Stop, you stay where you are
Take a look at yourself
Take a good look at yourself
Can tell your momma
She'd only tell ya
That she told you so
The life you're leading
She won't believe
The riches of life
We all know
Dawn turns to day
And the dawning
And we still can't see
Why must we wait until the morning light
To wake up and be
Wake up and be
Wake up and be
Wake up and be
Wake up and be
Step out in the night
When you're lonely
Listen for the sounds
That your ears don't hear
I know your cross is heavier
With every step
But I know a man
Who'd walk miles for you
Stop, you stay where you are
Take a look at yourself
Take a good look at yourself
Can tell your momma
She'd only tell ya
That she told you so
The life you're leading
She won't believe
The riches of life
We all know
Can tell your momma
She'd only tell ya
That she told you so
The life you're leading
She won't believe
The riches of life
We all know
Way back when I started buying albums in the summer of 1967, I rarely thought about categories like rock, soul, folk, jazz or R&B. All I knew was that great music or songs transcended whatever pigeon-holing woulf soon take over the music marketplace. I got my first Richie Havens album, ’1983’ in a trade with an older friend who went to the same swim club as I did in 1968 when it was released. I knew little about Mr. Havens at that point but I was soon digging that album. His covers of songs by the Beatles, Donavon and Bob Dylan were all great and different from the originals. I’ve been a Richie Havens fan ever since and soon realized that Mr. Havens was also a fine songwriter in his own right. The above song comes from a Richie Havens called ’Somethin’ Else Again’, which was released in 1967 and covered by Yes for their second album, ‘Time and a Word’, released in 1970. It is the Yes version that I remember so well, being a big fan of Yes from 1969 thru 1973. The song is a most introspective one with allusions to Jesus Christ I believe. I got to see/hear Richie Havens play live several times in the 1970’s and 1980’s and still listen to his records today. I still love his voice, his unique way of playing his acoustic guitar and way he has re-invented some many of well-chosen cover songs. Richie Havens passed away in 2013, his voice still haunts me today. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FESTIVAL SEASON IS HERE!
I just got back from the Victo / FIMAV festival in Quebec last week and I had a wonderful time. Thanks to founder Michel Levasseur, his family and staff for all of the hard work that goes into organizing this completely unique festival of challenging music from around the world. Mr. Levasseur will be stepping down after 40 years since the fest began in 1983 after this year. Many of the artists who played this year like John Zorn, Fred Frith and Ikue Mori paid Michel tribute from the stage. Thanks also to the six friends that I hung out with, other yearly festival attendees, journalists (like Mike Chamberlain) and the many musicians I hung out with at the hotel. My review is half-done and I hope to transmit it next week.
The Annual VISION FESTIVAL also starts soon and runs June 13th thru the 18th. The line-up looks amazing (check it out here: https://www.artsforart.org/vision.html). The first night (6/13/23) is a tribute to contrabass legend, Joelle Leandre, who will be present with a Lifetime Achievement Award. I have attended the Vision Fest every year since it began in 1996 and I always look forward to all of the inspiring music, poetry, artwork and friendly folks who attend year after year. Thanks to Patricia Parker Nicholson and Todd Nicholson for the hard work they put into this awe-inspiring fest.
Last Tuesday (5/30/23) we had a four set night at DMG for our weekly improv night. It was a long night and I was amazed at how well, how diverse it turned out to be. All four sets were completely different and I was blown away time and again. I have several 3 & 4 set nights coming up so please come down to support Free Creative Music. See the schedule below or just check our homepage. I also send out 1 minute clips from each set via InstaGram almost every day! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Saturday, June 3rd: The GauciMusic Series Continues with:
6pm: DAVE MILLER / BLAISE SIWULA / RUBIN KODHELLI / ADAM LANE - Drums / Sax / Cello / Bass
7pm: STEPHEN GAUCI / Mystery Guest / KEVIN SHEA - Reeds / Violin / Drums
8pm: BEN STAPP / JUAN PABLO CARLETTI - Tuba / Drums
9pm: WILLIAM ROPER - Tuba / VIJAY ANDERSON - Drums / SARAH BERNSTEIN / ADAM LANE
Tuesday, June 6th:
6:30: POTIONS with YOON SUN CHOI - Voice / ANDRE MATOS - Guitar / JEONG LIM YANG - Bass
7:30: BLAISE SIWULA / DMITRY ISHENKO / DAVE MILLER - Sax & Clarinet / Contrabass / Drums
8:30: PATRICK GOLDEN / JIM CLOUSE / DAVE SEWELSON / ADAM LANE- Drums / Tenor Sax / Baritone Sax / Bass
9:30: SKEETER SHELTON - Saxes & Winds / JOEL PETERSON - Contrabass / JAMES BALIJO - Drums
Rare Monday Event, June 12th:
6:30: OKAPI and WILL BOLLINGER
7:30: MARC SLOAN - Solo Electronics, Bass & Voice - Part 2
8:30: ROSS HAMMOND / MIKE PRIDE - Guitar / Drums
VISION FEST 2023 - June 13th - June 18th - No DMG In-stores during the fest
Downtown Music Gallery is located at 13 Monroe St, between Catherine & Market Sts. We are in a basement space below an art gallery & beauty salon. We are on the east side of Chinatown, not far from East Broadway & the end of the Bowery. Admission for all concerts is free and donations are always welcomed. We have concerts here every Tuesday starting at 6:30 plus Steve Gauci curates his own series here on the 2nd or 1st Saturday of each month. You can check out the weekly schedule here: https://www.downtownmusicgallery.com/shows.php
THIS WEEK’S COSMIC DISCS BEGIN WITH:
EVAN PARKER - NYC 1978 (Relative Pitch Records 1176; USA) Featuring Evan Parker on solo soprano and tenor saxes, recorded at Environ on October 13, 1978. During the mid-to-late 1970’s, I attended dozens of loft jazz / clubs gigs in the Village or Soho mostly, at places like Studio Rivbea, Ladies Fort, Public Theatre, the Kitchen, Studio Wis & Environ. There were quite a bit of avant-jazz or early Downtown gigs to choose from if you want’ed to hear some more adventurous music. Since I was a big Anglophile for UK rock, jazz & progressive bands, I did an exchange program for one semester (Sept, 1975-Jan 1976) in London, where I also caught dozens of performances of progressive and avant/jazz bands. I caught British saxist Evan Parker play a duo with Paul Lytton (using chains on his drums?!?), at the 100 Club for an event called ‘The Night of the London Saxophones’, with Lol Coxhill, Elton Dean and Alan Skidmore also on the bill. All eight musicians who played that night in three sets got together at the ending and played a half hour tribute to South Africa expat Mongezi Feza, who had died in an asylum earlier that week. For me, it felt like I was witnessing a performance of John Coltrane’s ‘Ascension’ session, convincing me that the Brits I was checking out were as great as any of their American counterparts that I had admired so far. This was the first time that I had heard Evan Parker live and that set was brilliant/brutal and unlike anything else I had ever encountered. I was already marveling at the Evan Parker & Derek Bailey albums that I had acquired but it would take several years before I heard Evan Parker and Derek Bailey play in NYC. It looks like I had missed this concert when it went down, around the same time as the Zu ManiFestival (November of 1978), where I caught members of Gong (Daevid Allen), Henry Cow (Fred Frith. Chris Cutler & John Greaves) play for the first time live and Yoch’ko Seffer form Magma. According to the liner notes by Ned Rothenberg, fellow Downtown saxist who worked with Evan Parker on several occasions in the future, this was Mr. Parker’s first trip to the US & Canada as a performer. Although the music here was recorded on a a cassette deck, the sound is still pretty well-captured. Mr. Parker had started to play solo sax concerts in the early seventies and had already found his own sound or approach. Parker plays soprano sax on the first piece, his lines spiraling quickly, an endless stream of notes, due to his unique use of circular breathing. By this time, Mr. Parker had developed his own sound/approach which is still evolving at each concert or recording. We can hear him take a repeating line of notes and slowly alter it as he goes, bending & twisting certain notes in his own unique way. Sections of this set sound closer to birds chattering than notes from a sax. I find this music consistently engaging and patience is required to hear exactly what is going on as it slowly changes over time with Parker varying which notes will get bent carefully choosing each one. Mr. Parker switches to tenor sax for the second piece, slowing down and working with the lower notes of the tenor, still cautiously altering certain notes as he goes. The two pieces featuring tenor sax (which totals around 10 minutes), show a different side/approach to Parker’s playing, much less use of circular streams and more concentration of altering individual notes/sounds. Like many of the folks who read the DMG newsletter, I am a big Evan Parker fan, whether checking him out live or on record. This is a masterwork of solo saxes played in ways that are breathtaking and challenging. Thanks to Keith Martin, John Fischer (pianist & founder of Environ) and Kevin Reilly of Relative Pitch for rescuing this extraordinary treasure. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ANTOINE BEUGER / ANASTASSIS PHILIPPAKOPOULOS - floating by (erstwhile records 098; USA) The liner notes list the personnel & instrumentation as: Anastassis - voice and Antoine - breath. Longtime Erst recording artist, Antoine Beuger, has recorded for the Erstwhile, Wandelweiser & Elsewhere labels. He mostly writes for voice. Greek composer & vocalist, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, has also recorded with Erst/Elsewhere artists Melaine Dalibert and Jurg Frey. The erstwhile and elsewhere labels take themselves seriously so we know that there is always a concept behind every release. Generally liner notes don’t tell us very much so we have to work at figuring out what is actually going on. “floating by” is a 75 minute piece with long stretches of floating sounds and silences or space. The main things I hear in this piece are hushed voice(s) and subtle breath-like sounds. Each sound unfolds slowly and carefully. Considering that most of the sounds here are breath-like and fragile, the diversity of these sounds are what keeps this music interesting. It sounds as if the composer or vocalist is singing to themselves, one sound or word at a time, giving the listener ample time to consider each sound. Although I think that all of the sounds come from the voice and perhaps the wind, when one stretches them out or concentrates on just fragments of notes, it is hard to tell what is going on. Considering the simple ingredients used here, the overall effect is often stunning. Every sound seems to be part of a larger ongoing series of scenes, like pages from a great novel. I am amazed that these sounds evoke so many different spirits that dwell within each of us and most likely float around us as well. Essential listening for those with patience and deep listening qualities. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JURG FREY // QUATOUR BOZZINI / KONUS QUARTETT - Continuite, fragilite, resonance (elsewhere 020; USA) Swiss born composer and clarinetist, Jurg Frey, is a member of the Wandelweiser Group, an international collective of composers currently based in Austria who specialize in "silent music". This piece, ‘Continuite, fragilite, resonance’ is performed by two quartets, a string quartet called Quatuor Bozzini and a sax quartet called Konus Quartett. I know of the Quatour Bozzini from their work performing the music of James Tenney, Steve Reich and Jean Derome/Joan Hetu. They’ve also worked with Mr. Jurg previously recording his string quartets. I only know of the Konus Quartet from their performance of a disc by Salvatore Sciarrino. If you wish to read an informative interview between Mr Frey and the founder of elsewhere records, Yuko Zama, check here: https://www.elsewheremusic.net/qa-with-jurg-frey-about-continuite-fragilite-resonance.html.
“Continuite, fragilite, resonance” is one long piece of around 51 minutes. I had to turn off the fan in my kitchen window so that there would be no distractions other than the music itself. The cello creates a short pulse at the center when the piece begins. The strings are static, hovering and remind me of the way Morton Feldman creates subtle sounds which seem to unfold organically as if they were nature itself speaking to us, the way the wind often does. The saxes and strings are both creating drones or long notes. Since many of the notes are carefully stretched out, we can observe the way each note resonates. The overall sound is similar to a church organ, the long notes have a calming effect. I find this music to be somewhat fragile yet, precise or focused with each note or line evoking an ongoing series of floating feelings or vibrations. About half way through, the pace picks up a bit and we feel more anxious, the sound gets a bit more dense. There is something refreshing, uplifting going on here, as if we are being warned for something coming up. As the tempo of a string pulse speeds up, the calmness at the center evaporates and the vibe becomes more eerie. The blend of the saxes and strings sound like an accordion or even a harmonium at times. What I like most about this is that every note or line of notes evokes a feeling within us. The shape and texture of each sound is thoughtfully planned and played. Even at 51 minutes, the disc seems to go by quickly, rustling up a blend of haunting vibrations. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DARREN JOHNSTON with DAYNA STEPHENS / JACOB SACKS / SEAN CONLY / CHES SMITH - Wild Awake (Diskonife; USA) Featuring Darren Johnston on trumpet, vocal (1 track) & compositions, Dayna Stephens on soprano, tenor & bari saxes, Jack Sacks on piano, Sean Conly on contrabass and Ches Smith on drums. Former west coast trumpeter, Darren Johnston, is hard to pin down since he makes records as a leader so infrequently, just eight discs as a leader since he first recording in 2008. Even his collaborations are relatively rare: a duo with Fred Frith from 2016, plus work with Ben Goldberg, Aaron Novik and Larry Ochs. Since moving here a few years back, Mr. Johnston has slowly been working with other prominent Downtown players. Up & coming saxist Dayna Stephens seems like a good choice, as well as pianist Jacob Sacks, ever in-demand and working with Jacob Garchik, Hank Roberts and Tom Rainey. Aside from a few dates as a leader, bassist Sean Conly keeps busy working with Michael Attias, Yoni Kretzmer and Amanda Monico. Drummer Ches Smith plays well no matter which of more than a dozen projects he is plays plus he is a multi-bandleader and an a wonderful composer as well.
This disc starts off with “The Anchorite’s Travel Guide”, an anchorite is a religious recluse. Right away we can hear the playful interaction between the frontline trumpet and sax with the strong support of the piano soon taking over. Pianist Jacob Sacks is one of Downtown’s finest under-recognized keyboard heroes and is in especially fine form here. Even when the two horns start to play freely in the midsection, Mr. Sacks interweaves his lines connecting the horns with the rhythm team in a most focused manner. The last couple of times that Darren Johnston played at DMG, he sang one song per night. His voice is modest, tender at times and somewhat fragile like Chet Baker’s voice. Mr. Johnston’s starts off “Joe Hill’s Last and Final Will” with his sad, soft voice talking about labor activist & songwriter Joe Hill. This song is solemn, forlorn sounding and comes directly from the heart with lyrics by Joe Hill himself. “War Poet” features Sean Conly’s resonant contrabass at the center and taking an heartfelt solo midway with a thoughtful solo from Johnston’s trumpet also taking over. Although I’m not sure that Darren Johnston would align himself with the religious recluse (or anchorite) mentioned in the first piece, I do hear the heart and soul of his songs pumping through each one. The title track, “Wild Awake”, has a hypnotic repeating riff that you will not forget once you do hear it. The mid-section here has a strong Keith Tippet-like piano solo with both horns circling around one another furiously at times. Aside from the heartfelt playing throughout, it is Mr. Johnston’s writing which is a marvel of quirky spirited restraint which stands out. When I first heard Mr. Johnston playing with Larry Ochs and Fred Frith way back, he sounded like a free/jazz firebrand. Now, he has matured and mellowed a bit, often playing music that is more lyrical, thoughtful and directly from the heart. I find this disc to be often touching with some exquisite playing from all, something quite different from what we usually hear from Downtown’s finest like Jacob Sacks or Ches Smith. Superb and often sublime. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DARREN JOHNSTON / CARMEN STAAF / MICHAEL FORMANEK - Breathing Room (Minus Zero Recordings; USA) Breathing Room is Darren Johnston on trumpet, Carmen Staaf on piano and Michael Formanek on contrabass. Former west coast trumpeter, Darren Johnston, has kept busy since he moved here, working with a variety of musicians and even conducting an improv orchestra for Steve Gauci’s Wednesday Night Music Series at the Main Drag in Brooklyn. Mr. Johnston records infrequently and recently left us with two discs. This trio features Carmen Staaf on piano (last seen working with Allison Miller and Jenny Scheinman) and Downtown contrabass great Michael Formanek (bassist for Thumbscrew, Tim Berne & several of his own bands). Darren Johnston composed five of the nine pieces here with three trio improv and an Ornette Coleman cover. The music here is lovely, sad and haunting. “The Secret Meaning of Things” is a solemn ballad with sublime trumpet (sounding more like a flugelhorn), nimble bass and elegant piano. The melody is quite touching, soul-stirring, enchanting, the bass solo an exquisite delight. “The Highland Bluff” sounds like familiar standard that we seem to recall from somewhere but can’t place a name upon. Formanek’s bass swings or walks through, providing a certain bounce that feels good to hear. The reason that Mr. Johnston chose Mr. Formanek is that Formanek is a master bassist who can keep the central rhythmic and bottom end together without the use of a drummer. Mr. Formanek sounds great, burning underneath the piano & trumpet especially on the title track. Pianist Carmen Staaf also shows off her dazzling abilities on this song as well. Not sure who “The Forever People” are but Mr. Johnston’s composing is once more tasty, memorable and quietly inventive. Both Mr. Johnston and Ms. Staaf takes charming solos here. “Fragments of Olympian Gossip” has an odd title yet the music is heartwarming, tender and elegant with a more rambunctious mid-section, strong piano and trumpet pushing the vibe higher. It is always great to hear an Ornette Coleman cover especially when someone pushes it into another detour. I always dug Ornette’s “Round Trip” (from ’New York is Now!’), which has an infectious, uplifting vibe and another fine solo from Darren Johnston’s distinctive trumpet. This disc is a strong, spirited and modest effort which needs to played over and over to help deal with the more elements which distract of from the beauty or spirit that we all seek. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DIETRICHS - Catch the Leaves (Relative Pitch Records 1175; USA) The Dietrichs are Don Dietrich on tenor sax and his daughter Camille Dietrich on cello. I went to a Davey Williams Memorial concert at Roulette a few months ago and caught a set with improvising orchestra playing music inspired by Dave Williams’ style of organized improvisation. There was a young cellist upfront that I didn’t recognize as well as an older tenor saxist who I did recognize, Don Dietrich from the legendary improv extremists Borbetomagus. Borbetomagus are/were one of the most intense and explosive hardcore improv units ever. They were made of two saxists (Jim Sauter & Don Dietrich) who amplified their axes and a guitarist (Donald Miller) who played his guitar with a file. When their guitarist moved to New Orleans a couple decades ago, the band only played on rare occasions. Both saxists have been doing other projects over the past decade. Mr. Dietrich seems to record infrequently with just an obscure solo offering on Feeding Tube which came out in 2020. I am always glad when new cellists pop up in the Downtown scene, check out Chris Hoffman, Leila Bordreuil, Mariel Roberts or Aliya Ultan, for the most recent batch of Downtown’s finest. Like the scary sounds of Borbetomagus, this duo also erupts intensely with wailing cello and amplified sax. It sounds as if Camille Dietrich is also amplifying her cello but it is hard to tell, she is getting some more extreme bent-note sounds throughout, sounds which are only gotten from the extended techniques of experimental cello playing. The amplifier has a way of making both the instrument sound similar or at play within a certain range. At first, I thought that this disc was mostly noisy but as the disc evolves, both musicians find a common ground with only moments or sections of noisy improv erupting. The hard-hitting Relative Pitch label is most likely the only label that would release this disc so my hat is off to their unique and often challenging way of unleashing this music to a world that needs to be challenged. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JAMES MOORE - Desolation Pops (New World Records 80839; USA) "James Moore (b. 1979) is a composer with an eye toward the world of games and experimental theater. He's an electric guitarist who's willing and eager to treat his instrument as a playground, not a reverent, static tradition. He's a tinkerer, a charmer, and a fella who's always up for another round at the bar of wacky ideas and intellectual questioning. He's excited for new and unexpected opportunities for collaboration, but always maintains a voice that seems to stay recognizably his own throughout the myriad projects he takes on as his life's work. The beautiful pieces on this album -- Lowlands (2017) for accordion and voices; Clair-Obscur (2018) for triple harp; Desolation Pops (2016-18) for piano and string quartet -- reflect those playful and curious penchants of this music-maker extraordinaire. You'll hear comforting clarity, choreographed awkwardness, sudden synchronies, and inexplicable noises on this record. Put on your coziest vintage sweater, grab a classy cocktail in a quirky heirloom glass and get ready to give your ears a treat as you tour the stringed and unstringed sounds of Desolation Pops." - Lainie Fefferman (from the liner notes)
THOMAS BUCKNER // ROBERT ASHLEY - Spontaneous Musical Invention (Recital 098; USA) “Recital presents a new double album of rarely heard Robert Ashley compositions performed by baritone singer Thomas Buckner. In the 1960s, Robert Ashley pioneered the American avant-garde with the ONCE Group and festivals, before irrefutably changing the face of American opera later in the 20th century. Buckner, in addition to running the fabulous 1750 Arch record label in the 1970s and '80s, is a noted baritone who has collaborated for decades with the likes of Roscoe Mitchell, Annea Lockwood, and the late Noah Creshevsky, amongst countless others. The title of the album, Spontaneous Musical Invention, refers to Ashley's method of instructing the singer to do what he called "spontaneous musical invention based on the declamation of the text." A vocal practice that Thomas Buckner perfected over the 33 years that he collaborated with Ashley. First performing in Ashley's 1984 opera Atalanta (Acts of God), Buckner continued on as an integral performer in the ensemble until Ashley's death in 2014. The album is composed of two halves, the first is a new rendering of Ashley's second opera Atalanta (Acts of God). Robert Ashley wrote about ten hours of music for the opera Atalanta, divided into three acts: "Max", for the surrealist artist Max Ernst; "Willard", for the composer's uncle, Willard Reynolds, a great story teller; and "Bud", for Bud Powell, the great jazz pianist and composer. One is invited to construct a version using any material from these ten hours. Over the years they worked together, Thomas Buckner commissioned three reworkings of arias from Atalanta that he could perform in concert: the "Odalisque" aria from Max, "The Mystery of the River" from "Willard", and "The Producer Speaks" from "Bud". So, this first section of the album is one of many possible versions of Atalanta, albeit in strikingly different versions from the originals. The second section of the album is dubbed "Occasional Pieces", and holds two unpublished Ashley works. "When Famous Last Words Fail You" and "World War III Just the Highlights" are not from any Ashley opera. However, each is highly dramatic and theatrical. They were written as standalone pieces for Thomas Buckner. Buckner's distinct vocal cadence projects the sharp wit and wry storytelling of Ashley's librettos. A portion of the record was recorded live at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY, at an intimate memorial concert held for Robert Ashley in 2014. Spontaneous Musical Invention, in essence, functions as a tribute to both exceptional artists, and to their decades of collaboration. Includes 24-page booklet of Ashley librettos, scores, and program notes, with an introduction written by Alvin Lucier.
CD $19 / 2 LP Set $48
WERNER DAFELDECKER - Neural (Room40 4191LP; Australia) “Austrian composer and musician Werner Dafeldecker has carved out a pathway through the avant-garde that takes in the artforms most intensive and evocative characteristics. A founding member of contemporary sound unit Polwechsel and collaborator to artists such as John Tilbury, Sachiko M, Fennesz, and Lawrence English (amongst others), his solo output has picked up intensity over recent years. Neural, a career defining edition from him, pairs two works that highlights his pre-occupation with timbre, stillness and subtle dynamism. They are works of patience and delicate but inescapable tension, a profound balancing act that lands the pieces deep within our minds ear. Features: Nicholas Bussmann (cello); Judith Hamann - cello; John Heilbron - double bass; Lucio Capece - bass clarinet and Wolfgang Seidl - gongs.
A note from Werner Dafeldecker: "For whatever reason, I have always found the idea of using alien material as the structuring element of an artistic process exciting. That doesn't mean the elements always stay, but rather I often remove them right at the end of the creative process. This working method creates areas of tension that reflect the artistic process on a different emotional level. It reduces the sense of creation and moves more toward accomplishment. This method applies to both pieces of this phonogram in a similar way. Neural places sound surfaces as its central focus and is inspired by the idea that neural networks develop a memory when they repeatedly send information. The ensemble focuses on vibrations and rhythmic variations of the overtones, which are caused by dynamics and pitch shifts in the microtonal range. With the passage of time and performance practice, spherical, acoustic stamps become established, caused by the conscious perception of when rhythm changes into sound sensation and vice versa. For 'Tape 231' I re-discovered a long-forgotten music cassette in my archive which contained peculiar percussive electronic sounds. As Lucio and I worked on the recordings of his elongated tones and multi-phonics I again was drawn to the idea to use the tape sounds primarily as a structuring element for the piece, (time, density, dynamics) only to be left out afterwards. The targeted handling of hidden structures evokes a somewhat stubborn emotionality when dealing with creative processes, I like that."
HASTINGS OF MALAWI - Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth (Klanggalerie GG405; Germany) A classic masterpiece from 1981, never re-released on CD before. Originally 1000 copies pressed on orange/red vinyl. 120 copies were sold through Rough Trade and Virgin Records. 800 copies were bought and later destroyed by the United Dairies label, making this record even more rare. Hastings of Malawi were Heman Pathak, David Hodes and John Grieve. They recorded the album in one night in 1981 with no plan and no idea of what they were doing. They played drums, clarinet, synthesizer and piano but also made use of things that they found lying around the studio - old records, cookery books, telephone directories and a telephone. The recordings were played down the phone to randomly dialed numbers and the reactions added to the recording. All three had been involved in the recording of the first Nurse with Wound album Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella and had contributed metal scrapings, piano, effects, clarinet and guitar during the session.”
HORACE SILVER with KENNY DORHAM / DONALD BYRD / BLUE MITCHELL / JUNIOR COOK / HANK MOBLEY / CURLY RUSSELL / ART BLAKEY / LOUIS HAYES - The Classic Blue Note Collection (Enlightenment 9211; EEC) Born September 2, 1928, Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva - later to be known as Horace Silver - was among the most accomplished American jazz pianists and composers of all time; coming out of the hard bop school of jazz, Silver was known for his distinctive playing style and pioneering compositional contributions to the form. Influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel, African music, and Latin American, Silver also later ventured into the soul-jazz genre. This 4CD collection features Horace Silver's eight finest Blue Note albums, made between 1952 and 1963, the first, and many would say most productive and challenging, decade of this masterful composer, performer and musician's career. Despite living a long and hugely influential life, Horace Silver sadly passed away on June 18th 2014, albeit at the age of 85 and of natural causes, having generally enjoyed good health until his final hour. This compilation serves as both an ideal starting point for those new to Horace Silver's music, and as a perfect reminder for those already familiar. Albums included are: ‘Horace Silver & the Jazz messengers’, ‘6 Pieces of Silver’, ’The Stylings of Silver’, ‘Finger Poppin’’, ‘Blowin' the Blues Away’, “The Tokyo Blues’ and ’Silver’s Serenade’.
4 CD Set $18
ANTONIA TRICARICO - The Inner Ear of Don Zientara: A Half Century of Recording in One of America's Most Innovative Studios, Through the Voices of Musicians (Akashic Books 9781636140926; USA) "In the late 1970s, Don Zientara -- a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War -- founded Inner Ear Studio in the basement of his home in Arlington, VA, using the electronics training he received from the army. Inner Ear remained in Don's basement until its 1990 relocation to a larger space on South Oakland Street. Along the way, Inner Ear became best known for recording iconic DC punk musicians including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Mary Timony, and Fugazi. Composed by photographer Antonia Tricarico, The Inner Ear of Don Zientara is an oral history of not just Inner Ear's recordings, but the role that Don played in creating one of the most welcoming and nurturing recording studios the world over. Alongside 250 photographs, this volume includes testimonials from members of Fugazi, Scream, Fire Party, Shudder to Think, Jawbox, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dismemberment Plan, as well as musicians like Kathleen Hanna and Henry Rollins, among other notables. In addition to DC punk bands, Don also recorded many other styles and genres, including Celtic folk tunes, harp music, Russian balalaika groups, political advertisers, and choral singers. The studio was also featured on Dave Grohl's Sonic Highways television mini-series. The Inner Ear of Don Zientara pays tribute to this iconic studio, celebrating the man at the heart of this remarkable space." Hardcover; 160 pages.
BILL PERRINE - Alien Territory: Radical, Experimental, & Irrelevant Music In 1970s San Diego (Billingsgate Media MVD 12596BK; USA) "From trailer park punks to Pulitzer Prize winners, this is the untold story of a sleepy Navy town that became the unlikely gathering point for some of the most innovative, unclassifiable American artists of their time. The late '60s arrival of Harry Partch -- hobo composer, iconoclast and inventor of instruments such as the Harmonic Canon and Quadrangularis Reversum -- jump started a revolution that was as much social as it was musical, drawing on the occult, self-realization and radical political movements of '70s Southern California. Artists as diverse as Partch, Pauline Oliveros, Kenneth Gaburo, Roger Reynolds, Diamanda Galás, Warren Burt, David Dunn, Robert Turman and Master Wilburn Burchette may have pursued different paths -- Sonic Meditations, compositional linguistics, microtonal scales, invented instruments, cutting edge electronics, underwater synthesizers, Tibetan throat singing, environmental sound, pure noise -- but they also sought to dismantle the systems of American life and replace them with a radically inclusive and socially responsive aesthetic that looked to the future even when it sometimes referenced a distant, idyllically imagined past. In their pursuit of 'Irrelevant Music' -- Kenneth Gaburo's term for an untainted music free of constraint and compromise -- these disparate artists constitute a shadow history of American experimental music far removed from the European and East Coast models of the time." 264 pages, paperback, packed with photos. “
JEANNE LEE / GUNTER HAMPEL / SVEN-AKE JOHANSSON / MICHEL WAISVISZ / FREDDY GOSSEYE - Scheisse '71 (BLACK TRUFFLE BT 103LP; Australia) “Following on from the Bergisch-Brandenburgisches Quartett's anarchic Live '82 (BT 095LP, 2022), Black Truffle continues its deep dive into the archives of legendary drummer/accordionist/photographer/composer/conceptual prankster Sven-Åke Johansson with Scheisse '71. Recorded in November 1971 during the Berliner Jazztage at a heavy-hitting concert that also included the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and groups led by Peter Brötzmann, Manfred Schoof, and Masahiko Sato, Scheisse '71 is the only document of a wild, otherwise unrecorded quintet featuring Johansson on drums, accordion, and oboe d'amore, legendary free jazz vocalist Jeanne Lee, her husband Gunter Hampel on vibes, flute and bass clarinet, live electronics pioneer Michael Waisvisz on modified Putney (VCS 3) synthesizer, and the unknown Freddy Gosseye on electric bass. Part of a festival centered on giants of jazz like Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, the radical performance shocked its audience, who can be heard heckling and yelling abuse at points, including the titular exclamation of "Scheiße!" Clocking at just over half an hour and recorded in raw but detailed stereo by Johansson himself, the music burns with intensity while also making room for spacious passages and frequent dynamic movement. Beginning with Lee's voice, Hampel on flute, and Johansson on oboe d'amore in a bird-like game of call and response, the unexpected entry of Waisvisz's tortured, squelching synth bursts prompts the first of many changes in energy and instrumentation, as Gosseye's busy, roving bass enters and Johansson moves to the kit, his swinging cymbal work and juddering toms extending the approach of Sunny Murray or early Milford Graves. The presence of synthesizer, electric bass, and Lee's highly amplified voice moves the quintet away from conventional free jazz textures, at times pushing into zones of abstract free sound reminiscent of what groups like MEV, AMM, or Johansson's MND were exploring in the same years. But the energy and joyful melodicism of the music keep it rooted in the tradition of American fire music and its European inheritors. Capable of changing gears in an instant from ferocious blow outs to fragile tapestries of chiming vibes and fizzing synth, the music finds space for Lee's post-bop free scat (which integrates shrieks and howls just as a post-Ayler saxophonist might), Gosseye's virtuosic bass runs (a rare attempt to apply the classic free jazz style of players like Alan Silva or Henry Grimes to the electric instrument), Johansson's folkish accordion interjections, and even a sustained passage of unison bass clarinet and electric bass riffing in its second half. Special mention should be made of Waisvisz's Putney performance, one of the earliest documents of this under-recorded instrument inventor and player. Arriving in a stylish sleeve with beautiful black and white photographs by Johansson, Scheisse '71 is an essential recording that adds yet another layer to our appreciation of this golden era of radical free music.”
JOHN MAYALL & THE BLUESBREAKERS Featuring ERIC CLAPTON, JOHN MCVIE, MICK TAYLOR - Live at the BBC Radio and Radio Bremen 1966-1969 (Outsider Outs 010LP; Italy) Remastered live recordings of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, made for the BBC and German radio and television during the '60s. The recordings feature Eric Clapton, John McVie, Mick Taylor, and others. The roots of British blues revealed! Clear vinyl.
BIG BLOOD - First Aid Kit (Feeding Tube Records 722LP; USA) “Feeding Tube in collaboration with Ba Da Bing present: "She can be a real pain in the ass," is how Big Blood's Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella describe having their daughter as a member of the band they formed in the wake of Cerberus Shoal's dissolution. A band made up of family seems like an ideal situation. You get to play with those you love, and practicing/recording is always just a matter of going into the next room . . . Quinnissa, who was 13 when First Aid Kit was recorded has skills . . . Quinnisa's voice has developed into an astonishing powerhouse of force. While she has been contributing to Big Blood records almost since birth, First Aid Kit solidifies her clear talent. All her lyrics are improvised in the moment while recording, a real shock to realize considering how insightful and perfectly suited to the song they are. 'Never Ending Nightmare' candidly and perfectly describes the anxieties of being a teenager today. Or the heartache of '1000 Times' . . . Teenage impulses fit right in with the band's intent, which is making music that's honest, inclusive and flawed. Inventiveness in the moment wins out over belabored, repeated takes, as the group is in a constant state of creation. Songs sound fully built and realized, but they actually rise out of improvisation. Big Blood channel the moment and let go once they finish . . . Mulkerin's descriptions of different songs on the record run like faint recalled dreams . . . Many songs touch on the fear and horrors outside a safe home space, fitting for a record made during COVID. They sing about their feelings in the moment, so lyrics are often topical. 'Makes Me Wonder' is about Ma'kihia Bryant, a 16 year-old black girl shot by police. While any fan of the band will tell you that no two albums sound very much alike, First Aid Kit displaying for the first time their affinity for the emotional effects of bands like The Cure, Bauhaus and The Clean, there's a clear thread throughout all their records. First, there's Kinsella's voice, which pivots from upbeat fun to pure dread, presumably based on how she was feeling that day she recorded. Secondly, Mulkerin's production preserves layers of could-have-beens by keeping the ghostly presence of past takes alive in the background of tracks like subliminal thoughts. Their songs achieve the double satisfaction of being immediate, catchy and memorable, while also revealing inner depths at repeated listens. Some of the best experimental music is cloaked as mundane. First Aid Kit was recorded entirely at the family's home onto 1" eight-track tape. It achieves the magic of capturing a moment and making a lasting impression. There aren't many family bands, and there's definitely no other band like this." --Ben Goldberg
ZOMES - Love's Lessons (Feeding Tube Records 677LP; USA) "Fifth vinyl album (there have been four cassettes as well) by this Baltimore-based duo with international roots. Zomes began as a solo project by Asa Osbourne (ex-Lungfish, The Pupils), and recorded mostly solo drone-based instrumentals for several years. While performing at a festival in Stockholm, Asa met vocalist Hanna Olivegren, who shared his musical conceptions. Zomes's first record as a duo was 2013's Time Was (Thrill Jockey), and they have remained a two-piece ever since. The music on Love's Lessons is largely built around Asa's simple keyboard washes and drum box, atop which Hanna's vocals stroll like Little Red Riding Hood walking through the Black Forest. The overall effect is beautiful and lulling, with a dream pop vibe very much in line with Kendra Smith's monumental 1995 album, Five Ways of Disappearing. Spare and otherworldly, additional possible comparisons can be made to Young Marble Giants or Damon & Naomi. Zomes's material shares the same sort of genteel literary feel those combos broadcast. Something about the pacing at which the vocals are presented makes them feel weighted with promise, and this heft carries over to the instrumentation as well. There's no fat or excess to the music's skeleton. Hanna's voice carries the full range of Love's Lessons' melodic content, but it's the rich harmonic range of Asa's keys (and maybe guitar in one spot?) that give the whole its ghostly weight and depth. A brilliant record that delivers an unending stream of warm electric shocks."
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
THIS FROM EXPERIMENTAL VOCALIST KYOKO KITAMURA:
Matthew Barney's five-channel video installation Secondary [https://secondary.matthewbarney.net] is on view until June 25th, at his huge sculpture studio along the bank of the East River. Late last year, I was a member of a quartet of vocalists working intensively for a month at the studio; Secondary's music has been created almost entirely from those sessions, human voices in its infinite natural extended iterations, masterfully edited by composer Jonathan Bepler for the multi-channel experience. Only when I finally saw the work, did I begin to understand the depth, complexity, symbolisms and how the elements fit beautifully and powerfully together. (On a side note, I have a small on-screen role as a football referee even though I know absolutely nothing about football, the only sport I worship being F1 motor racing.)
THIS ONE COMES FROM ABBY LONDON:
My name is Abby London-Crawford. I was the screening coordinator for Stephanie J. Castillo’s film, "Night Bird Song, the Incandescent Life of Thomas Chapin," and one of its associate producers.
Sadly, as most of you know by now, Stephanie passed away in early March. We are still mourning this award-winning documentary filmmaker and compassionate, soulful person. Before her passing Stephanie was developing another important project, which would have been her 11th documentary film.
I am sending this letter to friends, and those who knew Stephanie and her extensive documentary work, to tell you about a proposed tribute to her. And what each of us can do to make it a success.
We wish to establish an endowed scholarship fund for cinema students in Stephanie's name at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School for Cinematic Arts. Stephanie was always a mentor, a remarkable teacher and loved working with students throughout her career. Stephanie started as a journalist and writer, skills she used well as a wonderful story teller in her films. She understood why people needed these stories and how they were uplifted by them.
In order for this scholarship to be endowed it has to be at least funded at the $46,000 level. It also has a specific deadline, September 15, 2023, to raise these funds.
I ask each of you to forward this letter, (or personalize it), and pass it along throughout your social platforms/networks; to send out an urgent appeal broadly to your contacts encouraging them all to donate, whatever they can, so that this tribute will become reality.
Here is the link that Stephanie's family has established which connects to the University of Hawaii’s donation site: https://giving.uhfoundation.org/funds/13026704. (All contributions are tax deductible.)
I apologize if this appeal has been duplicated here. We wanted to make sure we reached those who can help spread the word. I know we can do this together and celebrate our dear friend and her artistry.
Expressing why her film about Thomas Chapin was important for her to do, she said that the film was..."to ensure his legacy...honor him, his music and his story." We have a chance to do the same for Stephanie. Looking to the future the cinema students, who will be helped by this scholarship, will gratefully thank you too. - Respectfully Yours, Abby London
The late saxist/composer/bandleader, Thomas Chapin, was a good friend of mine for last decade of his short life. I often helped him and one of his bands, Machine Gun, get gigs in NJ and NY on several occasions. I was interviewed for and appear briefly in the film mentioned above. If you haven’t seen this film and Creative Music/Spiritual Jazz inspires you, I urge you to check this film out. It is an outstanding documentary about an important jazz saxist who burned brightly, ascending in international recognition until his untimely passing of leukemia in 1998. If you do know about Thomas Chapin and have seen the doc, I urge you to consider donating to this very worthy cause. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org