jeudi 30 septembre 2010

Anthony Braxton & William Parker @ Vicenza Jazz (05-15-2007)

Anthony Braxton: alto & sopranino saxophones, contrabass clarinet
William Parker: bass, shakuhachi, shehnai

Here is a fantastic bootleg of two master. The sound is great, and the improvisations are extremly eclectic; not written, not abstract, just a beautifull dialogue between two great instrumentists influenced by traditional African and Asian songs, free improv and contemporary written music.

Thanks to boldsouls from dime for the original rip - and to chaamba for the original artwork

2007 VICENZA (rapidshare/mediafire)

mercredi 29 septembre 2010

Zbigniew Karkowski & Tetsuo Furudate (Zeitkratzer) - World as will III

Zbigniew Karkowski: composition
Tetsuo Furudate: composition
ZEITKRATZER: interpretation
Reinhold Friedl (piano/artistic director), Burkhard Schlothauer (violin), Anton Lukoszevieze (cello), Uli Phillipp (bass), Frank Gratkowski (clarinet), Franz Hautzinger (trumpet), Melvyn Poore (tuba), Marc Weiser (electronics), Maurice de Martin (percussion), Ralf Meinz (sound).

"Mergence," "Below The Demarcation" and "Mix White" concludes the World As Will project, started ten years ago, the result of a collaboration between Polish acoustic and electroacoustic sound artist/composer Zbigniew Karkowski and Japanese noise progenitor Tetsuo Furudate. Named after the philosophy coined by Arthur Schopenhauer, the first two parts in the World As Will series have been dramatic explorations of majestic dissonance, orchestration, and looped deconstruction that are powerful challenges to any modern orchestra. Part three is commissioned and performed by the Berlin-based ensemble Zeitkratzer, who proved the impossible possible with their capable rendering of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music for a 2002 Berlin Opera House performance. The first piece in World As Will III arises from an infrabass ocean to crudely develop through a series of distant explosions, percussive energy, and short open cuts. As a whole, the structure is reminiscent of a slow, crawling process. Tremors follow (with Karkowski, something always ends up shaking). The second piece is both the imprint and the development of the first one. Furudate's contribution to this joint venture is also easier to grasp. A menace passes by, and the listener should be more than happy to remain hidden in their hole, letting the musical beast move along in short, rusty, metallic, torn, scorched bursts. This third piece provides a cathartic and tragic conclusion to the release and to the series, achieving what could be called a sketch of absolute chaos.

2008 WORLD AS WILL III (rapishare/mediafire)

Jailbreak - The Rocker

Heather Leigh: pedal steel, vocals
Chris Corsano: drums

Jailbreak is the duo of pedal steel/vocalist Heather Leigh and drummer Chris Corsano. The name foregrounds the kind of outlaw violence with which the two reformulate rock/roll instants by bringing free jazz fire power to amp-humping sex beats. Their musical alliance goes all the way back to the legendary Brattleboro Free Folk Fest, the birthplace of the 'New Weird America', where Corsano and his long-term saxophone partner Paul Flaherty joined Leigh and Christina Carter for a quartet show that took the roof off the building and the skin off their fingers. Since then Corsano and Leigh have worked together as part of Taurpis Tula and as members of Thurston Moore's Dream/Aktion Unit.

So, who better to describe this 700 edition debut LP, than Mr. Flaherty: For those of you who've been worried that the Free Power Noize scene has become a little too tame, (and seriously who isn't somewhat concerned about that), a new screamin' creamin' duo -- Jailbreak -- expoldes to the rescue. The Rocker is a blast-furnace of blisteringly joyous witch-howling assaults on the essence of whips and chains and repressive injustice gone legal. Both of these magisterial musicians are capable of extreme dynamics and subtleties, but those concepts don't get in the way of this monster-truck of a record. And why should they when drums and guitar can slash and burn in a riotous electric smash fest like this crazed merry madcap of an album. Over the top . . . Way!

"... when Ms. Murray rips open this LP called The Rocker, she might as have been rakin them strings across the inside of my skull. There I was fightin the infernal racket w/everything I could muster, yet diggin it all the time. It was 'Bad Motor Scooter' live all over again. Ronnie was tearin into that intro back on that eventful night in Seven-Four; brain cells was meltin, worlds was collidin, the chickens of future past was comin home to roost." -- Siltblog

"No idea who's singing, but that person is channeling Haino Keiji. Don't let the Thin Lizzy refs fool you -- this was made in Scotland. The choice of guitar here provides for the most brutality, a prolonged assault of scorched-earth distorto blues/noise cage-rattle with no space to breathe." -- Doug Mosurock, Still Single/Dusted

2010 THE ROCKER (rapidshare/mediafire)

lundi 27 septembre 2010

Activity Center & Phil Minton

Michael Renkel: acoustic guitar, zither, percussion
Burkhard Beins: percussion, zither
Phil Minton: voice

Vocalist Phil Minton's instinctive ability to pull something new from his throat has to be admired. In the company of guitarist Michael Renkel and percussionist Burkhard Beins (known collectively as Activity Center), Minton finds plenty of material within their music and noisemaking to wrap his vocal cords around, all of which allows his creative persona to fully unfurl as the session progresses. As part of Activity Center he opens up with an astonishing array of guttural squeaks, burps, groans and gasps: what sounds like his very soul is straining to burst free. Accompanied by Renkel's sensitively stroked acoustic guitar and zither and Beins's equally emotive percussion and occasional bowed cymbal, the six pieces here range from the humorous to the grotesque. On the elongated "RubbleRubble", all three musicians fuse together in a constantly shifting surge, punctuated throughout with barks, growls and excited pantings in the dark from Minton's seemingly endless store of vocal distortions. Chased around by Beins and Renkel's fractured instrumentation, the trio rock out to a scattered beat of madness, joy and sheer bedlam.
- Edwin Pouncy, The Wire -

2003 ACTIVITY CENTER & PHIL MINTON (rapidshare/mediafire)

dimanche 26 septembre 2010

Greg Kelley & Jason Lescalleet - Forlorn Green

Greg Kelley: trumpet
Jason Lescalleet: tape loops, computer

The Wire, Dan Warburton
The press release is disingenuous in describing "Forlorn Green" as "lo-fi": even if Jason Lescalleet's work involves tapeloops using cheap recording gear and "trashed" speakers, his digital reworking and mastering is painstakingly perfectionist ­ and perfect. Recorded in four different locations in the Boston area (a church, a gallery, an art school and the local Twisted Village record store) and crafted in Lescalleet's studio with what can only be described as loving care, the sonic alchemy of this work is breathtaking. Almost all the material was sourced from Greg Kelley's extraordinary trumpet playing, recorded onto microcassettes and morphed by Lescalleet into soundscapes that will have you pinching yourself in disbelief ­ is it a double bass? A contrabass clarinet? A foghorn? A helicopter? Though predominantly slow moving and spacious, there's nothing chilled-out and soporific here ­ instead a fantastic attention on the part of the musicians to details not only of structure and timbre, but also (rare these days) pitch. This is the new musique spectrale ­ describing it as "improvised music" is strictly untrue, and moreover fails to do justice to Lescalleet's meticulous montage. There's a truly three-dimensional sense of depth to the mix (Giacinto Scelsi's idea of spherical sound comes to mind), and even if these guys can tear it up when they want to ­ witness Kelley's scorching work on Paul Flaherty's "The Ilya Tree" (Boxholder) and Lescalleet's teeth-grinding noisefests with Ron Lessard in Due Process ­ that violence is here channelled into something quiet but equally intense. There are occasional disturbing moments ­ the jack-jerking flutters and growls of "Tight Spot" ­ but the final exquisite "Autumn Leaves", with its slowly pulsing distant drones is as rich and dark as Audrey Lescalleet's gorgeous cover art. Quite simply outstanding.


vendredi 24 septembre 2010

Phosphor - Phosphor

Burkhard Beins: percussion
Alessandro Bosetti: soprano saxophone
Axel Dörner: trumpet, electronics
Robin Hayward: tuba
Annette Krebs: electro-acoustic guitar
Andrea Neumann: inside piano, mixing desk
Michael Renkel: acoustic guitar
Ignaz Schick: live electronics

This outing features a consortium of Berlin, Germany-based musicians who tend to explore the outer limits of abstraction via live electronics, acoustic instruments, and subversive dialogue. Less in your face than similar productions of this ilk, the instrumentalists create an air of suspense amid subdued moments and sparse frameworks. Andrea Neumann utilizes her stripped-down piano parts (strings, resonance board, metal frame & EFX) to counteract tubaist Robin Hayward, percussionist Burkhard Beins, and others for a set teeming with sparsely concocted themes. The octet provides a series of illusory effects in concert with moments of tension and surprise, due to its shrewd amalgamation of peculiar backdrops and concisely executed improvisational episodes. On Part 3 (no song titles), you will hear low-pitched gurgling noises and plucked strings. However, trumpeter Axel Dorner’s atonal hissing sounds cast a strangely exotic spell throughout many of these sequences. Not casual listening, but fascinatingly interesting - the music or noise, depending on which way you perceive it, rings forth like some sort of impressionistic souvenir. Sure, some of us may not include this release among the ongoing rotation. The content might parallel something akin to an avant-garde sculpture or oil painting: thus an artistic entity that deserves to be revisited from time to time.


Phosphor - Phosphor II

Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects, small electrics
Axel Dörner: trumpet, electronics
Robin Hayward: tuba
Annette Krebs: guitar, objects, electronics, tape
Andrea Neumann: inside piano, mixing board
Michael Renkel: prepared nylon string acoustic guitar via computer
Ignaz Schick: turntables, objects, bows

Phosphor, whose self-titled album came out in 2001, waited nearly five years to record its follow-up with Phosphor II. With editing, mixing and manufacturing, it has taken nearly eight years for the session to reach the marketplace.

With all that time that has passed, it is interesting to hear that the original super group, minus Alessandro Bosetti, can easily pick up right where it left off. These Berlin-based musicians practice the microtonal art of minimalist improvisation, yet their sound constructions are easily transferable to disc.

In fact, not having the visual component to their performance pushes the focus onto the sound, not which performer is making what sound—not always any easy thing to achieve.

The music here is, as Miles Davis once described it, about "the silence in between the notes." These eight compositions take that concept to the nth degree. Switches switch, air passes through instruments without notes, static takes the same place as rhythms, and electric charges fuel the tension that gives way to a cosmic release.

The sounds—noise, perhaps—are strangely inviting creatures whose vocabulary is one of a decayed future that meshes the human touch with computer and mechanical sounds that have slipped the moorings of beat and meter. (from ALLABOUTJAZZ)


jeudi 23 septembre 2010

Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford - Trio (London) 1993

Anthony Braxton: alto & sopranino saxophones
Evan Parker: tenor & soprano saxophones
Paul Rutherford: trombone

Reviewby Scott Yanow

The lack of liner notes on this otherwise rewarding CD sometimes makes it difficult to know exactly what is going on. The unusual trio (comprised of trombonist Paul Rutherford and multireedists Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker) perform five adventurous group improvisations that are surprisingly concise (all but one clocks in between six and eleven minutes) and largely self-sufficient despite the lack of any rhythm instruments. Still, this is not a release for the beginner and it is most highly recommended to collectors already quite familiar with Anthony Braxton's explorative music.(from AMG)

1993 TRIO (LONDON) 1993

mercredi 22 septembre 2010

Clare Cooper - Hammeriver

Clare Cooper: concert harp
Chris Abrahams: grand piano
Tobias Delius: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Werner Dafeldecker: double bass
Clayton Thomas: double bass
Christof Kurzman: lloopp
Tony Buck: drums

Australian harpist Clare Cooper formed Hammeriver in Sydney in 2003 as a vehicle for dynamic investigation into the music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda – composer, harpist, pianist, organist and bandleader.
When Cooper moved to Berlin in April 2007, she created the band anew with previous collaborators from Australia; Clayton Thomas, Chris Abrahams and Tony Buck, and inviting Berlin-based musicians and friends Werner Dafeldecker, Tobias Delius and Christof Kurzmann. All seven musicians were interested in approaching jazz from a new and unusual angle – stretching and dissecting its powerful energy.
This collective experience of the diverse personnel also encompasses electro-acoustic improvisation, musique concrète, psychedelic rock and reductionism. But instead of conflicts, they create a music that transforms and transcends their influences – singularly original, unexpected and rich.
This very special recording documents a day of music in the Saal 3 recording studio in the grand old East German radio station.
The first piece on the album, Ohnedaruth (Second Stabbing) is an exploration of Alice Coltrane’s Ohnedaruth from the album A Monastic Trio (Impulse 1968). Cooper created a graphic score that broke down what she identified as the essential elements of the music, but also allowed for movement and improvisation inspired by the original recording.
First Free, DD and Heartbreaker showcase the immense potential of the group’s improvisational language. All three pieces are edits of free improvisations.
E is based on a simple score by Cooper. All musicians are playing in, on and bending around the note E in any register – maintaining a consistent energy for the full 13 minutes – the challenge being to innovate and shape with (seemingly) limited tools.
The fact that there have been several years between the recording and release is no mistake for Cooper, “There are too many impulsive releases out there. I prefer to wait, to listen with space and distance, to hear if there is something living in the sound, something that travels beyond the day the music is recorded or performed. I hear something very alive and joyful in this recording… I’m happy to return to it again and to share it”

Free Jazz Quartet - Memories For The Future

Paul Rutherford: trombone
Harrison Smith: soprano & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Tony Moore: cello
Eddie Prevost: drums

This is a newly discovered recording of a concert given in Bristol in 1992 and like everything else that Mr. Prevost releases on Matchless, it is extraordinary. This is the second disc from the Free Jazz Quartet, the personnel is the same as their earlier Matchless disc - it features the late Paul Rutherford on trombone, Harrison Smith on tenor & soprano saxes & bass clarinet, Tony Moore on cello and Eddie Prevost on drums. Similar in respect to the past with an eye to the future British percussionists Eddie Prevost and John Stevens both led bands and influenced those around them with their vision and playing. Both men led by example and helped to focus the playing of the members of their various projects. This, the Free Jazz Quartet is a great example since they are much more than just a free jazz quartet. Mr. Prevost has selected an excellent, well-balanced and explorative unit. Eddie's own playing is constantly shifting between rhythms, colors and shades similar to what the under-recorded Tony Moore does on the cello, more often plucking than bowing. Eddie plays with the utmost restraint for the first few pieces on this disc, as if he is using knitting needles on his cymbals and drums. Both horns (trombone & reeds) sail around one another in a most organic fashion. Eddie's mallet playing on "Summoning" is both spacious, careful and melodic, his solo and duo with the cello is quite stunning. When the horns finally come in it is perfection personified. It sounds like a conversations between ghosts or elders, with ideas being tossed back and forth effortlessly. It was sad to lose trombone legend Paul Rutherford a few years ago. This disc show that he was still an amazing improviser later in life and captures him and the rest of this magnificent quartet just right. Truly outstanding!

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


Peter Brötzmann, Günter Sommer + Barre Phillips - Réservé

Peter Brötzmann: alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass clarinet
Günter Sommer: drums
Barre Phillips: bass (track2)

Reviewby Thom Jurek
This 1998 recording by the duo of super-lunged saxophonist Peter Brötzman and percussionist Gunter Sommer with bassist supérieur Barre Phillips entering later was a reunion from the Total Music Meetings of the early '80s. None of the trio had played together for five years and -- suddenly -- here they were, together again for what proved to be a 75-minute set of spiritual and musical renewal. Phillips and Brötzman had been active in many ways during the break, but Sommers had explored a different path, one that landed him at the end of critics' barbs. This meeting was a chance to see not only if they could still play together and find the fire necessary to make sculptures of notes in midair, but to showcase how each man had grown as a musician. The first half-hour that comprises the title track has the duo coming out screaming, puncturing the air with ribbons of sound with nails attached. This is where each man establishes the ground he will speak to the others from. Phillips, not yet present, must have been astonished at what he heard from bongos and trap drums to voices. No wonder he wanted in so badly. He enters in the second half on "In Walked Beep." Phillips becomes the bridge by which true communication can happen. His bass playing filters each sound, each utterance, and mirrors it back to another player changed only by his own imagination, which clarifies -- not distorts -- the view of each soloist. This is not a cutting contest; this is a defining moment in the career of Sommers, who has more fire in his belly here that he had exhibited in the previous ten years combined. Phillips is the reason, the waterbearer who offered a safety net and a ledge to walk out on. This is what Coltrane talked about when he spoke of music that transcended music and became a cosmic language. The only difference being that, in these three men, there is no need for the cosmos when the earth is so full of passionate, unspeakable forces that need to be given utterance. By the end of the set, a short eight-minute improv named after some cigars Sommers had given Brötzman, the bridges are built, the towns erected, and the mountains moved. Communication has come from the silences of isolation and entered into the community of sound. Not a miracle, but an accomplishment to be sure.(from AMG)


Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio - Physics

Evan Parker: tenor & soprano saxophones
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Paul Lovens: selected drums & cymbals

Reviewby Eugene Chadbourne

Physics? This is more like a plate of steaming clams, or better yet a big pot of hot fish soup. It is 74 minutes of thick, steaming music played by the group that never dies, served up in two lengthy courses. This was recorded early into their second decade of existence. By then the trio had clearly proved the inaccuracy of certain notions that fixed groups do not work in the free improvised genre. Then again, the Schlippenbach trio has a clear connection with the jazz tradition, something that some of the other groups from the European free improvisation scene don't. One can sense a link between the final period of Coltrane, for example, and the playing of Evan Parker, Alexander Schlippenbach, and Paul Lovens, although eliminated is the need for grandiose theme statements to kick the jams into gear. Since modern jazz in the early '90s had been largely running away frightened from the late Coltrane model and retreating into more conservative, commercial realms, one could say this is the trio that is physically carrying the history of jazz forward. Whatever they are doing, it's top notch.(from AMG)


mardi 21 septembre 2010

Manfred Schoof - European Echoes

Enrico Rava: trumpet
Manfred Schoof: trumpet
Hugh Steinmetz: trumpet
Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone
Gerd Dudek: tenor saxophone
Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophones
Paul Rutherford: trombone
Derek Bailey: guitar
Fred Van Hove: piano
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Irène Schweizer: piano
Arjen Gorter: double bass
Peter Kowald: double bass
Buschi Niebergall: double bass
Han Bennink: drums
Pierre Favre: drums

The lineup says it all. Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, Fred Van Hove, Alexander von Schlippenbach, just to name a few, are all here. I’ve always put this album in context by thinking of it as the non-idiomatic improvisational cousin of Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz. There is the all-star lineup, the big group moving and swaying and surging, just as there is in Free Jazz. Each player would go on to do even greater things individually or in new configurations. Yet this album, at least from an American perspective, is much less celebrated, which I’ve found curious.

Part of that can be geographic, obviously. Another reason for the supremacy of Free Jazz on these shores is Coleman’s ties to traditional US folk music, where his abstractions would be broken up, or kept in context, by fleeting phrasings (or rephrasings) of memorable tunes. Here there is much less recognizable in terms of melodies under the fray. In this way, it is a more European version of Coltrane’s Ascension. Of course, that is fine praise. And, it is my guess, if you’re a fan of Free Jazz, but enjoy a harsher edge, like Ascension, but want less clutter, then European Echoes is right up your alley.

Unlike some other giant group affairs, this plays slightly more like Bitches Brew in that this record breaks up its storms with a lot of individual showcasing. There is just less going on at one time for a decent number of stretches. In this way, you can hear this as a fresher approach, one that resembles the smaller group free improv of today. The other great thing about this record is that many players are still active, or were at least active recently. This allows you to see how they play in the context of new groups comprised of players that grew up with this sort of thing as respected music rather than a radical statement.

All in all, this is one of the better records posted to KiC, and hopefully a new rip, improved cover art, etc. will help it continue to gain in esteem.(from KILLEDinCARS)


lundi 20 septembre 2010

Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang - The Damage Is Done

Joe McPhee: trumpet, alto saxophone
Peter Brötzmann: alto & tenor saxophones, tarogato, b-flat clarinet
Kent Kessler: bass
Michael Zerang: drums

This live date features legendary free jazz pioneers Peter Brotzmann and Joe McPhee, and Chicago's leading rhythm section, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Michael Zerang. The four also make up 4/10 of Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet, maybe the most successful large new music jazz ensemble ever assembled.

As they have in the past while touring with the Tentet, they step away and perform in this more intimate lineup. This quartet has released two previous recordings, Tales Out Of Time (hatOLOGY, 2004) and Guts (Okka, 2007), with The Damage Is Done's two discs recorded live at Alchemia in Krakow, Poland in March of 2008.

While the players can (and do) perform volatile energy jazz here, their preference is for music that's dissectible enough for the players to be distinguished in parts and direction.

The obvious reference point here is the legend of Albert Ayler and his brother Donald. Brötzmann has never shied away from his admiration for free jazz's holy ghost. With Brötzmann on tenor and McPhee sporting the trumpet role, the attention to Ayler can be heard on "With Charon" and the title track (all 30-plus minutes). Brotzmann and McPhee's stamina, both nearing 70, is impressive. The pair delivers an onslaught of energy with a relentless attack, the only pause being for Zerang and Kessler's solos. With that, the pace slows, allowing Brötzmann to paint from a different palette. This gentler approach acts as a collection point before the music again spreads its energy patterns outward.

Kessler and Zerang open "Alchemia Souls," with itchy bowed bass and sound effect brushes on drums. Brötzmann enters, playing a persistent tarogato before McPhee's twitchy alto joins. The rhythm section maintains the energy through constant motion. The more affable music making here comes at the urging of the rhythm section. Slowing down the pulse or playing with mallets coaxes the horn players to decelerate and clarify the sound.

The breadth and power of these four players comes through with an exhaustive clarity in this crisp and vigorous live recording. (from ALLABOUTJAZZ)

2009 THE DAMAGE IS DONE (part1/part2)

Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Paul Lytton + Peter Evans - Scenes In The House Of Music

Evan Parker: tenor & soprano saxophones
Barry Guy: bass
Paul Lytton: drums & percussion
Peter Evans: trumpet

"Parker/Guy/Lytton is already a classic trio, even if this group is continuously changing what we think we know about the music played by Parker with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton. But when they're associated with someone like trumpeter Peter Evans, we can anticipate a journey into uncharted territory. In "Scenes in the House of Music", the quartet with Evans is something else entirely, as is the combination of Lytton, Guy with Evans, without Parker. Any previously released P/G/L improvisation won't prepare you for this. Refreshed, sometimes more edgy, on occasion more "driving" or even "jazzy", here and there with a chamber feeling, the music on this CD is of a particularly high level of refinement - one of trained spontaneity. All the musicians listen before playing, and what they play is in close interaction with what the others do. This isn't only free music, it's also egalitarian music, even given the difference of age between the P/G/L and the band's guest Peter Evans; and in return Peter Evan's respect for the older artists is audible, but it is never reverential. On the contrary, he's always trying to take them out of their comfort zones. The really delicious parts happen when the veterans shake the young performer's world, showing him, and us, that they're still the masters of this game."-Clean Feed


Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio - Pakistani Pomade

Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophones
Paul Lovens: drums

British saxophonist John Butcher recently asked me why his music is considered jazz. Sure, it's based on improvisation. Is that enough of a qualification? There are some connections with the American avant-garde from the '60s, including atonal experiments by Cecil Taylor and expansions of the saxophone's sound by Coltrane and Ayler. But in the end, as much as we all like categories, Butcher's music does not fall into any neat bin. "European free improv" is about as close as you can get, and even that is a murky moniker at best.

The genesis of this so-called school has its roots in '70s experiments in England (and specifically London) by rotating collectives. The Continental variety drew from the tricky dadaism of the Dutch school and the more seriously expressionistic variety from Germany. (The French, for the most part, were too busy eating Brie.)

In the case of 1972's Pakistani Pomade, originally released on the FMP label, the group includes pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Evan Parker, and drummer Paul Lovens. (German, English, and German, respectively. They still perform today.) The group carries a stalwart emphasis on color, texture, and density—of both the timbral and harmonic kind.

That manifests itself through the wide-ranging play of Parker, who in this case stays toward the brighter end of the spectrum, ranging from light thrusting whispers to squeaking, squawking cries. Lytton has his rare moments of linear timekeeping and outright melodicism, but for the most part he emphasizes rise and fall, twist and turn, crest and boundary.

Schlippenbach, for his part, takes a particularly oblique approach to harmony, with dense clusters and irregular intervals tending to crowd out the more open and resonant moments. As both a player and a composer, he adopts an architectural approach to sound. Three improvisers, playing as intensely and interactively as they possibly can, are barely enough to assemble the craggy structures that emerge here. So in some sense Pakistani Pomade is both a reflection of open possibilities and concerted effort.

Atavistic's Unheard Music Series has brought this recording back to print in an edition with four additional tracks (the 11 minute plus "Pakistani alternate #1" being a particularly dramatic example), original art, and newly unearthed photos of the group. (Man, what hair. What sweat. What serious concentration.) Nearly 20 years later the trio would record the similarly crisp Elf Bagatellen, another essential FMP classic.

European improv never sounded better.(from ALLABOUTJAZZ)


dimanche 19 septembre 2010

James White & The Blacks - Off White

James White & The Blacks

Reviewby Victor W. Valdivia

For Off White, James Chance, a veteran of New York's avant-garde no wave scene, recast his seminal band the Contortions as a parody of a soul band, albeit one incorporating the rhythms of disco and funk rather than R&B. Thus, Chance became James White (as a nod to James Brown), the Contortions became the Blacks, and his music, previously a twisted, experimental brand of avant-jazz, became a disco/funk/free jazz hybrid. As bizarre as the fusion of Albert Ayler and Giorgio Moroder might sound, Off White works primarily because Chance commits to both sides of the music. The disco rhythms, especially on "Almost Black, Pt. 1" and "Contort Yourself" are as pounding as anything Casablanca ever released (even the production is slick and polished), while his sax solos on both those tracks are squawks and bleats that would scare off all but the most committed avant-garde hipsters. He even attempts calypso on "(Tropical) Heat Wave," mixing a languid island rhythm with intricate blasts of noise. By carefully constructing his music with such polar opposites, Chance manages to highlight how both of them have more similarities, especially in rhythm, than would appear at first listen. Off White may be an acquired taste, but listeners who dig into it will have their patience rewarded with some of the most challenging, intriguing music to emerge from the post-punk era.


Kahil El'Zabar's Trio Factor - The Power

Kahil El'Zabar: percussion, thumb piano
Hamiet Bluiett: flute, bass & contrabass saxophones
Billy Bang: violin

2000 THE POWER (part1/part2)

samedi 18 septembre 2010

Robin Hayward - States of Rushing

Robin Hayward: solo tuba

When we’re young and immature, and perhaps even as we age, certain instruments are cool, and certain instruments are not. As a teen, I didn’t realize how great it was that my brother played clarinet, and I didn’t realize that instrument’s rich history in jazz. I also had no idea all the crazy things it could do, and would do, in records I loved. Guitar was my thing, and while I certainly still think guitar is cool, I’m adding tuba to the list of instruments that I am ashamed to admit I had an aversion to.

The major responsibility for this goes to Robin Hayward, and the reason he achieved it is because he took the tuba, and only the tuba, and met me halfway. This isn’t band music, and for the most part this isn’t melodic. Instead States of Rushing is a hardcore microtonal exploration of the tuba. If you clicked away, I don’t know if I could blame you. While the sax is a “cool” instrument, what about the tuba is so special to explore its twists and turns, its valves, and its tone? To be honest, I don’t see what is on this record as being distinctive from similar extended-technique marathons and studies in breathing, but that’s my point: what makes this cool for sax, but not for tuba? Nothing.

I’d go as far as saying that Hayward’s playing here shows that musicians, time and again, will try to recreate the sounds they love, sounds often more traditionally generated on other instruments, with the instrument they’ve been trained on. If you like pulsing, breathing, microtonal music, but you’re trained in the tuba, would you just not make that music, or would you find a way to make it happen? Hayward found a way to make it happen, and I’m happy he did.

This record can be intense. It can be monotonous and bleak, but in the sterile way eai fans like. At times Hayward is bludgeoning you with repetition, repeating the same sounds over and over. But in the context of this album, considering how he’s translating sounds he loves through his instrument, I’m as likely to take this as face value as I am to think he’s replicating the mechanical beat of industrial or techno. Regardless of his intent, this is a very solid record you should seek out. (from KILLED IN CARS)


vendredi 10 septembre 2010

samedi 4 septembre 2010

Trio Sowari - Shortcut

Phil Durrant: software samplers, treatments
Bertrand Denzler: tenor saxophone
Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects, small electrics

Trio Sowari’s first release, Three Dances, was one of the musical highlights of 2005. Happily, their follow-up, Shortcut, is every bit as good. One of things that’s particularly impressive about it is tenor saxophonist Bertrand Denzler’s astute deployment of the mostly unorthodox sounds he draws from his instrument. In some quarters it has been argued that saxophones are an anathema to EAI, that they sit uncomfortably in the music. Denzler proves otherwise. His blasts of tuned air and percussive pad tapping blend superbly with Burkhard Beins’s largely textural rather than percussive approach to his kit, especially when Beins makes swishing sounds by gently rubbing one of his drumskins with a block of polystyrene. Beins also plays ‘small electrics’, which merge with Phil Durrant’s software samplers and treatments.
Particularly good examples of the trio’s textural interplay can be heard on Corridor and the pointillistic track that immediately follows it, Dots #1. Running to almost ten minutes, the latter track is one of the lengthiest on the aptly titled Shortcut; most are half that length or less, and the five parts of Piercing, with which the CD begins, total less than four minutes. But even when the trio is working in Webernian miniature there’s nothing insubstantial about the music, it’s robust and emphatic, merely stripped of inessentials. Though ideas are sometimes teased out at length, as on Trespassing, the turnover of events is often surprisingly swift – or perhaps it just seems like that because the music is consistently engaging.
Brian Marley l Signal To Noise l March 2009


Trio Sowari - Three Dances

Phil Durrant: software sampler, synthetiser, treatments
Bertrand Denzler: tenor saxophone
Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects

Recorded in November 2004, this debut album by Trio Sowari offers a considerable dose of high-end electro-acoustic improv. Then again, connoisseurs of the genre expect no less from Phil Durrant, Burkhard Beins, and the ubiquitous Bertrand Denzler, whose discography grows as quickly as his stature.
Forget the "dance" paradigm generated by the album and track titles, and the cover artwork -- delightfully kitsch, incidentally. There is nothing to be danced to on this record, not even a single beat. Actually, there might not even be a single stroke, as Beins is much more a brusher and a bower than a striker, when it comes to percussion. Sit this one out and listen instead.
There is a wonderful level of mimicry and intricacy between Denzler's breathy techniques (he rarely plays a note), Durrant's electronics (including a software sampler), and Beinz's textural sounds, especially in the 25-minute Tumble, exquisitely sparse and detailed until everyone locks up in a raspy mood for a grating finale that should leave you speechless. Distinguishing individual contributions gets tricky at times, but the exercise does have its entertaining value. Nevertheless, the album works best when you let go of such considerations, accept the music for the collective effort that it is, and surrender to its troubled imagery and uncanny choreographical aspects. Rondo and Bolero -- respectively 16 and 11 minutes long -- contain very strong moments, but Tumble is the true reason to acquire Three Dances.
François Couture l All Music Guide l August 2005


vendredi 3 septembre 2010

Activity Center - Lohn & Brot

Michael Renkel: acoustic guitar, preparations, amplified stringboard, live electronics, percussion
Burkhard Beins: drums, cymbals, e-bowed and propelled zither, mixing desk, handheld electronics

"the activity center started off in 1989 with a conglomeration of instruments and sound sources at hand, comprising prepared tapes and tape loops, toys and homemade instruments, an inside piano, zither, contact mikes and radio, next to electric and acoustic guitars, and percussion. throughout the 1990's the focus shifted almost exclusively towards the sonic potential of their acoustic main instruments: spanish guitar and percussion extended only by preparations and the use of various objects as documented on their first musical summary möwen & moos, a double cd released in 1999 after the first 10 years of their collaborative artistic development.

another decade on the activity center has been amplified again, extended by electronic software and devices, and relocated on tables. by completing this kind of circle all discoveries they have made so far seem to be now at their disposal. but as a matter of course lohn & brot is once again a transitory piece of work. a hybrid of acoustic noise and electro-acoustic subtlety, immediate manual access and complex treatment. - what will come next ?"-Absinthe Records

2009 LOHN & BROT

AMM - Sounding Music

John Butcher: tenor & soprano saxophones
Ute Kanngiesser: cello
Eddie Prevost: percussion
John Tilbury: piano
Christian Wolff: piano, bass guitar, melodica

Can you imagine a band consisting of two pianos, saxophone, cello and percussion to sound like a breeze? Add melodica and bass guitar and the end result is a fifty-one minute whisper? Imagine a soundscape that is made of icy fragility, full of surface tension an invisible undercurrents? You can sense it and feel it, but you can't touch it? It's so abstract it becomes concrete?

This can only be achieved by the masters of the genre: John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxophones, Ute Kanngiesser on cello, Eddie Prévost on percussion, John Tilbury on piano, and Christian Wolff on piano, bass guitar and melodica.

Please forget about those instruments. They do not sound as you expect them to sound. They sound different. You do not actually hear piano, sax, percussion or cello.

Also forget about the individual voice of an instrument. You do not hear them as separate instruments. You get a total sound, built up from layers of incomplete sounds, creating something new, something unheard, of ethereal beauty, with no hurry, no sense of urgency, just the slow development of sound, minimal, gliding through silence, delivered with uncanny restraint and control, yet full of suspense, with little moments of recognition : a piano key, the slow release of air through a horn, the sizzling of a cymbal, the pain of a bowed string, a single melodica note, trickling through the overall sound, whose volume swells and shrinks like the coming and going of waves.

It would be boring if it was not so superb. But like most great music, it is full of paradoxes : it is the soundtrack to a nightmare, yet equally inviting, it is relaxing and nerve-wracking, industrial and spiritual, soothing and scary ... it is one long piece, but I was disappointed that it ended so soon. (from FREEJAZZ)


Günter Christmann, Mats Gustafsson, Paul Lovens - Tr!o

Günter Christmann: cello, trombone
Mats Gustafsson: soprano & baritone saxophones, fluteophone
Paul Lovens: percussion

In 1994 cellist and trombonist Günter Christmann, drummer Paul Lovens and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson performed together for the first time as a trio. Now, in 2010, their performance is released on CD.

Musically, it shows that what was avant-garde then still is avant-garde today, sixteen years later, and very much so. The music also demonstrates that even within avant-garde, this trio was thinking quite ahead. What you hear is an incredibly intense interaction between three masters, barely using their instruments other than to produce sounds - not phrases, not melodies, just timbral explorations of coloring, restrained power, blocked flux, sudden release, shades, changes in intensity, and all this against a broad canvas of silence.

Critics who claim that all modern and avant-garde jazz is just noise will find both denial and confirmation here.
It is not noise in the traditional sense : the volume is kept down, allowing for even the most subtle of movements to be picked up by the mikes. No other music, not even classical chamber music, allows for such nuance of sound perception.
Yet it is noise in its most traditional sense, in its most primitive and basic meaning : what you hear are scraping, screeching,clattering, gurgling, hammering, hissing, shouting, rumbling, ticking, weeping, thundering, chattering, ... all coming out of instruments, not in a structure, but raw and in immediate reaction or as propulsion for other sounds.

Ten years ago, I would have run away from this as fast as I could, arms in the air screaming bloody horror.

Today, and don't ask me why, I can listen to this intently, as I have done several times back-to-back and in bits and pieces, enjoying the incredible power contained, almost locked-up, in this music, full of tension despite its minimalism, with sometimes no sound, then all three simultaneously letting out a shout from their instrument, as if read from some sheet music. The greatest quality of the music is the total effect, including what is not being played, not only in the silence, but in what is being suppressed. That is by itself a rare achievement. (from FREEJAZZ)

2010 TR!O

jeudi 2 septembre 2010

Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio - Bauhaus Dessau

Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
Paul Lovens: drums

There are times when you (me) curse musicians like Evan Parker for being so damn hermetic in their playing, or like Von Schlippenbach for being far too abstract or too concrete yet hard to pigeonhole, or someone like Paul Lovens for seeming to be unconcerned about rhythm despite being a drummer, or all of them being so totally out there in their own solipsistic adventurous journey that they completely forgot they still need someone (you, me) to listen to their music and enjoy it.

Then there are times when these three icons of European avant-garde music play together and the result is magic. This is such a moment. Yes, it is abstract, it is hermetic at times, it is an adventurous journey, but one that is strangely accessible, with an openness and a kind of creamy texture (am I influenced by the cover art here? but no the music is creamy too) that is pleasing throughout.

The biggest strength of the album is its forward-moving dynamics, as opposed to the in-the-moment creation of sounds of so much free improv, that take you along, like a boat on a musical river, you're part of it, rather than watching it from the shore how things arrive and disappear, no, here you're floating along, which gives you the great pleasure of being able to follow the flux, evolve with its developments, whether through thundering rapids or ballad-like slower movements.

The biggest strength of the album is its warmth, its gentle and welcoming sound, despite its abstract nature, with Evans' tenor being quite expressive in his short staccato bursts full of multiphonic inflections and subtle nuance, or maddening hypnotic in his long circular breathing bouts, all accentuated by Lovens' storytelling on percussion, unusual, elegant and or disorienting, and Von Schlippenbach is the power that holds it all together, gives context, backbone and direction, although all three are quite volatile concepts in an environment like this one.

The biggest strength of the album is its fantastic interplay by three musicians who've seen it all, done it all, without any need to confirm themselves other than the ambition to exceed the quality of their art: to make it more eloquent, more expressive, offering new vistas into music, sound, texture, timbre ...

And now that we're at it : the biggest strength of this live album, is the enthusiastic audience that gives the three musicians the level of applause they rightly deserve.

This is music made for listeners. (from FREEJAZZ)


mercredi 1 septembre 2010

Arthur Jones - Scorpio

Arthur Jones: alto saxophone
Beb Guerin: bass
Claude Delcloo: drums

Reviewby Brandon Burke

Arthur Jones had one of the warmer and more romantic styles in "energy music," making this, his debut as a leader, a highly enjoyable set. While the late-'60s avant-garde jazz scene is typically associated with heated and furious solo flights, Jones managed to fuse his love of older bop and blues players with the prevalent tendencies of the day. In this way, Jones was as adept at caressing a ballad as he was at shredding apart a fast one. Both of these sides are in evidence -- quite literally -- on this disc. The searing "C.R.M." opens the session with a relentless frenzy of notes; cutting and slashing everything in it's path. It is one of four Jones originals. The evocative and gritty ballad "Sad Eyes" begins the second on a much different note. This piece as well as the opening bars of the album's closer, "Brother B," provide a wonderful example of an avant-garde player digging into his blues roots. Where Archie Shepp incorporated a soulful Ben Webster swagger into the New Thing, Jones applies the style of another elder statesman, particularly that of Johnny Hodges. The result is also reminiscent of Ornette Coleman's mid-'60s trio sessions with David Izenzon and Charles Moffett, only Jones had the tendency to employ more squeaks and growls than did Coleman. Bassist Beb Guerin and drummer Claude Delcloo round out the trio and both are given a good amount of solo/duet time on each side's opener. Scorpio was recorded only a month after the trio supported Jacques Coursil on his first Actuel date, the quartet session, Way Ahead. This is a very warm and firmly rooted free jazz record. Highly recommended.


Lucio Capece & Lee Patterson - Empty Matter

Lucio Capece: soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, preparations, sruti box
Lee Patterson: cd players, pick-ups, ebowed springrods, springplate, hazelnuts

The first plays also soprano saxophone, as well as bass clarinet and shruti
box and Patterson CD players, pick-ups, e-bowed springrods, springplate
and hazelnuts - another combination of wind instruments with
electronics, but more extended than Matthews and Rives. They recorded
the eight pieces, which if you don't pay attention to the CD player go
by as one track. I assume this is a concert recording. Unlike
Matthews/Rives there seems to be an equal balance between both players,
really melting together the sounds they produce. Delightful and
delicate are the words that apply to this release. Like the other
release on Another Timbre this slightly by-passes the regular paths of
improvisation, mainly due to whatever Patterson does with his CD
players and pick-ups. It sort gives an additional electronic layer to
the music, making this perhaps a bit more drone based than the usual
releases of Another Timbre, butthroughout this is a pretty strong
release, which ties together improvisation, electro-acoustics and drone
based music. Excellent. (from Vital Weekly 714)