By Robert Wyatt from ‘Ruth is Stranger Than Richard’
There's a mushroom on my eyelid
There's a carrot down my back
I can see in the distance
A vast quantity of beans
To you I'm just a flavour
To make your stew taste nice
Oh my god, here come the onions
And – I don't believe it! – at least a pound of rice
There was a time when bacon sandwiches
Were everyone's favourite snack
I'm delicious when I'm crunchy
Even when I'm almost black
So why you make a soup with me
I just can't understand
It seems so bloody tasteless
Not to mention underhand
Now there's no hope of getting out of here
I can feel I'm going soft
Dirty waters soak my fibres
The whole saucepan's getting hot
So I may as well resign myself
Make friends with a few peas
But I just, I can't help hoping
That a tummy ache will bring you to your knees
Bring you to your knees
Bring you to your knees
Bring you to your knees
(repeat to fade)
Is this just a silly song to make us all smile? Or is it more than that? This song appears on Robert Wyatt’s third album, ‘Ruth is Stranger Than Richard’ from 1975. The album before this was called ‘Rock Bottom’ and it is my favorite record of all time! I still weep whenever I listen to it, it still touches me that deeply inside. Robert Wyatt was the drummer & vocalist for Soft Machine from 1967 - 1971, appearing on their first four albums. Hearing Soft Machine in 1968 (Vol. 1) in junior high school, changed my life, thus becoming my next favorite band after the Mothers of Invention. Mr. Wyatt was nudged out of the Softs in 1971, telling him he could no longer sing with this serious avant-jazz combo. So he started another band called Matching Mole (French for Soft Machine), who made two great studio records. Tragedy struck in 1973 when Mr. Wyatt fell out of a third floor window at a LP release party for Lady June. He landed on his back, which broke from the fall and he has been in a wheelchair ever since. After being one of the great rock/jazz drummers of his time, he concentrated his creative spirit on singing, songwriting and making a number of wonderful solo albums. Each & every one are well loved by his longtime fans. All are well worth hearing, Mr. Wyatt is now retired from his music career. There is something special about the sound of Robert Wyatt’s fragile voice which often plucks our heartstrings. Also, he also embraced the whimsical side of the Canterbury spirit, which is affectionately referred to as pataphysics. As we all look at the ridiculousness of life around us, we need to laugh instead of crying at the absurdity of things. Picture yourself as an ingredient in a bowl of soup. Read these words, listen to the song and have yourself a hearty laugh. - BLG
The Downtown Music Gallery 29th Anniversary Celebrations will begin on May 1st, 2020 & Will Continue throughout the year! Every In-store throughout the Year Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
Sunday, December 15th:
6pm: TODD CAPP’s MYSTERY TRAIN: KURT RALSKE / LELE DAI / FRANK MEADOWS!
7pm: RONIN PHASING: PATRICK BRENNAN - Solo Alto Sax!
8pm: M - violin/electronics / NICOLA HEIN - guitar/electronics / HANS TAMMEN - Buchla!
The Independent Promoters Alliance Presents:
A Winter Solstice Celebration - Saturday, December 21st at 8pm:
8pm: MARS WILLIAMS AYLER XMAS Project: NELS CLINE / STEVE SWELL /
HILLIARD GREENE / FRED LONBERG-HOLM / CHRIS CORSANO!
Plus FARMERS BY NATURE Featuring: GERALD CLEAVER / WILLIAM PARKER / CRAIG TABORN!
At The DiMenna Center - 450 W 37th St. (bet 9th & 10th Aves) in NYC
Sunday, December 22nd, A DMG & Eric’s House of Improv Sponsored show:
7pm: ESTAMOS TRIO: THOLLEM McDONAS Radical Empathy Project!
8pm: THOLLEM McDONAS / NELS CLINE / WILLIAM PARKER / GERALD CLEAVER!
At Jazz Habitat / El Barrio ArtSpace - 215 East 99th St.
Sunday, December 29th:
6pm: DISSIPATED FACE: STEVE POPKIN / KURT RALSKE / DANIEL CARTER /
BILL MILKOWSKI / WILL DAHL!
7pm: SUBURBAN BOHEMIA Space Jam Feat: THE MONZ, MC BruceLee & other special guests!?!
Sunday, January 5th - First DMG Gig of the New Year - Double Header!!
6pm: ELI WALLACE - Synth / ANDREW SMILEY - Guitar / CARLO COSTA - Percussion!
7pm: THOMAS HEBERER / LUKE MARRANTZ / SIMON JERMYN / MICHAEL VATCHER -
Trumpet / Fender Rhodes / Bass / Drums!
Sunday, January 12th:
6pm: JUAN P CARLETTI - Solo Drums!
7pm: ARON NAMEMWIRTH - Guitar / DAVE SEWELSON - Bari Sax / COLIN HINTON - Drums!
8pm: CHRIS PITSIOKOS / JAVIER A V / KEVIN MURRAY - Alto Sax / Guitar / Drums!
DMG is located at 13 Monroe St. (between Catherine & Market Sts) in a basement below a small gallery. Take the F train to East Broadway or the 6 train to Canal or the B or D to Grand, or the M-15 bus to Madison & Catherine. Come on Down, the Sunday Music Series is Always Free & the Vibes are Always Cosy. You can check the weekly in-store sets through our Instagram feed
Two DMG/BLG Recommended Gigs for This Week:
Friday, December 13 At 8pm
Eric Stern’s House of Improv and Abby London Crawford Presents
EDITH LETTNER / RAS MOSHE BURNETT / MARA ROSENBLOOM / WARREN SMITH!
Featuring Viennese saxophonist Edith Lettner, with Ras Moshe Burnett (trumpet), Mara Rosenbloom (piano) and Warren Smith (drums).
Five from CvsD:
Plus This Sunday, December 15th:
SATOKO FUJII & KAPPA MAKI at 244 Rehearsal Studios (244 W. 54 St., 10th Fl.)
Celebrated Japanese composer and pianist Satoko Fujii and her musical partner Kappa Maki on trumpet.
Check out both shows also on Eventbrite.
Presented by Eric Stern’s House of Improv Series
This Week’s Dynamite Discs Begin with This one:
JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET with McCOY TYNER / JIMMY GARRISON / ELVIN JONES - Impressions Gaz 1962 (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1019; Switzerland) Taking his quartet on a European tour in the fall of 1962, Coltrane's band with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on double bass, and Elvin Jones on drums performed in Graz, Austria at Stefaniensaal, the concert beautifully recorded by ORF Steiermark and here released as the first of two volumes, showing both Coltrane's lyrical origins and expanding free inclinations.
One the first albums I bought when I first got into jazz in 1972 was ‘My Favorite Things’ by the John Coltrane Quartet. It was a mono copy that I paid around $2 for and I kept playing it over & over. I slowly worked my way forward and backwards in Mr. Coltrane’s long music career, it took me a while to appreciate his further out excursions but in time I was won over and bought every album on Impulse!. I realized that Trane was the most influential saxist in the 1960’s, his playing has inspired so many other musicians and serious listeners around the world. It still continues to touch us more than fifty years after his passing in 1967. This was Trane’s main quartet, who existed for around five years, from 1960 onwards. I still listen to their dozen or so studio efforts but there has been a large number of live discs which have come out in the last decade plus, sometimes with guests like Eric Dolphy or Pharaoh Sanders. Although many of the live discs are illegitimate recordings, some of are revelations in how this quartet stretched out live. This disc features four long pieces, three standards and the seminal original, “Impressions”. The sound on this disc is pretty great and the recording captures this quartet in their prime, stretching beyond their limits. “Impressions” is just extraordinary! You need some positive inspiration? Well then, here it is, a great holiday present for us all. Peace. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Five Fabulous New Discs from the Great Corbett Vs. Dempsey Label:
WILLEM BREUKER & HAN BENNINK - New Acoustic Swing Duo (CvsD 066; USA) Late in 1967, saxophonist Willem Breuker and drummer Han Bennink recorded the first LP for the new artist-run free improvised music label, ICP Records. ‘New Acoustic Swing Duo’ was an instant classic, and remains one of the most enduring documents of Dutch improvised music ever recorded. With Breuker’s omnidirectional reed work, which ranges from plaintive to excoriating, occasional sneering tone adds a kind of ironic twist to the expressive outpouring. He could be as explosive as Peter Brötzmann, but Breuker has a razor sharp wit and sense of humor. Since this recording, Bennink has gone on to be seated among the royalty of jazz and improvised music drummers. At the time, he was a fresh-faced 25-year-old, hauling around increasingly immense kits with heaps of percussion flotsam and jetsam, playing tabla and vibrapan, and sparking it all with tsunami energy. Keep in mind, Coltrane and Ali had just recorded Interstellar Space (which would not be issued until 1974), and the economical drum/sax lineup was by no means yet a standard in improvised music. Shortly after recording this, Breuker and Bennink would join Brötzmann to record ‘Machine Gun’, another European free music keystone. Somehow, despite its historical importance and aesthetic magnificence, ‘New Acoustic Swing Duo’ has never been available as a stand-alone CD. Remastered from original tapes, this reissue includes the original cover with the “ICP 001” hand-stamp, as well as several versions of the handmade covers designed by Bennink, drawn from Mats Gustafsson’s wonderful collection. Finally, as a special bonus, the two-disc package includes a legendary concert by Breuker and Bennink, recorded in Essen, Germany, in 1968, released here for the first time.
2 CD Set $18
ARTO LINDSAY / JOE McPHEE / KEN VANDERMARK / PHIL SUDDERBERG - Largest Afternoon (CvsD 064; USA) One day in the studio, something ridiculously great happened. It was deep Chicago winter, cold as shit. Four musicians assembled for a round-robin set of improvisations – duets, trios, a few quartets. Approached casually, the late morning bloomed into ‘Largest Afternoon’, 15 crackling encounters between guitarist Arto Lindsay, saxophonists Joe McPhee and Ken Vandermark, and drummer Phil Sudderberg. No expectations – open minds and creative intent. Lindsay, a brilliant singer and songwriter and one of the key architects of No Wave via his band DNA, has proven himself once again to be one of the world’s top texturalists, and he is an equally sensitive and challenging group improvisor. Vandermark and McPhee brought their long friendship and musical partnership to the studio, and both engaged with Lindsay in different ways, bringing blue flame and melody. The session’s final wildcard, Sudderberg, a versatile drummer who collaborates with Vandermark on the band Marker, brought a lovely sense of buoyancy and ear for contrast in colors, as well as a raucous rock pulse. With parts this stellar, imagine the sum. Nobody knew this would happen.
JOE McPHEE and FRED LONBERG-HOLM - No Time Left for Sadness (CvsD 065; USA) Despite having worked together in innumerable settings, including the longstanding Survival Unit III, with drummer Michael Zerang, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee have never released a CD of duets. In an extra intimate studio setting in upstate New York, where both players reside, No Time Left for Sadness demonstrates their incredible musical understanding. Recalling some of McPhee’s landmark records with Marseilles musicians in terms of telepathy and trust, it’s an outing whose intensity is measured not in decibels, but in emotional integrity. Across three tracks of increasing length, culminating in the 31
-minute-long adventure “Next Time,” McPhee (hear featured on tenor saxophone exclusively) and Lonberg-Holm redefine chamber music, casting string and reed in a joyous and longing place, a rec room set aflame, a library engulfed in tidewater, a throbbing mezzanine. The cover and the CD face feature original stained-glass works by Lonberg-Holm, and the interior spread is entirely given over to an action shot of the duo by Stephen Shukaitis.
MATS GUSTAFSSON and WENDY GONDELN with WOLFGANG VOIGT and MARTIN SIEWERT - The Sh*thole Country & Boogie Band (CvsD 062; USA) In 2018, Mats Gustafsson provided raw saxophonic material for the elusive Wendy Gondeln, who sometimes applied a scalpel, sometimes a pneumatic drill, to rework, remix, reimagine all the Swede’s squeaks, pops, blats, and tones. In some places, Gondeln adds violent violin to thicken the roux, making Ornette’s fiddling seem like Yehudi Menuhin. Uncommon bedfellows: disjunct techno and improvised music. But the Shitholes make it work brilliantly, even inviting minimal techno pioneer and co-founder of Cologne’s seminal Kompakt label Wolfgang Voigt to edit and remix two of the twisted tracks. The CD’s other guest star, engineer Martin Siewert, contributes guitar and lap top guitar to a couple of tracks. Not your usual any kind of music, The Shithole Country & Boogie Band bends genres and upends style. Spasmodic dance music or highly conceptual experimental sound art – it’s a thin line Gondeln and Gustafsson tread on these eight diverse tracks, but an irresistibly fun one, too.
DAVID GRUBBS / MATS GUSTAFSSON / ROB MAZUREK - The Underflow (CvsD 063; USA) Featuring David Grubbs on guitar, Mats Gustafsson on bari sax, flute & live electronics and Rob Mazurek on piccolo trumpet, electronics & percussion. An übertrio drawn from distinct parts of the creative music spectrum, ‘The Underflow’ was recorded during a sizzling two-night stand in May 2019. In a series of duets and trios, guitarist David Grubbs, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, and trumpeter Rob Mazurek met headlong for the first time, converging not only their acoustic and electric instruments, but at times submerging themselves in a tangle of electronics, then emerging into shamanic bell-shaking chant or chest-rattling howl. Ranging from extreme noise to delicate texture (even a rare solo by Gustafsson on his first instrument, the flute), the CD’s five tracks mark the beginning of a new group named the same as the record after the venue at which they were recorded, the venerable Underflow Record Shop and Art Gallery in Athens, Greece. Harnessing the energy and intelligence of Grubbs’ recent solo guitar records, the spirit and grit of Mazurek’s hallmark work with the Chicago Underground Duo and recent Desert Encrypts project, and the monster-truck yowl of full-force Gustafsson, ‘The Underflow’ is a surprise even for its participants, a present they gave themselves. Open with care, volatile contents inside.”
Two Gems from Master Pianist: SATOKO FUJII!
SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA NEW YORK with NELS CLINE / ELLERY ESKELIN / BRIGGAN KRAUSS / ANDY LASTER / HERB ROBERTSON / NATSUKI TAMURA / DAVE BALLOU / NATSUKI TAMURA / STOMU TAKEISHI / et al (Libra 214-058; Japan) Strange or not, the music is unfailingly exciting, with an urgency and brio born of the mutual admiration between performers and composer. "The music cannot be boring with these musicians," Fujii says. "This band inspires new ideas in me and I always feel free to try something different because I know they will respond and make it sound great." Fujii also found inspiration for her compositions from another source. "I am not a scholar and don't have a deep knowledge of Buddhism," Fujii says, "but I was reading about some of Buddha's ideas online and learned that he had the idea of elementary particles centuries before physicists discovered them. The concept inspired me to write the pieces on this album."
Throughout the album you can hear the chemistry between composer and orchestra. Fujii finds all kinds of ways to frame soloists and provide full ensemble themes that set a mood, often several different moods within the same composition. "Entity" opens with an attention-grabbing blast of energy that launches guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Ches Smith into a bounding and weaving duet. As the band sets up a regular two beat pattern, guitarist and drummer dip and curl in off-kilter tandem around the pulse, beautifully highlighting their subtle sense of rhythm and texture.
Tidal surges of massed horns on "Flashback" launch trombonist Joe Fiedler into a boldly phrased solo that gives way to a searching, introspective unaccompanied solo from Oscar Noriega. Trumpeter Herb Robertson's virtuoso mute technique highlights his outing with the band's blue-chip rhythm section. Fujii's majestic "Gounkaiku" is a feature for trumpeter Dave Ballou's elegant melodicism, while "Elemental Particle" lets Ellery Eskelin cut loose with a fire-breathing solo. "Everlasting," a heart-wrenching ballad, pairs soloists in duets, first trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and trombonist Curtis Hassellbring, then alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss and baritone saxophonist Andy Laster.
On occasion throughout the album, Fujii creates spontaneous arrangements to fit the moment. "While we are playing," Fujii explains, "I can hold up Sign 1, which means play a long tone with any note, or Sign 2, which means play a glissando. There are others, too. It may be a little bit like Butch Morris, but my signs are for predetermined materials." This can be heard in the opening moments of "Gounkaiku," when the band plays a series of long tones that glimmer like a necklace of jeweled sounds or toward the end of "Flashback" when Fujii uses the long tones to create tension before the band plays the rollicking closing theme. It's a part of the ongoing dialog between the composer and a seasoned orchestra fully attuned to her creativity.”
TOH-KICHI with SATOKO FUJII* / TATSUYA YOSHIDA - Baikamo (Libra 202-059; Japan) Featuring Satoko Fujii on piano and Tatsuya Yoshida on drums. The immensely prolific Satoko Fujii never ceases to amaze me. She released one CD per month for the entire year of 2018 and has also put out another handful so far this year. The consistency of the high level of her playing, composing and band-leading is what truly blows my mind. She has two new discs this month (December of 2019) and both are incredible. More than a decade ago, Ms Fujii recorded a duo & several quartet discs with the legendary Japanese drummer, Tatsuya Yoshida. Mr. Yoshida is the longtime founder of Ruins & Koenjihyakkei, aside fro working with Acid Mother Temple, Gong, Soft Mountain (Soft Machine offshoot), Haino Keiji, Derek Bailey & Kazuhisa Uchihashi, to name just a few.
It has been a long while since these two musicians have worked together so I was pleased to see theyr names together for this disc. All 16 of the pieces on this disc are relatively short (under 6 minutes), and each musician composed 4 songs each. The rest are duo improvs. What’s interesting about Mr. Yoshida is that the band Magma has been his favorite band, hence being influenced by the unique progressive sound. Hence his playing and composing bring out a different side to what we’ve come to expect from Ms. Fujii. Even Ms. Fujii’s writing seems influenced by the way Mr. Yoshida plays/sounds. Her piece, “Rolling Down” has that great, complex prog-like structure running through it. The duo really let go on some of those improvised duo pieces, whipping up a storm of powerful waves. Yoshida is a most dynamic and often powerful drummer, hence he is a great match for Ms. Fujii, as she is also immensely diverse and creative. The balance between the more directed/written parts and freer sections is just right. Ms. Fujii also works well inside the piano, muting the strings, speeding up and slowing down, ever tightly well woven with Yoshida’s masterful drumming. Could this be a prog/rock/jazz masterwork with just piano & drums?!? Oh yes, it is!! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
*SATOKO FUJII will be here this weekend and playing 3 sets with her partner, Kappa Maki at: The Stone on Friday (12/13/19), I-Beam on Saturday (12/14/19) and at 244 Rehearsal Studios on Sunday (12/15/19).
Four More Great Discs from Astral Spirits:
VINNY GOLIA / PATRICK SHIROISHI / ALEX CLINE / DYLYAN FUJIOKA - Borasisi (Astral Spirits; USA) Featuring Vinny Golia & Patrick Shiroishi on saxes, Dylan Fujioka & Alex Cline on drums & percussion. This session was recorded at Seahorsew Studios in L.A. in October of 2018. The two elder members of this quartet, Vinny Golia & Alex Cline (bro of Nels), have been working together for nearly forty years. Both are teachers and live in L.A., with Mr. Golia also running the Nine Winds label. The other two younger members of the quartet, Patrick Shiroishi & Dylan Fujioka, are members of the long-running prog unit, Upsilon Acrux, plus they have a trio effort on FMR from a few years back. The title of this disc, ‘Borasisi’ is “the name of a solar creation deity and represents deception of all types, though especially those perpetrated by or in the name of religion. It relates to illusion and delusion, particularly conscious self-delusion, as well as the dangers of technological excess.” An interesting choice.
Vinny Golia collects dozens of reed instruments and is one of the most diverse modern jazz/New Music players to emerge from the L.A. scene. Not sure who is playing what here, but when the first piece begins, I (believe I) hear sopranino & tenor saxes circling around one another with a layer of swirling drums underneath. In the next part the reeds players seem to be playing a baritone (Golia) and tenor saxes. Everyone takes their time and works together very well, rarely playing too loud or completely free. There are two long pieces here, each around 15 minutes. There are some more restrained sections here which I really dig, perhaps for soprano &/or sopranino saxes and haunting percussion. Mr. Golia is very selective about choosing which reed to add contrast to the quartet, keeping things. There are also some occasional intense free blown sections in which things erupt, expand and take into the cosmic/spiritual jazz mode. There is a strong organic flow that connects all of the music here. It makes me smile to be have been sailing on the energy that this quartet provides throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
COLIN FISHER QUARTET With DANIEL CARTER / BRANDON LOPEZ / MARC EDWARDS - Living Midnight (Astral Spirits; USA) Featuring Colin Fisher on tenor & alto saxes, Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxes, clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on acoustic bass and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion. As far as I can tell, saxist Colin Fisher, hails from the Toronto area and is a member of the AIM Orchestra, who have worked with Anthony Braxton and is in a band called Ask the Oracle with Downtowner Andy Haas. The other members of this quartet should be rather well-known to us Downtown Music fan-addicts. The ubiquitous reeds & brass wiz Daniel Carter has played with just about everyone in NYC, way too many to name here. Young bass great, Brandon Lopez, has also been working hard over the past few years with Ivo Perelman, Dave Rempis and Nate Wooley, to name a few. Powerhouse drummer, Marc Edwards, is one of NY’s most dynamic and intense drummers.
Things begin in a more subdued way, with flute & tenor sax up front, the rhythm team quietly rustling underneath… things keep building in tempo and intensity throughout this long free piece. Contrabassist Brandon Lopez has become the current Downtown bassist to watch as he grows and keeps getting better, His playing here is at the center of the storm, churning, throbbing and pushing the rest of the quartet. What is interesting is this: Mr. Fisher and Mr. Carter work really well together, balancing their reeds or brass as they switch between their assorted axes. Even the occasionally overwhelming propulsion by Marc Edwards is consistently sympathetic to the rest of the quartet, his solo midway through the first long piece is a highlight, outstanding and not too long. If you dig the more spiritual, uplifting and occasionally blasting side of free-jazz, then this disc is for you. It is pretty long (71 minutes) and it consistently inspiring to hear. Ommmmmmmmmmmmm. Namaste. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* NICK FRASER / KRIS DAVIS / TONY MALABY With INGRID LAUBROOK / LINA ALLEMANO - Zoning (Astral Spirits; USA) Featuring Nick Fraser on drums, Kris Davis on piano and Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxes plus guests Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax (3 tracks) and Lina Allemano on trumpet (same three tracks). This is the second disc from Toronto-based drummer Nick Fraser’s trio with Ms. Davis & Mr. Malaby. For this disc the trio has added two other indeed spirits: Ingrid Laubrock & Lina Allemano. Like Ms. Davis & Mr. Malaby, Ms. Laubrock is yet another Downtowner who has keeps busy leading several different bands and playing for a number of other strong projects. Trumpeter Lina Allemano is another new name but has actually played in the Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin as well as a (West coast trombonist) Michael Vlatkovich Quintet.
Five of the six songs were written by one member of the trio improv thrown in as well. This disc starts off with two tenors, Mr. Malaby & Ms. Laubrock, playing together spinning tight lines around one another, something we don’t hear very often from these two Downtowners who rarely work together. Soon the trumpet, drums and finally piano jump in and take off together, the playing is tight, focused and free at the same time. Ms. Davis’ “Events”, keeps shifting between different sections (duos & trio sections both), it is tight and challenging to play with some exciting erupts popping up. Things slow down a bit for Fraser’s “Wells Tower”, which has a calm, more cerebral feel with some strong soprano sax and piano interaction and is broken into different sections. Things are stretched out even further on “Sketch 46”, haunting, ghost-like smoldering takes place, quick trading of lines, building in density throughout, until certain written fragments emerge in the last section. Mr. Malaby’s “Charismatics” speeds things up for a great Downtown-style like crosscutting blast of tight fractured parts eventually breaking into an oddly funky sort-of groove near the end. The variety of ideas and focused shifting makes this into another well-conceived gem of a releases. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* NICK FRASER & TONY MALABY will both be playing here at DMG (w/Brandon Lopez) on Sunday, February 16th at 6pm.
HEART & MINDS With JASON STEIN / PAUL GIALLORENZO / CHAD TAYLER - ElectroRadiance (Astral Spirits; USA) Featuring Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Paul Giallorenzo on synth & keyboards and Chad Taylor on drums. Soon after the catchy synth-bass line that opens Electroradiance, listeners will start to suspect they’re in for something different. The synth-bass line has a herky-jerky contour that does fit a basic pattern of power-rock bands over the decades, but the bass clarinet melody that follows? Not so much. And halfway through, when the bass line becomes a vamp, and the improvisation enters a realm of altissimo squawks and thrillingly convoluted deep runs – well, we’re not in Kansas anymore, are we?
Electroradiance, the captivating new collection of grooves and freedom from Chicago trio Hearts & Minds, teems with such episodes. Future Told marches to a humorously ominous riff rooted in the cartoonish melodies of Raymond Scott in the 1930s. The dance-inducing beat of Step’n supports a stuttering melody from bass clarinet – and then some whole-tone keyboard swaths, pockmarked by synthesized percussion blips – before shifting to a fast swing beat and back again. That same dynamic comes into play on Slippery Slope, while a modified New Orleans street beat drives Shreveport. On the other hand, though, Treeline opens with a mournful melody and retains its lovely rubato tempo for the first portion; and the title track offers a space-agey tone poem – night-lonely and a little eerie – in which synthesized keyboard sounds and bass clarinet gargles become almost interchangeable.
Hearts & Minds is the brash and ballsy brainchild of Jason Stein and Paul Giallorenzo, who have remained friends since they met as grade-school classmates almost three decades ago. Employing an unusual, not to say bizarre, instrumentation, they make music that loops the solar system but maintains an irresistibly grounded pulse (despite the lack of a bassist). Giallorenzo’s keyboard work reaches back to the fledgling electronics of the '60s to encompass synth lines as well as asymmetrical tones and textures, which embrace Stein’s rangy command of bass clarinet techniques. Joining them for the first time on disc, drummer Chad Taylor simmers or percolates, utilizing his wealth of experience with such artists as Chicago tenor-sax legend Fred Anderson and his Chicago Underground cohorts Jeff Parker and Rob Mazurek.
Taylor’s history made him the perfect choice to replace Hearts & Minds’ original drummer, Frank Rosaly (who moved to Europe shortly after the trio’s debut recording). Working with Fred Anderson allowed him to learn from a free-jazz contemporary of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Pharoah Sanders, whose pioneering improvisations of the 1960s are one touchstone for Hearts & Minds. And Taylor’s collaborations with trumpeter-electronicist Rob Mazurek honed his ability to support and shape music made by electronics – the other major inspiration for Hearts & Minds, whose music reverberates with memories of Sun Ra and the jazz fusion of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.
As the title of the opening track indicates, this ability to go Back and Forth between two seemingly opposed camps distinguishes Hearts & Minds – as does the ability to find a fusion path that skirts them both. This same dialectic applies to the name of the band itself, as these musicians seek to achieve an aesthetic unification of expressionistic energy (heart) and intellectual formalism (mind) – all with a 21st-century voice that refers to but does not imitate past influences.” - SoundOhm.com
KIMMIG / STUDER / ZIMMERLIN and GEORGE LEWIS - self/titled (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1010; Switzerland) The innovative string trio of Daniel Studer on double bass, Harald Kimmig on violin, and Alfred Zimmerlin on cello, develop focused environments of timbre, texture, dynamic and space, seemingly abstract yet incredibly concentrative and virtuosic interaction, here joined by Chicago trombonist and electronics artist George Lewis adding a 4th profound layer to their incredible conversation.
Trio Kimmig/Studer/Zimmerlin have been together for a few years and have previous releases on Leo & Hat Ezz-Thetics. Mr. Kimmig has also worked with Cecil Taylor and a group called Ensemble X (CD on Red Toucan). Cellist Zimmerlin has also worked with Robert Dick, Christoph Gallio, and has a classical disc out on ECM. Bassist, Daniel Studer, is a member of Day & Taxi and In Transit, as well as with Gabriela Friedli and Peter Frey.
A string trio with trombone & electronics is certainly a unique combination but this is what we have here. The first piece, “Very Nice” is pretty long (nearly 20 minutes) and often sparse in places, slowly building in density and intensity yet with long stretches of careful, restrained spaciousness. When things quiet down to hushed space, I hear ultra-subtle electronics in the distance, like a radio from a far room in the apartment next store. Things get weirder as the improv/interplay increases and expands. When things slow down to nearly imperceptible levels, we have to listen more closely. This is high end creative improv at its best with many intense, focused outbursts.
SATOKO INOUE // JO KONDO - Presents Jo Kondo’s New Works for Piano (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1011; Switzerland) "The second album of piano works from Japanese composer Jo Kondo performed by pianist Satoko Inoue - a noted interpreter of solo works by Feldman, Ferrari, and Cage - here presenting all of Kondo's works for solo piano written from 2001 to 2012, alongside two early works from 1975, exploring a wealth of harmonic, rhythmic, and conceptual ideas from a diversity of projects.
This CD, the second album of my piano works played by Satoko Inoue, presents all the works for solo piano written from 2001 to 2012, alongside two early works from 1975. Although I cannot help but recognize some apparent differences between my early and recent works particularly in texture and sonority, I am convinced that my basic idea and methodology of composition has remained unchanged since the 1970’s.”
JOACHIM BADENHORST & MOGIL with HILMAR JENSEN / et al - Adventa (Winter & Winter 910260; Germany) Personnel: Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet & bass clarinet, Hilmar Jensen on guitar, Kristin Pora Haraldsdottir on violin, Eirikur Orri Olafsson on trumpet & keyboards and Heida Arnadottir on vocals. “Sounds, tones and lyrics of this album are inspired by the Icelandic classic "Adventa" by Gunnar Gunnarsson, a saga about friendship, reliability, trust and harmony with nature. Every year in the dark and icy December, the farmhand Benedict, his dog Leó and the bellwether Eitill wander through the Icelandic high mountains to find lost sheep and save them from frostbite or starvation. Joachim Badenhorst & Mógil create a musical audio film about Nordic landscapes, ice, snow, cold, isolation, winds, elemental forces, finiteness, but also intimacy, friendship, warmth, silence, hope and dreams. Mógil is an Icelandic-Belgian ensemble whose music blends contemporary classical, folk, jazz, minimal and post-rock into its own universe. The world of Mógil is atmospheric, intimate and mysterious. Voices and instruments combine to form a unity. The tension between the crystal clear soprano of Heida Árnadóttir and the contemporary instrumentation without percussion and double bass creates a characteristic sound, but not only through the timbre of the instruments, the interaction of voice, clarinet, violin, guitar, trumpet and keyboards, but especially through the individual playing art of the musicians Mógil convinces with her very own style.”
Even before reeds-wiz, Joachim Badenhorst live in New York a few years back, I knew there was something special about his playing and concepts for each disc or concert. Over more than a dozen discs as a leader or co-leader, he has put together a number of special, often magical discs which fall between categories yet somehow reveal a distinctive way of seeing, hearing or experiencing (his & our) lives. Since each of Mr. Badenhorst’s previous discs as a leader are unique items with handmade covers and selective concepts, it makes perfect sense that a great label like Winter & Winter (W&W) would find a home for this new, even more adventurous gem. The odd this is that no one even knew that the W&W label still exists since they haven’t released anything in quite a while and were heading to expensive LP-only releases last we heard. For this release, Mr. Badenhorst has based his concept on a story by the Icelandic author, Gunnar Gunnarsson, called ‘Adventa’ (published in 1936), which means “The Good Shepard”. Mr. Badenhorst has organized an international quintet with Hilmar Jensson, the Icelandic guitarist who once worked by Chris Speed & Jim Black and Heida Arnadottir, the vocalist who sang for Mogil when they first recorded in 2011. The other two musicians are both Icelandic and can be fund on some most obscure releases found in the DMG vast database. The music itself is most cinematic in scope, haunting, stunning, hushed, hypnotic, weaving a soft web of chilled winter air with an enchanting, fairy tale-like voice at the center of some of the songs or scenes. The music is often stripped down to bare essentials of violin, clarinet, guitar, trumpet & voice, quaint, minimal yet consistently evoking the winter wonderland/terror-scape. The overall vibe is like slowly walking in someone’s winter dreamland. This disc shows that the folks at Winter & Winter still know how to capture our imaginations just right. A real treat! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $18 [In stock next week]
CHRIS REYMAN with HERB ROBERTSON / MACK GOLDSBURY / ERIK UNSWORTH / LOU GRASSI - Koan (FM 026; USA) Featuring Herb Robertson on trumpet, Mack Goldsbury on saxes, flutes & clarinet, Chris Reyman on piano & compositions, Erik Unsworth on bass, and Lou Grassi on drums. I recall checking out Texas-based tenor saxist Mack Goldsbury in the mid-seventies when he was playing in town and working with Paul Motian, Tim Berne and Hank Roberts. In the 1980’s Mr. Goldsbury was recording German organist Ernst Bier and for Ed Schuller. I hadn’t heard anything from him in nearly three decades when my pal, Eric Stern, gave him a gig for his House of Improv series earlier this year. Goldsbury played in quartet with Thomas Heberer and Lou Grassi and he still sounds marvelous on tenor and soprano saxes. I got a few discs that he played on in recent years, all of which are strong, creative efforts.
This disc was recorded at Star City Studios in El Paso, Texas in April of 2017. Pianist Chris Reyman is the leader of the Koan Ensemble, which includes Mack Goldsbury and bassist Erik Unsworth, the guests on this disc includes trumpet master, Herb Robertson and drum wiz, Lou Grassi. There is also a dancer who is a member of this unit, her name is Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez. The name of the ensemble, Koan, comes from a Zen Buddhist practice which teaches folks to not search for meaning in the music, but to experience the nowness of the music. This disc opens with “Who’s to Blame” and it is swinging hard with both horns spinning out furious, effortless sounding lines together, the rhythm team providing a tight cushion of support. Mr. Reyman takes an unaccompanied piano solo midway and it is a superb two handed delight, and then back to some great two horn fronted final section. On, “Horizon”, it is Mr. Reyman’s writing which stands out, the lovely, lush harmonies for both horns and piano is exquisite. Mr. Goldsbury and Mr. Robertson have been playing together for some three decades and work perfectly together. What’s interesting is this, Mr. Robertson is well known for his more avant-garde, free fireworks, yet here he shows he knows how to play with a most restrained sense of elegance. There are two tracks here called “Free One” and “Free Two”, which show how well this quintet plays together in a freer situation. While the rhythm plays slower, somber groove underneath, the two horns spiral a series of floating lines around one another above, dreamy and enchanting. For a piece called, “No Sfa Fro Her”, Mr. Reyman shows off his Chick Corea/Herbie Hancock-like chops, playing with great, slow-burning inventiveness, the quint speeding up and slowing down, tight a a flock of birds sailing on the wind. In several ways, this is a perfect modern jazz gem, everything works just right, nothing superfluous, everyone together as one. I hope that this disc gets some of the recognition it well deserves, it is one of those under-recognized buried treasures that we obscure admirers love to promote. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEACH and TOMATO with SANA NAGANO / LEONOR FALCON - The Ultimate Pairing (Falcon Gumba Records 13933; USA) Peach and Tomato is Sana Nagano on violin & compositions and Leonor Falcon on viola & compositions. This duo played here last Sunday (12/8/19) and their set was one of the highlights of the ongoing free music series here at DMG. Ms. Nagano has played here on a few occasions, once with Jeff Shurdut, Harvey Valdes and Sarah Bernstein. Ms. Falcon has also played here several times before with her partner Juanma Trujillo, as well as with Guillermo Gregorio. Both of these women are diverse players and composers that can’t be pinned down to any one style or genre. Plus what made their set on Sunday so special was their use of electronics or effects, adding a surprising sonic element to their unique sound.
Each of the eight pieces here were written by either musician aside from a song by J.S. Bach and an adapted version of the Bach piece. String duos are relatively rare and this one definitely has their own sound. “Chasing a Hairball” has a quaint, refreshing sound, a joyous innocence at the center. “Hexagono” pushed things further out with Ms. Nagano putting her violin some sort of distortion device making it sound like a sick, bent-note electric guitar but at a softer volume. On “Let it Freeze”, it sounds as if Ms. Falcon is playing those bent notes slightly out of tune while Ms. Nagano plays inserts another twisted layer with bursts of strange electronic seasoning added in unexpected places. The Bach piece is taken from, “Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor”, and again it is twisted in some odd ways. One of the strings sounds like a theremin while the other shifts and snarls with some strong tortured effects, an odd yet riveting contrast/combination. What makes this disc so interesting is that the contrast/blend of the acoustic/electric and playing styles is always playing with our expectations of what a string duo should or might sound like. When do play those harmonious sections, this makes them stand out more. Although this disc are around 32 minutes, I found it to be immensely satisfying since it all the pieces work so well as one connected dynamic work. Just another of those rare treasures found only (mostly) at DMG. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
VOMIT FIST with LURKROT / SKRAG / VURDOTH [a/k/a NICK DIDKOVSKY] - Omnicide (JVTlandt; USA) This is the second disc from Vomit Fist, an appropriately titled metal band which features Nick Didkovsky a/k/a Vurdoth on lead guitar, his son who uses the name Lurkrot on drums & vocals and Skrag on lead vocals, plus 2 guest bassists and a second guitarist, all on 1 track each. Over the past few years, I started listening to a variety of metal bands like Sunnn0)))))), Earth and others from the more progressive side. I read the Metal Primer in the Wire a few months ago by Phil Freeman and have been checking out some of the bands he discusses there. Nick Didkovsky is the lead guitarist, composer and bandleader for Dr. Nerve, NYC’s longest running progressive band and anything he is involved with is well worth checking out. As soon as the music began, it was brutal, intense, pounding, thrashing, super-tight, quick-changing, sped-up, hardcore, powerful, unstoppable, the vocals are sick, tormented, tortured, yet they fit the music just right. A double-bass drum pedal? This disc has some 10 songs but it is only 20 minutes long. It seems just long enough to get our attention and then blast our minds open. The vocals, words and music all a dark underside of life and death. The post-apocalyptic cover shows what’s left of the scorched earth. It took me a while to adjust to this disc since I rarely listen to music like this, but the more I do listen, the more I appreciate the technical side of their complex, shapeshifting structures. By the third listen, I knew what to expect and I still marveled at their tight, spirited, way intense sound. I almost expected to be able to appreciate it but the more I listen, the more I am knocked out. Some folks don’t appreciate the singing in certain types of music, fair enough. Here, the vocals enhance the sound, like a some special spicy sauce in a hearty meal. Most impressive overall. Give it a chance, perhaps we will turn you into another metal-freak yet. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LP Only Section:
MILTON NASCIMENTO - Maria Maria (Far Out 215; UK) “Far Out Recordings presents the first ever vinyl release of Milton Nascimento's Maria Maria, originally released in 2003 as a double-CD package. Recorded in 1974 and unreleased until almost thirty years later, the album was written as the soundtrack to a ballet which dealt with the legacy of slavery in Brazil. Milton Nascimento possesses one of the most immediately recognizable voices in Brazilian music: high and sweet and as breathtakingly sublime as that of any soul singer. Along with journalist and song writer Fernando Brant, lyricist Marcio Borges, and his younger brother Lo Borges, Nascimento wrote and produced what would become Milton's milestone album, Clube da Esquina (1972) which shaped the local scene and reflects the essence of "the Nascimento Sound". Milton's religious upbringing as an Afro-Brazilian Catholic saw him exposed to church choral music from an early age. This collection also displays his early fascination with evocative, non-verbal, scat-style singing, spare, harmonic guitar work and local folk music, jazz, and rock. In 1976, Milton and Fernando Brant teamed up with a new contemporary dance company called Grupo Corpo, whose Argentinian choreographer Oscar Araiz, would become a collaborator with the two musicians. Together, they conceived a show based on the composite life story of the daughter of a black slave called Maria. Nascimento wrote music to Brant's lyrics and Maria Maria was premiered in the main theatre of the Belo Horizonte Palacio das Artes that year. The music on Maria Maria was performed by an impressive group of young Brazilian musicians, including Naná Vasconcelos (percussion and effects), Toninho Horta (guitars), and Paulo Moura (sax). Several vocalists, including Naná Caymmi, Fafá de Belém, Beto Guedes, and Milton himself, had hits in years to come with reworkings of these songs. On the title track, Maria's story is narrated and translated to music through the use of African Percussion, drums, and metal signifying the field slave tools of the day. "Trabalhos (Works)" runs to work rhythms and whip cracks. "Lília" documents the beating of the slave woman. After "A Chamada" and the triumphant "Era Rei e Sou Escravo", things begin to turn and Milton employs tropical jungle cries to symbolize freedom. "Santos Catholicos x Candomble" represents the battle between African and European religions through the music of both sides. Milton's heavenly falsetto pours into "Francisco" and "Pai Grande" and the outstanding "Eu Sou Uma Preta Velha Aqui Sentada no Sol" conjures images of an old woman sitting deep in the forest, her memories painted in drums, piano, and voices. 180 gram vinyl.
2 LP Set $28
HUGH MASEKELA AND COMPANY with MIRIAM MAKEBA - Live in Lesotho (Matsuli Music 114; UK) "Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba's double-bill Lesotho concert was a daring, defiant and ultimately dazzling act. For the first time since its limited release in South Africa in 1981, Matsuli Music is proud to re-issue this gem of a pan-African, funk-infused, extended audio double album with unpublished photographs and new liner notes from Atiyyah Khan. The Christmas-weekend stadium-filled concert deeply challenged and disturbed South Africa's apartheid regime. Makeba and Masekela were banned from entering South Africa, yet tens of thousands of their South African fans invaded Lesotho to party with their musical heroes. Live in Lesotho documents an inspired Hugh Masekela and his stellar New York band putting a new spin on crowd favourites. Another South African jazz gem from Matsuli Music's growing catalogue of essential high-quality reissues. For an artist as prolific and famous as Hugh Masekela, it is a real surprise that this particular recording took so long to resurface."
2 LP Set $45
WILLIE LANE - A Pine Tree Shilling's Worth (Feeding Tube Records 438; USA) "Proud we are to reissue the final piece of Willie Lane's original Cord-Art LP trilogy. It was recorded in various spots throughout Western Mass, in the years following the release of Guitar Army of One. Initially issued in 2016, in an edition of 350, this lovely session disappeared into the fog of the forest before most folks were able to catch its scent. Now it has re-emerged with re-interpreted cover art by Max Milgram, and sonics we think will please even the most finicky listener. A Pine Tree Shilling's Worth is my personal fave of Willie's first three Cord-Art LPs. It has a hazily unstoppable flow, incorporating elements of American Primitive and Bay Area Ballroom-era string greats in equal measure. Mostly played on electric (although there are some acoustic overdubs), the music manages to be abstract and melodic at the same time, with individual lines splanging off in oddball directions, then reasserting their formal qualities inside a single musical breath. The specific quotes that exist inside the playing are crafty, episodic and display a strange syncretic streak. A nice example of this is the sprawling track, 'New Arrivals,' on the first side. Lane manages to obliquely reference both John Fahey's improvisations for the soundtrack of Michelangelo Antonioni's film, Zabriskie Point (1970), as well as Jerry Garcia's work that was used in place of the bulk of Fahey's music after he and the director had a savage falling out. Willie reconciles their differing approaches to blues architecture with mighty slide playing and sheer dint of will. Rumors are currently swirling that Willie's next Cord-Art release will have vocals, so this three pack of instrumental genius may well be the primary documentation of one phase of this maestro's aesthetic trajectory. Hope you've got them all." - Byron Coley, 2019
MILLION BRAZILIANS - Urban Fossickated Octave (Feeding Tube Records 462; USA)
"Beautiful new LP (the seventh, I believe), from this wonderfully abstract outfit, who were birthed in the shadow of Smegma (Portland, OR), but have since relocated to Maine. The foundational members of the band are Grant Corum (keyboards, vocals, tin whistle, vocals) and Suzanne Stone (alto sax, khene, vocals). For this album, recorded by Big Blood's Caleb Mulkerin, they are joined by Caleb himself (tape loops and treatments) and Tom Kovacevic (piano and synth), both of whom played together back in Cerberus Shoals. The quartet is hot. Even when it's a trio. The music has a blocked-out and dreamy quality, with jazzoid touches and perhaps less of an ethnographic quality than some of the band's work. But the music also exists in large chunks, which are moved around in a way that almost recalls (strategically, if not sonically) groups like Colorado's Mnemonists/Biota collective. There's a heavy and reflective quality to all the sounds generated and how they are shaped. The album takes its title from the work of the late visionary artist, Paul Laffoley, from whom the band learned many lessons, and for whom the music stands as a sort of threnody. And the sounds here seem to inhabit some of the same psychic space as Laffoley's work -- creating panels of aural architecture with Mandalic balance and flow. Million Brazilians' music has lots of depth and a shifting focus that makes it hard to identify as any particular brand of music. But as Duke Ellington so elegantly put it, 'If it sounds good, it is good.' And Urban Fossickated Octave sounds more than good. Take it from the Duke. And then some." --Byron Coley, 2019 Edition of 250.
MATTHEW J. ROLIN - Matthew J. Rolin (Feeding Tube Records 502; USA) "We're excited to release the debut solo LP by Matthew J. Rolin, currently a resident of Columbus, Ohio. Rolin cut his teeth with garage and psych outfits in Cleveland, appearing on vinyl by Shoreway and Nowhere before he found himself adrift and wandering in the direction of Chicago at the end of 2016. Matthew had always been a fan of Jim O'Rourke's brilliant Bad Timing LP (Drag City, 1997), and when he caught a set by Ryley Walker soon after arriving in the city, he decided to throw himself into developing his acoustic chops. Without really knowing much about the history or context of the American primitive/concert steel string scene, he managed to create a distinctive sound and approach to the instrument, owing less to the music's arts-blues fundamentals than to the contemporary players who have expanded outward in all directions from those initial impulses. Playing his first solo gig in Cleveland, opening for Daniel Bachman, an audience member mentioned John Fahey to Rolin, but he had no idea who the guy was talking about! The root-thread of Rolin's playing flows more from Glenn Jones onward, through Rose and Bachman and Blackshaw and Walker and Lane. I feel like I detect a 'Vaseline Machine Gun' urge towards Kotte-esque density in certain spots, but maybe that's just me. Regardless, Rolin's talents as a solo player (abetted only by Jen 'Donkey No No' Gelineau's violin on one track) are immediately clear from the first note he plays. Matthew currently works both solo, and in a duo with dulcimer player, Jen Powers. If you get a chance to see him don't pass it up. Nor should you pass up this chance to score his first long player while it's hot off the presses." --Byron Coley, 2019 Edition of 250.
KINK GONG & LI DAIGUO - Dali China (Aukphone AKU 1019; France) The prolific Kink Gong (aka Laurent Jeanneau) returns in a unique duet with one of the most prominent artists of the Chinese avant-gardist scene, Li Daiguo. Kink Gong and Li Daiguo first met in Chengdu (capital of Sichuan Province, China) while playing the same night at the Jahbar music venue. A few months later, as they become neighbors in Cai Cun, a village near the old town of Dali (Yunnan), Kink Gong begins recording Daiguo playing pipa, cello, and zheng. He then proceeded to deconstruct these recordings while adding voices that he mainly recorded in Yunnan Province. This fantastic combination of field recordings, experimental folk melodies, and electronic treatment leads its listeners to a fourth underground universe reminiscent of Jon Hassell's finest hours. Includes download.
SPIRITCZUALIC ENHANCEMENT CENTER - Me And My Students Have Reached Higher Levels (Aukphone AKU 1020; France) “Deep on a mind trip aboard the ISS Kingston, you are floating upon the low-gravity armchairs of its "Disco 3000" cocktail lounge. Brain-dance soundwaves are being distributed by means of the Akuphone, transmitting the psychedelic music of Spiritczualic Enhancement Center. Me And My Students Have Reached Higher Levels presents itself as an obscure and ever-morphing spectral-jazz album. Produced by eight outer-national musicians, once originating from Iran, Israel, America, Russia, Romania, and Germany, this record carries a distinct centrifugal force. Suspending musical particles out of a brewish stew full of drones, bleeps, and feedbacks, you hear a retro-futuristic sound which could have been big fun back in 1974. It makes you envision the electric dreams of an artificial intelligence modeled after Lee "Scratch" Perry. Given the task to create a dubby fusion requiem for "Bela Lugosi's Dead", it seems Perry's AI has been applied to a jukebox full of Can's and Sun Ra's 7-inches. Includes download.”
RIZAN SAID - Saz U Dilan (Aukphone 1018; France) Akuphone presents Saz Û Dilan, the second solo album of Rizan Said. After King Of Keyboards, (CREP 034LP, 2016) this release brings the most exciting Kurdish-Syrian dance music to one's ears. Surrounded by young local singers, Rizan offers his own interpretation of the modern dabke through eight original uptempo compositions full of energy. Rizan Said is a composer, musician and producer, responsible for hundreds of Syrian recording industry productions as well as compositions and themes for television and cinema. Hailing from Ras Al Ain, in northeastern Syria, Rizan was a musical prodigy from a young age -- a gifted player of percussion and reed instruments before a wealth of synthesizers began flooding Syria in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Steadfast on the Syrian cassette album circuit at the time, Rizan was already sending his signals out from the Jazeera frontier, thanks to a partnership with local Syrian producer Zuhir Maksi. Later, he was the man behind Omar Souleyman's music and has recorded and toured across the world with him. Nowadays, he performs as a solo artist and brings the original dabke dance sounds of Syria to European festivals and concerts. Includes download.
PETRA DUBACH & MARIO VAN HORRIK - Church WAVES (Edition Telemark 903-03LP; Germany) “WAVES is an ongoing research project by Dutch artists Petra Dubach and Mario van Horrik that involves so-called shakers, a kind of loudspeakers that reproduce sound frequencies as vibrations, attached to long strings. Started in 2010, the project has so far produced a number of installations and concerts, some recordings have been published previously on Edition Telemark as a double 12" in 2016 (ET 628-01LP). For a few weeks in 2016 and 2017, Dubach and van Horrik had the chance to work on WAVES in the former Church of the Holy Heart in their hometown of Eindhoven where they stretched two 50 meters long strings between columns of the building and placed a piëzo transducer on one end and a shaker on the other end. Using this setup, they developed three different systems for generating feedback, spawning numerous experiments and recordings, a selection of which is presented on this LP. Video recordings of the process are enclosed on a DVD, showing the building and the strings as well as performances by Petra Dubach where her body and movement influences the standing waves in the space and thus the sound. Edition of 200 in full-color sleeve with photos from the church and liner notes by Petra Dubach, Mario van Horrik, and Ruud Post. DVD enclosed inside the sleeve.
"All our experiments didn't have any plan as a basis; the sounds of one setup resulted in changes for the next setup. This could be: changes of drivers, adding or removing preparations, changing position of the recording device or the external driver, changing parameters of the mixing board or amps, or changing nothing at all: through the vibrations of the strings the preparations were more or less slowly transported across the length of the strings; sometimes forward, sometimes backward. We have made recordings of this process of more than one hour where the sounds constantly change under the influence of this transportation. But sometimes the movement would end in a fixed state." (from the liner notes)
LP DVD $35
STEFAN FRICKE & ALPER MARAL - Am Grabe (At the Grave)(Edition Telemark ET 903-04; Germany) Am Grabe (At the Grave) is an ongoing audio ritual executed by Stefan Fricke and Alper Maral. Since 2015, they have been visiting the graves and burial grounds of composers from various eras in order to record the sounds and noises present. Each sequence is a pure field recording, serving as a memento of a bit more than four minutes in length. After having been compiled for a series of radio programs, selections from Am Grabe here appear on audio media for the first time. This edition commemorates 36 composers -- from Bach to Beethoven, from Mahler to Eisler, from Stockhausen to Ben Patterson -- the recordings connected serially, sometimes overlapping, and compiled across four LP sides.
"Am Grabe is a work in progress, a collection of homages which shall and can never end, as long as emphatic music will exist and will constantly be invented in the world." (from the liner notes)
Stefan Fricke (b. 1966 in Unna) is a German musicologist. He founded the Pfau Verlag, specializing in books about contemporary music, in 1989, and since 2008 is editor for contemporary music and sound art at Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcasting Corporation). He teaches as honorary professor at the University of Mainz.
Alper Maral (b. 1969 in Istanbul) is a Turkish composer whose oeuvre encompasses theatre and film music, symphonic and chamber works, electro-acoustic music, a.o. He plays in a number of ensembles such as -- for early music - İstanbul Barok, A-415, and Bornova Trio, as well as -- for contemporary music -- Karınca Kabilesi, Control Voltage Project, and Alper Maral Multiphonics Ensemble. He is professor at the Ankara Music and Fine Arts University.”
2 LP Set $40
PHREN - Duos (Edition Telemark ET 903-05LP; Germany) “Edition Telemark presents the first vinyl LP since 1989 by Munich's long-running ensemble for experimental music, PHREN, formed in 1968 by Michael Kopfermann. Informed by the musical avant-garde at the time and especially the problems discussed by other improvisational groups, Kopfermann developed his own approach to improvisation and tone production and sought to find instruments and playing techniques that allowed him to realize what he had in mind. His thinking centered around the treatment of noise and the eschewal of a separation between noise and tone, as well as methods for overcoming the limitations of the pre-conceived tones of the tempered system. This ruled out quite a few instruments, and also electronic techniques available at the time were deemed to primitive for the tones he sought to produce. After initially experimenting with Turkish cymbals stimulated by cello bows, Kopfermann settled on a range of instruments that included traditional string instruments, e.g. viola and violoncello, and certain wind instruments like the flugelhorn and the helicon. All instruments were prepared, the string instruments with thicker gut strings and unusual tunings, the wind instruments with longer elbow pieces. The preparations, along with the development of new and uncommon playing techniques, allowed the players to create and improvise on previously unheard noisy tones that are not static and pre-conceived but substantially individual. Over time, the number of musicians in the ensemble expanded up to six and the activities under the PHREN moniker became morefold, most notably with the formation of the PHREN theater group led by Carmen Nagel-Berninger. Still, even during the sextet years, trios and duos of varying instruments were played, often called "analytical" because they were meant to focus individual voices against the background of the larger ensemble. From early on, PHREN published about their activities in written form and on LPs and later CDs, mostly in their own PHREN-Verlag. This new LP thus compiles recent recordings from 2010 and 2018 of the duo of Carmen Nagel-Berninger (prepared viola) and Inge Salcher (prepared flugelhorn). The duos heard here are not so much meant as analytical studies, but rather as fully valid, improvisationally generated pieces, applying the musicians' long-term experience with their music in a way that doesn't sound reduced despite the small line-up. Printed inner sleeve and extensive liner notes in German and English by Reinhard Kapp, Carmen Nagel-Berninger, and Inge Salcher, as well as a detailed discography; Edition of 300.
PLVG - PLVG (Monster Melodies MMLP 016; France) “A limited-edition record of the unreleased recording of PLVG (pronounced "plug") recorded in 1973. PLVG is formed of ex-members of the band Calcium, considered the cream of French studio musicians. In May 1971, soon after his triumphant Olympia 70, singer Julien Clerc surrounds himself with musicians Charles Benaroche and Denis Lable. They are joined in '72 by Stéphane Vilar (ex-Calcium) who had just composed the music of Circus Bonjour, Jean Claude Poligot, Richard Lable, and Philippe Gall. The band thus constituted, accompanies the singer contentiously. Tracks are registered with the title "Les Trottoirs" (the sidewalks). Stephen Stills, who was staying at Julien Clerc's house at the time (where he meets Véronique Sanson his first wife, future mother of his son Christopher) says "it's a hit" as soon as he listens to the song. Clerc, a more formal musician, agrees to perform with the band during the first part of his shows. It was during the summer tour of 1973 that the band under the name of PLVG (acronym for Poligot, Lable, Vilar, Gall) made its debut in front of a dumbfounded audience. Whilst taking a break from touring the following month, the group records a dozen titles at the Ferber studio between November '73 and February '74, joined by Zouzou on a cover of a Calcium track: "This Morning". The album never saw the light of day, because Clerc no longer performed on stage. France Gall, in the height of her career, lived with Julien Clerc and left him in 1974 for Michel Berger. Julien Clerc, annoyed, dismissed the musicians and replaced them with keyboardist Gerard Bikialo (ex-Magma), guitarist Georges Kawczynski (nicknamed "Crapou"), and bassist Christian Padovan. Gall went on to compose the soundtrack of Fréquence Meurtre in 1988. Poligot went on to appear in other albums by Jean Claude Vannier, Hugues Aufray, and Jacno. Vilar goes on to compose many music for movies and plays. Denis Lable goes on to be part of cmany different bands including the famous project Utopic Sporadic Orchestra with Christian and Stella Vander of Magma, Didier Lockwood, and Jannick Top, and especially plays the guitar in 1972 on the legendary album of Jean Claude Vannier L'enfant assassin des mouches. Richard Lable goes on to make appearances on albums by Catherine Lara and Hugues Aufray amongst others before attempting a solo career. Color vinyl; includes insert; edition of 1000 (numbered).
RICHARD YOUNGS & RAUL REFREE - All Hands Around The Moment (Soft Abuse SAB 095; USA) "For their first meeting, Richard Youngs (Glasgow) and Raül Refree (Barcelona) have created a suite of stately, circular longform songs that manage to connect Tim Buckley's Happy Sad to Federico García Lorca to plainsong liturgy. The largely acoustic and quietly urgent All Hands Around The Moment finds Youngs in an impassioned and emotional space he's rarely inhabited since Sapphie, elevated by lush chamber folk/jazz compositions that incorporate piano, guitar and more, performed by both Youngs and Refree. The four pieces that build the whole of All Hands Around The Moment harness transcendence in repetition, and feature gorgeous progressive minimalism in full spectrum. Dark existential themes flow into mystic uplifting expressions of humanity, without missing a beat. In its timelessness and prescience, the realities present in All Hands Around The Moment make for a powerfully engrossing listen from top to bottom."
DONOVAN QUINN - Absalom (Soft Abuse SAB 096; USA) "Absalom is the fourth full length release from Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards/New Bums), and his first solo outing in seven years. Coming out of the psychedelic underground school of '01, Quinn has slowly built an idiosyncratic catalogue that combines obsessive long-form metaphors and oblique arrangements with simple song structures. As on previous albums, there is a consistent lyrical narrative that runs through shifting sonic spaces. Sparse singer-songwriter arrangements, outsider art piano ballads, loping numbers with a folk rock combo, and baroque pop string arrangements all find their way into the brew. Reuniting with frequent collaborators Ben Chasny, who mixed the record, Elisa Ambrogio, Jessica Roberts, Jason Quever, Michael Tapscott and Eric Amerman, Quinn recorded Absalom in several home and professional studios to achieve a veritable collage effect with instrumentation and musicians changing from song to song. The idea for Absalom started with an abandoned project called 'Fan Fiction,' intended to build songs based on the lore of other artists, as well as expanding on originals previously written by Quinn. Tucked away in the vaults are demos continuing the stories of characters from two Squeeze hits, Clarice Lispector's Aqua Viva, Jozef Czapski's lectures on Proust in a Soviet prison camp, Jackson C. Frank's 'Tumble In The Wind', and the biblical story of Absalom. Bored by the limitations of the project, 'Fan Fiction' was scraped, but the themes of familial dissolution and love in the Absalom story that provided a genesis for what became the Absalom album. Printed on the back of the LP sleeve are two quotes that provide a good starting point to the type of blues contained in therein."
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for December of 2019:
THE NEW STONE
Is Located at the New School’s Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th street - just east of 6th ave
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - IKUE MORI - DEC 10-14
8:30 pm - Mahobin Trio with a special guest
Ikue Mori (electronics) Satoko Fujii (piano) Kappa Maki (trumpet)
8:30 pm - IMPROVISATIONS - Ikue Mori (electronics) Will Bernard (guitar) Brian Chase (drums) Yuka Honda (keyboards)
8:30 pm - JOHN ZORN END OF THE YEAR IMPROV NIGHT—A STONE BENEFIT!
John Zorn (sax) Jon Irabagon (sax) Uri Caine (piano) Jim Staley (trombone) Ikue Mori (electronics) Ches Smith (drums) Brian Marsella (keyboards) Cory Smythe (piano) Brandon Lopez (bass) and many super special guests! Come and support The Stone at our annual end of the year improv Rent party!! EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! NOT TO BE MISSED! THIRTY DOLLARS
THE STONE Will be closed from December 19th through the New Year!
THE (NEW) STONE is located in The New School’s Glass Box Theatre
All Sets at The New Stone start at 8:30pm Tickets: $20
There are no refreshments or merchandise at The Stone.
Only music. All ages are welcome. Cash Only at the door.
A serious listening environment.
The Stone is booked purely on a curatorial basis
The Stone Series at HappyLucky No. 1:
Friday, December 13, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JAY CAMPBELL with Conrad Tao
playing Morton Feldman's “Patterns in a Chromatic Field”
Saturday, December 14, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JAY CAMPBELL Solo Cello
At 8PM CONCERT / $20 ADMISSION
HappyLucky No. 1 is located at
734 Nostrand Ave, near Sterling
easy access from the A/C/2/3/4 trains
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2019 - 8:30 PM & 10:30 PM
MIKE McGINNIS ROADTRIP
Mike McGinnis - Clarinet
Jeff Hermanson - Trumpet
Caroline Davis - Saxophone
Barry Saunders - Saxophone
Brian Drye - Trombone
Dan Fabricatore - Bass
Jacob Sacks - Piano
Vinnie Sperrazza - Drums
Justin Mullens - French Horn
Peter Hess - Saxophone
Sets at 8:30 and 10:00
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2019 - 8:30 PM 10:30 PM
SATOKO FUJII KAPPA MAKI
Satoko Fujii - piano
Kappa Maki - trumpet
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2019 - 8:30 PM 9:30 PM
SELECTIONS FROM CORNELIUS CARDEW’S "TREATISE”
Chet Doxas - saxophone
Jacob Sacks - prepared piano
Micah Frank - live code
IBEAM BROOKLYN, 168 7TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY, 11215
The Weekly Bushwick Improvised Music Series Continues:
Monday December 16th
7pm Julian Apter - guitar
Dominic LaMorte - bass
Kevin Murray - drums
8pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
9pm Jonathan Goldberger - guitar
Jonathon Haffner - alto saxophone
Shanir Blumenkrantz - bass
Sam Ospovat - drums
9:45pm Noa Fort - vocals
Mara Rosenbloom - synth
Ken Filiano - bass
10:45pm Terrence McManus - guitar
Bryan Murray - tenor saxophone
Dayeon Seok - drums
11:30pm Special Solo Set by our secret guest "N" on guitar!!!
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
ADAM RUDOLPH’S GO ORGANIC ORCHESTRA BROOKLYN RAGA MASSIVE Together!
RAGMALA: A Garland of Ragas - CD/LP release concert!
Friday December 13 RAGMALA: A Garland of Ragas - CD/LP release concert with 36 performers - beautiful Elebash hall only seats 180 - this concert will most likely sell out
Advance tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/live365-adam-rudolphs-go-organic-orchestra-and-brooklyn-raga-massive-tickets-66487547043
Eric's House of Improv & Abby London-Crawford
EDITH LETTNER'S COURIER QUARTET
Friday, December 13, 2019 at 8 PM
Edith Lettner - duduk, saxophone
Ras Moshe Burnett - saxophone, flute
Mara Rosenbloom - piano
and Warren Smith - drums
The Theater @ 244 Rehearsal Studios
244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor, NYC
(Between 8th Avenue & Broadway)
ERIC STERN’s House of Improv Presents:
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 8:00:
SATOKO FUJII & KAPPA MAKI!
at 244 Rehearsal Studios (244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor)
Sunday, December 22nd:
ESTAMOS TRIO: THOLLEM McDONAS Radical Empathy Project!
Plus THOLLEM McDONAS / NELS CLINE / WILLIAM PARKER / GERALD CLEAVER!
At Jazz Habitat / El Barrio ArtSpace (see above blurb for more info)
Saturday, December 28: Lou Grassi, Marilyn Lerner, Ken Filiano at 8 pm
At 244 Rehearsal Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor
Saturday Dec 21 ,2019 ~~~ music at 3:00 pm~~~~ FREE
Beyond Group improvisations for Winter Solstice
Cheryl Pyle -c flute/alto flute
Michael Eaton -soprano sax
Gene Coleman-bass flute /piccolo
Jamie Baum -alto flute
This will take place at the Tompkins Square Library
331 East 10th street