Newsbits: Kayo Dot / Creative Music Studio’s 40th Anniversary Workshop / Free Improv in Clifton UK

English: John Medeski. Concert with Medeski, M...

Experimental prog-metal band Kayo Dot is hitting the studio to record their seventh album, Hubardo.

Keyboard wizard John Medeski is the latest Guiding Artist confirmed to help celebrate the Creative Music Studio’s 40th anniversary by participating in the CMS 40th Anniversary Workshop, May 20-24, at Full Moon Resort just west of Woodstock. In addition to Medeski, Guiding Artists confirmed to attend include trumpeters Dave Douglas and Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Oliver Lake, reedist Don Byron, pianist Marilyn Crispell, flutist Steve Gorn, guitarist Ken Wessel, bassists Mark Helias and Ken Filiano, drummers Harvey Sorgen and Tani Tabbal, vocalists Thomas Buckner and Ingrid Sertso, and pianist Karl Berger.

At The Fringe, on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton Village (UK) at 8:30pm, the following experimental musicians will perform: Mark Langford: reeds, Paul Antsley: double bass, Bob Helson: drums, Mark Lawrence: guitar, Mossa Bildner : vocals.

AMN Reviews: Hal Rammel and Matt Turner – Fractures and Phantoms

The Lost Data Project - Hal Rammel

Hal Rammel and Matt Turner: Fractures and Phantoms [penumbra CD017]

Fractures and Phantoms, the new set of six improvisations by the duo of Hal Rammel and Matt Turner, brings together an unusual pairing of instruments. Turner’s cello is familiar enough, but Rammel’s instrument, the amplified palette, is a handbuilt creation of his own design consisting of a palette-shaped wooden base sprouting thin metal and wooden bars or rods of various lengths and looking like nothing so much as a hypertrophied thumb piano on a vertical axis. The sounds it produces when bowed or struck are intriguing—bell-like, crystalline and microtonal, sometimes evoking detuned wind chimes or a xylophone left out in the elements. (Agog, a solo set from 2012, is a fine introduction to the amplified palette and its range of voices.)

An odd pairing, perhaps, but one that works. Turner’s deep grasp of the textural possibilities inherent in extended technique goes far toward establishing a fertile common ground. His pressured and vibrato bowing, scraping and tapping all map quite comfortably onto Rammel’s array of sounds. Highlights include the skittering tone clusters and heavy bowing of Fracture 1; Phantom 2’s deep metallic tones laid over Turner’s evocation of the sounds of distressed wood and strings; the amplified palette’s conventional thumb piano sounds as reinterpreted by Turner’s playing beneath the bridge on Phantom 3; and the abrasive sound worlds navigated in the succinct, coda-like Fracture 3.

AMN Reviews: Piano Interrupted – Two by Four (Days of Being Wild)

Piano Interrupted is London-based pianist Tom Hodge and French electronic producer Franz Kirmann. Hodge has a jazz background (most prominent on “Son of Pi”), while Kirmann has been tooling techno and pop electronica. “Two by Four” is a collection of their work so far.

“Étude” and “London Waltz” represent their earliest efforts, while the rest of the tracks have been recorded with a cellist (Greg Hall) and percussionist (Eric Young); delicious throughout, on “Son of Foug”, they escape the bounds of mere quartet and expand into epic landscapes. Strewn throughout are three, sweet Maghrebinian almonds the duo were commissioned to write for the documentary “Papa Hédi” on the life of the “Tunisian Frank Sinatra”, Hédi Jouni, from whose records they also appear to have snatched the odd sample – how otherwise to explain that swirlin´ but uncredited oud?

Deep and burled as polished walnut, the album flows smoothly over nine melodious tracks. With the touch of electricity, Kirmann honeycombs Hodge´s piano, and though a slight digital chill clings like frost to a track or two, “Two by Four” is warm, embracing, smiling.

The final je ne sais quoi is the crystal clear mastering of Nils Frahm, the young composer/pianist who is just as much of an artist and contributor at the mixing desk.

Stephen Fruitman

AMN Picks of the Week: Combat Astronomy / Damon Smith / Revolutionary Ensemble

Joëlle Léandre at Cornelia street cafe Photo: ...
Joëlle Léandre at Cornelia street cafe Photo: Claire Stefani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Combat Astronomy – Kundalini Apocalypse (2013)
Weasel Walter / Damon Smith / Charity Chan – Improvised Music and Tentacles (2013)
Aurora Josephson / Joëlle Léandre / Damon Smith / Martin Blume – Cruxes (2013)
Revolutionary Ensemble – Counterparts (2012)