AMN Capsule Reviews: Akpatok / Logan Hone’s Similar Fashion / Troum

Akpatok – Two Winters, Two Springs (2015; Bandcamp)

Two Winters, Two Springs is a minimalist debut from the Polish Akpatok Ensemble. This small group features ululating drones and rhythms from hurdy-gurdy, shepherd bells, and gongs. The album clocks in an just under one hour across six tracks. The aesthetic exhibited here is to simplify the compositional process by limiting the group’s musical vocabulary to that of the three aforementioned instruments. The hurdy-gurdy takes the fore on some tracks, laying down a subtle, multiphonic texture. The percussion plays a lead role on certain other tracks, evoking a primeval atmosphere. Missing is a combination of the two types of instruments, which would have been interesting. But, Akpatok’s “less is more” approach is certainly appealing, especially to those who prefer their music meditative, or in the Deep Listening vein.

Logan Hone’s Similar Fashion (2015; pfMENTUM)

Reedsman Logan Hone is joined on this release by Lauren Baba on viola, Gregory Uhlmann on guitar, and Jesse Quebbeman-Turley handling the drums. While California-based, the quartet is heavily influenced by the New York creative jazz scene, particularly, Tim Berne and John Zorn. Recorded in early 2015, this self-titled album has a “live in the studio feel” with a charming lack of refinement. Instead, you hear the group as they were meant to be heard – in the raw. Structurally, they move seamlessly between composition and free improv, contrasting one approach to the other. Logan and friends roll between tracks of prickly complexity, and lighter-hearted, playful meanderings. Similar Fashion exhibits commendable instrumental interplay, especially between the clarinet and guitar.

Troum – Acouasme (2015; Cold Spring Records)

Germany’s duo known as Troum (“dream”) is back with a new slice of dark ambiance spanning six long tracks. If anything, Acouasme harkens to a high-point in the genre’s existence, the early 2000s. But the music here is not retro in any sense. Instead, Troum dovetails ambient with industrial to form scraping soundscapes of abandoned cities and haunted caverns. This is not brutal music – instead it is a subtly evolving exploration of dreams, nightmares, and psychosis. Synths wash over scrobbling rhythms – artificial winds blowing across shifting sands. A very strong release.

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Milton Babbitt at Focus! Festival Reviewed

Source: The New York Times.

Street crime, of all things, might have been what caused the brainy composer Milton Babbitt to abandon his Concerti for Violin, Orchestra and Synthesized Sound in 1976. That’s what Joel Sachs, the founding director of the New Juilliard Ensemble, suggested to the audience that nearly filled the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at the school on Friday for the opening concert of the 32nd Focus! festival, a free weeklong centennial tribute to Babbitt.

New Releases From Tzadik

English: John Zorn Français : John Zorn

Source: Tzadik.

Glenn Spearman : Blues for Falasha

The question of identity has historically played a large role in the survival of the Jewish people and had special significance to free jazz tenor titan Glenn Spearman, as the son of an African-American father and a Jewish mother. Before his death of cancer in October 1998, Spearman became involved in a deep exploration of his Jewish roots, a journey that expresses itself musically in Blues For Falasha, his last and most adventurous recorded composition. This powerful meeting of Jewish and African-American traditions features Spearman’s landmark group “The Double Trio” in a long, visionary work composed especially for the Tzadik Jewish series. We all mourn the loss of this talented and dedicated musician. His work helps keep him alive to us for all time.

John Zorn : Madrigals

Zorn’s compositions for acappella voice are some of his most sensual and sublime creations. This CD presents his two books of “Madrigals” scored for six female voices. Beautifully performed by his long time ensemble the “Sapphites” the music is even more varied and challenging than his previous masterpieces “The Holy Visions” and “Shir Hashirim,” touching upon minimalism, tonal and atonal counterpoint, textural experiments and more. Inspired by the visionary poetry of 19th century British Romantic Percy Blysse Shelley, a charming lyricism and subtle spirituality rides through the music from first note to last.

John Zorn : The Hermetic Organ vol. 4 — St. Bart’s

Drawing upon traditions as varied as Messiaen, Xenakis, Ligeti, Bach, Tournemire, Ives, Korla Pandit and The Phantom of the Opera, Zorn’s organ improvisations are transcendent, inspiring, ecstatic experiences, offering a direct line to the workings of his rich compositional imagination. Recorded at midnight on the eve of Halloween on the largest organ in New York City, Zorn approaches this performance as ritual, creating a mysterious mood of contrasts, colors, bells, drones, counterpoint and simultaneity. This fourth volume documenting Zorn’s legendary organ recitals presents organ improvisation at its most surprising, extreme and sublime.

Jose Maceda : Gongs and Bamboos ~~~ A Tzadik Classic!

The first release outside Japan of music by one of the the most original and under-appreciated composers in contemporary music. Born 1900 in the Phillipines, Maceda has been creating remarkable compositions, often for large ensembles of the same instrument for fifty years. This CD brings together three very different pieces from his enormous catalog. The hypnotic Suling-Suling is scored for an ensemble of forty bamboo flutes, Colors Without Rhythm is one of his most dynamic orchestral compositions—performed brilliantly by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the composer. Pagsamba is one of the strangest masses ever written for gongs, voices and bamboos, recorded live in an open air temple in the Phillipines. An incredibly exciting release of rarely heard music by a rarely heard from composer.

Seattle Scene: January 28 – February 8, 2016

Dennis Rea (photo: Anne Joiner)

Source: Wayward Music Series.

Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center
4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)

Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Reinhardt + Panabrite + Monadh
Thu. Jan. 28; 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Further Records launches a new series of ambient/experimental electronic shows at the Chapel. Jonas Reinhardt is inspired in by the throbbing urbanity of coastal cities, European art-rock experimentation, and improvised electronic minimalism. Panabrite combines spatially motivated ambient with aspects of cosmic synth, minimalism and improvisation. Monadh confounds ambient field recordings with experimentalist textural processing.

Nineteen Crimes + Red Fable
Sat. Jan. 30; 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Nineteen Crimes is Jen Gilleran’s latest manifestation of all the images and sounds that swirl in her head and in her garage. This will be the second installment of her trilogy at the Chapel. Joined by one of her favorite drummers, Chris Icasiano, the duo will accompany film and will be followed by the band Red Fable with Rich Hinklin (bass/guitar), Dennis Rea (guitarr), and Don Berman (drums).

THU. 2/4 – Seattle Improvised Music Festival

FRI. 2/5 – Seattle Improvised Music Festival

SAT. 2/6 – Seattle Improvised Music Festival