AMN Reviews: Michael Pisaro & Taku Sugimoto: 2 seconds/b minor/wave

Michael Pisaro & Taku Sugimoto: 2 seconds/b minor/wave (Erstwhile 061)

This recent addition to Erstwhile Records’ fine catalogue consists of three duets between guitarist/composers Michael Pisaro and Taku Sugimoto. Each duet is based on a compositional concept reflected in the title: 2 seconds is built around a unit of pulse; b minor is in the key for which it is named; and wave calls for the musicians to interpret the notion of a wave in any way they see fit. The collaboration took place virtually, with the two participants agreeing on each piece’s underlying concept, and then independently composing and recording their specific interpretations. Each finished track brings together both musicians’ contributions.

With each track measuring 20 minutes, the CD has a symmetry that seems consistent with the conceptualism on which the music is founded. Whether or not this symmetry was deliberate, it does allow each piece to feel as if it had been composed as a long-period durational frame. And there are frames within the frames: the music here is very sparse, each sound seemingly set off within parentheses of silences.

The first track, 2 seconds, is structured around a unit of pulse. The predominant sounds are electronic tones of various pitches and lengths, pulsing at one beat every two seconds. These tones are joined sporadically by sounds that resemble metronomic fragments, also with a two second pulse. The contiguous and overlapping pulses give the track a strongly rhythmic feel. B minor has Sugimoto playing slow chord sequences in the key of B minor, while Pisaro supplies melodies of slow, well-spaced notes. This harmonically consonant piece unfolds at a time scale that allows the two to reimagine the relationship between rhythm and lead guitar; rather than having the latter function as a contrasting figure to the former’s field, each serves instead as an equal voice in an ongoing modal counterpoint. The title of the final track—wave–serves as a kind of ur-score preceding and in a sense producing the compositions Pisaro and Sugimoto perform in response. Here a drone meets the sound of what seems to be a field recording of waves at the seashore.

As with Minimalist sculpture and painting, this music has a tendency to move the focus of reception from one exclusively concerned with relationships within the work itself (of, for example, tones to rhythms, tones to timbres, tones to themselves) to one now including the relationship of the work to its context—in this case, to duration as it is experienced by the listener. Though this relationship is external to the composition and playing of the work, paradoxically through the act of listening it becomes internal to the work as it is heard in real time.

Two New Releases on pfMENTUM

From pfMENTUM:

Bonnie Barnett Group
In Between Dreams

Bonnie Barnett, vocals
Richard Wood, alto sax, flute, bass clarinet
Hal Onserud, bass
Garth Powell, percussion


Dick Wood
Not Far From Here

Dick Wood: alto sax, flute, whistle, boom box
Dan Clucas: cornet, flute, octokoto, other sounds
Hal Onserud: bass
Mark Trayle: live electronics with Supercollider graphics
Marty Mansour: drums, percussion on tracks 1 and 3:
Dan Ostermann: trombone with space mute
Chuck Manning: tenor saxophone, percussion

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

HCV – Agape
I Watched You Die – Throat Slashings
Chefkirk – Purely Natural Abstract Radiance
Abhorrent Beauty & Jan-M Iversen – Momentum
Oblive/Last Rape – Untitled
The Skull Defekts – Peer Amid
Kourosh Yaghmaei – Back From The Brink
Carrion Black Pit – Anatomy Studies
A View From Nihil – The Eternal Present (Infinity series Part 8)
Ikodora ’65 – HNW 2 (Cetus)
Daniel Menche – Terre Paroxysm
Vomir – Untitled(1)

Taran's Free Jazz Hour, podcast 35/2011

Fred Ho (cropped version)
Fred Ho image via Wikipedia

From Taran’s Free Jazz Hour, podcast 35/2011:

from cafe sting: Frode Gjerstad (clarinets, alto saxophone), Eivin Pederssen (accordion), Nick Stephens (bass), Louis Moholo-Moholo (drums).

ab baars trio 20 years: Ab Baars (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Wilbert de Joode (contrabass), Martin van Duynhoven (drums).

cut a caper: Ig Henneman (viola, compositions), Ab Baars (tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Lori Freedman (bass clarinet, clarinet), Wilbert de Joode (bass), Marilyn Lerner (piano).

new artists:
band of fire: Connie Crothers (piano), Richard Tabnik (alto saxophone), Roy Campbell (trumpet), Roger Mancuso (drums), Ken Filiano (bass).

klippe: Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet), Pascal Niggenkemper (bass), Thomas Heberer (trumpet).

art transplant: Atle Nymo (tenor sax), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Håkon Mjåset Johansen (drums), Håvard Wiik (piano), Ole Morten Vágan (bass).

put your hands together: Nate Wooley (trumpet), Josh Sinton (bass clarinet), Matt Moran (vibrophone), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Harris Eisenstadt (drums).

positions & descriptions – Simon H. Fell Composition Nº75: SFE

duke!: Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio

freak miracle: katie bull (voice), Joe Fonda (bass), Harvey Sorgen (drums), Landon Knoblock (piano), Jeff Lederer (tenor sax).

the year of the tiger: Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band

Click here to listen to this podcast

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