AMN Reviews: Jack ‘O The Clock – Night Loops (2014)

a3974199927_2Oakland area ensemble Jack ‘O The Clock is one part progressive rock, one part folk, and the remainder an amalgam of diverse and hard-to-classify elements. This, their fourth full album, is a rapid follow-up to last year’s phenomenal All My Friends (AMN review here). However, Night Loops is anything but a continuation of that effort.

This album features the group’s typical lineup of vocals, hammer dulcimer, violin, bassoon, bass, drums, and various brass, wood, and string instrumentals. Lead writer and vocalist Damon Waitkus (AMN interview here) provides haunting lyrics – poetic images of mainstream Americana’s cracked fabric. But Night Loops takes the overt intensity down a notch, while maintaining the thoughtful compositions and lyrical content that the group is known for. The result falls somewhere on a modern folk spectrum, with orchestral elements in the background.

Several tracks are driven by percussion and vocals, such as Ten Fingers, How the Light is Approached, and Fixture. On the other hand, Bethlehem Watcher features a bluesy vamp, Come Back Tomorrow is mainly folk-influenced, and Salt Moon is a nice instrumental piece that could only be called progressive rock. All of these efforts are effects-laden to some extent, lending an alien but fitting feel. But the group continues to defy pigeonholing or categorization as they travel unfrequented roads.

Another winner for Jack ‘O The Clock.

AMN Reviews and Interviews: April 2014

Last month we’ve published the following reviews and interviews:


Robin Hayward – Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse [pogus 21077-2]
Medeski, Martin & Wood + Nels Cline – The Woodstock Sessions Vol. 2 (2014)
The Zero Map – Psychic Glass Dome / Daniel Thomas – Codeine (Sheepscar Light Industrial)
Base 4 – Axes of Symmetry
Danny Norbury – Light in August (Flau)
M’lumbo – Popular Science (2013)
Adriano Orrù – Palimpsest [pyr106]
Uri Caine Ensemble – Rhapsody in Blue (Winter & Winter)
Chicago Underground Duo – Locus (2014; Northern Spy)
Keir Neuringer – Ceremonies Out of the Air
Colin Webster and Graham Dunning – Estigate [LOR050]
Kris Davis – Massive Threads (2013; Thirsty Ear)
The Nels Cline Singers – Macroscope (2014; Mack Avenue Records)


Carl Testa

A Closer Listen Reviews

From A Closer Listen:

Cliff Dweller ~ The Dream in Captivity
The Green Kingdom ~ Expanses
Black to Comm ~ Providence
Jan St. Werner ~ Split Animal Sculpture
Jason Kahn & Tim Olive ~ Two Sunrise
Peter Kutin ~ Burmese Days
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra ~ Hang On To Each Other EP
Man Forever (with So Percussion) ~ Ryonen
Gavin Miller ~ Somn

Taran’s Free Jazz Hour Podcast 13/2014

Eric Revis
Cover of Eric Revis

From Taran’s Free Jazz Hour:

Peripheral Hearing: Brad Dutz Quartet

Trio: Roger Manins, Ts/reuben Bradley, Dr/ Mostyn Cole, B

in Memory of Things Yet Seen: Eric Revis, B/ Chad Taylor, Dr/ Billmchenry, Ts/ Darius Jones, as/ Branford Marsalis, P

Lawnmower Ii: Luther Grey, Dr/ Jim Hobbs, as/ Kaethe Hosteller, 5 String Vln/ Winston Braman, El B

Wire Quartet: Rodrigo Amado, Ts/ Manuel Mota, G/ Hernani Fustino, B/ Gabriel Fernandini, Dr

Tone Rogue Records
for Us, the Living: Andrew Hadro, Bar Sax, FL/ Daniel Foose, B/ Carmen Staaf, P/ Matt Wilson, Dr

Book of Sound: Ivo Perelman, Ts/ Matt Shipp, P/ William Parker, B

Edgetone Records
Flower Futures: Chris Broderick, C Melody Sax, Cl, B Cl/ Amar Chaudhary, El P, Organ/ Polly Moller, Vo, FL/ Larry the O, Dr/ Tim Walters, B, Computer

Barefoot Records
Trio Creepy: Joakim Berghall, Sax/ Adam Pultz Melbye, B/ Hakon Berre, Dr

Ayler Records
Live in Madison: Rodrigo Amado, Ts/ Aaron Gonzalez, B/ Stefn Gonzalez, Dr/ Luis Lopez, El G

Muriel Grossmann
Awakening: Muriel Grossmann, as, Ss, FL/ Radomir Milojkovic, G/ Robert Landfermann, B/ Christian Lillinger, Dr

You’re Too Dimensional: Mv, Tbn, Comp/ Jim Knodle, Tpt/ Phil Sparks, B/ Greg Campbell, Dr

Multitudes Telepathic: Mv, Tbn/ Clyde Reed, El B/ Dave Wayne, Dr, Perc/ Ark Weber, Poetry

AMN Reviews: con_cetta vs MonoLogue – Orlando (Time Released Sound)

“Orlando” is one of the most remarkable novels of the twentieth century, a post-impressionist masterpiece that also manages to be postmodern and post-feminist avant la lettre. In it, Virginia Woolf tells the tale of a child born into 16th-century Elizabethan aristocracy who undergoes a miraculous sex change while serving as ambassador in Constantinople, only to finally reappear after eighteenth- and nineteenth-century intellectual dalliances as a thirty-six-year old woman motoring through London in the Roaring Twenties. Abolishing fixed coordinates of time and space, genders and desires, Woolf frees Orlando from social convention and divulges some fundamental things about the ambivalence of existence. Independent of gender, time and history, “Orlando”, in the opinion of British author and critic Jeanette Winterson, suggests that committing to a single identity is an awful waste of half a life.

Fittingly then, this musical interpretation of the book is a split album, tracks alternating between con_cetta, an Italian gentleman who has assumed a feminine nom-de-musique, and countrywoman Marie e le Rose, who has chosen to record under the most generic of names. “Orlando” is an opulent, sensual novel, reveling in detail: “Chairs and tables, however richly gilt and carved, sofas, resting on lions’ paws with swans’ necks curving under them, beds even of the softest swansdown are not by themselves enough. People sitting in them, people lying in them improve them amazingly.” Orlando the “soundtrack” addresses us as if bemused by such headiness, with a deadpan meekness that masks secret correspondences – as Woolf did with a novel that was largely composed as a lover´s biography of bohemian aristocrat Vita Sackville-West.

Though the novel was written in great haste, Orlando the album is genteel, ambient parlor music, opening on a minor key, with guest Davide Lo Iacono trying to urge a faint smile out of the piano and a glockenspiel tickling the crystal clear air. Clear air that becomes infested with vinyl run-off crackle as MonoLogue sits down at the keyboard to perform a piece that evolves from proper Victorian decorum to the youthful energy of a new way of seeing and hearing. The duo´s pieces mesh seamlessly and interpose cleverly; the painstakingly balanced building blocks of MonoLogue´s piano on “Thirst for Knowledge (Flesh)” interlocking perfectly with the billowing curtain of “Ecce Homo” by con_cetta. “Procrastination of a Construction” opens with a music box tinkling out the last notes of “You Light Up My Life” before embarking on a lengthy magic carpet ride through curved air. Her colleague replies with “Woe and Lamentation”, equally light but grasping at fragments like the last looping wisps of fleeing memories. Like the novel, the album is lush in texture, whole cloth of abstracted emotions and associations in whose folds to get lost.

Time Released Sound comes by its name honestly – the availability of each new release is announced with the striking of a specific hour of the clock on a specific day – its latest, for example, “Sunday morning, May 11th, at 9AM, California time”. Each release is issued as a limited, fanciful art edition, usually accompanied by a run of handsome digipaks for us regular working stiffs.

Stephen Fruitman