Tianming Long Pa Village You Le Mountain Gushu Ancient Tree

Tianming Long Pa Village
Tianming Long Pa Village

2015 Spring Tianming Long Pa Village You Le Mountain Gushu Ancient Tree Raw Pu’er from Mud and Leaves*.

Another thing you sometimes run into with Pu-er tea is really long names!

“This raw / sheng pu’er tea was picked in Spring 2015 and is a single estate tea from Long Pa 龙怕 Tea Garden in You Le Mountain 攸乐山 (also known as Ji Nuo Mountain 基诺山). The tea trees in this garden are ancient trees at 150 + years old.”

Mud and Leaves

First they give you the the year and season that the tea was harvested. Spring leaves are usually more highly prized, and thus more expensive than tea leaves from the Autumn harvest. They are perceived as being more tender and elegant in the flavor of the tea they produce.

Tianming is the tea company in Menghai that produced the tea.

“Long Pa Tea Garden” is the specific tea tree garden on “You Le” Mountain where the leaves came from. That the tea leaves came from a specific garden and were not blended leaves from the whole mountain or the whole region, makes them more special and seasonal.

“Gushu Ancient Tree” is a bit redundant, as “Gushu” is basically the Chinese word for “Ancient Tree”. This term can be a little squishy, but in this case, we will take Mud and Leaves word for it that the trees these leaves came from were 150+ years old, pretty old for tea trees, though not unusually old, for old Pu’erh tea trees. As the tea trees age, the feeling is that they gain character and the tea they produce has more energy or life force, similar to how doing Tai Chi in an old forest feels different from doing Tai Chi in a parking lot.

Smelling the leaves, you can tell for a pretty young raw Pu’erh this is already starting to shed it’s youthful exuberance and develop some nice dried fruit character!

This follows through in the brewed tea, there is good body to the soup, and a tasty bitterness, which lingers and fades to sweetness. It is all very clean, with no off flavors or smells. The cha qi, or tea energy, is focused and calm.

This is a very nice Pu’erh as it is, but I am super curious how it would develop in a year or five.

*I received this tea as part of a sampler I won from Mud and Leaves after entering an instagram based contest.

#Tea #Cha #Puerh #RawPuerh #ShengPuerh #MudAndLeaves #TianmingTeaCompany

Pillars


Pillars by Tyshawn Sorey.
Bandcamp Links: Pillars

Stephen Haynes: trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet, alto horn, small percussion
Ben Gerstein: trombone, melodica
Todd Neufeld: electric and acoustic guitar
Joe Morris: electric guitar, double bass
Carl Testa: double bass, electronics
Mark Helias: double bass
Zach Rowden: double bass
Tyshawn Sorey: conductor, drum set, dungchen, percussion, trombone

Tyshawn Sorey’s newest album is perhaps his “magnum opus”. AKA, “A large and important work of art, music, or literature, especially one regarded as the most important work of an artist or writer.”

It is composed of three parts, Pillars I, II, and III.

Each part is a single continuous piece around an hour and 20 minutes long. So, obviously, even after a week of listening to it, I’m still chewing my way through it.

Pillars I and II were released as a double CD. Pillars III was released as a double album. The whole thing is only available in its entirety in digital formats.

Ballsy.

The large slabs of continuous music initially tempted me to compare it to Cecil Taylor. But, listening, I find it has more in common with Bill Dixon’s work.

Lengthy solos evolve into group interactions, then dissolve again into solos.

The scope of the influences on the musicians spans much of contemporary music including 20th Century Classical,20th Century Pop, 21st Century Noise, and even Jazz.

Though, Mr Sorey has recently been getting some flack from Jazz Purists, so has taken to decorating his recent concert announcements on Instagram with the hilarious hash tag, #WeAreNotAJazzGroup.

This is a bold and inventive piece of work from one of the most important composers working in modern music. Outstanding.

#StephenHaynes #BenGerstein #JoeMorris #ToddNeufeld #CarlTesta #MarkHelias #ZachRowden #TyshawnSorey #Pillars #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Schizophrenic Blues

Schizophrenic Blues by Noah Howard.
Bandcamp Link: Schizophrenic Blues

Picked this up as an impulse buy from Destination: Out’s bandcamp site a while ago.

This is in the neighborhood of Albert Ayler or Ornette Coleman, but, despite the title, lighter in tone than most of either of those men’s work.

Howard was born in New Orleans and grew up playing music in the Church. You can hear it in his harmonies. Great work all around, especially notable are the trumpet and alto sax interactions between trumpeter Itaru Oki and Howard.

Also, there is an ear catching double bass solo from Jean-Jacques Avenel which opens the song, “Creole Girl”. For what it is worth, both bassist Avenel and drummer Oliver Johnson would go on to play in Steve Lacy’s groups in the 1980s.

#SchizophrenicBlues #NoahHoward #ItaruOki #JeanJacquesAvenel #oliverjohnson

Year of the Snitch

Year of the Snitch by Death Grips.

I have to admit Death Grips are kind of a guilty pleasure for me.

An often offensive blend of metal, hardcore, and rap.

Year of the Snitch is their new album.

Like many of the kids, Death Grips are trying on some retro stylee.

Cheesy sounding synths, tacky beats, and leftover metal riffs that sound like they are from Whitesnake or Motley Crue b-sides.

Feels like they have travelled back in time to capture the feel of that first album the Beastie Boys did for Rick Rubin.

Anyway, the production is so grungy that I can’t really tell you what any of the songs are about, aside from to say that they use plenty of profanity. So, if you are sensitive to cursing, this isn’t the album for you. This may not be the Century for you.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack#DeathGrips #YearOfTheSnitch

Scratch, Slice, Jag

Scratch, Slice, Jag by Jeb Bishop and Dan Ruccia.
Bandcamp Link: Scratch, Slice, Jag

Trombone and Viola. Not one of those duo combinations that pops right out as an obvious choice.

In some sense, it does make sense, both are “slide” instruments (of a sort) and neither are typical “lead” instruments. Why not put them together?

This is the sort of improvised more akin to 20th Century “modern classical” music than what most people think of as “Jazz”. Both players are very good at listening and responding to each other, no matter how far out they go. And I can definitely say some of the sounds on this album surprised me, that they came out of a Viola or a Trombone.

I was initially dubious, not being much of a trombone guy, but after a couple times through, it is growing on me.

#DanRuccia #JebBishop #ScratchSliceJag #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

No Agreement

No Agreement by Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Africa 70.
Bandcamp Link: No Agreement

There’s a good story about Lester Bowie in, “Message to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago”.

The Art Ensemble had finished up a European tour and most of the band headed back to the US.

Lester had some money left and decided, as an African American musician, instead of going home, he wanted to go to Africa and play with the biggest name in African music of the time, Fela Kuti.

So, without knowing anyone in Nigeria, he booked a flight to Lagos. He gets to the hotel, drops off his bags, grabs his trumpet. Hails a cab. He asks the cab driver to “take me to Fela”. Amazingly, the cab driver does not flinch and drives the crazy American Jazz musician right to Fela’s compound.

Bowie arrives unannounced, shows Fela his trumpet, and Fela decides to audition him right then and there. Fela pulls out a Jamey Aebersold record and tells Lester to play along. Blues in B Flat. Lester, of course, aces this audition, and stays in Nigeria for several months playing with Fela’s band and absorbing the culture.

The book says Bowie played on 5 of Fela’s albums during his stay in Nigeria from June to August of 1977, but this album is the only one I can find which credits Mr Bowie. He is a featured guest and takes a solo on both tracks. For my money, he acquits himself with more grace on the instrumental track, “Dog Eat Dog”.

Mr Bowie said about the experience, “Music life is a great time, if you just go on and trust it.” 

#FelaKuti #LesterBowie #NoAgreement #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Africa70

Proton Pump

Proton Pump by Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi with Masahiko Satoh.
Bandcamp Link: Proton Pump

Chikamorachi is the bass and drum combo of Darin Gray and Chris Corsano. They usually include a guest or two on each album. Reed player Akira Sakata is one of their more frequent collaborators. He is a Japanese woodwind player who is probably best known in the West for his appearance as a guest saxophonist on Last Exit’s “The Noise of Trouble” album.

I wasn’t familiar with keyboardist Masahiko Sato, but he brings the Cecil Taylor-esque multi handed polyphonies to keep up with way above the speed limit playing of Corsano, Gray, and Sakata. Interestingly, I also hadn’t remembered that Sakata played clarinet. For someone primarily known as a Sax player, he plays a pretty mean clarinet.

This is Energetic “Free Jazz”, with some Bebop-ish runs and the odd Jazz/Blues lick. It will get you to work faster than you usually drive.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Chikamorachi #DarinGray #ChrisCorsano #AkiraSakata #MasahikoSatoh

All Nerve

All Nerve by the Breeders.

A lot of my middle aged friends are listening to this new Breeders album, so I thought I should give it a listen.

Produced by Steve Albini, the classic “Last Splash” lineup of the Breeders has resolved (or forgotten) their differences and reunited. Kim and Kelley are both sober, and like the rest of us, middle aged.

It certainly sounds like a Breeders album, though a lot of the songs make me realize a) that the Breeders sound a bit like wire b) many of the good bits of the Pixies came from Kim Deal.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TheBreeders #AllNerve

Insecurities

Insecurities by ADT.
Bandcamp Link: Insecurities

On this release ADT is a quintet of Guitar, Drums, Saxophone, Electronics, and Keyboards. The lack of bass unmoors them, leaving the drums, keyboard, and electronics as focus, with sax and guitar weaving in and out from time to time adding texture.

Eclectic squonk and squiggle often with more in common with early Tangerine Dream or Pink Floyd than “Jazz”, per se. Thoroughly enjoyable.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #ADT #Insecuties #JakeAcosta #BenBillington #CarlosChavarria #KyleDrouin #AdamTramposh

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