBOJ - Live in Neerpelt (el Nego Records 070; Belgium) Featuring Jozef Dumoulin on keyboards & compositions, Bo Van der Werf on baritone saxes & electronics, Lynn Cassiers on voice, electronics & lyrics, Dries Laheye on bass & effects and Eric Thielmans on drums. Belgian keyboardist, Jozef Dumoulin, has recorded with Haino Keiji, Nate Wooley and the Bureau of Atomic Tourism. Lynn Cassiers has a fine disc out on Clean Feed with 3 or the four others members of Ledlboj. Belgian drummer, Eric Thielmans, has several discs out on Sub Rosa. This disc was recorded live in January of 2011 at Dommelhof in Neerpelt. On the first piece, “Roger Et Ses Gateaux”, things are calm with Ms. Cassiers ‘ lovely voice matching the lines of the bari saxist. The music is circular, with repeating lines swirling throughout and skeletal at times similar of the Young Marble Giants. The overall vibe here is one of a somber dreamworld as it unfolds. There is a section on the fourth track where it sounds as if someone is strumming an electric guitar softly but I guess this the sound of Mr. Dumoulin’s eerie keyboard playing some solemn waves. The way Ms. Cassiers’ dreamy voice drifts in with the bari sax matching her is one of the things which makes this disc unexpected magical at times. Since it is hard to tell where things will go here, there is an element of surprise going on. The more I listen to this, the more I hear the way things are connected which at first were no very apparent. It is as if we are entering a puzzle or maze and it takes time to figure out how to move through it. Got to listen to this again with no distractions. Odd yet somehow compelling so take some time to figure it out. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PETER FREEMAN - K3CS (Zoar ZCD 105; USA) The stuff that dreams are made of. Bassist, guitarist, and electronicist Freeman was a hugely talented if little known musician whose contributions to recordings by Nile Rodgers, Elliott Sharp, Cliff Martinez, and Jo(h)ns Hassell and Cale served to underscore his vitality as a prime component to ventures both mainstream and outré. Freeman sadly passed away two years ago, but fellow conspirator Sharp has seen fit to release this double CD on his own Zoar imprint, comprising the release Mercurial (from 2000) and Sinistar, which was completed in 2020. Criminally under-recorded, this set reveals a helluva legacy Freeman left behind; it begs the question of how much further he would have sonically taken us had he not left this world so soon. Like fellow traveller Hassell, whose mark on these pieces is undeniable, Freeman’s compositions straddled worlds fourth, fifth, and beyond, conjuring sonic mannerisms ripped from heretofore undiscovered dimensions. The liquid grooves, percolating beats, and sinuous contours found throughout Sinistar recall fellow bassist Mick Karn’s solo material, Bill Laswell’s transmogrifications, the sensate, romantic melancholy of Rain Tree Crow, the bleepstorms of early Biosphere, Steve Roach’s shifting kinetics, percussionist Steve Shehan’s multi-timbral exploits, and, of course, the ethno-diversity of pal Hassell. The ten minute humid fiesta that is “Clavilux” arises out of a thicket of quicksilver, hotbed rhythms that light the sky on fire, anchored by Freeman’s rugged basslines and state-of-the-art electronic sound design that is nigh on cinematic in its expansive use of detail, nuance, and effects. “Three Days Later” could be UK experimental alchemists O Yuki Conjugate operating in further stealth mode, all plangent tablas and propulsive forward thrust, Freeman’s guitar wrapping it in warm blankets of late-night atmospheric embrace. The Mercurial tracks operate in similar approaches but drink within deep rivers of reverb, loops, and the kind of gelatinous IDM beats so beloved by 90s progenitors like The Future Sound of London. “Mercurial 02” features Freeman virtually dueling with himself as he threads needles of guitar and bass into a labyrinthine assemblage of gorgeously knotted sound, nu-age for the new age. There is both a persistence and insistence of memory, of glimpsing regions attractive yet alien, intersecting at common points of reference. By merging the patina of acoustic instrumentation with the most malleable electronic devices, Freeman's music mines a rainbow-hued substrata of tactile immediatism, the layers only revealing themselves through frequent, immersive exposure . And the closing piece, titled simply “Soundscape”, seals the deal, its Bosch-like collage of bent noises, pregnant pauses, sudden tonal shifts, and explosive interludes birthing a dazzling feast for the mind’s eye. One of this year’s top releases—essential listening. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
2 CD Set $16
KATE SOPER / SAM PLUTA - The Understanding of All Things (New Focus FCR322; USA) Spoken word and music have long been strange, awkward bedfellows. More often than not, it takes a voice of sharp character and nuance to convincingly integrate the spoken text into a musical framework without it becoming a jarring experience. Pluta and Soper have a longe pedigree in the Wet Ink Ensemble, so each are familiar with the other’s modus operandi, and it is that artistic co-op that makes this venture so successful. Soper has a distinct, bright voice, and her recitation of a Franz Kafka narrative during the title track wields its own special magic when Pluta scatters his electronic fairydust across her phraseology. Pluta stretches her syllables into sonic taffy, thrusting her lilt and breath far out into space, and bending the air around her speech into a Pollock-like mosaic of digital warbles, blips, excited screeches, and exaggerated, hypercontextualized tones. Perhaps the recording’s fulcrum is its least experimental, the track titled “The Fragments of Parmenides”, a near-operatic, classically-designed piece for Soper’s voice and Pluta’s reasonably accessible piano accompaniment, Soper investing texts by Yeats and Parmenides with a breathless rush of emotion and poignancy. However, for those of you who prefer the duo straddle more avantist climes, the near ten-minute followup peels the paint off the walls nicely, Pluta warping Soper’s joculations into unwieldy, unrecognizable shapes, her voice turned into molten plasma, while Pluta manages to conjure everyone from Mozart to Merzbow in the process. Quite a feat, that. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
PAULINE OLIVEROS / GYORGY LIGETI - Musica Nuvolosa (Sub Rosa 528; Belgium) “After its reading of Julius Eastman's Feminine, released in 2021 (SR 501CD), the Ensemble 0 revisit the repertoires of Pauline Oliveros and György Ligeti from another angle. From the works of Oliveros, they exhumed a deeply meditative piece for accordion and voice, giving it a new life in the form of vaporous, cloud-riding chamber music. With Ligeti, the piano radicalism of the Musica Ricercata miniatures crop up again in a new and as yet unreleased orchestration.
György Ligeti (1923-2006): György Ligeti was a Hungarian-Austrian composer of contemporary classical music. He has been described as "one of the most important avant-garde composers in the latter half of the twentieth century" and "one of the most innovative and influential among progressive figures of his time." Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016): Pauline Oliveros was an American composer, accordionist and a central figure in the development of post-war experimental and electronic music.
Ensemble 0: "Music that's immediately attractive and persistently elusive" --The Wire, UK. The Ensemble 0 (pronounced "zero") is a collective created in 2004 whose full-time members are Stéphane Garin, Joël Merah, and Sylvain Chauveau. They are based in Bayonne (France), Barcelona (Spain), and Brussels (Belgium). The ensemble performs mainly pieces by living composers, as well as compositions by its members. The band has many regular collaborators and guests, allowing the line-up to increase or decrease according to each specific project. The ensemble 0 has played live around Europe (France, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany) and in Asia (Japan, Taiwan). They have released a number of records on international labels and have been reviewed or interviewed in magazines and websites such as The Wire, Vital Weekly, Fluid Radio, Mouvement, Ecocolo, The Sound Projector, Textura.”
MERZBOW - Merzbeat (Important Records 004CD; USA) “Merzbow's Merzbeat is one the most unique and legendary titles in the artist's vast archive. This 20th anniversary repress is being issued at the same time as CD reissue of his 1983 album Material Action 2 (IMPREC 510CD) and a brand new collaboration with Arcane Device IMPREC 511CD), all on Important Records. Originally released in 2002, Merzbeat contains over 50 minutes of aggressive, psychedelic, organic, analog beat oriented Merzbow compositions. Drummed rhythms, massive looping samples, a punk spirit and a return to analog Merzbow. KID 606 called it "one of the greatest thing Merzbow has ever done."
MERZBOW - Material Action 2 (N-A-M)(Important Records 510CD; USA) “First time on CD for this classic Merzbow duo album from 1983. Material Action is a favorite among early Merzbow free-music, junk-noise workouts. Psychedelic improvised instrumental energy abounds on this essential early recording that is PURE MERZ. Masami Akita plays tapes, percussion, electro-acoustic noise, organ. Kiyoshi Mizutani overdubs tapes, synthesizer, violin, machine noise. “
FRANCESCO SERRA - Guest Room (I Dischi Di Angelica 048CD: Italy) “Francesco Serra is an Italian guitarist and sound explorer. His music research focuses on performance practices aimed at expanding the timbre qualities of the electric guitar, as well as the evocative potential of sound in relationship with space and image. In 2012, at the time of his first album, Serra was often compared with musicians such as John Fahey, Loren Connors, and Alan Licht, while this new work entitled Guest Room appears more as a "reductionist", abstract journey comparable in its rigor to the work of Alvin Lucier or Phill Niblock. Starting from a minimal electroacoustic setup (electric guitar, two amplifiers, three snare-drums, a loop machine), this work is the result of his residency at the Angelica | Centro di Ricerca Musicale -- Teatro San Leonardo in Bologna during the 2021 lockdown. A work born out of the intent to catch the acoustic identity of this peculiar space (the theater is a former church, originally part of a convent). Seven microphones positioned under the vault recorded the sound enriched by the refraction on the surrounding surfaces. In the span of a month, it was possible to fully document the signs of a physical presence without leaving out any of the accidental acoustic events that took place during the performance. Entirely performed in real time and without overdubbing, Guest Room is a work of austere fascination, which confirms Francesco Serra as a musician-researcher of both rigorous poetics, and charming identity.”
SOTE - Majestic Noise Made in Beautiful Rotten Iran (Sub Rosa 535; Belgium) It's an all-electronic affair, harmonically maximalist, predominantly symphonic-synthetic, requiring active listening. Some pieces function as challengers of musical structural habits, provoking the short attention span culture, others present a problem-solution scenario, collectively via a neoteric noise aesthetic and detailed melodic weaving. Ultimately, the objective was to engineer an assortment of works full of sound, euphonic, and vivid in nature. The making of this album was intentionally a very personal process, going into self-therapy territory at times interpreting the composer's contemplating mind dealing with tolerance, destruction, compassion, misery, grace and tyranny in an auditory manner. Some pieces function as challengers of musical structural habits, provoking the short attention span culture, others present a problem-solution scenario, collectively via a neoteric noise aesthetic and detailed melodic weaving. Ultimately, the objective was to engineer an assortment of works, awash with euphonic sound vivid in its essence, with a deep focus on various synthesis techniques within a compositional framework. Dedicated to Peter Rehberg aka Pita.”
ROPE Featuring PETRA HADEN - In the Moment: The Music of Charlie Haden (Hora Records 003-2111; Italy) “Rope (named after the eponymous film by Alfred Hitchcock) is a veteran Italian piano trio featuring Fabrizio Puglisi, pianist extraordinaire, along with the solid and sensitive rhythm section of Stefano Senni on bass and Zeno DeRossi on drums. Their new release, In the Moment: The Music of Charlie Haden comes as an impassioned celebration of an iconic musician whose musical contributions spanned decades of creative jazz from the fifties to the present day. A tribute to Charlie Haden's music must take into account the constantly evolving language of modern jazz: from Ornette Coleman's desperate lyricism to the militant protest music of the Liberation Music Orchestra, to some of the most forward-looking piano trios in jazz history, Haden was a pivotal figure in numerous seminal bands which have shaped the music we know as jazz. Rope sails these seas with love and respect, the musicians plainly at their ease as they explore each chapter of this timeless American music. The moving voice of Petra Haden joins the trio in a memorable version of traditional song "Shenandoah", a favorite of her father who recorded it many times in the final years of his incredible career.”
A NICE STACK OF GREAT DISCS PURCHASED AT THE JazzWerkStatt Fest at Roulette Last week:
WOLFGANG SCHMIDTKE ORCHESTRA with RYAN CARNIAUX / NIKOLAUS NEUER / GERHARD GSCHLOBL / MATTHIAS MUCHE / et al - Bird (JazzWerkStatt 237; Germany) I caught a version of this Berlin-based orchestra at Roulette last week (on 4/20/22) and they played an entire set of music by Kurt Weill. It was consistently engaging with impressive arrangements and many inspired solos from the large ensemble. The leader here, Wolfgang Schmidtke, also played tenor sax on the next night as part of sextet performing the Dada classic, Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonate”. Right now we only have three copies to sell of this disc. I hope to get more from JazzWerkStatt in the near future, especially since they no longer have any/much distribution in the US.
DIE LIKE A DOG with PETER BROTZMANN / TOSHINORI KONDO / WILLIAM PARKER / HAMID DRAKE - The FMP Recordings: Fragments of Music Life and Death of Albert Ayler / Little Birds Have Fast Hearts: No 1 & 2 / Aoyama Crows (JazzWerkStatt 60; Germany) Reissue contains FMP CDs 64, 97, 101 and 118, which are now out-of-print. Featuring Peter Brotzmann - tenor sax, soprano sax; Toshinori Kondo - trumpet; William Parker - double bass; Hamid Drake drums, frame-drum, percussion. Four outstanding discs of international free/jazz at its best with an all-star crew. You would have to spend twice as money if you bought these discs individually on FMP and now that they are all out-of-print, what better reason to grab this great little box.”
4 CD Set $50
PETER BROTZMANN / ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH / STEFAN KEUNE / ACHIM KRAMER / HAND SCHNEIDER - Free Music Production Box (JazzWerkStatt 167; Germany) Essential FMP collection featuring: Peter Brotzmann’s ‘Lost & Found’(FMP 134, recorded July of 2006), Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s ‘Piano Solo ’77’ (FMR 129, recorded February of 2007) and Stefan Keune, Hans Schneider & Achim Kramer’s ‘No Comment’ (FMP 133, recorded August of 2008).
3 CD Set $45
DIE LIKE A DOG with PETER BROTZMANN / SONNY SHARROCK / BILL LASWELL / RONALD SHANNON JACKSON - Aoyama Crows (JazzWerkStatt 190; Germany)
LAST EXIT // PETER BROTZMANN / BILL LASWELL - Lowlife / Last Exit (JazzWerkStatt 012; Germany) Two MONSTER CLASSICS! The otherwise OUT-OF-PRINT'Low Life' Laz/Brotz duet album [minus one track] Last Exit's Live In Koln album [minus one track] on 1 CD !!! WOW! LOW LIFE: Of the many recordings Laswell has played outrageous bass throughout (numbering in the hundreds!), this is generally agreed by virtually all Laz fans to be in the absolute top ten! This pairing with Peter Brotzmann yielded an anomolous and amazing set of player textures and ideas - it so completely off the hook at times you forget that it's just bass and saxes! KOLN: A veritable Murderer's Row of sonic stalwarts, each at full strength: Brotzmann on tenor; Sharrock on guitar; Laswell on 6-string bass; Jackson on drums. Simply put, this lineup speaks for itself.
PERRY ROBINSON TRIO with ED SCHULLER / ERNST BIER - ABCDEF (JazzWerkStatt 085; Germany) Perry Robinson has been one of the most productive protagonists of the jazz scene for over half a century, and his creativity is still in demand internationally. His instrument, the clarinet, is usually associated with the heyday of Benny Goodman, the king of swing. But Robinson s roots run far deeper. They reach back into folk and blues, the ground water of American music, and to a time long before the division into oldtime vs. avant-garde and black vs. white. Perry Robinson tells living stories in that most universal of languages, music. From A to Z. The same applies to his colleagues in the Perry Robinson Trio. Ed Schuller on bass and Ernst Bier, a truly empathetic percussionist, have been Robinson s partners in animated (and animating) musical dialogue since 1984.
ARCHIVAL & HISTORIC RECORDINGS, REISSUES & RESTOCKED ITEMS:
THE TRYPES - Music for Neighbors (Pravda Records 6425; USA) The Trypes were Glenn Mercer, Marc Francis & Bill Million on guitars, John Baumgartner on keyboards, Toni Baumgartner on woodwinds, Brenda Sauter on bass and Stanley Demeski on drums plus guests Elbrus Kelement on vocals . I have long been a Feelies freak ever since their first record came out in 1980. I finally got chances to hear them live in the mid-1980’s at such places as Maxwell’s in Hoboken, where the band used to rehearse. Since the Feelies didn’t play live or record that often, several members played in a variety of offshoot bands: Yung Wu, the Trypes, Speed the Plough and Mr. Baxter. I’ve caught each of these bands live and have always dug whatever they’ve done on record or live. Like Speed the Plough, the Trypes were a larger version of the Feelies with keyboards and woodwinds added. The Trypes only recorded one 4-song EP in 1984 and can be found on a Feelies offshoot collection 2 LP set called, ‘Music for Neighbors’, which was released on LP-only in 2012. This disc seems to collect all of the material that Trypes recorded and has some 16 songs. There are their initial EP songs, home recordings, a live set from the Bottom Line in 1984 and a couple of reunion tracks from 2017.
Listening to the songs from their first EP from 1984, that magical, laid-back folk-rock, Feelies-like sound still sounds most enchanting. Instead of Glenn Mercer’s usual plaintive voice we get some charming female vocals by Brenda and Toni who sing in lush, mellow harmonies. The only comparison I can make is perhaps Belle & Sebastian, who formed a decade later. Both the Feelies and all of their offshoot bands like to do cover songs and here the Trypes cover two George Harrison/Beatles songs, “Love To You” and “The Inner Light”. “Love To You” is taken from the Beatles, ‘Revolver’ album and it sung by Glenn Mercer. The song sounds like a revved up Indian raga and sizzles with a more restrained psych sound. During the late sixties, there was a type of rock music known as sunshine pop which was defined by the band known as Free Design. The Trypes seem to come from a similar sound/vibe. “The Undertow” was written by Glenn Mercer, lead guitarist, lead singer and main songwriter for the Feelies. The song does have that churning, hypnotic, repeating sound that the Feelies so much reveled in. There are layers of acoustic & electric guitars and layers of hand percussion, all of which sound wonderful together. The sun is shining brightly today (4/27/22) and this music does indeed feel like sunshine coming through my kitchen window. The five home recordings have a quaint sound, unpolished yet still charming in their own way. Elbrus Kelemet sings lead and wrote lyrics to several songs here. Mr. Kelemet has a more workman-like voice with doing much embellishment, it does fit the more modest sound of this band quite well. The other great cover here is “The Inner Light” which was on the flipside of the “Lady Madonna” (Beatles single in 1967). It is yet another Indian-sounding song and most enchanting. There are loads of gems found throughout this entire 60 minute disc. Try on the Trypes and go for a cosmic spin. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
WAKE OOLOO - Stop the Ride (Pravda Records 6362; USA) Wake Ooloo is Glenn Mercer on guitar & vocals, Russell Gambino on keyboards & vocals, John Dean on bass & vocals and Dave Weckerman on drums & vocals. The Feelies are and were one of the greatest rock bands to emerge from New Jersey and I have been a big fan since hearing their first album in 1980. Right from the beginning they’ve had their own unique sound. In their early days, they only played on holidays, making each gig special. Original members like Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Dave Weckerman and Stanley Demeski, have been in various versions of the band, as well as in their half dozen offshoot projects. The second version of the band recorded two records in 1986 (‘The Good Earth’) and 1987 (Only Life’), both are amazing and seeing them live has always been a transcendent experience. After their fourth album was released in 1991, the band split up for 20 years. Word is that Bill Million had moved to Florida with his family, thus ending the band. During the time that the Feelies split, some members joined other bands with their co-leader, Glenn Mercer, releasing three solo efforts (2007-2016). Mr. Mercer started another band called Wake Ooloo, recording three albums in 1994, 1995 and 1996. He was joined by fellow Feelie Dave Weckerman on drums plus Russell Gambino on keyboards and John Dean on bass. ’Stop the Ride’ was the third disc from Wake Ooloo, first released in 1996 and now finally reissued on CD.
Since I hadn’t heard of any of the three albums by Wake Ooloo previously, I was glad to see that this one was recently reissued. Glenn Mercer, who is/was the longtime lead guitarist, singer & main songwriter for the Feelies, also wrote six of the eleven song with Feelies drummer/singer Dave Weckerman contributing three songs as well. Wake Ooloo actually sound like a more normal version of the Feelies but without that repeating groove that is at the center of most Feelies songs. Mr. Mercer’s lead guitar and Mr. Gambino’s keyboard (organ) are the main instruments out front here. The band rock hard on “In The Way”, the feeling of jubilation is palpable. Mr. Weckerman’s “Stiff” sounds a bit like an old old Kinks primal rock sound with Weckerman’s slightly bent voice up front. The title track was written by Mr. Mercer and sounds like “Real Cool Time” by the Stooges, pounding punk rock at its best. Considering that The Feelies started out around 1980 and took a 20 year break in 1991 before reforming in 2011, Mr. Mercer has long mastered the art of writing and playing rock music live, he always brings that ongoing rock magic into each & every project. He repeating riffs, occasional burning transcendent guitar solos always inspire us listeners to cut loose and rise above the chains of our normal low-key lives. The more I listen to this disc, the better I appreciate it. Wake up and smell the coffee, you will feel the jolt when you hear Wake Ooloo. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE & SIMONE FORTI - Meditative Sound Environments (Alga Marghen 161LP; Itay) “Alga Marghen presents the second and final chapter in documenting Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti seminal collaborations. The Meditative Sound Environments LP is more centered around electronic music and also includes a unique two-voice work based on Simone's chanting, the magically suspended "Simone Tape". All the tracks of this new LP present only previously unreleased recordings. Charlemagne Palestine met Simone Forti through Dr. Richard Alpert, a professor at Columbia University who went to India to study with a Hindu guru and he himself became a guru afterwards called Baba Ram Dass. Coming back to US he brought Pandit Pran Nath with him. It was a time when everybody was experimenting. All came with a lot of orientalism because people were into timelessness, meditation, and being stoned. It was in that atmosphere that Charlemagne met Simone because she also knew Pran Nath. Around that time Palestine moved from NY to California to work with electronic music at the newly invented school California Institute of the Arts. Simone was also living in LA and even though she was not officially connected to CalArts she knew many of the artists who were teaching there. In summer 1970 Simone Forti was invited by Allan Kaprow (one of the Deans of CalArts) to do an evening of dance at the Pasadena Art Museum and for this performance she asked Charlemagne Palestine to try developing a new kind of work together. It immediately clicked. In January 1971 in Pasadena they did their first Illuminations. All of a sudden, they were doing a new kind of jamming together. Everybody in the audience loved it because it was so dreamy and they found amazing how a man and a woman can act in that strange, very dreamlike oriental way as in trance, together. Other artists were mostly doing very structural works while with Illuminations it was totally like they were on magic drugs. These performances had certain fixed elements... the piano or some electronics like in "Meditative Sound Environment", the title track of this LP. It turned out they liked red lights so they started to always do it in red light. Also, they liked to do it in a resonant spaces. It became more an approach than a piece, because there were never two "Illuminations" that were alike. The aspect of Charlemagne's music that most inspired Simone Forti's imagination was his melodies. Sometimes their texture of repetitions and evolving variations were so close that the term melody doesn't seem to apply. Liner notes by Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti. Edition of 365.”
ALVIN LUCIER - Works for the Ever Present Orchestra (Black Truffle 060LP; Australia) Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve; includes download code with the two additional pieces on the double-CD version. 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.”
2 LP Set $32
AFRICA NEGRA - Antologia Vol. 1 (Les Disques Bongo Joe 056LP; Switzerland) “Les Disques Bongo Joe, continuing their work on Sao Tomé and Principe with curator DJ Tom B., announce the release of an anthology of the group África Negra. This first volume includes 12 of their key tracks, remastered for the occasion and selected only from those officially released on different media. Formed in the early 1970s by Horacio, a butcher by trade, and his guitarist friend Emidio Pontes, África Negra is the best known of the great São Tomé and Principe bands. The catchy melodies in the local Forro language, provided by lead singer João Seria, and subtly harmonized by the enchanting backing vocals of the rest of the band, quickly ensured their influence outside the archipelago. Their incomparable blend of Puxa and Rumba rhythms and subtle melodies made them the most regular touring band from Sao Tome. Their first album (Aninha) was released in 1981, followed by three more in 1983. They contain an incredible collection of timeless hits and have achieved high ratings on the second-hand market. Then came the excellent San Lena in 1986, which was unfortunately only released on cassette, but for which we were able to digitize the original tape. In 1990 their last album in vinyl format (Paga me uma cerveja) was released, the rarest. Three CDs and five cassettes followed in the 1990s. Like most São Tomean bands, they recorded their compositions at Radio Nacional STP, the only studio on the island at the time, whose cramped premises forced the big bands to do sessions outside in the courtyard, at night, facing the ocean and in front of their fans. Reformed around João Seria, the band has recorded three albums since 2012, and has been touring again for a few years, offering, always with the same energy, their frenzied rhythms, their graceful harmonies, their poetry full of social metaphors, and their typical dance steps. Accompanied by a booklet with the original covers and interviews with the band members still with us.”
2 LP Set $38
ORCHESTRE TOUT PUISSANT MARCEL DUCHAMP - We're Okay. But We're Lost Anyway.(Les Disques Bongo Joe 073LP: Switzerland) “Founded in 2006 by Vincent Bertholet (Hyperculte), the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp is a large-scale project. Designed as a real orchestra, the size of the ensemble has varied over time. Now with 12 members, 14 in the past or six at the beginning, the ensemble has scoured the stages of Europe to demonstrate that the formula "the more the merrier" has never been more true than on stage. Whether in prestigious festivals (Paléo Festival de Nyon, Fusion Festival, Incubate, Womad, Bad Bonn Kilbi, Jazz à la Vilette) or on the four albums released since its launch, the group shows an incredible fluidity. The Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp (a mischievous title in homage to traditional African groups -- Orchestre Tout Puissant Konono n°1, Orchestre Tout Puissant Polyrytmo etc... -- and to one of the greatest dynamizers of 20th century art) embraces the forms of its musicians while pushing them to their limits. The result is a powerful, experimental, unstable and terribly alive, organic sound. These characteristics can be found on We're OK. But We're Lost Anyway., fifth opus of the band. Built around twelve musicians, extirpated from their respective biotope, it develops a repetitive musicality which, deployed in successive waves, creates a feeling of trance. Mixing free jazz, post punk, high life, brass band, symphonic mixtures and kraut rock, their sound only goes beyond the limits of genre. Transcendental, almost ritualistic, the music is coupled with powerful lyrics, declaimed in rage against a world that is falling apart. Adorcist, hypnotic and post-syncratic, the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, far from Tzara's manifesto, is somewhere between Hugo Ball's phonetic psalms, a Sufi procession that turns into a brawl and a voodoo ritual, but always with a precision proper to the monomania of an Asperger.
THE MALLORY-HALL BAND - Song Of Soweto (Outernational Sounds 015LP; UK) “Never released outside South Africa, and out of print since 1974, Outernational Sounds presents two long-lost Johannesburg sessions from the Mallory-Hall Band -- an all-star review of West Coast jazz stars who toured apartheid South Africa in the mid-1970s. During a storied career stretching across six decades, Sanifu Al Hall, Jnr. has recorded with the greats of the music including Freddie Hubbard, Doug Carn, and Johnny Hammond, and leads his own Cosmos Dwellerz Arkestra. But until recent years, the only records on which he had appeared as leader were a brace of rich, funky LPs, Song Of Soweto and The Last Special, issued only in South Africa under the moniker of The Mallory-Hall Band (named for Hall and his co-leader, guitarist Charles Mallory).
Al Hall, Jnr. and Charles Mallory arrived in South Africa as part of the touring band for the singer Lovelace Watkins. Sometimes billed as "the Black Sinatra", the Detroit-born Watkins sang standards and ballroom classics on the Las Vegas circuit. In 1974, he hired a jazz big band to accompany him on a tour of South Africa -- Hall and Mallory were part of the line-up, alongside Mastersounds bassist Monk Montgomery, pianist Kirk Lightsey, tenorist Rudolph Johnson, drummer Billy Brooks, and Marshall Royal, musical director of the Count Basie band. During downtime from performing, members of the group managed to independently record no fewer than three albums. Lightsey and Johnson's stunning Habiba was the first (OTR 013LP), and it was followed by two crucial sessions led by Hall and Mallory -- Song Of Soweto and The Last Special, issued on the local IRC imprint. The albums were recorded by a twelve-piece band at Johannesburg's Video Sounds Studios in December 1974, and feature the legendary pianist Kirk Lightsey, Black Jazz recording artist Rudolph Johnson, and the rest of the touring band. Both records are superbly arranged slabs of peak 1970s funky big band soul jazz, with tasteful Latin inflections and more than a nod to South Africa's upful township jazz sound. They are the sonic traces left by a seasoned African American band who were touring South Africa in the depths of the apartheid era, and who immediately moved beyond the segregated hotels and ballrooms to build links with local South African players and audiences. Fully licensed from Gallo Records and pressed at Pallas in Germany from Gallo's original masters, they feature new sleeve notes from Francis Gooding (The Wire) based on interviews with Al Hall Jr. and a reminiscence from pianist Kirk Lightsey.”
MASONNA - Masonna Vs. Banamara (Urashima 57LP; Italy) “Mademoiselle Anne Sanglante Ou Notre Nymphomanie Auréolé, the double-barreled name for Masonna, is one of most prolific, adventurous, and respected noise artists, making dozens of releases on his own legendary and astonishing label Coquette, presenting them in very limited editions, and reflecting his predilection for '60s psychedelic music revisited in its own very peculiar way. He transforms his voice into noise, feeding the microphone back through a process of extreme distortion. His shouts become clipped bursts of overloaded sound, doubled and extended by a delay that displace the sounds into stuttered blasts of static. Masonna claims that his interest in making noise is rooted in childhood encounters with the sounds of destruction on TV. Initially playing in Japanese punk band The Sadist, active since the mid '80s, as a vocalist under aliases of Rin with his buddy and guitarist Michio Teshima, who founded Vanilla Records in 1985 to release the band's works. In a very few years Michio's label will become a reference point for all Japanese noise projects, releasing artists such as Violent Onsen Geisha, C.C.C.C., Incapacitants, Solmania, Aube, Merzbow, and Masonna. In 1988, Masonna released debut album Like a Vagina on cassette by Coquette, an overdriven blast of psychedelia and harsh noise. Masonna Vs. Bananamara, Masonna's second release, was originally issued on Vanilla Records in 1989 in a tiny vinyl edition of 290 copies. Given its iconic status and rarity, it's little wonder that it currently commands heavy figures on the secondary market. In classic DIY form, it was recorded at home by Masonna on a variety of instruments, with hallucinatory vocals, and used no mixing and overdubbing, rendering a startlingly visceral and dense effect. Across the album's two sides -- containing a mind boggling 29 tracks -- Masonna transforms his voice into noise, feeding the microphone back through a process of extreme distortion. His shouts become clipped bursts of overloaded sound, doubled and extended by a delay that displace the sounds into stuttered blasts of static, heavily underscored by explosive blistering guitars, and cascades of electronic noise, culminating as one of the most striking and emotive gestures in the entire genre of noise. Absolutely incredible and visionary -- not to mention an engrossing, challenging, and thrilling listen -- Masonna Vs. Bananamara allows you to witness where it all began for a hugely important artist's lifelong commitment to an exploration of noise music. First ever reissue; edition of 299.”
WENDELL HARRISON - Evening With The Devil (Now-Again 5210; USA) "The Tribe co-founder's debut, remixed from the original multi-track master tapes under the direction of its creator and lacquered by Bernie Grundman. Now-Again presents the defi¬nitive Tribe Records reissues. Deep, spiritual jazz of the highest order. The Tribe label, one of the brightest lights of America's 1970s jazz underground, receives the Now-Again reissue treatment. This is your chance to indulge in the music and story of one of the most meaningful, local movements of the 20th Century Black American experience, one that expanded outwards towards the cosmos. In the words of the collective themselves, 'Music is the healing force of the universe.' Included in an extensive, oversized booklet, Larry Gabriel and Jeff 'Chairman' Mao take us through the history of the Tribe, in a compelling story that delves not just into the history of the label and its principals, but into the story of Black American empowerment in the latter half of the 20th Century. The booklet features never-before-seen archival photos and rare ephemera from Tribe's mid-1970s heyday."
TELEVISION - Double Exposure (Neon 018LP; Poland) Limited. This is the demo recording sessions from Television in 1974 under Brian Eno's guidance. The A side demos were recorded at Good Vibrations Studios in NYC with Richard Hell on bass, and produced by Brian Eno and Richard Williams of Island Records. It also includes three live tracks from CBGB's in 1975 including the unreleased "(I Look At You And Get A) Double Exposure", the band never recorded in studio. An abrasive 13th Floor Elevators number and the iconic Richard Hell "(I Belong To The) Blank Generation". It is fascinating listening to the early versions of these songs that eventually appeared on Marquee Moon. Each version is distinctly different having a "harder edge" to them and closer to the final released editions. Sound quality: very good stereo.”
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.
May 2022 Concerts at Zürcher Gallery, NY
SAVE THE DATES
Friday, May 13th, at 8:00 PM
Ian Antonio, Caitlin Cawley, Tom Kolor, and Matt Ward
Performing the music of Jürg Frey:
Metall Stein (2003) (U.S. Premiere)
Toucher l'air (percussion quartett) (2019) (U.S. Premiere)
Sunday, May 15th, at 7:30 PM
Lalo Rodriguez Antiquity Quintet Album Release Concert
Thursday, May 19th, at 8:00 PM
Susan Alcorn and Catherine Sikora
Kresten Osgood, Thomas Buckner, Robert Dick, and Thomas Morgan
Admission is $20.
Tickets can be purchased at the door. CASH ONLY.
All proceeds go to the artists.
*Masks are required in the gallery*
33 Bleecker St (Between Lafayette & The Bowery)
New York, NY 10012-2432
This one is from CHRIS CUTLER, original member of Henry Cow, Art Bears, News from Babel, respected author and founder of Recommended Records. This is Chris’ wonderful podcast and I urge you all to give it a listen…
Guitarist and DMG-pal HENRY KAISER has a monthly Video Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
1990 video from WETLANDS in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfs5OuBfNxs
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 10:30pm Tues, Thurs and Sat on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
This clip just arrived in my email from British Sax Colossus PAUL DUNMALL:
THIS COMES FROM OUR FRIEND, WEST COAST VIOLIN GODDESS JENNY SCHEINMAN:
'FOCUS' with The Eureka Symphony @ The Arkley Center, Eureka, CA - May 20 & 21, 8pm: My symphonic debut! ‘Focus’ is a seven part fairy tale for string orchestra and improvising soloist, written by Eddie Sauter, and made famous by Stan Getz in the early 1960s.
'Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait' mini west-coast tour! June 1 @ Stanford University, 7:30pm: June 3 @ Pepperdine University, 8pm -‘ Kannapolis' is the movie live music show that I have been touring for the last 7 years. It is about community, resilience, and human connection. It seems to only grow more relevant as the years go by - a miracle piece! Footage shot by Mr Waters in Piedmont during the latter half of the Great Depression, re-edited and directed by feature film maker Finn Taylor, commissioned by Aaron Greenwald for Duke Performances, and performed by yours truly with Robbie Fulks (guitar/vocals) and Robbie Gjersoe (guitar/vocals).