From OC Weekly:

Most music fans in OC have no intention of looking under the rug at the sounds that exist in the noisy underbelly of our avant-garde music scene. But you can find them Saturday at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), where some our most inventive young artists will come to tear the definition of “music” to shreds at a yearly event dubbed the Santa Ana Noise Fest.


sr311Phil Minton + Audrey Chen + Guy Segers + Peter Jacquemyn + Teun Verbruggen – Quintet (Sub Rosa)
Phil Minton + Audrey Chen – By the Stream (Sub Rosa)

Both of these albums, released simultaneously by Sub Rosa, feature the unique talents of Phil Minton and Audrey Chen. Quintet was apparently designed to see how Minton and Chen work together in a jazz-improvisation setting, while the duo album was meant to showcase the particular, and peculiar, vocal improvisatory talents of these two artists.

Chen came to free music by way of years spent at a conservatory studying cello. Indeed, she plays cello as well as using her voice on the Quintet album. Compared to Minton, who has been honing his craft for decades, she’s a newcomer, but she’s seasoned enough to have developed her own approach to ensemble and duo performance. Minton, as mentioned, is well-known for his astounding vocal abilities. I won’t begin to list the sounds he’s capable of here, but they are legion, and uniformly uncanny.

That said, both he and Chen seem to be somewhat at a loss for what to do in the quintet setting. Their performances are mostly sublime, but they don’t seem to be able to engage with the other three players: a drummer, an electric bassist (Guy Segers of Univers Zero), and a double-bassist. And the same goes for the trio. One gets the sense that Minton and Chen are in the same studio as the trio, but neither group knows quite how to proceed in terms of the other, except for Chen’s cello playing, which seems very sympathetic to the group. If listened to for the performances of Chen and Minton, this disc can be quite enjoyable. The last two tracks, dominated by the jazz trio, show that they have a tight rapport and can even bring a little funk into the proceedings. It would be nice to hear more from that trio on its own merits.

By the Stream, the Minton + Chen duo album, in contrast, is a thing of wonder. On every track Minton and Chen come across as alien creatures conversing with each other, either as old friends, or as wary strangers, unsure whether to embrace or fight. On this album, Chen forgoes the cello and puts all of her power into her voice. She tends toward a drone in her vocal improvisations, holding one note for extended periods of time, while Minton is everything and everywhere else – the wind, the voice of a commanding soldier, an existentially distraught man at his very nadir, a baby, – all things that seem to wrap, snake-like, around the solid pole that Chen provides with her steadier vocals. Similar to the work that Jaap Blonk has done with Maja Ratkje, these 14 tracks are otherworldly meetings in a universe that you should be glad you only are able to visit sonically. Beautiful, but at the same time frightening, and as with all Minton’s vocal improv work, completely decentralizing.

2014 Best of Year Lists: Part III

Posted: December 18, 2014 by Mike in General

It’s that time again. We gather best-of-2014 lists from around the web and provide links here. Enjoy.

A Closer Listen’s top ten ambient releases
Gapplegate’s best of 2014
Free Form Freakout’s favorite tapes of 2014
Drowned in Sound’s finest ambient releases
Derek Taylor
Kurt Gottschalk‘s top 12
Troy Collins‘ Best Releases Of 2014

Vital Weekly 961

Posted: December 18, 2014 by Mike in Reviews

English: Steve Stapleton Français : Steve Stap...

Steve Stapleton

Reviews from Vital Weekly:

Eric Random & the Bedlamites – Time-splice (Cd by Klang Galerie) *
Eric Random – Man_dog (Cd by Klang Galerie) *
Casey Anderson & Jason Kahn & Norbert Möslang & Günter Müller & Mark Trayle – Five Lines (Cd by Mikroton) *
Erikm & Martin Brandlmayr – Ecotone (Cd by Mikroton) *
Feedback: Order from Noise (2cd/1dvd by Mikroton) *
Gregory Büttner & Gunnar Lettow & Ernesto Rodrigues & Nuno Torres – Zwei Mal Zwei (Cd by Creative Sources Recordings) *
Insane 80s [Ev01-ev10] (Cd Compilation by Ee Tapes)
Find Hope in Darkness – Loked So Tightly in Our Dreams (Cd by Moving Furniture Records) *
Orphax – Under the Dutch Sky (Cdr by Moving Furniture Records) *
Nurse with Wound – Adolf Wölfli Courte (Mincd and Book by Lenka Lente) *
Andre DE Saint-obin – Sound on Sound (Lp by Plinkity Plonk) *
Aaron Dilloway & Jason Lescalleet – Popeth (Lp by Glistening Examples) *
Morrisneri – Cathedral Tapes (Lp by Dead Vox)
Asuna – 100 Keyboards: 100 Keys/100 Rock (7″ by Meeuw Muzak)
Kuroneko – Ritual of Invocation (Cdr by Slightly off Kilter Label) *
Drekka – Ronja’s Christman Witch (Cdr by Orphanology) *
Drekka – Live 2014 (Cassette by Day2 Alliance Product)
Mystery Dick – in the City of Violent Giants (Cdr by Aural Detritus) *
Jason Kahn – Thirty Seconds over (Cassette by Aural Detritus)
Francisco Meirino – the Aesthetics of Everything for Nothing (3″cdr by 1000füssler) *
Seth Cooke & Dominic Lash – Pact (3″cdr by 1000füssler) *
Threes and Will & Huerequeque (Cassette by Blue Tapes)
Henry Plotnick (Cassette by Blue Tapes)
Robin Hayward & Morten J. Olsen – Subroutine (Cassette by Record Label Record Label)
the Hydra – on Troubleshooting (Cassette by Record Label Record Label)

Igloo Magazine Reviews

Posted: December 18, 2014 by Mike in Reviews

American composer Steve Reich performing clapp...

American composer Steve Reich 

From Igloo Magazine:

Grzegorz Bojanek :: Analogue (Twice Removed)
Steve Reich / Ensemble Avantgarde :: Four Organs / Phase Patterns / Pendulum Music (Karlrecords)
Dirk Geiger :: Connected Worlds (Tympanik Audio)
Son Kite :: Prisma (Iboga)
Loren Dent :: Anthropology Vols. 2 & 3 (Infraction)
Xu & Rooms Delayed :: Seaweeds (Triple Moon)
Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens :: JWS (Self-Released)
Pascal Savy :: Adrift (Eilean Rec.)


From NYTimes.com:

Concerts of holiday favorites, the “Messiah” and other seasonal staples are the norm this month, but the American Symphony Orchestra offered an antidote to festive cheer last week at Carnegie Hall with a program called “Requiem for the 20th Century.” Appalled at the state of the world? Well, just remember that the last century was even grimmer, the lineup seemed to suggest.


AD_smile_caro_bioAndrew Drury Quartet – Content Provider (2015)
Andrew Drury – The Drum (2015)

Percussionist and composer Andrew Drury rarely takes the beaten path. His catalog of appearances, while extensive, is not prolific. Instead, he spends his time teaching and exploring music and other media. Thus, it is a special treat when he releases a new recording, much less two at the same time. These offerings, due out early next year, not only are complementary of one another, but showcase Drury’s compositional intuitiveness and non-linear chops.

Content Provider is a recording of Drury’s off-and-on group of the same name, featuring Briggan Krauss and Ingrid Laubrock on dueling saxes, along with Brandon Seabrook on guitar. Drury provides the drumming and compositions. Krauss and Laubrock deliver staccato lines and drones, with Seabrook mostly in a supporting role with the occasional speed-picking and arpeggiated chords. Still, Seabrook’s tinny and aggressive playing provokes a sense of urgency that drives the other three to free-form blowouts. Alongside them, Drury stays in character by never quite doing what you would expect from a drummer.  While arguably falling to the free-jazz vein, Content Provider is better categorized along with the partially-composed, partially-improvised brand of creative music that is emanating from New York. The group explores sound and texture, while creating and destroying harmonic structures.

The Drum is Drury alone with a floor tom, sheets of metal, bamboo skewers, and bells. He evokes sounds from these unconventional instruments by blowing on them, as well as through brushing, scraping, and striking. The result does not resemble a solo percussion release at all – instead it offers a post-industrial landscape with shifting walls of sound.  In fact, without knowing otherwise, it would be difficult to distinguish Drury’s physical manipulations from computer-mediated electronic music.  Nonetheless, perhaps because of its manual nature, The Drum sets itself apart from that genre.  Either as a testament to Drury’s technical prowess, as an example of what can be done with a limited palette, or as the soundtrack to a hypothetical horror movie, The Drum is a unique and challenging effort.

Drury is kicking off 2015 with a pair of outstanding releases.  If you are going to be in the New York area on February 17th, be sure to check out his release party at Roulette.