This is an ongoing problem so please remember this: if you do read and enjoy our weekly email newsletter, please send some regular funds to help us continue to survive and thrive. If you are a regular customer, we appreciate any and all business from our devoted Family, Friends and all Serious Listeners worldwide. Here is our paypal address if you want to do it this way: firstname.lastname@example.org. I feel much better this entire week thanks to you all out there. The in-store gig last Tuesday was even better than usual and I am still smiling thinking about it. Check out the 1 minute segments through our InstaGram page. I would like to start streaming these sets and will need some help to do this. Any volunteers? Thanks again to all you. Peace and Love Always, Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
“Ain't It Crazy”
By Lightnin' Hopkins
Sung by Pigpen for the Grateful Dead circa 1971
Suzy got a rubboard, mama got a tub
They goin' around doin' the rub-de-dub
Ain't it crazy
Ain't it crazy
You know it's crazy
To keep on rubbin' at that thang
Mama got a chicken
Thought it was a duck
And put in on the table
With the feet sticking up
Ain’t it crazy
Ain’t it crazy
Keep on rubbing that thang
Two old maids lyin' in the bed
One turned over this is what she said
Ain't it crazy
Ain't it crazy
You know it's crazy
To keep on rubbin' at that thang
Two old maids lyin’ in the sand
Each wondering if the other was a man
Ain't it crazy
Ain't it crazy
You know it's crazy
To keep on rubbin' at that thang
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was the lead singer, frontman, organist and blues harp player for the Grateful Dead from their beginning in 1966 until his demise on March 8 of 1973. Today (3/8/23) is the 50th anniversary of the passing of Pigpen and I just listened to a podcast (https://www.dead.net/deadcast?eml=2023March8/5993356/6131962&etsubid=35402788) about him earlier today. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about Pigpen. The first time I heard the Dead seriously was in the fall of 1969 at a party where I heard their first, self-titled album. I realized that there was something interesting going on here. I remember hearing ‘Workingman’s Dead’ and ‘American Beauty’ on FM radio in 1970 and thinking that this wasn’t the same psychedelic blues band that I had listened to earlier. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t catch the Dead live until the Watkins Glen Fest in the summer of 1973 and at the Spectrum in Philly soon thereafter. I’ve had a longtime, ever-evolving relationship with the Dead, digging certain records and concerts for periods and then forgetting about them as I got into many other bands and types of music throughout my own music journey. I got back into them again around the turn of the millenium thanks to me late pal Mike Panico and caught several Furthur concerts (Dead offshoot band) in the mid aughts. During the Great Pandemic I had to find a way to fight off the cosmic loneliness that many of had while sitting at home alone for several months. I needed the inspiration to sing and dance along to some uplifting music. Once I discovered the Archive.org site, whose Dead section has some 2,000 download concerts by the Dead (which was organized by my friend Matt Vernon), I decided to go back to the beginning late 1965/early 1966 and listen at least 1 hour of live Dead (almost) every night in chronological order. This has been my own odyssey and I’ve worked my way through some 300 gigs and stopped at the end of march of 1972 right before they left for their 3 month European tour. I’ve put together some 20 compilation tapes of their best moments which I share with a few of Deadhead friends.
Now I understand what was special about Pigpen. He was a great bluesman singer, organist and blues-harp (harmonica) player. He was their main frontman who kept the crowds engaged with his honest and his uplifting true-to-life on stage spirit. Many of their sets (in 1971) ended with the band doing “Turn on Your Lovelights” or “Not Fade Away/Going…/Not Fade Away” with Pigpen getting the audience join in and inspiring the men to introduce themselves to the women around them, hoping that they will make some connections. Although Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter and Bob Weir & Bruce Barlow were their main songwriters, Pigpen also penned a number of songs as well. The handful of songs that he wrote like “Mr. Charlie”, “Chinatown Special” and “Two Souls in Communion” are all great! The above song, “Ain’t It Crazy” was written by Lightnin’ Hopkins and Pigpen’s version is hilarious. Every time I hear the line: “Mama bought a chicken, thought it was a duck, stuck it on the table with the legs sticking up”, I just crack up. Pigpen didn’t do psychedelics like the other members of the Dead, but he did like to drink alcohol and this was one of the reasons why he died so young. He lives the blues songs/life that he sung about and died at only 27, 50 years ago today. I know that The Dead were never the same without him but they did evolve in other ways and still had moments of transcendence at every show up until their demise in 1995 when Jerry Garcia passed away. A special toast to the Great Pigpen, they don’t make them like that anymore. - MC BruceLee
The DMG 32nd Anniversary FREE Weekly In-Store Performance Series Continues With:
Saturday, March 11th - The GauciMusic Series Continues with:
6pm: Rich Rosenthal - guitar / Ken Filiano - bass / Guillermo Gregorio - clarinet / Leonid Galaganov - drums
7pm: Stephen Gauci - sax / Adam Lane - bass / Kevin Shea - drums
8pm: Jeremy Carlstedt - drums / Nick Demopoulos - S.M.O.M.I.D.
Tuesday, March 14th:
6:30: ARON NAMENWIRTH / STEVE SWELL / RODNEY CHAPMAN - Guitar / Trombone / Sax
7:30: DR. PAUL AUSTERLITZ & THE SPIRIT CLARINET ORCHESTRA featuring: MICHAEL MOSS / FRED ROSENBERG / RANDOLPH MURPHY / STEPHEN GAUCI / IVAN BARENBOIM and others
Tuesday, March 21st:
6:30: YVONNE LeBIEN - Solo vocals
7pm: COMPUTER with ELLIOTT SHARP
This Week's Important New Offerings begin with an Amazing Book About
MILFORD GRAVES // MARK CHRISTMAN / JON CORBETT / WILLIAM PARKER / CARLO VENTURA / HUGH GLOVER / BEN HALL / FRED MOTEN / et al - A Mind-Body Deal (Inventory Press 9781941753378; USA) "Milford Graves has been a revelatory force in music since the mid-1960s, liberating the drummer from the role of 'timekeeper' to instrumental improviser and giving rise to the Free Jazz movement, with groundbreaking performances alongside Lou Reed, Min Tanaka and John Zorn. But musical practice cannot contain the energies of his creativity and intellect. Milford Graves' kaleidoscopic genius led him to develop an unprecedented body of interests -- from medicine to botany, stem cell regeneration to martial arts. A Mind-Body Deal is an attempt to open the doors of his habitat and spark curiosity in our own minds, so we too may learn to weave our mind-bodies with the rhythms of the world around us. A Mind-Body Deal gathers the intricate, multifaceted work of Milford Graves, exploring the practices and predilections of this extraordinary 'jazz mind.' Fully illustrated, this catalogue includes documentation from the eponymous show at ICA Philadelphia, exhibiting a collection of Graves' hand-painted album covers and posters, idiosyncratic drum sets, recording ephemera, multimedia sculptures, photographs, and costumes, with elements from his home and scientific studies." 256 pages. Paperback. 0.7" H x 10.4" L x 7.6" Weight almost 2 pounds.
I feel fortunate to have been able to witness Milford Graves doing his thing for the past two decades. Milford Graves was a master drummer, college professor, spirit & body healer, visual artist, Free Jazz Pioneer, movement specialist, scientist, heart doctor, poet, a True Artist who wore many hats, clothes and he was a genuine Inspirational Human Being. I caught Mr. Graves live perhaps a dozen times, playing in solos & duos/trios with Derek Bailey & Min Tanaka, duos & with John Zorn & Bill Laswell, various all-star improv groups with Peter Brotzmann, Charles Gayle, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille and leading several of his own bands. Cosmic Music was just one part of the many important things that Mr. Graves did. This 250 page book is just incredible! It contains a dozen articles, interviews and reflections by a number of great music writers & poets like Jon Corbett, Fred Moten, William Parker, Hugh Glover and more. This book was/is a true labor of Love and Respect and it a blessing on various levels. Every time I heard Milford Graves in concert, I felt that I was being lifted up higher to a better place, his positive energy cast a swell spell on me and anyone who was listening, watching and taking what he was doing seriously. The first edition of this book has quickly sold out and will be reprinted in the future. Thanks to our friends at Ars Nova, we were able to get just two dozen copies! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOK $40 [currently sold out from publisher, we were able to get around 20 copies & they’re going fast]
THE BELOW NEW ZORN DISC IS NOW ON IT’S WAY TO US & SHOULD BE HERE TOMORROW:
JOHN ZORN // BRIAN MARSELLA / JORGE ROEDER / CHES SMITH - The Fourth Way (Tzadik 8397; USA) "John Zorn's latest book of music for piano trio is inspired by the writings and thought of the elusive mystical figure Georges Gurdjieff. The music is expansive, ranging from heartfelt lyricism to textural madness and is brilliantly performed by a tight trio of musical masters—treasured members of Zorn's innermost circle. Brian Marsella, Jorge Roeder, and Ches Smith form a fiery, soulful unit capable of jumping from a whisper to a scream at the drop of a hat. Following up on their acclaimed debut Suite for Piano, they continue their exploration of Zorn's challenging compositions in this stunning collection of music that transports you to a beautiful new world of spirituality and emotional depth.”
KAZE with SATOKO FUJII / NATSUKI TAMURA / CHRISTIAN PRUVOST / PETER ORINS & IKUE MORI - Crustal Movement (Libra -Circum 206; Japan/France) Featuring Ikue Mori on electronics, Natsuki Tamura & Christian Pruvost on trumpets, Satoko Fujii on piano and Peter Orins on drums. The last CD put out by the great Japanese pianist, Satoko Fujii, was her 100th release as a leader or co-leader. Although Ms. Fujii is quite prolific, she has very few working bands except for her various orchestras and the Kaze quartet. Kaze now have 6 previous discs, all with the same personnel and an occasional guest. This is the second disc with Ikue Mori sitting in with Kaze. What is different about this disc is this: each member of the quartet as well as Ms. Mori each contributed 1 or 2 songs a piece. The two French musicians Christian Pruvost (trumpet & flugel) and Peter Orins (drums) are part of a collective based in Lille and composed their two pieces together.
The first piece is called “Masoandro Mitsoka” and it was composed by Mr.’s Pruvost and Orins. Ms. Mori’s mysterious electronics simmer throughout while both trumpets play with hushed fire, the drummer adding minimal well-placed punctuation. Ms. Mori was originally a drummer with the No Wave band DNA some thirty years ago. Since then she has evolved first using drum samples and working her way through other samples & electronics. You can still hear some of those drum samples in her playing/arsenal. Hence, she works well with certain drummers and we can hear her interacting cautiously with Mr. Orins, as well as with both trumpeters, several layers interspersed carefully. Ms. Fujii eventually enters and mutes the strings of the piano with one hand, also sounding more like a percussionist while she makes these enchanting plucked or muted sounds. I love the way the group seamlessly weaves the electronics, trumpets, piano and percussion on Ms. Mori’s “Motion Dynamics”: spacious, floating, exquisite, focused yet also free as one spirit/force. On “Rolle Cake” (written by Mr. Tamura), both trumpets play two connected partially written parts, with the rest of the group weaving in and out of the stream or flow. Both trumpet players here are masters of nuance and extended sounds and after a half dozen discs and assorted tours, their playing together is often extraordinary, ever focused and inspired. It seems obvious to me that Kaze had been around for a while since their music sounds closer of electro-acoustic chamber work and not just free improv. A superb offering on several levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ELIJAH SHIFFER with JON DE LUCIA / SANA NAGANO / SAM DAY HARMET / et al - Starjelly (Starjelly 001; USA) Featuring Elijah Shiffer (alto), Jon De Lucia (tenor & soprano, flute & clarinet), Xavier Del Castillo (tenor) & Ryan Weisheit (bass sax) on reeds, Nolan Tsang & Pete Wikle on brass, Sana Nagano on violin, Sam Day Harmet on banjo & mandolin, Olli Hirvonen on guitar, Ben Rolston on bass and Rishav Acharya on drums & caxixi. Almost every time we have an in-store set here at DMG, a musician or composer will approach me and ask how to get a gig here. Alto saxist Elijah Shiffer recently came to a set here and left us with a new CD of his. I don’t know much about Mr. Shiffer although he has worked with Xander Naylor and Eighty-Pound Pug. Of the eleven musicians here, the only one I know of are Sana Nagano and Sam Dar Harmet, both of whom work with Astroturf Noise, a local avant/bluegrass trio that has played at DMG twice.
Mr. Shiffer wrote all but one of the songs here but one, a swing era oldie called, “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me”, which was once covered by Cab Calloway and Kay Kyser. This is the song that opens this disc and it is in old fashioned swingtime delight with a fine clarinet solo (by Jon De Lucia) and trombone solo (by Pete Wikle). The group here is an eleven piece unit and they do sound like a small big band with some circular swinging a la Dixieland. “Full of Wonder” (an apt title), also swings infectiously with spirited solos from Mr. Del Castillo on tenor sax, Sana Nagano on violin and Mr. Shiffer on alto sax. What I dig about this disc is this: although the sound of the band has an old school swing, the arrangements are pretty inventive with several layers often swirling together in different connected orbits. Mr. Shiffer gets that John Hodges-like sweet tone on “Red Roots”, bending & twisting his notes just right, with one foot in the past and the other in the present. Another thing about this disc that I live is that jubilant, fun-loving spirit that flows throughout. The title track, “Starjelly”, opens with some odd yet cool arrangements for the horns only and features a tasty violin solo and swell alto sax solo plus Shiffer adds some unexpectedly crafty string & mandolin parts as well. In dark or troublesome times we do need some more positive, playful music to help us feel better and this is that music. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
UDO SCHINDLER / NIKOLAUS NEUSER / GEORG KARGER - Rhapsodic Topologies (FMR 0646; UK) Featuring Udo Schindler on clarinets & cornet, Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet and Georg Karger on double bass. Udo Schindler reminds me of a European version of Ivo Perelman. Both men are gifted reeds players who have released more than 60 CD’s each over the past decade or so, practically all are improvised sessions with a cast of a dozen or two musicians to collaborate with. Each disc that I’ve reviewed from Mr. Perelman or Mr. Schindler, I always enjoy and the personnel is different on each one. Mr Schindler often switches between various reed and brass instruments, here he playing clarinets and cornet. His cohorts on this session include Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet and Georg Karger on double bass. I know about German trumpet player Nikolaus Neuser from his ongoing work with Silke Eberhard and Andreas Willers. I hadn’t heard of German bassist Georg Karger before we got this disc in stock.
The music starts off carefully and quietly with just minimal clarinet sounds. As things slowly unfold, the trumpet and contrabass also add to the conversation. This is Euro style free improv yet it now over the top of insect like lower case stuff. It is more thoughtful, often calm and well balanced. All three members of the trio stretch out their notes carefully on the third piece, as the piece evolves, it moves through a bluesy sections with more normal jazz-like riffs from the trumpet and clarinet, the trumpeter using a mute (an old school technique) while the clarinet bends his notes tenderly. After a while I notice that the trio are actually telling a story with a series of scenes taking place. When Mr. Schindler switches to cornet, his sound comes closer to Mr. Neuser’s trumpet, shadowing or blending together at times. When the CD ended it felt as if I were at the home of two familiar players and I was listening to them tell stories while weaving in some musical references or sounds. I was spellbound at times although there weren’t very many fireworks going on. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEFANIA LADISA with ADRIAN NORTHOVER / MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI - Strutture dall’Introspezione all’Interazione (FMR 652; UK) Featuring Stefania Ladisa on violin & viola, Adrian Northover on soprano sax and Marcello Magliocchi on drums & percussion. This is a live recording, performed on days in March of 2022 in Italy. The leader here, Stefania Ladisa, I only know from one obscure CD on the Leo label from 2014. UK saxist Adrian Northover can be heard on some two dozen discs over the past decade for the Leo and FMR labels in bands like the Remote Viewers and the Runcible Quintet. Drummer Marcello Magliocchi can also be found on some dozen-plus discs with Joelle Leandre, Gianni Lenoci and Steve Potts.
Although this is a live recording, the sound here works well and captures all three members of the trio just right. You can hear some of the room’s resonance/echo yet it works. Since the music was recorded at a distance, the sound of the soprano sax and violin or viola, often blend together. The strings and soprano sax often bend notes in their own distinctive ways while trading ideas and/or lines while Mr. Magliocchi’s minimal percussion which is integral to the focused group sound. The drums uses a variety of drums, cymbals and piece of metal of utensils but keeps things streamlined, rather like Charles K. Noyes, an old school Downtown original. Free Music is an international language which can be created by musicians from around the world. I’ve often wondered if someone can tell which country or region it is from or what the background, culture, color, gender of any other identity is or was located. I think not. In a blindfold test, a serious listener might guess: Lol Coxhill, Mat Maneri & Roger Turner. Still this trio is unique in their sound and interplay, spirited and consistently crafty. I think that a studio recording by this trio would be even better to focus on each musician’s distinct voice/sound. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ELI WALLACE - Pieces & Interludes (Infrequent Seams 41; USA) Featuring Eli Wallace on solo piano with preparations, compositions and concepts. Ever since John Cage “invented” prepared piano for works he composed in the late 1940’s, other composers have also embraced this technique. Prepared piano played has evolved over the long stretch and seems to have become more popular in the past decade thanks to musicians like Denman Maroney, Sylvie Courvoisier, Kris Davis and Satoko Fujii. A new generation of prepared piano practitioners has appeared in recent times with West Coast bred, New York-based pianist Eli Wallace riding the wave. Eli Wallace once worked here at DMG and ever since, I’ve had my eye & ear on his evolution. This new disc consists of a series of pieces and interludes which evolve over the course of this endeavor. “Piece 1” sounds like Wallace is tapping the strings inside the piano with a large soft mallet with a hand or utensil being used to mute certain strings. This piece is filled with suspense, dark rumbling notes, spooky, ghost-like notes or odd melodies from the depths. The three interludes here are around 3 minutes long and this is where Wallace really explores those strange, effective inside-the-piano extrapolations with different preparations or utensils. The interludes are more abrupt and intense and a good way to wake us up for the next long, slow moving piece. There is an organic flow that runs through both long piece here which do a fine job of taking us along for the journey/ride/short story or string of scenes. I hope that this disc gets the recognition that it well deserves. This is a modest masterwork and shouldn’t be taken lightly. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SCOTT THOMSON with YVES CHARUEST / KAREN NG / JEAN DEROME / JOHN OSWALD - Pal o’Alto (Ambiances Magnitiques AM 261CD; Canada) Featuring Scott Thomson on trombone playing duets with alto saxists: Yves Charuest, Karen NG, Jean Derome and John Oswald. I’ve known of Canadian trombonist Scott Thomson from his work with the Ratchet & AIMToronto Orchestras and Ensemble SuperMusique. Mr. Thomson has been recording duos & trios for quite a while with Lori Freedman, Ken Aldcroft & John Heward. Mr. Thomson had aband called The Rent which was a tribute to the late saxist Steve Lacy. Thomson says he was inspired by a handful of great saxist/composers like Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Evan Parker and Lee Konitz. For this project, Mr. Thomson chose four Canadian alto saxists, two from Toronto and two from Montreal, to work with.
Montreal-based saxist Yves Charuest is someone that I don’t know very well although he has worked with Peter Kowald and Agusti Fernandez in the past. Each of these four duos are quite different. Mr. Charuest and Mr. Thomson sound well-matched as they swirl their lines around one another and together as one. There are times when both players slow down to stretch out their notes together. Often the sax will start playing a phrase which is then extended while the trombone adds colors or harmonies to the saxes’ ongoing circular lines. Karen NG (from Toronto) has played here at DMG on a couple of occasions, earlier this year (2023) was the most recent one. She has recorded an earlier full-length duo with Mr. Thomson in 2020. Her tone is warm and quietly expressive oft similar to Lee Konitz who was a major influence to Mr. Thomson. Thomson takes his time and slows down hi playing to a series of drones. This is shortest piece here although it filled some thoughtful, modest dialogue. Jean Derome is one my oldest Quebecoise buddies, hearing him ever since the first FIMAV Fest I caught in 1987. Mr. Derome is an endlessly inventive saxist and composer with a sense of humor and many styles or ideas to draw from. His playing here keeps changing from tart, Zorn-like jags to old school phrasing. Midway the energy and tempo pick up while both musicians toss their lines back and forth making for some exciting interplay. I’ve known John Oswald for many years due to his work with CCMC, Henry Kaiser and his other identity known as Plunderphonics. He is also a gifted improviser who seems to fit within every situation he gets into. During both the duos with Mr. Derome and Mr. Oswald, Mr. Thomson starts exploring different sounds by using some mutes on his trombone. Both of these saxist like to experiment and stretch out with some extended technique sounds, this pushing things further out at times. This duo really works since both musicians sound completely in tune or simpatico with each other, finishing each other’s phrases at times. I really like this disc since each duo shows different ways to blending styles or lines or extended uniques sounds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE SEEN with BERTRAND DENZLER / PHIL DURRANT / DOMINIC LASH / MARK WASTELL / et al - For Sake of Joy of Study of Oneself Together (Confront Recordings Core 14; UK) The Seen is an ongoing generally medium to large improvising ensemble led by Mark Wastell with three previous discs on the Confront label including two limited edition 5 CD box sets. The personnel changes from disc to disc with a few constant members like Bertrand Denzler (from Hubbub), Phil Durrant, Dominic Lash and Mark Wastell. This disc was inspired by the late master percussionist, conceptualist, teacher and leader of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, John Stevens. Mr. Stevens recited a text he wrote at an all day benefit gig for Terry Day in 1991 which Mr. Wastell remembered fondly for many years afterwards. Wastell finally got a recording of that gig, transcribed the text and it is featured here and recited by Stewart Lee. This disc was recorded at Holy Mountain Studios in London in December of 2017. Mr. Wastell used to play cello in IST and has progressed over time to also play tam tam, harmonium and assorted objects. The instrumentation on this disc includes objects, modular synth, electronics, violin, Rhodes el piano, tenor sax, 2 contrabasses, narration, tam tam and harmonium. There are two long versions (27 & 30 minutes) of the title piece. “Version I” is filled with suspense, long drones and Stewart Lee’s compelling narration. The sounds or music moves slowly and the electric piano gives this a ‘Bitches Brew’ like spooky sound at times. The overall vibe sounds focused or directed and unfolds organically with several drones or sustained notes floating or sailing together in a slow steady stream. The piece finally hits its stride midway when the intensity increases and the sounds before more dense. It feels like a large blast of wind or other natural forces washing over us and it sure feels good. “Within, without, within, without.” says the narration. Sure and steady, rough and ready. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAULINE OLIVEROS / KENNETH GABURO / STEFAN WOLPE / RUTH CRAWFORD / et al // THE ASTRAL CHORUS - Unsettled Scores: A Terrain of Humming and Phonetics 1930-1973 (New World Records 80827; USA) Unsettled in more senses than one, these fourteen choral works, reaching across the central third of the 20th century, represent some special moments in the story of music for voices, and within the creative musings of their composers. Generations later, they remain as outliers, but also as bearers of central truths about musical materials of their times, evading common categorizations—radical or moderate, experimental or formalist, Stravinsky or Schoenberg.
The eight composers are eminent figures—each represented in other productions of New World Records. Their pieces here, however, have found no settled place in the choral culture, let alone in recordings—excepting Pauline Oliveros’s Tuning Meditation and Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue. Yet there could be something special about these choral cases. In their individuality and diversity—a small cauldron of mid-20th-century energies—they might raise questions still not settled in our 21st century. At the least, they seem to offer fresh experiences among the more conventional tonalities of recent choral creation, and the more uniform notions of what constitutes good choral sound.
Since the earliest chant, choral singing has been poised between two poles of expression, both of great interest to modern composers: a meditative state of pure sonority—humming, melismas on vowels, drones—and a discursive state of phonetic movement—words projected through collective utterance.
Through our fourteen choruses, emanations from the poles of humming and phonetics lead to a sense of musical ‘language’ itself in a state of re-thinking, not by notions of post-tonal styles replacing 19th-century harmonic grammar, but more by combinations of different sonic materials available on the terrain—chromatic, 12-tone, modal, neo-classic, noise, drone, sound poetry. This is choral music “unsettled” by its own times and embracing the situation with creative enthusiasm. — John McCaughey (from liner notes)
Now Available on CD:
BENNIE MAUPIN / ADAM RUDOLPH - Symphonic Tone Poem for Brother Yusef (Strut 298; UK) Featuring Bennie Maupin on bass clarinet, soprano sax, wooden, C & alto flutes & voice and Adam Rudolph on handrumset, electronic keyboards, mbuti harp, drum machine, udu drums, thumb piano, marimbula, cajon, gongs, bells, assorted percussion and overtone singing. Percussionist extraordinaire & multi-bandleader, Adam Rudolpg worked with Yusef Lateef for many years and recorded many discs together for Adam's Meta label or Yusef's YAL label. There are five movements to this symphonic tone poem. Mr. Lateef passed away in December of 2013. When I was giving a lecture at at music workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark around 6 years ago, I recall Benny Maupin telling me how much Yusef Lateef influenced him and many other jazz musicians at the time (late fifties/early sixties) when Mr. Lateef started playing those odd, ethnic reeds like the oboe, bassoon and argol. Mr/ Lateef was perhaps the first popular jazz musician to explore these ethnic instruments/influences, some three decades before the term 'World Music' became a popular marketing phrase. The music here starts off with "First Movement" which has a Miles-like sorcery spin with layers of sly percussion, soprano sax and eerie electronics. On "Second Movement", Mr. Rudolph starts to layer several sly rhythmic lines while Mr. Maupin plays haunting flute and mysterious samples seem to be floating in several clouds. What makes this album so special is the way that Mr. Rudolph has carefully layered each sound so that nothing is too dense and everything is quite dreamlike. The way Mr. Rudolph uses reverb and other subtle electronic seasoning is what makes feel like a slightly disorienting dream-like haze. I doubt that this was recorded in analogue but sound of this vinyl/record is superb, warm yet mysterious. Rudolph does a fine balancing act with the different layers, a thick low end from his congas, a sizzling high end from his cymbals, electronics or reeds, all captured most carefully. Parts of this recall some of the better moments from Miles' 'Bitches Brew' album, which Mr. Maupin played bass clarinet on and was released in 1970, more than a half century ago. Overall, this does have its own mesmerizing, other-worldly vibe so be prepared to float upstream or downstream, whichever way the wind blows that day. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE LONG RYDERS - September November (Cherry Red Records CDBred 878; UK) Produced by Ed Stasium, best known for his long relationship as producer and engineer for the Ramone, as well as producing the two previous Long Ryders' records, the Smithereens, Soul Asylum, Motörhead, Marshall Crenshaw, Living Colour, the Hoodoo Gurus and Julian Cope. Long Ryder guitarist/mandolinist Sid Griffin states. September November is "two thirds the distilled alt-country genre we helped found back in the 1980s, one third Paisley Underground adventurism yet seasoned with a dash of our own crazed soulfulness thrown in." Due to the unexpected passing of bassist Tom Stevens, bass duties on the new album were shared by Murry Hammond of Americana stalwarts the Old 97s and the Long Ryders' own Stephen McCarthy. Guests appearing in the album include D. J. Bonebrake of Los Angeles's punk legends X and Royal Academy of Music violinist Kerenza Peacock of the Coal Porters.
During the mid-to-late 1980’s, there was a series at Folk City called Music for Dozens that took place every Wednesday night for around 3 or four years. There were 3 bands every week and the cost was just $3 a night. The shows were booked by Ira Kaplan (of Yo La Tengo) and Todd Abramson both of whom also booked show at Maxwells in Hoboken. I went practically every week and was rarely disappointed. Here’s a short list of who I caught there: Dream Syndicate (first 2 NY sets), Green on Red, Camper Van Beethoven, Half Japanese, Sonic Youth (w/ 4 drummers), the Minutemen, The President, numerous Feelies offshoot bands (Mr. Baxter & the Trypes) and the Long Ryders. The Long Ryders hail from L.A. and were one the best bands of that scene blending country, roots and psych into their own sound. I’ve been a fan ever since and continue to check out their releases whenever I find out they’ve got one. I had forgotten about them until I got a compilation box set of their from 2016. It turns out that they reformed and made a new disc in 2019. This disc is their one and it is way better than I expected considering that I first heard them some 35 years ago.
Considering that I was weaned on roots/rock, folk & country rock, I still hold a special place in my heart for music like this. When I was listening to this CD earlier this week, I was reminded of the way this music has both remained the same at the heart and evolved as well over the half century since the Byrds first flew into our vision and hearing zone. In every decade since the 1960’s, there’s been waves of bands who embrace and expand this Americana sound, whether from the US, the UK or elsewhere. Each of these dozen songs here are catchy, heartfelt and uplifting. This is music to keep us smiling. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BRIAN ENO / DEDALUS ENSEMBLE - Brian Eno Performed by Dedalus Ensemble (Sub Rosa 540CD; Belgium) “With Discreet Music (1975), Music for Airports (1978), and Thursday Afternoon (1985), Brian Eno invented a new music genre, ambient music, which he defined as "able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting." These versions performed and arranged by Dedalus Ensemble, according to the musicians and the critics who listened to it, goes beyond what you expect from it. A mental base that takes you far away. One of the only music without beginning or end in which we want to stay as long as possible. Double-CD version includes eight-page booklet.
Dedalus Ensemble: Founded in 1996 by Didier Aschour, Dedalus is a contemporary music ensemble based in Toulouse. Its repertoire includes works by classics of minimalism: Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, Frederic Rzewski, Tom Johnson, Moondog, or Philip Glass. Personnel: Didier Aschour - guitar, arrangements and artistic direction; Denis Chouillet - piano; Amélie Berson - flute; Fabrice Villard - clarinet; Pierre-Stéphane Meugé - saxophone; Christian Pruvost - trumpet; Thierry Madiot - trombone; Silvia Tarozzi - violin; Cyprien Busolini - viola; Deborah Walker - cello; Eric Chalan - double bass, vibraphone.
Inspired by Erik Satie's furniture music, Cage's indeterminacy and La Monte Young's drones, Eno's series of compositions were based on strict formal protocols bringing the listener into an enthralling world of sounds. Brian Eno was widely seen as a pioneering and influential figure of popular music and worked with icons of pop culture such as David Bowie, U2, etc.”
2 CD Set $22
DAVID CUNNINGHAM - Grey Scale (Superior Viaduct 175CD; USA) "David Cunningham was born in Ireland in 1954. His work ranges from pop music to gallery installations including several collaborations with visual artists. His first significant commercial success came with The Flying Lizards' single 'Money,' an international hit in 1979. Originally released in 1976, Cunningham's first solo album Grey Scale has become a landmark statement of DIY minimalist composition -- continuing in the vein of the wild explosion of arthouse experimentation from the early '70s. Cunningham, then a student at the Maidstone College of Art in Kent, drafted fellow student non-musicians and (using whatever instruments available) crafted an endlessly shifting sonic palette with an improvisor's keen sensitivity to space, texture and tone. As Cunningham states in the liner notes, his approach was to 'pursue something (which may appear trivial or meaningless) so rigorously or relentlessly to the point that it reveals something new.' Cunningham was influenced by live performances he was attending at the time by English composers Cornelius Cardew, Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman as well as free improvisors Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, David Toop and Paul Burwell. The inaugural release on Cunningham's own Piano label, Grey Scale was indeed 'something new' in 1976. The artist quickly integrated his experimental sensibilities to produce art-rock pioneers This Heat, whose debut appeared on Piano in 1979. His popular success performing as The Flying Lizards (with two electro-punk albums on Virgin during the new wave era) was presaged by this seminal work of fascinating sound collage and tonal freedom. First-time reissue."
GREGORY KRAMER - Veils Of Transformation 1972-1980 (Important Records 493CD; USA) “Veils Of Transformation 1972-1980 is a collection of the earliest works of Gregory Kramer, one of the 20th century masters of textural electronic music. Liner notes from Gregory Kramer and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who first brought this fascinating work to the attention of Important Records. Kramer developed a musical language focused on continuous transformation of timbre, yielding a continuity of attention. This musical language, formed of timbral change, is a compelling aesthetic in its own right and a source of meditative experience. The four works on this album share a deep sense of order derived not from organizing pitches or rhythms, but from the evolution of timbre itself. Gregory Kramer (b. 1952) is a pioneering electronic composer, inventor, researcher, teacher and author. In 1975 he founded Electronic Musicmobile, a synthesizer ensemble later renamed Electronic Musicmobile, a series of synthesizer concerts in New York from which he formed the Electronic Art Ensemble. His work extended to developing synthesizers and related equipment. Kramer also co-founded the not-for-profit arts organization Harvestworks in New York City. He is recognized as the founding figure of the intensely cross-disciplinary field of data sonification. Since 1980, Kramer teaches Buddhist meditation. The four compositions collected here each represent Kramer's unique approaches: The structure of "Meditations on 32 Parts of the Body" is derived from the means of its production. Recording five people chanting an ancient meditation text, then layering to gradually achieve more than one million voices. The layering was all done using analog tape recorders. The decomposition of the sound reflects the anomalies of tape machines out of sync, and the build-up of artifacts from the audio tape itself, such as uneven response curves and tape hiss, are all engaged as musical materials. "Role" was generated using one complex patch on a large hybrid Buchla 200/100 system. Emerging from a zeitgeist that valued pure synthesis as a combined artistic and technological research. At the time this piece was realized it's as exceedingly difficult to produce electronic sounds that were internally complex. "Blue Wave" is built on Kramer's timbral development technique "Veils Of Transformation" which allows for disparate timbres to be woven into a continuously developing sound. "Monologue" is a virtuosic performance of a massive patch on a Buchla/Electron Farm hybrid electronic instrument. Built into the patch is a pathway for continuous transformation of voice and voltage-controlled synthesizer.”
BILL SEAMAN & STEPHEN VITIELLO - The Clear Distance (Room40 4201; Australia) “Bill Seaman and Stephen Vitiello share an interest in texture, harmony, and space. On The Clear Distance they cast their ears outward, seeking to trace parallel lines and through doing so create a music that unfolds with an effortless sense of perpetuity and patience. This is a music of landscape, of lush tints and reductive hues. It is a music of deeply evocative images that materialize from within.
From Bill Seaman: "I got a note from Stephen. As the consummate archiver he had inherited a tape of an interview with me in 1985 done with Kevin Concannon, in particular about my music production. He points out that in it I mention 'a device called a digital delay' that I had been exploring. A Deltalab Effectron II Digital Delay, which let you make little short one second loops and manually inject other sounds among other things -- nice kind of kluge aesthetic. We knew each other through Electronic Arts Intermix where Stephen worked for some time . . . I wrote Stephen a note and asked 'Would love to collaborate with you if you ever feel like it!' and he responded 'Sure, I'd be happy to work on something together. Let me know what you're thinking - or when something feels like a time and idea to start. I can generate some material and send it your way, or just as happy if you want to send me something.' He sent me some things. I had just completed working with a very good recording engineer on some new piano recordings, which I edited into short sample libraries, which I in turn sent to him. I often use these to build up my tracks in a very physical manner in Ableton live, often exploring chance relations and juxtapositions, then choosing what I feel 'works'. Later, I sent him some other things -- DX7 and analog synth. We started working on both our own linear tracks with the materials and others, and also exploring the re-arrangement of each other's work samples juxtaposed with some other parts of the library of materials. Stephen also began to include some found sound that was quite lovely. I was hoping he might convince Molly Berg to contribute -- I really love her sound. Stephen sent me acoustic guitar, some Ebow which I love, and some experimental abstraction of guitar. Later he sent some tracks with Molly on them. We both went at the material and did a series of back and forths..."
PHILIP SAMARTZIS - Atmospheres And Disturbances (Room40 4202CD; Australia) Master field recordist Philip Samartzis spent one month in residency at the High-Altitude Research Station at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland. During this time, he turned his ears towards the subtle, but dynamic shifts of the environments around him. What revealed itself was a cascade of relational sound fields, co-existing and each effected by the macro environmental changes moment to moment. Atmospheres And Disturbances is a work of intense focus, of a deep listening into the spaces that exist at the fringes of audition and the fringes of human habitation. It is a record of porous experience, transposed and offered to you -- a chance to share the sonic fascinations of Samartzis in these moments.
From Philip Samartzis: "Atmospheres And Disturbances registers the changes in high altitude ecologies caused by increasing global temperatures. The composition is based on field work undertaken at the High-Altitude Research Station at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland where for four weeks I deployed various recording devices around the station, and in the surrounding alpine environment to register natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. The project provides new encounters of an endangered alpine environment to enhance the way we perceive and engage with notions of place, community, and environmental dissonance. During fieldwork I used different microphones to record a variety of acoustic, spatial, atmospheric, and vibration-based phenomena. Omnidirectional microphones registered wind, snow, and ice as well as social, material, and industrial sound emanating from the nearby train terminus and viewing platforms. Hydrophones were placed within water and ice to record geophysical sound resonating within the frozen environment of Jungfraujoch and the adjacent glacier. The recordings capture the pervasive presence of anthropogenic sound permeating throughout the landscape produced by tourists, transport operations and recreational sports. Accelerometers were attached to various surfaces and structures to record solid vibration generated by high-velocity wind, and the process of melting and freezing. The recordings produced by the accelerometers clearly express the stress and fatigue occurring within the material structure of buildings and infrastructure. Atmospheres And Disturbances is designed to place audiences deep inside an extreme environment to afford embodied experiences of an alpine ecology under duress."
CD / BOOK $24
THE VEILS - ...And Out Of The Void Came Love (Ba Da Bing! 186CD; USA) "It's been seven strange years since The Veils' last studio album Total Depravity, and Finn Andrews has a new double album to show for it. ...And Out Of The Void Came Love is the result of this tumultuous period of injury, isolation and new life. Following the release of Total Depravity, Andrews released a solo album and began a worldwide tour. One night, while lashing out at a particularly intense moment on piano, he broke his wrist on stage. He played on and finished the rest of the tour, but it wasn't until he got it examined much later that he realized what a bad move that was. The convalescence that followed meant a lengthy hiatus from touring, so he did what he does best and stayed at home and wrote songs. Just when his hand had healed sufficiently for him to play again, The Veils found themselves in need of a new record label, but Finn set about starting to make a new record regardless. Producer Tom Healy invited Finn to his small studio underneath the old Crystal Palace ballroom in Mount Eden, and they listened through the legions of songs he had amassed throughout the previous year. Following another two years of intermittent recording between lockdowns, Finn's wife became pregnant, and yet more songs started coming. By the time the songs had been recorded, it was clear that arranging the album into two halves best suited such varied material -- but the meaning of the songs as a whole still eluded Andrews. The result of all these years of questioning, confinement and precarious uncertainty is this magnificent new double album. It is an album intended to be listened to in two sittings with a short break in the middle. Composer Victoria Kelly's soaring string arrangements play an integral role in bringing the songs to life, as do musicians Cass Basil (bass), Dan Raishbrook (lap steel, guitar), Liam Gerrard (piano), Joseph McCallum (drums), the NZTrio and special guests the Smoke Fairies on backing vocals. The Veils have toured consistently throughout their twenty-year history and garnered a formidable reputation as one of the world's greatest live bands. They have also been praised by film directors Paolo Sorrentino, Tim Burton and David Lynch who have all used their music on their soundtracks."
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
“The Williamsburg Avant-Garde: Experimental Music and Sound on the Brooklyn Waterfront”
Book Launch and Concert will take place on March 16th, 2023
Mr. Bradley writes: I am excited to announce that the launch for my new book, The Williamsburg Avant-Garde: Experimental Music and Sound on the Brooklyn Waterfront, will be held at the Shift (411 Kent Avenue) in Brooklyn on March 16. This book was a ten-year project involving interviews with 180 musicians active in Williamsburg in the period 1988-2014. I will be in discussion with journalist and NPR contributor John Morrison and do a book signing 6-8 pm.
The evening will then follow with four short sets of music by bands that participated in the scene covered in the book:
Schedule of performances on 3/19/23:
8 pm - Andrea Wolper & Virg Dzurinko
8:30 pm - Talibam! with Yuko Otomo
9 pm - Tamio Shiraishi - Solo
9:30 pm - Marc Edwards' Slipstream Time Travel
The book signing/discussion is free and tickets for the music may be purchased at the door for $15. I will be holding other events with different musicians through the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project. It would be great to see you all, especially many of you who I haven't seen since before the pandemic!
Loren Connors: A Coming to Shore
January 28–March 25, 2023
Opening 4–7 PM January 28
468 Grand Ave #1D
Brooklyn, NY 11238
CHRIS PITSIOKOS is back in town and playing some gigs:
Saturday March 11th, Record Shop, Red Hook, 8pm:
1. Quartet with Elias Stemeseder, Sandy Ewen, and Nick Neuburg
2. Sam Lisabeth plays some songs
Can't wait to see ol' sammy boy for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic! And there ain't no songsmith like him. Also very excited to play with this bonkers quartet. Frankly, I have no idea what it will sound like. This is usually a good sign.
March 31st at Statue, in Sunset Park 8pm
1. My new solo 4-channel electroacoustic piece "Irrational Rhythms and Shifting Poles"
2. DoYeon Kim/Trevor Dunn duo
3. Tim Dahl/Dan Peck/Alexis Marcelo
In all seriousness I have been working on this new piece for 13 months. It might be the most exciting musical achievement in my life. I premiered it last month and am now very happy to share it in NYC.
I am also playing two out of town shows.
March 12th with Sandy Ewen and Ben Bennett at Century in Philadelphia
March 13th with Ben Bennett at Rhizome in DC
SHA / TIM BERNE
March 18th - 8-10pm - doors at 7
Live at KI Smith Gallery
170 Forsyth, NY, NY, 10002
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com