Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The sole LP of this group, nigh impossible to track down now. Sort of in the vein of AACM stuff from the time, especially Art Ensemble of Chicago. Oliver Lake, Charles "Bobo" Shaw and Joseph Bowie alongside lesser-knowns Baikida E.J. Carroll and Floyd Le Flore. Fumblingly free stuff with plenty of clatter.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The new album from the trio of Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love, and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. The latter two players make up probably my favorite contemporary rhythm section in this style, as they've grown so very tight together from playing in a number of groups (Ken Vandermark's excellent School Days project, the Scorch Trio with guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, etc.). I've got a lot of that stuff, so let me know if you're interested. Anyway Gustafsson goes crazy on this record, too, unleashing blasts from his sax that recall his former mentor, Peter Brotzmann. Don't know why it was released as a double CD (whole thing clocks in at 76 minutes or so) but that won't bother you, will it?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I've got a lot of updates for No Not Fun Not No as well so I don't feel like typing a lot.
But honestly, I know that this kinda a bullshit hipster thing to say, but i legitimately feel that the quality of Japanese experimental music went down by 50 percent when Takayanagi died. And to me, it still hasn't fully recovered.
Don't get me wrong. I love bands like Incapacitants, but there's something special about Takayanagi that everyone else just doesn't have. I can't put my finger on it right now though.
One of my top five lps ever.
There's so many things to love about this one. It's fucking intense, but never feels like everything gone off the rails and it's become just random blowing. The control that all of these guys had is just astounding.
Great fuckin' record.
Here's the thing, most free jazz or improv music at the time, while no doubt chaotic, had some sembelance of structure or at least a theme that drove it forward. This has none of that and is a VERY appropriately named record as a result.
My first and still my favorite MEV. I think I might've heard it before AMM, but that was years ago.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
More Chicago improv/Matt Bauder/2003 with a host of other great players such as Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jason Roebke, and Rob Mazurek. This is release number four in 482 Music's excellent Document Chicago series. Although originally improvised, most of the musicians were recorded separately and it was patched together and manipulated later by Bauder, so it may be stretching some definitions of jazz/improvisation. But its a damn good album anyway and the fact that it was pieced together later is actually pretty amazing as it has a very cohesive sound.
From Matt Bauder:
In 2000 I composed the four pieces for sextet (two reeds, two strings, two brass) that more or less appear on the disc. While I was composing I was aware that I was asking the players to play as if their sounds were being electronically manipulated. While writing the music I was thinking of a recording where the before imagined electronic processes would be actually constructed electronically. The music on the disc was recorded in segments with solos and small ensembles and later edited and layered to construct my compositions. Very little was actually played live with everyone together... One of my main interests was non-interaction within a specific texture. We did this in a few different ways. One was to give instructions to each player and record them separately while not listening to what the others had recorded, and then layering. The beginning is probably the most electronic sounding part. It was made by recording all of the players separately playing long tones, and then I spent quite a long time cutting them into those blips by hand (by cursor I guess) on the computer. One distinction I should make is that there are no electronic sound sources (there is a Hammond organ bass line at the end, but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it by saying that I play organ on the record), and very little signal processing (some distortion on the cello, and plate reverb).
All 4 tracks are great. The first track is the most heavily manipulated electronically to very good results. Some of the other tracks offer sputtering squiggly splurty strings and brass, but also some very beautiful long tones, particularly track 4 which actually builds into some dramatic beautiful "fan-fare" type deal.
|1. 1 (20:06) |
2. 2 (8:00)
3. 3 (8:23)
4. 4 (16:08)
Yo dogz, it's time for some slooooow jazz from nice label locust and the chicago jazz scene.
From AMG (who I usually don't trust but here is a pretty straight forward description):
Bassist Ajemian and tenor saxophonist Bauder set up their mikes one night on the back porch in Chicago and recorded themselves playing a half hour's worth of quiet sustained tones. Local traffic noise and the buzz of various nearby insects were also captured on the tape, imparting a refreshingly natural feel, far from the pristine claustrophobia of a studio session. The first half of the proceedings was recorded simultaneously on two mini-discs by some friends in attendance, who inserted index markers here and there and subsequently played the resulting tracks on random shuffle. "Normal" starts out then as a duo and ends as a quartet...Seriously underrated and underheard gem of free improvisation/quiet jazz/field recording. Both Bauder and Ajemian always bring the goods, Ajemian being probably the quietest bass player you've ever heard. Highly recommended for late nights.
(sorry about the megaupload, I'm having some problems with mediafire right now for some reason)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
My obsession with Leroy Jenkins continues.
All of the Revolutionary Ensemble Records from the 70's are essential. They're rather unqiue in free jazz due to the fact that they aren't based around reeds or horns really. Cooper does play the flute, but even that's a instrument you rarely hear in free jazz.
beautiful mind expanding stuff.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Review & upload originally posted on my blog.
Although this doesn't totally fit the free-jazz/improv label (it's pretty heavy on post-production editing and pretty light on actual group improv) it sounds like it should. And there's a definite William Hooker/Han Bennink influence, so that counts for something.
Considering they have what may be the greatest band name in the history of music, it’s sort of a shame that Nervous Cop was nothing more than a one-off recording project. That fact seems even more unfortunate when you consider the participants: Hella drummer Zach Hill, Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, Deerhoof electronics guru John Dieterich, and a pre-Milk-Eyed Joanna Newsom. And if a drums, drums, electronics, and harp quartet sounds like an odd proposition to you, then you’re absolutely right. This album is pretty much the definition of an “acquired taste.”
The first time I heard this album, I very quickly wrote it off as pretentious garbage: musical gibberish. It was only a few years later that I was lying in bed, suffering from insomnia, and decided to turn on my iPod and listen to something to maybe help lull me to sleep. Why I chose this particular album I have no idea, but it certainly didn’t do what I was hoping it would. Instead, in the pitch black of my room, my attention wholly focused on the sounds coming from my headphones, I became enthralled by what I heard.
Nervous Cop demands your full attention. Hill and Saunier don’t make things easy. Their drumming doesn’t follow any conventional rules of rhythm. Far more concerned with sheer energy than with keeping a beat, the percussion ebbs and flows in waves and gushes of clamor and din. Occasionally, crashes of cymbals become ambient background hiss. At other times the two drummers appear to be duking it out - launching volleys of percussive gunfire in each others direction. There are moments where it sounds as if they have a hundred drum kits at their disposal, and aren’t playing them but rather throwing them down endless flights of stairs as quickly as they can manage. Often the drum sounds are electronically processed and manipulated - strange effects are applied; panning and volume are played with; the attack and decay of the individual sounds themselves are clipped off or tinkered with. Dieterich’s subtle blipping, beeping, gurgling, and chirping electronics closely resemble his electronic contributions to Deerhoof tracks such as “Dog on the Sidewalk” (the last 30 seconds of that song, in fact, sound strikingly similar to several songs on this album). Newsom doesn’t come into the picture until track 6, “Frank vs. Frank,” which also happens to be the most structured (that’s speaking very very relatively) and most “successful” track on the album. Her playing style here is markedly different from what you might expect. It has far more of a classical and avant-garde influence than usual, with more of a focus on texture, and often wanders into grim and dissonant territory. Her trademark vocals are totally absent.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Nervous Cop was originally born as a very different beast. Mutual admirers of each others’ playing styles, Hill and Saunier had long planned to collaborate. This album began rather simply as the recorded documentation of a ferocious jam session between the two drummers. The recording was then chopped to shreds and pasted back together by Hill or Saunier or both.* Later, Hill asked his friend Joanna - then keyboardist for The Pleased and not yet famous - to contribute some harp. There were a couple more attempts at remixing before Saunier asked fellow Deerhoof-ian Dieterich to add electronics. A few digital re-workings later and what we’re left with is Nervous Cop. I don’t know if knowing that makes it more or less surprising, then, that many moments on the album manage to capture the same feeling of inspired spontaneous group interaction that only the best free improvisers can achieve.
Nervous Cop - Nervous Cop
1. Setting the Bushes on Fire (0:34)
2. Rice Precipitation (0:36)
3. Nonrum Nonproblem (1:06)
4. Get Wolf Boy and Get in Context (0:38)
5. Ill Pearls (4:31)
6. Frank vs. Frank (7:32)
7. Colorchains of Outer Space (3:36)
8. Nuflesh, Old Thirst (7:55)
9. Pow Strikes Pow Implosion (0:54)
10. The Hawk Feeds You to Feed Itself (5:12)
* information regarding the story behind this album is very difficult to come by, and if you have any links or articles or interviews or anything, please send them.
I first came across Alan Licht as a member of Blue Humans, whose album Clear to Higher Time is a noise favorite. This album features the guitarist in a solo setting on two different dates.
The first piece is a long guitar improvisation that begins minimalist and fluid but descends slowly into absolute noise. It's been a favorite of mine to fall asleep to recently.
The second track sees Licht complementing his playing with samples, first from Captain Beefheart's "Well" (he plays behind the a cappella track) and then Donna Summer's "Dim All the Lights," first as a loop and then as a slice of utter surrealism. Throughout Licht seems to be using his guitar to create unsettling texture, culminating in a reinterpretation of "Well" that concludes the album.
I know that Abe's stuff can be very polarizing and with good reason. It comes off as noisy and fractured to bits and can be hard to listen to for a whole variety of reasons.
The thing about Abe is that no one on Earth could do what he did with Saxophone. The solo records tend to show this the best. Despite what it may sound like, he's not just skronky and blowing on a saxaphone just for the hell of it. Rather he's playing so many little melodies so fucking fast that it's fumbling all over itself trying to keep up.
The later recordings are less like that, with all the silence, but here's the kicker. the amount of information that Abe puts out with his horn on those records is equivalent to any other Free Improv recording.
Hope this made some sort of sense, if not feel free to tell me how wrong i am.
Abe is quite possibly my favorite player.
Another slice of pure destruction.
Steve Lacy is someone that I'm just starting to get into in a major way. This and Stabs are currently my favorites. The great thing about Lacy is that even though he's a very progressive player, he's not relying purely on skronk.
It's hard to think of a sax player with better handle on both technique and playing from his heart.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Please don't ever make me choose between Schlippenbach or Cecil Taylor.
Taylor is kinda the ultimate point of reference for any sort of free piano playing. It's to the point where i feel lazy for making that comparison. It's conceivable that if you removed the bop and r&b influence that Taylor had and he grew up in Europe, then he would probably sound not all that dissimlar from this.
Educate me on free jazz pianists.
the khan jamal creative arts ensemble
khan jamal - vibraphone, marimba, clarinet
alex ellison - drums, percussion
dwight james - drums, glockenspiel, clarinet
billy mills - fender bass, double bass
monnette sudler - guitar, percussion
probable recording date of 6 or 7 october, 1972, the catacombs, philadelphia, pa
"there's not another record on the planet that sounds even remotely like vibraphonist khan jamal's eccentric, one-of-a-kind masterpiece, drumdance to the motherland. in its improbable fusion of free jazz expressionism, black psychedelia, & full-on dub-like production techniques, drumdance remains a bracingly powerful outsider statement thirty-four years after it was recorded live at the catacombs club in philadelphia in 1972. comparisons to sun ra, king tubby, phil cohran & byg/actuel merely hint at the cosmic otherness conjured by the band & by recording engineer mario falana's real-time "enhancements." The first edition of three hundred copies, issued by jamal in 1973 on the local philadelphia label dogtown, was barely distributed outside the city's limits. since then drumdance has assumed a mythic status among the very few aficionados, e-bay mutants, & heads who know of it at all. " - eremite
The violin isn't a instrument that seems to be the main focus of a free improv duo, much less solo records [Jenkins Solo Concert LP is mind boggling beautiful]. It does seem to exist purely almost as support to the larger context or as secondary instrument for sax masters to dick around with [I'm looking at you Coleman].
I'm saying this totally without hyperbole, but I honestly feel that this duo easily surpasses the Lowe/Ali Duo and is equal to Interstellar Space. It's high praise, but every single bit of it is fucking earned. I can't think of any of their contemporaries who even came close to their mastery of their instruments. Listening to this record is proof of that.
Paul Flaherty dropping the alto/tenor-sax, Spencer Yeh scraping the violin and warping some vocals, and Chris Corsano doing the skins. The notes are fast and sharp but the whole thing seems to meander calmly around, up and down. It's hard to pick out a standout musicians in this as they're all masters of their craft. Yeh's violin is certainly a wonderful addition, bending clean sounding strings around with slow weird bowings, and the skittery end to the first track matches perfectly with Corsano's slow 'drum-roll'. The first half of the second track is Yeh's bizarre cave-man vocal grumblings and Corsano's drumming, a perfect pair, but when Flaherty's sax comes screaming in stomping through the center, you couldn't ask for more. A perfect LP only release to coincide with 'Rock in the Snow' CD also released on Important.
The Addition of Albert Mangelsdorff just makes this trio even better.
Still Quite Popular After All Those Years
Still Pretty Good After All Those Years
Der Alte Mann Bricht
To be totally honest, these rips are kinda shitty. Really shitty, BUT it's really interesting to hear Globe Unity in this short and relatively concise format. I honestly can't think of many free improv singles. That Arthur Doyle one is the only other one.
gimmie some help thinking of singles guys.
edit: oh wait, i just posted one a couple of posts below this one. Yeah, i know.
Yeah, this is one Thurston's Top Ten List and with good fucking reason.
I'm not the biggest fan of Talibam!, but that's okay since the Wasteland Side is fucking AMAZING.
This is the sort of thing that really suits Thurston Moore in a great way as opposed to lot of other records that show that kinda show that he has a really limited rage when it comes to free improv. This really plays to his strengths which mostly revolves around making a massive racket.
Though it certainly doesn't hurt that Mats is all up in this bitch.