ATTN:Magazine Reviews

Posted: January 25, 2015 by Mike in Reviews

From ATTN:Magazine:

Jean D.L. – Early Nights
Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard – Sound X Sound-music for 8 Recorders
Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt​ + ​Daniel Kaufman – Split
Pepa Päivinen + Good Romans – Ghost of a Dog

A Closer Listen Reviews

Posted: January 25, 2015 by Mike in Reviews

From A Closer Listen:

Nick Storring ~ Endless Conjecture
White Fir ~ Lake Seeds, Vol. 3: When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
Hear Hums ~ Malaise
William Ryan Fritch ~ Revisionist


Björk_-_Vulnicura_(Official_Album_Cover)Biophilia was the conceptual heaven of Björk, a sound world about nature through multimedia art.  But Vulnicura has a musical maturity that I was waiting for in her music, far more important than the decorative multimedia that too many musicians insist on today.

It is also a huge break emotionally from her usual optimism and desire to scream out life for most listeners. She delivers her most boundless music. The best part is the way she arranges her album like an hour-long composition, nothing I would be able to say about any of her previous albums. Even the conceptually tight Medùlla (that was still my favourite before this one) felt like a collection of individual experiments, not without nostalgic come backs to her dance years and lyrically varied into different subjects.

The music always follows her emotional state, the ending of her 15-year-long relationship with New York artist Matthew Barney. First serene and beautiful, the perfect opening Stone Milket only needs a few chords to get you straight into her world.  She is obviously aiming at the emotional landscapes of Homogenic, but with far more variations and opened melodic lines, like Vivaldi mixed Aphex Twin‘s melodic irregularities of his best years.  Björk has a precious ear for a tender melodism of her own kind with the strings instruments in particular, I always thought.  But nothing like this came our way since 2001`s Vespertine and even there, it was in part done by an arranger that she probably did not need.

Lion song is the most obvious pop song on Vulnicura, taking from Indian music and making it the best fit for an elegant electronic percussion programming, without pushing this aspect all of the times. I am one to believe that Björk can manage as great without the electronic elements, allowing herself the time space to build her arrangements more, but anything electronic on Vulnicura feels way more natural than on Biophilia (studio album at least) and active, much less in loop.

Black Lake already feels different, a lot more like Arvo Pärt that she is resembling musically with horn arrangements on Volta (Pneumonia as something of Vulnicura, like a preparation for it). 10 minutes and never any moment does the song feels like it is already over. Björk never was this melancholic before, but instead of crushing her best strengths, the dark feelings are allowing her to push herself further into unique expression, like for any other great artist.

There are not a lot of invented instruments on Vulnicura, but the music is far more alien and surprising on repeated listening than on Biophilia, which like Volta, felt to me a bit like something made for a limited attention span audience, in a vulgarizer fashion. I always loved vulgarizers, still do, but for me, artistically, there is something important that got stuck since Medùlla. Vulnicura is what I wanted to hear from her, a musical strengh that does not need any other concept than a personal one.

Starting from Family to the end of the album, there is the most original and organic electronic-acoustic music Björk ever created. Melodies are still there, easy to grab, but appear often like sound textures just as well and the structures are free-for-all, linear and non-linear, traditional (Indian and Chinese at the same time on Not Get) and musique concrete flow into sound painting, vocal duet of the atom with Anthony, far more daring than her previous work with him. On Atom Dance, his voice comes out of nowhere like an harmonic arrangement made out of his several inner voices while the strings change direction their own independent way, and Björk slowly makes this an evolved child from Medùlla‘s vocal schizophrenia, and the organic-vocader twin started out on the most abstract songs from Biophilia.

Mouth Mantra strongly evocates Arvo Pärt’s Orient & Occident, one of my favourite works in the classical realm. The electronic mixture is just as exciting, splendid and natural, always in touch with the strings and totally out of touch as well. Perhaps because Björk worked with an electronic producer first (Arca who knows her music well), like she did by instinct in her initial years, the electronic realm appears more in shape here than ever before. The complexities of the drums and sounds are left in place, not added over after the most creative energy is exhausted.

Her singing here, more subtle, less volcano-like, often evolves slowly through her new progressive structures.  These are, during the confusing second half, in the focus on vocals as sound textures as well as melodic instruments. The closer Quicksand is a good example of this weird vocal singing that comments on itself until a new self is formed (“When she is broken, she is whole and when she is whole, she is broken”). It is surrounded by strings instruments that have lost most of their original sound, but remain rich, every part of this still simple song brings more perspective instead of pondering in obligation a few basic chords on the other parts like on Biophilia and Volta.

Her masterpiece so far.
Vincent Bergeron (2015.01.20)

Experimental Music from Japan Feature

Posted: January 25, 2015 by Mike in General

English: Keiji Haino at Moers Festival 2007

From Nippon.com:

Modern-day noise music, however, has escaped the preserve of academics and avant-garde thinkers, uniting conservatory-trained and untutored participants from the worlds of punk, jazz, metal, contemporary classical, electronic music, and sound art in an exuberant and egalitarian collision. While noise conjures up the image of a cacophonous maelstrom of sound, contemporary improvisers utilize a much broader tonal palate, often offsetting abrasive textures with environmental sound, field recordings, and even silence. This is especially true in Japan, which has become a global center for the genre. Artists including Haino Keiji, Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide, and Hijōkaidan rank among the scene’s most respected and influential names—little known at home, but able to command hefty sums for overseas performances before large, reverent audiences. So synonymous, in fact, is the country with this style of music that the term “Japanoise” was coined to provide a convenient catch-all.

Upcoming Jimmy Bennington Shows in Chicago

Posted: January 25, 2015 by Mike in General

Jimmy Bennington will be performing the following dates:

Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound W/ Artie Black, Mike Harmon, Sam Mosching at Redline Tap, Sun Feb 15, 2015, 9pm-12 Midnight, $5.00 Cover

Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound Trio W/ Saxophonist Fred Jackson Jr (AACM) at Rhythm Room Bar and Bistro Located in Evanston’s Century Theater, Sat Feb 7, 2015, 7pm-11pm, No Cover

Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound Trio W/ Pianist Dan Pierson at Rhythm Room Bar and Bistro Located in Evanston’s Century Theater, Sat Feb 14, 2015, 7pm-11pm, No Cover

AMN Reviews: Lindsay Cooper, Rarities Volumes 1 & 2

Posted: January 24, 2015 by dpcoffey in AMN Reviews

By Dan Coffey

LindsayCooperLindsay Cooper, like contemporaries Fred Frith, Tim Hodgkinson, and John Greaves, cut their avant-garde teeth in the uncompromising leftist band Henry Cow. Cooper had been playing with the progressive rock band Comus when she was invited to join Henry Cow. The rest really is history, but not a well-known one. After Henry Cow’s demise, Cooper started a band called News from Babel. Both the Henry Cow and News from Babel material are fairly well-documented, but there is so much more to Cooper’s musical legacy that remains largely unknown to any but the most diehard fans. Rarities, Volumes I & II attempts to redress the various oversights in Cooper’s eclectic career as composer and improviser on some of the toughest instruments to bring to any kind of combo – jazz, rock, or improvisatory – mainly the oboe, bassoon and sopranino saxophone.

Cooper suffered for many years from Multiple Sclerosis and had to retire from playing before her time. After succumbing to the disease in September, 2013, plans were made to hold a concert in her honor, with various combinations of musicians performing Cooper’s compositions. Thankfully, there’s a recorded legacy to go with that concert. This 2 disc set is full of treasures. Not all of the tracks are previously unreleased, but the ones that aren’t are extremely rare. Throughout the span of this set we get to hear songs that were originally released on limited edition cassettes or as bonus LPs that came with a subscription.

The set starts out with a suite of 26 short songs written for films and television shows. Other highlights feature a “piano roulette” that was previously unreleased. Also seeing the light of day for the first time is a performance by the band Trio Trabant, formed by Alfred Harth, who invited Cooper and Phil Minton to join. Trio Trabant have only ever released one CD; the music here is from a live performance made available for the first time.

This is an essential album that fills in the cracks between the Lindsay Cooper that most people are aware of, and at the same time is not esoteric enough to be a “collector’s only” item; although labeled as “rarities,” it is an excellent introduction to the varied career of the sadly missed Cooper.

Creative Music on DC

Posted: January 24, 2015 by Mike in Performances

Kahil El'Zabar at Chicago's Ethnic Heritage En...

Kahil El’Zabar 

Saturday, January 24 @ 9:00PM
Anthony Pirog :: Jonathan Badger :: Luke Stewart
Guitarist, composer and loops magician Anthony Pirog is a quiet but ubiquitous force on stages around his hometown. With fearsome chops and a keen ear for odd beauty, Pirog has helped expand the possibilities of jazz, rock and experimentalism. Jonathan Badger is a guitarist, composer and video artist whose work ranges from postrock sludge to neobaroque chamber music. In live performance his compositions and improvisations show themselves in electronic garb, all the while maintaining the character of solo guitar, including the use of a distinctly musicalized video projection system. Multi-instrumentalist Luke Stewart creates transcendent sounds, Music for the Third Ear.
Admission $8
Velvet Lounge
915 U Street NW
Washington, DC
On Black Broadway between Vermont Avenue and 9th Street

Saturday, January 24 @ 7:30PM
Battle Trance :: Praxis Cat :: Lost Civilizations
Presented by Sonic Circuits
Battle Trance’s Travis Laplante leads a tenor saxophone Quartet alongside Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner. The music is an exploration of Spritual connectivity, sure to expand one’s perceptions of the possibilities in Music. Praxis Cat is the moniker of Christine Paluch, performing with modular synthesizers and guitar. She improvises deconstructed atmospheres and loops interlaced with both beauty and anxiety. The Lost Civilizations experimental music project is a collaboration between Mike Sebastian (Tenor Sax, Saxello and Baritone Sax) and T. A. Zook (BassCello). Special guests are often featured to accentuate the ambient textures associated with the group.
Admission $10
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Avenue
A short walk from the Silver Spring Metro

Sunday, January 25 @ 3:30PM
Mensa Kondo
The New – The Unexpected
solo Exhibit of visual artist Mensa Kondo
Musical Performances By
Exaktly :: Sex God 1977 :: SHAKA :: Eboneé AD :: Native Sun :: Luke Stewart :: Meche Korrect :: Ayescold :: Bushido Jones :: Underdog :: DJ K-Meta
Suggested Donation $7
Union Arts DC
411 New York Ave NE
Enter through the loading dock off the corner of 4th and Penn Street NE

Saturday, February 7 @ 7:30PM
Dan Joseph :: Chester Hawkins :: Noiseless Ensemble
New York City – based composer, performer, and curator Dan Joseph has been active in a variety of musical contexts. Dan performs regularly with his chamber ensemble, The Dan Joseph Ensemble. CHESTER HAWKINS has recorded and performed a wide range of experimental music since 1985. The best-known project was BLUE SAUSAGE INFANT, which began as an exercise in modern audio Dadaism (via musique concrete and tape-collage) and later expanded to embrace drone, krautrock, electronic psychedelia, brutal noise, and cinematic sound design. Noiseless Ensemble draws on a wide range of influences to create improvisational experiences that are truly new. Though the quartet has been performing together for a year in the DC area, the musicians are veterans in the East Coast avant garde and jazz scenes. Their improvised performances include a mix of spontaneous composition, games of chance, and graphic and textual notation – as well as ample audience participation.
Admission $10
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Avenue
A short walk from the Silver Spring Metro

Sunday, February 22 @ 7:00PM
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Presented by Transparent Productions
For over forty years, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble has carried the banner for creativity, with an emphasis on the spiritual over the technical, deeply soulful sounds with cultural roots. Kahil El’ Zabar established the group, stemming from the school and musical environment that the AACM had established in the 60’s and 70’s. Many musicians have played in the Ensemble, from Pharoah Sanders to Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre to “Light” Henry Huff. For the past decade the group has consisted of fellow Chicagoan musicians Ernest Dawkins (New Horizons Ensemble) and Corey Wilkes (Art Ensemble of Chicago).
The Historic Bohemian Caverns
1101 11th Street NW
Washington, DC
One the corner of U Street and 11th Street NW

Every 2nd Sunday of the Month
CapitalBop’s DC Jazz Loft
The DC Jazz Loft showcases and stimulates the talent and forward-focused creative thought that is occurring in the DC Jazz community. On the second Sunday of every month, at Union Arts DC, a variety of idioms and approaches to Jazz are presented by members of the diverse local scene.
Union Arts DC
411 New York Ave NE
Enter through the loading dock off the corner of 4th and Penn Street NE