The beauty of Terry Riley‘s In C is that it can be played by virtually any number of musicians, on any instruments, for various amounts of time. It consists of 53 short fragments or “cells” that each player moves through more or less at his or her own pace. As a consequence of its indeterminate structure, each recording or performance of In C is unique, and perhaps even radically different from other readings. While often categorized under the minimalist rubric, when played with a large enough ensemble the piece has an additive characteristic that gives it a large and complex sound.
Brooklyn Raga Massive is an 18-piece Indian classical music group that recorded their own live version of In C early this year in New York. In addition to generally following Riley’s loose formula, the group also incorporates ragas and improvisation. Instrumentation includes sitar, sarod, bansuri, vocals, tabla, hammered dulcimer, oud, violin, cello, upright bass, dragon mouth trumpet, guitar, cajon, riq and frame drums.
The rhythm is based around the tabla, with sitar, voice, violin, and woodwinds taking prominent roles. As expected, Brooklyn Raga Massive layers the cells on top of one another, shifting them in time. Often, several instruments are playing these themes, while other provide background drones and accentuations. Improvisions are short and focused to fit within the In C structure. The result is a dynamic piece that has a central familiarity but also colors outside of the lines.
This is a recording that I’ve had for some time now. It has slowly grown on me, as is the tendency for many great albums. The attention to detail on this version of In C is exquisite, and there are plenty of aspects to peel back and explore. Highly recommended.
From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:
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.
Earshot: Gato Libre
Wed. Nov. 8, 8 PM; $16, $14, $8 in advance
Featuring pianist Satoko Fujii on accordion, this “tranquil, European-flavored” group (AllAboutJazz) from Japan performs with subtle, adventurous grace. The lineup includes Kappa Maki (trumpet) and Neko Jaras (trombone). Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival.
Earshot: J. Hamann & L. Goldston
Thu. Nov. 9, 8 PM; $16, $14, $8 in advance
Two improvising cellists, plus special guests. Lori Goldston is a longtime force in Seattle improvised music. Judith Hamann (Melbourne via San Diego) transcends genres. Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival in support of the Seattle Improvised Music Festival.
Amy Denio: Truth Is Up for Grabs
Sat. Nov. 11, 8 PM; $5 – $25 donation at door
Composer Amy Denio presents a song cycle of eight new compositions for chamber ensemble inspired by current events, the economy of war and poetry by Pablo Neruda. Denio’s music is harmonically rich and engagingly rhythmic. Conducted by Mike Jauregui, the orchestra contains a wind quintet, a brass quintet, a string octet, electric guitar and percussion.
WED. 11/15 – Passenger Pigeon + Mark Schlipper + Too Tired to Say Anything
THU. 11/16 – Minneapolis pianist Matthew McCright plays music of Reinaldo Moya, Amy Williams, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Andrea Mazzariello
FRI. 11/17 – James Falzone + Patrick Neill Gundran + Kate Olson solos + trio
SAT. 11/18 – Kin of the Moon (Heather Bentley, Kaley Lane Eaton, Leanna Keith)
On November 16, Marian McLaughlin and Heterodyne will perform at Dew Drop Inn DC, which is located at 2801 8th St NE. The performance starts at 8:00, and donations for the traveling musicians will be appreciated. Heterodyne’s performance will be complemented by readings by renowned poet Dan Gutstein.
Marian McLaughlin (http://www.marianmclaughlin.com/) is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist pushing the boundaries of folkmusic. Weaving together imaginative lyrics, intricate classical guitar work, and rhapsodic delivery, she creates songs of exquisite detail. While she participated in Strathmore’s Artist in Residence program, she connected with a network of talented local musicians to in the making of her second album, Spirit House.
Heterodyne (https://the-heterodyne-project.tumblr.com/) is an improvisational collaboration between Ted Zook and Maria Shesiuk, sometimes joined by other musical improvisers including Bob Boilen, Patrick Whitehead, Doug Kallmeyer, Jerry Busher, and Sarah Hughes.
Maria Shesiuk “is an experimental improviser from Baltimore. She uses vintage Casio keyboards manipulated through various effects for live experimental music improvisations. Recently she also started composing electronic music using Moog synthesizers, manipulated vocals, and field recordings.”
Ted Zook is “primarily a nylon-string guitarist; however, in live performances, he more commonly plays an NS Design Omni Bass, set up as a basscello, through digital signal processors.” He is a Steinberger Artist and has frequently performed at the Sonic Circuits Festival in DC.
Via The Free Jazz Collective.
Matt Mitchell – A Pouting Grimace (Pi Recordings, 2017) ****½
Jeb Bishop and Dan Ruccia – Scratch Slice Jag (Out & Gone Music, 2017) ****
Mary Halvorson – Paimon: The Book of Angels Volume 32 (Tzadic, 2017) ****
DEK Trio – Construct 3: Divadlo (Audiographic Records, 2017) ****½
DEK Trio – Construct 2 – Artacts (Audiographic Records, 2017) ****½
DEK Trio – Construct 1: Stone (Catalytic Sound, 2017) ****½
Rob Mazurek – Rome (Clean Feed, 2017) & Chimeric Stoned Horn (Astral Spirits, 2017) ****½
Barry Guy / Maya Homburger / Zlatko Kaučič – Without Borders… (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2017) *****
Michael Gregory Jackson – Spirit Signal Strata (Golden, 2017) ****