Tomas Fujiwara and the Hook Up played two sets of new songs for a packed house on Saturday night. This group seems to keep gaining momentum, led by the masterful drummer/composer, and has been exploring exciting new territory since its most recent release, The Air Is Different (482 Music, 2012). Fujiwara seems to possess limitless energy as a drummer and manages to steadily propel the ensemble along without any reliance upon the mundane. His rhythmic selections maintain a churning kinesis that rarely lets up in its intensity while still providing room for his bandmates to explore their own musical voices. I found myself returning home at 1 am after the show, my body still coursing with the experience of the music.
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.
São Paulo Underground – Beija Flors Velho E Sujo (2013)
Anthony Braxton – Quartet (London) 1991 – 04.03 – Set 1 (2013)
Anthony Braxton – Quartet (London) 1991 – 04.03 – Set 2 (2013)
Mystical Weapons (Lennon / Saunier / Ismaily) – Crotesque (2013)
Parhelion / Zac Keller – Farthest North (2013)
From the New York Guitar Festival:
4th Annual Alternative Guitar Summit, Part of City-Wide New York Guitar Festival
JANUARY 17-19 at Sub:Culture NYC
The Alternative Guitar Summit, founded in 2010 by guitarist Joel Harrison, is an annual gathering of daring, inventive players who explore new and unusual approaches to the guitar. The music presented during AGS always seeks to celebrate the instrument’s enormous range of possibilities, beyond style or genre.
Fri. January 17: Trios Focusing on Evolving Concepts of Rhythm
8:00 pm: Miles Okazaki with James Hurt and Sergio Krakowski
8:30: Will Bernard and the Pleasure Drones
9:00 pm: Liberty Ellman Trio with Matt Brewer and Damion Reid
9:30 pm: David Gilmore with Brad Jones and Gene Lake
Sun. January 19: The Music of Paul Motian: Duos
8 pm: Steve Cardenas with pianist Jacob Sacks, Ben Monder with saxophonist Bill McHenry, Brandon Ross with bassist Stomu Takeishi, Vic Juris with Mary Halvorson, Nels Cline with Julian Lage, Gilad Hekselman with Justin Brown, and Joel Harrison with ?.
Sound artist Al Margolis, best known as the creative force behind If, Bwana, has been active in alternative music and distribution since his days in the 1980s American cassette underground. He is the co-founder of experimental music label Pogus Productions, which he continues to run. Under the name If, Bwana he makes music that encompasses improvised studio constructions as well as more process-oriented methods of composition. He has recorded and/or performed with Pauline Oliveros, Ione, Joan Osborne, Monique Buzzarté, Katherine Liberovskaya, Adam Bohman, Ellen Christi, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jane Scarpantoni, Ulrich Krieger, David First, and Dave Prescott, among others.
In a nutshell–size of your choice–can you describe If, Bwana for us?
If, Bwana has been my artistic “cover” for the past 30 years. Under this name I have been making electronic, electroacoustic, experimental and improvisational music/sounds. It confuses people (the name that is). It now confuses me as well. It is a remnant of my days in the early cassette network. It is my joy…
What influences and/or musical background (or even non-musical background) do you bring to If, Bwana?
I began playing guitar at around age 12. In junior high school I played violin and later I picked up clarinet. Both of which I make sounds/noise and sometimes music on. I play bass guitar. Basically coming from a rock playing/listening background with interest in film. I did drift into the Mothers/Henry Cow/Soft machine etc area of listening which brought me to Varese and Partch etc…and finally brought me to Schoenberg – Straub/Huillet’s Moses und Aron. Now also not living in the city has extended some of my listening and thinking processes. And I think a desire to explore sounds and the outer edges of music.
What attracted you to the kind of electroacoustic music you create?
I am not even sure I could say. Just going from the independent cassette network and all these non-pop and odd pop works of others and then being introduced to the sounds of Stockhausen and the French INAGRM guys and I found it all of interest. I have been moving much more into using acoustic instruments lately with much multi-tracking of similar material and slight processing- so it is almost not even electroacoustic (and not sure how much I would necessarily say I even have done that could be called electroacoustic).
You’ve done a lot of collaborations with individual instrumentalists—such as the work released on the recent Red One. How do you approach the interface of conventional instrument and electronics?
Well, as mentioned in the previous answer, I am probably using less and less electronics these days. I really have been focusing on working with acoustic sounds – that are slightly processed – some pitch shifting or stretching or compressing – and then multitracking them and letting them interact with themselves. So it’s the acoustic sounds that are in fact almost becoming “electronic”.
What is the typical compositional process for you—assuming of course that there is one?
There really is not one – maybe closer to 3. There is the (occasional) process piece – where I set the goal and then move towards that – so that in a certain way once the parameters have been determined, the piece does sort of compose itself. There are the pieces that I have a fairly clear idea about when I set out to do them – particularly those with source materials that are from instrumentalists I want to work with. There I also have a fairly clear idea of what I want. And that usually includes the multi-tracking of their material – often just very small bits of sound that become fairly large pieces. And then there are the works that are more improvised in the studio. I was going to say “intuitive” – but in a certain way all my works are like that. Especially not being a trained composer, I have to “feel” my way (or maybe “hear” my way though is more accurate). The last 2 ways of working often cross over each other.
And last, what’s the next If, Bwana release we can look forward to seeing?
As I write this there are multiple things upcoming or just having come out. A CD reissue of an old cassette – They Call Me Bwana –on Forced Nostalgia (a Belgian label). A split LP with Gerald Fiebig (100 copies only) on the Attenuation Circuit label out of Augsburg, Germany. And coming out on Toronto based Inyrdisk label to celebrate 30 years of If, Bwana, a 3 CDR set scheduled for release January 1st 2014 – 30 years to the day of the first work I ever made as If, Bwana.
From All About Jazz:
Boot! (The Thing Records)
Tchicai – Kohlhase – Fewell – McBee – Hart
Tribal Ghost (No Business Records)
Edward Ricart Quartet + Paul Dunmall
Chamaeleon (New Atlantis Records)
Seven Storey Mountain III And IV (Pleasure Of Text Records)
Kitchen Orchestra extended analysis
Kitchen Orchestra with Alexander von Schlippenbach (Whats Cooking Records)
As Deafness Increases
As Deafness Increases (Va Fongool)