AMN Reviews: Medeski, Martin & Wood + Nels Cline – The Woodstock Sessions Vol. 2 (2014)

woodstockEvery few years a rumor surfaces contending that, in 1970, Jimi Hendrix was about to join Emerson, Lake, and Palmer to form a supergroup called HELP. While somewhat apocryphal, the story of a guitar innovator like Hendrix joining up with the foremost progressive rock keyboard trio is a compelling legend. Almost 45 years later a group of similar musical stature has come together, regrettably to little fanfare so far.

Medeski, Martin, and Wood have been slowly developing their own legendary status as an outsize-jazz influenced jam-oriented keyboard trio. Nels Cline has gradually evolved into one of the most versatile and highly-respected avant-jazz guitarists of our time. The merger of these talents is nothing short of what would be expected – some very creative noisemaking.

Opening the album is Doors of Deception, a short noodling interlude, then Bonjour Beze, a more structured jam with Martin and Wood laying down active rhythm tracks, while Medeski and Cline contribute raucous improv on top. The 14-minute Les Blank takes things in another direction with more melodic duels from Medeski and Cline on a track that would fit in on a fusion or prog-rock album. Looters features a boiling, ambient atmosphere, morphing into a free-improv session.

The Woodstock Sessions Vol. 2 was recorded last August in front of a live audience, and the quartet wasn’t afraid to stretch out and take their time through the set. One can only imagine what this group could do in the studio. A notable release.

AMN Reviews: The Zero Map – Psychic Glass Dome / Daniel Thomas – Codeine (Sheepscar Light Industrial)

The Zero Map is Chloe Wallace and Karl MV Waugh. Their Psychic Glass Dome is hybrid electronica that is both thought provoking and mind expanding. “Whale Song for the Electronic Generation” is Tangerine Dream at cross purposes with an ornery string section. “Shift” is a game of cosmic shuffleboard played backward, its hollow skittering rising and arcing round a, well, psychic glass dome. “Halley´s 8 Foot Iron Mural Quadrant” – named after an eighteenth-century instrument used to determine the position of heavenly bodies in sidereal time – is a stately cathedral drone open wide to the great, big world outside. The key element to each of these three tracks is a juxtapositional tension that digs its fingers in and massages both halves of the brain.

Daniel Thomas calls Codeine “sonic meditation for the self-medicated”. Subtle, soothing and palliative indeed, it is as finely wrought as a thin oak leaf smithed out of metal salvaged from the fuselage of an old Spitfire. Machine drone with emotional surround, it is a message about events and objects and sensations that establish their importance slowly. Earning your attention.

Thus two more little medallions of pleasure out of Leeds. The entire Sheepscar Light Industrial three-inch discography is available on Bandcamp. Also worth noting is that Thomas has expanded his West Yorkshire media empire by starting up Cherry Row Recordings. Its most recent release, Thomas´ Revolution #21, is a full-length disc, an opportunity to indulge in a longer, multiplex session with a true drone- and throbmaster.

Stephen Fruitman

Outset Series Shows in Portland May-July

English: Phil Minton Français : Phil Minton
English: Phil Minton Français : Phil Minton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Creative Music Guild:

Outset Series Programming
May – July 2014

Revival Drum Shop, 1465 NE Prescott
All shows begin 8 PM (ends by 10)
Sliding Scale $5-$15. All ages.

May 7 – Stochastic Mettle Union #35, Doug Theriault
May 21 – Derek Monypeny, Coconino Trio

June 4 – ISP Preview: Tim Berne leads an ensemble of locals in an open performance in preparation for their performance at the ISP on 6/6.
June 18 – Keyon Gaskin/Justin Smith Duo, Cartridge (John Savage/Will Offermans)

July 2 – Torsten Mueller & Phil Minton Duo, Eet
July 16 – Tres Gone

Performer Bios:

Stochastic Mettle Union #35

Stochastic Mettle Union Local #35 is an ensemble project comprised of William Hardy (guitar, electronics, etc.), Josh Feinberg (upright bass) David Haverkampf (drums), Eric Buchner (electric bass, flute, kalimba) Eric Nachtrab (upright bass). Their music has been described as psychedelic, minimalist, avant-garde, free, and organic. Birthed at the confluence of sonic curiosity and musical wanderlust, SMU are harmonic shepherds, allowing the music to go where it will, while not being constrained by conventional frameworks. Every SMU show is a completely new. (

Doug Theriault
Doug is an artist based in Portland, Oregon. His current work is concerned with the development of live electronic music systems on custom made instruments of his own design. His work has been presented all over the United States with a wide variety of musicians, dancers and visual artists from around the world. He has also scored original music for independent films, plays and dance installations. He is mostly known for his highly idiosyncratic guitar work. Doug investigates the reciprocal contamination of creative means and sensibilities. He uses varied organic and electronic sound instrumentation, light gradients (sensors), space and performative movement in connection with the conceptual development of live electronic music systems that he has created. He has also built experimental musical instruments for the band ZZ Top, Smegma, guitarist Bill Horist and many others from around the world. People he has worked with: Nate Wooley, Richard Kammerman, Christine sehnaoui, Tom Hamilton, Matthew Ostrowski, Greg Kelley, Wally Shoup, Jeph Jerman, Negativeland, Sun Ra Archestra, Paul Hessien, Fred Lonberg Holm, Jack Wright, Bryan Eubanks and Climax Golden Twins among many others. (

Derek Monypeny
Derek Monypeny is a guitarist and oud player who has been based in Portland since 2010. He has released several solo albums on the Weird Forest and Underwater Experiences labels, as well as his own Raheem Records label, showcasing a wide array of influences and approaches to sound. He has performed, toured, and collaborated with artists/bands including Sir Richard Bishop, Jozef van Wissem, Oaxacan, and the Portland Bike Ensemble. He is currently a member of the Portland-based noise/rhythm ensemble known as ALTO! His Outset Series solo guitar performance will incorporate influences derived from Indian music, specifically the shehnai playing of Bismillah Khan, as well as the circular-breathing continuous note-streams of Evan Parker. Earplugs are advised.

Coconino Trio

Coconino Trio is a Jazz ensemble formed by upright bass musician, Shao Way Wu. Shao Way, a former Upright Bass instructor at Humboldt State University in Arcata CA, has been performing for years in various jazz incarnations. He recently moved to Portland, OR and formed the Coconino Trio.

Keyon Gaskin

Keyon likes to move around and do things! Recently he has played with Linda Austin, Keith Hennessy, Tahni Holt, Future Death Toll, Lucy Yim, Imago Theater, and himself.

Justin Smith

Justin Glenn Smith is an improviser and composer who is engaged in a lifelong conversation with the possibilities of sound. He studied experimental composition, performance, and social change with Herbert Brün at the School for Designing A Society. Typically he performs using software that he writes.


Cartridge (John C. Savage and Will Northlich-Redmond) presents a spectrum of sounds in its various incarnations, including free improvisation, electroacoustic composition, “world” music styles, drum ‘n’ bass, electronic groove, all with a hint of avant-garde aesthetic. Cartridge has performed up and down the West Coast, New York City, and also at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. “Cartridge is a cinematic excursion through arch-modern electro-acoustic strategies, from drum ‘n’ bass to quasi-Qawwali, from deep-listening nooks and crannies and beyond to other angular threads of urgent musicality.“ (Willamette Week) (Will Redmond: , John Savage:

Torsten Mueller

Torsten Müller is a free improvising bassist in Vancouver, Canada. He came into the free improvised music scene in the mid 70s, first playing with Free Music Communion. He was a member of the large improvising ensemble King Ubu Orchestra for 10 years. Müller has performed concerts all over the world with a diverse array of improvisers, including Evan Parker, John Russell, Jon Rose, Joelle Léandre, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Lol Coxhill, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Paul Lovens, Phil Minton, Charles Gayle, Melvin Poore, Paul Rutherford, Peter van Bergen and Alfred Harth. He currently plays in various ensembles, including Vancouver based drummer Dylan Van Der Schyff’s Bande X and his own ensemble, Hoxha, with British trombonist Paul Rutherford and Dylan Van Der Schyff.

Phil Minton

Phil Minton comes from Torquay. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s- Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later of part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980′s.

For most of the last forty years, Minton has been working as a improvising singer in lots of groups, orchestras, and situations, all over the place. Numerous composers have written music especially for his extended vocal techniques. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher, and ongoing duos, trios and quartets with above and many other musicians.

Since the eighties, His Feral Choir, where he voice-conducts workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, has performed in over twenty countries. (


Eet (Ryan Stuewe and Alyssa Reed-Stuewe) is a life-partnered duet that was born from a love of improvising and live-looping in a damp basement in 2002. Ryan brings samples & electronics. Alyssa brings voice and movement. Eet produces diverse and indeterminate landscapes of sound texture, scoring a subtle dance visual element which redefines itself with each show. Our collaboration sounds to us like experimental musique-concrete pop. We owe much to the pioneers of electro-acoustic and aleatoric musics and to well-produced hip-hop and gamelan. We are highly influenced by natural world, food and humor. We say “eat”. (

Tres Gone

Born from the ashes of Portland’s Gone Orchestra, Tres Gone is trio of improvisers which frequently collaborates with others. Rotating around musicians Mike Mahaffay on drums, Scott Steele on guitar and bass, and Eric Hausmann on guitar synth and bass, Tres Gone frequently employs various collaborators in extended, improvisational performances. (

Guapo interview with David J. Smith

Cover of Guapo

From It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine:

Guapo is a project existing for several years now. Originally consisting of Matt Thompson (who left in 2005) and David J. Smith. They started with a noise rock band with a very complex structures and they released several albums including Towers Open Fire (1997), Hirohito a year later – which showed first elements of avant-prog, then in 2000 they released Death Seed, which was probably influenced by zeuhl sounds of the past. Great Sage, Equal of Heaven (2001) was even more into zeuhl, with typical zeuhl rhythms, but still with some “noise” elements that were used in their previous albums. We have not even mentioned a couple of EP’s, like Hell Is Other People, Erase Yer Head and Guapo vs. Magma. David J. Smith discuss the current situation in Guapo and recalls some memories from recording and touring across the world.