It's a hard way to find out
That trouble is real
In a faraway city
With a faraway feel
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin' me home
Keeps callin' me home
Both DMG manager Frank Meadows and myself are big fans of country rock. The Byrds are often considered to be the first prominent/influential rock band to play what would soon be called ‘country rock’. The above song was written by Gram Parsons who joined the Byrds and recorded on their classic ’Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ album, released in August of 1968. This is where this classic song appeared for the first time. Gram Parsons left the Byrds after this album was released and took two other former Byrds members and started the Flying Burrito Brothers. I still find this song immensely haunting every time I hear it. It is said that ‘Hickory Wind’ was Gram Parsons’ greatest song and I believe that this to be true. Check the original version on the Byrds album or from a Gram Parson solo album called ‘Grievous Angel’ (from 1974). - BLG
A FOND FAREWELL TO FRANK MEADOWS
As of tomorrow, our faithful DMG manager, Frank Meadows, will be leaving DMG to move on to greener pastures / better opportunities for advancement. When our previous DMG manager, Dave Miller, left us around five years ago, he helped train Frank Meadows, a relatively young musician & event organizer, with whom I knew little about. I feel honored to have watched Frank grow into a great manager and help Downtown Music Gallery survive and thrive through some difficult times. Being a manager at DMG is no easy feat since there are way more responsibilities involved than anyone would imagine. Being a respected elder amongst the ongoing Downtown Scene is good for knowing the history of both the local and international Creative Music Community, but as an old guy (68 years next month), I still struggle with tech problems on our website, through mail-order and elsewhere, so Frank has helped in numerous ways to keep things flowing on the DMG Spaceship. Helping me to figure out how to do things that I still need advice for. When the pandemic hit us hard in March of 2020, Jessica H (from NY Noise) and Frank convinced me to stay home and take care of myself rather than take chances with public transport. This decision was one of the most difficult ones I’ve ever had to make, especially after working 5 days a week at DMG for the past 31 years. Frank offered to pick me up 2 days a week in his old van and take me back & forth to work to keep me safe. Over the long haul, Frank & I have worked through many DMG problems, listened to tons of great music and bonded on many levels of supporting & promoting Creative Music, trying to be fair with all Creative Musicians and Serious Listeners who come our way. Frank has been running a label, Dear Life Records, managing other musicians and will now become a touring musician for several bands. Frank will not be leaving us completely as he still wants to help out and write reviews as time allows. Last Sunday, May 1st or 2022, with Gary Lucas & Elliott Sharp on guitars, Frank on bass, Michael Vatcher on drums & yours truly vocalizing, the Great Grandmothers of Invention performed “Trouble Every Day” and “Help I’m a Rock”, both from the Mothers’ ‘Freak-Out!’ album. For me, it was a dream come true to be able to do this and I thank each member of the band for being part of this. A special toast to Frank Meadows for all of the hard work and support he has done. DMG wouldn’t be here today without his help. He will be much missed! We all love you and wish you good tidings! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DMG 31st ANNIVERSARY ONGOING IN-STORE CELEBRATION Continues with:
Tuesday, May 10th:
6:30: SYMBIOTIQUE: MICHAEL EATON / SETH ANDREW DAVIS / CHERYL PYLE / KYLE QUASS
7:30: KATE BIRCH / TAL YAHALOM - Violin & Vocals / Guitar
8:30: KEVIN MURRAY / CHRIS PITSIOKOS
Tuesday, May 17th & May 24th: No In-store! Bruce at Victo/FIMAV Fest!
Saturday, May 28th:
6:30: KRESTON MICHAEL OGSGOOD / HERB ROBERTSON / MARCUS ROJAS - Drums / Trumpet / Tuba
Tuesday, May 31st:
6:30: JESSICA ACKERLEY / ERIN ROGERS / HENRY MERMER - Guitar / Saxes / Drums
7:30: DARREN JOHNSTON / CHES SMITH - Trumpet / Percussion
DMG asks that all customers and performance attendees continue to wear your masks when you come visit us at the store. Better to be safe than sorry. - BLG at DMG
THIS WEEK’S PHENOMENAL NEW DISCS BEGIN WITH THIS ONE:
JIM O’ROURKE / ELLIOTT SHARP - Sakuraza (Zoar ZCD 081; USA) Spastic and uncompromising, Sakuraza is the sound of two long-time aural provocateurs gettin’ knee-deep in the blurt. O’Rourke, bless him, never fails to impress, regardless of whatever categorical cloak he dons. His early recordings of gritty, ambient grandeur for the Extreme label, in addition to stellar work for Mego and Streamline, remain classics of their type; he’s the sort of musician who never sits still, embraces every opportunity with gusto (see his performance, engineering and production duties with and for the likes of Faust, Gastr Del Sol, Brise-Glace, and Sonic Youth), and achieves wonderfully pithy results at all junctures, never repeating himself twice. Sharp is equally enigmatic, extraordinarily diverse, and brings over four decades of worldly experience to bear on everything he mutates as well, from his pioneering solo and ensemble work (cf. Carbon, Soldier String Quartet, Terraplane, I/S/M, Bootstrappers, et al) to his ever-evolving foray into styles embracing the avant-garde, experimental, and acoustic/electronic interface with accomplished ease; his catalog is broad and by now, let’s face it, legendary. All this is to say that put these two guys in a room and the sparks are a-gonna fly. O’Rourke has his motley collection of various synths and electronic devices in tow; E# his trusty 8-string guitarbass, bass clarinet and own toolbox of colorful ’tronix. It’s sonicphonics remade as mindf*ck, two psyches intertwined as one, shattering the studio into a million prismatic molecules. “Kola Superdeep Borehole”, across a trim three-and-a-half minutes, takes no prisoners, O’Rourke smearing Sharp’s prickly pear guitar arpeggios to the four winds. “Nekton” takes on more placid airs, though that descriptor is ambiguous at best: curliculing synths writhe about Sharp’s ascending clarinet updrafts like a snakecharmer’s foil, O’Rourke taking well-timed hits on any one of a dozen brightly colored knobs. The gentle shimmer of “Kayfabe” is a twelve-minute wonderwheel that sparkles and dazzles until its half-way point, where brillo and bells face off, ushering in a pneumatic nu-age. Who’d’ve thought these blokes would ever wax contemplative? Simply irresistible, another head-scratching, applecart-upsetting turn-of-phrase from two of the best in the business. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
WHIT DICKEY QUARTET with ROB BROWN / MAT MANERI / BRANDON LOPEZ - Astral Long Form: Staircase in Space (Tao Forms 09; USA) Featuring Whit Dickey on drums, Rob Brown on alto sax, Mat Maneri on viola and Brandon Lopez on contrabass. I’ve been thinking about the history of “free jazz” drumming recently, from the late 1950’s onwards. I started with drummers like Denis Charles & Sunny Murray (for Cecil Taylor), Ed Blackwell & Billy Higgins (for Ornette Coleman), Robert Barry & William Cochran (for Sun Ra) and Elvin Jones (for John Coltrane). Each of these drummers created their own style or approach to playing freely. There have been dozens (hundreds?) of other drummers who have mastered the art of playing freely over the past 60 years, each one adding their own touch. Starting around 1992, Whit Dickey burst onto the scene working with Joe Morris, Matt Shipp and the David S. Ware Quartet. Since 1998, Whit Dickey, has lead a series of his own bands, producing some dozen records as a leader. Last year (2021), Mr. Dickey released a great trio effort (with Rob Brown & Brandon Lopez) on his own Tao Forms label. This year, Mr. Dickey, has added longtime collaborator, Mat Maneri, to that trio, making this a great quartet.
‘Astral Long Form’ has just been released and it shows how far “Free Jazz” has evolved over more than a half century. Playing “free jazz” is not just about playing freely, it is about the way these musicians play together, somehow connected to a central logic/stream. Alto saxist, Rob Brown, has been playing with Mr. Dickey since his earliest recordings. Mr. Brown has a tone/sound that is somewhere between Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Lyons, yet he still sounds like himself, carefully riding, reacting and collaborating with Mr. Dickey’s magical interwoven percussive yet free playing. While Rob Brown soars on top, Mat Maneri’s viola and Brandon Lopez’ contrabass swirl together in slower waves underneath. Mr. Dickey’s distinctive organic playing is often at the center of what this quartet does. Mat Maneri is a master improviser of the more microtonal persuasion, his playing often has a unique, bent between-the-regular-notes sound. It takes a while to adjust to his way of playing since it often sounds “wrong” or slightly out-of-tune to us regular listeners. Once we adjust, we can hear the way Mr. Maneri has long created his own path or sound. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Maneri have a unique way of playing melodic fragments which work well together in ways which are hard to explain but that sound just right somehow. A youngster by comparison with the other elders here, bassist Brandon Lopez is a great choice for this quartet since he keeps evolving and putting himself in a wide variety of other situations. There is quite a bit of “free magic” going on here, as all four members sound connected to each other, often moving in currents, like a school of fish moving together in the sea or birds flying together in a formation. In our current political climate the word “freedom” is often misused and manipulated to mean something which it doesn’t. This music, especially this quartet, is a prime example of what true freedom is about when it works. A marvel of invention. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ZOH AMBA / WILLIAM PARKER / FRANCISCO MELA - O Life, O Light, Vol. 1 (577 Records 5900; USA) New generation New York tenor saxophonist Zoe Amba, a Tennesse transplant whose spirit is illuminated with free styles that harken back to Ayler, recording in the studio with a trio of luminary players--William Parker on bass and Francisco Mela on drums--performing three Amba compositions, one featuring Amba on flute; the CD edition contains one bonus improvisation.
If you haven’t hear Ms. Amba’s previous disc on Tzadik (from earlier this year), then I would highly recommend it to you. It is without a doubt, one of the best discs of the year which is pretty amazing considering that Zoh Amba is only 21 at this time. No doubt that this, her new disc should be pretty amazing as well. I will review it next week after our copies do arrive. - BLG
ANNA KALUZA / JAN RODER - Am Frankfurter Tor (Relative Pitch 1140; USA) Featuring Anna Kaluza on alto sax and Jan Roder on double bass. I know of German alto saxist Anna Kaluza from a great quartet she played in called Tone Hunting, who’ve recorded for the Clean Feed and Listen! Foundation labels. German bassist, Jan Roder, I know much more about since he has worked with Potsa Lotsa, Andreas Willers, Die Enttauschung and with Schlippenbach’s Monks’s Casino project. I’m not so sure how much Ms. Kaluza and Mr. Roder have played together in the past but they have obviously developed their own sound/thing. The first piece, “eins”, shows the duo to play with some restrained melodic fragments, all acoustic and tightly spinning their lines together. Ms. Kaluza reminds me of Lee Konitz with her own unique spin, spiraling quick lines of notes in circular patterns while Mr. Roder, plays some equally quick, free, spinning lines along with Ms. Kaluza’s tight spirals. With each piece the intensity picks up while the duo do a fine job of match each other’s lines. At times, its sounds as if the duo are working their way through some bebop-like lines as their lines grow faster. Eventually the duo start to go further out, with Mr. Roder bowing intensely while Ms. Kaluza spins quicker and more fiercely. There is some magical connection going on here as the two plays seem to think and respond together in tight flourishes. This is a strong, thoughtful and tight-knit duo that sounds like they’ve been playing together for many years. Rich rewards indeed! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
T.ON with MATTHIAS MUCHE / CONSTANTIN HERZOG / ETIENNE NILLESEN - Plays La Berge / Greenstone / Pluta / Wooley (Impakt 025; Germany) T.ON is Matthias Muche on trombone, Constantin Herzog on double bass and Etienne Nillesen on extended snare drum. T.ON is a New Music trio Germany and for this 2 CD set, T.ON perform the music of four American composers: Nate Wooley, Anne La Berge, Sam Pluta and Madison Greenstone. The pieces are fixed media compositions, spatialized via talk boxes with tubes attached to horn bells and were performed in four churches designed by Gottfried Bohm, all located in Cologne in Germany.
Sam Pluta, who works with the Wet Ink Ensemble & Peter Evans, has the first piece here, which is called “Between Crystal and Smoke”. It sounds as is there is some subtle electronics hissing in the distance. It could be bowed percussion or percussive sounds made by tapping or blowing into a trombone. Hard to tell. There are several layers of odd wind or drone-like sounds all pulsating together. Since there is a minimum of sounds at times, we can concentrate on the soft wheezing vocal-like sounds or percussive acoustic static or skeletal rubbed strings. I checked out info about Gottfried Bohm, as well as pictures of a half dozen of the buildings he has designed. All seem to have a subdued, warm autumn colored, friendly vibe emanating. I do know of Madison Greenstone since she played solo clarinet in our outdoor series at Oliver Coffee last summer. Her first piece here is called, “Aurora”, and it sounds like a large of ghosts/spirits are chanting or vibrating together with layers of shimmering sounds. There some dense tones and overtones going on, it feels as if we are balancing, rocking back & forth on boat drifting at sea. Eventually some muted trombone(s) is added to the dense drone. I know flutist/composer Anne La Berge from a recent trio effort with Ig Henneman & Jaimie Branch as well as a composer disc out on New World Records (2014). Again, on ongoing stream of echoed trombone fluctuations, some muted, some sounding sped up or somehow manipulated. Not sure if there are any electronics here although it is hard to decipher some of the sounds, outside of some obvious bone brass sounds or extremely minimal percussion sounds. Trumpeter/composer/magazine editor, Nate Wooley contributes, “Experiment Two”. Slowly, as the piece unfolds, the sounds/drones come more into focus. I swear that I hear a distant chorus of disembodied voices all chatting, moaning &/or groaning together, sort of cosmic soup. As the sounds expand, the sounds get more intense, more dense and somewhat harrowing. It’s all too much.
On the second disc, the same four compositions are also performed in different order and in different churches, all designed by Gottfried Bohm. After comparing both versions of these pieces what I notice is that it is the church/room itself that has an effect on the way the music is captured. Although the overall sound of each piece is similar, we notice that each space/room has its own resonant personality. What sounds like a one big drone or a layered drone, has more going on than we first notice. There are several layers coalescing or resonating so one most focus on the individual and group sound to be able to hear all that is going on. This will take some time and effort but it is well worth doing to enjoy the sonic riches found within. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $16
THE GUITAR SECTION:
MILES OKAZAKI with MATT MITCHELL / ANTHONY TIDD / SEAN RICKMAN - Thisness (Pi Records 93; USA) Featuring Miles Okazaki on guitar, robots & vocals, Matt Mitchell on piano, Fender Rhodes & Prophet-6 synth, Anthony Tidd on electric bass and Sean Rickman on drums. Over the past two years, Downtown guitar master, Miles Okazaki, has kept very busy with assorted projects. As a sideman/collaborator, Mr. Okazaki has worked with Steve Coleman, Amir Elsaffar, Adam Rudolph’s Go Organic Guitar Orchestra, Mary Halvorson Quartet and Ohad Talmor. As a leader or co-leader, Mr. Okazaki released an ambitious 6 CD set of Thelonious Monk’s entire catalogue for solo guitar, a previous quartet disc for Pi, a trio effort for Tzadik and a self-produced duo effort with longtime collaborator Dan Weiss.
This is the second disc from this particular quartet which includes the ever in-demand Matt Mitchell on keyboards plus the longtime Steve Coleman rhythm team of Anthony Tidd and Sean Rickman. The titles of the four long pieces here come from what has become one of Sun Ra’s most striking songs ever, “I’ll Wait for You…”. Starting off with “In some far place”, the quartet is laid back yet still sounds like an exquisite dreamworld. The piece starts at a moderate tempo and slowly increases in tempo and intensity. The rhythm team (bass & drums), who have long worked with M-Base founder Steve Coleman, along with keyboard wiz Matt Mitchell, do a great job of playing those tricky yet understated lines together, supporting Mr. Okazaki while he inserts several challenging interconnected lines into the complex flow rapids. Mr. Okazaki kicks off “years in space” with some sly wah-wah playing while Mr. Mitchell also connects the varied lines all moving together. Matt Mitchell, our own local keyboard wizard, who works hard for Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Dave Douglas, Anna Webber and Ches Smith, is a perfect foil here as he must constantly shift through a wide variety of currents and changes in order for this mighty quartet to work. In the past, I’ve found that some of Mr. Okazaki’s records are nearly unrelenting in their furious pace but this is not the case here. The overall vibe here is actually calm at the center with different lines of notes spinning together in tight circles, nothing is rushed or over-the-top yet the complex structures are much easier to swallow or deal with. The interplay between Mr. Okazaki and Mr. Mitchell is often astonishing as one starts a line while the other finished or embellishes it. The more I listen to this disc, the more the wonders appear for those who take the time to listen again and again. If you haven’t heard any of Miles Okazaki’s previous records, this is a great one to begin with. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PHIL KEAGGY / TONY LEVIN / JERRY MAROTTA - The Bucket List (Third Star 2201; USA) Featuring Phil Keaggy on guitar, Tony Levin on bass & stick and Jerry Marotta on drums. Phil Keaggy is a genuine American guitar master. A career which spans over fifty years, Mr. Keaggy has refined a highly personal expression which combines numerous traditions across folk music, bluegrass, country, American blues, and electric progressive rock and roll. On this, his latest recording entitled "The Bucket List", he is joined by none other than bass/stick master Tony Levin and legendary drummer Jerry Marotta. Over the course of twelve compositions this trio submits into one egoless and unified whole. The compositions are uplifting and magical. The studio arrangements are wonderfully fresh with sensitive detail directed towards tones, string layering and overdubbing, and open ended improvisation. Three masters of the studio space, the trio has a sense of musicality, melody and breath that has to be heard to be believed. The disc bookends with three live bonus jams recorded in 2007 which both excite and surprise. These three gentlemen are masters of taste and restraint but can also burn when the heat is called for. Highly, highly recommended for fans of contemporary instrumental guitar music. - John J Mori for DMG.
BERNARD FALAISE - G(o) sol(o)(Ambiances Magnetiques AM 267; Quebec, Canada) “Quebecois guitarist Bernard Falaise of Miriodor, Klaxon Gueule, Papa Boa and Les Projectionnistes fame, continues his solo series with the fifth note of the scale, "Sol (G)", reflected in a series of eight inventive guitar improvisations using timbral effects and looping structures to expand his virtual ensemble as does in his live performances.”
HEDVIG MOLLESTAD - Tempest Revisited (Rune Grammofon 2223; Norway) Hedvig Mollestad must surely be one of the hardest working musicians on the Norwegian music scene at the moment, with Tempest Revisited being her third album in a mere 18 months, all at a consistently high artistic level. Her first solo album, Ekhidna (RCD 2215CD/RLP 3215LP, 2020), received a Spellemannpris (Norwegian Grammy), appeared on several jazz and rock best of the year lists and got her into Downbeat's "25 for the future" selection. Tempest Revisited draws lines back to 1998 and the very beginning of Rune Grammofon. This was the year the label released Electric (RCD 2002CD/RLP 3002LP), the collected electronic works of Arne Nordheim, one of Norway's greatest composers. It was also the year when parts of "The Tempest", possibly his most cherished and well-known work, was chosen to be performed at the opening of Parken, the new cultural house in Ålesund, birthplace of Hedvig Mollestad. To celebrate 20 years, the culture house was ready for a new storm, and the first name that came to them was Hedvig, a local artist that was already making waves on the international scene with her power-trio. Hedvig took inspiration from the front of the house, adorned with Nordheim's score for The Tempest, at the same time making a direct connection to the sometime heavy weather conditions of this coastal area in the northwest part of Norway. One could say it's a big paradox that over all this might be Hedvig's most lyrical and less aggressive collection of music. On the other hand, it's quite a dynamic record, lots of light and shade and enough sonic parts at work to evoke the elements, the mighty Gran Cassa drum only one of them. The music included here was adapted from the initial performance in 2018 and produced by Hedvig in the studio the following year for this album release. The musicians included are old friends Marte Eberson from the Ekhidna band, Ivar Loe Bjørnstad from her trio and Trond Frønes (Red Kite) on bass as well as three sax players.”
SALVATORE SCIARRINO - Musiche Per Il Paradiso Di Dante (Kairos 15119; Germany) "With this album, the ninth dedicated by KAIROS to Salvatore Sciarrino and thus honoring his 75th birthday in 2022, the Orchestra del Padova e del Veneto under Marco Angius presents the great orchestral cycle 'Musiche per il Paradiso di Dante' from 1993. With the three soloists Garth Knox, Andrea Biagini and Lorenzo Gentili-Tedeschi, the orchestra is assisted by three proven specialists in Sciarrino's music, inviting the listener on a journey into the incomparable sonic diversity of the world of the Italian grand seigneur. 'The orchestra seems to want to speak,' writes Sciarrino. 'The nature of the instruments would not allow it, and yet they recite as if possessed, and we listen, almost without understanding. Almost. The end of every journey presupposes and brings to mind the beginning. Alighieri's whole paradise explains, to express itself, the inability to express itself.'"
STEFANO SCODANIBBIO // ARDITTI QUARTET - String Quartets (Kairos 15091; Germany) "I first met Stefano Scodanibbio in 1986. What first impressed me about him and his music was that he seemed a determined young man, equally proficient on the double bass or as composer, a rare breed in the world of music of those days. His style was a very individual one, not following traditional avant-garde trends but exploring his own very special world of string harmonics. As a composer, Stefano was an individual voice in our new music world. He was a friend and fellow musician, who is sorely missed by us and all that knew him." --Irvine Arditti
MARTON ILLES // ENSEMBLE RESEARCHE - Watercolors And Psychograms (Kairos 15066; Germany)” In the works of Martón Illés from the early 2000s, physically perceptible energy, gestural force, and visual conceptions of the sonic are already present. After 2010 the composer drew further implications from these for his work: since then, his musical thinking has no longer been based on fixed pitches, but rather on sounds -- either as acoustic manifestations of imagined lines or as gestures modeled on the physical. The way he actually implements this by means of instruments is impressively demonstrated in his series of works entitled Three Watercolors and Psychograms."
ELIANE RADIGUE & FREDERIC BLONDY - Occam XXV (Organ Reframed OR1CD; UK) “Éliane Radigue: "We live in a universe filled with waves. Not only between the Earth and the Sun but all the way down to the tiniest microwaves and inside it is the minuscule band that lies between the 60 Hz and the 12,000 to 15,000 Hz that our ears turn into sound. There are many wavelengths in the ocean too and we also come into contact with it physically, mentally and spiritually. That explains the title of this body of work which is called Occam Ocean. The main aim of this work is to focus on how the partials are dealt with. Whether they come in the form of micro beats, pulsations, harmonics, subharmonics -- which are extremely rare but have a transcendent beauty -- bass pulsations -- the highly intangible aspect of sound. That's what makes it so rich. When Luciano Pavarotti gave free rein to the full force of his voice the conductor stopped beating time and you could hear the richness in its entirety. Music in written form, or however it is relayed, ultimately remains abstract. It's the performer, the person playing it who brings it to life. So, the person playing the instrument must come first. I've always thought of performers and their instruments as one. They form a dual personality. No two performers, playing the same instrument, have the same relationship with that instrument -- the same intimate relationship. This is where the process of making the work personal begins. The purely personal task of deciding on the theme or image that we're going to work from. Obviously, because this is Occam Ocean, the theme is always related to water. It could be a little stream, a fountain, the distant ocean, rivers. Out of the fifty or so musicians I've worked with no two themes have been the same. Each musician's theme is completely unique and completely personal. The music does the talking. This is one of those art forms that manages to express the many things that words aren't able to. Even at an early stage, all those ideas need to have been brought together."
RICHARD SCOTT - Everything Is Always At Once (Discus 133CD; UK) One might say that electronics improviser Scott has flown under the proverbial radar of even the most discerning listeners these last two decades or so, but that would be a great misnomer; after all, it’s not *his* fault you haven’t been awake and paying attention. For those of us with our collective ears to the ground, well, we’ve been following a good number of his mostly collaborative works for some time, each more fascinating than the last, and now Martin Archer has had the good graces to bring this man’s singular modular m.o. to his idiosyncratic Discus imprint, for which he gets our endless thanks. Scott’s worked with many a worldwide, staunch experimentalist, folks like Clive Bell, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Axel Dorner, Paul Lytton, and fellow synthesist Thomas Lehn, but when let loose to run rampant alone in his studio, the results nigh on twist your organs of Corti into pretzels. It’s a pleasing sensation, and a spin or two, you’re more than likely to keep returning, ‘cuz the eight warped wranglings Scott concocts are simultaneously vexing, intoxicating, and habit-forming. The baubles, bangles, and beads of “Book of Everything” propel you into a bifurcated dimension of timestretched tone dialing that sees a whole army of angels dancing on pinheads, the playful, teeming drizzles, high-altitude scrim, and Buchla blasts provide instant callbacks to the likes of West Coast imps The Hub and their fellow artists amongst the Artifacts label hivemind. Pachydermal fits and stomps inform the gargantuan busking about “The Elephant Room”, electrical currents smashed into submission while wheezing out their final prehistoric breaths. Mighty midi malcontents expand the atmospheric thrust at the commencement of “Songs Of Others”, a somewhat innocuous title disguising a charcoal-gray mammatus of synthesizers whose spray of acid rain only breaks across the sputtering ecosystem of the finale “The Is The Beginning…” Afterwards, you’ll smile, you’ll chortle, you’ll cackle with glee when it dawns how profoundly Scott just re-arranged your auditory cortex. Magnifico! - Darren Bergstein, DMG
VALERY VERMEULEN - Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001 (Ash International 14-1CD; UK) Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001 is the concept-driven, new electronic album from Dr. Valery Vermeulen featuring music produced using data from one of the most enigmatic, exotic objects in space: black holes. With this album, Vermeulen augments electronic music, art and science in previously unexplored ways. Black holes were first theoretically discovered and proposed in 1916 by German physicist and astronomer Karl Schwarzchild. Their possible existence resulted from an exact solution Schwarzchild had found of Einstein's theory of General Relativity published a year earlier. Being a long-contested concept, the existence of the first black hole, Cygnus X, was confirmed in 1971. Four decades later, in February 2016, science made another huge leap as the first merger of two black holes was observed by the LIGO -- VIRGO telescope. This discovery announced a new exciting era in observational astronomy based on gravitational wave detection. Using the latest technology, Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001 connects these fascinating scientific evolutions to the realm of electronic music. Having worked on previous astrophysics related musical projects, Vermeulen had the first idea for the album in 2016. It was not until 2018 that these conceptual ideas became a reality when Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) commissioned a new musical piece and live show for their Cosmos Festival. This work ultimately resulted in the album Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001. The six-track album is produced using data streams generated by various simulation models of astrophysical black holes and observational data of regions in space with extreme gravitational fields. Data used for the realization of Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001 includes gravitational wave data, data generated by black branes (i.e. higher dimensional generalizations of black holes), neutron star data, data from white dwarfs and trajectory data of elementary particles near black holes. As a mathematician and artist, Vermeulen effectively designed and programmed new innovative data sonification, i.e. the means to translate data into sound and music, systems and techniques. These were used to transform black hole data and their associated mathematical models into engaging, moving and multidimensional sound experiences. Mikromedas is a data-driven audio/visual project in which compositions are produced using data from space, deep space, and astrophysical simulation models. Limited edition compact disc in extended ecopak.”
IHVH - The Agnostic (Ash International 14-2CD; UK) “IHVH are a duo composed of Touch artists Mark Van Hoen of Locust fame, and violinist Zachary Paul. This album is an electro-acoustic excursion of sorts into the often-obscure worlds of mystical religions of our times. The Kabbalah, the Indian mystics, the Christian church -- the moods of these belief systems and more, and their sounds as well, are sampled and referenced throughout these ten tracks. With a mix of real instrumentation, including the violin playing of Zachary Paul and the cello, bass, and viola played by guest musicians on some of the tracks, and the many electronic treatments created by Mark Van Hoen including the sounds of insects, African drumming, liturgical droning, and classical and operatic samples -- this portentous and mysterious, at times dark, but overall spiritually absorbing album is an imaginary voyage into the realms of Agnosticism, and it's insinuations into the other major religions of the world. Zachary's violin is multi layered and processed, often rendered unrecognizable -- with minimal ghostly and decayed electronics added by Mark. Most of the tracks were recorded in an improvisation session at Mark's studio in Los Angeles. Two of the pieces "Black Angels" and "Sister Ferdinande (Kolkata)" were recorded at film sound maestro Charlie Campagne's studio -- and feature him on double bass as well as Katt Newlon of LA's Sonic Open Orchestra on cello.”
AFRICA NEGRA - Antologia Vol. 1 (Les Disques Bongo Joe 056CD; Switzerland) “Les Disques Bongo Joe, continuing their work on Sao Tomé and Principe with curator DJ Tom B., announce the release of an anthology of the group África Negra. This first volume includes 12 of their key tracks, remastered for the occasion and selected only from those officially released on different media. Formed in the early 1970s by Horacio, a butcher by trade, and his guitarist friend Emidio Pontes, África Negra is the best known of the great São Tomé and Principe bands. The catchy melodies in the local Forro language, provided by lead singer João Seria, and subtly harmonized by the enchanting backing vocals of the rest of the band, quickly ensured their influence outside the archipelago. Their incomparable blend of Puxa and Rumba rhythms and subtle melodies made them the most regular touring band from Sao Tome. Their first album (Aninha) was released in 1981, followed by three more in 1983. They contain an incredible collection of timeless hits and have achieved high ratings on the second-hand market. Then came the excellent San Lena in 1986, which was unfortunately only released on cassette, but for which we were able to digitize the original tape. In 1990 their last album in vinyl format (Paga me uma cerveja) was released, the rarest. Three CDs and five cassettes followed in the 1990s. Like most São Tomean bands, they recorded their compositions at Radio Nacional STP, the only studio on the island at the time, whose cramped premises forced the big bands to do sessions outside in the courtyard, at night, facing the ocean and in front of their fans. Reformed around João Seria, the band has recorded three albums since 2012, and has been touring again for a few years, offering, always with the same energy, their frenzied rhythms, their graceful harmonies, their poetry full of social metaphors, and their typical dance steps. Accompanied by a booklet with the original covers and interviews with the band members still with us.”
HISTORIC & ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS, RESTOCKS & REISSUED ITEMS OF NOTE:
MILES DAVIS QUINTETS with WAYNE SHORTER / HERBIE HANCOCK or CHICK COREA / RON CARTER / TONY WILLIAMS or JACK DeJOHNETTE - Stockholm 1967 & 1969 Revisited (Hat ezz-thetics 1130; Switzerland) “Two live recordings from Miles Davis in the 1960s, first from Stockholm in 1967 with the classic 60s quintet of Miles, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams; then two years later also in Stockholm with the "Lost Quintet" of Miles, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, pushing new directions with tracks including "Bitches Brew”.”
DON CHERRY with GATO BARBIERI / KARL BERGER / JF JENNY CLARK / HENRY GRIMES / ED BLACKWELL - Where Is Brooklyn? & Eternal Rhythm Revisited (Hat ezz-thetics 1129; Switzerland) Reissuing two albums showing trumpeter Don Cherry's musical evolution through the 1960s, recorded two years apart--Where is Brooklyn from NY in 1966, and Eternal Rhythm recorded in Germany in 1968--demonstrating the development of his style from Ornette-influenced free jazz into music influenced by Northern Indian music and the percussion of Southeast Asia.”
BACK IN STOCK:
ABDULLAH IBRAHIM / DOLLAR BRAND with DON CHERRY / JOHNNY DYANI / HAMIET BLUIETT /CARLOS WARD / ROY BROOKS / JOHN BETSCH / et al - The Journey: Live At Alice Tully Hall 9/18/78 (Downtown Sound 1002; USA) Man! Is this a dream line-up or what! The resurrected Chiaroscuro Records has started a sub-label called Downtown Sound (whose mission statement includes avant-jazz releases in the future), and among its first releases (the rest, like almost all Chiaroscuro albums, are basically mainstream/trad recordings) is this gem from '78, originally on LP from Chiaroscuro and never before released on CD. In addition to Brand, Cherry, Dyani, Bluiett, Ward and altoist Rhynie are drummer Roy Brooks, and percussionists John Betsch and Claude Jones. Exceptionally well recorded and transferred: Dyani's immaculate bass playing stands out, as do all the horns - Don Cherry is in top form here!”
PETER BROTZMANN CHICAGO TENTET with KEN VANDERMARK / MATS GUSTAFSSON / JOE McPHEE / JEB BISHOP / FRED LONBERG-HOLM / KENT KESSLER - Ultraman vs. Alien Metron (Corbett Vs. Dempsey 002LP; USA) “In the first years of its existence, starting in 1997, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet worked as a collective, inviting all and any of its participants to contribute compositions to the band's repertoire. Eventually, the Tentet would jettison scores and pre-planned structures altogether, opting for free improvisation, but on their early tours and initial recordings they played pieces written by the various band members. A marathon set of summer studio sessions in 2002, just off a US tour, yielded two CDs for Okka Disk, A Short Visit to Nowhere and Broken English. Of two Mars Williams compositions from the session, one was recorded but never issued... until now. Featuring the original line-up of the band, which combined seven stellar Chicagoans -- Williams, Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang, and Hamid Drake -- with Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee, and the band's namesake, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet was a sensationally versatile free music ensemble, capable of going into all sorts of unexpected territory. The group sports a four-saxophone frontline, with twin trombones (McPhee is on valve trombone here), two strings, and a ferocious drum section featuring Zerang and Drake, who had already worked together intimately for more than 25 years at this point. Recently rediscovered in his vaults by Williams, newly mixed by original engineer John McCortney, Ultraman vs. Alien Metron is a lost classic of improvised music by one of the premier improvised music bands of its era. With preposterous juxtapositions of mood, from monstrous lurching heavy rock (underpinning the Japanese Godzilla-esque theme) to hard-swinging free bop and even an incredibly delicate, poignant ballad section, this feature-length track (18 minutes) is chock full of rock 'em sock 'em goodness. For its maiden voyage on vinyl, Corbett vs. Dempsey has prepared a special package, with artwork and design by Brötzmann, a one-sided LP, the other side featuring a silkscreened work by Brötzmann.”
MARKER And JOE McPHEE - McPhee Marker (Corbett Vs. Dempsey 004EP; USA) Chicago-based saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Vandermark was invited to arrange a set of '70s music for a concert in 2019, and among the pieces he chose were tracks by funk legends Parliament and post-punk iconoclasts DNA. On this 12-inch 45rpm EP, Vandermark's band Marker presents a unique take on "Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples", drawn from Parliament's 1975 LP Mothership Connection, and DNA's "Egomaniac's Kiss", which first appeared on the classic 1978 Brian Eno-produced collection No New York. Together with the entire Marker lineup, featuring Vandermark on reeds, Andrew Clinkman and Steve Marquette on electric guitars, Macie Stewart on keyboards, and Phil Sudderberg on drums, on this one-of-a-kind affair Marker invited Poughkeespie (New York) icon Joe McPhee to be the proverbial fly in the ointment. Applying the most unhinged version of his tenor saxophone stylings to the deep groove of George Clinton and out-James-Chancing the no wave thump of Arto Lindsay, Ikue Mori, and Robin Crutchfield, this rare disco-single-format free music release is one for your record player's auto-changer -- just hit repeat! Featuring design and artwork by Michael Dyer/Remake, uncompromisingly recorded by Alex Inglizian at Corbett vs. Dempsey's Chicago gallery, as direct to you as humanly possible.”
12” EP $21
MATTHEW J. ROLLIN / JEN POWERS DUO - Powers/Rolin Duo (Feeding Tube Records 524LP; USA) “Pink vinyl. "Hot on the heels of last year's Matthew J. Rolin LP (FTR 502LP, 2019), here is a new duo recording featuring Rolin's acoustic twelve-string and the hammered-dulcimer of Jen Powers. They've had a couple previous cassettes, but I've never seen 'em! If you have, I can offer you something fine in trade. As with his first LP, Rolin's command of his guitar is quite wonderful to hear. He uses the whole breadth of the twelve-string's harmonic potential, which creates a wide surging stream of sound. Powers' work with the hammered dulcimer (an instrument we hear far too rarely these days!) utilizes a similar approach, which means we are afforded access to wide aural river into which we can dip our aching heads. A more soothing splash will be hard to find. Matt and Jen have been playing together since early 2018, when Rolin relocated from Chicago to Columbus, where they are now based. They've also worked as a trio with Jayson Gerycz playing singing bowls and like, but the tape of that session has eluded me thus far as well. Still, this duo record is a wonderful dive into their sound. The music is open and upful and filled with a kind of joy that seems in short supply these days. Recorded by Lisa Bella Donna (of the great underground prog band, EYE), mastered by Brian Sulpizio (Ryley Wakler's guitarist of choice, among other things), the debut LP by the Powers/Rolin Duo is an object of power and beauty. Let it shine, motherfucker. Let it shine." --Byron Coley, LP $24
DAN MELCHIOR - CB Odyssey (Feeding Tube Records 626; USA) "One of the great joys of the ever-evolving catalog of Dan Melchior is hearing where in the spectrum of styles that he has mastered each record falls. From studio recordings to lo-fidelity home experiments, full band rockers or plaintive solo excursions, fans never know what they are going to get until the needle drops. Those of us who have followed Dan on his prolific pathways are ready for anything but always assured that the spirit of the artist himself, one unique enough to be its own in any form, will deliver and somehow deal with the ramifications of an increasingly maddening world. Dan's first full length of 2021, CB Odyssey, (co-released by the Feeding Tube/Sophomore Lounge) continues in his fine tradition of excellence, this time finding the middle ground of his stylistic extremes. A master of modern song-craft, Melchior returns with CB Odyssey to deliver a further treatise on the agonizing futility of contemporary life. Neither pandering to sentimentality nor cultural trends, Melchior embraces the crass absurdity of modern existence, delivering a multi-faceted view of the everyday. These scenes offer illuminations into the hilarious, the macabre, the pointlessly hip, and most elegantly, the details of the normalcy that few writers of our time seem to be able to capture. The cast of characters on CB Odyssey range from middle-aged self-satisfied artists who have never courted popularity to woke millennials trying to teach mosquitos that it's not nice to bite. The listener is taken to vistas never before traveled such as encounters at the only Wendy's in North America that employs a real live sloth who can grow a beard while you wait for your fries. Melchior delivers these psychedelic visions, not ones of utopia or escapism but of a painfully blinding truth. And such is a truth that can only really be delivered in such a voice by Dan Melchior and CB Odyssey is among his finest examples of his craft. There will most assuredly be more. That is if the mosquitoes don't be the death of him." --Steve Lowenthal, 2022
TIBOR SZEMZO - Snap #2: The Other Shore & Cuba (Fodderbasis 066LP; Hungary) "Tibor Szemző presents two compositions on his new album Snap #2: The Other Shore & Cuba. As the title implies, Snap #2 can be considered a sequel to his cult album Snapshot from the Island. In that first album the island was a metaphor for isolation and now Snap #2 offers Szemző's reflections of his visits to real islands, Cuba in 1988-1990 and Japan in 1992-1994. As usual, Tibor Szemző processed the themes both visually and musically and has presented them many times live as cinematographic performances. The previous version of "The Other Shore" was released in 1999 on CD. On this album the original recording from 1997 is used; it has been recomposed, remixed, and remastered and some additional recordings have been included. The core of Szemző's Gordian Knot ensemble of the mid-nineties -- Tibor Szemző (bass flute), Péter Magyar (drums), Tamás Tóth (bass guitar) -- has been enlarged by a string section and additional percussionists. "The Other Shore" composition has a multilayered texture; it starts with strings and is followed by prerecorded voices reciting the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law (Myôhô-Renge-Kyô in Japanese), the most important sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. Then, percussion introduces the basic beat of the piece and the voice of the 102 year-old Buddhist priest Ônishi Ryôkei giving a lecture on Kannon sutra is heard. The following uneven entries of drums and bass guitar are like paint brush strokes in Zen calligraphy. The long tones of Szemző's bass flute enters the piece as the last element suggesting itself as a connecting thread through all previous layers. When Tibor Szemző first visited Cuba in 1988 he had just started shooting film on 8mm, something of a personal diary. When he met Jonas Mekas in Budapest a few years later, he realized that this footage could be screened publicly and also be an integral part of live performances. "Cuba", presented on the Snap #2 album, is the recording from 2000 of one such performance and was remixed by the author in 2021. The Gordian Knot band seemingly structures the piece in the same way as "The Other Shore", but the resulting sound is much heavier especially thanks to drummer Péter Magyar. Nevertheless, the contributions of Szemző on bass flute, Mihály Huszár on electric bass, and T. Bali on prepared electric guitar also inject the proper rock sting. Incorporated Havanna street sounds and local radio broadcasts recorded by the author provide even more steamy roughness to the sound of Szemző's "Cuba". 45RPM.
TOM RECCHION - Japanese Cassette (Feeding Tube Records 617; USA) "Tom Recchion is a legendary character. He is a world-famous art director, a founding member of the L.A.F.M.S., and was even the drummer for Sonic Youth for a brief period. Since the '70s, Tom has been creating screwed-up music in a dizzying array of formats, from large fully-clothed ensembles to buck naked solo explorations. The Japanese Cassette album falls into the latter category, and it is a head spinning doozy. The music here was originally created in 1986, to be featured on a multi cassette collection being assembled by the Japanese noise musician Hitomi Arimoto. Other musicians involved in the Journey into Pain set (1987) included a host of heavies from the experimental/noise underground. And although the collages here are similar to work Tom did that same year for a Slowscan compilation, that eventually became Chaotica, Mr. Arimoto was apparently hoping for something a little more harsh. So only a smattering of the material was used. We had been talking to Tom about doing a project together for a long time, and when he eventually suggested issuing the full '86 session, we were on it. The music mixes tape loops, keyboards, records and effects to create constantly shifting anti-patterns of sound, largely based on the use of previously extant commercial recordings. But even knowing much of this stuff began its life as something quite ordinary, the aesthetic reconfiguration involved in Tom's process turns each bit into something absolutely new. We think you'll agree the music on Japanese Cassette is both beautifully twisted and virtually impossible to trace back to its natural state. Featuring liner notes by the inimitable David Toop and expertly mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Like John Zorn and Eugene Chadbourne on the East Coast, Tom was then captivated by the music of Carl Stalling, whose work for Warner Bros. cartoons would be collected and made more widely known in the '90s. Like Stalling's work, the quick cuts and radical mood shifts Tom employs have both disorientational and familiar qualities. But potentially recognizable shards of sound move with such antic patterning you'd need to be a real fucking idiot to even care where they're from. Just close your eyes, tip you head back and let your brain soak in the maniacal musical miasma Mr. Recchion has put together for you. There is just nothing like it. Except for some of Tom's other albums. Which you would do well to check out. Toot sweet!" - Byron Coley, 2022
DAGGERBOARD & THE SKIPPER HENRY FRANKLIN - Daggerboard And The Skipper (Wide Hive Records 366LP; USA) "Nine new songs from Throttle Elevator Music writers Gregory Howe and Erik Jekabson in collaboration with Henry Franklin AKA 'The Skipper' of (Black Jazz Records). Taking off from Daggerboard's Last Days of Studio A, Daggerboard and The Skipper lands solidly in a jazz with amazing strings, vibes, and Erik's soaring trumpet all atop Henry's driving stand-up bass and Mike Hughes rock solid beat. Also featured are two compositions and outstanding guitar work by Ross Howe (Throttle Elevator Music Final Floor), Roger Glenn on Vibes (Donald Byrd) and a string section featuring Mads Tolling on first violin. Henry Franklin known for solo albums The Skipper and The Skipper at Home on cult label Blackjazz Records also toured with recorded with Hugh Masekela, Freddie Hubbard, Bobbi Humphrey, Willie Bobo, Don Cherry, Count Basie, Stevie Wonder and Roy Ayers and has been sampled by the musical group A Tribe Called Quest. The Skipper performs on Phil Ranelin's Perseverance, Daggerboard and The Skipper and Daggerboard Skipper Babatunde and Mike Clark (Late Fall 2022) Daggerboard is Wide Hive Records artist and producer Gregory Howe, virtuoso trumpeter Erik Jekabson, guitarist Ross Howe and drummer Mike Hughes (Throttle Elevator Music)."
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.
Friday May 6th at Ibeam in Brooklyn:
8pm: Kelsey Mines duo with gabby fluke-mogul
9pm: Kelsey Mines duo with John Blum
Saturday May 7th at Ibeam in Brooklyn:
8pm: Kelsey Mines duo with Erin Rogers
9pm: Kelsey Mines duo with Tamio Shiraishi
Monday May 9th at Michiko Studios
8pm: Bassist Kelsey Mines Brandon Lopez and Cecilia Lopez.
Two basses with electronics
May 2022 Concerts at Zürcher Gallery, NY
SAVE THE DATES
Friday, May 13th, at 8:00 PM
Ian Antonio, Caitlin Cawley, Tom Kolor, and Matt Ward
Performing the music of Jürg Frey:
Metall Stein (2003) (U.S. Premiere)
Toucher l'air (percussion quartett) (2019) (U.S. Premiere)
Sunday, May 15th, at 7:30 PM
Lalo Rodriguez Antiquity Quintet Album Release Concert
Thursday, May 19th, at 8:00 PM
Susan Alcorn and Catherine Sikora
Kresten Osgood, Thomas Buckner, Robert Dick and Thomas Morgan
Admission is $20.
Tickets can be purchased at the door. CASH ONLY.
All proceeds go to the artists.
*Masks are required in the gallery*
33 Bleecker St (Between Lafayette & The Bowery)
New York, NY 10012-2432
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…
Guitarist and DMG-pal HENRY KAISER has a monthly Video Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 10:30pm Tues, Thurs and Sat on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
This clip just arrived in my email from British Sax Colossus PAUL DUNMALL:
THIS COMES FROM OUR FRIEND, WEST COAST VIOLIN GODDESS JENNY SCHEINMAN:
'FOCUS' with The Eureka Symphony @ The Arkley Center, Eureka, CA - May 20 & 21, 8pm: My symphonic debut! ‘Focus’ is a seven part fairy tale for string orchestra and improvising soloist, written by Eddie Sauter, and made famous by Stan Getz in the early 1960s.
'Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait' mini west-coast tour! June 1 @ Stanford University, 7:30pm: June 3 @ Pepperdine University, 8pm -‘ Kannapolis' is the movie live music show that I have been touring for the last 7 years. It is about community, resilience, and human connection. It seems to only grow more relevant as the years go by - a miracle piece! Footage shot by Mr Waters in Piedmont during the latter half of the Great Depression, re-edited and directed by feature film maker Finn Taylor, commissioned by Aaron Greenwald for Duke Performances, and performed by yours truly with Robbie Fulks (guitar/vocals) and Robbie Gjersoe (guitar/vocals).
This comes from Hungarian Clarinetist Extrordinaire, LAJOS DUDAS: