2017-09-21 Scrabbling at the Lock

Scrabbling at the Lock

Scrabbling at the Lock by The Ex and Tom Cora.

Reasonable people can disagree about things like, “Best Album”, but for me this collaboration between Dutch band The Ex and Skeleton Crew Cellist Tom Cora is among my favorites.

From the most casual guitar swipe to the ecstatic drum beats, everything fits together. It’s magic.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TheExNl #TheExBand #TomCora #TheExAndTomCora

2017-09-20 Time Lapse

Time Lapse

Time Lapse by Evan Parker.

Some solo, some multitracked, and some with real time electro-acoustics, all Soprano Sax. My understanding is these tracks were recorded and compiled over the course of several years.

Fairly accessible, as there is more traditional melodic content on this release than many of Parker’s other solo Soprano albums, this is still an outstanding tour de force from one of the great instrumentalists of our time.

Also, great titles like, “Those Doggone Dogon” and “Gees Bend”. Bonus points for a reference to one of my favorite Baudelaire prose poems with, “The Burden of Time”. 

#EvanParker #timelapse #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-09-18 Halo

Halo by Juana Molina.

Even though our cats do not enjoy the music of Ms Juana Molina, hunching in the corners of our house whenever we put her on, Mrs Flannestad and I are quite enthusiastic supporters.

On this new release, she seems to be broadening her sonic palette slightly by including some live percussion in her mix of loops and midi automation.

A new Juana Molina album is cause for celebration, and Halo is no exception.

Ms Molina will be playing Sep 25th at Great American Music Hall here in SF.

Hope to see you there!

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JuanaMolina #Halo

2017-09-15 Ardor


Ardor by Big | Brave.

When I saw Big | Brave open for SUNN O))), I thought their little Orange Amps and Drumset were kind of cute in front of SUNN O)))’s massive cabinets. But they put up a nice squall of feedback lightning and rumbling drum thunder.

On their new album, their first for Southern Lord, they deploy similar strategies to their previous efforts, slow tempos, extremely distorted guitars, and shout-sung lyrics.

I like that the lyrics seem to be about, from what I can decode, longing and loss, topics which seem a bit unusual to me, in music of the heavy nature.

My favorite song here is “Lull”, with its added amplified acoustic strings used to good effect.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BigBrave #Ardor #SouthernLordRecords

2017-09-14 Okovi


Okovi by Zola Jesus.

My first inclination is to take young Zola by the shoulders and say, “With the nearly limitless sonic palette and resources of the modern digital recording studio, this is the album you chose to make?! Are you trying to be a slightly morbid Katy Perry!? If so, you’ve succeeded.” Ms Jesus had come to my attention via some of her collaborators over the years, and I was a bit curious.

Google Play notified me that she had a new album, so my curiosity got the best of me.

Some days I regret my Commute Sountrack choices, but unless the album is so bad, I have to pull over, I am committed to listening to the whole thing.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #ZolaJesus #okovi

2017-09-13 Vespers


Vespers by the Steve Lacy Octet.

This is a great album. Everyone is at the top of their game. My favorite section is Ricky Ford’s Tenor solo on “If We Come Close”, I love how he moves easily between free playing and more traditional Jazz phrasing.

Listening to this, perhaps the most amazing thing is that the record got made at all. A large group recording of idiosyncratic jazz with sung-spoken texts based on the poems of a dissident Bulgarian Poet. Yeah, that’s going to sell a lot of copies.

Thank goodness someone at Soul Note had the foresight to green light this transcendental work.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #SteveLacy #IreneAebi #JeanJacquesAvenel #JohnBetsch #BobbyFew #RickyFord #StevePotts #TomVarner #SteveLacyOctet #Vespers

2017-09-12 Lark Uprising

Lark Uprising by the Mikolaj Trzaska Ircha Clarinet Quintet featuring Joe McPhee.

I found this album on Joe McPhee’s Bandcamp site and bought it because, well, Clarinets and Joe McPhee.

I was familiar with one of the members, Waclaw Zimpel, from his work with Ken Vandermark, but really didn’t know what to expect.

What a surprise, and what a reminder of how amazing clarinets can be in creative and talented hands. Definitely one of the most outstanding modern clarinet records I’ve run across.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JoeMcphee #MikolajTrzaska #WaclawZimpel #PawelSzamburski #MichalGórczynski #MikolajTrzaskaIrchaClarinetQuintet #CatalyticSound

2017-09-11 The Mockingbird

The Mockingbird

The Mockingbird by John Zorn.

Trio for Guitar, Harp, Vibraphone, and occasional Tubular Bells. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel, and Kenny Wollesen, respectively.

I find it interesting that Zorn, known for much of his early career for making difficult, dissonant music, is spending much of his later career making carefree, pleasant music, that wouldn’t be out of place in an elevator or airport.

This is arpeggio based music that brushes up against Aaron Copland, Ennio Morriocone, and Frank Zappa. If I had to put it anywhere, I would swear it was a long lost release from the almost new-age Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

With the exception of “A Mystery”, most of the tunes here eschew tension and dissonance, instead, playing with modes of major scales.

Dedicated to the character “Scout” in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Mockingbird” is a pleasant diversion in strife filled times.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JohnZorn #CarolEmanuel #BillFrisell #KennyWollesen

2017-09-08 The Gradual Progression

The Gradual Progression

The Gradual Progression by Greg Fox.

New album from percussionist Greg Fox, of eXeYe, Liturgy, Zs, etc.

It’s interesting to compare this with John Colpitts’ Man Forever album, “Play What They Want”. I think, strictly speaking, this has more harmonic content. The Gradual Progression has saxophones, vocals, keyboards, vibraphones, etc.
However, the core is still Fox’s drumming.

Mrs Flannestad compared “Play What They Want” to Drum and Bugle Core, it was so filled with drum and percussion players.

The Gradual Progression doesn’t have any attempts at drum ensembles at it’s core, rather the solo drumming of Fox (and various digital manipulations thereof). Enjoyable, perhaps most of all, because, the album’s lightness stands in contrast to the “heavy” bands Fox is most associated with.

#GregFox #TheGradualProgression #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack