AMN Reviews: The Spanish Donkey – Raoul (2015; Rare Noise Records)

SD_RAOUL_15001500_300DPI copyA Spanish donkey is a torture device, common throughout the American colonial period and the hundred or so years thereafter. But in experimental music circles, it signifies the trio of Joe Morris on electric guitar, Jamie Saft on minimoog and piano, and Mike Pride on drums. This, the group’s second recording, provides 70 minutes of rapid-paced, brutal aggression that puts power in the term “power trio.”

Morris’s guitar is distorted and discordant, taking the forefront for the self-titled first track. Over thirty minutes long, this piece is just plain rude and in your face. Morris uses a distinct style, that is unlike his more familiar, clean, jazz-based lines. Here, he plays outside to create tensions, without ever hitting a note that seems wrong. Additionally, he makes heavy use of an array of effects pedals, most notably wah-wah, delay, and echo. The second track, Behavioral Sink, features a heavier emphasis on Saft’s chording, providing ominous tones, with Morris grinding in the foreground, but in a less dominant role. Particularly, Saft sweeps the keys, providing background drones, bass elements, and counterpoints Morris with a cleaner sound. On the final track, Dragon Fly Jones, Morris returns to the forefront with shifting walls of distortion, while Saft offers rolling piano motifs,  Throughout, Pride’s drumming punctuates the mix, somewhere between progressive metal and New York jazz.

The Spanish Donkey by Vanessa SaftAbout this recording, Morris stated, “I’m trying to make what I think is unique music, and that’s not easy.” While one could try to classify his approach on Raoul as “Lou Reed meets free jazz” or some other such amalgam, too much is lost in the description. Always a powerhouse player, Morris in particular shows his mastery, covering wide swathes of new ground. Loaded with tension but without much release, Morris leads this trio through a torturous path, but one that is ultimately rewarding and not without its own special brand of beauty.

Morton Feldman’s Influence By Painters

From The Boston Globe:

Feldman (1926-1987), after all, was the most painterly of avant-garde composers. He had plenty of musical influences, including Cage and Varese. But as a denizen of the fabled Greenwich Village scene of the 1950s, he was also intoxicated by the new energy in painting he saw bursting forth all around him. He once described his own works as “time canvases,” adding: “I more or less prime the canvas with an overall hue of the music.”

DMG Newsletter March 20th, 2015

From DMG Newsletter March 20th, 2015:

John Carter/Bobby Bradford Super rare Reissue! 3 from ECM: Jack DeJohnette/Muhal Richard Abrams/Roscoe Mitchell/Henry Threadgill..! Vijay Iyer/Stephan Crump/Marcus Gilmore! Kenny Wheeler Final Quintet! Phil Gibbs & Fringe Music! Ben Goldberg/Carla Kinlstedht/Myra Melford/Nels Cline..! Kirk Knuffke/Mark Helias/Bill Goodwin + Daniel Carter! D Bayne Solo! More than a Dozen Discs from Innova: Prism Quartet! Clocked Out! Vocal Contructivists! Maya Beiser! Chris Campbell! Plus a Dozen Discs from BGP/Flying Dutchman/Mainstream!


The DMG Free In-Store Music Schedule Continues with:

Sunday, March 22nd – Special Early Set: At 2pm!!!
6pm: STEVE SWELL – Solo Trombone Set!

Just Added – Rare Tuesday Set, March 24th:
6pm: CARL LUDWIG HUBSCH – Solo Tuba!

Sunday, March 29th Double-Header:
6pm: ANDREW D’ANGELO – Solo Alto Sax!
7pm: MARCO CAPPELLI – Solo Guitar!

Sunday, April 5th – Happy Easter to All – No In-store!

Sunday, April 12th:
6pm: CECILE BROCHE & FRANCOIS GRILLOT – Violin & Contrabass!

Sunday, April 26th:
6pm: ANNA WEBBER & NATHANIEL MORGAN – Tenor Sax & Flute/Alto Sax!

Sunday April 26th Double-Header:
6pm: ROB PRICE – Solo Guitar & Video Projection!

Tectonics Festival Coming to the ISSUE Project Room

English: Maya Dunietz with Ophir Klemperer, Le...
Maya Dunietz

From New York’s ISSUE Project Room:

Tectonics Festival New York 2015

Iceland’s acclaimed Tectonics Festival returns for the second-annual New York edition: Tectonics Festival New York 2015, presented by ISSUE Project Room over three evenings, May 7, 8 & 9, 2015, at the First Unitarian Congregational Society, Brooklyn, and Abrons Art Center, NYC. Founded in 2012 by conductor Ilan Volkov, Tectonics provides a rare forum for the critical consideration of new developments in contemporary composition, with explorations of improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental performance practice from an international array of emerging and established composers.


First Unitarian Congregational Society:
116 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn 11201
$15 General / $12 Members & Students

Annea Lockwood: Immersion
Klaus Lang: the whitebearded man. the six frogs.
Performed by Yarn/Wire.

Morton Feldman: Principal Sound
Performed by James Rushford.

Klaus Lang: ABD
Performed by Klaus Lang.

Nate Young & Mario Diaz de Leon: Standard Deviance One
Newly commissioned for Tectonics Festival NY, by Nate Young, realized for ensemble by Mario Diaz de Leon. Performed by Chris McIntyre (trombone), James Rogers (bass trombone), James Rushford (viola), Maya Dunietz (piano), Yarn/Wire (percussion), Nate Young (electronics/voice), Mario Diaz de Leon (guitar).


Abrons Art Center: 466 Grand St, NYC 10002
$15 General / $12 Members & Students

John McGuire: A Cappella
Performed by Beth Griffith (soprano).

James Rushford & Klaus Lang
First-time duo performance. Commissioned for Tectonics Festival NY, co-commissioned by the Austrian Cultural Forum.

Julius Eastman: Piano 2 (Sonata in 3 movements)
Chiyoko Szlavnics: Constellations I-III
Barbara Monk Feldman: The I and Thou
Performed by Joseph Kubera (piano).

David Behrman: Long Throw
Performed by David Behrman (laptop), Maya Dunietz (flute), Joseph Kubera (piano), and James Rushford (viola).

David Behrman: Wavetrain
Performed by David Behrman, Maya Dunietz, Joseph Kubera.


Abrons Art Center: 466 Grand St, NYC 10002
$15 General / $12 Members & Students

William Dougherty: Three Formants
U.S. Premiere. Performed by TILT Brass: Jen Baker, Will Lang, Chris McIntyre, Matt Melore (trombones); James Rogers (bass trombone).

Fritz Welch solo performance

Maya Dunietz: Boom
U.S. Premiere. Performed by Maya Dunietz, (vocals, electronics, piano, video).

Nate Wooley: Seven Storey Mountain V
World Premiere. Performed by Nate Wooley (amplified trumpet & tape), Samara Lubelski and C. Spencer Yeh (electric violin), Ryan Sawyer and Ben Hall (drums), Ben Vida (electronics), Matt Moran and Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Colin Stetson (amplified bass sax), Dan Peck (amplified tuba), Josh Sinton (amplified contrabass clarinet), and TILT Brass Octet.