Number 34 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
I had no real idea what to expect when I put this album on. Initially, from the name, I had a vague idea it might be some sort of South American Prog Rock, but then the song names made me think it might be Greek Prog Rock.
It turns out it is a Glaswegian vocalist, Maria Rossi, who originally is from Finland.
The music is primarily multi-tracked vocal harmonies with various loops and field recordings, frequently percussive, playing beneath them. Beyond the rich textures of the vocals, the music is fairly spare. Most of the vocal melodies are based from the classical/folk vein and they are sung in several languages, even one in English.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.