AMN Reviews: Willits & Sakamoto – “Ancient Future” (Ghostly International)

Christopher Willits is a guitar innovator and firebrand of the San Francisco electronic and alternative music scene, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, from the groundbreaking Yellow Magic Orchestra to scores for such films as “The Last Emperor” and the opening of the Barcelona Olympics, is probably the most famous electronic musician and composer Japan has ever produced. Collaborations with microsound engineers like Carsten Nikolai (Alva Noto) and Christian Fennesz have endeared him to the thin edge of the avantgarde wedge.

Willits and Sakamoto first collaborated in 2008 with the album “Ocean Fire”. While that was a work of highly-evolved ambient music, “Ancient Future”, for all its singular ambiance and stippled texture, is actually kind of a jazz album.

Working together directly then, this time Sakamoto sent a handful of solo piano pieces for Willits to treat. Willits describes the album as “a space of opening and release”. Basically, it sounds like Willits making Sakamoto´s piano very nervous, only to repeatedly calm and reassure it. Each note he strikes, and Sakamoto strikes relatively few but each all the more significant for his parsimony, either passes through Willits´ mangrove roots of loops and static or bypasses it untouched. The ambient resonance of “Ancient Future” is spectacular, chillingly so. Even those familiar with Willits´ thoughtful and well-wrought ambient discography will be impressed by the craftsmanship and detail of “Ancient Future”.

Worked to bring out the grain of the music like a master carpenter raises the unpigmented flame and stripe of a slab of curly maple, Willits´ guitar and Sakamoto´s piano fuse into one.

Stephen Fruitman

Out on BoWeavil Recordings

Español: Oren Amabrchi, músico australiano de ...
Español: Oren Amabrchi, músico australiano de música ambiental. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From BoWeavil Recordings:

Reines D’Angleterre – DYNASTIE ET GLOBE LP & CD (ltd)
Stephanie Hladowski & C Joynes – THE WILD WILD BERRY LP & CD (ltd)
Oren Ambarchi – RAGA OOTY/NILGIRI PLATEAU LP (ltd)
Tom James Scott – DRAPE LTD LP

Ayman Fanous and Ned Rothenberg in Concert, September 14

Ned Rothenberg at Appleby Jazz Festival 2007
Ned Rothenberg at Appleby Jazz Festival 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elysium Musicworks presents:

Jazz and improvised music for guitar, Greek bouzouki, clarinets, saxophone, and Japanese shakuhachi.
Venue: St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church Chapel.
Address: 11911 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
Date/Time: Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15 Suggested Donation

Ned Rothenberg composes and performs on saxophones, clarinets, flute and shakuhachi (an end blown Japanese bamboo flute). He has been internationally acclaimed for his solo music which he has presented for over 30 years in hundreds of concerts throughout North and South America, Europe and Japan. He has lead the ensembles Double Band, Power Lines and Sync (his current assemblage with Jerome Harris, acoustic guitar & acoustic bass guitar and Samir Chaterjee, tabla). In addition, Rothenberg’s work as a sidepe
rson can be heard on labels such as Tzadik, Deutsche Grammophon, Zomba, Nonesuch, A&M, ECM, BMG, Axiom , and Virgin with leaders including John Zorn, Heiner Goebbels, Steve Nieve, Marc Ribot, Sainkho, Marisa Monte, So La Liu and Fusanosuke Kondo.

Born in 1956 in Boston, Rothenberg graduated from Oberlin College and studied at Oberlin Conservatory, Berklee School of Music, privately with Les Scott (saxophone & clarinet), and George Coleman (jazz improvisation). However, his trademark solo technique is self-taught. He has received grants and commissions from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Arts Council, Mary Flagler Cary Trust, Lila Wallace Foundation, Chamber Music America, Asian Cultural Council, Roulette, Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Japan Society and ASCAP.

Currently based in Washington, DC, guitarist Ayman Fanous was born in Cairo, Egypt, and has lived in the US since age 5. He began classical violin studies at age seven and switched to the guitar at twelve. He studied classical guitar at James Madison University. However, he has developed a unique and unorthodox approach to the guitar, which includes a number of technical innovations. He is the only guitarist to bring both classical and flamenco guitar technique deeply into contemporary free improvisation. He also reaches back into his Egyptian ancestry in improvisations on the bouzouki.

Fanous has given hundreds of solo performances, including radio and television broadcasts in Spain and the US. He has also performed in duos with a number of leading jazz and improvisational musicians, including cellists Tomas Ulrich and France-Marie Uitti, guitarists Bern Nix and Joe Morris, violinists Jason Hwang, Mark Feldman, and Mat Maneri; bassist William Parker; reed virtuosos Kinan Azmeh, Ned Rothenberg, and Lori Freedman; and Chapman Stick pioneer Greg Howard. While living in New York, he was a member of Simon Shaheen’s Near East Music Ensemble. He released a duo CD with Tomas Ulrich on the German label Konnex and has several CD’s in progress.

New Setola di Maiale Releases

From Setola di Maiale:

ROBERTO DEL PIANO / MATTHIAS BOSS / MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI
ONE HOUR WITH THE THREE UNCLES

IMPROVISERS CONSORT
(Marcello Magliocchi, Matthias Boss, Carlos Zingaro, Paulo Chagas, Paulo Curado, João Pedro Viegas, Abdul Moimême)
LISBOA SESSIONS

MARCELLO MAGLIOCCHI / IVANO NARDI / VITTORINO CURCI / GIUSEPPE VALZANO
TWO DRUMS / TWO REEDS

INSTANT CHAMBER MUSIC
(Marcello Magliocchi, Matthias Boss, Paulo Chagas, Maresuke Okamoto)
S/T

September’s Protest Series at the Heaven Gallery

Fred Lonberg-Holm in 2002
Fred Lonberg-Holm in 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Chicago’s Heaven Gallery:

Saturday, 9/8

MAUNU/WILDEMAN/ROSALY

Peter Maunu – guitar
Albert Wildeman – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums

+

STAALE LIAVIK-SOLLBERG
with Chicago guests

Keefe Jackson – reeds
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Jason Roebke – bass
Staale Liavik-Sollberg – drums

Saturday, 9/15

ABBINANTI/GREGORIO/LEONARDSON/PREISSING/WILDEMAN/WOSKO

Frank Abbinanti – piano
Guillermo Gregorio – reeds
Eric Leonardson – springboard
Christopher Preissing – flute
Albert Wildeman – bass
Lilliana Wosko – cello

+

REFRACTION SOUND

Tom Madeja -trumpet
Brent Griffin – alto saxophone
Matt Davis – trombone
Matt Orenstein – bass
Tim DeCillis – drums

9/22

KIMMEL/LONBERG-HOLM

Jeff Kimmel – bass clarinet
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello, tenor guitar

+

TOBY SUMMERFIELD GROUP

Toby Summerfield – guitar
others TBA

Saturday, 9/29

PROTEST HEAVEN FESTIVAL

Featuring 11 musicians, including locals who appear regularly on the
series as well as members of Asheville’s
ahleuchatistas, will improvise in small ad-hoc groups over the course
of two sets.

Jim Baker – piano, ARP
Josh Berman – cornet
Daniel Fandino – guitar
Guillermo Gregorio – reeds
Keefe Jackson – reeds
Ryan Oslance – drums
Shane Perlowin – guitar
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Jason Roebke – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums
Katherine Young – bassoon

All shows start at 9pm, donation suggested

Heaven Gallery
1550 N Milwaukee, 2nd fl