2017-11-02 Anna Högberg Attack

Anna Högberg Attack

Anna Högberg Attack by Anna Högberg Attack.

Label Link: Anna Högberg Attack

I forget where I heard about this album from Swedish Saxophonist Anna Högberg’s Attack Sextet. I think, a couple years ago, a few jazz bloggers wrote about it.

In any case, I bought it, sort of forgot about it, and didn’t listen through it until this morning. As, unfortunately, happens all too frequently with digital assets.

A fun mix of free and composed music, harmony and noise. Listening, I think the artist she owes the most to in her compositions is probably Charles Mingus. His concepts of harmony and “folk jazz” seem to permeate a lot of the written parts on this album. Which isn’t a bad thing.

The “out” bits are pretty out. The most extreme probably “Regnet”, where one of the sax player limits themselves to spitty, slurpy, gurgling. Pretty “Punk Rock”, if you ask me, and I’m not easily shocked. And the nice bits of the playing are quite nice. There are some almost hymn like chordal harmonies on “Familjen”. Also, there is a song called, “Lisa med Kniven”, which, unless I’m mistaken, means, “Lisa with Knives”. I wish I’d listened sooner.

Also, best album cover ever!

#AnnaHögberg #AnnaHögbergAttack #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-11-01 Crime Waves

Crime Waves

Crime Waves by Moor x Jewelry.

Bandcamp Link: Crime Waves

A collaboration between Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother, and Steven Montenegro, aka Mental Jewelry.

More than her other releases, the music on this release reflects trends in popular music, from both the US and the UK. I hear more influences of where the music formerly known as rap is today and/or grime/dubstep than on Ayewa’s other projects.

In some ways, I suppose it makes it a more accessible release. On the other hand, there is a lot of harsh language, not just in terms of subject matter. As regards the lyrical content, it is probably more repetitive and terse than on either her Moor Mother or Irreversible Entanglements projects. I suppose this reflects something more tangentially connected to popular music.

An interesting experiment, but I find it less compelling than either Fetish Bones or Irreversible Entanglements.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MoorXJewelry #MoorMother #MentalJewelry

2017-10-31 Endgame of the Anthorpocene

Endgame of the Anthropocene

Endgame of the Anthropocene by Talibam!

Bandcamp Link: Endgame of the Anthropocene

Keyboards and Percussion (mostly electronic). I wasn’t familiar with Talibam!, but they are on ESP-Disk’ and Saxophonist Matt Nelson sometimes plays with them (but not on this release). The titles are kind of awesome, like, “Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only’ (Article 1)” and “Cost-Effective Drilling Enabled by Pioneering Technologies and Warmer Climates in the Southern Ocean”. Obviously, there is a theme here.

The music is instrumental, short attention span, ADHD, manic type stuff. Most themes last for a couple minutes only. They vary from Focus-esque anthem-rock to modern electronic dance and everything in between. On the plus side, if there’s something you don’t like, you just have to wait a couple minutes for something else to come along. On the minus side, it gets a little tiring to listen to. <-Old Guy Complaint! #Talibam! #EndgameOfTheAnthropocene #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-10-30 Dirty Songs

Dirty Songs

Dirty Songs play Dirty Songs.

Bandcamp Link: Dirty Songs

Dirty Songs is David Toop, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, Steve Beresford, and Mark Sanders. So, basically, there was no way I WASN’T getting this album, simply out of curiosity as to what it would sound like.

What exactly does it sound like? 
Well, sort of like the shattered ethnic dub of P.I.L. meets Hawkwind on the cutting room floor of a horror movie.

It is the exactly appropriate soundtrack for your Halloween soirée.

#DirtySongs #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DavidToop #PhilMinton #EvanParker #SteveBeresford #MarkSanders

2017-10-26 From the Granary

From the Granary

From the Granary by Ben Goldberg.

Bandcamp Link: From the Granary

Mr Goldberg spent the summer of 2017 on an artistic retreat in an Italian castle. These are songs and sketches, mostly solo clarinet, he recorded while staying there.

If you know me, you know I like environmental sounds, so my favorite track is Part One of, “THE VISIT TO SAN SEPOLCRO for Dana Prescott”, with its bird sounds intersecting with Mr Goldberg’s playing. “Low Key for Ilaria Locchi”, with it’s use of split tones is also quite nice.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BenGoldberg #Clarinet

2017-10-24 Reaching for Indigo

Reaching for Indigo

Reaching for Indigo by Circuit des Yeux.

Bandcamp Link: Reaching for Indigo
Chicago vocalist Haley Fohr seems to wear many different personas as a performer.

Her last, “Jackie Lynn”, was a sort of, I dunno, a cyber country star? Burning Man Burnout?

In any case, some critics are calling this her most “personal” album to date.

While the vocals are perhaps less abstract than some of her albums, I dunno, front persons and vocalists are always first and foremost story tellers, so I hesitate to use words like “personal” for these stories.

On this album, the group deploys a larger, and in some ways more conventional, sound palette than some of her releases, including a string section.

Pretty cool, and allows her contralto vocals to take front and center stage, though she does not hesitate to deploy her voice as an instrument along with the others in the group. There are some particularly nice interactions between her vocals and the synth player, for example.

I would say this is probably her most moving and emotional album, at least, for me, as a listener. Does that make it “personal”? 

#CircuitDesYeux #HaleyFohr #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-10-19 Black Origami

Black Origami

Black Origami by Jlin.

Bandcamp Link: Black Origami
Jlin is on the cover of one of the most recent wire magazine, so I thought I should listen. I haven’t yet read the article, so my knowledge is slim.

This is, essentially, a percussion album. There are a few vocal samples here and there, but primarily it is rhythmic theme and variation.

Each track uses it’s own little world of samples, giving it good variety and interest. One, for example, uses samples from marching bands, while another might use African or Asian percussion.

The rhythms are varied and syncopated. Tracks seldom settle into a groove for long before evolving or changing.

Very interesting!

If I had to put it anywhere, I would say it reminds me quite a bit of the band Yellow and a little bit of Eno and Byrne’s “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”. 

#Jlin #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BlackOrigami

2017-10-18 The Half That’s Never Been Told

The Half That’s Never Been Told

The Half That’s Never Been Told by Alpha & Omega.

As someone once remarked, “…for someone who doesn’t smoke, you sure listen to a lot of Reggae…” And it’s true, I do enjoy Reggae, especially its more abstract relative, Dub Reggae.

I wan’t familiar with Alpha & Omega until a streaming service suggested them. So I was pleased to discover I do like them.

Apparently, they are a still-active English duo who traffic in fairly traditional Dub Reggae. Well, with some modern digital touches. On this 2014 release they do remind me a lot of some of Adrian Sherwood’s projects. Singers and Players seems to come to mind most frequently.

Righteous.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AlphaAndOmega #TheHalfThatsNeverBeenTold

2017-10-17 The All Star Game

The All Star Game

The All Star Game by Marshall Allen, Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, William Parker, and Alan Silva.

Bandcamp Link: The All Star Game

Two horns, two basses, and Hamid Drake. This album is the twin to the Anderson, Drake, Jordan, Parker, Silva album “Two Days in April”. Both are exercises in energy playing and both are great examples of Modern Titans playing at the peak of their powers.

I would say the funny, or interesting, part about contrasting the two releases is that on “Two Days in April”, I got the feeling it was Jordan who was keeping Anderson on his toes and not letting him lapse into easy choices. On “The All Star Game”, it is Allen, most well known for his work in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, who is goosing Jordan with some altissimo figure or screech every time he attempts to lapse into an easy groove. As a horn player, it makes it fun to listen to the interplay between the two men’s ideas.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MarshallAllen #HamidDrake #KiddJordan #WilliamParker #AlanSilva #TheAllStarGame #eremiterecords

2017-10-13 From Wolves to Whales

From Wolves to Whales

From Wolves to Whales by Wooley/Rempis/Niggenkemper/Corsano.

Bandcamp Link: From Wolves to Whales

Given the large Brotzmann-esque expressions of Rempis’ Ballister, it is interesting to listen to this album of quiet, small gestures. Or, well, quieter, smaller gestures.

Even percussion dervish Corsano keeps it on the restrained side of free.

Quite pleasant and enjoyable. The most interesting part is probably trying to identify which instrument is making which squeal, thump, or whirr. Plus, good song titles like, “Stand Up for Bastard” (Woo! Bonus points for King Lear Allusion!) and “Swinging’ Apoplexy”. 

#NateWooley #DaveRempis #PascalNiggenkemper #ChrisCorsano #TodaysCommuteSoundTrack #FromWolvesToWhales