AMN Reviews: Robin Rimbaud & Scanner

Robin Rimbaud

Robin Rimbaud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robin Rimbaud, the artist most often known as Scanner, always has so much new going on (for instance, a reconsideration of John Tavener, done with the blessing of the late composer, and the score for ballet based on the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) that it behooves us to seize the opportunity to reconsider his past work when it presents itself in a new light.

The recent re-release of 1997´s The Garden is Full of Metal (Sub Rosa), a tribute to the late British filmmaker Derek Jarman, gone too soon some twenty years now, interweaves Jarman’s voice and location recordings around his home with a Bayeuxian tapestry of musics. Gracefully executed and already an acknowledged high-water mark in Rimbaud´s discograpahy, Jarman´s voice is doubled and trebled and tucked back into itself and hidden just out of sight. Out of print for some years, this version comes with expanded artwork, four unreleased tracks and has been remastered by Lawrence English of Room40. The original pieces themselves are among Rimbaud´s most introspective, which is not to be taken as meaning they lack humour or sharp edges capable of causing injury, and the add-ons make this re-issue a boffo “director´s cut”.

Electronic Garden (Bine Music) is a live CD featuring an addendum of its own, another live album recorded in 2010, now free-ranging on Bandcamp after previously only being available as a download when purchasing the former. It´s a great big sprawling mural on a downtown brick wall. Electronic Garden was recorded outdoors in a small open-air garden amphitheatre in Dresden in 2007. The set is comprised of variations on old work and a healthy portion of unreleased material. It is a movie of the mind with a strong narrative and captivating themes.

I highly recommend subscribing to Rimbaud´s newsletter Strom. With so much going on, it´s the best way to keep abreast of one of our most interesting and ever-evolving contemporaries, and it´s always an entertaining read speckled with valuable tips.

Stephen Fruitman

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AMN Reviews: Happy Family – Minimal Gods (2014; Cuneiform Records)

eyesores_bookletHappy Family emerged from Japan in the early 1990s, with several questionably-legitimate tapes of their live recordings making rounds amongst collectors. They were eventually signed to Cuneiform Records, and released two all-instrumental CDs on that label in 1995 and 1997. Afterward, they took a long hiatus before releasing this year’s Minimal Gods.

Age has not mellowed the band, which consists of Kenchi Morimoto on keyboards, Takahiro Izutani on guitar, Hidemi Ichikawa on bass, and Keiichi Nagase on drums. However, it may have changed their focus a bit. Twenty years ago, Happy Family was a Zeuhl-influenced heavy progressive rock group, with compositional aggression and chops to spare. Today, they maintain their intensity, but come across as in a fusion-inflected math rock vein, reminiscent of Battles, Don Caballero, and even The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Still, the strains of Magma, Ruins, and Heldon can be heard in the background. Many of the tracks on Minimal Gods are based on short themes that are repeated in various ways by each instrument. This is a compositional style that harkens to recent Present recordings, yet less overtly repetitive.

While not straying all that far from their formula of two decades ago, Happy Family continues to please with their combination of joyful power and dexterous passion.

Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Peter Brötzmann

Cover of Peter Brötzmann

From Free Jazz:

Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro – Harmolodic Monk (Unseen Rain, 2014) ***½
Jim Baker & Sarah Ritch – Articular Facet 5.3 (Pan Y Rosas, 2014) ***½
Fushitsusha & Peter Brötzmann – Nothing Changes, No One Can Change Anything, I Am Ever-Changing Only You Can Change Yourself (Utech, 2014) ***
Stephen Gauci, Kirk Knuffke, Ken Filiano – Chasing Tales (RelativePitch, 2014) ****
Nicole Mitchell‘s Black Earth Ensemble – Intergalactic Beings: Xenogenesis II (FPE Records, 2014) ****½
Agustí Fernández & Zlatko Kaučič – Sonic Party (Not Two, 2014) ***½
Ches Smith and These Arches – International Hoohah (For Tune, 2014) ****

Edgard Varèse’s Protégé Chou Wen-chung, Going Strong at 91

Edgard Varèse

Cover of Edgard Varèse


In his youth, Chou Wen-chung, the 91-year-old subject of a Composer Portrait at the Columbia University Miller Theater on Thursday, had many strict teachers. One was Edgard Varèse, the temperamental French-born Modernist and godfather of electronic music, who once showed his displeasure by throwing a score of Mr. Chou’s on the floor and ordering him to urinate on it. Then there was Bohuslav Martinu, the Czech symphonist, who reacted to a fugue Mr. Chou had written using Chinese melodic material with a single, withering, “Why?”

The Spectrum in October

From New York’s Spectrum:

- Acoustic Frontiers: Michael Lytle, Denman Maroney and Robert Dick. Free-improvisation series. (Oct. 1)

- Nicolas Letman-Burtinovic presents Spectral Interzone – Jazz for the eminently civilized (Oct. 2)
Tierra Mestiza: Angelica Sanchez & Omar Tamez; Lena Bloch, Russ Lossing, Cameron Brown & Billy Mintz

- John King’s Born into Flames Series with guest artist, Joan La Barbara (Oct. 3)

- Hans Tammen’s Dark Circuits: New Technology presents A Night of Biophysical Music with Marco Donnarumma (Oct. 3)

- Sabrina Lastman (Oct. 4)

- Rolnick, Pollick, Spaneus & the Night Bears (Oct. 5)
Neil Rolnick, composer and laptop computer, Karen Bentley Pollick, violin, Demetrius Spaneus, alto saxophone
& video by John Jannone and the Night Bears

- Soundscapes Series (Ambient Music) from Cornelius Dufallo & Patrick Derivax with guest artist, Ken Butler (Oct. 5)

- Thousand Rooms Quartet with James Hall; The Longest Day of the Year with Douglas Bradford (Oct. 7)

- Flin van Hemmen presents Canyons (Jazz) (Oct. 7)

- Anna Stegmann: Soundscape (Oct. 8)

- Petros Klampanis presents Jazz at Spectrum double bill with Japanese violinist Tomoko Omura and her “Roots”
quintet; Israeli bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo (Oct. 9)

- Thomas Piercy presents Tokyo to New York (Oct. 9)
Thomas Piercy, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Tomoko Sugawara & Judith Olson

- Olivier Garde, harpsichord (Oct. 10)

- Legalize Lester: Celebrating the 21st Birthday of Lester St. Louis (Oct. 11)
featuring Mick Rossi and more…

- Ramin Arjomand’s Series, Reinterpretations (Oct. 12)

- Seth Josel (Oct. 12)

- Late Night with the Brothers Balliett (Oct. 12)

- Tomomi Adachi, Daphna Napthali & Chuck Bettis (Oct. 13)

- Music of Gordon Beeferman featuring the Momenta Quartet and “Four Parts Five” (Oct. 14)

- New York New Music Collective presented by Mike Rose (Oct. 17)

- St. Louis | Hocevar: Drums & Electronics (Oct. 17)

- counter)induction presents X+N: Ning Yu & Vladimir Ussachevsky (Oct. 18)

- Italian pianist/composer Umberto Petrin (Oct. 18 & 19)

- British pianist Jonathan Powell (Oct. 19, 20 & 22)

- Ken Thomson & Megan Clune (Oct. 19)

- Gabriel Zucker presents Tuesdays on the Spectrum (Oct. 21)
Gabriel Zucker Trio; Eric Trudel Trio

- Joel Forrester presents Jazz Piano Salon (Oct. 21)

- Jane Ash and Susan Seliger present Out by Ten (Oct. 23)

- Thollem Mcdonas & Michael Wimberly (Oct. 24)

- Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, Theme & Variations. Hosted by Hans Tammen. (Oct. 25)

- The Colonials curated by Kristina Giles: new variations on Schubert’s Trout Quintet
by Lembit Beecher, Jonathan Dawe, Molly Joyce, Gity Razaz & Paul Epstein. (Oct. 26)

- Kathleen Tagg’s New Sounds Africa Series (Oct. 26)

- Kuba Cichocki with Patrick Breiner, Sean Ali & Flin van Hemmen (Oct. 28)

- Guy Mintus, Itamar Erez & Yishai Afterman (Oct. 28)

- Ambient-Chaos hosted by Robert Pepper (Oct. 30)
Damien Olsen; DinMachine; On A Clear Day; Patrick Noecker & Thermos Unigarde

- Spectrum’s Third Annual acoustic, candle-lit concert (Oct. 31)

The Stone in October

Tim Berne

Cover of Tim Berne

From New York’s Stone:

10/1 Wednesday (KR)
8 and 10 pm
Ches Smith and These Arches
Tim Berne (alto sax) Tony Malaby (tenor sax) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Andrea Parkins (accordion, electronics) Ches Smith (drums)

10/2 Thursday (SK)
8 and 10 pm
Ches Smith Quartet with Craig Taborn
Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Craig Taborn (piano) Stephan Crump (bass) Ches Smith (drums)

10/3 Friday (MJC)
8 pm
Ches Smith/Craig Taborn/Mat Maneri
Mat Maneri (viola) Ches Smith (drums) Craig Taborn (piano)

10 pm
Ches Smith’s Congs for Brums
Ches Smith (drums)
New solo music for drums, vibraphone and electronics.

10/4 Saturday (SV)
8 pm
Matt Nelson, Henry Grimes, Ches Smith
Matt Nelson (tenor sax) Henry Grimes (bass) Ches Smith (drums)

10 pm
Tyshawn Sorey, Randy Peterson and Ches Smith
Tyshawn Sorey (drums, trombone, piano) Randy Peterson, Ches Smith (drums)

10/5 Sunday (SV)
8 pm
Good for Cows + Trumpets
Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Shane Endsley (trumpet) Devin Hoff (bass) Ches Smith (drumset, timpani)

10 pm
Ceramic Dog
Marc Ribot (guitar, vocals) Shahzad Ismaily (bass, electronics, vocals) Ches Smith (drums, electronics, vocals)

10/7 Tuesday (KR)
8 pm
Acoustic Snakeoil
Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano)

10 pm
Electric Snakeoil
Tim Berne (sax) Oscar Noriega (sax) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano) Ryan Ferriera (guitar)

10/8 Wednesday (KR)
8 pm
Acoustic Snakeoil
Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano)

10 pm
Electric Snakeoil
Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano) Ryan Ferriera (guitar)

10/9 Thursday (KR)
8 pm
Acoustic Snakeoil
Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano)

10 pm
Electric Snakeoil
Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Ches Smith (drums) Matt Mitchell (piano) Ryan Ferriera (guitar)

10/10 Friday (KR)
8 and 10 pm
Ice Station Zebra
Tim Berne (sax) David Torn (guitar) Matt Mitchell (piano) Tyshawn Sorey, Ches Smith (drums)

10/11 Saturday (KR)
8 pm
Ryan Ferreira (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Ches Smith (drums) Tim Berne (sax)

10 pm
Ryan Ferreira (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Ches Smith (drums) Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Matt Mitchell (piano)

10/12 Sunday (KR)
8 pm
Ryan Ferreira (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Ches Smith (drums) Tim Berne (sax)

10 pm
Ryan Ferreira (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Ches Smith (drums) Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega (saxes) Matt Mitchell (piano)

10/14 Tuesday (DDT)
8 pm
Julian Lage Solo Guitar
Julian Lage (guitar)

10 pm
Julian Lage Trio
Julian Lage (guitar) Scott Colley (bass) Kenny Wollensen (drums)

10/15 Wednesday (DDT)
10 pm
Julian Lage Trio with Ben Wendel
Julian Lage (guitar) Scott Colley (bass) Kenny Wollensen (drums) Ben Wendel (tenor sax)

10 pm
Julian Lage and Fred Hersch
Julian Lage (guitar) Fred Hersch (piano)

10/16 Thursday (AV)
8 pm
Julian Lage with Dave Gadowsky and strings
Julian Lage (guitar) Dave Gadowsky (voice, guitar) plus a String Quartet

10 pm
Rude Ruth
Julian Lage (guitar) Margaret Glaspy (vocals)

10/17 Friday (ICS)
8 pm
Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge
Julian Lage, Chris Eldridge (guitars)

10 pm
Julian Lage, Eric Harland and Larry Grenadier
Julian Lage (guitar) Eric Harland (drums) Larry Grenadier (bass)

10/18 Saturday (JR)
8 pm
Julian Lage and Jesse Harris
Julian Lage (guitar) Jesse Harris (voice, guitar)

8 pm
Julina Lage, Eric Harland, Larry Grenadier and Taylor Eigsti
Julian Lage (guitar) Eric Harland (drums) Larry Grenadier (bass) Taylor Eigsti (piano)

10/19 Sunday (BK)
8 pm
Julian Lage, Francisco Mela and John Zorn
Julian Lage (guitar) Francisco Mela (drums) John Zorn (sax)

10 pm
Machine Sorry
Julian Lage (guitar) Armand Hirsch (drums,electronics, guitars) Chris Eldridge (guitar, electronics)

10/21 Tuesday (RJP)
8 pm
Lake, Reid, Browden
Oliver Lake (sax) Vernon Reid (guitar) Marlon Browden (drums)

10 pm
William Parker & Oliver Lake
William Parker (bass) Oliver Lake (sax)

10/22 Wednesday (JI)
8 pm
The Lake’s
Oliver Lake (sax) Chris Beck (drums) Jahi Sundance Lake (turntables) Kim Lake (vocals)

10 pm
Oliver Lake, Santi Debriano and Andrew Cyrille
Oliver Lake (sax) Santi Debriano (bass) Andrew Cyrille (drums)

10/23 Thursday (BS)
8 pm
Oliver Lake, Orrin Evans, Nasheet Waits and Luques Curtis
Oliver Lake (sax) Nasheet Waits (drums) Baikida Carroll (trumpet) Jason Hwang (violin)

10 pm
Oliver Lake with 2 drummers
Oliver Lake (sax) Bill McClellan (drums) Reggie Nicholson (drums)

10/24 Friday (HM)
8 and 10 pm
Oliver Lake Octet “FLOW”
Oliver Lake (sax) Bruce Williams (alto sax) Mike Lee (tenor sax) Josh Evans (trumpet) Terry Greene (trombone) Robert Sabin (bass) Chris Beck (drums) Brandon McCune (piano)

10/25 Saturday (HM)
8 pm
Oliver Lake Organ Quartet
Oliver Lake (sax) Freddie Hendrix (trumpet) Chris Beck (drums) Jared Gold (organ)

10 pm
Oliver Lake Organ Quartet with special guest Billie Harper
Oliver Lake (sax) Freddie Hendrix (trumpet) Chris Beck (drums) Jared Gold (organ) Billie Harper (tenor sax)

10/26 Sunday (ICS)
8 pm
Oliver Lake & Flux String Quartet
Oliver Lake (sax) Tom Chiu (violin) Conrad Harris (violin) Max Mandel (viola) Felix Fan (cello)

10 pm
Alto Madness
Darius Jones, Bruce Williams, Anthony Ware, Oliver Lake (alto saxes)

10/28 Tuesday (SC)
8 pm
Makigami Koichi (voice) Peter Evans (trumpet)

10 pm
Makigami Koichi (voice, khomus) Bolot Bairyshev (altai epic, khomus) Cyro Baptista (percussion)

10/29 Wednesday (RJP)
8 pm
Kuroyagi Shiroyagi
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin) Sakaide Masami (bass) Sato Masaharu (drums) Erik Friedlander (cello)

10 pm
Koroshi no blues Japanese old pop songs
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin) Mita Freeman (guitar) Sakaide Masami (bass) Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass-clarinet) Sato Masaharu (drums)

10/30 Thursday (ICS)
8 pm
Tokyo Taiga project
Bolot Bairyshev (throat singing) Sato Masaharu (percussion) Makigami Koichii (vocal, theremin) Ned Rothenberg (sax)

10 pm
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin) Mita Freeman (guitar) Sakaide Masami (bass) Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass-clarinet) Sato Masaharu(drums)

10/31 Friday (RK)
8 pm
John Zorn (sax) Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin) Cyro Baptista (percussion) and many special guests
Come on down to our special improv party! These are the nights that raise the money to pay our expenses so come on down IN COSTUME and join our East Village rent party! TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS

10 pm
HIKASHU with guests
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin) Mita Freeman (guitar) Sakaide Masami (bass) Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass-clarinet) Ned Rothenberg (sax) Marc Ribot (guitar)

AMN (Retro) Picks of the Week: Eric Cordier / Francis Dhomont / Cardiacs / Elsa Justel


Cover of Cardiacs

Recently I had the opportunity to purchase almost 50 used CDs at a very good price. I’m slowly going through these and will be posting some of the better ones in a few special “retro” Picks of the Week articles. Enjoy.

Eric Cordier – Digitalis Purpurea (2003)
Francis Dhomont – Etudes Pour Kafka (2006)
Francis Dhomont – Jalons (2003)
Cardiacs – Songs for Ships and Irons (1991)
Elsa Justel – Mats (2007)