AMN Reviews: Surrealestate – Lacunae

Surrealestate: Lacunae (Acoustic Levitation)

Surrealestate is a Los Angeles-based improv collective that has been around in one form or another since 1977. In its current incarnation it includes the six musicians hear on its latest release, Lacunae, which provides a generous sample of group improvisations taken from two nights of performances recorded in 2009.

The most striking quality of this recording is the sheer variety of colors the group can summon from its ever-shifting constellation of instruments. In this regard, multi-instrumentalists Ken Luey on various winds and reeds and Charles Sharp on winds, percussion and small instruments are particularly crucial for defining the group’s overall sound. The ensemble is just as diverse in terms of its influences and backgrounds, its members having been active in jazz, western art music composition and performance, and Asian and Middle Eastern musics.

CD standouts include “Amalgam,” which begins with a lyrically floating melody on the flute that gives way to the sharper-edged sounds of David Martinelli’s cymbals and Jonathon Grasse’s electric guitar, which in turn bring the music back to the flute. “I Still Dream of Nana” is a spacious piece, emphasizing percussion and small instruments; by contrast, “When Cassavetes Hit Reagan” and “Foreign Hand Knot” put to the fore Bruce Friedman’s trumpet and Luey and Sharp on tenor and alto saxophones, respectively, to create densely interwoven polyphonies that at times approach the sound and feel of mid-’60s free jazz. “Full Body Scan” is a dirge-like track featuring the dark tones of Luey’s bass clarinet and Jeff Schwartz’s arco bass, which gradually cede the foreground to the brighter colors of electric guitar, drumkit, and clarinet.

In sum, this is a recording that fruitfully combines musicians who can cross stylistic borders and create an improvisational music that goes beyond genre.

New on NoBusiness Records

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New releases from NoBusiness Records:

Joe McPhee and Michael Zerang “Creole Gardens (A New Orleans Suite)”
Pascal Niggenkemper, Simon Nabatov and Gerald Cleaver “Upcoming Hurricane”

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Upcoming Detroit Shows

From Joel Peterson:

Wednesday, Dec. 7: Asuna, The Medium Necks at PJ’s Lager House
Japan’s Asuna is a multi-discipline artist that works in music, sound, installation work and photography. Asuna’s instrumental music mixes backyard recordings of finger-picking guitar with pitched percussion, toys, organs, old recordings, electronics, woodwinds and more, in a 21st Century Music Concrete that veers from beautiful to poppy to weird and back again. Echoes of Brian Eno, Eric Satie, drone music, Frank Pahl and John Fahey all find their way into the mix.

The Mediums Necks is the Japanese lo-fi/electronica/pop duo-team of Sakiyo Tobita and Sonoko Yoshida. Performing spare pop songs in simple instrumentation that are subverted by various electronics, The Medium Necks are at once dreamy and mischievous. The band self-released its first record, and subsequent CDs have come out on Asuna’s house-label, Aotoao.

Show at 9 pm; $5. PJs Lager House is located at 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit.

Monday, Dec. 12: Nakatani Gong Orchestra at OmniCorp.Detroit
Percussion virtuoso Tatsuya Nakatani has appeared in Detroit as jaw-dropping soloist; as an imaginative free improvisor in a duo with Swedish guitarist David Stackenas and in a trio with Jack Wright and French saxophonist Michel Doneda; as a Johnny Cash-beat-free accompanist to Dr. Eugene Chadbourne in their extended technique country duo New Directions in Appalachian Music (at the inaugural ART X); and as the Portuguese-singing vocalist/drummer in Bossa-Nova group Yukijurushi. Now he returns to showcase his Nakatani Gong Orchestra-an ensemble made up of local musicians who have been work-shopped in preparation for this performance.

A master at extracting more sound than thought possible from the gong, Tatsuya’s solo performances rank as one of the most extraordinary musical offerings that you can hear today. With a full ensemble of sympathetically resonating gongs, this will be a sonic treat unlike anything heard in these parts for some time.

Doors at 8 pm; $10 suggested. OmniCorpDetroit is located at 1501 E. Division, in Detroit’s Eastern Market, behind the main sheds.

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Upcoming New York Shows

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From the Vision Festival people:

Monday Evolving Series
Clemente Soto Velez
LES Gallery
Clemente Soto Velez Educational and Cultural Center, 1st floor
107 Suffolk Street (between Delancey & Rivington)

tickets: $11 per set / $16 for 2 sets / $20 all night
Students/Seniors : $8 per set / $12 for 2 / $18 all night
Matana roberts – Steve Dalachinsky – Roy Campbell

November 28

7:30 pm Steve Dalachinsky Duo
Steve Dalachinsky – words
Loren Connors – guitar
8:45 pm Roy Campbell Tazz
Roy Campbell – trumpets, flugelhorn, flute
Andy Bemkey – piano
Chris Sullivan – bass artistan
Michael “TA” Thompson -drums
10 pm Matana Roberts & Ches Smith
Matana Roberts – sax
Ches Smith – drums

December 5

8 pm Sound Songs
Jay Clayton – voice
Jerry Granelli – drums
9 pm Jay Clayton “Different Voices”
Featuring: Karen Goldfeder, Kyoko Kitamura, Kendra Shank,
Katie Bull, Theo Bleckmann….and surprise voices

December 12
Creative Sounds of Dissension

7:30 pm Rozanne Levine & Chakra Tuning
Rozanne Levine – clarinets/bamboo flute
Perry Robinson – clarinets
Mark Whitecage – clarinet/saxes
Rosi Hertlein – voice/violin
8:45 pm Phat Chance
Vincent Chancey – French Horn
Steve Bloom – Guitar
Jeremy Carlstedt – Drums
Tony Malaby – sax
John Hebert – bass
Gerald Cleaver – drums
Ches Smith – drums

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