Front and Above by John Chantler, Steve Noble, and Seymour Wright.
Synthesizer, Drums, and Saxophone, respectively, and none of them doing much linear playing.
I do really enjoy Mr Noble’s drumming, a modern master of non-linear improvised percussion and extended percussion technique.
The Synthesizer work from Mr Chatler is of the bleep-ey, bloopy, SciFi Soundtrack, non-melodic sort. Very appropriate for the playing of the other two.
Finally, Mr Wright seem intent on coaxing every non-normal sound it is possible to make with a Saxophone, whether it is flutter tonguing, slap tonguing, splitting pitches, playing just the mouthpiece,…etc. etc…the list goes on… Anyway, I missed a turn on the way to work, I was so intent on attempting to mentally catalog what he is doing on Sax. Fascinating!
Phew is a Japanese artist, primarily vocalist, who made a an album in the late 1980s with some of the guys, (Czukay, Liebzeit, and Plank,) from the German band Can, and then a few more well thought of albums in the early 90s. She didn’t release any albums from 1998 to 2009, but has recently been quite active.
On Voice Hardcore her only sound source is her voice. A bit like either a less tune-ey Petra Haden’s “Petra Goes to the Movies”, or, perhaps, more accurately, if Kevin Drumm used voice instead of Guitar and Radio as his sound source.
There is a fair bit of spoken Japanese on this, but my comprehension is pretty much limited to the song whose text is pretty much solely, “domo arigatou gozaimasu”, so I have no idea what any of the lyrics are about.
In any case, it’s great to have Phew actively making music again, and this is a very creative and interesting release.
I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life by Tune-Yards.
There is an interesting tension here between the lyrics and the music.
From a superficial listen, a lot of this album from Merrill Garbus’ band Tune-Yards sounds like “club music”, in terms of the beats and the musical strategies.
On the other hand, a lot of the lyrical content is about anxiety, fear, and self-deprecation.
It’s sort of like having a pom-pom squad leading a cheer based on opinion pieces from the Huffington Post or New Yorker.
My favorite songs are those where a bit more of what seems to be personal narrative creeps in, like “Now as Then” and “Hammer”. Also, the live version of the Tune-Yards band includes Bay Area superstar drummer Hamir Atwal, giving the tunes a bit more edge than the primarily programming and loop based rhythms of the album. So go see them live and decide for yourself!
How you feel about Shut In is going to depend on how you feel about drone.
I like some drone-ey music and some leaves me wondering who dropped the paper weight on the organ.
For me, it’s all about the texture of the sounds and the idea of sound as a physical object in space. Also helps to have some bass in the mix.
Anyway, I enjoyed Shut In even though there’s not a lot of obvious “musical” type stuff going on. Good textures and nice bass. If you turn it up, it almost sounds like the quieter bits of a SUNN O))) concert.
Vibrations of the Day by KonstruKt with Marshall Allen, Hüseyin Ertunç, and Barlas Tan Özemek.
KonstruKt is a Turkish improvising ensemble. The core ensemble is Umut Çağlar, guitar, Korhan Argüden, drums, Ozone Usta, percussion, and saxophonist Korhan Futaci. On this album they are augmented by Marshall Allen, Alto Saxophone, Hüseyin Ertunç, percussion, and Barlas Tan Özemek, guitar and synthesizer.
Marshall Allen is one of the great masters of the Alto Saxophone. Full stop. However, most of his life’s work has been consumed with propagating the vision of Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It’s rare you get to hear him blow outside of that context, so take those opportunities when you can get them.
KonstruKt’s interstellar tendencies are a fine match for Marshall Allen. It is especially fun to hear him spar with Korhan Futaci’s Soprano playing. As always, Mr Allen never lets anyone get too comfortable without challenging them. Too much melody, and he’ll take you out with an altissimo figure. Too abstract, and he blows you down with a bluesy noir lick.
Sunny Murray’s first album as a leader from 1966. Fresh from playing with Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, Murray’s drumming here continues that work and expands upon it.
A great release, long songs giving everyone space to interact. The contributions of Lancaster, Graham, and Silva are particularly notable. Bonus for a song named “Giblet”. The only downside, and the funny thing about digital music, is that you never know how much care the various providers will take with ripping the music. This album pretty horribly ripped, with very low levels, apparently directly from a rather scratchy vinyl album. You can actually hear the needle drop on side two. I believe ESP Disk’ has since remastered and expanded this release, so look for that edition, if you can find it.
Like Roland Kayn, Drumm doesn’t usually seem to have much truck with traditional musical conventions of harmonic or rhythmic organization.
Sounds function, to a certain extent, as motifs. On Relief, the sound of a cricket rubbing its wings together seems to be the motif around which the shimmering static and harmonic washes organize themselves.
It’s a bit like watching the static on an old television, a la Poltergeist, and waiting for your brain to find the patterns, whether they actually exist, or not.
An Even Break (Never Give a Sucker) by Sonny Murray.
A most excellent exercise in poetry and freedom from the late Mr Murray and compatriots circa 1969. Great blowing from Lancaster and Terroade, fine bass work from Mr Favors, and Mr Murray holds it down. It sounds like a much larger ensemble than it is.
I just wish it was longer, I could listen to this all day.
Another online referral, this time from Joel Berk. He mentioned Sunwatchers were embarking on a West Coast Tour, and I know he likes the crazy jams, so I thought I should give them a listen. Especially since they’ll be playing within a few blocks of my house Tuesday, Jan 23.
Sunwatchers contain members of Dark Meat, Arthur Doyle’s New Quiet Screamers, NYMPH, and Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band. A super-group, of sorts.
They are in the same neck of the woods instrumentally, and philosophically, with bands like Horse Lords. Extended songs based on theme and subtle variation on rhythm and melody. Though, the scales and rhythms they base their jams on are more attuned to Western musical stylings than the African and Eastward looking tendencies of the Horse Lords.
Thoroughly enjoyable, however, and I look forward to seeing them at the Knock Out Bar in a couple weeks.