On the day of his seventeenth birthday he made
A machine that showed every bill marked as paid
Then he worked night and and day on a process that lead
To a way of reviving a man who was dead
He couldn't understand
All the people making such a fuzz about
What he considered such a useless thing
Everyone says he's a genius
Now what I' m going to say should stay between us
'Cause Howard Christman's older
And lately I noticed that he is starting to slow down
He was nineteen when he said that he would create
A machine that would make there would be no more hate
It could take him a week, or a month, maybe four
But he promised the people there'd be no more war
So they waited a week, then a month then a year
They were anxiously waiting for him to appear
Everyone says he's a genius
Now what I am gonna say should stay between us
'Cause Howard Christman's older
And lately I noticed that he's starting to slow down.
My favorite period of time for music was between 1966 thru 1969, when psychedelic music ruled the airwaves on both AM and FM radio. I bought 7â€ singles starting in 1965 and stopping in the early 1970â€™s, starting again in 1977 when New Wave music took over. I started to buy full length albums in the Summer of 1967 and have continued to do so ever since. I started listening to FM radio in the Spring of 1967 and discovered that there was an entire scene on underground music that I didnâ€™t know existed. I would walk around after school listening to the radio and writing down songs & bands that I heard in a little notebook, going to the local record stores every weekend to find the records by those bands. One of the many bands that I heard on the radio was The Collectors from Vancouver, Canada. Two of their songs were played on FM radio, â€œLydia Purpleâ€ and the above song, â€œHoward Christmanâ€™s Olderâ€. Both were most enchanting to me. The above song still resonates with me since it tells a story about a young man who is ahead of his time, inventing machines to make our world better in several different ways. After several advances, Mr. Christman tries to invent a machine that would eliminate â€œhateâ€ or â€œwarâ€. It turns out that he couldnâ€™t do this and it slows down his progress, he then disappears. A science fiction tale told in a 5 minute rock song. The Collectors would go on to release three albums, each one I remember enjoying. They would later transform into a band called Chilliwack, who also made a few albums. Being a longtime fan addict for all or most psychedelic bands, I still search for those lost treasures. Iâ€™ve also been a big fan of a number of great Canadian sixties bands like Steppenwolf, the Guess Who, King Biscuit Boy & Crowbar, the Paupers, Kensington Market, Ian & Sylvia/Great Speckled Bird, the Ugly Ducklings, Lighthouse and a several others. Check out that first Collectors album if you can, it still sounds compelling today. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GREETINGS TO DMG NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS ALL AROUND THE EARTH & OTHER PLANETS:
On Monday, May 1st, my store Downtown Music Gallery will turn 32! Nearly a third of a century of providing all sorts of Creative Music to those who need to hear Music as Inspiration. I am really proud of how much my/our store has evolved over this long stretch of time. When we opened in May of 1991, I had no clue how long we might last, yet I was hopeful to finally have a job that I might actually enjoy. And most of the time, I still Love this job! I started the store with two friends, David Yamner & Steve Popkin, and became the owner in 1997 with one employee named Emperor Mike (a metalhead & an easy-going person to work with). We took over doing the mail-order business for John Zornâ€™s Tzadik label which we still do today. Over the long hall, weâ€™ve had around 32 employees working at the store and I want to say thanks to each & every one of them, theyâ€™ve all been a part of the history of the store. We also started doing a monthly, then bi-weekly & then weekly 1 or 2 page newsletter (printed version at first), which lists new releases & reissues of note. We also soon started to do the weekly newsletter on-line as a free subscription. The on-line newsletter is now 20 years old and goes out to 7,000 subscribers every week, around the world. The DMG newsletter is now several pages long and includes 2 to 3 dozen reviews/blurbs, local concert recommendations, a yearly Victo and formerly Vision Fest reviews. When the pandemic hit in March of 2021, I started adding song lyrics to the beginning of the newsletter, mostly because Iâ€™ve long been fascinated with lyrics and poetry, which have a way of getting to essence how we communicate and learn from one another. The response has been mostly good, outside of the occasional uptight fascist/extremists with little or no sense of humor.
This Sunday, April 30th, we will have a celebration/party at the store starting around 7pm. We will have some spirits (wine) and snacks on hand but if any of you want to bring anything to share, please do so. Iâ€™ve been working on a number of different cassette compilations, a funk comp, a psych comp, a good-time music comp, sunshine-pop and a number of best-of Live Dead comps from 1971 & 1972. Any or all of which I hope to play to make folks feel happy to be alive. I played the funk comp for Daniel Carter the other night and he was most impressed! You can sing or dance or just smile & groove along and also have some good conversations with some of our friends. I also would like to do some jamming perhaps around 9 or 10 with any musicians who have shown up. Perhaps Suburban Bohemia will even make an appearance?!? I would like to do to a few cover songs but that depends on who shows up, so weâ€™ll seeâ€¦ So put on your dancing (sailing) shoes and get ready for some fun. Spring is here and then summer is around the corner. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, founder of Downtown Music Gallery, 4/27/23
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Sunday, April 30th at 7pm:
The DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 32nd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION/PARTY!
7 - 9pm: Snacks, Drinks, Dancing & Conversing! Funk Mixtape by MCBruceLee!
9:30: DMG All-Stars Jam! Cosmic Covers & Free Form Freak-out!
Tuesday, May 2nd:
6:30: EYAL MAOZ - Solo Guitar!
7:30: JAMES WENGROW / HERY PAZ / JAMES PAUL NADIEN!
8:30: AARON RUBINSTEIN - Solo guitar!
Tuesday, May 9th:
6:30: SALLY GATES / JESSICA PAVONE / NAVA DUNKELMAN - Guitar / Viola / Percussion
7:30: TOADAL PACKAGE: JAMES PAUL NADIEN / COSMO GALLARO / BRENNA REY
8:30: MARC EDWARDS TRIO: DAVE TAMURA / TAKUMA KANAIWA - Drums / Tenor Sax / El Guitar
Special Guest; REG BLOOR - Solo Guitar
Tuesday, May 16th: BRUCE GONE TO VICTO FEST! / James P Nadien hosts:
7 & 9pm: 2 Sets: TONY MALABY - Tenor Sax / COLIN DUVAL- Bass / JAMES PAUL NADIEN - Drums
THIS WEEKâ€™S NEW RELEASES BEGIN WITH JOELLE LEANDREâ€™S FANTASTIC SOLO CONTRABASS Disc:
* JOELLE LEANDRE - Zurich Concert (Intakt 402; Switzerland) JoÃ«lle LÃ©andre is a living legend. JoÃ«lle LÃ©andre is a master contrabassist who has been at the center of the French & European Creative Music Scene since her emergence in the 1970â€™s. Although she is classically trained on the bass, she has long been a master improviser working with the best all worlds: IrÃ¨ne Schweizer, Lindsay Cooper, Maggie Nicols, Louis Moholo, George Lewis, Rudiger Carl, Derek Bailey, Sylvia Courvoisier, Susie Ibarra and many more. Although Ms. LÃ©andre can be heard on more than a hundred releases, her solo offerings are a bit more rare. This disc was recorded live at Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich, Switzerland in March of 2022. The sound on this disc is quite extraordinary with Ms. LÃ©andreâ€™s bass fills up the room/sound spectrum! Ms. LÃ©andre is bowing up a storm when this disc begins, those dark, turbulent lower notes resonating in massive waves. As intensely as she bows here, Joelle also plucks the other strings at the same time on the neck of the bass. Ms. Leandre keeps switching between bowing the bass, tapping on and striking the strings powerfully, making intense clusters of notes as she goes. The music ranges from breath-taking to scary to intense to subtle, making each note or sound count. When things get this intense, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I sit on the edge of my seat in astonishment. Ms. LÃ©andre occasionally vocalizes, adding strong harmonies or odd counterpoint to her bass playing. On track 4, Ms. LÃ©andre bows those odd ghost-like notes which sound like voices rising from the strings, horsehairs and wood of her bass, she also adds some haunting vocal sounds as punctuation. This disc is magnificent, perhaps the best solo contrabass disc Iâ€™ve heard in a long while! JoÃ«lle LÃ©andre will be getting honored at the next Vision Fest in June of this year and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. She certainly deserves this award as she is in a class of her own! Completely OUTstanding on all fronts! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* JOELLE LEANDRE is being honored at Vision Festival this year on the first day of the fest - June 13th, 2023 with a Lifetime Achievement Award and will be performing in 4 different sets that night!
TISZIJI MUNOZ / YAKA DON PATE / RA KALAM BOB MOSES - Burning Down Hades (Ra Kalam Records 030; USA) Featuring Tisziji Munoz on guitar, shenai, wood flute, djembe, congas, udu & bells, Yaka Don Pate on contrabass and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums, congas, dumbek & talking drums. It has been a few years since Guitar Wizard Tisziji Munoz released a new disc. Mr. Munoz moved down south last year and has had some health issues to deal with. My friend Jay Sanders and myself organized a concert for Munoz last year at Artist Space in Tribeca which was a blast on several levels. Munoz played in a quartet with Paul Shaffer & Don Pate for that date and still blew some minds with the flame on slow burn. Longtime Munoz collaborator Ra Kalam Bob Moses couldnâ€™t make that date due to scheduling and health issues himself. Ra Kalam also moved south recently as well and is still working with Tisziji and releasing an occasional disc on his own Ra Kalam label. Contrabassist supreme, Yaka Don Pate has been working with Munoz for almost 30 years and remains an under-recognized giant of the contrabass.
The title of this disc is â€˜Burning Down Hadesâ€™, Hades being another term for Hell, an idea or myth that Munoz often refers to in his song titles. This disc starts off with â€œSuffering Psychic Non-Existenceâ€ which erupts open with a blast of screaming spirits with Munoz on shenai, a double reed instrument. Time stops, a bell is struck and we soon take off for that Cosmic, Free-Spirit, soaring sound. Each piece seems to start off with a cosmic blast which includes screams, reeds, churning bass and free-wheeling percussion. Another bell is struck and the trio again take off for some free spirit soaring. â€œForgivenessâ€ slows the tempo down a bit while the guitar-led trio take off into the stratosphere with Munoz launching off into a lightning lick solo. Munoz has a distinctive way of reaching for a certain note as he revs up his lines, playing a series of lines before and after the special notes, allowing us, the trusty listeners time to absorb the cosmic waves he is often unleashing. Each opening sequence gets more intense, more explosive but then calm down to that one struck bell note. On â€œSparks of Light and Levitationâ€, it sounds as if Munoz is playing an acoustic guitar or calmly turned down electric. The calm before the next storm feels particularly good like soft waves washing over us. It seems as if the trio is performing a ritual which begins with a short blast of hell-fire, silence & a ding for piece and then a building of cosmic forces from calm to explosive, medium paced to furious. The last piece is called â€œPleas for Redemption / Bell / The Final Cleansingâ€. Something I notice throughout this disc is this: both Don Pateâ€™s contrabass and Ra Kalamâ€™s drumming are integral to the full group/trio sound. Ra Kalam has his own sound on the drums and a distinctive way of spinning around the drums with his drums tuned in his unique way. There is a long layered percussion section on the last piece which is one of the highlights of this disc, it is truly enchanting with the trio adding their jubilant voices at one point. I love the way Munoz takes his time here, building the tension as he goes, heading for the stars but still not going all the way. Each line of notes stretches further than the previous one as the trio soars higher and higher. If you need some Spirit Music Inspiration and/or if you are seeking some Cosmic Free guitar then you should reach for the treasures found here. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JAVIER VERCHER / RA KALAM BOB MOSES - Realismo Magico (Ra Kalam Records 031; USA) Featuring Javier Vercher on saxes, flutes & synths and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums, percussion, bass & voice. After many years living, teaching and creating music in the Boston area, Ra Kalam Bob Moses recently moved to the South. Over the past couple of decades, Ra Kalam has been running his own CD-R label and releasing more than 30 discs of Creative Improvised music, collaborating with many different musicians from all over: Tisziji Munoz, other professors, former students and select musicians that cross his path. Iâ€™ve reviewed and enjoyed each of the discs that Moses has produced and appreciate that he has given an opportunity for lesser known Creative Musicians, time and again. I wasnâ€™t familiar with Spanish saxist Javier Vercher before now but it turns out that he can be found on four discs collaborating with Oscar Penas, Lionel Loukec and Sam Yahel, including a date as a leader on the Fresh Sound label.
â€˜Realismo Magicoâ€™ consists of 15 mostly shorter pieces, each one quite different. It sounds like both musicians are doing some overdubbing. â€œDanza de la Libertadâ€ features Mr. Vercher on tenor sax and Ra Kalam on congas, the duo having a blustery yet calm conversation, the vibes flowing back and forth organically. Vercher has a rich, warm, Trane-like tone on tenor on â€œSacred Sound Flotationâ€ with Mr. Moses playing his drums with mallets. The magical spirit of Ra Kalam is the way he provides a Cosmic cushion of support on each piece. An organic flow continues throughout with bass frequencies pulsating slowly and Vercherâ€™s sax drifting on top. Each piece creates a vibe or mood, setting a scene for our collective mindsâ€™ eyelid film. Vercher switches to soprano sax on â€œCosmic Panoramaâ€ which seems to include some eerie synth sounds. He switches back to tenor later in the piece, putting his sax through some odd device. It turns out that both musicians recorded their parts separately, adding layers as they go. I love the way Ra Kalam overdubs different percussion parts in careful layers, creating an organic mass of percussion lines, all connected both on top and in an undertow underneath the waves. I like the way Mr. Vercher rarely overblows as the two care more about creating that hypnotic floating spirit. Both musicians place their instruments in different places in the stereo spectrum, sometimes moving around or recording themselves from a distance. There is a relaxed sense of calm going on here which feels so good when someone is stressed out. Ommmmmmmmmâ€¦ - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRED FRITH AND ENSEMBLE MUSIQUES NOUVELLES - Something About This Landscape For Ensemble (Sub Rosa SR 536; Belgium) â€œFrom his early days with Henry Cow, Fred Frith was seen as a brilliant instrumentalist and improviser, but what has been overlooked is what a first-rate composer he is. This recording offers both aspects. His most complex orchestral composition and two selected improvisations with the Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles. Fred Frith, as an infusion of energy and inspiration.
"Something about this Landscape was commissioned by Ars Musica in 2018. I composed the piece during a residency at Lou Harrison's straw-bale house in the desert at Joshua Tree, California. It's an inspiring place for a number of reasons -- the silence, the light, the life, the history. The extraordinary diversity of birds during the migration season. Both other pieces are improvisations. The first one is the one we did during the concert (in public), the other one, very different, is the one we did during the dress rehearsal (on the day of the concert)." - Fred Frith
Musiques Nouvelles is one of the two most successful and diversified contemporary music ensemble in this country with Ictus. With, under the influence of Jean-Paul Dessy, a deeply spiritual and mutual listening aspect. This meeting with the legendary Fred Frith will remain as an important step.
CD $16 (in stock next week)
JIM [BLACK] & THE SHRIMPS - Ainâ€™t No Saint (Intakt 397; Switzerland) Featuring Jim Black on drums & compositions, Asger Nissen on alto sax, Julius Gawlik on tenor sax and Felix Henkelhausen on contrabass. Jim Black has long been one Downtownâ€™s most dependable drummers/composers/bandleaders. Since moving to New York in the early 1990â€™s, Mr. Black has worked with several seminal bands: Tim Berneâ€™s Bloodcount, Eskelin/Parkins/Black, Tiny Bell Trio, Pachora, Human Feel & Yeah No. Mr. Black formed his own band Alasnoaxis around 2000 and moved to Berlin in 2016. After Alasnoaxis, Black formed the Jim Black Trio with Elias Stemeseder & Thomas Morgan. Mr. Black also organized a new quartet with two guitarists which have a disc in the third â€˜Bagatellesâ€™ box which was released last year (2022).
After working with his piano trio, Mr. Black decided to organize a more rambunctious quartet with three other musicians, all based in Berlin. I wasnâ€™t familiar with any of the current members of this band but it turns out that each has an impressive resume of previous bands & recordings. The instrumentation is similar to Tim Bernâ€™e Bloodcount which played gigs and recorded with and without guitarist Marc Ducret who still lives in France. Jim Black is a unique and distinctive drummer, who definitely has his own sound. His playing is often at the center of each of these 12 songs. â€œThe Set Upâ€ has a twisted, almost funky groove with each saxist playing a different part, one solos while the other plays those somewhat bent lines. I can tell that Mr. Black put a good deal of time and thought into each of these dozen songs, since each one if challenging in its own way. Black swings hard on â€œSnaggâ€ which features some hot, inspired solos from both saxes. The quartet is tight and focused as they navigate these difficult hairpin turn charts. Black does a fine job of composing ever-shifting lines for the bass and drums while the saxes keep shifting through solos or duos with all four parts tightly connected. On â€œGoingforitâ€, the quartet launches into a free section with all the parts still well connected and it end with a powerful drum solo, something that Mr. Black rarely if ever does. Mr. Black wrote some strong harmonies for both saxes on â€œCrashbashâ€, with the rhythm team also working to flesh out the pieces. Mr. Black usually uses small hand percussion and/or cheap electronics, hence we can hear his use of some metal object(s) for occasional punctuation. There are quite a bit of unexpected changes in direction and layers of interlocking parts that you have to focus on to hear. I hope that Mr. Black gets a chance to have this quartet play here at some point since they do have their own sound. Either way, this disc is a solid showing of adventurous, well-written and well-played progressive jazz. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ARUAN ORTIZ TRIO with BRAD JONES / JOHN BETSCH - Serranias Sketchbook for Piano Trio (Intakt 392; Switzerland)Personnel - AruÃ¡n Ortiz: piano; Brad Jones: bass; John Betsch: drums. Cuban-born, New York-based pianist and composer AruÃ¡n Ortiz has already demonstrated his fearlessness in music, a quality that often leads to unpredictable results in his recordings. His new trio outing, SerranÃas: Sketchbook for Piano Trio, serves as a double celebration: the 20th anniversary of his recording debut as a leader in the US and his own 50th birthday. His trio companions joining him here are bassist Brad Jones, who also played in the 2018 album Live in Zurich, and drummer John Betsch, who adheres to Ortizâ€™s universe for the first time.
Following on the heels of his previous works, this thought-provoking album continues to put avant-garde jazz and Afro-Cuban/Haitian tradition on the same experimental page. â€œShaw Nuffâ€, a Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker number, is restructured and reharmonized with hybrid stylishness. The rhythm ingrains in your head, having a steadfast bass pulsation going on, while the pianist seems on another wavelength. The result of his actions feels very much organic, though, tied with chromaticism of his own design. In due course, the trio enters a swinging routine, enabling a few transitions with changes in speed and some vamping in its denouement.
If â€œEn Forma de Guajiraâ€, with its non-obvious tempo and inspired motions and grooves, is a searching tribute to the ethnomusicologist Argelles Leon, then the playful if somewhat abstract solo piano effort â€œCanto de Tambores e Caracolesâ€ was inspired by the Afro-Cuban poet, playwright, and journalist Jesus Cos Causse.
â€œMemorias Del Monteâ€ marches with a snaky 12-beat cycle bass figure, sometimes passing the sensation that is going to mutate into an electronic trance dance. There are crystalline constellations of notes emerging from Ortizâ€™s playing, and the trio shows its knack for serious rhythmic puzzles. Such is also the case with the title track, â€œSerranÃasâ€ (mountainous areas), whose polyrhythmic communication opens doors to new emotional spaces.
19th-century Cuban pianist Ignacio Cervantes' â€œLos Tres Golpesâ€ is more solemn in tone, mounted with droning bowed bass, unconcealed cymbal glee, and unsparing piano reflections that become sweeter at the end. Ortizâ€™s â€œBlack Like a Thunder Stoneâ€ and â€œLullaby for the End Timesâ€ explore different moods. The former, flowing hastily with a modernized bop-oriented approach, translates into catchy portions of melody that recall jazz standards; the latter plays like a balmy chorale with gentle brushwork and sparse bass notes. With plenty of individual expression, SerranÃas holds together as a complete work unto itself. Ortizâ€™s unique voice is present.â€ - JazzTrail.net
THE NECKS with CHRIS ABRAHAMS / LLOYD SWANTON / TONY BUCK - Travel (Northern Spy Records 158; USA) â€œDissecting The Necks invites an unavoidable discussion regarding genre. After sampling the various albums from the Australian trio's prolific career, one may wonder how exactly to categorize their style of music; instead of applying labels from the outset, it may be best to determine what The Necks are not. A self-described "cult band", the threesome qualifies that their creative output isn't "entirely avant-garde, nor minimalist, nor ambient, nor jazz." They specialize in engagingly repetitive and textured longform pieces, but tags of krautrock, jam, and drone also don't stick. Quite simply, The Necks play improvised music, creating a wholly unique and freeform musical universe while pulling inspiration from aforementioned genres in their orbit.
In an effort to capture a recent studio practice of playing extended improvisations, The Necks recorded Travel, their nineteenth album. Kicking off with "Signal", a shy piano treads lightly over a steadfast bass line and light percussion, composing mystery in the air for twenty minutes; muscular runtimes are a hallmark of the band's aesthetic, although Travel offers four medium-sized pieces instead of one or two goliath tracks. Eventually, the meek piano is replaced by a percolating keyboard that sounds vaguely like a smartphone alert; all the while, the bassline stays strong, followed closely by the drums. Even later when they introduce an organ and combine the two other key instrument variations, the rhythm remains steady, the tempo stays calm. Constructing a room of pseudo-spiritual ambience, the mood turns serene on the follow-up "Forming", where a softly-clamoring bass supports beautifully-organic percussion and inquisitive keys. The piano seeks jazz, but the drums simply attempt to keep peace, and the hazy scene yawns with the satisfaction of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
As Travel ages, two very specific album comparisons spring to mind: the Chilly Gonzales piano redux of Plastikmann's acid techno classic Consumed In Key, and Jeff Parker's excellent improvisational Mondays at The Enfield Tennis Academy. The former features sly piano fingers that ask questions with each press, while Mondays at The ETA composes grooves that ponder at the fork of spiritual jazz and jam. The back half of Travel fits suitably between these two LPs, which isn't to make a derivative accusation of the Australian trio; it's just interesting to note new comparisons to the group's very active discography. After an adventurous third excursion, the album closer "Bloodstream" wraps up with flowering keys that bloom amidst rumbling drum rolls and bowed melancholy. A courageous bass drum beat inspires the organ to speak up, droning in and out of consciousness like a self-medicating Sandman before sending the rest of the band to bed.
If you're a fan of The Necks, you'll be glad to know that the band hasn't altered their tried-and-true formula. Of course, it'd be difficult to mistake Travel for the recent Three or my personal favorite Unfold, but the foundation on which the trio's success is built remains reliable. Those patient listeners who get down with double-digit minute song lengths will certainly find a welcome home in The Neck's nineteenth record; and if you're wondering what an unclassifiable band sounds like, Travel is a fine way to indulge your curiosity.â€ - Ian Lovdhal, FreeJazzBlog.org
2 LP Set $35
SUN RA ARKESTRA Directed by MARSHALL ALLEN - Living Sky (Omnisound 08 1001; Planet Earth) This is the current Sun Ra Arkestra and it features Marshall Allen, Knoel Scoot, Nasir P. Dickerson & Chris Hemingway on saxes, Michael Ray & Cecil Brooks on trumpets, Vincent Chancey on French horn, Adriene G. Davis on trombone, Dave Hotep on guitar, Tara Middleton, Gwen Laster, Melanie Dyer & Kash Killion on strings, Tyler Mitchell on bass, Ron McBee, Jorge Silva & Elson Nascimento on percussion and Wayne Anthony Smith, Jr. on drums. The Sun Ra Arkestra are an institution which has been around for more than 65 years, starting around 1956. With the passing of Sun Ra in May of 1993 (moving back to his homeworld, Saturn) and John Gilmore in August of 1995, Marshall Allen (turning 99 next month) took over the reigns and has kept the Arkestra moving forward, playing concerts around the world and recording from time to time as well. Many folks seem to think that ghost orchestras (with few if any original members) rarely capture the spirit of their original versions, this has never been the case with the current Marshall Allen-led version of the Arkestra, which is now more than a quarter century old. â€˜Living Skyâ€™ is the fifth disc by this version and once more the Arkestra still shines, soars and travels the spaceways.
For â€˜Liquid Skyâ€™, the Arkestra plays two pieces by Sun, three by Marshall Allen and two covers. The 19-piece of the Arkestra seems to change members from gig to gig and includes a few older members like Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Michael Ray and Mr. Marshall. The current version also features a string section with two New Yorkers: Melanie Dyer and Gwen Laster plus Kash Killion (cello & sarangi) who was a member of the Pyramids. This disc begins with a song by FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin, classical romantic composer from the 1,800â€™s. An odd choice?!? Although I donâ€™t recognize the melody, this haunting piece does suit the band just right. The piano is exquisite, the horns simmering with Marshall Allen playing that inside/outside solo in his own unique way. Sun Raâ€™s â€œSomebody Elseâ€™s Ideaâ€ is next and it has that dreamy, solemn, swaying Sun Ra-like sound with mildly spooky voices in the background. I love the sound of the muted trumpets sizzling on top. Marshall Allenâ€™s â€œDay of the Living Skyâ€ again has that lilting, dreamy sound with lovely flute, muted trumpet(s) and sarangi (Indian bowed lute). â€œMarshall Grooveâ€ starts out quietly and builds freely and intensely as it goes with some strong tenor sax, trombone and other horns swirling strongly together as it evolves. Sun Raâ€™s â€œNight of the Living Skyâ€ again has that eerie, hypnotic repeating phrase which runs throughout, creating a somber, simmering, haunting mood. Mr. Allen plays his EVI here to create those spacey sounds, an ongoing signature sound for the Arkestra. Allenâ€™s â€œFireflyâ€ sounds like an ancient standard, laid back with some fine solos from Allen on alto, the French horn and bari sax. Appropriately enough, this disc ends with Walt Disneyâ€™s signature song, â€œWish Upon on Starâ€. One could say that this a truly corny song yet the Sun Ra Arkestra has long covered this and another half dozen songs associated with Walt Disney films. Marshall Allen turns the corniness inside out by playing his own inside/outside solo while the rest of the band plays a lovely, laid-back rendition of the classic gem. For those of you who find that all or most Sun Ra albums are too far out, this is certainly not the case here. This disc is most charming in its own Ra-like way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SUN RA with JUNE TYSON / JOHN GILMORE / MARSHALL ALLEN / DANNY RAY THOMPSON / HAYES BURNETT / SAMARAI CELESTIAL / MICHAL ANDERSON / ATAKATUNE / ELOE OMOE / et al - Ra to the Rescue! (Modern Harmonic 222; Planet Earth) â€˜Ra to the Rescueâ€™! was initially pressed on vinyl in limited quantities in 1983. Many of the songs here were recorded at the Squat Theatre on West 23rd St in Manhattan in the 1980â€™s. I attended around a half dozen of these sets myself during that era. By this time in the Su Ra Arkestraâ€™s discography, there were many dozens of albums released, some with overlapping tracks, some songs retitled in albums which just had white generic covers. Sometimes Sun Ra and/or the Arkestra members would draw something on the covers of each pressing. Very confusing to Sun Ra fan-addicts like you and me. This is the first time that this album has been reissued with the original tracks intact.
The ten songs here were recorded at three different sessions with varying personnel. This disc begins with â€œMystery, Mr. Raâ€, with the soulful voices of Sun Ra and June Tyson both chanting back and forth. The music sounds live and it is well-recorded. â€œWhen Spaceships Appear (Ra to the Rescue - Part 1)â€, features an intense, swirling, enchanting Sun Ra synth solo. Sun Raâ€™s music has long embraced the entire history of jazz, from swing/big band songs to space-age modern jazz. â€œBack Alley Bluesâ€ is a sort of jump-blues ditty with Mr. Ra playing a Count Basie-like blues piano solo. â€œChildren of the Sunâ€, each and every one is another righteous chant by Sun Ra and his Cosmic Chorus. Some say that the members of the Arkestra are like a cult of followers for Sun Ra. The call & response chanting here cast a spell on those who to get on board of the spaceship as it sails to Saturn, Sun Raâ€™s home-world where he still exists today. â€œSpace Shuttleâ€ opens with one of those scary, over-the-top screaming, sax-blasting solos from either John Gilmore or Marshall Allen. This style of multiphonic, split-toned soloing was invented by John Gilmore in the late fifties and was a direct influence on John Coltrane. â€œFate in a Pleasant Moodâ€ is one of the more memorable songs that Mr. Ra wrote, a kind of standard, here which Ra takes an extraordinary piano solo, which stretches from the deep jazz past to the modern day with some electric clavinet or harpsichord coming in later on. All of the music was carefully mastered by the great Joe Lizzi, who also is involved with the Cosmic Myth and Triple Point labels. There is something immensely charming going on here and it is rarely too far out. A true Cosmic gem from the late, great Sun Ra. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LA MONTE YOUNG / MARIAN ZAZEELA - 31 VII 69 10:26 - 10:49 PM / 23 VIII 64 2:50:45 - 3:11 AM The Volga Delta (Superior Viaduct 198CD; USA) "La Monte Young was born in Bern, Idaho in 1935. He began his music studies in Los Angeles and later Berkeley, California before relocating to New York City in 1960, where he became a primary influence on Minimalism, the Fluxus movement and performance art through his legendary compositions of extended time durations and the development of just intonation and rational number based tuning systems. With wife and collaborator, artist Marian Zazeela, they would formulate the composite sound environments of the Dream House, which continues to this day. Seeing reissue for the first time since its initial 1969 release, Young and Zazeela's first full-length album is often referred to as The Black Record due to Zazeela's stunning cover design, complete with Young's original liner notes in magnificent calligraphy. Side one was recorded in 1969 (on the date and time indicated by the title) at the gallery of Heiner Friedrich in Munich, where Young and Zazeela premiered their Dream House sound and light installation. Featuring Young and Zazeela's voices against a sine wave drone, the recording is a section of the longer composition "Map of 49's Dream the Two Systems of Eleven Sets of Galactic Intervals Ornamental Lightyears Tracery" (begun in 1966 as a sub-section of the even larger work The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys, which was begun in 1964 with Young's group The Theatre of Eternal Music). According to Young, the raga-like melodic phrases of his voice were heavily influenced by his future teacher, the Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Side two, recorded in Young and Zazeela's NYC studio in 1964, is a section of the longer composition Studies in the Bowed Disc. This composition is an extended, highly abstract noise piece for bowed gong (gifted by sculptor Robert Morris). The liner notes state that the live performance can be heard at 33 and 1/3 RPM, but may also be played at any constant slower speed down to 8 and 1/3 RPM for turntables with this capacity." "La Monte Young is the daddy of us all." - Brian Eno
ASMUS TIETCHENS - Schatten ohne Licht (Black Rose Recordings 211019CD; UK) Black Rose Recordings present the exceptional new album by Asmus Tietchens, Schatten ohne Licht. E.M. Cioran plays a very important role in most of Tietchen's work and this release is no different. For this release Cioran has a fellow anthropofugal thinker: Ulrich Horstmann. The theme of this release deals with a return to a mineral world without any organic species, and therefore uninhabitable for human beings. This very radical dystopia serves as a foil to the six chapters of Schatten ohne Licht. There is something profound about the music. It can be slow and is certainly contemplative. Maybe the music is a sign of the state of our times? As a pioneer of electronic composition his work spans over four decades and doesn't fit easily into any one category. Early recordings ranged from experiments with tape machines and electronic sound through to experimental pop. Later works were a more sculptural blend of abstract microelectronics, industrial sounds, and musique concrete. Never straightforward or obvious, always unpredictable and innovative. His ground-breaking music influences many working in today's electronic music scene. He has worked almost exclusively as a solo artist, but other releases have seen him collaborate with well-known and diverse artists such as Dieter Moebius (Cluster, Harmonia), Thomas Koener, Richard Chartier, and Merzbow.â€
DAVID LEE MYERS Matrix (Pulsewidth PW025; US) Matrix seems like such an obvious title for a David Lee Myers record, you wonder why he hasnâ€™t chosen it before. That our acknowledged preeminent tonesmith of electronic music has finally graced a release with such a descriptive title says a great deal about his current state of (musical) affairs, his rich past, and the signposts pointing to his future. Whatâ€™s better understood is that, factually, Myersâ€™ has been birthing a complex body mechanic of various matrices across the deep breadth of his catalog, whether as Myersâ€™ or Arcane Device, and if the two entities sometimes blur, itâ€™s indeed the necessary byproduct of an artist who has spent a lifetime working the vagaries of electrically-fomented sound. More the better, itâ€™s said, as this two-disc set amply demonstrates. Myersâ€™s bases his modus operandi on an almost mad-scientist-of-electronics method, seemingly cackling with glee at the van de graaff generators of feedback, modules of madness, and interlocutors of isotopic imagery utilized at the behest of his restless muse. As â€œThe Scientific Methodâ€ itself illustrates, collections of bubbling electronic beakers froth and seethe across a laboratory of incandescent chemical elements and awry experiments, resolving into gently pulsing bandwidths that massage the ear, all channeled through the artistâ€™s finely-honed, meticulous approach, even if that approach involves a whole lot of energized, random knob twiddling. â€œAuroaeâ€ explores whatever tones lurk deep inside the vacuum of space, and if their cobalt-black resonances are anything to go by, itâ€™s not a place suggestive of visitation. Such imagery is made particularly corporeal in the form of â€œSoft Plastic Peakersâ€, as weâ€™re returned to the lab of flasks and bismuth, strange substances evaporating their toxic odors in to the stucco as the walls melt in a psychedelic critical mass. The second discâ€™s single 45-minute epic has enough bubble, toil and trouble to give Fripp and Eno anxiety attacks, Myersâ€™ sculpted aggregate the stuff of fever dreams, amplifier distress, and granular apocalypse. In the land of pure electronic sensation, this epic outing is the Matrix resurrected, warping your reality to its very core, red pill be damned. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
TOM DJLL - Speed of Silence (TD; US) In the Fall of 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic wilderness, electronic musician and trumpeter Tom Djll embarked on a 13,000 mile road trip across the US, capturing field recordings and photographic imagery along the way. Both make up the backbone of his latest release, which takes the form of an audio CD and a lavish book of Djll's vivid stills, often blurred, time-stretched, distorted, and otherwise filtered into abstract, semi-accessible new shapes, much like the music contained within. Djll has emerged over the decades (his first recordings date back to the late 80s) as one of the USâ€™s most important improvisers and sound designers, taking his beloved trumpet and altering its audio outcomes beyond recognition, simultaneously achieving such ends thanks to his own system of synthesizer, audio processing, and numerous other random modules. Speed of Silence therefore manages the unusual feat of evoking both momentum and stasis. The eighteen minutes of â€œBoscobelâ€, one of the discâ€™s central pieces, vacillates between violently vibrating sheets of sound, excoriating glitches, amp itch, and the detritus remaining from rubbing a whole bunch of digital sticks together. At times resembling a gathering of Lear jet engines revving up, elsewhere a symphony of rusty machines in obvious distress, the sheer bravado on display is nothing short of galvanizing. Shorter tracks such as the semi-abrasive â€œPlunkettâ€ recall some of Tod Dockstaderâ€™s more arresting works, with its percolating timbers arising from either Djllâ€™s mutant trumpet playing, its attendant melting audio mulch, or both.â€Tateâ€™s Hellâ€ brings Djllâ€™s trumpet right to the fore, opening with a great blast of foghorn-like brass before settling in to a somewhat â€˜ambientâ€™ tapestry combining serpentine sine waves, brillo-pads of feedback, and prickly tones that pierce the air like angry hornets. The rainbow tableau displayed throughout the accompanying book fairly mirrors Djllâ€™s elusive sonic topography, making for some deep contemplation of their layered textures whilst absorbing the noises dancing around you. A wonderful package of audiovisual stimulation dazzling to both eye and ear. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
CD / BOOK $36
ONE OF THE COLLECTIONS WE RECENTLY ACQUIRED HAD DOZENS OF BOOTLEG CDâ€™S FROM BANDS/ARTISTS LIKE MILES DAVIS, JOHN COLTRANE, WEATHER REPORT, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and OTHERS. Iâ€™VE BEEN SLOWLY WORKING MY WAY THROUGH THESE DISCS, FINDING DOUBLES AND PUTTING THEM ON E-BAY SINCE WE CANâ€™T LIST THEM ON DISCOGS. A couple of our distributors also sell a number of these illegitimate records which we list from time to time. I just discovered the two below discs by Miles Davis. All of these grey area discs are limited so do not hesitate if you want them.
MILES DAVIS SEXTET with STEVE GROSSMAN / CHICK COREA / DAVE HOLLAND / AIRTO MOREIRA / JACK DeJOHNETTE - Fillmore West 1970 (Hi Hat 3083; EEC) Featuring Miles Davis on trumpet, Steve Grossman on soprano sax, Chick Corea on electric & acoustic piano, Dave Holland acoustic & electric bass, Airto Moreira on percussion and Jack DeJohnette on drums. The music here comes from a radio broadcast, recorded on March 30th of 1970. 1969 was a major transition for Miles Davis as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams all left the Miles Davis Quintet, perhaps the most popular modern jazz band of their era (1964-1969). Miles toured Europe in 1969 with a mostly new quintet with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. This group was called the â€œlost quintetâ€ since they never recorded a studio album, but has several hard-to-find bootlegs from the tour. By March of 1970, Wayne Shorter had left and was replaced by Steve Grossman with Brasilian percussionist Airto Moreira added to the group. In 1969, Columbia Records released â€œIn a Silent Wayâ€, a departure for Miles and the beginning of his adventure into jazz/rock territory. Miles also recorded â€˜Bitches Brewâ€™ in 1969 and it was released in 1970. It is often considered to be one the greatest electric jazz albums of all and still sounds incredible today, more than a half century later.
This live set was recorded in March of 1970 and includes four of the pieces from â€˜Bitches Brewâ€™. The sextet is simmering slyly right from the opening, soon burning intensely. Chick Corea is playing a slightly distorted electric piano with Airto adding those talking drum sounds and other assorted hand percussion. Mr. DeJohnette, who had recently left the Charles Lloyd Quartet, had some large shoes to fill, taking over Tony Williamâ€™s role. Although Dave Holland wasnâ€™t too happy playing electric bass, he still sounds great, revving up the rhythm with DeJohnetteâ€™s equally astounding, propulsive drumming. Chick Corea is using some devices (like a wah wah pedal) on his electric piano. All of the songs here are continuous and connected. This was round the early days of Steve Grossmanâ€™s career and he soon playing with Elvin Jones as well. He sounds great on soprano sax here, playing an endless string of spirited solos throughout the entire set. Both Miles Davis on trumpet, Steve Grossman on soprano sax and Chick Cora on el. piano are on fire throughout this set, each getting chances to solo at length, often stretching out and soaring higher and higher as they go. A well-balanced and great sounding live recording! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MILES DAVIS with CARLOS GARNETT / REGGIE LUCAS / KHALIL BALAKRISHNA / CEDRIC LAWSON / MICHAEL HENDERSON / BADAL ROY / MTUME / AL FOSTER - Paulâ€™s Mall, Boston, September 1972 (Hi Hat 3032; EEC) Featuring Miles Davis on trumpet & directions, Carlos Garnett on tenor & soprano sax, Reggie Lucas on guitar, Khalil Balakrishna on sitar, Cedric Lawson keyboards, Michael Henderson el bass, Badal Roy on tablas, Mtume on percussion and Al Foster on drums. Between 1970 and 1975, Miles Davis kept a working band together that would tour and record frequently before Miles retired for nearly a decade due to health reasons. The personnel of the Miles Davis band would slowly change over time, although the rhythm team of Michael Henderson on bass and Al Foster on drums remained the same during this period. Miles recorded an album called â€˜Live-Evilâ€™ which was released in 1971. Miles was ever-evolving, personnel and instrument-wise so he had added several Indian musicians to the band like Badal Roy and Khalil Balakrishna. Rhythm/lead guitarist Reggie Lucas also joined around that era, adding some funk/rock grease to the band. This is also a radio broadcast, recorded at Paulâ€™s Mall in Boston in September of 1972. This is a groove oriented band with a powerful rhythm team of el bass, tablas, hand percussion and drumset. I recognize the first song which is called â€œBlack Satinâ€, which was released on the controversial, â€˜On the cornerâ€™ album, also from 1972. â€œBlack Satinâ€ would open many a Miles concerts during this period. Each member of the nine piece band gets a chance to stretch and solo at times. When the groove calms down, Badal Royâ€™s tablas come in, providing a simmer groove/pulse underneath. Reggie Lucas, who would go on to discover & help Madonna at the beginning of her career, is the secret weapon of this band. Mr. Lucas often plays those sharp, electric funk/rock rhythm/lead guitar parts keeps the groove going in between some occasional, burninâ€™ guitar solos. Cedric Lawson also provides a similar function with his layered electric keyboard support and bursts of energy. Miles is playing wah wah trumpet throughout, also burning the voodoo down as he solos on top of the slamming groove by Henderson and Foster. Although all of the 5 pieces here are continuous, Miles does play themes like â€œHonky Tonkâ€ & â€œRated Xâ€ (from â€˜Get Up With Itâ€™, rel in 1974 and â€œRight Offâ€ (from â€˜Jack Johnsonâ€™). The entire group is tight, organic and burning from the gitgo. I caught a number of Milesâ€™ sets just like this one so this disc does make me smile thinking about how incredible this band could and would be each time I caught them live. Another incredible live date from Miles Davis and his crew. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BACK IN STOCK AFTER A TWO MONTH DELAY:
HENRY COW with FRED FRITH / TIM HODGKINSON / JOHN GREAVES / CHRIS CUTLER / LINDSAY COOPER / GEORGIE BORN / PHIL MINTON / MARTIN DITCHAM - Glastonbury and Elsewhere (ReR HC20; UK) â€œA further collection of missing pieces uncovered since the release of the 18 CD Henry Cow Box that fills in parts of the story still undocumented (even on the bootleg circuit), Glastonbury, Chaumont, Bilbao and the Lions of Desire contains: The earliest and only known stage recording of the band as it was in June 1972 (Martin Ditcham, Fred Frith, John Greaves and Tim Hodgkinson) at the first Glastonbury Fayre. The recording is quite clean, though the mix heavily favours bass and guitar, which ini a way makes it of special interest, both musically and historically. â€¢ The brief two-week iteration of Henry Cow from April 1978 that featured Fred, Tim, Chris and Phil Minton, and an eclectic programme that included a lot of Westbook/Orkhestra materials, none of which has been released before. â€¢ Taken from a concert in Bilbao in 1977, some otherwise unrecorded compositions from the late Cow repertoire bound into a typical mash up of different compositional snippets. â€¢ Further unusual extracts from the Chaumont concert in 1976, as well as a brief studio moment captured by a film crew during the recording of Half Awake, Half Asleep, in 1973. This collection supplements the 19-volume Henry Cow Redux Box set released in 2019. Further additions may follow.â€ - ReR When I first got a copy of the first Henry Cow album, â€˜Leg Endâ€™, late in 1973, I was completely mystified by it and kept listening to it over and over. I came to realize after a while that Henry Cow was/were the culmination of everything I appreciated about â€œprogressiveâ€ music. They successfully blended progressive or forward-looking rock with avant (free-form & written) jazz and modern classical influences. Their music was experimental and difficult to pin down. The production on their first two albums was absolutely brilliant, unlike anything I had encountered before. They seemed to be been influenced by the original Mothers of Invention (my fave 60â€™s rock band), both production-wise, the use of extended techniques in their playing and the use of effects to alter their sounds. They also had a sharp, sly sense of humor (like the Mothers) and were known to be Marxists. I wrote to members of Henry Cow through the Virgin label in between their 1st and 2nd albums and received letters from Fred Frith, Chris Cutler & Tim Hodgkinson. My roommates at college & myself read those letters many to times to help us figure what Henry Cow was all about. In December of 1975 I met Fred Frith & Chris Cutler for a drink while I was doing an exchange program in London. Sadly, I never had a chance to see Henry Cow live. In November of 1978, I finally caught Frith, Cutler, Peter Bledvad (member of Slapp Happy & Henry Cow) & Billy Swann from the Muffins at the Zu Manifestival in NYC. Mr. Frith moved to NYC in 1979 while Henry Cow were in the midst of breaking up. Mr. Frith became good friends when he moved here and I owe him a good deal of gratitude for introducing me to the other members of the emerging Downtown Scene: John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Tom Cora, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Bob Ostertag, Ned Rothenberg and many others. I have also stayed in touch with Chris Cutler,Tim Hodkinson & Peter Blegvad through the years and have been lucky to have met Dagmar Krause & Geoff Leigh as well. They are still my heroes as well as friends. Henry Cow recorded 5 studio records and 1 live record during their reign from 1973 to 1979. All brilliant and well worth exploring at length. I have also followed the long careers of each member, acquiring each release and checking out of them live whenever Iâ€™ve had the opportunity. If you own all or some of the Henry Cow discs, you should also check out the Art Bears and News from Babel, as well as any of the other solo or collaborative projects from all members of the band. Chris Cutler founded ReR Megacorps (distribution) and Recommended Records (a/k/a RecRec or ReR), a great label for varied progressive/experimental musics. Three box sets were released in 2008 for the 40th anniversary of Henry Cow, one for the official studio releases and the two boxes featured 9 live discs (all unreleased) and a live DVD. A decade later in 2019, ReR released â€˜The Henry Cow Box Reduxâ€™ which includes all of the discs from the previous boxes (17 CDâ€™s, a DVD & a thick booklet). All essential music for serious listeners & collectors. Since there has been a handful of unreleased live sets which have been discovered. This new disc, â€˜Glastonbury and Elsewhereâ€™ is the first of the batch with more to come. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SHIFTED PHASES - The Cosmic Memoirs Of The Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope (Tresor 196CD; Germany) â€œIn early 2023, Tresor Records will reissue the sole output from Shifted Phases entitled The Cosmic Memoirs Of The Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope. Initially released in 2002, soon after James Stinson passed away, this LP plays a mysterious and compelling role in the Drexciya journey. While other records of Drexciya and related projects have received numerous reprints and editions, The Cosmic Memoirs... has remained out of print since its release. This rarity leaves it more open to interpretation with its place in the Drexciyan storm series, as it became increasingly hard to find and underexplored. This reissue does not merely close the loop on Tresor's reissue series of the Drexciya catalog but brings Shifted Phases to fresh ears more than other records. Accompanied by newly commissioned artwork from Matthew Angelo Harrison, the reissue also features the tracks "Crossing Of The Sun-Ra Nebula" and "Alien Vessel Distress Call", which were previously only on the original CD release. Track titles "Solar Wind", "White Dwarf", and "Lonely Journey of the Comet Bopp" reveal a focus on cosmic realms, suggesting a link with the Drexciya LP Grava 4 that moves from the underwater to the galactic. As it launches with mechanical blows on a precise orbit, each repetition entrenches the gravitational pull in the galaxy of Shifted Phases. In many places, it sounds like the readout of frequencies harvested from outer space, pockmarked with packet loss from the millions of kilometers distance travelled. The music is hard to contain, intuitively restless in motion through its unfolding universe and achingly resonant. It shapeshifts across affectedly melodic sequences such as in "Lonely Journey...", to the sparse, hard-hitting timbres found in "Alien Vessel Distress Call" and the mangled reverse vocals in "The Freak Show", somewhat reminiscent of another Drexciya side-project, Glass Domain. The mythology of Drexciya is evident in how keenly James Stinson and Gerald Donald created their imaginary worlds. In "Crossing Of The Sun-Ra Nebula", there is an indisputable reference to another Afro-futurist who delved deep into a galaxy of their own making.â€
MIDORI TAKADA - Through The Looking Glass (Wrwtfww Records & Palto Flats 019CD; Switzerland) Reprinted on CD. Palto Flats and We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records present the highly-anticipated reissue of Japanese percussionist Midori Takada's sought after and timeless ambient/minimal album Through The Looking Glass, originally released in 1983 by RCA Japan. Considered a holy grail of Japanese music by many, Through The Looking Glass is Midori Takada's first solo endeavor, a captivating four-song suite capturing her deep quests into traditional African and Asian percussive language and exploring contemplative ambient sounds with an admirably precise use of marimba. The result is alternatively ethereal and vibrant, always precise and mesmerizing, and makes for an atmospheric masterpiece and an unparalleled sonic and spiritual experience. Midori Takada is a composer, multi-percussionist, and theater artist renowned in Japanese vanguard circles. Midori has released two solo albums: Through The Looking Glass and Tree Of Life (1999) and wrote music for Tadashi Suzuki's theater plays. Her hypnotic, minimalist music is based in the concept of coherence between sound and the human body. She performs solo on marimba and other percussion instruments. She debuted on the scene of Berlin Philharmonic, performing with the RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin just after graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1974. She continued her career with solo concerts in Japan and abroad. In the 1980s, Midori began to explore the traditional music of Asia and Africa. Her fascination resulted in joint projects with Kakraba Lobi from Ghana, Lamine Konte from Senegal, Farafina Band from Burkina Faso, and Korean musicians: zither player Chi Seong-Ja, flute player Won-Il, and saxophone player Kang Tae-Hwan. She also led Mkwaju Ensemble's innovative percussion project and still performs with free-jazz band Ton-Klami with Kang Tae-Hwan and jazz pianist Masahiko Satoh. Takada's compositions have a remarkable way of affecting the imagination. Her minimalist, contemplative music is filled with the concept of infinity and reminds us of a moon voyage, falling stars, a journey into the ocean, or a walk in the garden. The trans melodies, initially simple, begin to loop and splinter, their rhythm breaking and thickening, slowly drawing the listener into another reality. This fully licensed reissue comes with extensive liner notes. CD version is the first ever available CD version; Comes with an eight-page booklet and fold-out poster.â€
ELIANE RADIGUE - Naldjorlak (Saltern 008CD; Earth) â€œSaltern presents a thrilling new live recording of Naldjorlak for solo cello, composer Ã‰liane Radigue's first piece for an acoustic instrument, paired with a remastered version of the long out-of-print, original 2006 recording. Composed in 2005 in close collaboration with cellist Charles Curtis, Naldjorlak marked a striking shift in the music of Radigue, who has since composed exclusively for instrumentalists with her celebrated Occam series. This double-CD album brings together two complete performances by Curtis, recorded nearly 15 years apart (Paris in 2006 and Los Angeles in 2020), drawing attention to the evolution of the piece and to its inherent mutability. The sound and spirit of Naldjorlak are centered around the re-tuning of the entire cello to the wolf tone, a uniquely unstable frequency, creating a haunting, almost feedback-like resonance within the instrument itself. Mastered by Stephan Mathieu with custom packaging and screen printing by Alan Sherry. Includes extensive liner notes by Gascia Ouzounian, Radigue, and Curtis, and a reproduction of Radigue's never-before published original drawing of Naldjorlak.
From Gascia Ouzounian's liner notes: "Even as it expands conceptions of what sound is, and thus what music can be, to understand Naldjorlak only as music would be to limit its scope. It is music, but it is also physics and philosophy. Naldjorlak is a detailed investigation of the physical properties of resonating bodies and dynamic systems; it is a meditation on the condition of instability; it is a metaphysics of chaos and uncertainty."
2 CD Set $20
MERZBOW - Scene (Mirae Arts 007LP; Earth) â€œMerzbow (Masami Akita), the seminal Japanese noise project since 1979, remains one of the most influential and prolific figures in modern electronic composition. Originally a limited CD-only release on Waystyx in 2005, Scene is now available on vinyl for the first time with remastering by Masami Akita and an exclusive bonus track from the original recording session. Scene is revered by fans as one of Merzbow's best surrealist works from the mid-2000s "laptop era". The intro track, "Part 1", immediately grabs listeners with hysteric carnival music. The ascending parts then warp into hallucinatory passages with rhythmic drum patterns, metalworks, echoing bird calls, and eerie wind chimes tinkling atonally in the gossamer moon. Ultimately, Scene is a vital part of Merzbow's ever-evolving experimentations with analog and digital manipulations. Artwork by Masami Akita; design by Takashi Makabe. Remastered by Masami Akita on 2022. Vinyl mastering and lacquer completed by Kassian Troyer. Sleeve printed on heavy reverse cardboard; edition of 300.â€
2 LP Set $34
THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA with ALAN BISHOP / SAM SHALABI / MAURICE LOUCA - High Tide in the Lowlands (Sub Rosa 533; Belgium) â€œHailing from the Agouza district of Cairo, Egypt, this brilliant trio consists of Alan Bishop (acoustic bass, vocals, alto sax), Maurice Louca (keyboards, drum machine), and Sam Shalabi (electric guitar). Born in 2012 when the three were living in the same apartment building in Cairo's Agouza district, the trio's instrumental improvisation-based explorations are propelled by Louca's North African percussion loops and shimmering keys, Shalabi's West African tinged free jazz guitar and grounded by Bishop's driving Krautrock-style acoustic bass. High Tide in the Lowlands was recorded in Brussels at Les Ateliers Claus on September 5, 2017 and is quite an intense experience. Most performances and recording sessions are improvised and this set is no different and even though the group opened the show with "Baka of the Future" from their first album Bes, it is almost unrecognizable and everything the trio plays is continually morphing into the next unknown idea. As the sound, energy, and instantaneous composition flows, the trance is growing and growing, ranging from raw shapeshifting "no (un)wave", free jazz, traditional Arabic, and modern experimental explorations to a concrete mystic trip from a universe expanding and contracting constantly. This is earth interrogating the sky, the sky rejoining the earth, an unknown and unwritten cosmogony.
Maurice Louca is an Egyptian musician and composer born in Cairo where he lives and works. As well as being the co-founder of the bands Bikya, Alif, and Lekhfa, Louca lends his sound to numerous other projects, composing for theatre, film, dance and contemporary art. Previous releases on Sub Rosa: Elephantine (SR 474LP), Saet El-Hazz (SR 519LP). Alan Bishop is a founding member of Phoenix/Seattle avant-garde trio Sun City Girls, who, for 27 years, explored the outer reaches of improvisation and composition (from free jazz/post rock psychedelic, and sound collage to outernational Arabic and Asian inspired folk music). As founder of the Sublime Frequencies record label, Bishop has released over 100 records, introducing previously ignored musical genres from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Sam Shalabi is a prolific Egyptian-Canadian composer and improviser living between Montreal, Quebec and Cairo, Egypt. As the founder of Land of Kush, Shalabi Effect, and many other projects, he began with punk rock in the late '70s and his work has evolved into a fusion of experimental music that incorporates modern/traditional Arabic, shaabi, noise, and classical music with spoken word, free improvisation and jazz.â€
FLUXUS and NEOFLUXUS - Stolen Symphony (Part I)(Sub Rosa 539LP; Belgium)
Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve; includes 24-page large booklet. All in all, there are more than 50 pieces, new and old, live and studio, finished pieces and scores to be performed, acoustic and classical, solos and pieces for ensemble, using classical and special instruments. This Fluxus edition features (in alphabetical order): Eric Andersen, Ay-O, George Brecht, John Cage, Giancarlo Cardini, Giuseppe Chiari, Henning Christiansen, Philip Corner, Ã–yvind FahlstrÃ¶m, Ken Friedman, Sten Hanson, Geoffrey Hendricks, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Joe Jones, Bengt af Klintberg, Milan KnÃzÃ¡k, Alison Knowles, Larry Miller, George Maciunas, Sara Miyamoto, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Opening Performance Orchestra, Benjamin Patterson, Josef Anton Riedl, Terry Riley, Takako Saito, Tomas Schmit, Dieter Schnebel, Mieko Shiomi, Yasunao Tone, Ben Vautier, Yoshi Wada, and La Monte Young. The musicians and performers Anna Clementi, Agnese Toniutti, Deborah Walker, Werner Durand, Luciano Chessa, Miroslav Beinhauer, Petr Bakla, Nicolas Horvath, Petr Ferenc, and Premysl Ondra have played, performed and declaimed the Fluxus pieces, Arditti Quartet and S.E.M. Ensemble provided one piece from their archives. Milan KnÃzÃ¡k, Petr Rezek, Petr KotÃk, Olaf Hanel, Eric Andersen, Per Brunskog, Peter van der Meijden, PavlÃna MorganovÃ¡, Natasha Lushetich, Joseph Nechvatal, Natilee Harren, Martin Patrick, Diedrich Diederichsen, Christopher M. Reeves, and Hubertus von Amelunxen have written Fluxus-themed texts. Archivio Conz in Berlin provided access to their extensive Fluxus archives and Edizioni Conz provided coproduction. Ursula and RenÃ© Block made possible the realization of John Cage's historical composition "Rozart Mix" from the Edition Block archive. The photographic material comes from Marie KnÃzÃ¡kovÃ¡ and Milan KnÃzÃ¡k's private archive, the German photographer Wolfgang TrÃ¤ger, Archivio Conz's Fluxus archive and Opening Performance Orchestra's digital archive. The cover themes are paintings by Milan KnÃzÃ¡k, while the graphic design is the work of Jaroslav Buzek.â€
2 LP Set $36
DREW GARDNER - Flowers in Space (Feeding Tube Records 547LP; USA) "This is the first LP (following a cassette) released under Drew Gardner's name and it's a doozy. Drew is a guitarist, probably best known as a founding member of Elkhorn (although his musical partnerships with Jesse Shepard go back way further than that), and his recent work with Jeffrey Alexander's Heavy Lidders has also been noteworthy as hell. The band here is a trio with Andy Cush (Garcia Peoples) on bass, and the extremely well documented Ryan Jewell on drums. Drew's guitar playing is jazzy without being jazzoid, and rural without being hick. The four instrumentals the trio lay down are of a piece, and share a brilliant (if understated) flash. The closest comparison I can think of is to the pair of Raccoon label LPs cut by Joe Bauer and Noggins. Both Moonset and Crab Tunes were great shuffling sets of low-key trio improvisation hovering somewhere between the electric jazz of the period (1971) and the country-oriented British West Country progressive bands of the same era. The same can be said of Flowers in Space. The pieces here are all assembled without a lot of flash, but they're steeped in a deep and very stoned-sort of meditative state you might also compare to some of the Dead's more pared-down, low-key distensions of late '69. There's a smoky, frictionless ease to the sound. One that reveals a little bit more of its true nature every time you spin it. Recorded by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt in 2019, released as part of the Drowned Land series, this one's a smoker in a whole lot of ways. So sit down, lean back, and draw deep. You'll be damn happy you did." - Byron Coley, 2023
NAUJAWANAN BAIDAR - Khedmat Be Khalq (Feeding Tube Records 724LP; USA)
Iconoclastic Afghan-American street music project Naujawanan Baidar makes its long-anticipated return with Khedmat Be Khalq, its third album and first new release in three years. Originally planned as a "studio debut" in the classic sense, a veritable avalanche of setbacks tangled and delayed the recording process over a span of several years as compounded tragedies -- both international and personal -- disrupted the project's intended transition from simply being a ramshackle demo/home-recording outlet for founder N.R. Safi (The Myrrors, et al) into a properly working band. At the end of the day the process of assembling what would eventually become Khedmat Be Khalq became a lot like that of the previous two releases: gnarled and sun-baked tracks cut up and collated into a blown-out collage of sound. If there is any obvious difference this time around it is perhaps to be found in the increased focus of the material. Whereas the group's previous two projects ran the gamut from sparse acoustic improvisations to tape-loop-inspired noise, Khedmat Be Khalq presents a more unified hybrid of Afghan folks styles and electric energy, further exploring Safi's "maximalist minimalism" approach. Tape-saturated and over-amplified Afghan rubab, armonia, and ghichak meet pounding multi-layered rhythms that at times hint at 1970s-1980s industrial music or the heady throb of German krautrock groups like Faust or Amon DÃ¼Ã¼l. Perhaps nowhere is this unique combination more striking than in Naujawanan Baidar's swirling re-arrangement of the Afghan folk classic "Raftim Az Ayn Baagh" that closes the album. The rubab melody that serves as the song's core is warped into something that in all honesty wouldn't sound particularly out of place spun between early Savage Republic and Crash Worship. Lyrically the album moves away from the more abstract and impressionistic style of Safi's earlier material towards a concrete attempt to address the struggle of the Afghan masses from the complicated perspective of the international diaspora. The songs here work to draw out and examine the contradictions and challenges faced by a people once again locked in the talons of a sociopathic religious fundamentalism, connecting the country's position to the current global fight against imperialism, militarism, and resurgent fascism, and attempting to recover obscured historical fragments and lessons surrounding the proud radical history of Afghanistan's diverse population over countless decades of intensive struggle. It is here that Naujawanan Baidar's "street music" aesthetic blossoms into a sort of avant garde agitprop -- a militant soundtrack angling at a revolution.â€
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
PATRICK BRENNANâ€™S TRANSPARENCY KESTRA
Friday, April 28, 8pm
Church of St. Edward the Martyr
14 E. 109 Street, Manhattan
Ariel Pirotti, composition & piano
patrick brennan, composition, conducting, & alto sax
Eli Asher, trumpet
Claire de Brunner, bassoon
Melanie Dyer, viola
Ken Filiano, contrabass
Gabby Fluke-Mogul, violin
Nick Gianni, bass clarinet & bass flute
Haruna Fukuzawa, flutes
Hill Greene, contrabass
Jerome Harris, guitar
Patrick Holmes, clarinet
Westbrook Johnson, trombone
Cheryl Pyle, flutes
David Sidman, guitar
Michael TA Thompson, trap drums
PorteÃ±o Refractions is a musical dialogue combining Buenos Aires Tango pianist & composer Ariel Pirotti and patrick brennanâ€™s transparency kestra. Pirotti will present some of his own music, and transparency kestra will debut 3 patrick brennan refractions of Arielâ€™s composition Despertar en la ciudad.
Improvised Music at the Main Drag
Wednesday May 3rd, 2023
7:00pm Beyond Flute Group w/
Cheryl Pyle -flutes
Michael Eaton -saxes
Gene Coleman -flutes
8:00pm Hans Tammen - guitar
Shelley Hirsch - vocals
Ken Filiano - bass
William Hooker - drums
9:00pm Stephen Gauci - t. saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
10:00pm Adam Lane - bass
Brian Drye - trombone
Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Vinny Sperazza - drums
11:00pm Eyal Maoz - guitar
Fima Ephron - electric bass
Chris Stromquist - drums
$20 at the door (entire evening), cash/venmo
@ The Main Drag
50 South 1st Street
Between Kent ave and Wythe Ave
Joe Fonda and Bass of Operation
May 26th at Michiko Studios 15 West 39th St., 7pm Start Joe Fonda - Bass
Mike Rabinowitz - Bassoon
Jeff Lederer - Clarinet ,flute and Piccolo.
Harvey Sorgen - Drums
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