27 Passports

27 Passports by The Ex.
Bandcamp Link: 27 Passports

One of the advantages to dating (and marrying) someone who has even more music than you do, (and knows more about it,) is, you can often ride on their coat tails.

For example, I read about The Ex, thought I should listen to their music, and all I had to do to hear their music was go home and listen to all the Ex albums Mrs Flannestad had previously bought!

So I did, and discovered one of my favorite bands!

Kind of like having your own personal Spotify. With built in (accurate!) Metadata.

27 Passports is the new album from Dutch band The Ex. It contains many great songs on various subjects. From a song about the homogenization of culture in the post-global age, (Soon All Cities, @michelektel’s favorite,) to a song about the tradgedy of the Afro-European refugee crisis, (New Blank Document, maybe my favorite, ) to a plea for more renewable resource use, uh, I think, (The Sitting Chins,) to the Tulip Bubble of the 1600s and its modern descendent, the Tulip industry, (Four Billion Tulip Bulbs). The Ex prove, I think, anything can be the subject of a song, if the music is strong enough.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TheEx #TheExNL #27Passports #HappyBirthdayMichelektel


Starebaby by Dan Weiss.

Before listening to this, I had read that Weiss and his compatriots were examining the edge between Jazz and Heavy Metal.

Indeed, this is pretty heavy.

But, not exactly “Metal”. Or, if it is Metal, it is very eclectic Metal.

In any case, many of the tracks remind me more of King Crimson than anything else. I guess, another band that explored the edges of Prog, Metal, and Jazz.

Trevor Dunn and Dan Weiss, Bass and Drums, are often channeling what sounds like Discipline era Crimson. While Ben Monder is a bit more eclectic. I’m going to say, more early years Robert Fripp, than later. Plus, two keyboardists, Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn. Though, their keyboarding is fairly sparse. No banks of lush chords.

But it isn’t particularly “Jazz”. Very little of what I consider Jazz idioms or Forms show up. The odd fusion chord change is about it for the Jazz content on this release.

If you enjoy, say, Nels Cline Singers, or the aforementioned King Crimson, you will probably enjoy this.

#DanWeiss #Starebaby #BenMonder #TrevorDunn #CraigTaborn #MattMitchell #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Bellowing Sun

Bellowing Sun by Mind Over Mirrors.

This might be my current favorite non-Improv album. I was a little dubious about the keyboards and synths initially, but everything ties together so nicely that I cannot disagree with the choice.

Reminds me a bit of Harmonia, Cluster, or Popol Vuh, with its trance inducing rhythms and quirky sounds, though the violins and vocals place it firmly somewhere else in the Americas. Great headphone music. I might listen to it all week.

I was looking for the plant above, fairly certain that it is an Aloe. Turns out it is. Aloe polyphylla, or Spiral Aloe. “The species is highly sought after as an ornamental but is difficult to cultivate and usually soon dies if removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, it is a criminal offence to remove plants or seed of Aloe polyphylla from their natural habitat or to buy plants from roadside vendors.” Oddly, it seems to do quite well in the not very fastidiously kept gardens of the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MindOverMirrors #BellowingSun #AloePolyphylla

One Too Many Salty Swift and Not Goodbye

One Too Many Salty Swift and Not Goodbye by Cecil Taylor.

A live album recorded in 1978 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Cecil Taylor Unit at the time was comprised of Cecil Taylor, Piano; Jimmy Lyons, Alto Saxophone; Raphe Malik, Trumpet; Ramsey Ameen, Violin; Sirone, Bass; and Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums.

When Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society’s album Barbeque Dog came out, I read a review, perhaps in Rolling Stone, and thought it was something I should be listening to. After listening, I become intrigued by his unique style of drumming and where he was coming from. I was listening to other work that I had found by Jackson, including Ornette’s Dancing in Your Head. 
The albums on Hat Hut had always intrigued me, with their odd cardboard box sleeves, cryptic art, and arty photos. So, seeing Shannon Jackson in the Cecil Taylor Unit, I picked this up, not particularly knowing what to expect.

The fierceness of the first two tracks, with Taylor, Ameen, Sirone, and Jackson surprises me to this day. Strapped to the mast of a ship, surrounded by a storm, waves lashing over the deck, not sure if you will make it through.

Music that sounds like their lives depended on making it.

Beautiful and frightening.

My life, and the way I listened to music, was never quite the same after.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #CecilTaylorUnit #Sirone #JimmyLyons #RapheMalik #RamseyAmeen #RonaldShannonJackson

Exit Rumination

Exit Rumination by C. Diab.

C. Diab is a Canadian musician whose primary instrument is probably tape machines. He also plays various actual instruments. On this album, bowed guitars, trumpets, and flute. But I’ve seen pictures of his studio, and it is filled with vintage reel-to-reel tape machines, which he uses to create loops and delay effects.

I really enjoy his music.

It is contemplative without being boring. Noisy, without being loud. Moving, without lyrical content. I truly admire the way he shapes silence and sound into dynamic musical sculptures.

#Cdiab #ExitRumination #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #GeraniumMadarense

Code Girl

Code Girl by Mary Halvorson.

Code Girl is a new album from Mary Halvorson and a sort of expanded version of her trio, Thumbscrew. Thumbscrew is normally Halvorson on guitar, Michael Formanek, Bass, and Tomas Fujiwara, drums. Code Girl adds vocalist Amirtha Kidambi and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

Halvorson wrote the lyrics herself and they are somehow mundane while at the same quite poetic and cryptic. I couldn’t really tell you what any single song is exactly about, yet the feelings they evoke seem familiar and resonant.

The music feels like a mixture of structure and improvisation within that structure. Well, perhaps a bit more structure than improvisation.

My first point of comparison was the harmonic and rhythmic structures of Henry Cow and related bands. The music is quite busy, with many chord changes, harmonies, and lots of a certain cadence of rhythm that remind me of Henry Cow. Semi-martial, yet loose limbed at the same time.

Some have compared the Ms Kidambi’s vocals with those of Steve Lacy’s vocalist Irene Aebi. That sort of gives you an idea that her delivery is dramatic and poetic and her voice not “conventionally beautiful”. Like Aebi, Kidambi does spend a lot of time on flat mid-western sounding vowels and is an alto or contra-alto. I think the delivery matches the material and Ms Kidambi is not afraid to whip out her Jazz vocalist chops on songs like “The Unexpected Natural Phenomenon”. In any case, there’s a lot of material here to digest, a double CD. Many moods, and a lot of music. I’ve been enjoying digging in to it and I hope you will take the time as well.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AmirthaKidambi #AmbroseAkinmusire #MaryHalvorson #MichaelFormanek #TomasFujiwara #Aizoaceae #CarpobrotusEdulis

Hormone Lemonade

Hormone Lemonade by Cavern of Anti-Matter.

I was reading about Tim Gane and his Wikipedia page says that before he played in McCarthy and Stereolab he was playing “harsh noise”. Cavern of Anti-Matter, Gane’s most recent project, is a long way from “Harsh Noise”! Similar to Wrangler, Caverns of Anti-Matter is a project based around vintage electronic musical instruments. Analogue Synths, Sequencers, Drum Machines. 
Instrumental tracks which, if you weren’t paying attention, might be mistaken for Wendy Carlos’ or Giorgio Moroder’s 1980’s soundtrack work.

Like Wrangler, how you feel about Cavern of Anti-Matter will depend largely on how nostalgic you are for this sort of sonic palette.

I find it OK, but wish there was a little more “noise” amidst the synth squiggles, bland arpeggios, and tinny drums.

#CavernOfAntiMatter #HormoneLemonade #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Throw Tomatoes

Throw Tomatoes by Rempis / Piet / Daisy.

Saxophones, Piano, and Percussion, respectively.

This album is all about linear velocity. “FreeBop” wouldn’t be an altogether bad term to use for what is accomplished on this album.

Mr Rempis seems mostly to stick to Alto running up and down the register of the instrument at speeds that would make the Road Runner blush. Mr Piet chases, but often moves to ridiculously syncopated counterpoint. Mr Daisy tip taps away on his cymbals, a daemonic Max Roach.

For this group of musicians, this is, in fact, a fairly “Jazz” album.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DaveRempis #MattPiet #TimDaisy #ThrowTomatoes