AMN Reviews: Merzbow / Keiji Haino / Balazs Pandi – An Untroublesome Defencelessness (2016; RareNoiseRecords)

710p-tjJEAL._SY450_There is something about the combination of noise-maven Merzbow and drummer extraordinaire Pandi that can do no wrong.  They have teamed previously with Mats Gustafsson (2013’s Cuts) as well as the combination of Gustafsson and Thurston Moore (2015’s Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper). This latest effort includes Keiji Haino, whose dark guitar soundscapes have evoked nightmares for over 35 years.

Herein, Haino lays down a roiling mass of distorted guitar lines, while Merzbow provides the expected walls of sound and burbling electronics.  Pandi, as his approach on these sort of albums seems to be, plays percussion like a lead instrument – no grooves, no steady beats.

With all of the tracks between 5 and 14 minutes, the trio has plenty of room to improvise through this nearly hour-long set, and improvise they do.  An Untroublesome Defencelessness appears to be a composed on the spot, “live in the studio” recording from April of last year, though post-hoc addition of overdubs would not be surprising.

As a representative track, Why is the courtesy of the prey always confused with the courtesy of the hunters…Part III begins with guitar feedback and busy, but unobtrusive, drumming.  Over this rides a layer of electronics in counterpoint to Haino’s Bailey-influenced jangling.  As the guitar lines evolve into rapid, distorted riffing, Pandi makes heavier use of the cymbals, while Merzbow slowly drops down to background static.  Eventually, we are left with just guitar in the foreground bouncing between two notes.

This album is another minor classic (and an album-of-the-year candidate) from UK-based RareNoiseRecords, a label that is taking the “noise” genre to new places by blending it seamlessly with free improv. Bravo.

San Francisco Scene: July 1-8, 2016

From the Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, July 1

Fri 7/01 7:30 PM The Red Poppy Art House [2698 Folsom St @23rd St SF]
This is a rare Bay Area performance by New York-based multi-instrumentalist Avram Fefer and the rhythm team of Vijay Anderson and Dan Seamans. Avram’s explosive trio work with Chad Taylor and Eric Revis has been well documented over the years with critically acclaimed albums and international tours. Drawing from the musical worlds of Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, Ethiopiques, and Charles Mingus, he has forged a highly original sound within a modern jazz context.

Fri 7/01 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Phi Bui and Christopher Whitley: Unnoticed Moments
Phi Bui and Christopher Whitley present new works for electronics. Each will perform an individual set followed by a duo performance.

Saturday, July 2

Sat 7/02 12:00 PM Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture [Marina Blvd. and Buchanan Street, San Francisco, CA]
The entire event kicks-off with a free, opening night party for Aural Spacial Infinite Exhibition on July 1, 6-10 p.m.; complete with drinks and music from Sung Kim, Shanna Sordhal, and Dan Gottwald.

Sunday, July 3

Sun 7/03 8:00 PM CNMAT [1750 Arch Street Berkeley]
Lucie Vítková: Composer, improviser and performer (accordion, harmonica, voice and tap dance) from the Czech Republic.

Monday, July 4

Mon 7/04 8:00 PM Make-Out Room [3225 22nd St SF]
The Monday Make-Out
The cutting edge of Bay Area jazz and improvised music–
Set #1: Phillip Greenlief/Thomas Dimuzio (Bay Area free improvisation)
Set #2: Sound Underground (modern jazz from Miami)
(Alec Aldred – tpt, David Leon – as, Jonah Udall – gtr)
Set #3: Gold Age (avant jazz)
(Aram Shelton – as, bcl, Mark Clifford – vib, Safa Shokrai – b, Britt Ciampa – dms)

Tuesday, July 5

Tue 7/05 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Minsky Duo plays Violin, Piano, and Drums
Nate Bartley (violin) and Monica Chew (piano) present a wide-ranging program inspired by folktunes to ragtime, with a side of neoclassicism and new music from Aaron Andrew Hunt.

Tue 7/05 9:30 PM The Knockout [3223 Mission St San Francisco]
Murder Murder, Jooklo, Black Spirituals, Doug Katelus solo organ

Wednesday, July 6

Wed 7/06 8:00 PM Canessa Gallery [708 Montgomery St SF]
Set 1: Phillip Greenlief’s BARBEDWIRE, with Evelyn Davis & gabby fluke-mogul, @ 8pm. Set 2: meta-tap digital tango w Lucie Vítková, Joe Lasqo, Lisa Mezzacappa, & Bryan Day Wed 06 Jul @ Canessa Gallery, SF
BARBEDWIRE is a series of 37 new graphic scores, composed by Phillip Greenlief in Dec 2014 during a composing retreat in coastal Maine; performed tonight by:
— Phillip Greenlief (reeds) — Evelyn Davis (voice | electronics) — gabby fluke-mogul (violin).
Set 2, 9pm: Lucie Vítková and friends: meta-tap digital tango
An evening of balancing chairs and turning somersaults on the ethereal tightrope of free improv… whilst tap-dancing (at least in Lucie’s case). Part of a too-rare Bay Area tour of one of Europe’s most sparkling young composer/improvisers.
— Lucie Vítková (accordion | tap dance | voice | electronics) — Bryan Day (invented instruments) — Joe Lasqo (MSP/laptop | synth) — Lisa Mezzacappa (bass)

Thursday, July 7

Thu 7/07 6:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Larnie Fox: Cranks and Other Noisemakers
Join Larnie Fox to celebrate his new exhibit of invented instruments, “Cranks and Other Noisemakers,” on display in the Window Gallery through August 31. Talk and demonstration will begin at 7 PM.

Thu 7/07 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm Lucie Vítková – accordion
9pm Jooklo Duo vs Dancin’ Baby
a psychedelic processed baritone horn trio noise duo (with visuals by Kit Young)

Friday, July 8

Fri 7/08 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Dan Thorpe :: Homecoming (three years later)
Australian composer/performer Dan Thorpe presents a new work about loss and healing for prepared piano, electronics and field recordings. Supported by bay area dream-pop wizards GENUIS.

Fri 7/08 8:00 PM Santo Recording [2565 West, Oakland Ca]
Bill Orcutt & Jacob Felix Heule
Jooklo Duo

Fri 7/08 8:00 PM Royce Gallery [2901 Mariposa St SF]
Pamela Z Arts presents Z Program 60
Come celebrate Pamela Z’s birthday (and the 10th anniversary of the ROOM Series) with an evening featuring a collage piece called “60 Minutes” (apologies to Morley Safer) in which Pamela and some of her colleagues and collaborators perform 60 mini-movements tightly scored to a timeclock. Ms. Z will also present a few short works for voice, electronics to fill out the program.

Fri 7/08 9:00 PM Gray Area Art And Technology [2665 Mission St. SF]
sfSoundFestival: Xenakis, Cage, Tenney, Penderecki, Beyer, Vitkova, Bruckmann, Ingalls, sfSound

July at the Cornelia Street Cafe

Mark Helias at Cornelia street cafe Pnoto: Cla...

Source: Cornelia Street Cafe.

Friday, Jul 01 – 9:00PM & 10:30PM
Mary Halvorson, guitar; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor saxophone; Tom Rainey, drums

Sunday, Jul 03 – 6:00PM
Roald Hoffman, Dave Soldier, hosts
Jesse Veverka; Jeremy Veverka, filmmakers; Trio Amalgamate

Friday, Jul 08 – 9:00PM & 10:30PM
Marty Ehrlich, sax, clarinet, flute; James Weidman, piano; Jerome Harris, bass; Ben Perowsky, drums

Friday, Jul 22 – 9:00PM & 10:30PM
Stephan Crump, bass; Kris Davis, piano; Eric McPherson, drums

Saturday, Jul 23 – 9:00PM & 10:30PM
Stephan Crump, bass; Kris Davis, piano; Eric McPherson, drums

Sunday, Jul 31 – 6:00PM
Sarah Bernstein, violin; Jacob Sacks, piano; Stuart Popejoy, electric bass; Tomas Fujiwara, drums