Music and More Reviews

Dave Douglas
Cover of Dave Douglas

From Music and More:

Aram Bajakian’s Kef (Tzadik, 2011)
Dave Douglas – GPS Vol. 1, Rare Metals (Greenleaf, 2011)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Avant Archive

Avant Archive is a tape-based label with a focus on experimentation. Some of their releases are listed below.

Rogue Cop
Act of Violence
AA013CS :: Cassette
Duration: 33 minutes

Drew Dahle, meet Electric Guitar. Electric Guitar, meet your abuser. Mr. Dahle, aka Rogue Cop, is badder than any wing-nut in a trench coat and fedora you’ve ever encountered. The brazenness with which Dahle handles his axe is insisted upon with every second of Act of Violence. This album is vindication for both the hard-headed purists and the die-hard experimentalists. No frills required, no rule book exists. Act of Violence is difficult to discuss simply because it has very few points of reference. It is simply the sound of a guitar being mangled. Though if you listen closely and perhaps long enough, you can certainly begin to create your own frame of reference. Rogue Cop has his own way of doing things, and if you give him a chance, you’ll start to come around to the idea that his way could be your way too.

HMS
Cascades
AA012CS :: Cassette
Duration: 61 minutes

Live improvisation can be gruesome or gorgeous. At the soul of any such performance are those concepts of play and chaos, two things that (let’s be honest) tend to appeal to most listeners much more as mere concepts, and much less in the midst of actual realization. HMS defies this expectation within seconds of the beginning of Cascades’ beginning. The trio—Joe Houpert, Nathan McLaughlin, and Erich Steiger—bring to this hour-long set a host of ambitious creative personalities that one could easily visualize as individual bodies of sound. To make things even easier, simply take a look at each performer’s individual catalog of works. When the three combine, there happens to be something very special that is born. HMS is the combination of three soloists bent toward experimentation, and what they’ve recorded for Cascades is a surprising exhibition of harmony and unification inside a realm that is by nature chaotic. These pieces are moody, eerie, and most importantly, engrossing.

Talk West
To Hope is to Hanker
AA011CS :: Cassette
Duration: 25 minutes

Talk West’s Dylan Aycock offers us To Hope is to Hanker, a septet of wispy midwestern vignettes. The simplicity found on these brief songs is something of note, perhaps trumped only by Aycock’s ability to take what would otherwise be a charmingly gentle sound and molest it into an equally charming iteration of itself. It’s as though Jerry, your cousin’s country band’s steel player has been accidentally buried alive, exhumed and reanimated. Now he can’t remember exactly what he’s supposed to be playing or doing, but he still has the sinking, ambiguous well of emotion that drew him to the instrument to begin with. And so To Hope is to Hanker presents this balance between a dusty stasis and something more akin to a wordless, heartfelt midwestern ballad. It is, of course, utterly charming.

Bret Schneider
Model of a Garden Scene With Watering Can
AA010CS :: Cassette
Duration: 59 minutes

Bret Schneider has created a world of chaos from the helm of his digital workstation. Model of a Garden Scene With Watering Can is on the surface a simple exploration into abstract sound by way of (and perhaps limited by) his digital means, though Schneider brings into this sound collage many sources of sound. The root of this dense structure is still quite simple: play. About his creative process, Schneider says, “I tried to make a situation where the music is like the inverse space of the known world. . .in a sense it is me making all the wrong decisions, going against my intuition, being the negative space of intuition.” If you’re not interested in process or philosophy, perhaps you’ll at least be turned on by the ear-tickling sonic concoction that is the manifestation of Schneider’s approach to creative sound. If there is anything left of your brain by the time you’re through listening, you’ll certainly receive a gracious ‘thank you’ from your ears.

Sean McCann
Mammoth Mountain
AA009CS :: Double-Cassette
Duration: 52 minutes

Sean McCann literally needs no introduction. If you’re reading this promotional paragraph, you already know who Sean is and there is a good chance you’re already convinced of his musical capacity. Sean’s specialty seems to be this airy and sweet ‘atmosphere’, something that sounds simultaneously like a slow-motion stringed dirge and an accompaniment to your morning’s reflection over a pot of steaming coffee. With Mammoth Mountain, Sean is in a unique form. These songs are short and rambling, and they present McCann in a kind of sparse orchestration. There is very little ‘constant’ drone that frequently appears on his records. Mammoth Mountain is space-specific, recorded during a series of family outings over two years, and the compositions on these two volumes are apropos of the space. The sparseness with which the songs are written and played (or improvised) allows the mountain air to permeate the tape. The overall effect is just what one might expect from Sean McCann: a tender set that almost insists on the transportation to or envisioning of Mammoth Mountain and its surrounding beauties. This album is sometimes fun, sometimes discordant, and sometimes entirely disarming, much like the wild spaces from whence it was derived. Sip a cool stream and join Sean for a stringed jaunt up the mountain.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gordon Grdina Interview and Vancouver Performance

Gordon Grdina is interviewed in anticipation of his Vancouver Jazz Fest shows.

Grdina certainly is a busy man these days, and this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival will certainly rank as one of his most hectic in a long while. Over the next three days, three of his projects will be performing at the festival. The Crackling will also be making an appearance. His Nordic Sextet’s The Listening project (today) features his trio, which includes Loewen and bassist Tommy Babin, hooking up with Swedish saxophonists Mats Gustafsson and Fredrik Ljunkivst and bassist Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, mixing ballads, free jazz and Arabic-inspired compositions.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Vancouver+Jazz+Festival+Gordon+Grdina+loving+winding+road/5032893/story.html#ixzz1QqoOI7r2

Enhanced by Zemanta