2017-11-17 Jaap Vink

Jaap Vink

Jaap Vink by Jaap Vink.

Boomkat Link: Jaap Vink

Jaap Vink was a member of the Institut for Sonology in Utrecht. This is a retrospective collection of his mostly unreleased work spanning 1968-1985.

If the long decays and abstract soundscapes of William Basinski are your sort of thing, you will find a lot to like in Mr Vink’s pioneering work.

Stretch your mind and elasticize your sense of time with a drug free trip through possible cosmos.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JaapVink #EditionsMego #RECOLLECTIONGRM

2017-11-16 A Muscal Improvisation Company

A Musical Improvisation Company

A Musical Improvisation Company by Derek Bailey, Hugh Davies, Christine Jeffrey, Jamie Muir, and Evan Parker.

Recently, the ECM label made much of its catalog of recordings available to stream from most of the major streaming services. ECM has a ridiculously diverse and rich catalog of music from Mal Waldron’s “Free At Last”, released in 1969, onwards, with everything from folk to jazz to new composed music represented.

One of the earliest artifacts of the UK “Free Improvisation” scene, “A Musical Improvisation Company”, was released on ECM in 1970.

As you can perhaps tell, I am interested in the intersections of Composition and Coincidence. Music and Noise. Nature and Art. Silence and Sound.

While the New York Free Music scene worked out its transcendental Fire Music, the English improvised music scenes, along with groups related to the AACM in the US, developed something more like instantly composed modern classical music. That is, they incorporated more textural and non-tonal elements in their playing, instead of just energy.

This record is a great exploration of those ideas, and, some 47 years later, still thought provoking.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AMusicalImprovisationCompany #ECMRecordings #DerekBailey #HughDavies #ChristineJeffrey #JamieMuir #Evan Parker

2017-11-15 Worse for the Wear


Worse for the Wear by Ballister.

Bandcamp Link: Worse for the Wear

Most recent release from Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Paal Nilssen-Love’s Ballister ensemble.

Energetic and eclectic free jazz from three great players recorded live at Constellation in Chicago. Sax, Cello, Percussion, and a little bit of electronics.

They say, “On this recording…Ballister’s trademark raw energy is tempered by a mix of introspective soundscapes and moments of quiet beauty…” I won’t disagree.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Ballister #DaveRempis #FredLonbergHolm #PaalNilssenLove #WorseForTheWear #CatalyticSound

2017-11-14 Barber: Adagio for Strings; Ives: Symphony No. 3; Copland: Quiet City, etc.

Barber: Adagio for Strings; Ives: Symphony No. 3; Copland: Quiet City, etc.

Barber: Adagio for Strings; Ives: Symphony No. 3; Copland: Quiet City, etc. by Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, (Neville Marriner,) 1987.

I read about the SF Symphony performing Ives’ Symphony No 3 this week, and a friend is very inspired by Ives’ work, so I thought I should give it a listen.

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is generally a reliable ensemble.

For me, Ives’ work is a little hard to hear. So much of it ended up influencing 20th Century film music that it really is difficult to hear his inventions for themselves without thinking of the music and composers who borrowed from him.

His Symphony No 3 is a very nice piece, though I find myself grooving a bit more to the Barber and Copland.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #IvesSymphonyNo3 #CoplandQuietCity #BarberAdagioForStrings

2017-11-13 Absent Personae

Absent Personae

Absent Personae by Kepla and DeForest Brown, Jr.

Boomkat Link: Absent Personae
“The piece is a post-industrial Dérive considering the psychological liminal zones between old and new industry and urbanity, the changing landscapes of labor: a fractured genealogical memory trace obscured by intercepted signals and the liquidating flux of late capitalism.” From the liner notes.

Uh, right.

Basically, we have a sound landscape created by digitally manipulating the sounds of Afro-European and African-American culture. The sounds are often a-rhythmically bent, spindled, and mutilated beyond recognition. Into this base sound environment, DeForest Brown, Jr, occasionally intones, Andy Fairley-like, upon the nature of the “black body”, scars, and cultural issues.

Similar, I suppose, in practice, to Jlin’s Black Origami, but quite different in result, largely due to the fact that Kepla and Brown do not impose a rhythmic framework beyond the normal cadences of the human voice.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Kepla #DeForestBrownJr #AbsentPersonae

2017-11-09 Glorious Ravage

Glorious Ravage

Glorious Ravage by Lisa Mezzacappa.

Label Link: Glorious Ravage

A song cycle inspired by the letters of female adventurers and explorers of the late 19th and early 20th century featuring the vocals of Fay Victor. “The idea for Glorious Ravage was born from my first musical meeting with Fay Victor, in fall of 2011 … our musical chemistry was instant, and I knew I needed to write for her unique talents. I started composing trio music, and in my search for texts that would become lyrics, I began with Fay’s journey west, from where she lives in Brooklyn, New York, to the Bay Area. I had also made that journey years before, not knowing where it would lead. So I began reading journals, letters and travelogues of women who had made epic trips—first pioneer women headed west in covered wagons, then all sorts of women from all over the world, each of them hitting the road for their own reasons.” Lisa Mezzacappa, September, 2015.

A large ensemble recording featuring amazing performers, this is a sort of Art-Jazz Song Cycle. A bit Jazzy, a bit Proggy, and a bit Symphonic. An outstanding, and extremely ambitious, release from Ms Mezzacappa.

#LisaMezzacappa #GloriousRavage #FayVictor #NicoleMitchell #KyleBruckmann #VinnyGolia #CoryWright #DarrenJohnston #MichaelDessen #DinaMacabee #JohnFinkbeiner #MarkDresser #MyraMelford #KjellNordeson #TimPerkis #JordanGlenn

2017-11-08 Magic Circle

Magic Circle

Magic Circle by Sam Newsome and Jean-Michel Pilc.

Label Link: Magic Circle

An album of Soprano Saxophone and Piano duets. 
Newsome is one of the top, and most inventive, modern practitioners on the Soprano Sax.

Some standards and some original tunes.

I really like how both players mix in “out” techniques while remaining within the form of the tunes.

All the performances are great, but their take on Thelonious Monk’s Misterioso is particularly outstanding.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #SamNewsome #JeanMichelPilc

2017-11-07 Tooth


Tooth by Raime.

Bandcamp Link: Tooth

Raime is known for being, I dunno, kind of “goth” electronica. Spare, moody instrumentals. Dark.

Tooth is their most recent album.

There is a danger with sample and loop based music. Let’s call it “accretive music”. The challenge is providing enough variety, that it isn’t apparent you are simply playing several samples against each other. The equivalent of running two metronomes, simultaneously, at two different tempos.

I’m not sure that “tooth” rises to that challenge.

About all I can think about, as I listen, is identifying the loops, and hearing them play out.

There’s no real tension created, just a slight sense of atmospheric dread.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Raime #Tooth

2017-11-06 Bay Head


Bay Head by Gunn – Truscinski Duo.

Bandcamp Link: Bay Head

Steve Gunn, Guitar and John Truscinski, Percussion, are a long running Los Angeles based duo. The album sounds mostly live in studio with a little digital fx.

Another album I found out via online acquaintance @pfcidb.

Atmospheric and jammy, but not too spacey. Styles range from Surf to Spanish to Saharan to Blues to Television-esque squonk. Some drone interludes, essentially playing the amp. 
Really, quite enjoyable. It’s clear that the two really enjoy playing together and have a near psychic interplay that only comes with lasting familiarity.

#GunnTruscinskiDuo #SteveGunn #JohnTruscinski #BayHead

2017-11-03 Paimon: The Book of the Angels Volume 32


Paimon: The Book of Angels Volume 32. Mary Halvorson Quartet plays Masada Book Two.

Label Link: Paimon

Oddly, this is a fairly traditional Jazz album by Mary Halvorson, Miles Okazaki, Drew Gress, and Tomas Fujiwara. Two guitars, Bass, and Drums, respectively. For the most part both Halvorson and Okazaki keep their guitar tone fairly dry, limiting digital effects to the odd flourish.

Well, I suppose, “Fairly Traditional Modal Jazz in a Klezmer style”, would be a more accurate way to describe this album.

The impressive thing is the way the two guitarists double each other at intervals, playing the melodies with harmonies, rather than the traditional lead and rhythm guitar type arrangement. A nice bass solo from Gress and some impressive cymbal work from Fujiwara round out the album.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MaryHalvorson #Paimon #Tzadik #MaryHalvorsonQuartet #TomasFujiwara #DrewGress #milesokazaki