Triple Double

Triple Double by Tomas Fujiwara.
Bandcamp Link: Triple Double
Two Drummers, Tomas Fujiwara and Gerald Cleaver; Two Guitarists, Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook; Two Brass, Taylor Ho Bynum and Ralph Alessi. Triple Double.

I wasn’t sure where this album would fall. Most of these musicians have spent some time with Anthony Braxton and many have made some pretty “abstract” music on their own.

However, while it is driving and has some dramatic passages, this is a fairly accessible album, utilizing conventional harmonic and rhythmic structures. Though the lack of keyboards and bass does allow the melodic instruments, (including the guitarists here, as both of them stick to lines rather than chords,) to float over the propulsive rhythms and express themselves in various configurations, duo and solo.

I especially enjoyed “For Alan”, in which Fujiwara incorporates some recordings of someone explaining improvisation to a child.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TomasFujiwara #GeraldCleaver #MaryHalvorson #BrandonSeabrook #TaylorHoBynum #RalphAlessi #TripleDouble

Live at Tonic

Live at Tonic by Wally Shoup / Paul Flaherty / Thurston Moore / Chris Corsano.
Label Website: Live at Tonic

Two Saxes, Shoup and Flaherty, Guitar, Moore, and Drums, Corsano.

The school of improvised music that grew out of the New York scene, especially those that continued on from Shepp and Ayler, is a particular type of energy jazz. Distinct from the energy Jazz of Europe, which is more classically influenced, its roots are in smoky noir-esque honkers and marching bands.

Skittering polyrhtyms. Squeaks, Squonks, and honks. And whatever it is that Thurston Moore is doing to his guitar.

This is a pretty awesome, and pretty noisy, expression of that scene. Also, pretty well recorded, for a live album.

Not music to nap to, this is music that gets you to work early.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WallyShoup #PaulFlaherty #ThurstonMoore #ChrisCorsano #LiveAtTonic #FireMusic

Steamroom 38

“Steamroom 38” by Jim O’Rourke.
Bandcamp Link: Steamroom 38
Another musician (producer, engineer, etc.) who has embraced Bandcamp for their, oh, I’ll say, “non-commercial” work is Jim O’Rourke.

Since August of 2013 he has been sporadically releasing a series of recordings with the name “Steamroom”, I guess named after his home recording studio in Japan. As of this week O’Rourke is up to 39 releases in the series.

Steamroom 38 is a single 34 minute song called, “winter and winter and winter”. It sounds like most of the sound sources were recorded from radios. Or as I like to call it, “shortwave fuckery”. Sound events fade in and fade out. Some recur. But there’s no real direction or pulse beyond a certain amount of reverb. No recognizable sounds, beyond what might be classified as the sounds between the channels.

Yet, somehow it is compelling and I was a little sad when it was over.

#Steamroom38 #JimORourke #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Highly Rare

Highly Rare by Makaya McCraven.
Bandcamp Link: Highly Rare

Like, “In The Moment,” this is a patchwork album built up from various pieces of a concert. Like what Miles did in his electric period, but with pro-tools instead of tape. It is kind of fun to listen and try to identify which parts go where. My favorite track, “Left Field”, starts out sounding like it might be from an African Head Charge album, but changes mid-way through to more of a electronic dance romp.

Mr McCraven is an incredibly talented drummer, and on this album he surrounds himself with equally talented collaborators like bassist (and hosiery model) Junius Paul and Ben LaMar Gay.

Modern Jazz-like Improvised Music at its finest (and most accessible. And danceable.) 

#MakayaMcCraven #JuniusPaul #NickMazzarella #BenLaMarGay #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #HighlyRare

The March Flog

The March Flog by Kevin Drumm.
Bandcamp Link: The March Flog
One, or two, cool things about bandcamp is that some artists allow you to subscribe to their output. For a minimal fee you can support them in a sustainable manner and they make their whole back catalog and any new releases available. Plus, they usually make other interesting bonus stuff available.

So, if an artist is someone like, say, Kevin Drumm, who regularly produces one or two albums a month, this is a pretty great deal.

You get a couple releases a month, and he gets a subscriber.

One of the other cool things about bandcamp is that artists are no longer tied to the temporal limitations of certain formats.

For someone who is writing drones, two twenty minute sides, or one 45 minute disk, might not be enough. “March Flog” is 4 pieces, each around 30 minutes. Around two hours of music.

They pieces are named after parts of the day. “Morning”, “Before Noon”, “Afternoon”, and “Later”. On these, Drumm is in more of a sound field mode, than in an extreme noise mode. There are no Jack Hammers or Band Saws.

This is peaceful, meditative music about sonic events which slowly interact with each other and then separate. Like watching clouds float across the sky. Well, that, and some pretty awesome sub-bass.

#KevinDrumm #MarchFlog #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack


Tangle by John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, Matthew Shipp.
Bandcamp Link: Tangle

Saxophones/Feedback, Analogue Synthesizer, and Piano, respectively.

After the last set I played at Doors That Open in Silence, someone asked me if I had listened to John Butcher and Thomas Lehn’s work together, as I was mining sort of similar territory with feedback from mic’d saxophone running back into processing with digital effects. While I was familiar with them separately, I hadn’t heard their work together.

So I quickly added their couple albums together to my bandcamp wishlist!

This is the first one I have had a chance to listen to, recorded live at the Cafe Oto in London, in 2014.

It’s a pretty great record, by turns noisy, tender, and abstract. It is quite interesting to hear “analogue sythesizer” used as an actual instrument in a live improvised setting. Matthew Shipp is sort of the straight man here to Butcher and Lehn’s jokers, but he provides a grounding force that keeps things from flying off too far into the stratosphere.

And I can see why my compatriot mentioned Lehn and Butcher’s work to me. Something to aspire to!

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JohnButcher #ThomasLehn #MatthewShipp #Tangle


Badlands by Pale Horse.
Bandcamp Link: Badlands

Now, when you name your band “Pale Horse”, as in Revelations 6:8, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Well, let’s just say, certain expectations must be met. You’re either a death metal band or you’re a Atmospheric-Western-Cinematic-Drone type thing. Or something between.

With an album named “Badlands”, it could go either way.

Jeremiah Cymerman is an East Coast Clarinetist, Composer, Sound Engineer, and writer/podcaster (The 5049 Records Podcast). Pale Horse, (If you can find the right one. There are several bands by this name,) is his atmospheric drone-doom project. Think, the music for The Road, perhaps, if it was a Western.

Anyway, this is great. The super low sub-bass drones alone are awesome. Then he adds various stringed and woodwind instruments to creak out a squeak of melody while a door slams shut in the wind. Crows are picking over the bones of a mule. The vultures are circling. And the wind is picking up again. We better find some cover before it gets dark.

There are only 3 people on this album, clarinet, cello, and drums, but it ends up sounding like about 10. I love it.

#JeremiahCymerman #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #PaleHorse #BadLands

There’s a Riot Going On

There’s a Riot Going On by Yo La Tengo.
Label Website: There’s a Riot Going On

Yo La Tengo is like a comfortable merino wool sweater that you’ve been wearing for many years.

It’s a little scratchy sometimes, but just seeing it makes you feel better.

And putting it on, is like a gentle hug.

Yo La Tengo started by taking the Velvet Underground’s third album (The Grey Album) as their gospel, and have lived in and around that world for the extent of their career.

Dreamy, poppy, very occasionally noisy.

It is comfortable music to take a nap to, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

There’s even a song on this album called “Dream, Dream Away”. There’a a lot of good on this new album, even some trendy shortwave fuckery to go with the consonant feedback hums and whispered lyrics. Middle Aged Hipsters! What’s next, modular synthesizers?

Put it on and dream, dream away.

#YoLaTengo #TheresARiotGoingOn #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Mr Dynamite

Mr Dynamite by Creep Show.
Bandcamp Link: Mr Dynamite

Creep Show is a band made up of a guy named John Grant (who used to be in a band called The Czars) plus the guys who make up Wrangler (who used to be in bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Tuung.) I liked Wrangler’s first two albums OK.

I don’t really like Mr Grant’s vocals.

I wasn’t familiar with him or the band he was in, The Czars, but he has this White Guy Soul/funk schtick that I find unpalatable. They even brought in back up singers on some of the songs.

Anyways, if you like John Grant and love analog synthesizers, you might like this album.

I could barely make it through. It was too creepy.

#CreepShow #MrDynamite #Wrangler #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack


Tantabara by Tal National.
Bandcamp Link: Tantabara

Tal National is an African band from Niger.

Niger is a cross roads in Central Western Africa, with an ethnically diverse population.

This diversity is reflected in Tal National’s music. Some songs sound more like the Desert Blues of the Tuareg, some more like Soukous, and some very Arabic. Likewise, some songs are in French, some in African languages, and some Arabic.

Where their cultural diversity might distract on some group’s albums, here it strengthens the music.

And they are all Rock Stars. Tal National is immensely popular in Africa and abroad, and you can hear their confidence and swagger in the music.

The diversity of the songs is held together, barely, over a boiling bed of syncopated rhythm.

Tal National’s rhythm section, and especially their drum and percussion players are, well, just fucking bonkers. The complexity of the rhythms they execute and the speeds and accuracy at which they play them is jaw dropping.

The group reminds me a bit of the Romanian group Taraf de Haïdouks. Like Taraf de Haïdouks, Tal National’s music just sounds like a party, well, a syncopated party at supersonic speed, but an awesome party.

As the songs on this album faded out, I felt a little sad. Every song felt like a groove that could go on all night, but the door was closing while the festivities were still going on.

#TalNational #Tantabara #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MinersLettuce #ClaytoniaPefoliata