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

2017-10-27 Zimpel/Ziołek

Zimpel/Ziołek

Zimpel/Ziołek by Zimpel/Ziołek.

Bandcamp Link: Zimpel/Ziołek

Folk-Rock-World Music meets the modern digital toolbox. And clarinets.

Melodically, this music reminds me strongly of something, but I can’t quite place it. Robert Wyatt, maybe.

In terms of practical execution, most tracks build a base of digital loops, upon which clarinet and vocals are layered. Further processing is then applied.

There is an odd tension between very pleasant vocal (or clarinet) melodies and the unusual sounds coming from the processing. Well, pretty unusual for folk-rock-world music, anyway.

Also, welcome back fog!

#WaclawZimpel #KubaZiołek #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

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

2017-10-25 Slow Learner

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Slow Learner by musicianer.

Bandcamp Link: Slow Learner

Baritone Sax, Double Bass, and Percussion trio.

10 shorter songs, 3-5 minutes, or thereabouts.

The title, apparently literal, not an allusion to the Thomas Pynchon collection of short stores. Though, I think the name of the last song, “Fail Beautifully”, is probably a reference to a passage from Beckett’s Worstword Ho, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” I like this album, but sort of feel like many of the tracks end just as they are getting going. A little more time for the players might have given the whole thing more breathing space.

#JoshSinton #JasonAjemian #ChadTaylor #todayscommutesoundtrack #IlusoRecords

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

2017-10-12 Atavachron

Atavachron

Atavachron by Allan Holdsworth.

My Millennial Coworker loaned me this album and I have been, I won’t say “avoiding” exactly, but I have been procrastinating listening to it.

Anyway, the name comes from a Star Trek episode, “All Our Yesterdays,” wherein the “Atavachron” is an alien time travel device.

On this album Holdworth deploys the “Synth-Axe”, a guitar shaped midi controller, an instrument which would become his signature on several albums. The synth axe allows him to trigger synthesizers/samplers using events generated from his fretboard.

This is a fine example of Sci-Fi inspired 80s Rock-Fusion, with all the sign posts of that genre. Many chords and many, many notes.

Impressive, in many ways, but also feels a bit slight in the goals all these impressive techniques are applied towards. More technique than meaning, if you will.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AllanHoldsworth #Atavachron #SynthAxe