AMN Reviews: Anthony Braxton – Echo Echo Mirror House (NYC) 2011

NBH035-1024x1024Admittedly, I’m reviewing this new release on a single listen, but I can’t imagine that multiple listens would provide me with the vocabulary to describe the music herein with any degree of justice.

The lineup consists of Anthony Braxton, Andrew Raffo Dewar, James Fei, Steve Lehman, Chris Jonas, Sara Schoenbeck (reeds), Taylor Ho Bynum, Reut Regev, Jay Rozen (brass), Renee Baker, Erica Dicker, Jessica Pavone (strings), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Carl Testa (bass), and Aaron Siegel (percussion). The liner notes indicate that “all the musicians wield iPods in addition to their instruments, while navigating scores that combine cartography and evocative graphic notation, creating a musical tapestry combining live performance and sampled sounds from Braxton’s extensive recorded discography.” Or, in short, there is a lot going on.

The fifteen live performers and their iPods evoke the density and richness of a full orchestra, if not even more. It is difficult to tell where the playing stops and the recordings start, but that is part of the charm and dissonant beauty of this release. Due to this characteristic, at any point in the recording, there appears to be several distinct overlapping themes. The listening experience is that of hearing two or three distinct pieces of music at the same  time, but somehow it all fits together – the themes were meant to overlap.

Not unlike the hyper-dense compositions of Ives and Varese, Braxton pushes the envelope, but does so with both a score and an elite group of improvisers. The result is a massive, shifting, multi-layered, symphonic soundscape.

Coming to Portland: Frode Gjerstad Trio / Loren Chasse and Marcus Fischer

English: Frode Gjerstad, moers festival 2008
English: Frode Gjerstad, moers festival 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Portland’s Creative Music Guild:

Confluence at the Outset with The Frode Gjerstad Trio from Norway + Jon Shaw solo
Frode Gjerstad – clarinets, alto sax
Paal Nilssen-Love – drums
Jon Run Strom – bass

This is Frode’s first all-Norwegian trio. Frode and Paal have played together since Paal was 15. Jon joined the band in May and since then the trio has been hailed as something-not-be-missed. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Europe’s luminaries in an intimate setting. With an opening set by Jon Shaw on solo bass. Jon plays in Battles Hymns and Gardens and many other local groups.

December 5, 8pm, $5-15 sliding scale
Revival Drum Shop
1465 NE Prescott

The Outset Series with Loren Chasse and Marcus Fischer

Loren Chasse is a musician, sound artist and teacher most notable for his association with Jewelled Antler and his work with Thuja, The Blithe Sons, The Child Readers and many others. He has been called, “one of the most important international artists working in the areas of environment and sound”. Loren Chasse’s website
Marcus Fischer is a multimedia artist and musician. He records and performs under the name map~map and as part of the duo Unrecognizable Now.

December 19, 8pm (ends by 10), $5-15 sliding scale
Revival Drum Shop
1465 NE Prescott