What’s it take? What’s it take?
To rectify a boy’s mistake?
How will he break the chain?
Learn to give & to take again?
Ahh, ahh (yeah sing it girls)
The Naked Shakespeare
He haunts the neighborhoods he knew
He’s just a fume
He made his best mistakes here
But now the fabric comes unglued
& that spells his doom
What’s it take? Ah, what’s it take?
To rectify the boys mistake?
How will he break the chain?
When he can only fake the pain he feels?
& she can only follow orders
She calls him by his name:
Hey, shake a leg there, Shakespeare!”
She draws & takes careful aim
Holes of daylight in his frame appear
After Bob Dylan, my favorite lyricist has long been Peter Blegvad. Although Mr. Blegvad is American, born (in CT), he has long lived in England and has also spent time in Germany. Mr. Blegvad was a member of Slapp Happy, a quirky trio with Anthony Moore and Dagmar Krause. He also played in Faust for a period and then Slapp Happy, who soon joined forces with Henry Cow with Dagmar remaining in the band after Mr. Blegvad and Mr. Moore left. Mr. Blegvad was an integral part of the early Downtown Scene (early 80’s), working with Fred Frith, John Zorn and the Golden Palominos. I have a special affection for Slapp Happy, whose songs were written by Blegvad and/or Anthony Moore. Each of their few records are superb. Mr. Blegvad had his own band for a bit around 1980 which soon morphed into the second version of the Golden Palominos. Mr. Blegvad is also a wonderful illustrator doing covers for many of his own and some Henry Cow-related records. Mr. Blegvad records infrequently and has made around ten albums over the past 40 years. Each and every one is a gem for yours truly and other serious music listeners. Anton Fier collaborated and played drums with/for Peter Blegvad on several projects. The above song, ‘The Naked Shakespeare’ is the title track from Mr. Blegvad’s first solo album (released in 1983). Anton Fier played drums on that record and sadly Mr. Fier passed away yesterday (see below). I recently noticed that Mr. Blegvad doesn’t have his own website so it hard to find his lyrics on line. A shame since he is one of greatest wordsmiths. If you get a chance, listen to the title song from “King Strut”, a rare perfect song in a mostly imperfect world. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ANTON FIER, Master Drummer, Composer & Multi- bandleader Passes Away
I was awakened early today by a text from an old college pal named Rich R. It read that Anton Fier had passed away. I was shocked to hear this since I’ve been a longtime friend of Mr. Fier meeting him at Studio Henry around 1980/81. Mr. Fier already had an impressive resume when we met: He had played drums on the first album by The Feelies (my fave Jersey band of all), was a member the original Lounge Lizards, as well as working with the my favorite version of Pere Ubu in 1982. In the early eighties, Mr. Fier became of the most in-demand drummers in town. Anton had hooked up with bassist/producer Bill Laswell and played on Herbie Hancock’s ‘Future Shock’ album, which was successful on several levels. When I met Mr. Fier, he was a new member of the ever-evolving Downtown Scene, doing lots of improv sets with John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Material, etc. Mr. Zorn organized a series of trios which he called Locus Solus, one trio featured Zorn, Arto Lindsay & Mr. Fier. After playing in Peter Blegvad’s band, Mr. Fier founded the Golden Palominos, a Downtown all-star sextet, who many of us felt were the culmination of the early Downtown Scene: check out the original line-up: John Zorn - alto sax & game calls, Arto Lindsay - guitar & vocals, Bill Laswell & Jamaaladeen Tacuma on el. basses and Anton Fier & David Moss on drums. I caught them live a few times and they were astonishing but short-lived. Their first self-titled album on Celluloid from 1983 still sounds marvelous today, nearly 40 years later. Similar to Bill Laswell’s band Material, the Golden Palominos changed personnel on each of their eight records. As well as playing drums & composing, Mr. Fier also became a sought-after producer, working with several woman vocalists like Syd Straw, Lori Carson, Amanda Kramer and Victoria Williams. Anton Fier was often a great drummer for hire and worked with Bob Mould, Gods and Monsters and a number of other Laswell-related projects. After the Palominos broke up in the late 1990’s, Mr. Fier seemed to have disappeared. Word was that he was working at a record store and going through some difficult times. I was glad to see Mr. Fier when he came to visit us at DMG when we were on the Bowery (2003-2009). He said he was reorganizing a new version of the Golden Palominos and said that he was open to collaborating with other musicians. I spread the word that he was ready to play and soon John Zorn gave him an opportunity to play in a reunion version of Locus Solus (at Tonic for Zorn’s 50th birthday fest) as well as having Tzadik (Zorn’s label) reissuing two of Mr. Fier’s solo albums. I caught the new version of the Golden Palominos at LPR and at City Winery and both sets was phenomenal! The highlight was when Anton had on old friend named Robert Kidney sit in on guitar. I had heard of Mr. Kidney and knew he had some legendary status, but everyone’s in the room was astonished by his lone guitar solo. I know that Mr. Fier was searching for a label to put out a new Golden Palominos record but never found an outlet for it. I had heard that Mr. Fier was difficult or demanding in the studio but as long as I knew him, he was a gracious, generous gentleman whose playing and friendship I will long miss. I’ve heard no information about his passing. Peace be with you, Brother Anton. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 31st ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE GIG CELEBRATION Continues with:
Tuesday, September 27th, 2022:
6:30: DUSTIN CARLSON / MICHAEL ATTIAS
7:30: SANA NAGANO / JONATHAN GOLDBERGER / KEVIN SHEA
Tuesday, October 4th:
6:30: SYLVESTER GERMAINE / KIRK KNUFFKE / KENNY WOLLESEN
7:30: PATRICK GOLDEN / DAVE SEWELSON / JIM CLOUSE / SEAN CONLY
Saturday October 8th: The GAUCI-MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
6pm: Igor Lumpert - tenor sax / Christopher Hoffman - cello / Billy Mintz - drums
7pm: Stephen Gauci- sax / Karl Evangelista - guitar / Colin Hinton - drums
8pm: Sana Nagano - violin / Trevor Dunn - bass / Danny Sher - drums
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
THE NEW CREATIVE MUSIC RELEASES THIS WEEK Begin with:
JOHN ZORN // SALLY GATES / MATT HOLLENBECK / TREVOR DUNN / KENNY GROHOWSKI - Titan to Tachyons: Vonals (Tzadik 4041; USA) Featuring Sally Gates and Matt Hollenbeck on guitars, Trevor Dunn on bass and Kenny Grohowski on drums. I have been hearing about Downunder guitarist Sally Gates from some of my metalhead connoisseur buddies so I just ordered Ms. Gates’ first self-produced disc on her own label. It is awesome! Her guitar playing is extraordinary and she goes beyond the usual metal expectations/sounds. She recently moved to NY so I look forward to checking her out live.
CD $16 [In stock today!][The other two new John Zorn/Tzadik CD’s are still delayed]
EVAN PARKER and DISSONANZEN with MARCO CAPPELLI / TOMMASO ROSSI / MARCO SANNINI / et al - Linger Like Joy in Memory (Black Sheep Power Desco Music F&BS CD 05; Italy) Featuring Evan Parker on soprano sax, Marco Sannini on trumpet & flugelhorn, Tommaso Rossi on flute, Marco Cappelli on guitar, Ciro Longobardi on piano, Francesco D’Errico on synth & sampler, Marco Vitali on cello, Ron Grieco on bass and Stefano Di Costanzo on drums & percussion. This set was recorded live at S. Pietro a Majella Conservatory in Naples, Italy in June of 2014. Downtown guitarist Marco Cappelli seems to spend time in both NYC as well as in Italy, where he tours on occasion. Mr. Cappelli recently (9/13/22) played in a trio here at DMG with Daniel Carter and Dave Miller. It was a great set and Mr. Cappelli left us with three newer discs.
For this disc, Dissonanzen is a nine-piece ensemble with Evan Parker as their guest. Dissonanzen started in Naples in 1993 and have an ambitious 5 CD box set out on the Die Schactel label, in which they cover the music of Erik Satie, Luciano Berio, John Cage and George Crumb. Ensemble Dissonanzen also have a fine disc where they collaborate with Adam Rudolph and his Go Organic Orchestra. According to the liner notes, the music here blends both improvised and written music. The sound here is especially clean and warm, superbly recorded. Although the music sounds mysterious, it sounds very focused with certain musicians playing freely in front while the rest of the ensemble weaved waves carefully around them. The soprano sax, flute, guitar and cello play together up front while piano fronted rhythm team flows in and out in an organic sounding way. Although there are moments of chaotic or free interplay, nothing last too long before it is transformed into some more calm sections. The closer I listened, the more certain sections or subgroups make sense. I dig that this music rarely gets very dense and that no one plays any (long) solos, just different combinations in focused spurts. Evan Parker fits into this ensemble perfectly, never playing too much or circular breathing for very long. A marvel on several levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $20 [Limited Edition & we have just 6 copies]
ANGELICA SANCHEZ / MICHAEL FORMANEK / BILLY HART - Sparkel Beings (Sunnyside 1674; USA) “Sanchez has been a stellar piano stylist and musical conceptualist in the New York scene for some time. She felt destined to get to New York even as a talented teenager from Arizona, telling the instructors and fellow students at the Ed Schuller led Sandpoint Music Camp in Idaho that she intended to move to the City. She did so the next year. // It was at Sandpoint that Sanchez met the great drummer, Billy Hart. Though Hart was one of the first masters that she interacted with, it has taken until now for Sanchez to invite Hart to record with her. Sanchez also invited her longtime friend and collaborator, bassist Michael Formanek, to take part. Long associations with both bandmates provide the knowledge of what they can do for the music but, also, the exciting feeling of not knowing where the music will go because of their creativity in the moment. // The trust that Sanchez places in Hart and Formanek ensures that the music they create will be stimulating. Sanchez also turns to a handful of composers to provide vehicles for the group’s expression. For the pianist, the lives and work of composers Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Mario Ruiz Armengol, and Cecil Taylor are all connected. The perpetually under-appreciated Williams inspired and tutored Ellington and Taylor. Mexican composer Armengol tutored Ellington, who gave him the nickname “Mr. Harmony.” // To capture these moments, Sanchez turned to Maureen Sickler and the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, recording there on Dec. 10, 2021. It was Sanchez’s first time recording at the legendary studio and on its storied piano, whose keys many of Sanchez’s favorite pianists had played.”
IDR / ITALIAN DOC REMIX with MARCO CAPPELLI / DOUG WEISELMAN / KEN FILIAN) / Pandemonium (41st Parallel; USA) Featuring Marco Cappelli on guitar & composition, Doug Weiselman on bass & B-flat clarinets, Roberto Schiano on trombone, Ken Filiano on double bass, Jim Pugliese on drums and Francesco Pellegrino on vocals. Italian/Downtown guitarist/composer, Marco Cappelli, has had a variety of bands/projects that he works on both here in NYC as well in in Italy. IDR, which stands for Italian Doc Remix, had an earlier disc released in 2014 with Marc Ribot as a guest and DJ Logic sampling voices via a turntable. This disc was recorded in a studio in Napoli, Italy in September of 2019 also features 9 other guests, a few of whom I’ve heard of before: Elio Martusciello (several discs on ReR) and Greg Lewis (played hurdy-gurdy with Arnold Dreyblatt). No doubt you know about longtime Downtown musicians like Doug Weiselman, Ken Filiano and Jim Pugliese.
The first thing we hear is the voice of Francesco Pellegrino which sounds serious, this is just the intro. “Vulumbrella” is a lovely, sort of ballad with Mr. Pellegrino’s voice singing softly in Italian with the utmost charm. Doug Weiselman’a quirky bass clarinet is featured at the beginning of a silly traditional song called, “Take the G Train”, which gets a Zorn-like chopped up treatment. I like the way Mr. Cappelli adds several voices to the chorus, making this more like a fractured family of odd-job opera singers enjoying their own company together. Since I don’t speak Italian, I can’t tell what these songs are singing about, yet there is a consistent sense of humor and silliness going on here which makes this all the more charming. Aside from the ongoing humor, it is Cappelli’s inventive arrangements for varied vocalists, reeds, trombone, guitar, bass and drums that makes this so appealing. “Jail the Bakers” features English narration about an unfortunate situation of bakers being ostracized in Italy. Is this incident true? Does it matter? I get the feeling that Mr. Cappelli is poking fun at the ridiculous of life as it is during this strange divisive time that we live in. What makes this disc so wonderful is that Cappelli has created his own wacky world in which we can laugh and maybe sing along without knowing what the words mean. Thanks Marco, you just made my day. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MARCO CAPPELLI / MARCO SANNINI / FRANCESCO / D’ERRICO / ALDO VIGORITO / GIUSEPPE LA PUSATA - A Bao A Qu (Itinera ITN 033; Italy) Featuring Marco Cappelli on guitar, Marco Sannini on trumpet, Francesco D’Errico on acostic & electric piano, Aldo Vigorito on contrabass and Giuseppi La Pusata on drums. Diverse Downtown/Italian guitarist Marco Cappelli recently left us with three newer discs, each one with different personnel and overall sound. One of the three is a collaboration with Evan Parker and Ensemble Dissonanzen. This disc features a quintet which includes three members of Dissonanzen: Marco Sannini, Francesco D’Errico and Marco Cappelli. The rhythm team members include Aldo Vigorito who has recorded with Don Moye and Guiseppe La Pusata. All of the members except for Mr. Pusata contributed compositions to this disc. This disc begins with Mr. D’Errico’s “Goofus Bird” which is a superb work of modern jazz with spirited solos from trumpeter Marco Sannini and pianist Francesco D’Errico. “Cavallo Marino” is a lovely, laid back sort of ballad with sublime trombone and what sounds like some space guitar swirls spinning here & there. Marco Cappelli’s “Il Minollo” is a quirky, charming pop-like song with Mr. Cappelli on acoustic guitar and with strong solos from the trumpet and guitar. Mr. D’Errico’s “Gilly Jaloo” has a charming melody and superb solos from the trumpet and acoustic guitar. Mr. Sannini plays some haunting muted trumpet on his own song, “Bahamout Blues”, a melancholy song which reaches for our heart strings just right with Mr. Cappelli adding some mutant electric guitar unexpectedly. What I find most interesting is that there is nothing avant-garde or weird about this disc. Each song, each melody is well-chosen and the inventiveness is often quite subtle and dreamy at times. It is unlike anything else that Mr. Cappelli has done although I realize that he isn’t the leader here, just a member of this fine yet modest quintet. This is a most delightful disc and most enchanting in ways that rarely find their place in the DMG’s mostly avant or progressive music list. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SYLVAIN KASSAP SEXTET - Octobres (Rogue Art 0121; France) Featuring Sylvain Kassap on clarinets & combinations, Christiane Bopp on trombone, Aymeric Avice on trumpet & flugelhorn, Sophia Domancich on piano & Fender Rhodes, Helene Labarriere on double bass and Fabien Duscombs on drums. I’ve heard French clarinetist Sylvain Kassap on several occasions both live (at DMG, Zurcher Gallery & Vision Fest), as well as on records with Gunter Baby Sommer, Hamid Drake and leading his own ensemble for an earlier CD on Rogue Art (tribute to Trane from 2009). I recall when Mr. Kassap played at DMG in a clarinet sextet and some of the best solos that night. The only other musician here I am faimilar with previously is keyboardist Sophia Domancich, who had worked with Elton Dean, Paul Dunmall and a reunion version of Hatfield & the North.
The music here commemorates the centenary of the October Revolution in Russia and the events surrounding and being inspired by it. There have been a number of future events which were created to celebrate the October Revolution including one in New York in 1994 and one in Philly in 2017, both of which featured avant-jazz musicians of the period. According to the liner notes, each of the 9 pieces show a different side of Mr. Kassap’s composing and bandleading efforts. The liners mention who or what inspired each piece yet it the music itself that is immensely diverse and consistently fascinating. “Spartakus” has a suspense filled start & stop structure with a long, spirited solo from trombonist Christiane Bopp leading into a fine clarinet solo by Mr. Kassap. The second have of the piece has a sly Henry Cow-like cadence for three horns which makes me smile considering how much I admire Henry Cow. “Canterbury” is progressive jazz at its best with a great slamming groove and some powerful, inventive solos from the trumpet & alto clarinet with the trombone providing a simmer cushion underneath. Contrabassist Helene Labarriere often sounds like the central figure here as he bass often provides the pulse which all the members abide to. Another great part of this sextet is the sly, 70’s sounding Fender Rhodes sound/playing by the under-recognized keyboard giant Sophia Domancich. For me, progressive jazz remains some of my favorite music, especially when it has some of that whimsical/inventive Canterbury Music influence. Without a doubt, this is my favorite CD of the week. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
OREN AMBARCHI - Shebang (Drag City 853; USA) "Extended guitar hero Oren Ambarchi returns with Shebang, the latest in the series of intricately detailed long-form rhythmic workouts that includes Quixotism (2014) and Hubris (2016). Like those records, Shebang features an international all-star cast of musical luminaries, their contributions recorded individually in locations from Sweden to Japan yet threaded together so convincingly (by Ambarchi in collaboration with Konrad Sprenger) that it's hard to believe they weren't breathing the same studio air. Expanding on the techniques used on Simian Angel (2019), we can never be entirely sure who is responsible for what we hear, as Ambarchi's guitar is used to trigger everything from bass lines to driving piano riffs. Picking up from the staccato guitar patterns that ran through Hubris, Shebang's single 35-minute track begins with a precisely interwoven lattice of chiming guitar figures, expanding Hubris' monolithic pulse into a joyous, hyper-rhythmic melodicism that calls up points of reference as disparate as Albert Marcoeur, early Pat Metheny Group, and Henry Kaiser's It's A Wonderful Life. Building from isolated single notes into densely layered poly-rhythms, the muted guitar tones are joined by subtle touches of shimmering Leslie cabinet tones and guitar synth. Simmering down and funneling into a single note, the guitar stew is soon thickened by Joe Talia's propulsive ride cymbal, which blossoms into a beautifully flowing yet rigorously snapped-to fusion funk, whose ever-shifting details skitter across the kit -- think '70s heavyweights like Jack DeJohnette or Jon Christensen. An unexpected entry of guttural bass clarinet licks from Sam Dunscombe begins the series of instrumental features that pepper the remainder of the piece. Soon we hear from the legendary British pedal steel player B.J. Cole (hopefully known to some listeners from his outer-limits singer-songwriter masterpiece The New Hovering Dog or, failing that, 'Tiny Dancer'), whose languorous yet uneasy lines float in and out of a shifting rhythmic foundation supported by a single note bass groove, cut through with aleatoric synth articulations. Though single-mindedly occupying its rhythmic space throughout, Shebang's dense ensemble sound is carefully composed while drawing on the free flow of improvisation, with individual voices momentarily coming to the fore and subtle changes in harmony and texture. Perhaps the most surprising of these shifts occurs around half-way through when the smoke of a buzzing synth crescendo from Jim O'Rourke clears to reveal something like a piano trio, with Ambarchi's guitar-triggered piano patterns providing restless accompaniment to flowing melodic lines from Chris Abrahams of The Necks, while Johan Berthling's double bass and Talia's drums fill out the bottom end. Before long, things take another left turn as Julia Reidy's rapidly picked 12-string guitar lines take center stage, with O'Rourke's monumental synth clouds hovering in the distance. The ensemble surges through a slow series of harmonic changes before the whole shebang dissolves into a delirious synthetic mirage. Bridging minimalism, contemporary electronics, and classic ECM stylings, and bringing together a cast of preternaturally talented contributors, Shebang is unmistakably the work of Oren Ambarchi: obsessively detailed, relentlessly rhythmic, unabashedly celebratory."
RIVER PEOPLE with CHRISTIAN BUCHER / RICK COUNTRYMAN / JOHNNY ALEGRE / TETSURO HORI - Sol Expression (Chap-Chap Records CPCD—24; Japan) Featuring Rick Countryman on alto sax, Johnny Alegre on guitar, Tetsuro Hori on bass and Christian Bucher on drums. It’s been around three months since we got in a new disc from American-born, Philipines-based saxist has released a new disc. Mr. Countryman has been around a dozen discs from the last few years, recording in solo, duos, trios and quartets. Countryman has recorded with drummer Christian Bucher on several previous occasions. Although I am unfamiliar with guitarist Johnny Alegre or bassist Tetsuro Hori, it turns out that Mr. Alegre has worked with Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez. This disc was recorded at Crow’s Nest Studio in Manila, Philipines in July of this year (2022). Things begin quietly with skeletal sax and mallet work on the drums, the rest of the quartet soon enter as the energy escalates higher. Instead of the usual intense energy blast of many free music sets/sessions, the laid back nature of this disc is often more cerebral, spacious and easier to swallow. After a few more restrained sections the quartet do take off soaring on “Melting Point 4”, building in intensity with some strong fragmented guitar and sax burning together, the rhythm team pushing them higher. This entire disc balances full frontal free/jazz with more restrained sections, giving us a chance to calm down and listen closely to the less rambunctious parts. There a few duo sections the emerge and stand out before going back to more quartet parts. It feels better to lay back sometimes instead of wailing too much. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
KAI WINTER / MATTHIAS KAISER - Andere Orte (Tonkunst Manufaktur 021; Germany) Featuring Kai Winter on alto sax and Matthias Kaiser on prepared & amplified violin. Last Tuesday at DMG we had 4 sets for the first time in DMG’s 31 year history of in-store concerts. All four sets were great and very different. The third set featured Hans Tammen on ancient electronics, Matthias Kaiser on violin and Monica Rocha on other electronics. Cologne-based violinist Matthias Kaiser did play at the store previously with Hans Tammen several years ago.
Matthias Kaiser left us with a recent duo disc with Kai Winter. I don’t know much about either of these musicians or the other players that they work with. Mr. Kaiser was/is a member of the Wuppertal Improvisations Orchestre, a group that was founded by the great bassist Peter Kowald. The music on this disc is fully improvised and the 12 pieces are just named with numbers. The music starts off very quietly, very carefully with extreme attention to detail. There is quiet a bit of silence or space here in between the notes or sounds that these two players make. Some folks would say that there is not that much going on here but this has more to do with (their own) expectations and patience. Having this much space gives us time to absorb and observe every small sound. Over time, the two musicians slowly bend & twist each note/sound making a number of fascinating sonic textures. I must admit that I really enjoy this disc as it has helped me to lay back and think about the focused sounds these two men are making. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DU-TELS with GARY LUCAS / PETER STAMPFEL - No Knowledge of Music Required (Don Giovanni Records 223; Earth) Featuring Gary Lucas and Peter Stampfel on guitars and vocals. The 1960’s (mainly from 1964-1970) was a time when rock music consistently evolved and many bands, no matter how weird they were, were promoted major and minor label here, there and everywhere. Most folks think that it started with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Yardbirds, but for me the first band of great importance/influence were the Mothers of Invention. The Mothers broke all the rules of what makes most bands successful: hit singles, starry eyed stage personas and super-hero imagery… The Mothers embraced everything else: honest protest lyrics, a true sense of humor, new studio techniques and the grand knowledge of other types of creative music that most bands didn’t care about. After the Mothers kicked the cosmic door open in came the Fugs, Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, Velvet Underground and the Holy Modal Rounders. Each of these bands created their own unique world, influencing bands and young listeners around the world. I heard the Holy Modal Rounders album ‘Indian War Whoop’ (rel in 1967) in the early 1970’s and thought that the Rounders were funny, immensely odd and unlike any other band at the time. Word is that they were tripping on acid when they recorded it. Hmmmm. The Rounders were founded/led by Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber, both of whom also worked with the Fugs. It figures. Future Captain Beefheart guitarist/collaborator, Gary Lucas, was also a big fan. Mr. Stampfel and Mr. Lucas eventually got together and recorded an album under the Du-Tels which was first released on the Knitting Factory Records in 2000 (after being recorded in 1994). After more than 20 years, it has finally been reissued and it includes 4 bonus tracks. Both Mr. Lucas and Mr. Stampfel wrote some lengthy, hilarious liner notes for this reissue. As a longtime lover of folk music, protest lyrics, odd humor and all purpose weirdness, I still genuinely love this disc. Mark Bingham produced this truly bizarre, enchanting masterwork of weirdness. These songs sound like they were written and performed for the children in each of us. You gotta love this disc, I certainly do! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
VISIONS OF DARKNESS - (In Iranian Contemporary Music): Volume II (Cold Spring Records 316CD; UK) “When the anthology Visions Of Darkness (In Iranian Contemporary Music) was released in 2017 (co-published in collaboration between Cold Spring and Unexplained Sounds Group), it was immediately clear that the Iranian music scene was not just promising, but already a rich chest of treasures. Years later, there is further confirmation of the creative excellence and variety of musical languages that flourished in the Persian land. In spite of the title, this second volume of the legendary anthology also gives you a broad picture of the musical experience of the Iranian underground that is not limited to the dark ambient, but explores sonic territories that reach concrete music, electro-acoustic experimentation and sonic abstractionism. Persia, the cradle of a millenary culture, is teeming with young talents who continue their musical research with enthusiasm, pride, and self-denial in the territories of drone music, as in electronic experimentalism and in the contamination of genres. To some familiar names already present in volume I (Xerxes The Dark, IDFT, Reza Solatipour, etc.), new discoveries are added that contribute to making the journey through the new Persian music exciting to the point that we can no longer speak of an emerging scene, but of a consolidated musical reality akin to others in the West. Curated and mastered by Raffaele Pezzella. Also features Babak Sepanta, Alireza Amirhajebi, Shahin Souri, Dodenskald, S.S.M.P., Amin Shirazi, PooYar, Dariush Salehpour & Zhoobin Askarieh, Vesal Javaheri, Saturn Cube, Melkor, Sam Eyvaz, Soheil Shirangi, Farzan Salsabili, and Arshan Najafi. Presented in a double digipak with graphic design by Abby Helasdottir.”
2 CD Set $22
MILAN KNIZAK - Another State of Stagnation / Piano Pieces (1991-2021)(Sub Rosa 526CD; Belgium) "My piano compositions are a mixture of musical reminiscences and a confession of my love for disharmonic chords on the one hand, and lascivious melodies on the other. As in the case of almost all my pieces, I wrote them 'dry', at a desk, without using any musical instruments. I only worked with memory and a little bit of imagination. The compositions often come across as randomly taken out of a pot, which contains a blend of fragments of works of a variety of periods, styles and creators." --Milan Knízák, Mongrelised Piano
Another State of Stagnation contains six unreleased piano pieces by Milan Knízák, written between 1991 and 2021. Played by Czech piano virtuoso Miroslav Beinhauer in August 2020 and recorded in August 2021 at Czech Radio Ostrava under the Petr Bakla's recording direction. The author of the title and cover is Milan Knízák. Produced by re-set production. In the second movement, at least two references to Czech "tramping" (hiking, country) music can be read or heard: Ceka huãí and Táboráku, plápolej. They are among the numerous references to other pieces, while they can concurrently be something else -- for instance, a Beethoven minuet. Beinhauer pointed out: "Milan KníÏák's piano works abound in these 'quotations', some of which are just very similar to well-known melodies, while others are true quotations... I do not even recognize some of them at first listen, but that is not actually the point. If someone does identify these quoted fragments when listening, they can feel good about themselves or can even remember the whole piece better, but I myself do not deem it essential in the case of Milan's compositions. Alternation of styles is more important."
JEAN-BAPTISTE FAVORY - Ciels (Feeding Tube Records 703CD; USA) "It is our honor to present the seventh album by French composer Jean-Baptiste Favory, whose work we first encountered while reissuing a record with the Mexican art collective, Los Lichis. J-B made an annual trip to Mexico to participate in Los Lichis' musical and visual anarchy -- Dog (FTR 229LP, 2016), and Savage Lichis Religion: El Ultimo Grito with Pakito Bolino (FTR 354LP, 2018) -- and was considered a full member of this estimable outfit. We soon discovered he was also the France's long-running experimental radio show Epsilonia, as well as an exciting solo musician. This led to us releasing his wonderful 2017 LP, Things Under: Compositions for Guitars and Electronics (FTR 333LP). Favory's main interest remains in electronics composition, so the next project he offered us was Ciels -- six gorgeous synthesizer pieces, written and played on a variety of instruments. The title track was created on a 1981 PPG Wave 2, which is one of the earliest digital synths, and has a 'metallic and shiny' sound, that was used to make a lot of '80s synth-wave music. Under Favory's touch, it assumes a spacy, pulsating attitude more akin to mid-period Heldon than A-ha. 'The Naked Now' was done on a UNISONO synth with Max-MSP software. Its many layers of action run at a variety of speeds and display multifarious textures. There is a kind of slickness underlying the basic sounds, but they're all handled in weird ways, with the output recorded via microphone off a guitar amp, so the smooth individual threads are woven into rough aural burlap. There's a slinky Eastern feel to the music at times, but the small sections into which the piece is divided are highly variant. 'Time on Time' was written and played on Eliane Radigue's 1971 ARP 2500 during a two-week residency at Paris's Groupe Recherches Musicale. This piece revolves around chiming tone sequences and the moist sorts of edits one associates with word-based assemblages and gently slurped pulses. It moves through the air like a spice worm looking for an angry fix. 'Love Structure' uses a 1972 AKS synth from EMS, which was popular with rock dudes for its rough, straight sounds. Typically Favory bends the poor machine to his will, conjuring up a weightless episode of heavy kosmiche space rotation. There are a couple other tracks, which I will leave you to discover yourselves. J-B even pulls his guitar out for a bit, but you'll have to figure out where that happens. I don't wanna spoil the surprise." --Byron Coley, 2022
JACKEN ELSWYTH - Six Static Scenes (Neolithic Records 010; UK) “With the start of the first lockdown, Jacken Elswyth inevitably had a sense of place-boundness on her mind. For a while she had wanted to play around with some pieces that didn't go anywhere or develop too much and thought that the lockdown context justified it. She had also been listening to a lot of old folk recordings; going through the Topic Records Voice of the People albums to find songs and tunes to learn. During this period of study, she started to focus on the odd and irregular moments in the recordings -- maybe slips and mistakes, maybe just idiosyncratic ways that people played and transmitted those old tunes. For Six Static Scenes, each piece would explore a fixed idea, taking these slips, flourishes, and idiosyncratic artifacts of folk technique as prompts. The record was originally recorded for Cafe OTO's digital-only Takuroku label and is now being given a full physical and digital release by Neolithic Recordings. Linocut cover artwork is by Alex Mackenzie. "I could listen to this quicksilver picking all day" --The Quietus.”
DEREK BAILEY/ANTHONY BRAXTON - Royal (Honest Jon’a Records 201LP; UK) “Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton's Royal, expanded to include both intended volumes. Volume 1 was originally released in 1984; the second volume was never issued. The second release in a series of collaborations between Honest Jon's Records and Incus: three double-LPs of the legendary free-improvising guitarist Derek Bailey, solo (HJR 200LP) and in duos with Anthony Braxton and Han Bennink (HJR 202LP), augmenting the original releases with marvelous, previously unissued music. Recorded in 1974, at the Royal Hotel in Luton, with Braxton playing soprano and alto saxophones, and Bb and contrabass clarinets. Two volumes were planned; only one was issued, till now. This was an early transatlantic meeting between the leading free improvisers. Many of Braxton's signature techniques and ideas were gestated in such sessions. It still brims with inquisitive musical creativity and knockabout jazzbo allusiveness. Newly transferred from tape at Abbey Road, and remastered by Rashad Becker. The records are manufactured by Pallas.”
2 LP Set $32
KEIJI HAINO / JIM O'ROURKE / OREN AMBARCHI -“ Caught in the dilemma of being made to choose" This makes the modesty which should never been closed off itself Continue to ask itself…” (Black Truffle 097LP; Australia) “The renowned trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi return to Black Truffle with their 11th release. Demonstrating once again their commitment to continual experimentation in instrumentation and approach, the record begins with a long-distance collaboration made in response to a commission from New York's Issue Project Room in 2021 during widespread lockdowns and travel limitations. A unique piece in the trio's extensive body of work, this side-long epic finds Haino performing on metal percussion, O'Rourke on electronics, and Ambarchi on gongs and bells. Initially dominated by rapid patterns on resonant, high-pitched tuned percussion, the piece sets Haino's dynamic and dramatic performance against a calm backdrop of cycling electronics, thrumming gong strikes and hanging bell tones. The performance develops a heightened, intensely concentrated atmosphere reminiscent of Haino's classic Tenshi No Ginjinka or his Nijiumu project. The remainder of the double-LP documents the trio live at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe (the location of all but their very first recording) in a wide-ranging set recorded in December 2017. The concert opens, in another first for the trio, with Haino on drums, O'Rourke on Hammond organ, and Ambarchi on his signature Leslie cabinet guitar tones. Haino's explosively untutored approach to the drumkit will be familiar to some listeners from the radical duo iteration of Fushitsusha heard on Origin's Hesitation. Accompanied by O'Rourke's organ and Ambarchi's guitar, which in their shared use of long tones and shifting modulation speeds almost blend into a single voice, the opening sections of this performance are some of the most magical music the trio has committed to tape thus far. After an interlude of spoken vocals in both Japanese and English, Haino makes a dramatic entrance on guitar. By the time you reach the third side, the guitar/bass/drums power trio is established and lurches into a passage of massive, lumbering rock that threatens to fall apart at every beat, O'Rourke's strummed chordal work on six string bass creating a harmonic density equivalent to a second guitar. An abrupt edit throws the listener in media res into a frantic locked groove grounded by fuzzed-out bass patterns and caveman drums. As Haino moves through a variety of approaches, from massive edifices of stuttering fuzz to ominous swarms of feedback, the trio eventually stumble into a kind of Harmolodic military tattoo, Haino's guitar weaving and slashing across the rhythm section's irregular accents. Moving through an epic opening duet for O'Rourke on Hammond and Haino's wailing guitar, the fourth side eventually ramps up into a frenetic finale of mad bass riffing, crackling snare hits, and guitar squall. Gatefold sleeve on heavy stock; inner sleeves containing live pics by Tsuyoshi Kamaike. Photography by Jim O'Rourke, design by Lasse Marhaug, and translation by Alan Cummings.”
2 LP Set $45
LOREN CONNORS - Airs (Recital 010; USA) “Second pressing of Recital's vinyl edition from 2015. Over the 22 years since Loren Connors's Airs was first published, it has drawn a thick circle of fans. Gently recorded to cassette tape in 1999, (with wonderfully subtle multi-tracking). Airs is comprised of a series of brief electronic guitar poems. Intimately composed with the patience and purposeful hesitation that is reverently come to expect from Connors. Lyrical melodies recur in different forms throughout the LP, as shifting figures in a dream. Shadowy and sunken, the tone evokes an overcast landscape. The album feels singular; woven along as one flowing piece. Airs is perhaps the most approachable and beautiful in all of Connors's catalog, seducing strangers and familiars just the same. Forlorn wonderment; a human quality that makes this such an enchanting record. It is the humble simplicity and the directness of the guitar inflection that conveys such truth. The stark grace of Connors' playing resonates here for all to embrace. New transfer of the original four track cassettes. Includes an unreleased "lost" track, discovered during re-transfer. Remastered for vinyl by Taylor Dupree at 12k Mastering. 180 gram vinyl; Includes eight-page booklet of photographs and a not by Loren; second edition of 600.”
ALVIN CURRAN - Drumming Up Trouble (Black Truffle 094LP; Australia) “Black Truffle announce Drumming Up Trouble, the first release of previously unissued music by Alvin Curran on the label. Collecting works recorded between 2018-2021 and a side-long epic dating back to the early '80s, as the title suggests, Drumming Up Trouble focuses on a hitherto almost unknown aspect of Curran's encyclopedic and omnivorous musical world: his experiments with sampled and synthesized percussion. As Curran's wonderful, wildly sweeping liner notes make clear, his fascination with drumming belongs to the radical investigation of music's fundamental elements that has marked his output since the beginnings of MEV, who aimed (as he says in a recent interview) to return "in some collective way to a non-existent start time in the history of human music". Whatever kind of music our proto-human ancestors played, he writes, "drums were front and center in the mix. Drums rule!" In a paradox typical of Curran's approach, Drumming Up Trouble interrogates this most ancient dimension of music with contemporary technology. On the first side, you hear recent pieces performed using the sampling software and full-size MIDI keyboard setup Curran has refined since the 1980s. Two of them are wild real-time improvisations, primarily utilizing an enormous bank of hip-hop samples. Building from polyrhythmic layers of drum machine fragments to wild cacophonies of clashing vocal samples, scratching, and frantic pitch shifting, these energetic and at times hilarious pieces occupy a space somewhere between John Oswald's Plunderphonics, Pat Thomas and Matt Wand in the Tony Oxley Quartet, and the propulsive Kudoro/Grime fusion of Lisbon's Príncipe label. They are improvisations are accompanied by two austere, minimal compositions realized in collaboration with Angelo Maria Farro: "End Zone" for orchestral bass drum and high oscillator, and "Rollings", where a snare roll is gradually stretched and filtered by digital means into "floating electronic gossamer". The incredible breadth of Curran's output makes it pretty unlikely that a listener familiar with his work would be surprised to find it branching out in a new direction. But no degree of familiarity with his work can really prepare for side B's epic and bizarre "Field it More". It's perhaps best to let the maestro describe this unhinged and infectious offering in his own words: "It features an eight-bar funky minimal riff à la James Brown, played on synth and an-out-of-tune piano, synced to a pre-paid patch on the Roland drum machine. Over this is laid a heavily processed track of the voices of dancer Yoshiko Chuma and movie-maker Jacob Burckhardt discussing an upcoming performance of theirs at the Venice film festival, capped by a track of my playing an increasingly out of control blues over the top of all of the above".. Presented with an inner sleeve with extensive liner notes from Alvin Curran.”
ARNOLD DREYBLATT & PAUL PANHUYSEN - Duo Geloso (Black Truffle 091LP; Australia) “Black Truffle continue its program of archival releases from Arnold Dreyblatt with a recently unearthed concert recording from Dreyblatt and Paul Panhuysen's Duo Geloso. While isolated examples of Dreyblatt's collaboration with the legendary Dutch multi-media artist appeared on the CD reissue of Propellers in Love and Black Truffle's wide-ranging archival Second Selection, this is the first release to document the variety and playfulness of the concerts that Duo Geloso performed throughout Europe in 1987-88. Both working across sonic and visual forms, fascinated by numerical relationship and the infinite complexity of string harmonics, Dreyblatt and Panhuysen had a natural affinity for each other's work, strengthened through Dreyblatt's many visits to Het Apollohuis, the important experimental art space Panhuysen helped to found in Eindhoven. However, as René van Peer suggests in the liner notes enclosed within this release, Dreyblatt and Panhuysen took very different approaches to these shared interests; the wonderful energy of these Duo Geloso performances results from the meeting of Dreyblatt's more austere, compositional process with Panhuysen's spontaneity. Recorded at a concert at Het Apollohuis in December 1987 (a series of beautiful photographs of which adorn the LP's packaging), each of the six pieces presented here is distinctive in terms of instrumentation and performance approach. Using electric guitar and bass tuned by Dreyblatt and played using E-Bow and Panhuysen's motorized plectrums, the opening "Razorburg" moves slowly through a long series of held notes with a madly insistent tremolo that crosses Dick Dale with a mechanized take on the layered guitars of Günter Schickert. The same pair of instruments returns on "Duo for Guitars", where the mechanized attacks dissolve into a harmonic wash, reminiscent of the machine guitar work of fellow Het Apollohuis alumni Remko Scha. On "Love Call", the guitars and bass are accompanied by Panhuysen's distant warbled vocals, familiar to Maciunas Ensemble listeners. On the remarkable "Synsonic Batterie", Panhuysen begins proceedings with a solo barrage of electronic percussion on the Synsonics Drum Machine (a simple drum synthesizer produced by the toy manufacturer Mattel), joined eventually by Dreyblatt performing his signature percussive natural harmonics on pedal steel guitar. When Panhuysen adds his bird whistle to the mix, the performance becomes the perfect exemplar of the Duo Geloso's unique mix of studious close listening and subtle absurdity.”
DAVID BLUE - Stories (Eremite 073LP; USA) "David Blue was the peer of any singer in this country, & he knew it, & he coveted their audiences & their power, he claimed them as his rightful due. & when he could not have them, his disappointment became so dazzling, his greed assumed such purity, his appetite such honesty, & he stretched his arms so wide, that we were all able to recognize ourselves, & we fell in love with him." (Leonard Cohen). David Blue is the 'Blue' in Bob Dylan's "Baby Blue", the voluble chain-smoking pinball loner in Renaldo & Clara, a companion of Joni Mitchell's during the time she made Blue, the "blue's not right" art collector in Wim Wender's The American Friend. The second artist signed to David Geffen's fledgling Asylum records (after Judee Sill), Blue's 1971 Asylum debut Stories sold a woeful 2000 copies. Perhaps a factor in the album's spectacular failure to achieve traction is the almost harrowing emotional vulnerability of Blue's songs & performances. About Stories Blue himself said "if you listen to the record & say, 'god, what a downer,' then i've succeeded in doing exactly what i wanted to do." Recorded with Blue's foil, guitarist Bob Rafkin, & an A-list ensemble of LA session musicians that includes among others Ry Cooder, Rita Coolidge, Chris Ethridge, & Russ Kunkel, engineered by Henry Lewy (Blue, Gilded Palace of Sin) with string arrangements by Jack Nitzsche, Stories is the one true masterpiece of David Blue's short life (Blue died age 42 from a heart-attack while jogging in Washington Square Park).
Aficionados of the "stoners&loners" genre have slept on Stories. In the estimation of those long involved in the activities of eremite records, Stories finest moments (& there are many) foreshadow dark classics from later in the decade such as Gene Clark's No Other, Neil Young's 'Ditch Trilogy' & Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, spirit albums in which the artists' torments are transfigured into high art through bummer song. As an expression of appreciation & love to David Blue, eremite's edition of Stories surpasses all previously available versions in both audio reproduction & presentation. Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio gently remastered the music from the original tapes & cut the lacquers. Pressed on premium audiophile 120 gram vinyl at RTI, Stories is presented in a retro flipback jacket with a 12x12 hand screenprinted (in peacock blue ink) insert by Alan Sherry / Siwa that reproduces in-full Leonard Cohen's 1982 eulogy for David Blue. Stories is the only release on eremite records' subsidiary label Sister Rose (titled after the second song on side 1 of Stories). Edition 999 copies. In the words of Gil Scott Heron, "all the dreams you show up in are not your own."
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.
Thursday, October 27 and Friday, October 28, 2022
Plays Éliane Radigue, Yasunao Tone,
Ellen Arkbro, Ben Patterson and Phill Niblock
doors 7 pm, shows 7:30 pm
At Blank Forms
468 Grand Ave, 1D,
Brooklyn NY 11238
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27 8:00 PM
John Zorn’s NEW MASADA QUARTET
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
John Zorn - sax
Julian Lage - guitar
Jorge Roeder - bass
Kenny Wollesen - drums
THEIR ONLY PERFORMANCE UNTIL SPRING 2023 - DON’T MISS THIS ONE!
A surprise and rare appearance of John Zorn’s newest and most exciting ensemble, the New Masada Quartet. Performing classic compositions from the Masada songbooks, NMQ is a tight unit of like-minded virtuosi and one of the best groups Zorn has ever had. Bristling hot guitar master Julian Lage, bass wizard Jorge Roeder and 30-year Zorn veteran Kenny Wollesen perform with a crackling live energy that brings the Masada music to life like never before! Led by Zorn’s versatile sax and stop and start conducting, the music is filled with burning solos, telepathic group interaction, heartfelt lyricism and hypnotic grooves.
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… the new one just popped up today, 7/27/22:
THERE IS A RECENT INTERVIEW with FRED FRITH by Rick Rees that is found here: https://rickrees.substack.com/p/fred-frith-interview . Rick Rees has been working on a website/blog/book/whatever about the great producer/manager/instigator/raconteur Georgio Gomelsky. Gomelsky is someone I’ve long admired and Rees is doing a good job of documenting/interviewing numerous Gomelsky associates. The Fred Frith interview is great and if you are a Frith fan, you should want to know about a number of upcoming projects, tours, etc. This interview showed up in my email during the last hour of my birthday last Sunday and it made me smile. Fred Frith & myself are old friends and he is someone whose music and attitude I really admire. - BLG
AMAZING SERIES OF PODCASTS PUT TOGETHER BY THE GREAT GUITARIST SAMO SALAMON:
The wonderful Slovenian guitarist/composer Samo Salamon has an incredible podcast on Youtube entitled "DR. JAZZ". He has interviewed many of the leading lights of contemporary improvisation including Bill Frisell, Hal Galper, Herb Robertson, Ben Monder, Bob Moses etc. and his conversations are deep and enlightening. Highly recommended for all curious listeners across the worlds of creative music. Here is the link below..
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=samo šalamon&qpvt=samo šalamon&FORM=VDRE
Guitarist and DMG-pal HENRY KAISER has a monthly Video Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
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/
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org