WHAT THE HELL IS GOING?
I have been home in my apartment in NJ for the better part of the last week, cleaning, reorganizing, reading magazines, books & posts from the Daily KOS, Raw Story & other new services, working on discographies and assorted lists, but mainly trying to figure out how to stay alive, stay sane, stay motivated and not worry too much about what is happening here and around our truly troubled world. The problem is that almost every business is closed except for supermarkets and drug stores. Everyone is stuck in their homes and afraid to go out except for getting those essentials. This pandemic effects us all on so many levels, that it will be a longtime before our lives return to any sort of normal. This is the most freaked out feeling I’ve had in many years!
As for the store, we can no longer have customers come visit (for the time being) and our skeleton crew will be there just 2-3 days a week to do whatever mail-order we get and accept packages. The younger folks who work with me (as well as my family & friends), have convinced me not to take the chance to come to the store until this health crisis is over. This is not an easy decision for me since DMG is the main part of my life. I love working there, talking with other serious listeners and listening to creative musicians and the music they make to help us all get through life. I know that many of you love DMG and the music that we promote. I/we want to survive this mess. It feels like there is another massive hurricane coming our way and we have to find a way to get through this, keep our sanity, keep our humanity.
Instead of listing upcoming gigs at the end of the newsletter, of which there are none to speak of, we will list links from musicians who want to share what they are working on. As more musicians send us these clips, we will put them in the next newsletter or tweet or InstaGram postings. Thanks to everyone for reading our weekly updates and sending us all of those positive vibes. We do need them now more than ever. You know who still loves you all… WE do, your friends at DMG - Bruce Lee, Frank M, John M & Alec S. Peace to all.
The Chords of Fame by Phil Ochs
I found him by the stage last night
He was breathing his last breath
A bottle of gin and a cigarette
Was all that he had left
I can see you make the music '
Cause you carry a guitar
But God, help the troubadour
Who tries to be a star
So play the chords of love, my friend
Play the chords of pain If you want to keep your song
Don't, don't, don't, don't play the chords of fame
I've seen my share of hustlers As they try to take the world
When they find their melody
They're surrounded by the girls
But it all fades so quickly
Like a sunny summer day
Reporters ask you questions
They write down what you say
So play the chords of love, my friend
Play the chords of pain If you want to keep your song
Don't, don't, don't, don't play the chords of fame
So play the chords of love, my friend
Play the chords of pain If you want to keep your song
Don't, don't, don't, don't play the chords of fame
They will rob you of your innocence
They will put you up for sale
More that you will find success
The more that you will fail
I've been around, I've had my share
And I really can't complain
But I wonder who I left behind
The other side of fame
So play the chords of love, my friend
Play the chords of pain If you want to keep your song
Don't, don't, don't, don't play the chords of fame”
I have long been fascinated by all sorts of protest music, from many early Bob Dylan songs to “The Eve of Destruction” to “Trouble Every Day” (by the Mothers of Invention), through Charles Mingus (“Fables of Faubus”), the Last Poets, Archie Shepp, Phil Ochs, Gil Scott-Heron and (more recently) Heroes are Gang Leaders. If you don’t believe that music/lyrics/songs can inspire us and push us toward some action, then you haven’t been listening closely the righteous message/observations by the many Music Prophets/Seers from the 1960’s (when I first noticed it) onwards have been saying to those who listen.
In May of 1974, I wrote the members of Henry Cow at the address of Virgin Records in London. Henry Cow were my favorite Progressive band at the time and I wanted to learn more about what they were about so I could understand their music better. That summer, I hitchhiked cross country to California with a friend from college, Mike Rice. When I got back to school in September (Glassboro State College), there was a letter from three members of Henry Cow: Fred Frith, Chris Cutler & Tim Hodgkinson. My roommates and myself read these letters over and over, reading about the composers, songwriters, philosophers and poets, that had influenced the members of our favorite band. The ever articulate Chris Cutler wrote particularly long responses to each of my questions, even writing out some lyrics that had inspired him. The above song by the great sixties protest singer Phil Ochs was one. I went out and got some albums by Phil Ochs and have long been a big fan. I still listen to those Phil Ochs albums and think about his words. This one is more about a more personal observation of the price of fame. It still rings true today. - BLG/DMG
The Downtown Music Gallery 29th Anniversary Celebrations will begin in 2020 & Will Continue throughout the year! May 1st is our Actual Anniversary! Every In-store throughout the Year Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live!
At this point we’ve has a number cancellations due to the pandemic. Some of our future triple bills are now single bills. Things may change as things evolve so we won’t know until we se what happens and musicians & listeners decide to not participate to attend. Stay tuned. The below show are all tentative…
Sunday, March 29th:
6pm: FRANCISCO MORA CATLETT / SAM NEWSOME - Spirit Music - Drums / Soprano Sax - CANCELED!
Sunday, April 5th:
6pm: DAVID LEON - Solo Alto Sax!
7pm: SEAN ALI - ContraBass and JONAH ROSENBERG - Keyboards / Electronics! - Probably cancelled!
Sunday, April 12th:
6pm: VIV CORRINGHAM / MIA ZABELKA / NH - Vocals / Violin / Guitar!
7pm; JESSE DULMAN and GUILLERMO GREGORIO - Tuba and Clarinet!
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. For the next month we have four triple bills in a row! More & more creative musicians want to play here at DMG and we are honored to have them. If you can, please do come down to capture the spirit of creative music live!
NEW DISCS FROM THE CLEAN FEED & SHHPUMA LABELS:
SIMON NABATOV QUINTET with CHRIS SPEED / HERB ROBERTSON / JOHN HEBERT / TOM RAINEY - Plain (Clean Feed 546; Portugal) Personnel: Chris Speed - tenor sax, clarinet, Herb Robertson - trumpet, cornet, Simon Nabatov - piano, John Hébert - double bass and Tom Rainey - drums. The new installment in the ongoing series of New York centered recordings, this time with the stellar roster of Chris Speed, Herb Robertson, John Hébert and Tom Rainey, “Plain” is the new brilliant opus in Simon Nabatov’s singular and rich career. With a background in classical piano, with the immediately recognizable Russian feeling, Nabatov gives here plenty of room to his many musical interests, including his passion for the music of Herbie Nichols, heard in the last track “House Party Starting”. As the pieces go by, you feel the presence of history, the history of jazz and the history of classical music, combined with elements of other musical languages, but mixed and blended in such a way that it is impossible to figure out what comes from where. What keeps your attention is the very personal voice of this incredible musician, now living between Germany and New York, and his focus on keeping things outside the box. Former partner of the likes of Steve Lacy, Ray Anderson, Arthur Blythe, Perry Robinson, Matthias Schubert, among many others of different generations, Nabatov has that rare ability to always surprise us, and indeed he does that again in this collection of superbly crafted and interpreted pieces.”
KAJA DRAKSLER OCTET with AB BAARS / ADA RAVE / et al - Out for Stars (Clean Feed 534; Portugal) Personnel: Ada Rave - tenor sax, clarinet & mouth organ, Ab Baars - clarinet & tenor sax, George Dumitriu - violin, viola, Kaja Draksler - piano, kalimba, Lennart Heyndels - double bass and Onno Govaert drums and percussion. With the previous “Gledalec”, Slovenian pianist and composer Kaja Draksler found a gem to work on, and here is the continuation of that labour, now having the poetry of Robert Frost as both inspiration and feedstock, in the voices of Laura Polence and Björk Níelsdóttir. The ambiances of the music are pastoral, respecting the poems taken from “West Running Brook”, “A Witness Tree” and “In the Clearing”. You can almost hear the woods and the streams described by the late author in his attempt to depict the complexity of the human condition and its relation to nature. Living in Amsterdam, and playing with a group of musicians of different nationalities also settled in Holland (Ada Rave, Ab Baars, George Dumitriu, Lennart Heyndels and Onno Govaert are the instrumental participants in her octet), Draksler adopts in “Out for Stars” many of this jazz scene’s procedures, namely the contributions of all the musicians involved and the interiorization of diverse musical genres and styles, including some of the past. But attention: what we have here isn’t more of the same, but the answer to new challenges. You can’t miss it.”
PATTY WATERS with BURTON GREENE / MARIO PAVONE / BARRY ALTSCHUL - An Evening in Houston (Clean Feed 547; Portugal) Featuring Patty Waters on vocals, Burton Greene on piano, Mario Pavone on double bass and Barry Altschul on drums. For as long as I’ve been a devoted jazz fan (around 1972), there are those fans who don’t appreciate and often put down jazz vocals. Perhaps I was fortunate to have heard and befriended vocalists: Joe Lee Wilson, Eddie Jefferson, Sheila Jordan & June Tyson, in my early days of jazz listening. I have always dug experimental singers and have learned to appreciate giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter and Leon Thomas. Patty Waters, made two albums for the ESP label in the late sixties, the only jazz vocal records on that avant/jazz label, outside of licensed recordings by Billie Holiday. I remember digging both of those Patty Waters records, especially when she started screaming on "Black Is the Colour (Of My True Love's Hair)”, an immensely harrowing performance. After those two ESP records, Ms. Waters disappeared from the music scene for thirty years to raise a son. Staring in 1996, she has recorded three fine discs and played at the Vision Fest in NYC in 2003, being backed by her original pianist and fellow ESP recording artist, Burton Greene. Her last disc was in 2005 and now she has a new live disc, recorded in Houston, Texas in 2018.
For this new disc she is accompanied by a stellar trio, Burton Greene once again on piano, bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Barry Altschul. All leaders, composers and strong collaborators on there own. Starting with a stripped down, fragile version of “You’re My Thrill”, Ms. Waters contributes one of her own songs, “Moon, Don’t Come Up Tonight”, a most haunting ballad, sad and filled with distant ghosts, with tasty, skeletal piano from Mr. Greene. “Strange Fruit” (made famous by Billie Holiday) remains one of the saddest songs ever written. Ms. Waters strips it down to its bare essentials with Greene plucking the strings inside the piano. Ms. Waters also adds lyrics to Ornette Coleman’s classic song, “Lonely Woman”, which adds a sad, tenderness to that ancient, familiar melody. Patty covers Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Dry”, which might seem like an odd choice yet it retains that mournful, ballad-like poignancy. I must that I dig this disc overall but find that the sad, somber, light night vibe might just be too depressing for those who might need some more uplifting sounds in these difficult days. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LUIS LOPES HUMANIZATION 4TET with RODRIGO AMADO / AARON GONZALEZ / STEPHAN GONZALEZ - Believe, Believe (Clean Feed 549; Portugal) Featuring Luis Lopes on electric guitar, Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax, Aaron Gonzalez on double bass and Stefan Gonzalez on drums. It took some time (“Live in Madison”, the previous release of this Portuguese-American band, dates back from 2013), but here is the much expected fourth album by Portuguese guitarist Luís Lopes’ Humanization 4tet. With tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and the Gonzalez brothers Aaron and Stefan playing the double bass and the drum kit, respectively, the quartet goes further into the territory they decided to explore, the one discovered by them 12 years ago on the crack between the free jazz tradition and what we now call jazzcore – meaning jazz fed by the energy and the distorted, feedback sound of punk and metal. Last year’s tour of the group (2018) in the United States resulted in this new opus recorded in front of an audience at Marigny Studios New Orleans with all the vitality and truth of a live session.
Being the most persistent of all Lopes’ projects (like Lisbon-Berlin Trio, Guillotine, Noise Solo, Love Song and more), it’s also the more collective-driven, and that’s why Luís Lopes only contributes one composition, among two by Amado, two by Aaron González and one by Stefan, mixed with Bill Lee’s song dedicated to Eddie Harris. And yes, this is free music you can jump and dance to, acid like a lemon, but joyful as a post-party sunrise.”
This disc was recorded in a studio in New Orleans, while this amazing Portuguese/Texas quartet were on tour in June of 2018. I know the frontline folks here, Luis Lopes & Rodrigo Amado from their numerous discs on the Clean Feed and other labels. The rhythm team, Aaron & Stephan Gonzalez, are brothers and sons of trumpet master Dennis Gonzalez. Their trio, Yellz at Eels, is one of this longtime, under-recognized out/jazz legends from the Texas underground. Right from the gitgo, this mighty quartet is on fire and playing Eddie Harris’ “Tranquilidad Alborotadora”. Powerful, tight and immensely intense! The interplay and soloing by both Luis Lopes on guitar and Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax is consistently burning. There is a piece called, “She”, where the quartet lay back and simmer, the tone of the tenor and dream-like guitar playing in a most cerebral way. Otherwise, the fireworks are often awesome! If you dig your free jazz/rock throttling and in-your-face, than this is the disc for you! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ØYVIND SKARBØ | FREDRIK LJUNGKVIST | KRIS DAVIS | OLE MORTEN VÅGAN - Inland Empire (Clean Feed 548; Portugal) “Personnel: Fredrik Ljungkvist - tenor saxophone, clarinet, Kris Davis - piano, Ole Morten Vågan - double bass and Øyvind Skarbø - drums. This is the happy result of the international partnership of one of America's top pianists today, Kris Davis, with three of the most in demand musicians on the Scandinavian creative jazz scene; Fredrik Ljungkvist, Ole Morten Vågan and Øyvind Skarbø, who is also the producer and the mixer. In the Inland Empire, compositions by all members are treated democratically with only the bare minimum of bureacracy.
The music is halfway between the written and the improvised, influenced by contemporary classical music, various avant-jazz and more, justifying the name of this album and – from now on – also of the quartet. This means there’s balanced measures of elegance and refinement, and what they themselves call «anarchistic outbursts», bringing together equality of functions and freedom of collective and individual expression. “Inland Empire” is the realization of an old aspiration few times achieved, contradicting the notion that Equality and Freedom can’t live together. This in itself would make this recording special, but there’s more, much more: Something that only the music itself can tell you.”
BERNHARD MEYER / JOHN HOLLENBECK - Grids (Shhpuma 057; Portugal) Featuring Bernard Meyer on electric bass & effects and John Hollenbeck on drums, percussion & prepared piano. Anything project that former Downtown drummer/composer/multi-bandleader, John Hollenbeck, works on, he puts a good deal of time & thought into. I don’t know Berlin-based bassist, Bernhard Meyer that well, although he has worked with Mr. Hollenbeck previously and has a couple of his own bands that he leads. One of the things I dig most about Mr. Hollenbeck is how diverse his writing and projects are, from duos to his own large ensembles. The opening piece, “Black Rock Desert”, features some angelic, harp-like strumming on what sounds like a fretless bass with tight, intricate interplay from the drums. On each piece, Mr. Meyer alters the sound of his bass with different effects, adding selective layers of reverb or quiet distortion, turning hums into drones and beyond, with mellotron-like effects or samples. Each pieces a different mood or vibe, telling a series of short stories or scenes from a film. Mr. Hollenbeck also varies his sound with drums, hand percussion or prepared piano. Quite the dynamic duo, from the start of the finish. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TWO NEW DISCS FROM ITAKT:
OHAD TALMOR NEWSREEL SEXTET with SHANE ENDSLEY / MILES OKAZAKI / JACOB SACKS / MATT PAVOLKA / DAN WEISS - Long Forms (Intakt 341; Switzerland) Featuring Ohad Talmor on tenor sax, flutes, clarinets, bansuri & compositions, Shane Endsley on trumpet, Miles Okazaki on guitar, Jacob Sacks on piano, Matt Pavolka on acoustic bass and Dan Weiss on drums. I’ve had my eye on French/Israeli saxist/composer Ohad Talmor for a while now, checking out a number of his fine discs and collaborations with his mentors, Lee Konitz & Steve Swallow. He moved to NYC in 1995 and has stayed here ever since. He also organized an ongoing performance place called Seeds in the same building where he lives in Brooklyn.
This is the second disc from his band Newsreel, formerly a quintet and now a sextet, adding guitar great Miles Okazaki. Newsreel looks to be a Downtown all-star band as each member are leaders and busy collaborators as well, each very diverse in their individual experiences and influences. The opening piece here, “Layas Lines”, starts quickly and intensely and then calms down to a more cerebral well-written circular series of currents. While the solos are short and thoughtful, it is the ensemble playing/writing which is most compelling. The sextet slows down on “Casado”, which has a lovely, ballad-like vibe and is completely haunting and dream-like, floating like ghosts in a soft shuffle groove. On the last part of “Kayeda”, the written ensemble passages remind me more of that complex Zappa or Gentle Giant writing/playing that us old prog-heads were weaned on. “Scent” begins with a long, exquisite piano solo intro before the rest of the ensemble comes in together, in tight, swirling waves together. On the last and longest piece, Mr. Talmor wrote some enchanting counter harmonies for these rest of sextet while he takes a long, stirring sax solo. I can almost hear some orchestral harmonies for the rest of the band which sounds much larger than it actually is. This is a most mature effort and a nice to add a crown to everything has done that Mr. Talmor has done previously. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ARUÁN ORTIZ with ANDREW CYRILLE / MAURICIO HERRERA - Inside of Rhythmic Falls (Intakt 339; Switzerland) Aruán Ortiz has long dreamt of making an album that would evoke "a cascade of rhythms going over me, almost dragging me to fall." This feeling of being overtaken by rhythm is one he knows well, having spent his first 23 years in Cuba.
Born in 1973, Ortiz grew up Santiago de Cuba – the cradle of Afro-Cuban music and a veritable "vortex of rhythm". Ortiz captures the symphony of everyday life in Oriente on his arresting new album, Inside Rhythmic Falls. "I think of myself as a storyteller," Ortiz says, "and each of the album's ten tracks tells a story about Oriente province."
For this project Ortiz has chosen Cuban percussionist Mauricio Herrera and one of the best drummers of today's jazz to his side. Andrew Cyrille was born in Brooklyn, New York into a Haitian family. "Rhythm is life … the space of time danced through,"and inside rhythmic falls everyone is possessed by the dance, both leading and following.
The New York jazz critic Adam Schatz writes in the Liner notes: "When music is this glorious, it has the power not just to conjure spirits but to inspire belief and help us experience the marvelous. Or, as Carpentier also put it, the marvelous real."
THREE AMAZING NEW DISCS FROM THE INCREDIBLE INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM LABEL:
IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS with CAMAE AYEWA / KEIR NEURINGER / AQUILES NAVARRO / LUKE STEWART / TCHESER HOLMES - Who Sent You? - (International Anthem 00341; USA) Featuring: Camae Ayewa - voice & texts, Keir Neuringer - alto sax & percussion, Aquiles Navarro - trumpet, Luke Stewart - double bass and Tcheser Holmes - drums, congas. Stay on it! This is the future! This is the spectral dreaming, the reshaped soundwaves of post-Katrina, post-Osage Avenue, post-Obamacare that we borrow from to do this work, so stay on it.
Who Sent You? they said from their liquid cryo-chamber, from a low-light induction field cobbled together with lithium rods, with melted down Romare Bearden and Howardena Pindell paintings, stitched with chaos fibers and placed in the center of the carrion husk of a burnt out shanty town. They took time to scrape ashen samples of what was, their souls the residue thick and caked on, that still climbs those new high-rise condominiums like moss—the only evidence that they were once there, that they were baked into the fabric of this planet—they were there fixing elevators and tossing wrenches into quantum fields until they were stopped! frisked! and turned into weird, 100-foot martyr murals on the backside, the north side, of supermarket walls—Who Sent You? is how the matrix modulation works. “
Dig it: Who Sent You? is the punk-rocking of jazz and the mystification of the avant-garde, a sci-fi sound from that out-soul-fire jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements. Who Sent You? they asked and tried to lock us in their distress chambers, and yet here it is: an album that functions as a heat-sealed care package for the modern Afrofuturist’s pre-flight machinations. This record weaves kinetic soul fusion, dreamy yet harrowing spectral poetry, and intricate force-field-tight rhythms into wild, warmth-giving tapestries that comfort and conceal, confront and coerce all at once, with the dark matter of the deep, black all-consuming universe as its thread.
Where the band’s self-titled debut was all explosive noisy anthems and glorious cosmic bluster, Who Sent You? is a focused and patient ritual. Irreversible Entanglements take their time in between these grooves, stalking the war-torn streets of the Deep South and post-Columbian apocalypses—taking their time to add our DNA to the centrifuge, to dream up an alchemical amalgamation that sounds truly euphoric, drenched in the epic star-flung fallout of a nova only they can conjure. More than the sum of its parts—Luke Stewart’s war-like basslines, Keir Neuringer’s haunting saxophone, Aquiles Navarro’s cyberpunk brass, the unwieldy storm of Tcheser Holmes’ drums, and the oracular phyletic incantations of Camae Ayewa—Who Sent You? is an entire holistic jam of “infinite possibilities coming back around,” a sprawling meditation for afro-cosmonauts, a reminder of the forms and traumas of the past, and the shape and vision of Afrotopian sounds to come.
ANGEL BAT DAWID - The Oracle (International Anthem 023; USA) Composer, clarinetist, singer & spiritual jazz soothsayer Angel Bat Dawid descended on Chicago's jazz & improvised music scene just a few years ago. In very short time, the potency, prowess, spirit & charisma of her cosmic musical proselytizing has taken her from relatively unknown improviser to borderline ubiquitous performer in Chicago's avant-garde. On any given night you can find Angel adding aura to ensembles led by Ben LaMar Gay, or Damon Locks, or Jaimie Branch, or Matthew Lux, or even, on a Summer night in 2018, onstage doing a woodwind duo with Roscoe Mitchell. For her recorded debut on International Anthem, The Oracle, we've chosen to release a batch of tracks that Angel created entirely alone – performing, overdubbing & mixing all instruments & voices by her self – recorded using only her cell phone in various locations, from London UK to Cape Town RSA, but primarily from her residency in the attic of the historic Radcliffe Hunter mansion in Bronzeville, Southside, Chicago.
DAMON LOCKS / BLACK MONUMENT ENSEMBLE - Where Future Unfolds (International Anthem 025; USA) Featuring: Angel Bat Dawid (clarinets), Dana Hall (drums, percussion), Damon Locks (electronics, bells, voice) and Arif Smith (percussion) plus vocalists: Phillip Armstrong, Monique Golding, Rayna Golding, Eric McCarter, Tramaine Parker and Lauren Robinson and dancers as well.
“‘Where Future Unfolds’ is a new work spirited by Chicago-based sound & visual artist Damon Locks. Starting as a solo sound collage piece (where Locks pulled samples from Civil Rights era speeches and recordings to create an improvisational pallet for performance on his drum machine), over 4 years the project has blossomed into his 15-piece Black Monument Ensemble – featuring musicians (including Angel Bat Dawid on clarinets and Dana Hall on drums), singers (alumni of the Chicago Children's Choir), and dancers (members of Chicago youth dance company Move Me Soul). Where Future Unfolds is a live capture of the ensemble's epic debut at the Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory on the West Side of Chicago. Recalling the spirits of Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble, Eddie Gale's Black Rhythm Happening, Archie Shepp's Attica Blues, and Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the album presents an inspired, innovative & immediate intersection of gospel, jazz, activism & 808 breaks.
The opening piece, “Statement of Intent/Black Monument Theme”, features some righteous spoken words over a cushion of ritualistic percussion and later is transformed into a gospel-like chorus. The second song, “Sounds Like Now”, is ruled by a repeating kora groove and features more of those enchanting chorus vocals. The music is skeletal, just clarinet, bass and percussion with consistently enticing vocals. The groove is often infectious and makes me want to dance or at least sway. There is a wonderful, uplifting, inspirational vibe at the center of all of these songs, a spirit that was so prevalent in the sixties, which as been buried by the evil capitalists, greedy politicians and international racist regimes. I still believe in that spirit, the fuel of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. You may call me/us naive, but I know that there is still some hope better times ahead. The sun is out today (3/26/20) and although we are all worried about the end of the world as we know it, this music helps to bring us together as humans, embracing ideals that were abandoned by Satan’s/Putin’s children. This is the best disc I’ve heard in recent memory to help inspire those positive/righteous vibes. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THREE NEW DISCS FROM THE FINE FOLKS AT FOU RECORDS & SOME FOU Restocks:
JEAN-MARC FOUSSAT / SYLVAIN GUERINEAU / JOE McPHEE - Quod (Fou Records 05; France) Featuring Sylvain Guerineau on tenor sax, Joe McPhee on soprano sax and Jean-Marc Foussat on synth & samples. This disc was recorded at Studio Pyjama in France in March of 2010. There is a large underground of creative musicians in France, often in & around Paris, but also in other lesser known cities in France like Lille. Paris-based, Jean-Marc Foussat is an engineer & producer & longtime documenter of the French Creative Music Scene, as well as play synth, electronics and his sonic experimental sounds. Mr. Foussat’s own label, Fou Records, has some 20 releases, found a great job of capturing many great live and studio performances. Since around 2007, I have been checking out the playing of tenor saxist, Sylvain Guerineau, from his work with Paul Rogers, Benjamin Duboc, Kent Carter & Itaru Oki. Mr. Foussat and Mr. Guerineau have two previous duo records on the Leo and Nashazphone labels. New York-based multi-instrumentalist, Joe McPhee, might just be the most prolific improvising musician and world traveler, as far as recordings and concerts go. He seems to be everywhere in the US and in Europe playing with just about every great player from the ever-evolving international scene.
So, you may ask, what does two saxes, electronics and voice sound like..? The tenor sax and synth sound particularly good together, often sharing a note, the sounds blend together as one. The music is spacious, somewhat dark of filled with suspense. When Mr. McPhee enters on soprano sax, he seems to be at the other end of the spectrum, the tenor sounding more like a baritone at times. The trio take their time, moving cautiously around one another. Mr. Foussat sounds like he is playing an old analog synth and often uses it sparingly. While both saxes buzz around one another sending notes back and forth, creating a conversation, Foussat adds selective electronic shades and colors which enhance the sound of the saxes. Sometimes Mr. Fousset will take either sax and add synth effects, never pushing things too far out, which is often a problem with modern synth, sampler of computer players. In one section we hear a dog barking (sample?) in the background, adding an odd yet somewhat familiar ghost in the distance. One the second long piece, “The Forgiven”, both saxes calm down to a more lyrical sense of calm with occasional electronic shades or sprinkles. Eventually both saxes & synth increase in tempo, with repeating phrases. It reminds me of an album I listened to last night (3/24/20) by Urban Sax, a great French prog/jazz/experimental ensemble which usually features up to a hundred saxists playing in odd costumes in odd settings. Mr. Guerineau plays a old, haunting traditional sounding melody in one of the later sections, which gives this a charming change for a short bit. Things then expand as the saxes bend their notes slowly around one another while the synth creates some quietly disorienting sci-fi sounds. An at times austere yet mysterious soundtrack for the strange times we are currently living in. At the same time, evoking a fifties (sci-fi soundtrack) or seventies (Barney Wilen w/ 3 synth players), sort of sound. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SOPHIE AGNEL / DAUNIK LAZRO - Marguerite d'Or Pâle (Fou Records 13; France) ”French pianist Sophie Agnel and sax player Daunik Lazro can create a whole sonic universe every time they touch their instruments. Weird and intriguing universes that refuse to conform to any familiar musical convention yet offer profound and arresting poetic sensibility and inventive game-like plays. These two master improvisers began to collaborate a decade ago in Lazro short-lived quartet Qwat Neum Sixx (that has released only one album, Live at festival NPAI 2007, Amor Fati, 2009), but continued to perform as together in other formats, often with double bass player Paul Rogers or guitarist Olivier Benoit. These shared experiences enriched Agnel and Lazro vocabularies and perfected their immediate interplay.
Marguerite d'Or Pâle captures the duo of Agnel and Lazro performing live at the Dom club in Moscow on June 2016. The title of the album, as well as the titles of the improvisations, draw their inspiration from the classic novel of Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov ‘The Master and Margarita’. These improvisations sound as consciously corresponding with the amused, mysterious and often subversive spirit of Bulgakov imaginative plots.
The six improvisations enable both Agnel and Lazro to employ their highly personal approaches in ways that suggest haunting, kaleidoscopic atmospheres. Agnel sets the outlines for the ethereal, adventurous structures of these improvisations, wisely charging these pieces with restrained dramatic tension, while Lazro balances her playful juggling with forms with intensive flow and occasional eruptions of colorful ideas. Lazro, who focuses here on his tenor sax more than his baritone sax, demonstrates his impressive breathing techniques, whispers and speaks unintelligible words through the mouthpiece. Agnel adds extensive preparations to the piano strings, transforming the keyboard into an instrument that produces abstract, sensual and sometimes even beautiful-disturbing sounds.” - Eyal Hareuveni
JEAN-MARC FOUSSAT / JEAN-LUC PETIT - D'Ou Vient La Lumiere! (Fou Records 13; France) “Today, another invigorating aural outing from Fou Records (FR-CD13), namely Jean-Marc Foussat & Jean-Luc Petit in the epic album . . . D'Ou Vient La Lumiere! It is a sprawling, almost orchestral set with Foussat's live electro-acoustics and Petit's contrabass clarinet, soprano and alto saxes combining for a new-music oriented, free-jazz improvised extravaganza.
What strikes one on first hearing is the nicely realized combination of reeds and electronics, how they work in synchrony and evolve organically with vivid sound panoramas that retain a poetic quality and unfold with a linear thrust. The multi-layered Foussat electro-acoustics form ever-varying dramatic platforms against which Petit's limber and aurally sophisticated reed sonics comment and complement the proceedings creatively and with vivid character.
Each of the four mostly long pieces forms an acoustically advanced poetic whole that has a concerted flow and a conversational agility, a cosmic sound depth, an evenamental thrust, a marked periodicity.
It reminds us that Jean-Marc Foussat is one of the significant leaders and innovators in electro-acoustic improvisational new music today, but also that Jean-luc Petit is a wind-master with a full sound-color pallet and a fertile improvisational imagination.
Get this one for a full-blown journey into the outer realms. There is a consistent realization of long-formed outness that retains your interest and satisfies your craving for the new and futuristic sounds of today! Very recommended.” - Grego Applegate Edwards
RESTOCKED CD’S FROM FOU RECORDS:
DEREK BAILEY / HAN BENNINK / EVAN PARKER - Topographie Parisienne - Dunois, April 3rd, 1981 [4 CD Set] (Fou Records 34/35/36/37; France) Featuring Derek Bailey on guitar, Evan Parker on tenor & soprano saxes and Han Bennink on drums & other instruments. This particular trio of European free/improv giants recorded just one studio album in June of 1970 which was called ’Topography of the Lungs’. It was released on the Incus label soon thereafter, a label co-founded by Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and another financial friend. The musical relationship between Mr. Bailey & Mr. Parker eventually soured and ‘Topography of the Lungs’ went out of print. It wasn’t until 2005 when Mr. Bailey passed away that Mr. Parker was reissued that gem oh his own label, Psi. These three musicians did collaborate with each other only on a few large group recordings: Manfred Schoof (‘European Echoes’), Misha Mengelberg (‘Groupcomposing’ - now on CvsD) and Globe Unity (1970). Eleven years after this trio recorded ’Topography of the Lungs’, they played at the Theatre Dunois in France for a long evening on April 3rd of 1981. This impressive 4 CD Set captures that night with two set long trios, five duos and two solos from Evan Parker. Jean-Marc Foussat’s recording is superb, al the music is well-captured, warm, clean and well-balanced. It is wonderful to hear this trio in all of their splendor. Besides drums, Mr. Bennink sounds like he is playing scissors and assorted odd objects. The first trio set works its way through trio and duo sections, from quiet sections to more explosive chatter. Much of the duo segments with Mr. Parker on soprano and Mr. Bennink on drums are just incredible. There is way too much great music here to comment on here and I have two more discs to get through. Thanks to Mr. Foussat and the Fou Records label for great opportunity to hear they trio, duos and solos at length. Truly an historic moment! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
4 CD Set CD $38
DEREK BAILEY / JOELLE LEANDRE / GEORGE LEWIS / EVAN PARKER - 28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982 (Fou Records 06; France) If you know about free improvisation and its legacy, you perk up when you get a previously unissued recording of Derek Bailey, Joëlle Léandre, George Lewis, and Evan Parker. That's what you get with 28 rue Dunois juillet 1982 (Fou Records CD06). Fou is Jean-Marc Foussat's label. He himself recorded the foursome during their July appearance at Paris Theatre Dunois.
There are a number of reasons why this is worth hearing and why it is of central importance. The European free music scene was beginning to get global attention by 1982, and in the trajectory of these four masters they were in a period of significant growth. Derek Bailey had rapidly established himself as a prime innovator in free guitar; trombonist George Lewis had come to the attention of the world in a big way with Anthony Braxton but continued to expand his playing in the very free context, contrabassist and vocalist Joëlle Léandre was really grounding herself as a primo free new music innovator but had not gotten a lot of recognition as yet, and of course saxist Evan Parker was quickly getting world recognition as a major innovator but with these three in tandem had not performed, as far as I know.
To hear these four together back in 1982, in great form, playing uncompromising avant open-form music in an extended program is revelatory and exhilarating. These are masters of the art. They show themselves as some of the most thoroughly original of all of them, carving out a language that would become part of the common vocabulary in years to come. And so we need to study this recording--and of course experience it with joy. Yes!” - Grego Applegate Edwards
WILLEM BREUKER KOLLEKTIEF with ROY RAAYMAKERS / WILLEM VAN MANEN / BERNRAD HUNNEKINK / BOB DRIESSEN / MAARTEN VAN NORDEN / HENK de JONGE / ARJEN GORTER / ROB VERURMEN - Angouleme 18 Mai 1980 (Fou Records 09 & 10; France) “Recorded live at a crucial period of its existence, this Angouleme May 18, 1980 is a splendid testimony of the Willem Breuker Kollektief, a flagship of the new European jazz orchestra. Founded in 1974 to set to music the musical and social ideas Willem Breuker, the WBK brought together musicians that were somehow his students, and he had leverage their individual qualities although initially many of them were not properly improvisers as could be colleagues such as Bennink, Mengelberg, Maarten Altena, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Fred Van Hove, Brötzmann and co. Digging in the aesthetics of Kurt Weil, whose work on WB was authoritative, curiously summoned his arrangements, popular music (circus marches, tango), innovations minimalist and expressionistic free jazz, combining power and subtlety. In May 1980, the pianist Henk de Jonge replaced Leo Cuypers and hornist January Wolff had left the ship, but the trumpeter Andy Altenfelder had not yet joined. Also the music is a little closer to jazz with more elaborate arrangements and the group has earned a reputation explosive. Not less than 4000 people attended these concerts Angoulême and made them public rampaging reminders.” - SoundOhm.com
2 CD Set $24
DAUNIK LAZRO / JOELLE LEANDRE / GEORGE LEWIS - Enfances 8 Janv. 1984 (Fou Records 18; France) Amazing to think that 30 years of Joëlle Léandre’s many collaborations with Daunik Lazro and George Lewis began with a recording we’ve never heard in full before now. As I’ve been soaking in all the writing this week, I revisited a couple of seminal albums also recorded in the 1980s, particularly the Intakt releases The Storming of the Winter Palace (the epic quintet featuring Léandre, Lewis, Maggie Nicols, Irène Schweizer, and Günter Sommer) and Paris Quartet (Léandre’s album with Lazro, Schweizer, and Yves Robert). A portion of this trio performance appeared on Lazro’s HatHut set, Sweet Zee, but if I’m not mistaken, this is the first release of the complete session. Thinking about how this is likely the first recorded meeting of these three, the clarity of the recording would be enough to recommend it, for its historical value. But the real prizes here are the vibrancy and ingenuity of three great improvisers in collaboration. The opening 30 seconds of “Enface 1” contain a scattering of percussive noises (think Art Ensemble of Chicago-style little instruments), Léandre’s voice, and the briefest tease of Lazro’s sax. A minute later, the trio is fully awoken. Lazro and Léandre have long been collaborating, and the genesis of their partnership illuminates how well matched they’ve been since the beginning. All three musicians boast tremendous talent and commitment to the moment, but there’s also sly humor and a passionate drive to urge listeners to out of their traditionally passive role. “Enfance 4” is a wonderful examples of this, with Léandre’s arco solo suddenly interrupted by Lewis and Lazro’s riffs and squaks. “Enface 5” is something of preview of the past 30 years in retrospect. Early on, Lazro takes a lyrical solo, which Léandre quickly picks up on bass. The two continue moving forward, somewhat hesitantly, before ceding the floor to Lewis for an extended solo. The three come together in a swirling passage of singing, bass, trombone, and sax, which contrasts staccato passages with brassy outbursts. Hearing it all hang together in synchrony, I was somewhat on edge, waiting to hear how long the passage would sustain itself. With most of the tracks clocking in at sub-4 minutes, the 20-minute “Enface 5” and 12-minute “Enface 6” form the centerpiece of the album. Toward the middle of “Enface 6” is a Lazro/Lewis duet, with the two weaving their lines together into a dense run. Gradually, Léandre joins, then quickly takes centerstage for a solo that sets the path forward for the piece’s conclusion. The final track, “Enface 10,” plays like a strident plea that could be a call for peace, a call to action, or a call simply echoing out into space, perhaps never to be answered.” - Lee Rice Epstein, FreeJazzBlog
URS LEIMGRUBER & JEAN MARC FOUSSAT - Face to Face (Fou Records 32/33; France) Featuring Urs Leimgruber on soprano & tenor saxes and Jean-Marc Foussat on AKS synth & voice. Last week (5/31-6/3/19), I had the opportunity to hear Swiss saxist, Urs Leimgruber, play live on three separate occasions, playing solos & duos with Jessica Pavone & Brandon Lopez. Each set was superb, but in very different ways. I have long followed & enjoyed the work of Mr. Leimgruber whose career reaches back to the mid-seventies with the great quartet Om, as well as working with John Wolf Brennan, Joe McPhee and Quartet Noir. Mr. Leimgruber has recorded a number of solo sax discs throughout his evolution and it seems as if he has recorded/performed even more in the duo context: Fritz Hauser, Thomas Lehn, Evan Parker and Vinny Golia.
For this 2 CD set, Mr. Leimgruber collaborates with the French recording engineer/producer/archivist Jean-Marc Foussat. Mr. Foussat plays an AKS synth here, uses his voice and recorded these two sessions in two towns in Switzerland, Zurich and Lucerne, on October 19th & 26th of last year (2018). After hearing Mr. Leimgruber play in three very different settings, I see/hear how he adapts to the room & person he is playing with. On Disc one, ‘Rive de Reves’, the duo take their time with breath-like radiator hissing sounds, the rhythmic tapping of the keys, subtle electronics, squeaks and other carefully bent notes. Mr. Leimgruber twists those notes inside out, the tension ever expanding. Mr. Foussat sounds as if he has sampled voices (a suspenseful chorus) and other odd sounds, also bending the samples to work well with variety of sax & mouthpiece sounds. Eventually it sounds as if Mr. Leimgruber’s sax is being played through the synth and manipulated in part. Mr. Foussat is a fine collaborator and consistently finds ways for adding a variety of haunting or disorienting sounds to Mr. Leimgruber’s sax playing. When Mr. Leimgruber switches to tenor sax, his sound is even more impressive, expansive, intense and explosive at times. The second was recorded in another hall, a week earlier. Again, we hear the way Mr. Foussat adds right amount of sonic seasoning to the solo sax work of reeds wiz Urs Leimgruber. If you are patient and listen closely, you will hear layers of subtle electronics, samples and sax explorations. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $24
DR. ISRAEL - In Dub (Echo Beach 143; Germany) “Dr. Israel is a dub artist from Brooklyn/New York City. For him, dub music -- originally rooted in 1960s Jamaican reggae culture -- is the starting point to explore a universe of sounds, including hardcore punk, rock, hip-hop, ambient, electronics, reggae, drum and bass. A global melting pot of a wild variety of musical styles. Douglas Bennett, aka Dr. Israel (Jamaicans gave him his artist name when he lived for a while in a Niyabinghi community and became a Rastafari) discovered what he calls "non-traditional" reggae while playing guitar in punk rock bands in his native Philadelphia. His inspirations and influences include punk/reggae hybridists Bad Brains and ragga/hip-hop pioneer Boogie Down Productions as well as 1980s reggae stars like Sly & Robbie and Black Uhuru. In the early 1990s, he began experimenting with sampling keyboards and beats. A few years later he and others like DJ Spooky and Skiz "Spectre" Fernando earned international renown for creating "illbient", a sound that mixed jungle and hip-hop beats with otherworldly dub, ambient and avant-garde classical tones. Dr. Israel has released several projects, including Black Rose Leberation, Inna City Pressure (1998), Patterns of War (2005), Love In The Time Of Violence, and has worked with Bill Laswell (in supergroup Methods of Defiance), Lee "Scratch" Perry, The Last Poets, Rancid, Santigold, Sepultura, Laurie Anderson, Bernie Worrell, Easy Star Allstars, Alpha & Omega, and also with the rapper and Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, Killah Priest. "The one thing that I'm most thankful for is that I've been able to touch elbows with my heroes," he says. "I don't want to do traditional reggae because there are a lot of people already doing that. I don't think I could ever create a straight-ahead pop track. I'm not the kind of person who's big on writing love songs, but I am able to create a song partly based on the 1982 collaboration between punk icons the Clash and beat poet Allen Ginsberg." "I create and produce music a bit like Bruce Lee. He came from the traditional Kung Fu and merged/combined for his martial arts discipline Tae-kwon-do, and other traditional martial arts to an effective system. That's the basic idea of combining styles." Features DJ Olive remix.”
TAMIKREST - Tamotait (Glitterbeat GB 091; Germany) “On Tamotaït, Tamikrest's fifth studio album, the music blazes bright and long. With the political situation so volatile and desperate in the Saharan ancestral lands from which Tamikrest come, this is more than an album. Tamotaït means hope for a positive change. Change as in an end to the fighting that's plagued northern Mali and the wider region for the past several years; change such as the chance to prosper within their own homeland -- Azawad -- a proto nation that the nomadic Tuareg (or Kel Tamasheq as they prefer to be called) briefly possessed in 2012. It's assouf, music forged in exile. Because of the toxic regional conflict, for much of the last decade the founding members of Tamikrest have not lived in Kidal, Mali, the desert crossroads town where the band began in 2007. They live in Tamanrasset (Algeria), Paris, and at times along the desolate Algerian/Malian borderlands. Yet, exile can also mean the hope of return, and on "Amzagh" and "As Sastnan Hidjan", the two tracks the group sees as pivotal to understanding the themes of Tamotaït, Tamikrest sing of the possibilities that lie ahead for the Kel Tamasheq people. The music builds and builds, the dual, intertwined guitars of Ag Mossa and Paul Salvagnac relentless and insistent, until it finally all boils over. It also brings light and warmth and comfort, and its glow fills the beautifully aching "Timtarin", where the band is joined by an ideal collaborator, the renowned Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra. Tamotaït is the most expansive and adventurous album that Tamikrest have made, exploring every corner of their sound. There's even music they made far from the Sahara -- in Japan. On tour there, Ag Mossa had been very taken by the sound of their traditional instruments. Tamikrest's plans to record there were almost derailed by a typhoon. But one track does appear on the album: the final cut, "Tabsit", with its atmospheric, gossamer melody. The shamisen and five-string tonkori of guests Atsushi Sakta and Oki Kano glide around the guitars to create a piece where the desert truly does meet the Rising Sun. Most of Tamotaït, though, was recorded in rural France, working with producer David Odlum (Glen Hansard, Gemma Hayes, Tinariwen), stepping up from his mixing role on the band's 2016 release, Kidal (GB 043CD/LP). Tamikrest have become one of the best rock n' roll bands in the world.
ZYGIA EVRITIKI - Ormenion (Teranga Beat 024; Senegal) “Teranga Beat presents Ormenion, a record by the group Evritiki Zygia. Ormenion is a historical region that dates back to the Byzantine Empire. It is the northernmost inhabited region of Greece, where the last railway station of the country is located. During the 1920s, it was inhabited by refugees coming from the North and Eastern Thrace. Immigration is central to the history of the region of Thrace, where many songs refer to refugees and moving populations. The name of this particular place was selected as the album title due to its delicate cultural and geographic status: Ormenion coincides with the borders of three different countries (Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey) and its history counts several waves of immigration that gave way to cultural and even linguistic exchange -- elements that obviously left their mark on the group. The group Evritiki Zygia was founded in 2007 by five musicians who played mostly in local festivals, their main concern being the preservation and evolution of the Thracian musical tradition. The collaboration with Teranga Beat helped this project evolve even further. Forms of arrangement different than the ones used in local feasts and festivals, were introduced giving more space to the dynamics of the instruments and allowing musicians to show both their improvisational and compositional skills. The distinctively psychedelic element of Thracian music was enhanced with the introduction of the CRB-Diamond 800 organ and the Moog, giving the whole project a hybrid sound with a unique identity. The album contains both covers of traditional songs and original compositions. The band's highest point was their appearance at the Womex Festival in 2018, where their music was presented for the first time in front of an international audience. Ormenion was recorded on an analog 24-track tape Otari MX 80 in two sessions that took place on May 18 and 19 2019. It is a live recording that captures the energy of the group's live performances. CD version comes in digipak with slipcase, and includes a booklet with photos and liner notes outlining the story of the band.”
HISTORIC & ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS:
GILGAMESH with ALAN GOWEN / PHIL LEE / JEFF CLYNE / MIKE TRAVIS - Gilgamesh (Esoteric Recordings 2242; UK) "These Canterbury stylists were formed in 1972 with the core of the band built around Alan Gowen on keyboards and Mike Travis on drums. At various times the line-up included former caravan and Hatfield & the North member Richard Sinclair, Mont Campbell (formerly of Egg) and Neil Murray. The group's debut album was recorded for Virgin's Caroline label in 1975 and featured a line-up of Alan Gowen (keyboards), Phil Lee (guitar), Jeff Clyne (bass) and Mike Travis (drums). Gilgamesh is a classic of the 'Canterbury' style and is sure to be a much sought after release by all aficionados of the genre."
JUICY LUCY - Juicy Lucy (Esoteric Recordings 2215; UK) "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to release a remastered edition of the classic 1969 debut album by Juicy Lucy. Formed out of the ashes of the legendary group The Misunderstood, the band featured Ray Owen (vocals), Glen Ross Campbell (pedal steel guitar), Chris Mercer (saxophone), Neil Hubbard (guitar), Keith Ellis (bass) and Pete Dobson (drums). One of the first signings to Vertigo Records, Juicy Lucy's debut album was a fine work and spawned their classic interpretation of Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love?', a top ten UK hit. This Esoteric Recordings reissue has been remastered from the original tapes and fully restores the original album artwork and features the bonus track 'Walking Down The Highway'."
Legendary/influential British DJ John Peel live in LA, CA for a short while, have a radio show there before moving back to England. He discovered and later managed an LA psych band known as The Misunderstood, who were led by an over-the-top pedal steel guitarist known as Glenn (Ross) Campbell. DJ Peel and the Misunderstood both moved to England, while Peel became an influential DJ/radio personality. He continues to promote the band, although they eventually broke up, without releasing an album during their heyday. Eventually Cherry Red released a post-humous effort called, “Before the Dream Faded”. Mr. Campbell resurfaced in 1969 with a new band called Juicy Lucy. The original band included Chris Mercer, saxist for John Mayall Bluesbreakers, guitarist Neil Hubbard from Joe Cocker’s Greaseband and bassist Keith Ellis from early Van Der Graaf Generator.
ROEDELIUS - Selbstportrait Wahre Liebe (Bureau B 335; Germany) “The first part of Hans-Joachim Roedelius's Selbstportrait (Self-Portrait) series was originally released under the title Sanfte Musik on Sky Records in 1979. Now, some forty years later, a new instalment has arrived in the form of an album entitled Wahre Liebe. One of the initiators of the Berlin Zodiak Free Arts Lab in 1967, Roedelius went on to co-found Kluster/Cluster and Harmonia, unleashing a new and free form of music which, with the benefit of hindsight, can be considered a milestone in the historical context of kosmische musik and krautrock. In the late 1970s, Roedelius began to increase his activities as a solo artist, building up an extensive and multifaceted body of work over the ensuing decades. Across this timeline, the Self-Portrait albums represent an intensely personal and noteworthy corpus in their own right. Over the past ten years, the Hamburg-based label Bureau B has reissued numerous Hans-Joachim Roedelius albums, both solo and collaborative efforts, introducing him to a new generation of potential devotees. In 2014, label founder Gunther Buskies approached Roedelius to suggest that he record a new instalment for the Self-Portrait series, using the same instruments which dominated his productions in the late 1970s: a Farfisa organ, drum machine, tape-delay and a Rhodes. Together with Onnen and Wolf Bock, the album Wahre Liebe (True Love) was created. Roedelius explains the process: "The Wahre Liebe album was commissioned by Gunther Buskies, who wanted to know if the elderly Roedelius, armed with vintage tools, was capable of 'beaming back' to his youthful years, reaching into the sonic past of the Self-Portrait series to deliver similarly persuasive results. What better proof could there be that true love, age-old love never dies..." Sure enough, this album successfully and seamlessly connects with its antecedents. Miniatures, improvisations, atmospheric images, and dreamlike introspections of an individualist are articulated in that innate Roedelius language which is at once brittle and as light as a whisper, a pastel ribbon weaving its way softly through the full range of sonic topographies. Hans-Joachim Roedelius is pleased with the outcome: "Roedelius has been granted the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with his own self in order to achieve that of which he is ultimately capable, namely his calling: to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors, to create authentic art, be it music or words, or anything and everything else which fascinates him."
ROEDELIUS - Tape Archive Essence 1973-1978 (Bureau B 340; Germany) During the legendary Forst years, Roedelius had a private workspace with a Farfisa organ, a Revox-A77 tape machine, an echo device and a synthesizer which he borrowed from the Cluster studio next door now and again. Here he experimented, practiced, allowed his imagination to flow, at any hour of the day or night, whenever he was not in the studio with Dieter Moebius and/or Michael Rother at work on new Cluster or Harmonia material. Roedelius always let the tape run, in order to analyze the ideas thus captured more effectively on repeated listening. For the first time ever, this Roedelius audio sketchbook had been digitalized and available to the public in 2014 on a limited three-LP box set called Roedelius Tape Archive 1973-1978. The recordings offer a deep insight into the creative process of his music. Fleeting notes, slivers of ideas, so to speak, moments of inspiration. Finger exercises, experiments in harmony, studies in rhythm are also preserved on these magnetic tapes. Since the box set has been sold out for a long time, Bureau B decided to release the essence of those three LPs on a one-disc compilation: Roedelius Tape Archive Essence 1973-1978.”
THE MONOCHROME SET - Strange Boutique (Tapete Records 394; Germany) Tapete Records present a reissue of The Monochrome Set's first album Strange Boutique, originally released in 1980. The casual prose of pop history is full of backhanded compliments, and The Monochrome Set have received a few, ranging from "should have been massive" to "influential", numbering the likes of Morrissey and Marr, Blur's Graham Coxon and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos among their celebrity admirers. Released in February 1980, their first album Strange Boutique, featuring the band's percussion-heavy theme song (predating Adam & The Ants' "Kings of the Wild Frontier" by months) and the Johnny Marr-anticipating "Love Goes Down The Drain", caught the Monochrome Set in full flight, quickly followed by the equally taut, funny and adventurously dynamic Love Zombies (TR 395CD/LP).
THE MONOCHROME SET - Love Zombies (Tapete Records 395; Germany) “Tapete Records present a reissue of The Monochrome Set's second album Love Zombies, originally released in 1980. The casual prose of pop history is full of backhanded compliments, and The Monochrome Set have received a few, ranging from "should have been massive" to "influential", numbering the likes of Morrissey and Marr, Blur's Graham Coxon and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos among their celebrity admirers. Released in February 1980, their first album Strange Boutique (TR 394CD/LP), featuring the band's percussion-heavy theme song (predating Adam & The Ants' "Kings of the Wild Frontier" by months) and the Johnny Marr-anticipating "Love Goes Down The Drain", caught the Monochrome Set in full flight, quickly followed by the equally taut, funny and adventurously dynamic Love Zombies.”
LP ONLY SECTION:
LEILA BORDREUIL - “Headflush” (Catch Wave 004; USA) I’ve been lucky enough to see Leila Bordreuil’s perform, both as a soloist and collaborator, quite often since moving to NYC in 2017. She, along with other young luminaries and collaborators like Zach Rowden, Charmaine Lee, Michael Foster, and Ben Bennett, sit at what i think is my ultimate aesthetic sweet spot for improvisors. This shows equal fluency in classical extended techniques, noise, haptic free improvisation and electroacoustic experiments and embody a pure sound approach towards open source group efforts. While Leila shines as a collaborator in these contexts, she exhibits exceptional taste and precision in her solo performances. Her debut solo LP “Headflush”, out last year on Catch Wave, is no exception. I regret how long it took me to review this, but some records need to sit and age properly for their qualities to sink in, and this is one of them. Recorded at Issue Project Room, at which she was an artist in residence in 2016, her use of acoustic space and amplification techniques are at the forefront here. Extended drones accentuate highly material and careful bow strokes, and you are often able to feel like you are at the same time enveloped in a wide expanse of sound, and directly inside the cello. Harmonic motion is carefully articulated but with a level of ease and freedom not often found in similar works in the just intoned or spectral classical camps. Feedback pitches, beat frequencies and overtones are curtailed and mixed right inside of the sound, but the effect is more musical than most similar material studies from Lucier et al. The techniques are not aggressively on display for their own sake they are being used in a composer-ly way rare among instrumentalists. Leila's statements are extended and spacious within the logic of the individual pieces, but the release as a whole is divided into carefully chosen fragments, allowing for breath and well sequenced development throughout. This is microscopic instrumentalism that grows, and bears an indefinite amount of close listenings, and fits the vinyl format perfectly. - Frank Meadows, DMG
BEATRIZ FERREYRA - Echos (Room40 4114; Australia) “Argentine born, French based composer Beatriz Ferreyra has played a hushed but utterly critical role in the development of musique concrète since its early days. Working alongside Pierre Schaeffer during the writing of Solfège de l'Objet Sonore, Ferreyra left GRM to pursue her compositional research outside the confines of the institution. Echos , one of only a few collections of her work available on vinyl, collects three of her most affecting pieces; each of which explore questions of mortality and the afterlife.
Lawrence English: "I'm not really sure when I first heard Beatriz Ferreyra's music. My best guess would be in the early to mid-2000s when I was working alongside the curatorial team at Liquid Architecture. Given the focus of the festival at that time, GRM and musique concrète more generally was very much a point of focus. That said, it wasn't until this decade that her work was sharply in focus for me (and I am guessing a great many others). In 2017, I had the great pleasure to meet Beatriz in Braga, where we both were performing as part of the excellent Semibreve Festival. Subsequent to that I invited her to perform in Australia and we also had the pleasure to send time together this year in Rio during the Novas Frequencies Festival. Across these meetings, I have come to realise the incredible focus, generosity and vision that Beatriz has maintained across her life in sound. Beatriz Ferreyra is one of only a few female concrète composers who were active across the second half of the 20th century through to today. Her work, which is still very much an active investigation, is simultaneously complex and elegantly simple. Often drawing upon singular object of focus, Ferreyra's use of tape and other forms of manipulation radically reconfigure her chosen sound materials, opening them outward. 'Echos' for example is sourced entirely from recordings of her niece who was killed in a car accident and 'The Other Shore' (composed as a response to the Tibetan Book Of The Dead) uses only percussion. Echos brings together three of Ferreyra's most engaging compositions. Each of the works are deeply personal, but transcend that position, effortlessly welcoming us inside them. They collectively chart out a broad framework that not only defines her philosophical interests as a composer, but also marks out critical moments in her creative and technical approaches; shifting from her roots in tape music to more digital approaches."
RAFAEL ANTON IRISARRI - The North Bend (10th Anniversary Edition)(Room40 438; Australia) Room40 present a reissue of Rafael Anton Irisarri's The North Bend, originally released 2010. From Rafael: "The North Bend is about the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, where I lived at the time the album was made. Still, today I consider that region my spiritual home, even though I am now living on the East Coast. I had met Lawrence English in Poland back in 2009 and he kindly invited me to make a record for the label. I was a fan of his releases so this was really an obvious thing for me to say 'yes' to and a chance to create something special. I had released a few EPs and an LP under my name, all influenced by the so-called 'modern classical' ambient style pioneered by the late great Jóhann Jóhannsson and minimalist composers like Harold Budd and Arvo Pärt. The North Bend is the first work that dealt with 'place' and explored a locality, the first in a series of recordings all released with Room40. Since this album came out, I've left the Pacific Northwest for another location, New York state, which couldn't be a starker contrast from the life in the PacNW. I had to start from scratch here in NY, as everything I owned until age 36 was stolen the night before I left to drive to NY. It was both a curse and a blessing. Not having the baggage & pitfalls of old ideas was wonderful, but also losing all the recorded & written works I had was harrowing at the time. Remastering The North Bend seemed like a natural thing for me. Not so much as revisionist history, but rather thinking how to make a record sound in a certain way without being able to revisit any of the mixes. In other words, the creative choices I made at the time (2010) are 100% preserved, there wasn't any opportunity to revisit those, but rather make the record sound as good as I can framed through hindsight and a decade of separation from the period it was created."
ATTENTION ALL CREATIVE MUSICIANS OUT THERE, Around the world.
If you have a link, for some music that you are working on and want to share it with the folks who read the DMG Newsletter, please send the link to DMG at DMG@Downtownmusicgallery.com. Many of us are going stir crazy staying at home so if you want to inspire us and help us get through these difficult times, please show us what you got. Two of these came today, from Ingrid Laubrock and Henry Kaiser and are listed below.
STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
This is the section where I usually recommend upcoming concerts in the NYC area. As far as I can tell there are no upcoming shows anywhere around here, except perhaps on-line. All places I usually frequent are now closed for the foreseeable future. And everyone is worried about the near future, their health and their sanity for their friends and family. I am trying to come up with something inspirational to put out there but I am also very worried about myself, the store, all of the creative musicians that we need and support, as well as everyone else who has lost their jobs.
I have been at home at my old apartment in New Jersey, cleaning, reorganizing my collection, finding lots of doubles, listening to dozens of records, CD’s,cassettes and DVD’s. And working on my ongoing series of discographies and assorted music lists.
Over the past week or so a number of musicians have been putting up some music on-line for anyone to check out. I know that many of us are going a bit stir crazy so it is time to do some soul searching and serious listening. Here is a list of some music links to check out:
From Ingrid Laubrock:
From Henry Kaiser:
Outdoor Festival in Toronto, June 1971
Tisziji Muñoz featuring Lenny Breau on guitar
Lenny’s solo opens the piece, Tisziji’s solo closes the piece.
Bernie Senensky, piano, Michael Malone, trumpet
Michel Donato, bass & Clayton Johnson, drums
My good friend, JESSICA HALLOCK, has a great website called NYC-Noise, which has hundreds of links for all sorts of different musicians, many local, some not. She recently set up a large Bandcamp Roundup for those of you who want to support local creative musicians: here is the website address: nyc-noise.com It is exhausting just checking out her list of musicians, many I know of and some I don’t. Now that we all have some time on our hands, this is a great way to check out some new creative musicians.