“London Calling” by The Clash
London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle comes down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river
London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out and draw another breath
London calling and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear era but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear era but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river
Now get this
London calling, yes, I was there too
And you know what they said?
Well, some of it was true
London calling at the top of the dial
And after all this, won't you give me a smile?
Thanks to my good friend Steve Popkin (a/k/a Steve X-Dream from Dissipated Face), I became a big fan of the Clash when their second record, ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ was released in 1978. I had heard their first self-titled album when it came out in 1977 and especially dug their version of Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves”. Their second record was even better so when I caught them at Bonds International in June of 1981, with the Slits opening, I was blown away by their set! During my time attending Glassboro State College from 1972-1976, my evoliving music appreciation had radically changed. I had given up on all commercial rock, pop, disco & lame fusion, I had become a jazz & prog snob, mostly listening to Canterbury & other more progressive musics. Aside from folk, bluegrass, country & real funk, I had given up on most of the rock music that I grew up with. Only Little Feat, the Dead, Captain Beefheart and Funkadelic still held by interest. Starting around 1977, thanks to a lesbian punk/rocker named Yvonne, my friends in the Mopeds & Dissipated Face, I (re)discovered Neil Young, Television, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, XTC, Devo, Gang of Four, the Clash and many more punk, No & New wave bands. I checked out all those bands live many times and still appreciate what they did. I always thought the Clash were better than most since they dealt with some protest themes and were more ambitious musically. I did enjoy their next record, ‘Sandinista!’ although it was too long as a 3 record set. They did let me down with ‘Combat Rock’ which I thought sucked at the time and I was surprised that they had sold out. I just listened to ‘London Calling’ earlier this week and it still sounds great to me. Long live The Clash! - MC BruceLee
This Week’s Cosmic Gems begins with an Important Historic Recording:
THE SPONTANEOUS MUSIC ENSEMBLE with TREVOR WATTS / PAUL RUTHERFORD / BRUCE CALE / JOHN STEVENS - Question and Answer 1966 (Rhythm and Blues Records 068; UK) If there was one sound guaranteed to shock in British jazz during 1966 it was that of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the free-improvising collective centered around drummer John Stevens which that year helped establish London's Little Theatre Club as a stronghold of the "new wave". Although the avant-garde were slow in gaining a toe-hold on British jazz tastes, every so often a grass roots jazz club would take a chance on the new style, such as the night in June 1966 when the SME alighted on Greenwich's Prince Albert pub, eager to deliver their message to fresh ears. This CD set contains all the music played that night plus a 30-minute Q&A session, creating what must surely be one of the most important early documents of British "free" jazz. Disc two also adds a studio-taped session from later that year. Both sets are previously unissued and both are essential listening for those interested in the course of modern jazz development within the UK. 12-page booklet with notes by Simon Spillett.
"The Spontaneous Music Ensemble enjoys mythical status, not least among free jazz devotees. Its driving force, drummer John Stevens, determined early in his career to focus upon 'free' and 'improvised' music. From the mid-sixties until his untimely death in 1994, Stevens' story is one of creative achievement with little in the way of financial reward.
London's Little Theatre Club supported the attempts of Stevens and others to forge a new music at a time when precious few other venues were willing to do so. The Prince Albert in Greenwich did offer the SME a gig (June 22 to be precise), the session was recorded and it forms the basis of Question and Answer 1966, a two-disc release from Rhythm and Blues Records. Stevens teamed up with like-minded souls Trevor Watts, alto sax, Paul Rutherford, trombone, and bassist Bruce Cale to explore the possibilities of a new approach to music first signalled by Ornette Coleman. Their efforts on the night of June 22, in a typical pub setting, were committed to tape and it is only now that we can hear the previously unreleased material.
Disc one comprises some thirty eight minutes of music followed by a lengthy Q & A played out against a low level hubbub punctuated by the ringing of the pub's cash register. The music comprises four tracks: two by unknown composers (the first of them titled Unknown) and two by Watts. If you were present on the night and didn't take notes it's unlikely that some fifty five years later you'll be able to recall in detail the titles of the improvisations! The music could be described as regulation high octane free jazz interspersed with moments of quiet reflection.
Disc two features more from the Prince Albert and a session at an unknown London recording studio dated August 30, 1966. A lack of discographical information adds to the romance of it all, The question and answer session will appeal to the serious student of improvised music: a combination of earnest, inquiring minds and the musicians' considered, yet informal responses, sketch a picture of musician and audience experiencing a counter culture happening. The SME's improvisations will meet with the approval of the free jazz/improv aficionado."- Russell, Bebop Spoken Here
2 CD Set $16
DON CHERRY with BERNT ROSENGREN / TOMMY KOVERHULT / JACQUES THOLLOT / KENT CARTER / BULENT ATES / et al - The Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms 024; USA) In 1968, Don Cherry had already established himself as one of the leading voices of the avant-garde. Having pioneered free jazz as a member of Ornette Coleman's classic quartet, and with a high-profile collaboration with John Coltrane under his belt, the globetrotting jazz trumpeter settled in Sweden with his partner Moki and her daughter Neneh. There, he assembled a group of Swedish musicians and led a series of weekly workshops at the ABF, or Workers' Educational Association, from February to April of 1968, with lessons on extended forms of improvisation including breathing, drones, Turkish rhythms, overtones, silence, natural voices, and Indian scales. That summer, saxophonist and recording engineer Göran Freese invited Don, members of his two working bands, and a Turkish drummer to his summer house in Kummelnäs, just outside of Stockholm, for a series of rehearsals and jam sessions. Long relegated to the status of a mysterious footnote in Don's session-ography, tapes from this session, as well as one professionally mixed tape intended for release, were recently found in the vaults of the Swedish Jazz Archive, and the lost Summer House Sessions are finally available over fifty years after they were recorded. On July 20, the musicians gathered at Freese's summer house included Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet), Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes), Leif Wennerström (drums), and Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass) from Don's Swedish group; Jacques Thollot (drums) and Kent Carter (bass) from his newly formed international band New York Total Music Company; Bülent Ateş (hand drum, drums), who was visiting from Turkey; and Don (pocket trumpet, flutes, percussion) himself. Lacking a common language, the players used music as their common means of communication. In this way, these frenetic and freewheeling sessions anticipate Don's turn to more explicitly pan-ethnic expression, preceding his epochal Eternal Rhythm dates by four months. The octet, comprising musicians from America, France, Sweden, and Turkey, was a perfect vehicle for Don's budding pursuit of "collage music," a concept inspired by the shortwave radio on which Don listened to sounds from around the world. Using the collage metaphor, Don eliminated solos and the introduction of tunes, transforming a wealth of melodies, sounds, and rhythms into poetic suites of different moods and changing forms. The Summer House Sessions ensemble joyously layers manifold cultural idioms, traversing the airy peaks and serene valleys of Cherry's earthly vision. The double-CD version includes a bonus CD with a track featuring Jacques Thollot joined by Lindqvist, Tommy Koverhult, Sune Spångberg, and others.
2 CD Set $22
DON CHERRY'S NEW RESEARCHES Featuring NANA VASCONCELOS - Organic Music Theatre Festival de Chateauvallon 1972 (Blank Forms 023; USA)”In the late 1960s, the American trumpet player and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry (1936-1995) and the Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943-2009) began a collaboration that imagined an alternative space for creative music, most succinctly expressed in Moki's aphorism "the stage is home and home is a stage." By 1972, they had given name to a concept that united Don's music, Moki's art, and their family life in rural Tagårp, Sweden into one holistic entity: Organic Music Theatre. Captured here is the historic first Organic Music Theatre performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in the South of France, mastered from tapes recorded during its original live broadcast on public TV. A life-affirming, multicultural patchwork of borrowed tunes suffused with the hallowed aura of Don's extensive global travels, the performance documents the moment he publicly jettisoned his identity as a jazz musician. The five-person band -- Don and Moki Cherry, Christer Bothén, Gérard "Doudou" Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelos -- performed in an outdoor amphitheater and were joined onstage by a dozen adults and children, including Swedish friends who tagged along for the trip and Det Lilla Circus (The Little Circus), a Danish puppet troupe based in Christiania, Copenhagen. The platform was lined with Moki's carpets and her handmade, brightly colored tapestries, depicting Indian scales and bearing the words Organic Music Theatre, dressed the stage. As the musicians played, members of Det Lilla, led by Annie Hedvard, danced, sang, and mounted an improvised puppet show on poles high up in the air. In a fairly unprecedented move, Don abandoned his signature pocket trumpet for the piano and harmonium, thereby liberating his voice as an instrument for shamanic guidance. The show opens with him beckoning the audience to clap their hands and sing the Indian theta "Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na," and the set cycles through uplifting and sacred tunes of Malian, South African, Brazilian, and Native American provenance -- including pieces that would later appear on Don's albums Organic Music Society and Home Boy (Sister Out) -- all punctuated by outbursts of possessed glossolalia from the puppeteers. "Relativity Suite, Part 1" notably spotlights Bothén on donso ngoni, a Malian hunter's guitar, prior to Vasconcelos taking an extended solo on berimbau. A vortex of wah-like microtonal rattling, Vasconcelos's masterful demonstration of this single-stringed Brazilian instrument is a harbinger of his work to come as a member, with Don, of the acclaimed group Codona.”
2 CD Set $22
PAUL DUNMALL / MARK SANDERS - Unity (577 Records 5852; USA) “Despite countless collaborations in a variety of settings, UK saxophonist Paul Dunmall and drummer/percussionist Mark Sanders have never recorded one of the most straight-forward of pairings — the saxophone and drum duo — correcting their omission with his superb album of exploratory and exuberant dialogs, five tracks showing the skill and kinship between the two.”
THE VINNY GOLIA QUARTET with VICKI RAY / MILLER WRENN / CLINT DODSON - Left, Outside..! (Nine Winds 344; USA) Featuring Vinny Golia on sopranino, soprano, alto & tenor saxes & compositions, Vicki Ray on piano, prepared piano & melodica, Miller wren on bass and Clint Dodson on drums. Aside from teaching at Cal Arts, multi-reeds giant & composer, Vinny Golia, leads different bands as well as collaborating with many collaborating with dozens of creative musicians worldwide. Over the past few years Mr. Golia has recorded with many other talented musicians: Henry Kaiser (for the Love Supreme Electric project), Vijay Anderson, Nathan Hubbard & Ross Hammond. Although Golia’s own Nine Winds label has slowed down, he also works with pfMentum, Relative Pitch & Astral Spirits. Mr. Golia just sent us a splendid new quartet disc with some mighty fine musicians: modern classical pianist Vicki Ray was a member of the California Ear Unit, as well as working with Wadada Leo Smith & Alex Cline and performing several works by Morton Feldman. Bassist Miller Wrenn once played here at DMG with a band called Italian Soda, has his own group called Escapist which included Mr. Golia and drummer Clint Dodson and is a member of Red Fiction, whose CD on Tzadik was released in October of 2020.
Vinny Golia certainly knows how to engage the troops. “Tirambaco!” is a powerful full thrust opener with some power tenor sax, piano, bass & drums, the contrabass at the center of the storm. “Kamanache” features some introspective bowed bass, fractured sopranino, muted piano and focused, free percussion. The music here has a suite-like sound with each piece flowing into the next as Golia switches between his four saxes. “She’s covered in the tabloids!!!” features some amazing soprano sax soloing over forceful, probing McCoy-like piano line. Considering how long Mr. Golia has played multiple reeds (40 years), he has done a marvelous job of having the rest of the quartet playing sympathetically, backing whatever sax he uses just right. I dig those Monkish written lines for the soprano & piano on “Mr. Carollini, how big was that again?”, the stop & start fractures lines with a melodica added for good measure. On “No Sign for Ned!”, Ms. Ray is in especially fine form, matching Mr. Golia’s rambunctious sax playing through dense, sparse, intense & stark rapids, all lines or currents connected on different levels. “Falcata” is extremely stark and spooky and features some powerful acoustic bass from Mr. Wrenn. Those inside-the-piano scrapings & bowed bass are filled with suspense. It would be wonderful to catch this quartet live but who knows when that might be. Just listening to this superb disc will have to be enough for now. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BARRE PHILLIPS / JOHN BUTCHER / STALE LIAVIK SOLBERG - We Met - And Then (Relative Pitch RPR 1122; USA) Featuring Barre Phillips on contrabass, John Butcher tenor & soprano saxes and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums. American-born, French-based contrabassist supreme turned 86 in October of last year and has continued to record and tour well into his golden years. The prestigious Victo label released a superb 2 CD set last year (2020) of solo bass recitals recorded some 30 years apart. Mr. Phillips recorded his first solo bass record in 1967, which is said to be the first (solo improvised) bass record ever. A trio with Mr. Phillips, British saxist John Butcher and Norwegian drummer Stale Liavik Solberg. A far as I can tell, Mr. Phillips hasn’t recorded with either of these musicians previously although Mr. Butcher and Mr. Liavik have on at least three previous recordings. This disc was recorded on two on tour in Norway and in Germany in August & November of 2018.
So nice to hear some superbly recorded free music from three of Europe’s finest, all on acoustic instruments. After hearing Mr. Phillips play live on a half dozen occasions (from DMG to The Stone to Victo), I recognize his unique sound. The way he rubs and bows his bass strings is quite distinctive. I know and love the playing of John Butcher as well and have heard him even more over the past couple of decades. The trio take their time and slowly interact, winding their way together, expanding and contracting, bending & twisting notes into a fascinating blend. Similar at times to fellow Brit Evan Parker, Mr. Butcher is alway concentrating on the shape or sound of each note that he is creating. His closeness to the mic and distance from each musician is of the utmost importance as well. There are times when it is hard to tell who is doing what since the wooden and somewhat bent tones of the sax and bowed contrabass are so similar at times. Since they are concentrating on each sound, things rarely get too dense. This music unfolds in its own way, at its own pace. Pure improv magic at its best. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRODE GJERSTAD / ISACH SKEIDSVOLL - Twenty Fingers (Relative Pitch RPR 1114; USA) Featuring Frode Gjerstad on alto sax & clarinet and Isach Skeidsvoll on piano. Frode Gjerstad is a Norwegian avant/jazz saxist and a European out/jazz elder who has been playing/recording “free music” since forming Detail with UK’s John Stevens (founder of SME) and Johnny Dyani (South African expat then living in Copenhagen) around 1981. Aside from some dozen-plus stellar recordings with Detail, Mr. Gjerstad has worked with other jazz pioneers: Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, William Parker and Paal Nilssen-Love. Mr. Gjerstad (now 73) met a much younger pianist named Isach Skeidskov in Bergen, Norway in August of 2020 (?) and dug his playing so he asked Isach to play together and record in December of that year. This disc is their first time playing together, recorded over two nights. Although Mr. Frode has recorded some 75 records throughout his long career, he rarely works with pianists: Borah Bergman and Sten Sandell being the rare exceptions. Right from the opening burst, we can hear something special going on here: intense, focused, ever-evolving, from fast & furious to stark & spacious… On the second piece, “Third hand. Fifth finger.”, the duo strip things down to sparse & cautious, slowly building to a more frenzied conclusion, erupting at times, criss-crossing lines connected on several levels. Mr. Skeidsvoll is a most impressive pianist moving between several points of reference or style(s). I can hear bits of modern classical runs, thematic modern jazz comping and varied free outbursts. This gives Gjerstad quite a bit to respond to. The longest piece here, “Fourth hand. Second finger.” goes all over the place and keeps reinventing its structure or direction as it evolves. On the last piece the duo balance between going for the extremes, from fractured to more restrained yet all flows together just right. This is a superb duo date, one of the best I’ve heard in a while. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
More from the Deep Deluge of Records from the 577 Records Empire:
GERALD CLEAVER - Griots (Positive Elevation/577 Records 004; USA) “Drummer Gerald Cleaver continues his explorations in electronic music, taking his compositions of modular electronics, synthesis, FM tones, and muted drum machines into intricate and wide-ranging territory, compelling through the solid and natural rhythms he imparts to each piece, many of which are titled for musicians who have influenced him.”
CD $12 / LP $16
SARAH BERNSTEIN - Exolinger (577 Records 5842; USA) “Recorded in the studio as an urgent response to the latent unease in the time of pandemic and political dissent, NY poet, violinist, composer and improviser Sarah Bernstein uses washes of distorted violin, ecstatic vocalizations, and poetic spoken word, an expression of immediacy and tension between extremes, a personal and articulate set of observational expressions.”
SANA NAGANO / PETER APFELBAUM / KEISUKE MATSUNO / KEN FILIANO / JOE HERTENSTEIN - Humans (577 Records 5855; USA) The debut of a new electric jazz quintet from NY violinist Sana Nagano, with Peter Appfelbaum on tenor saxophone & megaphone, Keisuke Matsuno on electric guitar, Ken Filiano on acoustic bass & effects, and Joe Hertenstein on drums, an inventive and energetic album of joyful urgency and tremendous group dynamic, fueled by Nagano's exuberant and lyrical compositions.”
IAIN SINCLAIR / LONDON EXPERIMENTAL ENSEMBLE - Dark Before Dark (577 Records 5863; USA) “Writer Iain Sinclair joins The London Experimental Ensemble to perform his narrative work, a sequel to Living With Buildings: And Walking With Ghosts, telling a surreal story of the imaginary 25-year journey of a whalebone box, told in detailed images and incredible sonic support through keys, strings, brass, winds, guitar, electronics and voice; profoundly powerful.”
THREE MORE GREAT DISCS FROM DEVIN GRAY:
DEVIN GRAY / RALPH ALESSI / ANGELICA SANCHEZ - Melt All the Guns (Rataplan; USA) Featuring Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Angelica Sanchez on piano and Devin Gray on drums & compositions. Right before and during the pandemic, Devin Gray organized a series of mostly trios and one (drum) duo, each with varying personnel. As far as I can tell, none of the members of this trio had recorded together before this date. Both trumpeter Ralph Alessi and pianist Angelica Sanchez have recorded as leaders and side-people with different collaborators: Alessi with Tim Berne, Steve Coleman and Uri Caine and Sanchez with Tony Malaby, Wadada Leo Smith and Omar Tamez. There are only five pieces on this disc and it clocks in at around 20 minutes. Its sounds as if someone had done some writing here, at least the heads and closing themes. “Think About It” is an extraordinary trio piece, tightly played and explosive at times. One of the things I have long admired about Ralph Alessi is his ability to keep his warm, golden tone at the center even when pushing himself to play some complex lines by whatever composer he is working with. The trio often plays as one solid force due to the strong writing by Mr. Gray and his two inspired collaborators. Mr. Gray seems to have taken time to compose pieces which give his collaborators some complex twists and turns to deal with. I ended up listening to several pieces 2 or 3 times in a row just to hear how much was going in each piece. On the title piece, Mr. Alessi sounds like Miles Davis (in the fifties) as he spins those fabulous circular lines with daredevil accuracy. Pianist Angelica Sanchez is yet another one of Downtown’s best kept secrets. She is also in fine form here, often dazzling as she spins her tight, crisp, intense lines with all three members of the trio as one solid force. I keep playing this entire disc over & over & over since there is so much great music to absorb here. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GPS TRIO with DEVIN GRAY / CHRIS PITSIOKOS / LUKE STEWART - Blast Beat Blues (Rataplan; USA) The GPS Trio features Chris Pitsiokos on alto sax, Luke Stewart on contrabass and Devin Gray on drums. Holy sh*t! I knew before I even put this on that something marvelous, something extraordinary was going to go down and of course I was right! Since moving to town a decade ago, young alto saxist, Chris Pitsiokos, has been blowing up a storm and defying expectations. Chris worked here at DMG for several years so we’ve bonded as friends and avant/music freaks, learning from and supporting one another in Art making & commerce. Chris has played here at DMG many times throughout the years, check out a recent in-store concert with Chris, Sandy Ewen & Nate Wooley, each playing solos and a trio, found on the DMG YouTube channel. Bassist Luke Stewart is another young master who keeps extremely busy working in several colossal bands: James Brandon Lewis, Irreversible Entanglements and Heroes are Gang Leaders. Mr. Stewart also played here at DMG recently in a fabulous duo with fellow bassist Thomas Helton, also to be found on the DMG YouTube channel.
This is what we’ve all been waiting for! A blast from the recent past! Brutal, extreme and in your face! All three members of the trio are engaged here and play tight, intense, free yet focused eruptions. Although I don’t think any of this was written out or pre-planned, the way all three soar together is most impressive: stop on a dime, turn around and jump through the fire, time & again. Even when the trio slow down for a bit, the energy is still tightly wound. Again, I played this several times in a row just to hear how it flowed together. It does. Just incredible! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DEVIN GRAY / LIZ KOSACK / CANSU TANRIKULU - Space Bubbles (Rataplan; USA) Featuring Cansu Tanrikulu on vocals, Liz Kosack on synth and Devin Gray on drums. Considering that Devin Gray recently released some nine CDs, each with different personnel (mostly trios), both with musicians I easily recognize plus a few with musicians that I am completely unfamiliar with, the consistency of this series is spirited throughout the series. This trio features two women I am unfamiliar with, a Turkish jazz singer named Ayse Cansu Tanrikulu and a synth player named Liz Kosack. It turns out that Ms. Kozack has worked with Pascal Niggenkemper and in a trio with Devin Gray and is originally from Maine. Both of these women are currently living in Berlin.
From the opening sound of “Missed Vone Call”, there is something fun, something odd going on. The trio of wacky vocals, crazed keyboard weirdness and spinning drums is wailing. Ms. Tanrikulu uses her voices as a strange sounding instrument perhaps putting her vocals through some weird effects. Although the trio is spinning furiously, they are still tight and moving furiously fast. Rather like Shelley Hirsch sitting in with Talibam! Things slow down for “Skalitzer Lullaby” which features stark yet eerie synth simmering in the distance. On “Cancel Culture”, Cansu scats some crazed uptempo lines while the trio spins quickly around her. The vocals and synth are indistinguishable at times, both tightly interwoven and intense. This is some sensational hardcore improv done right. Get down and go along for the ride. - Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
GIACINTO SCELSI - Works For Violin And For Viola (Kairos 15063; Germany) "Giacinto Scelsi is one of the most original Italian composers of the twentieth century. The symbolic choice of Rome as his home represented Scelsi's own cultural, artistic and spiritual interests. His fascination for Eastern philosophies, Yoga and Zen meditation are combined with a insightful knowledge of Christian, Greek, Egyptian and Mesopotamian mythologies; Scelsi's library and collection of recordings displays his cultural interests, his curiosity and openness to the intricacies of the mind and his lifelong quest for a dialogue between different expressions of human spirituality. Marco Fusi, one of the leading performers of contemporary music, presents his readings of some of Scelsi's intriguing works for violin and for viola solo. For the listener, this is a journey into a futuristic vision from a past era."
TOM JOHNSON - Counting to Seven (New World Records 80831; USA) "Tom Johnson (b. 1939) is a key figure in the contemporary music scene whose voice as a composer is instantly recognizable. A major champion of minimalism in the 1970s as a writer, he remains one of its most important adherents as a composer, although the word 'minimalist' does not cover everything that his music does. The characteristic elements of repetition and sparse material are there, but his extensive use of mathematics and, especially, counting, makes him unique. Johnson relies on more than counting, using algorithms, combinatorics, juggling, and tiling techniques, among other things. Johnson is as radical as Eliane Radigue or Phill Niblock, but he is also interested in sounds that can be enjoyed in the moment, and in this sense, he is a true heir of Feldman, who was one of his teachers. Counting to Seven (2014) is a set of short pieces lasting about 80 minutes, of which eighteen pieces are presented here. Although obviously vocal because they are text-based, some of the pieces include percussion. They can be performed by almost any group of at least seven people and are not written for trained singers or actors. It was around 1980 that Johnson developed a series of twelve solos in twelve languages called Counting Languages, under the inspiration of sound poets such as Charlie Morrow and Jerome Rothenberg in the United States and Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing, and Bernard Heidsieck in Europe. He then wrote Counting Duets, (also called Counting Music), a set of five counting sequences for two performers speaking in one language. Some years later, after a performance by Vincent Bouchot from the ensemble Dedalus, Johnson 'reworked everything for seven voices. I changed the title to Counting to Seven, added about 30 languages, well-known, little known, living and dead, and put together an 80-minute version, which we began performing in 2014.' Johnson explores the tonalities and rhythms that come from repeating numbers sonorously in different languages. Every piece is different, with 1-7 as the connecting thread, like a set of short stories that forms a novel through a connecting character. The languages Johnson chose include major ones spoken in large swathes of the world -- French, Japanese, Hebrew, German. Some are more national -- Turkish, Hungarian, Gaelic, Georgian. Some are specific to certain places: Muruwari is spoken by Aboriginal people in northern Australia; Tajik is a variety of Persian spoken in Uzbekistan; Maninke is spoken in Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast."
HINDS BROTHERS with JOHN & PETER HINDS - Earthly Alien (Omni Sonic 7; USA) Featuring John & Peter Hinds on organ, piano, synth, clavinet, violin, guitar, trumpet, electronics, bass & drums. The Bay Area-based Hinds brothers sent us a box of goodies earlier this week which includes an unreleased CD of Sun Ra interviews & music excerpts, as well several Sun Ra posters. Plus this, their duo disc. It turns out that the Hinds brothers have been Sun Ra fan-addicts for a long while plus they are musicians who have been inspired by Mr. Ra, his music, philosophy and his Arkestra. They’ve worked with other Bay Area players like Dan Plonsey & Mantra Ben-Ya’Akova. They’ve also published a Sun Ra inspired magazine and their own labels: Omni Sonic & Sun Ra Research. This is their fourth disc as a duo and although I do recall the covers of some of their earlier records, they seemed to have been beneath my radar-scope until now. Most of the pieces here are called “Earthly Alien” with a number attached. “Earthly Alien 10” has a cool, rather funky, near-techno-like groove with a sly drum n ’bass groove. “E.A. 20” has a bit slower drum n’ bass groove with some funky synth, clavinet & trumpet up front. This is what I would call groovy, spaced-out, dance music. I haven’t listened to anything like this in a long while since it was popular in the nineties. Keyboardist, John Hinds, does a great job of altering the sound of his keyboard, synth or clavinet on each piece, often giving it a Sun Ra-like cosmic/groovy sound. I get the feeling that Sun Ra himself would be making music like this if he were still on the planet Earth and using similar technology. Any of you/us who are taking a trip out to the Outer Spaceways, this disc is perfect music to help us dance, trance and feel better along our long journey to Other Worlds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ROSA BARBA AND CHAD TAYLOR - In a Perpetual Now of Instantaneous Visibility (Corbett Vs. Dempsey 083; USA) “Artist and musician Rosa Barba paired up with drummer Chad Taylor for their first duo record, In a Perpetual Now of Instantaneous Visibility. Documenting a September 2019 performance and installation at New York's Park Avenue Armory, part of an invitation by pianist Jason Moran, the CD's two mesmerizing tracks clock in at over 30-minutes each. Patiently built as collaborative soundscapes, they feature Barba's unorthodox conjoining of cello and film projector in which she uses the celluloid as an alternative bow, and the masterful trap-set and thumb-piano of Taylor. A low drone gently ebbs and flows, Taylor's malleted tom-toms and cymbals cresting along with the shifting dynamics of the intoned strings, sometimes polymetric patterns emerging in pools of spectacularly soulful drumming, then receding to reveal the hums and moans of Barba's mysterious mantra. Original cover art by Rosa Barba and Rupert Smyth with an interior photo of Rosa's rig. Limited edition of 500.”
RAMBUTAN with JOHN OLSON / MINUTEMEN / FUGAZI / MISSION OF BURMA / OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL / REYNOLS / et al - Parallel Systems (Sedimental 069; USA) “Thirty-three audio collages created with original contributions from 69 artists from nine countries including members of Fugazi, Minutemen, Mission of Burma, Trumans Water, Sebadoh, Olivia Tremor Control, Reynols, Wolf Eyes, and a host of contemporary sound explorers. The alarmingly creative and industrious Eric Hardiman has anchored in Albany, NY a multi-decade hub of individual, collaborative and cross-pollinating experimental music activities and projects, recently manifested in the Sky Furrows (2020) and the Spiral Wave Nomads (2021), his ongoing CD series with John Olson, solo as Rambutan and complemented the prolific Tape Drift label he curates and runs. As Hardiman writes: "This project is a collection of collage works that I created during 2020 and early 2021. As a way to keep my mind busy and fend off the creeping dread of the pandemic, I invited a group of friends, acquaintances and musical heroes from across the globe to contribute an original recording. My task was to take the raw sounds and combine them in new and unexpected ways. I imagine each track as its own 'parallel system', a mysterious sonic world of its own. As the tracks began to emerge, I envisioned the various contributors working together in the same room in a true collaboration. Imagining these weird social and sonic juxtapositions helped guide the project. In the end, there were 69 contributors from nine different countries, spread across 33 tracks. Although many of the sounds have been edited, excerpted, mangled, and otherwise manipulated, my primary goal was to let the musical DNA and personality of each person shine through."
2 CD Set $18
HACO - Nova Naturo (Someone Good RMSG 026; Australia) “On Nova Naturo, Japan's Haco expands her already divergent song craft into a zone that meshes field recording, electronics and layers of floating voice into an imagined sound environment that encourages a sense of a deepened interior terrain. Haco's work in groups including the now legendary After Dinner and Hoahio have earned her a unique and respected position in the Japanese music communities, but it is with her solo work that she has unlocked an utterly unique and deeply personal approach to sound. Drawing inspiration from mythologies surrounding ideas of rebirth, Nova Naturo propagates a sense of ambience, but arrives at this sensation without dwelling in the aesthetics of ambient music. Rather, Haco combines unexpected elements, and uses these combinations to refocus your ears and invites you to listen closely, but with a sense of relaxation. This record is not a labor and instead suggests a kind of release from labor, an opening out into place, into the human experience of exploration and the rewards that come to those present in the moment. Haco works alongside the French improvised guitarist Manuel Adnot, the drummer and pianist Tetsuji Matsuo, and the double bassist Makoto Inada, who are based in Kobe. Also on this record is Stabilo (Speaker Gain Teardrop) from the Hiroshima ambient scene, and Tarnovski (Gurun Gurun), a key figure in Czech experimental-electro music, who were previously involved in her album, Qoosui (RMSG 016CD, 2017). There is also a collaborative track with the electronic music maestro Keiichi Sugimoto (Vegpher). These partnerships resolve wholly into this recording, bringing new timbres and threads to an edition that is entirely of Haco's making. This is a music of immense beauty, but it is a beauty that is complex and at times unfamiliar. It's in these uncertain moments that Nova Naturo finds its most compelling and fulfilling resolutions.”
MERZBOW - Scandal (Room40 4148; Australia) “Scandal collects together three newly unearthed and revised pieces from Merzbow recorded between 1992 and 1995. Each of the pieces here typifies work that sits at a nexus between the experimental cassette and electronic collisions of Masami Akita's late 1980s works and the emergent noise language that resolved into a series of now legendary recordings completed during the mid-1990s. Scandal marks out a decidedly tandem path and acts as a critical linkage, forging the trajectory of Merzbow's music across that decade. One critical aspect these recordings capture, in a very essential way, is the role that field recordings and tape manipulation play in his music. Throughout the 1980s, cassettes, tape editing and found sound played a significant role in the development of Merzbow's sound. On "Tokyo Blue Sky", Merzbow collates a series of field recordings made around his home during a period of construction in his neighborhood and merges these with sampled recordings from various ritual records. In these recordings are striking, hammered blasts that feel innately tied to the aggressive metal percussion work that was featured heavily on numerous live recordings during this time. They also maintain a sense of dynamic eruption that characterizes the shifts between states of intense noise that are the core of Merzbow recording strategies. The editions final piece "Evening Scandal" was originally released in 1992 on RRR as part of their recycled music project; a project that sought to reuse thrown away cassettes, re-recording over them with various recordings including some of those heard here. "Scandal" bares the marks of its medium, tape wow and flutter flicker across various sections of this piece, revealing a tactile relationship with the medium. The version collected here is different to that which was released in 1992, this version being uninterrupted by the pop song from which it borrows its name. This piece, in moments, maintains a decidedly minimalist compositional form, using repeated single strikes as a means of creating a deep sense of unease and recurrent tension. It's a technique later deployed with devastating ferocity later in the 1990s. This edition is also published with a special fold out poster featuring a previously unseen collage from Masami Akita.”
YNDI - Noir Bresi (Nascimento 004; France) “Noir Brésil is the debut album from Franco-Brazilian artist, composer and producer Yndi. Formerly known as Dream Koala, she decided to retire the moniker back in 2017 and began writing what ultimately became Noir Brésil, a modern pop album where Afro-Brazilian percussion meets French and Portuguese poetry to create an immersive soundscape. As Dream Koala, Yndi released EPs Odyssey (2013), Earth. Home. Destroyed. (2014), and Exodus (2015), as well as popular single "We Can't Be Friends", gaining her international success and garnering multi-millions of streams across platforms. In 2020, there were so many images of black people suffering on social media. After that traumatizing year, Yndi needed images showing that being black wasn't only about suffering, she wanted healing images. It's exactly what the Afro-Brazilian culture has been doing for centuries, it conveys a strength that keeps us alive in a dehumanizing society. The title track "Noir Brésil" is a poem for her ancestors. Yndi wrote "Amazona" on an atabaque (Afro-Brazilian percussion) rhythm inspired by the myth of the Amazons, warrior women, and Douanier Rousseau's painting La Guerre. The violence of the lyrics contrasts with the melancholic harmonies. The song pays tribute to the anger and strength required by women to live in the contemporary world. The song "Novo Mundo" and its animated video directed by Nina-Lou Giachettia are a reflection of Brazil, through luminous and colorful landscapes. Here the evocation of the divine, the beauty and the violence of nature reflects perfectly the essence of Yndi's debut album. CD version comes in gatefold; includes poster and black-and-white obi.”
HISTORIC & ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS, REISSUES & RESTOCKED ITEMS:
SUN RA with JOHN GILMORE / MARSHALL ALLEN / DANNY THOMPSON / KERMIT SCOTT / JOHN & PETER HINDS / AVREEALY RA / JAMES JACSON / MARVIN SMITH / RONALD WILSON / et al - Research (Sun Ra Research 001; USA) A big box arrived here earlier this week with a return address from California via Saturn (Sun Ra’s homeworld). Inside the box were a couple of dozen CD’s and a number of Sun Ra posters. Wowie zowie is about all we could say!?! How did Mr. Ra find out where his most loyal fans congregated, here at DMG?!? One of the discs was this one, an extensive Sun Ra compilation of Sun Ra interviews and music excerpts from Mr. Ra and other members on the Sun Ra Arkestra, all recorded between 1985 and 1990 in the Bay Area. The other disc featured the Hinds Brothers, John & Peter, who seemed to be involved with Mr. Ra and his Arkestra members. The Hinds brothers did all of the recording and editing here. There are some 24 tracks here which range from 23 seconds to 7 & 1/2 minutes. Sun Ra talks about many things in these interviews, often fascinating at times confusing but always worth considering. Sun Ra talks about learning to sight read early in life, about his time with Fletcher Henderson, getting a scholarship to college… “Mystery is my story, history is his story”, chants galore. Sun Ra says he is searching for innovators and also for a new audience with weird haircuts. “I ain’t no man, I’m a Spirit”, I don’t need no gravity men ‘cause they’re stuck on the planet, we need to go to outer space”. There is a great trio segment with Sun Ra on Yamaha DX-7 synth, John Gilmore on tenor sax and Avreeayl Ra on drums as well as some solo Sun Ra synth weirdness. I love this disc since it reminds me of checking out Sun Ra live, especially his cosmic lecture at Soundscape and the few times I got to talk with him backstage and once on the phone when I was hanging in Philly and looked up Sun Ra’s name in the Philly phone book. This disc is mostly for Sun Ra fan-addicts here on the planet earth as well those who are still traveling the spaceways to other worlds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JIMMY GIUFFRE / PAUL BLEY / STEVE SWALLOW - Free Fall Clarinet 1962, Revisited (Hat Ezz-thetics 1119; Switzerland) Reissuing clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre's 1963 Columbia album Free Fall, presenting trio performances with bassist Steve Swallow and pianist Paul Bley recorded after their 1961 European tour, along with duos between Giuffre and Swallow and several solo tracks from the clarinetist himself, propelling himself and his band into his sophisticated, risk-taking chamber jazz compositions.
MANUEL GOTTSCHING - Inventions for Electric Guitar (MG.Art 401; Germany) Originally released in 1975. Remastered by Manuel Göttsching. Recorded July-August 1974, Inventions for Electric Guitar is Manuel Göttsching's first solo album. Written and performed entirely by Göttsching on electric guitar, with a four-track TEAC A3340, Revox A77 for echoes, wah-wah pedal, volume pedal, Schaller Rotosound, and Hawaiian steel bar.”
NEWS FROM BABEL with CHRIS CUTLER / LINDSAY COOPER / ZEENA PARKINS / ROBERT WYATT / DAGMAR KRUASE / PHIL MINTON / SALLY POTTER / et al - Letters Home (ReR Vinyl NFB2; Italy) ReR Vinyl present the first vinyl reissue of News From Babel's Letters Home, originally released in in 1986. Recorded at the legendary Cold Storage studio in London and first released in 1986 this is one of the greatest chapters in the '80s post-Henry Cow/Art Bears era. News From Babel was the song project inaugurated by two ex-Henry Cow, Lindsay Cooper (bassoon, sopranino and alto saxophone, keyboards) and Chris Cutler (drums, electrics) plus Zeena Parkins (harp, electric harps, accordion). A band that created a totally new sound as result of the combination of unusual instruments and arrangements. A highly integrated mixture of avant-rock, chamber music, and Brecht-Eisler cabaret-oriented songs, not much like anything else recorded before or since. Letters Home is the band's second album and it features contributions by Bill Gilonis (The Work) on bass and guitar and vocals appearances from four master singers such as Robert Wyatt, Dagmar Krause, Phil Minton, and Sally Potter. This is the art of extended song form at its peak and it's of course highly recommended to anyone looking for adventurous new sounds. Remastered by Bob Drake, this is the first-ever vinyl reissue with full texts and illustrations enclosed.”
LP $22 [All LP copies sold will also get a free CD copy]
JEF GILSON with MICHEL PORTAL / JEAN LUC PONTY / JACQUES THOLLOT / FRANCOIS JEANNEAU / BERNARD VITET / HENRI TEXIER / et al - Enfin! (Modern Silence OI 020; Malta) Modern Silence present a reissue of Jef Gilson's Enfin!, originally released in 1963. French pianist Jef Gilson came up in the '60s and played in a straight-ahead hard bop style and also made forays into Afro-jazz and free jazz, including a noteworthy version of Pharoah Sanders's "The Creator Has a Master Plan". He featured the young violinist Jean Luc Ponty on some early recordings, and also appeared on Magma drummer Christian Vander's Vander Et Les Trois Jeffs (1973). The pianist led numerous ensembles ranging from trios to creative big bands during his career, including the Jef Gilson Nonet, Jef Gilson et Malagasy, and the Jef Gilson Orchestra. Enfin! is a French modal jazz classic featuring some of the best musicians at the time.”
LP $12 [last copies at reduced price]
COOPER-MOORE & STEPHEN GAUCI - Conversations Vol. 1 (577 Records 5838; USA) “The first of two volumes from legendary Downtown NY pianist Cooper-Moore and saxophonist Stephen Gauci, recorded after a seven-month residency at Happylucky No. 1 Gallery in Brooklyn, allowing the two players to develop a natural dialog of unique and idiosyncratic approaches to their instruments, resulting in these 6 commanding recordings freely improvised in the studio.”
SIR RICHARD BISHOP - Solo Acoustic Volume Eight (Vin Du Select 008; USA) Last copies. 2014 release. Solo acoustic recordings from the master guitarist, Sir Richard Bishop returns to familiar themes and introduces new ideas simultaneously on this tour de force performance of his singular style.”
ITHACA - A Game For All Who Know (Trading Places 54057; UK) Trading Places present a reissue of Ithaca's A Game For All Who Know, originally released in 1973. Following their collaboration on the Alice Through The Looking Glass and Agincourt projects, Sussex-based Peter Howell and John Ferdinando formed Ithaca, another project recorded in Ferdinando's spare-room studio. Howell had just joined the BBC (where he would later work on the Doctor Who theme), and inspired by the Moody Blues, conceived a prog-rock project exploring life's grander themes, with Ferdinando handling producer duties; Lee Menelaus of Agincourt is present on select songs, along with other colleagues. A Game For All Who Know is a beautiful slice of pastoral prog that is ripe for rediscovery, this edition made more appealing through the inclusion of several rare bonus tracks. Licensed from Cherry Red.
AGINCOURT - Fly Away (Trading Places 54056; UK) “Trading Places present a reissue of Agincourt's Fly Away, originally released in 1970. During the mid-1960s, deep in the Sussex countryside of southern England, aspiring musicians Peter Howell and John Ferdinando played in a few school bands before recording together in Howell's father's garage. Through Ferdinando's connections with a theater group, the duo created a musical companion for their production of Alice Through The Looking Glass, which the duo pressed privately; then, Fly Away, credited to Agincourt, was produced in a spare bedroom, an advertisement bringing Lee Menelaus, whose lilting voice provided a stirring female counterpart to theirs. Much of this psychedelic folk oddity has a quaint innocence fitting of the era and along with English folk-rock there are shades of pop, a touch of West Coast and even jazz in places. Pressed in minute quantity on another private press, original copies have been known to sell for £1500 or more; the duo continued recording, notably on work credited to Ithaca, before Howell became a full-time member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where he notably worked on the Doctor Who theme. Licensed from Cherry Red.”
ELISABETH WALDO - Maracatu (Pleasure for Music 115; Italy) Pleasure For Music presents a reissue of Elisabeth Waldo's Maracatù, originally released in 1959. Maracatù marked the beginning of Elisabeth Waldo's individual creative path. A unique musical exploration of Indigenous Central and South American music tradition. The music of violinist Elisabeth Waldo evokes the spirit of an ancient, mysterious world of Afro-Hispanic origins. A dazzling exotic sound tapestry performed on acoustic instruments including violins, woodwinds, guitar and percussion. In one word: Magic!
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.
MORE THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE WAITING AROUND FOR THE WORLD TO END OR GET BETTER: STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
THIS IS FROM MY GOOD FRIEND JESSICA HALLOCK,
This is from Jessica Hallock, please do check it out, there is so much to explore here and I know some of you are bored and need some inspiration/distraction:
Livestreams are obviously no replacement for live shows, but they're all the community we have right now––so experimental music calendar NYC-Noise.com now provides links to livestreams (with artist / curator donation info); a roundup of local musicians' releases; COVID-19-related resources, including links to grants, petitions, & a local venue donation list; & an Instagram account (@NYC_Noise) promoting artists and releases. Please let me know about your livestreams &/or new records at www.nyc-noise.com/submit.
FROM ARTS FOR ARTS:
Piano Duo Trio
IN PERFORMANCE AND CONVERSATION
TONIGHT, June 10 at 8pm
Free To Watch / $10 Suggested Donation
co-presented with the Clemente
John Blum - piano
Mark Hennen - piano
Jackson Krall - drums
Stick around after the concert for a lively Artist Talk with the performers. You can watch this event through Thursday June 17.
Free Outdoor Concerts This Weekend!
Saturday June 12, 3-5pm
First Street Green
33 East 1st St, NYC 10003
3pm Newsome / Greene / Nicholson
3:40pm Darius Jones / Francisco Mela
4:20pm Behroozi / Parker / Thompson
Sunday June 13, 3-5pm
First Street Green
33 East 1st St, NYC 10003
3pm Swell / McPhee / Griffin
3:40pm Marcelo / Carter / Carter
4:20pm Knuffke / Parker / Wollesen
Sunday June 13, 8pm
Final On_Line Salon This Sunday!
William Parker Tribute to David Budbill
Jim Ferraiuolo - oboe, english horn
AnnMarie Sandy - mezzo-soprano
Larry Roland - spoken word, bass
Steve Swell - trombone
Eri Yamamoto - piano
Lisa Sokolov - voice
William Parker - singing drum, conductor
Lois Eby - artwork
Register on our Website to Watch
Breaking Free Coming Home
25 Years of VISION
Pioneer Works - July 22, 23 & 29, 30
159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
La Plaza at The Clemente - July 24, 25 & 31
114 Norfolk St, NYC 10002
Lineups and Tickets Available Now
Thurs. June 10 at 8 PM EST,
Ars Nova and aRT present:
for Milford Graves
Performed by aRT : akLaff, Robinson, Thayer
with TonoRhythmology/Sonification recordings by Milford Graves
JAZZ HABITAT Presents:
This Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 7pm:
JASON KAO HWANG / CRITICAL RESPONSE TRIO WITH
ANDERS NILSSON - Electric Guitar
MICHAEL T.A. THOMPSON - Drums
JASON KAO HWANG - Electric Violin & Compositions
Concert will be outdoors weather permitting, or indoors with social distancing in the event of inclement weather.
Single tickets $20, musicians and students $10, couples $30.
Wine & beer, Venmo link will be available.
Jazz Habitat at El Barrio Artspace, 215 E 99th St
This one is from CHRIS CUTLER, original member of Henry Cow, Art Bears, News from Babel, respected author and founder of Recommended Records. This is Chris’ wonderful podcast and I urge you all to give it a listen…
HENRY KAISER Continues with his Weekly Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHUc8FYsWxg - new interview with Mr. Kaiser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0-qbKTem9o - Tribute to Milford Graves
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 3pm EST on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode.
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
From INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY:
Every Week for the entirety of this pandemic/lockdown INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY have been posting a new duo offering. I have listened to every one of these as they were sent out and am much impressed by the way this duo continues to evolve and work their way through many ideas. You can check out each one here:
This final 'Stir Crazy Episode' is a gigantic mash-up of 20 previous episodes, and us reacting to them in one final layer. It seemed like the right way to go out...For the near future, we'll be working on our next duo recording for Relative Pitch Records.
Although the episodes were free, many of you donated. This meant we could give part of the proceeds to many local and international charities and, at times, other musicians. Thank you all for your generosity!
It’s been a blessing to be able to continue creating new music and to share it throughout such a difficult and unsettling ordeal. Many thanks to all of you who listened! And to our community of amazing musicians who contributed pieces for us to play and our musical heroes who’s songs we lovingly appropriated, thanks a million!! Below you’ll find the final credits.
Thank you all for your support and generosity, we truly appreciated it!!
Peace and .... Ingrid Tom