Patrick Farmer: How I Keep Falling into Rivers [cnvr27]
Sound artist Patrick Farmer, who has often worked with field recordings, may have a troubled history with bodies of water, but this new release on cassette finds him in the company of a reel-to-reel tape recorder and, presumably, dry.
For these two ten-minute, side-long pieces Farmer performed improvisations on the tape recorder’s motor. Each piece begins rather abruptly after a minute or two of silence, develops into a dense crescendo of grinding, squealing noise, and ends just as abruptly, leaving a coda of another minute or so of silence. Here the medium is the music, in this case the abstract, sonic self-reference of the means of reproduction and playback. It’s hard not to hear this as the mechanical gnashing of teeth by old technologies that stubbornly refuse to be overtaken and forgotten.
Charlie Looker is a special one. Born and raised in New York City, he’s been on a very personal and intense musical journey that started as a young teenager going to shows at the Knitting Factory. He was a founding member of Zs, which he left to start Extra Life. Since disbanding Extra Life Charlie has been busy with Seven Teares and most recently Psalm Zero, who will release their first full-length “The Drain” on March 4th. For this conversation Charlie and I drink waaaaay too much whiskey and get into it, knocking over mic stands, arguing about Death Grips and throwing vaguely antisemitic snaps at one another. This one gets weird…
The Village Voice writes about the uncommonly fertile Brooklyn jazz scene.
Two weeks ago, at Douglass Street Music Collective in Gowanus, a group of young iconoclasts milled quietly about, drinking beer as the musician Josh Sinton sat on a handmade stage before them, producing whooshy, long tones on a contrabass clarinet. That same night, at Ibeam—a boxy, high-ceilinged space nearby—vocalist Fay Victor sang a winning selection of Herbie Nichols compositions to a crowd of 10 rapt listeners.
The music, in both cases, was weird and good and intriguing—a random sampling of Brooklyn’s wide-open jazz and improvised music scene. Over the past five years or so, a constellation of musician-run jazz series and performance spaces has cropped up throughout Kings County, in far-flung neighborhoods like Ditmas Park, Gowanus, Prospect Heights, and South Slope. You’ll see stuff in these spaces that you aren’t likely to find across the East River, in Manhattan clubs like the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note.