AMN Reviews: Ex Eye – Ex Eye (2017; Relapse Records)

Ex Eye is a supergroup of sorts, with Colin Stetson on sax, Greg Fox on drums, Shahzad Ismaily on keys, and Toby Summerfield on guitars. Stetson is well-known in indie-rock circles for stints with The National, GYBE, Arcade Fire, and many others. More recently, he has been exercising his experimental muscles with his solo efforts, including a reimagining of Górecki’s 3rd symphony. Summerfield’s works also stand with one foot in the experimental camp, collaborating with many improvisers from the Chicago scene. Ismaily is recognized for his contributions to Secret Chiefs 3 and Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, while Fox plays with avant-metal band Liturgy and Zs.

If one were to quickly sum up this self-titled debut, “atmospheric post-metal with sax” would be an appropriate label. Summerfield lays down layers of riffs, picked notes, and hammer-on / pull-offs. Stetson moves in and around these with shifting melodies and drones, including the occasional wail. Ismaily and Fox focus mostly on rhythm roles, filling out the sound. From time to time, Stetson and Fox break out into a combination of free jazz and speed metal, but do so without deviating far from the dense structure of the album. Keyboards, sax, and guitar frequently melt with one another into a shifting wall of an orchestral nature, where the overall dynamics are much slower than those of the individual instruments. The result is imposing, but never overbearing.

Fans of groups like Pelican and Russian Circles will find a lot to like here, especially if your preference runs left of center. An unusual and highly recommended release.

The World’s Most Unusual Music Instruments

Source: cmuse.org. Just stumbled across this old-ish list. And yes, the Chapman Stick and Theremin are included.

Most aspiring musicians pick up traditional instruments such as the piano, violin or guitar. But others consider those instruments as “too mainstream”. Here is a list with some of the most unusual music instruments ever created, including some you probably never heard of before.

San Francisco Scene: July 7-13, 2017

Top of the Transamerica building, downtown San...

From the Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, July 7

Fri 7/07 6:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
MicroFest North: Opening Reception, Dennis Aman, Parsing the Octave
At this second opening reception of MicroFest North, experience the work of Dennis Aman and his furthering the work of Ivor Darreg in small equal temperaments. Interview with Bart Hopkin, Dennis Aman and The Living Earth Show and demonstration of the instruments at 7pm.

Fri 7/07 8:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
Sarah Cahill
Sarah Cahill, piano
Luciano Chessa Green Sea West Coast Premiere
plus World Premieres by Kyle Hovatter and Ricky Crews

Saturday, July 8

Sat 7/08 2:00 PM Kala Art Institute [2990 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, California 94702]
Piano Concert by Motoko Honda & Poetry Reading by Lyn Hejinian

Sat 7/08 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor Street San Francisco, CA]
Out by Five (Jon Raskin, Garth Powell and George Cremaschi) is reuniting to celebrate their long friendships and musical associations with guitarist Bill Horvitz, Out by Five founder who passed away earlier this year. They will be joined by guests Tim Perkis and Greg Goodman, among other close friends of Bill, including Moe Staiano playing an opening solo and Steve Adams/Scott Walton duo

Sat 7/08 7:30 PM The Red Poppy Art House [2698 Folsom St @23rd St SF]
Hafez Modirzadeh/Mark Dresser/Diane Moser/Vijay Anderson: Creative Music Quartet
The Red Poppy is proud to present an evening of works by four masterful composer/improvisers, each of whom has developed original concepts towards creative music, informed through a lifetime of exploration and reaching beyond an array of musical traditions.

Sat 7/08 8:00 PM Joe Goode Annex [401 Alabama SF]
SAFEHouse Arts Summer Performance Festival: Linda Bouchard: Identity Theft

Sunday, July 9

Sun 7/09 7:00 PM Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [2155 Center St. Berkeley]
Full: Tones
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens) and Gabie Strong present their sonic experiments in BAMPFA’s reverberant setting.

Sun 7/09 7:30 PM SIMM Series @ The Musicians Union Hall [116 9th St @ Mission SF]
7:30pm M-KAT
Kersti Abrams – alto sax, flute, mqrunah/Thomas Harrison Junior – basses/Andrew Joron – theremin/Mark Pino – drums, electronics
8:30pm Noertker’s Moxie
Annelise Zamula – tenor sax, flute; Beth Schenck – alto sax; Bill Noertker – contrabass; Jason Levis – drums

Sun 7/09 7:30 PM Great American Music Hall [859 O’Farrell St SF]
Qawwali is sung with a powerful and soaring melodious chorus and accompanied by entrancing energetic rhythms of tabla. US-based Sufi ensemble Fanna-Fi-Allah carry this tradition with great passion and talent – igniting hearts all over the world.

Monday, July 10

Mon 7/10 10:00 AM CCRMA [660 Lomita Dr. Stanford]
The Electronic Arts Ensemble is a week-long summer workshop designed for musicians, visual artists, programmers, writers, dancers, actors, or artists of any discipline to collaboratively develop improvisatory performances using custom digital toolkits. Topics covered include performance practice with a focus on improvisation, music and video performance software, hardware controllers and sensors, networked performances, and more. A public performance will be staged on the final day of the workshop.

Mon 7/10 7:30 PM Canessa Gallery [708 Montgomery St SF]
July 10th at Canessa Gallery
The Say The Wind Made Them Crazy
Zachary James Watkins
A Magic Whistle

Mon 7/10 9:30 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society: Jaroba Trio + Kokuo (McCowen/Djll/Heule/Nishi Smith)

Tuesday, July 11

Tue 7/11 9:00 PM Uptown Nightclub [1928 Telegraph Ave Oakland]
Active Music Series presents
– Voicehandler (Jacob Felix Heule + Danishta Rivero)
– Leila Bordreuil + Zachary Watkins
– from Oslo, the guitarist of Sult

Wednesday, July 12

Wed 7/12 9:00 PM Ivy Room [860 San Pablo Ave Albany]
New Zombies, the large ensemble playing Afrobeat arrangements of avant-garde compositions by Dan Plonsey, helps to revive the Ivy Room Experimental/Improv Hootenanny & Social Club. One long set starting at 9:30pm followed by a set by local favorites Vapeulons.

Thursday, July 13

Thu 7/13 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm: Konoko Nishi/Corey Fogel Duo
9pm: Nighttime (dreamy dark folk from Brooklyn – guitar/violin/voice/loops)

Thu 7/13 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Departure Duo: sop + bass + ACCESSORIES
Departure Duo presents an eclectic program of soprano and double bass music with accessories! With pieces featuring toy piano, jingle bells, musical saw, iPhone, and more, this concert showcases the recent trend of accessorizing the soprano and double bass combo.

New blood revitalizes Woodstock’s Creative Music Studio

Source: Hudson Valley One.

It hardly seems possible but Woodstock’s own Creative Music Studio, that ethereal prodigy of a golden era, has been sent to the gym and returned rippling with muscle. Like the town’s original experiment in freedom (known since 1905 simply as “The Maverick”) CMS remains, first and foremost, a forever tolerant state of mind. So how do “forever tolerant” and “rippling with muscle” coexist? This is how: with a kick-ass new board, a supercharged trio of artistic directors, and the original god-parents of World Music, Karl Berger & Ingrid Sertso, imperturbably at its heart.

Jazz in NYC This Week 

English: American jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman

Source: The New York Times.

WOLF EYES AND JACKIE LYNN at Pioneer Works (July 7, 8 p.m.). Fans of roiling, all-consuming noise will find few better places to expand their minds and challenge their eardrums than a concert by the Detroit-based industrial act Wolf Eyes. The experience will be particularly immersive at Pioneer Works, a nonprofit arts center in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where Wolf Eyes is playing as part of a sprawling installation by the artists Willie Stewart and Brent Stewart. The singer Haley Fohr, performing as Jackie Lynn, her eerie alter ego, will open.
pioneerworks.org

ORNETTE COLEMAN: TOMORROW IS THE QUESTION at Lincoln Center Festival (July 11-17). The alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman is remembered as a pioneer of free jazz. But as with many game-changing artists, what’s inimitable — the shuddering, bluesy warmth of his alto saxophone; the openhearted melodicism of his compositions — is as important to his legacy as his formal reinventions. This weeklong celebration includes a performance on Tuesday of Coleman’s score to the film “Naked Lunch” with appearances from the saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Henry Threadgill, and a concert next Friday featuring members of Prime Time, Coleman’s avant-funk band from the 1970s and ’80s.
212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org/lc-festival

VIJAY IYER AND TEJU COLE at National Sawdust (July 8, 7 p.m.). The pianist Vijay Iyer and the writer Teju Cole are both naturalists of a serious, if experimental, order. Their work suggests that it’s enough to look hard for truth — personal and universal — and invest in the details; do that, and beauty will take care of itself. They first worked together in 2013 on “Open City,” a performance that was full of writing, rap and improvised music, and drew on text from Mr. Cole’s novel of the same name. Here they present “Blind Spot,” pairing excerpts from Mr. Cole’s new book on photography with music composed by Mr. Iyer, who will perform with the bassist Linda Oh and the mallet percussionist Patricia Brennan.
646-779-8455, nationalsawdust.org

WILLIAM PARKER’S IN ORDER TO SURVIVE at ShapeShifter Lab (July 13-14, 7:30 and 9 p.m.). The bassist William Parker has been making momentous music for about four decades now; it may never have felt as of-the-moment as it does now. He has a new double album out, “Meditation/Resurrection,” full of compositions with titles like “Criminals in the White House” and “Things Falling Apart.” The record’s second disc features five stern, nebulous pieces played by In Order to Survive, a quartet featuring the remarkable pianist Cooper-Moore (the lifetime achievement honoree at this year’s Vision Festival, which Mr. Parker helps run). The band, which also includes Rob Brown on alto saxophone and Hamid Drake on drums, will celebrate the album’s release with a two-night run.
646-820-9452, shapeshifterlab.com

Exclaim! Music Reviews

English: Arve Henriksen, moers festival 2010

Source: Exclaim! .

Tony Conrad
Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain

Mia Zabelka & Asférico
The Broken Glass

Civvie
Inheritance

Ekin Fil
Ghosts Inside

EX EYE
EX EYE

Bérangère Maximin
Frozen Refrains

Microtub
Bite of the Orange

Chicago/London Underground
A Night Walking Through Mirrors

Zeitkratzer
Performs Songs From the Albums “Kraftwerk” and “Kraftwerk 2”

Arve Henriksen
Towards Language

Sun Ra
The Definitive 45s Collection Vol. 2: 1962-1991

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
On the Echoing Green

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa
Are Euphoria