Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beck - Mutations


Fennesz/O' Rourke/Rehberg - The Magic Sound of Fenno'berg

Three of avant music's brightest lights (the Mego label's Peter Rehberg and Christian Fennesz, and the ubiquitous Jim O'Rourke) sit down with their laptops, and create a disarming and beautiful collection of electronic free improvisation. You'll find only trace elements of established genres here, as the three lob samples and tones back and forth: recognizible instruments blend with "pure" electronics, pop structures dissolve into the irradiation of noise and static. The fact that it's all done in real time, with little to no premeditation, makes it all the more intriguing. This _isn't_ techno, despite what the racking system might tell you. Whatever the old farts of free improv tell you, this _is_ the future of avant garde, improvised music. Let whatever hang ups you have about music created on computer go, and lose yourself in the journey.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Schlippenback trio - Detto fra di noi (Po Torch, 1981)

Po Torch Records PTR/JWD 10/11 Detto fra di noi: live in Pisa 1981

Schlippenback trio
Alex von Schlippenbach, piano, Evan Parker, soprano and tenor saxophones, Paul Lovens, selected drums and cymbals, sage.

Ciclone (15.53) Fra di noi (32.16) Abbondanza (12.09)

'This album presents the complete recording of the performance given by the Schlippenbach trio during the final concert of the 6 Rassegna Internazionale del jazz on June 21st, 1981, in the Teatro Verdi of Pisa. The Rassegna Internazionale del jazz is organised yearly in Pisa by the Centre for the Research into Improvised Music (CRIM).'

Review by Peter Kostakis in Downbeat, vol. 50, no. 4, (April), 1983, pp. 30-32; 4 star rating

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Khanate - Capture & Release [EP]

Slow, deep, powerful, tortured, evil. This is SunnO)))'s twisted older brother. Guaranteed to clear the room of all who don't wish to plunge this far into the blackened depths. Be you willing, put on some headphones and take a stroll with Khanate. Pure bliss.


Johnny Dyani, Okay Temiz, Mongezi Feza - Rejoice

I dunno the Tracklist, any help is appreciated

Johnny Dyani - Bass, Vocals
Mongezi Feza - Trumpet, Vocals
Okay Temiz - Drums, Percussion

(Oct 1972, Cadillac 1017)

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Bill Dixon - Odyssey [solo works] (2001, box set 6cd)

A labor of love, this marvelous self-produced six-disc set collects trumpeter Bill Dixon's previously unreleased solo recordings since the 1970s. (Actually, a few of the many tracks add minimal accompaniment.) The final disc presents highly intelligent, fascinating oral commentary by the trumpeter on his life and music. Included in the oversized box are booklets containing several essays by two critics and two former students, and a collection of Dixon's beautifully reproduced artwork in color. At the time of this release in 2001, the trumpeter and retired professor was in his late seventies and in peak form, both intellectually and artistically. While five hours of solo trumpet is exhausting to hear (it should never be attempted at a single sitting), there is no denying Dixon's original voice, individual style, and astonishing technique. Space plays an important role in his sound, the trumpeter knowing when to harness the power of silence. Purity of sound is another important element, Dixon's pristine tone a pure pleasure. Dixon occasionally adds reverb, giving his notes a slight echo. Other distinguishing characteristics include his use of the full range of the horn, from the pedal tones to the highest reaches, and his extraordinary use of breath, pushed through the horn at varying volumes. Granted, this is not easy listening, and there are few melodies or conventional signposts. Listening to all these hours of solo Dixon takes self-discipline and might be compared to hearing a long postmodern poetry recital. But, for those willing to make the effort, and who can appreciate the contributions of an extraordinary talent, this boxed set will bring endless hours of pleasure. - Steven Loewy


Sonny & Sunny

Nov 1968
Berlin Jazz Fest

Sonny Sharrock Guitar
Sunny Murray Drums

Here's a little bit O' History for ya.

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Phillip Wilson & Olu Dara - Esoteric (Hat Hut)

Phillip Wilson - percussion
Olu Dara - trumpet, horn (serpent)

Recorded in paris

(1977-1978, Hat Hut)

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Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Strange form of life

'Strange Form of Life' was without a doubt my favourite track from last year's stunning 'The Letting Go' album, and shows Will Oldham at his emotional best. Singing side-by-side Faun Fables lady Dawn McCarthy Oldham sounds perfectly at ease, and the track is a lazy paean to love and sunnier times. The B-side tracks are fairly lo-fi recordings (compared with the high budget recording of the album) and these show Oldham at his intimate best. Closing on 'The Seedling' we find Oldham in pure 70s folk-rock mode, warbling triumphantly over simply picked acoustic guitar. This is truly a fantastic package, and re-affirms the reason for buying cd singles - it's nice to see someone doing it right!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

michael smith - geomusic

1. qui s'excuse s'accuse
2. time II (geomusic 3.700)
3. a ballad for "k"
4. impressions on chinese prints
5. improvisations for traditionalist

michael smith - piano
laurence cook - drums
kent carter - bass, cello
claude canille bernard - drums
jacek bednarek - bass
zbigniew namyslowski - alto sax, cello

recorded in warsavia

(oct 1976, Poljazz 0614)

michael smith is a pianist of demoniac looks and an equally devilish approach to music. no wonder therefore that his
appearance at the festival jazz jamboree '76 was received with interest by some and with astonisment, even embarassment by others. there could at once be heard extreme views and heated discussions on his performance in the lobbies of the congress hall, the usual place for theoretical polemics at the festivals of jazz jamboree. the confusion was then increased by the
press notices. and although divergencies tend to disappear in time, even now, almost three years after that memorable night with michael smith, the still do persist in the evaluation of this output. smith's artistic conception was to a great extent a reaction to the views prevailing in his family which regarded art as something sinful. "I was brough up on the music of protestant churches, on blues and country, and nothing beside it has ever influenced me . . .", say smith himself.
very interesting are the attempts to classify the music, composed and performed by smith. jan "ptaszyn" wroblewski is of the opinion that it is jazz only when smith is playing jazz musicians. the pianist himself expresses interesting vies on the same subject. "when i am playing at the roujan festival in france my record are put in the section "contemporary composers", on another occasion the are sold in the jazz department. since i am participating in the warsaw jazz jamboree, people consider me a jazzmann. in new york they regard me as a composer of contemporary music, and in france i am known as an avant-garde musician."
we learn from one of michael smith's public pronouncements about the origin of his conception of making the most of piano tone possibilities. "I spent 8 year in a studio, my own studio, at the piano, exploring the possibilities of extracting from it harmonic tones, crotches, of makin use of the whole instrument, the whole piano. both of wood and metal, of all.
and these are not tones that have come from nowhere. they have been created, music has been written for them, as well as special notes. they (the tones) are a real part of the piano". and indded one can perceive it while listening to the record - the musicians observe no formal limitations in making use of the instruments.
smith's music is difficult in reception, being intendd for expert listeners. and the musician himself is aware of it. he says he highly thinks of everyone who is able to spend a few hours listening to his music. but any music of innovatory ambition is difficult in reception. is the music of john cage, gunther schuller, cecil taylor, morton feldman, of all those to whom michael smith has been referring, entertaining?
let us conclude by quoting one more thought of his: "I don't know in what direction music is going. it is going at the same time everywhere and nowhere..."

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Manfred Schoof - Horizons (1980)

Manfred Schoof Quintet - Horizons
Ecm - Japo 60030 (1980)

Manfred Schoof: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Michel Pilz: bass clarinet
Rainer Brüninghaus: piano, synthesizer
Günter Lenz: bass
Ralf Hübner: drums

Side 1
1. Horizons (9:41)
2. The Abstract Face of Beauty* (6:15)
3. Hope (8:50)

Side 2
1. Sunrise (7:37)
2. Old Ballad (8:51)
3. Sunset (3:29)

All compositions Manfred Schoof
except * by Ralf Hübner

Recorded November 1979 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg.

My favourite Schoof's release. Enjoy!

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Patton, Slusser, Bennink - Perfect Victim (1996) [BOOT]

Rare bootleg recording: [1996.08.24] - Perfect Victim (Mike Patton, David Slusser, Hank Bennink) - 18th Jazz Festival, Saalfelden (AUSTRIA)

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John Fahey - Red Cross


Otomo Yoshihide - Plays Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch

Eric Dolphy’s final studio album is hailed as one of the finest examples of mid-‘60s post bop. Its reputation is purely one of backwards significance. Dolphy, having recorded the album in February 1964, was in Europe less than six weeks later and was dead less than two months after that. Though likely he never held a copy in his hands or heard any critical opinion of it, it marked his last flurry of original compositions and is considered his apex. It is fascinating to consider whether he would had moved past or away from the album in 1965, had he lived.

Though Dolphy should not be considered an avant garde musician by the term’s most common definitions, most interpretations of Out To Lunch have been done by players working squarely in that area. So it is with this album, the most ambitious thus far in its recreation of the five-tune disc (with one original added to the final Straight Up and Down, extending the piece to almost thirty minutes) through the lens of fifteen Japanese and European musicians.

The New Jazz Orchestra is not a big band, but a loose amalgamation of distinct voices. This distinction is important, since a big band arrangement of Dolphy would sap the life out of his quirky, almost inconoclastic music. Here the intent is to bring a new meaning to the music, much like Warhol’s soup cans. Though the instrumentation of the original is represented (bass clarinet courtesy of Alfred Harth, one of the Europeans possibly influenced during Dolphy’s trip), also added are guitar, baritone sax (by the inimitable Mats Gustafsson), sho (a rare Japanese reed instrument played by international virtuoso Ko Ishikawa), electronic devices and piano. So while the melodies and spirit are in full attendance, there are often disturbing subtexts.

At times, the feeling is that of listening to the original Out To Lunch while a séance is going on to contact Dolphy’s ghost, with supernatural sounds swirling around the stereo. The effect is disconcerting, as is the post-apocalyptic cloud hanging over the arrangements, but it makes the effort more than an unnecessary tribute album. Instead, Dolphy is transported into the 21st Century and allowed to romp through modern developments in music. An inspiring concept and an album that will stretch the boundaries of anyone who comes into contact with it. allaboutjazz

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Bobbi Humphrey - Fancy Dancer

Bobbi Humphrey's groundbreaking collaboration with producer Larry Mizell reached its climax with Fancy Dancer, a record that expands their signature sound to its absolute breaking point. An absurdly lush mosaic of celestial flute solos, otherworldly keyboards, scorching Latin rhythms, and melodramatic vocals, it walks the tightrope between cosmic and comic, reveling in the kind of sonic indulgence that only the most expert musicians can pull off. To be blunt, Fancy Dancer is the fusion equivalent of fondue -- simmering and rich, sure, but cheesy as hell; it's also impossibly funky, with grooves so hypnotic and so all-consuming that its weaknesses are completely immaterial.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra


Califone - Quicksand/Cradlesnakes

Reviewby Jason Nickey

With Quicksand/Cradlesnakes, Califone finally sounds like a confident, poised outfit rather than a Tim Rutili work-in-progress. It may lack some of the highlights of Roomsound, but Quicksand/Cradlesnakes makes up for it through consistency and pacing. Califone still explores the shadowlands between acoustic and electronic sounds, but the experimentation is more focused here, more in support of the song. The duo of Tim Rutili and Ben Massarella remains at the group's core, but longtime Califone collaborator Brian Deck sits this one out, and as a result Quicksand/Cradlesnakes has a sparser, less-textured feel than its predecessor. The clinking, clanging, buzzing, and scraping are still present, as well as the occasional burst of controlled feedback -- something that has followed this crew since the days of Red Red Meat. But the underlying songs are stronger than before. "Michigan Girls" and "Vampiring Again" display Rutili's often-buried melodic gift, while "Million Dollar Funeral," though brief, is possibly Rutili's finest stab at a postmodern folk song, as well as his most blatant testament of love for Harry Smith's Anthology and Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes. "When Leon Spinx Moved to Town" is Lyle Lovett on acid and "Your Golden Ass" is a rattling slide guitar romp full of surrealistic non sequiturs. The musical accompaniment -- replete with fiddles, tape loops, and kitchen-sink percussion -- is always understated and appropriate; the embellishments never hijack the songs. It's perhaps natural to view Quicksand/Cradlesnakes as a companion piece to Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; the two bands have toured together, they emerged from the same milieu, and they both tinker in electro-acoustic hybridization. The comparison is somewhat valid -- the albums do share a similar feel. But Quicksand/Cradlesnakes easily stands on its own, and is less a bold statement of principle as it is a blossoming into maturity.


Steve Reid - Rhythmatism

Lot of you appreciated Nova from Steve Reid. This time another great album from the '70s.

Arthur Blythe - Sax (Alto)
Chris Capers - Trumpet, Guest Appearance
Michael Keith - Trombone, Trombone (Tenor)
Steve Reid - Drums
Melvin Smith - Guitar
Charles Tyler - Sax (Baritone)
Les Walker - Piano
David Wertman - Bass

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Swell Maps - A trip to Marineville

Swell Maps was a collaboration by brothers Kevin "Epic Soundtracks" Godfrey and Nicholas "Nikki Sudden" Godfrey, and though being together since 1972 they didn't become an official "band" until the late 70's british punk explosion. "A Trip To Marineville" was their first full length cut, and it remains a classic of post-punk/experimental rock, yet i find the term "krautpunk" defines them pretty well. Their sound is a hard one to pinpoint, they successfully combine the raw, urgent and simplistic sound of punk with the expansive sonic experiments of krautrock. From the intense industrial clatter of "Adventures into Basketry" to the abrupt and snotty punk tracks like "H.S. Art" the whole album comes together like a boiling pot of lo-fi madness - random, incoherent yet oddly cohesive.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Skalpel Ep

Go, love the WORLD.

Guru Guru - UFO

As demonstrated on their first pair of albums for the German Ohr label, Guru Guru were the loosest, most experimental and most out there of all power trios of the early seventies. And the title of their debut “UFO” album was appropriate as many of the sounds within are not immediately identifiable -- Although the drums and guitars are recognisable enough, lodged as they are between breeze blocks of heaving, sprawling abandon where all manner of contact microphone misuse, tweaking of volume knobs on both amplifiers and guitars while everything coursed through all manner of fuzztone and echo boxes to make the studio air hang heavy and leaden as it curled at the corners like burning parchment and loads of fuck-knows-what-else. As a result, the five tracks that comprise “UFO” are saw-toothed, broken and resistant to all smoothness in their haphazard execution as they only approach the loosest organisation teased out from the knotty and matted wig of raw noise that hung atop their collective heads.

Guru Guru furiously nudge and burrow through silence with their mammoth ensemble clashes of processed signals, treated bass and guitar assaults pummeled senselessly to the ground by a battery of percussives that never seemed to quit. And on the rare occasion when it does relent, it’s just as easily content to simmer in a stew of disquietingly becalmed noise until inevitably re-boiling over into eruption. An altogether spasmodic musical proposition, “UFO” cascades fluid and free down corridors of improvisation caught in the throes of abandon with all apple carts of pop conventions overturned and in flames. It’s an ongoing rush in no hurry, heavy as bronze boots, looser than drunken shoelaces and all the while maintaining a top speed of about 8kph with enough elbow room to strike out at any (and all) directions at once.

Even in the studio, the three interlocking ‘Sektions’ that are Mani Neumeier (Percussion-Sektion), Uli Trepte (Bass-Sektion) and Ax Genrich (Gitarren-Sektion) play off each other as though from neighbouring Bavarian fields equipped with only a drum kit, guitars, amplifiers and a batch of cheap radio shop communication devices and play them like a trio of underground superheroes emerging 20,000 leagues beneath the sea to impart an new method of communication. Perhaps it’s really that Neumeier is a crazed and flailing octopus man with a stick from every limb and a penchant for high spirited thrash attacks, Ulrich Trepte an intercom/contact microphone obsessive dredging frequencies from the ocean floor while weighing bass lines as anchors and Ax “Victim” Genrich the proud carrier of a six-foot tall conch shell used not only for amplification (double stacked and rigged with a front line of wah-wah, fuzz and echo boxes as knobs on both guitar and amplifier are tweaked and twirled to yield maximum viscosity) but to part oceans as well. Or perhaps they only sound like it.

The improvisation of “Stone In” opens and features the sole lyrics of the album -- If you could call it that when Neumeier’s vocals intone the title with an accompanying set of words brayed out unintelligibly at the back of the ensuing racket, now commencing at the speed of a mid-level and high scoring pinball session. Neumeier hits his crash cymbal-positioned gong with drum sticks (not mallets) and it sounds like an oversized oil drum lid utilised as a pang while simultaneously sounding like a traffic accident as heard through a plastic tube half a block in length. Trepte is content to treat his rhythmic strumming bass with massed amounts of compression while Genrich plays his guitar through echo through fuzz through molasses through a block of amber and steeped in a basin of distortion. It’s reelin’, feelin’ squeelin’ and a-squallin’ all over the place. “Girl Call” is a further perpetuation of the previous track, and no less a breaking down of the senses. A damp electronic hiss permeates the air, interrupted by the eruption of a refried slapback bass note that reverberates and cracks open a primary fissure in the uneasy crust of silence. Then stillness. It erupts again, this time trimmed with feedback and cymbal swishes. Contact microphone picks up and magnifies all the tenseness in the air and makes it seem as though a wobbly dam of silence is about to burst...Which it does as Genrich cuts in to wail ceaselessly on guitar as a return to the slow, wallowing tempo at rune-cutting stone upon stone at the pace of a forced march into tomorrow. Genrich is one of the first German Rock guitarists who successfully channeled Jimi’s Electric Sky Church music while dispensing with its blues slurry, condensing the flurry of erratic notes and organic groove-tone placement into an electric storm. Neumeier methodically thrashes in the background while Trepte keeps a strong series of pulsation intact until Genrich slowly works up another elongated solo that burns, smokes and just melts into the ensemble’s roar. It’s a gloriously haphazard rush until it simmers down to allow Trepte’s bass to gain some sort of prominence. But this is only temporary, for it’s soon overrun by a forcibly shaken-out storm emerging from the surrounding air. A series of high pitched squeals and squonks and it’s one rude match cut into “Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama” that catches them in progress several minutes later where they’ve picked up into a hammering stride. Trepte has switched over to a two-note propulsion, ratcheted up to soar above the chaos of Neumeier and Genrich which is now a darkening cumulonimbus mushroom of slammed cymbals, tom-tom rolls and fuzz/wah-wah guitar patterns. Trepte maintains the same grinding sludge bass at yo-yo speed, only to reassemble the sequence of notes until it’s all running together into noisy unison when it crossfades into a field recording of the band freaking out and vibing up the countryside with whistles, shakers, congas and tambourines until a young lady innocently asks “Guru Guru?” With no forthcoming response, the album side has no choice but to submit to the run-off groove and end.

Side two of ‘UFO” is far more abstract as it edges at points towards the outermost boundaries of stillness, as though confined to the innermost spaces and furthest points of ambient-dexterous reaches with two sonic elongations where no one really leads as everyone has the space to free form out of the ether. Unidentified sounds emerge, which is appropriate for they usher in the ten-minute odyssey “UFO.” This is where the component parts of Guru Guru are broken down and strained into degenerate composites of crackly, intermittent amplifiers, echoed shards of guitar and contact microphone treatments translating once quiet surfaces into sandpaper overrun with static. A high-pitched tone builds with forgotten kettle-boiling-the-last teaspoon-of-water-into-steam qualities sound the alarm to prepare for approaching interstellar craft and the piece builds ominously with amplified, whirring guitar and gongs smashing against a background of amplified heat. Single chords are plucked out, bass strings are detuned, scraped and left to resound and croak in the open air. The mix throws down the right guitar channel as soon as Genrich has found a repeated phrase to let his Stratocaster rear and buck and explode upon as the increasing accumulation of sounds and random static all gather into a focussed dissonance that continues to unfold and unravel at the same time. Volume dials twist out pitch shifting sculptures while contact microphones pick up an amassing of signals into a decaying, arrhythmic improvisation. As the flaming meteorite remains true to its holding pattern, cats fight, sparks fly and the song is left to fry interminably on the third rail with electric guitar building and building as it echoes and echoes and echoes and echoes... The air then clears, only to rage once again with humid flurries of sonic scrap metal and hit cymbals until the freak out they’ve been holding back on for so long finally lets loose just in time to be crossfaded into sounds of a leaky boat adrift upon the roiling wake and flotsam of the song’s crash landing. It quickly fades to reveal only a quiet drone and the onset of the dazed wonderment of “Der LSD-Marsch.” Circular, undulating guitar lines glide gently back down to earth while plastic flute dances shrill with trills, signaling a lone bass line to emerge unblinking at the edge of silence. Drums edge in, opening the door for the piece to expand into the sort of free-form-heavy-thing-always-mounting-and-on-the-brink-of-toppling-over that opened the album. One muted and hyphenated drum solo later, Genrich unleashes the last wailing guitar solo and before you know it: they’ve settled on a gradual fade out. If “UFO” were a double album, then time constraints would be of no concern and this and every other piece could traipse on thrice as long -- much like ‘Der LSD-Marsch” did in live performance as additional guitar solos, two separate drum solos and several hoarsely sung verses (“Every cell/ Owns a code!/ Every cell!/ Pierce your bone!/ Set you freeeee!/ LSDDDD!”) stamp it out forever. The Seth Man

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Clifford Thornton - Communications Network (re-up)

Jerome Cooper - Percussion, Drums
Jayne Cortez - Vocals
Nathan Davis - Sax (Soprano)
Vincent George - Percussion, Conga
Andy Gonzalez - Bass
Jerry Gonzalez - Percussion, Conga
Jay Hoggard - Vibraphone
Nicky Marrero - Percussion, Timbales
Lakshminarayana Shankar - Violin
Sirone - Bass
Clifford Thornton - Cornet, Piano (Electric)

Recorded Live at NYC's Festival of African-American Music

(1972, Third World)

This is a killer set, lot of african beats and Thornton's free themes.
un under-rated player.. hope someone will notice him!

revolutionary ensemble - the psyche

Shake what's left of the dust off of this commendable reissue of a rare 1975 release by the trio of Leroy Jenkins (violin and viola), Sirone [Norris Jones] (bass), and Jerome Cooper (piano, drums), skip right to track 3, Jenkins' composition "Col Legno", and try to fathom how this group can have remained as obscure as they have.

"Col Legno" is the kind of performance on which great band reputations, like Air's or Die Like A Dog's, are built. As Sirone hauls enormous, rip-sawing drones from his bass using the eponymous technique of striking its strings with the wood rather than the "hair" of his bow—it's a technique you may also recognize from the opening of Holst's "Mars"—Jenkins plays melodies that are both seductive and funky in the best AACM tradition. What is fundamentally a very simple, even minimal idea goads these three musicians into performances of marvelous textural, gestural, rhythmic, and harmonic complexity. The piece concludes with an arco solo from Sirone that is suffused with the strontium-90 sunset hues familiar to fans of Get Up With It. Gradually, the tiniest shafts of blue and white starlight break through these garish bands of orange, pink, brown and purple in the form of high, delicate violin tones. In a freakishly rapid lunar eclipse, Cooper introduces a press roll that overtakes the trio, and the piece ends not with complete darkness, but in a preserved twilight.

The other two long tracks here are no less involving. It is just that the excitements they offer are more typical. Perhaps it is simply that the wonderfully jumbled yet propulsive interplay of the entire trio is so engrossing that I find the more episodic ensemble permutations of "Invasion" and "Hu-man" (written by Cooper and Sirone, respectively) slightly less remarkable. Even with only three members and minimal instrumental "doubling", there are several duos and unaccompanied soloists within The Revolutionary Ensemble. On the opening, 27-minute "Invasion", Sirone and Cooper engage in a bass-piano duet. Actually, it is more accurate to describe it as a bout rather than a duet. Theirs is a musical exchange full of blunt intensity and moments during which what might simply make a thud if unaccompanied is graced with a perfectly consonant blow, and achieves something like synchronicity.

The problem is, these ingenious if rather abstract studies in dynamics aside, the duet is still missing something. And that something is Leroy Jenkins. With his proudly unamplified, tart, lanky sound, centered nearer the bow rather than the strings or the resonant wooden body of the instrument itself, Jenkins was quite the tonic to the Romantic voice cultivated by the fusion violinists such as Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Urbaniak. (Here is a history waiting to be told: How the often vertiginous discordance of electric violin strings is an important texture in a good deal of quintessentially "Seventies" music, from the progressive rock of P.F.M. and mid-period King Crimson to the pomp pop of E.L.O., from the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water" to the Mahavishnu Orchestra to the Charlie Daniels Band [don't make me name that song...] to Joe Venuti's marvelous swing collaborations with Zoot Sims.) Of course, Jenkins is also a classically trained player who is more generous with melody than many of his peers from the second generation of great African-American free improvisers, and he generally avoids glibly ecstatic displays of virtuosity. Instead, he concentrates on the construction of brilliantly organized improvisations. His solos on The Psyche are as bold and as memorable as any in his discography.

As slight as it is, a string is a very sensual object after all. Put in the service of sound and wound taut, allowed to slacken, plucked, struck, scrubbed, bowed, scraped up (or down) its length rather than stroked than across its breadth, segmented, taped down and re-segmented again... all it takes is a single, casual touch to make a stringed instrument respond. In this respect, violins, cellos, guitars (and pianos, too) are not unlike drums. Yet where drums palpitate, strings bend, and bend to us, is a much more seductive manner.

In fact, the acoustical gratifications offered by stringed instruments are bewitching. The arrival of The Psyche is unexpected but no less welcome for it, for the record serves as a reminder that The Revolutionary Ensemble was among the finest cooperative groups of its era. Collectively as well as individually, the Ensemble's members faced the temptations attendant upon making "free jazz" on stringed instruments without recourse to castigation, sanctimony, appeasement, or misplaced compassion. To borrow a phrase that had great currency in the free jazz societies of the 1970s, they resisted temptation with the sense that the resistance itself is "as serious as your life".

bow wow wow - your cassette pet ep

Bow Wow Wow’s history may be short but it’s complex. Over their four album life span, Bow Wow Wow’s music ranges from simple, goofy, non-sensical tunes to complex, crisp pop masterpieces. Bow Wow Wow’s music has been described as a pastiche of Latin and African beats, 50’s rock-n-roll, and spaghetti western soundtracks. The band packaged all of this together with an incredible sense of humor and vigor.

With thundering African/Latin percussion and twangy, Duane Eddy guitars, Bow Wow Wow struggled to maintain a consistent image and sound through a host of record producers in their short life span. But despite the numerous people who shaped their sound from 1980-1983, a strong Bow Wow Wow identity remained intact. That unique style created a wonderful antithesis to the gloom of the London and U.S. music scene in the early 80’s. Unemployment and inflation were at record highs in both countries. As Annabella Lwin (lead singer) said in 1981: “I hate London. It’s just really horrible. I just really hate it. It’s depressing, you know. At the moment anyway, it’s depressing.”


defunkt - avoid the funk...

There are certain albums where superlatives are not enough and yet unaccountably remain obscure - this is one of them.

This collection of early Defunkt mostly features their arguably classic line up. Kim Clarke's wonderful, unique, wide-freqeuncy sound on bass (Music Man Stingray?) slipping seamlessly from finger to slap can only be described as 'riotous' - it sounds like improvisation to me with endless ideas woven around a rock solid funk riff. Kelvyn Bell's guitar likewise has this impro feel about it and yet is funk solid - his hard sound and jazz-modal solos add to the overall 'angular' sound of Defunkt and is no surprise he went on to play in Steve Coleman's Five Elements. Kenny Martin on drums - well, it takes something very special to simultaneously add to this riot of a thousand-riff's-a-minute rock funk and still keep a bed rock groove (this man has eight arms surely)! All this is the perfect underpinning for Joe Bowies' proclamation vocals and strident, explosive, modal brass.

It's common knowledge that from the late sixties through the seventies, jazz musicians crossed over to dance music but commercial pressures kept their 'jazz' on a leash - unleash a modal, angular, style of jazz, add a hard, rock edge, root it in 'the-spaces-are-as-important-as-the-notes' pure funk, and you've got Defunkt - don't hesitate to buy this, their eponymous CD, and 'In America' if you can find it. Russell


Scientists - This is my happy hour (7" 1982)


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Downlaod Relic

I' ve noticed a lot of interest around this band of rock superstars (Mike Patton, Duane Denison and John Steiner). And their latest album "Anonymous" is simply great. For your pleasure the whole thing.

Tomahawk’s third release, Anonymous, links the outfit with the Native American culture that bore its name. A thirteen-track album that reverentially explores and reinterprets the darker, more recessed ancestral music created by North America’s indigenous people, the title reflects the countless individuals who contributed to these songs but went un-credited throughout history.