Another perspective from EXEYE on the intersection between rock-ish concepts/players and improvisation. With the influence of Vandermark and Nilssen-Love, this skews more towards Free/Energy playing than EXEYE’s dark metal infused scree. Lean Left is definitely skronkier, but the woodwind players in both ensembles face similar problems of being heard over loud guitars and drums. Though, on this release, the guitars manage to restrain themselves and play quietly on a couple tunes. Invigorating way to start the morning.
Solo (-ish, some overdubbing,) pieces for Soprano and Tenor Sax. Not a lot of conventional Sax playing here. In fact, on some of the “Numbers”, Butcher seems to avoid producing “normal” sounds from his Sax entirely. What I like, though, is that there is a light heartedness and humor about it, you often don’t get in improvised music . If anything, it reminds me of the surreal music from the British tv show “Clangers”.
The defining feature of this release by Æthenor is the drumming of Mr Noble. Guitars, vocals, and keyboards shimmer in and out of phase, Calder-esque, while Mr Noble’s propulsive drumming rumbles on underneath. Enjoyable.
This record starts with a few moments of natural sounds. Birdcalls, muffled conversation, sound of the breeze, remote traffic, livestock. Slowly the musicians come in, imitating the background sounds and playing as elements in the larger soundscape. I love this idea. That music is part of nature and the environment, not separate from it. Or maybe, nature IS art.
A Colin Stetson solo concert a couple years ago was one of the loudest concerts I’ve ever seen, and he was wearing a Liturgy t-shirt at the time, so Ex Eye’s direction isn’t exactly a surprise.
However, the challenge of fitting Stetson’s sax concept of extended arpeggiation into more traditional heavy metal frameworks is apparent on some of the tracks. That is, no matter how loud he plays, harmonically, he fades into the background under the weight of guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums.
Less traditional tracks, like “Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc” are where Ex Eye, and Stetson, shine.
In any case, an excellent album, and I’m looking forward to seeing Ex Eye next week at The Chapel here in SF.
The stars in my saxophone constellation from my teens into my twenties were: Johnny Hodges/LesterYoung -> John Coltrane/Eric Dolphy -> Evan Parker.
I’d always see Joe Mcphee’s albums on HatArt at the record store, but for some reason he didn’t really enter my area of interest. I guess he didn’t get as much press in the magazines I was reading at the time.
I was missing out, and am trying to make up for my oversight by listening to more of his recorded output these days.
Tie the Stone to the Wheel by Evan Parker / Seymour Wright.
Saxophone duos between UK free improv titan Evan Parker and his disciple Seymour Wright. So I basically spent the drive mentally cataloguing which sounds I knew how to make on the saxophone and which sounds I did not. One of them is really good at extended flutter tonguing, which I can’t do very well.
Asian Fields Variations by Louis Sclavis, Dominique Pifarély, and Vincent Courtois.
Theme and variation in folk and classical-ish modes by a clarinet, cello, and violin trio. Louis Sclavis is one of my favorite living jazz and improv woodwind players. His tone and thought process on clarinet and bass clarinet are impeccable. And bass clarinet & cello are the peanut butter and chocolate of instrumental combinations. Wonderful.
I feel like the ghosts of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi, (and maybe even a little Dave Brubeck,) are hovering over this release from Mr Taborn. Everything seems so pleasant and relaxed, as if a benign, warm, Southern California sun is beaming down kindly.
The DKV trio, (Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, Ken Vandermark) vs. The Thing, (Ingebrig Håker Flaten, Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love). It’s hard to pick what part of this album I like the best. The intricate, and often funky, polyrhythms generated between Drake and Nilssen-Love? The awesome low end and Arco work of Håker Flaten and Kessler? The virile, competitive, skronk-fest between Vandermark and Gustafsson? I hate to use a hackneyed phrase like, “It’s All Good,” but, it is ALL great. If this album doesn’t wake you up, you’re probably dead. (Also, it’s awesome that the Google dictionary has added “skronk-fest” to its auto-complete.)