2017-08-23 Xe

Xe by Zs.

Since I’ve been recently playing with digital tools for recording and manipulating sound, it is interesting to listen through a release like Xe where nearly every track involves some sort of effect or looping.

I can’t quite decide how I feel about listening to albums where it almost seems more like a showcase for digital effects than a recording of people playing together.

Said the pot to the kettle.

In any case, a very interesting album.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Xe #Zs

2017-08-22 Dark Days & Canapés

Dark Days & Canapés by Ghostpoet.

It’s usually worthwhile to check out audio artists shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Obaru Ejimiwe, aka Ghostpoet, is no exception.

A master of the artistically deployed vocal fry, his soundscapes have been sounding more and more rock-ish lately, while still maintaining a pleasant noisiness.

The Guardian describes this release as, “languid and assured,” which is about right.

#Ghostpoet #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DarkDaysAndCanapés #graffitti

2017-08-21 Strange Days II

Strange Days II

Strange Days II by Wolf Eyes.

A new EP or album by Wolf Eyes, one of my favorite purveyors of electro-acoustic skronk, (or PyschoJazz, as they like to put it,) is always a cause for spending some time zoning out and contemplating the phase shifting of time and space through acoustic alchemy.

My main complaint about this new two song EP is that it is far too short. Or maybe it is too long. Who can say?

#Wolfeyes #PsychoJazz #JimBaljo #JohnOlson #NateYoung

The Wayfaring Stranger

Poor Wayfaring Stranger


As I mentioned, my plan for the next phase is to do more arranging.

For “The Wayfaring Stranger”, I challenged myself to write a piano part along with the 4 clarinet parts.

Clarinet/Piano Arrangement:Poor_Wayfaring_Stranger

Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except I ran into a weird problem with Apple’s GarageBand about half way through.

I’d written a part for the piano, exported it to a midi file. And whenever I imported it into GarageBand, it started doing some sort of weird auto-transposing of all the other parts. It took me about a week, but I finally figured out what was going on.

If you choose the option to “Import Tempo Information” from your midi track, GarageBand does this. I have no idea why, but the easy solution is to choose not to import Tempo Information from your midi track.

The Wayfaring Stranger” is thought to be a traditional American song, but no one knows for sure where it comes from.

Some historians have traced its genesis to the 1780s, others, the early 1800s. Depending on who you’re talking to the song may be a reworked black spiritual, a lifted native hymn, or even a creation of nomadic Portuguese settlers from the southern Appalachian region.

It has been covered, as far as I can tell, by just about everyone in the universe.

Harmonically, the melody is quite similar, being Pentatonic, to the Irish song, “Keg of Brandy,” and the Who’s, “Behind Blue Eyes,” among many other songs.

One of my favorite songs.

1 I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger,
I’m trav’ling through this world below;
There is no sickness, toil, nor danger,
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my father,
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

2 I know dark clouds will gather o’er me,
I know my pathway’s rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me,
Where weary eyes no more shall weep.
I’m going there to see my mother,
She said she’d meet me when I come;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

3 I want to sing salvations story,
In concert with the blood-washed band;
I want to wear a crown of glory,
When I get home to that good land.
I’m going there to see my brothers,
They passed before me one by one;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

4 I’ll soon be free from every trial,
This form will rest beneath the sod;
I’ll drop the cross of self-denial,
And enter in my home with God.
I’m going there to see my Saviour,
Who shed for me His precious blood;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

2017-08-18 Repetitions of the Old City I

Repetitions of the Old City – I

Repetitions of the Old City – I by Jack O’ The Clock.

Prog-ish avant-folk rock, (or some other combination of those words,) which to my ears owes a bit to the work of bands like Henry Cow and Aksak Maboul.

I was unaware of this Bay Area band until I noticed that one of the people I’ve met through the monthly free improv gatherings in Oakland plays with them.

A very pleasant surprise!

Now to manage to get myself out of the house they next time they have a concert.

#JackOTheClock #RepetitionsoftheOldCityI #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-17 Incidentals


Incidentals by Tim Berne’s Snakeoil aka Tim Berne, Ryan Ferreira, Matt Mitchell, Oscar Noriega, and Ches Smith (with special guest David Torn on a couple tracks). This is the 4th Snakeoil album on ECM and the 5th overall, if you count the Anguis Oleum live CD included with the Berne/Byram Book “Spare”. Also, the 2nd Snakeoil album with guitars.

I’ve been watching Berne for, uh, I don’t know how long. I guess, the first release which really caught my eye was the anxiety inducing, yet hilarious, “Fractured Fairy Tales” from 1989. So, crap, at least 28 years.

I was initially hesitant about the addition of Ferreira’s guitar to the Snakeoil mix, but I think they have really found a place for it to work and add tension and drama to the group’s compositions.

This is a great addition to Snakeoil and Berne’s body of work, and maybe Snakeoil’s best album so far.

If you’re in the Bay Area, or mobile, Snakeoil will be playing SF Jazz’ Henderson Lab on Saturday, September 23rd.

#TimBerne #RyanFerreira #MattMitchell #OscarNoriega #ChesSmith #davidtorn# SFJazz #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-16 Verisimilitude


Verisimilitude by Tyshawn Sorey, Corey Smythe, and Chris Tordini.

According to the dictionary, “verisimilitude” means, “the appearance of being true or real”. This is the second album from Sorey’s trio with Smythe on piano and Tordini on bass.

The thing I really enjoy about this release, is their use of space and silence. Makes it a really great album to contemplate. They aren’t filling every second with expression and noise. But it isn’t lacking in expression, either.

Quite beautiful, actually, in a very real sense.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TyshawnSorey #CoreySmythe #ChrisTordini #verisimilitude

2017-08-15 The Blue

The Blue

The Blue Yusef Lateef.

I’m not super familiar with Yusef Lateef. I know he was a multi-instrumentalist who was one of the first late-20th Century Jazz artists to embrace Middle Eastern and Asian musical influences.

This album is primarily about embracing the influences of African American folk, work, and popular idioms in Jazz.

In the 40s and 50s, it wasn’t really cool to overtly play the blues if you were a Jazz Artist. A lot of early Jazz and Blues artists were reviled for what was viewed by younger Jazz artists as “Uncle Tom-ing” or pandering to white audiences for commercial gain. Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong come to mind, as artists who were thought of in this manner.

However, when artists in the Folk, Skiffle, and British Invasion rediscovered and revisited African American folk traditions, African American Jazz and popular artists also began to revisit these musics and traditions.

At best, this album sounds like a person joyfully rediscovering his musical roots. At worst, (Moon Cup,) from the remove of the 21st Century, it sounds like a dilettante artist parodying Asian American speech and musical traditions without having the remotest idea about the rules or structures of those traditions.

#YusefLateef #BlueMitchell #SonnyRed #BuddyLucas #HughLawson #KennyBurrell #CecilMcBee #BobCranshaw #RoyBrooks #SelwartClarke #JamesTryon #AlfredBrown #KermitMoore #TheSweetInspirations

2017-08-14 Cost of Living

Cost of Living

Cost of Living by Downtown Boys.

It’s always interesting to see where a band goes on its second album.

In the case of Downtown Boys, “getting better” seems to mean: more chord changes, a less prominent place for the sax, occasional synths, and more overdubbing.

Not bad, but instead of moving towards more dissonance and chaos, they seem to be moving towards a sort of Midnight Oil-esque fusion of politics and pop music. “Promissory Note” is probably my favorite track.

#DowntownBoys #CostOfLiving #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Lutheran Hymnal Project: Saints’ Days and Minor Festivals

Lutherans don’t do “Saints” with quite the same vigor that Catholics do, we just have a few people who were a little crazy about Church. So this is a little bit of a downer way to finish up the project. Some nice hymns, though.

Lutheran Hymnal Project: Saints’€™ Days and Minor Festivals, by Erik Ellestad

13 track album

Source: erikellestad.bandcamp.com/album/lutheran-hymnal-project-saints-days-and-minor-festivals