Eris 136199

eris 136199

Eris 136199 by Eris 136199; Bandcamp Link: Eris 136199

Eris 136199 is a trio composed of Han-Earl Park, guitar; Catherine Sikora, saxophone; and Nick Didkovsky, guitar.

Han-Earl Park tends to explore the dry percussive side of the guitar, often functioning as the de facto rhythm section in Eris 136199.

Catherine Sikora is all about finding the timbral possibilities explicit in the unvarnished and unapologetic sound of the saxophone while at the same time maintaining a core of melodicism.

Nick Didkovsky, sometimes known by his alias “Doctor Nerve”, expresses digitally warped washes of static-like sound and angry slashes of melody. A radio listener flicking impatiently between stations.

I don’t really know how to talk about the music, other than to say it is 50-plus minutes of riveting music making from three fantastic and fascinating musicians. I’ve been listening avidly to Eris 136199 all week on my commute and have looked forward to it every day. Wondering what new thing I will discover in Sikora’s technique while at the same time trying to pay attention and tease out which guitarist is playing what.

Obviously, Eris 136199 isn’t Lawrence Welk, however, there is something in the players expressiveness and in their interactions which prevents it from being too harsh or overwhelming.

Rough enough to keep it exciting, yet tender enough to keep you coming back.

I’ll be a bit sad when this week we’ve had together is over.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #HanEarlPark #CatherineSikora #NickDidkovsy #eris136199

eris 136199

Sing as the Crow Flies

Sing as the Crow Flies
Sing as the Crow Flies

Sing as the Crow Flies by Laura Cannell and Polly Wright; Bandcamp Link: Sing as the Crow Flies

“Sing As The Crow Flies was created as a site specific sound installation for the 2019 Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, UK. It can be seen and heard between 2nd August and 8th September 2019. The installation sits around the trunk of a 30 year old Walnut Tree in a cherry orchard where five telephone handsets hang from the tree ready to be picked up by passers-by…”

Bandcamp album description

As beautiful as it is haunting, Sing as the Crow Flies takes its inspiration from the natural world and from choral vocal traditions of England and America.

The sound sources are primarily Cannell and Wright’s voices. Only occasional environmental sounds intrude, bird song, branches creaking, footsteps. There are no other instruments.

The two women’s voices entwine and dance through the air, at times echoing in a space echoing like a cathedral, at other times sounding as if they were recorded in a field.

The album cover, evoking a flock of birds spiraling in the sky, is particularly apt for the way their voices twist, double, and interact with each other with a flocking attraction.

#SingAsTheCrowFlies #LauraCannell #PollyWright #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Sing as the Crow Flies
Sing as the Crow Flies

Cycle of Restoration

Cycle Of Restoration
Cycle Of Restoration

Cycle of Restoration by William Hooker; Bandcamp Link: Cycle of Restoration

I’ve listened to William Hooker before, but never too closely. I do know he is a improvising drummer who often works with musicians outside of the Free Jazz/Improvisation scene.

This is a live recording of a trio, (William Hooker, Drums; Mark Kirschenmann, Trumpet; and Joel Peterson, bass,) recorded in Detroit, Michigan, spring 2018.

Initially, I was listening, and beyond Mr Hooker on drums, I was at a loss for what the other instruments were. My first impression was that it was a group that contained at least synthesizer, drums, and bass.

After listening for a couple days, I was actually pretty surprised to look at the bandcamp page and realize Mr Kirschenmann was playing a heavily effect laden trumpet. (If you’re a gear head, at the very least, he is playing with a flanger, delay, and some sort of multi-pitch shifting choir type effect. Probably some sort of distortion, too, and a volume pedal.)

The album starts very spare, with a lot of time between notes and no real interaction between the players.

It picks up a bit briefly around the 20 minute mark, but then returns languidity for the slow fade out.

While the drums and bass are not far from idiomatic free jazz expression, the trumpet is more in the pop/art/ambient realm. When it is recognizable as a trumpet, not far from Jon Hassell.

The whole thing is more like ambient space jazz, than what normally passes for free or energy jazz/improvisation.

In fact, the album that came most to mind while listening was Tangerine Dream’s first album, “Electronic Meditation,” except maybe played at about half speed.

Is that good or bad?

I just don’t know.

It’s not really my bag, I found myself impatient with its slow pace of development a lot of the time, but it might be yours.

#CycleOfRestoration #WilliamHooker #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MarkKirschenmann #JoelPeterson

Cycle Of Restoration
Cycle Of Restoration

The People I Love

The People I Love

Falling down a bit on concentrated listening and write-ups. Trying to get back on the horse this week by listening to “The People I Love” by Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn.

Mr Lehman is a somewhat nerdy figure. His playing and ambitious compositions are often somewhat abstract. His last album, Sélébéyone, included Raps, Beats, and electronic processing.

The People I Love is not that. While the playing, especially that of Damion Reid, is often influenced by elements of modern music, this album is basically 4 musicians in a studio playing something often close enough to Jazz Music to pass on Jazz Radio, (if there still was such a thing). There’s even a Ballad, “Chance”. If I had to call it anything, I would call it 21st Century Bebop.

Mr Lehman is an impossibly lithe player on alto, sprinting over the changes at breakneck speed, daring his coplayers to keep up. And they are certainly up to the task, especially Mr Reid whose inventiveness shines out among a group of very talented musicians.

For the Sax nerds in the audience, on this album, Mr Lehman is experimenting in particular with what Sam Newsome calls “microtonal sax”. Which is to say, using alternate fingerings to purposely influence the timbre and intonation of notes.

So, if you are interested in the future of music, it behooves you to check out where Mr Lehman and his compatriots are going.

Steve Lehman, alto sax; Matt Brewer, Bass; Damion Reid, Drums; Craig Taborn, Keyboards.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack#SteveLehman#MattBrewer#DamionReid#CraigTaborn#ThePeopleILove#SteveLehmanTrio#SteveLehmanTrioPlusCraigTaborn

The People I Love

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