AMN Reviews: A Sphere of Simple Green – Untitled Soundscapes

A Sphere of Simple Green: Untitled Soundscapes (mwt 02)

A Sphere of Simple Green—the name derives from Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Grass So Little Has to Do” — is a trio of Adriano Orru on double bass, Silvia Corda on prepared piano, and Simon Balestrazzi on laptop, toy psaltery and VCS3. The three soundscapes they have issued on this EP are fully improvised collages in which events are encountered in a non-narrative sequence that follows the logic of sound color rather than harmonic or melodic progression.

The recording opens with a metallic crash and rattle, an electric hum overlapping the staccato tones from Corda’s prepared piano. The bass strings are attacked with a rapidly percussive spiccato and col legno battuto, followed by rapid bursts of conventional arco playing through the piano’s suspenseful chords. The electronics provide a textural backdrop through which the other two instruments weave.

At just over ten minutes the second soundscape is the longest; it is also the most consistently rhythmic. Orru’s aggressively regular spiccato sets the piece up and reappears throughout as a kind of motif, though often altered in timbre and tempo. Balestrazzi’s electronics are to the fore, punctuated by stabs on the piano. Layers of sound fold back on themselves through reverse looping and the repetition of sound phrases in and out of phase. At times one imagines hearing skittering insects and an alarm bell off in the distance.

The final track features the electronics’ floating long tones suspended over an E, whether stated on the bass’s plucked open string or implied by surrounding activity. The E functions less as a harmonic center than as a point to return to, a landmark in a hazy atmosphere of heavy echoes out of which the bass’s upper register tones and harmonics emerge.

A Sphere of Simple Green succeeds in creating a coherent sound painting out of the colors available to the musicians. The voices heard here are diverse but well-integrated, each retaining its own character even while in the midst of the others. In terms of timbre, the array of instruments and effects proves a good match, leaning toward a hard-edged sound that benefits from the close-miking and crisp recording. For this set of improvisations in which gestures rather than phrases determine the pattern of interaction, all three musicians are well attuned to each other, building an organic sound from complementary movement.

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Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Louis Moholo
Image via Wikipedia

From Free Jazz:

Side A – A New Margin (Clean Feed, 2011) ****
Benjamin Duboc – Primare Cantus (Ayler, 2011) ****½
Louis Moholo-Moholo, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyani, Rev. Frank Wright – Spiritual Knowledge And Grace (Ogun, 2011) ***½
The Lou Grass PO Band with Marshall Allen – Live At The Knitting Factory Vol. 1 (Porter, 2011) ***½

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Wordless Music Update

Amon Tobin
Cover of Amon Tobin

Some small schedule changes for New York’s Wordless Music Series:

Wordless Music
2011-12 5th Anniversary Season
(fall/winter concerts only)

10.25.2011  Amon Tobin: ISAM Live Audio/Visual Show (Brooklyn Masonic Temple)
10.26.2011  Amon Tobin: ISAM Live Audio/Visual Show (Brooklyn Masonic Temple)
10.27.2011  Amon Tobin: ISAM Live Audio/Visual Show (Brooklyn Masonic Temple)
11.09.2011  Morton Subotnick / Gavin Russom (Le Poisson Rouge, NYC)
11.11.2011  Plaid / Gamelan Dharma Swara (Le Poisson Rouge, NYC)
12.15.2011  An Evening with WHY? (Florence Gould Hall, NYC)
01.31.2012  Jóhann Jóhannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns with film by Bill Morrison (New Sounds Live at The Winter Garden, NYC)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Amon Tobin:
ISAM Live Audio/Visual Show
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
8pm doors and show / 18+ / SOLD OUT
Co-presented by Wordless Music and BOOM Collective

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Morton Subotnick
Gamelan Dhara Swara
Le Poisson Rouge
6:30pm doors / 7:30pm show / all ages / $15

Friday, November 11, 2011
Gamelan Dharma Swara
Le Poisson Rouge
7pm doors / 8pm show / 18+ / $20

Thursday, December 15, 2011
An Evening with WHY?
(Intimate/Acoustic Grand Piano Album Preview Shows)
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street at Madison Avenue
On sale at 12pm on Friday, Oct. 28 online and at the Florence Gould Hall box office
7pm and 10pm shows / all ages / $20

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Jóhann Jóhannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns
Live soundtrack with film by Bill Morrison
The Wordless Music Orchestra
Guðni Franzson, conductor
The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center
7pm show / all ages / FREE!
Co-presented with New Sounds Live and Arts>World Financial Center

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Los Angeles Scene

Wadada Leo Smith
Wadada Leo Smith Image via Wikipedia

From CalArts:

Thursday, October 27, 6:30pm
California Institute of the Arts, B214a (The Machine Lab), 24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia
The Music Technology (MTIID) program presents visiting artist Trimpin. Trimpin will be giving a talk about his life and work as a electromechanical instrument sculptor and installation artist, followed by a Q&A session.

Thursday, October 27, 8pm
California Institute of the Arts, The Wild Beast, 24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia
Guitar (+1): a concert of guitar solos and duets by Michael Pisaro, featuring Brendan Byrnes, Ingrid Lee and Chaz Underriner.


Thursday, October 27, 8pm
Royal T Cafe, 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City
A benefit concert for, featuring Deux Sons, Walsh Set Trio, SlumGum, and the Brad Dutz Quartet. is dedicated to positively encourage & inspire underprivileged children through art. Admission is $2 plus a suggested donation of watercolor paints, colored pencils, markers, pastels, brushes, sharpeners, art paper, and erasers. More information about this event is available here.


Friday-Saturday-Sunday, October 28-30, 8:30pm
REDCAT, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 631 W. Second St., downtown Los Angeles
REDCAT presents Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers
featuring the Golden Quartet: Wadada Leo Smith (composer, trumpet), Susie Ibarra (drums), Angelica Sanchez (piano), John Lindberg (bass), and members of Southwest Chamber Music. A world-premiere epic journey performed over the course of three concerts, this major new opus by creative music luminary Wadada Leo Smith and commissioned by Southwest Chamber Music draws upon, and interprets, key events in the history of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 through 1964.
* Friday – First Collection: Defining Moments in America
* Saturday – Second Collection: What Is Democracy
* Sunday – Third Collection: Ten Freedom Summers

From Sundays Live:

Saturday, October 29, 7:30pm
Chapman University, Salmon Recital Hall, One University Dr., Orange
Chapman University Faculty Recital: Nicholas Terry (percussion), with guest artists Chapman Faculty Percussionist Justin DeHart, Pomona College Faculty Pianist Genevieve Lee, Cal Poly Pomona Faculty Pianist Nadia Shpachenko performing:
* George Crumb: Makrokosmos III – Music for a Summer Evening & Otherworldly Resonances
* Shaun Naidoo: Nigerian Spam: an opera for solo percussion, pre-recorded percussion, computer voices, and Nigerian Spam e-mails and other selections.

From FaceBook Events:

Saturday, October 29, 9pm
Sancho, 1549 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, Los Angeles

From Beyond Baroque:

Saturday, October 29, 9pm
Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice
Beyond Music presents Walsh Set Trio: Brian Walsh (clarinet, bass clarinet), Trevor Anderies (drums), Colin Burgess (bass) exploring improvisation through contemporary classical music, jazz, and noise making.

From FaceBook Events:

Sunday, October 30, 5pm
The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, Los Angeles
Wicked Nightmare Celebration!!! featuring: Timur and the Dime Museum, with special guests Noah and the MegaFauna, Ann Magnuson, Kristian Hoffman, Charles Bernstein, Ursula Knudson of Fishtank Ensemble, Veronique Chevalier, Dorian Wood, Liberty Larsen, Trio Kobayashi, Kari Rae Seekins, Peni Candra Rini.

From Angel City Arts:

Sunday, October 30, 7:30pm
Royal T, 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City
The Jeff Gauthier Goatette – ‘Open Source’ CD Release Party featuring:
Jeff Gauthier (violin, effects), John Fumo (trumpet, effects), David Witham (piano, keyboard, effects), Scott Walton (bass), Alex Cline (drums, percussion). Jeff Gauthier brings his “Goatette” into Royal T for a special album release and kickoff event for his two weeks curating The Stone in New York City.

From UC San Diego:

Wednesday, November 2, 7pm
University of California San Diego, CPMC Experimental Theatre, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla
Inspiraling: Telematic Jazz Explorations 2011. A concert of new music and integrated video conceived for the telematic medium featuring renowned improvisers performing at UC San Diego and New York University. Composers are UCSD’s Mark Dresser along with Michael Dessen and Sarah Weaver. Performers in San Diego are Dresser (bass and conductor), Nicole Mitchell (flute), Michael Dessen (trombone), and Joshua White (piano). The New York ensemble includes Jane Ira Bloom (soprano saxophone), Amir ElSaffar (trumpet), Oliver Lake (alto saxophone), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Ikue Mori (laptop), and Sarah Weaver (conductor). Collaborators also include video artists John Crawford and Sarah Jane Lapp, as well as set designer Victoria Petrovich.

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