AMN Reviews: YAK – Bardo (2018; Bandcamp)

Just when you think you’ve heard everything that the loosely-knit genre of drone music can offer, a new release comes out that is fresh and unconventional. It is as if the universe is saying, “Not today, friend, not today…” The most recent of such pleasant surprises is a trio of musicians from Detroit who describe themselves as “improvised electroacoustic neo-classical drone.” Despite being a mouthful, the phrase fits the music of YAK quite well.

Consisting of Yuri Popowycz on violin, bass viola, and field recordings, Zac Brunell on cymbals and Moog, and Jonah Raduns-Silverstein on electronics, YAK’s Bardo is 40 minutes of densely-packed atmospherics, rich soundscapes, and dark cinematic explorations. Ostensibly based on the Tibetan notion of purgatory, the use of acoustic instrumentation lends a grittiness that keeps the ethereal elements grounded. Popowycz provides discordant sawing and long-held notes, as well as minimalist melodies. Brunell’s cymbal work creates an otherworldly wall of metallic noise that blends well with Raduns-Silverstein’s more traditional droning. Standout tracks are the overpowering tone clusters of Cause of Death, To Reflect, which adds synthetic percussive experimentation, and the Escheresque falling melodies of The Arbiter.

Two-thirds of YAK is classically trained, and from a virtuosity point of view, it shows. But Bardo does not sound like any form of music coming from the conservatory. Instead, this trio uses their skills to explore the gray areas between genres in a novel and jarring fashion. Highly recommended.


The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Han Bennink im Club W71 in Weikersheim

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Thurston Moore / Adam Gołębiewski – Disarm (Endless Happiness, 2017) ***½

Han Bennink, Steve Noble, Alexander Hawkins – 11.8.17 (Otoroku, 2018) *****

Finn Loxbo – Eter (Gikt, 2018) ***½

Finn Loxbo / Erik Blennow Calälv – Snow Country (Creative Sources, 2017) ****

Anton Hunter – Article XI (Efpi Records, 2018) ****

The New Old Luten Trio – Radau! (Euphorium Records, 2017) ****

The New Old Luten Quintet – Rabatz! (Euphorium Records, 2017) ****½

The New Old Luten Septet – Remmidemmi! (Euphorium Records, 2017) ****½

Andrew Lisle & Alex Ward – Doors (Copepod Records, 2018) ****½

John Edwards, Mark Sanders, John Wall – FGBH (Entr’Acte, 2017) ****

Seaprog 2018 Festival Announced

English: Experimental rock band Sleepytime Gor...

Source: Seaprog.

Seaprog’s fifth edition is scheduled to take place June 1-3 in Seattle. Lineup includes:

Cheer-Accident (Chicago) has been one of the most prominent American bands in avant rock for more than a decade, with roots in such pioneers as Henry Cow but a disarming sense of melody and a modern anything-goes attitude.

Carrying on the legacy of the mighty Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Free Salamander Exhibit (Oakland) is a giant among genre-bending bands, straddling avant-metal, free jazz, modern classical, and more in their unique performances.

Bubblemath (Minneapolis) stand firmly among the best American progressive bands, bringing together tightly-arranged complexity and ambitious reach with a winking sense of humor.

Inner Ear Brigade’s (Oakland) unique music stretches boundaries and sweeps genres, fitting somewhere between jazz, experimental new music, and progressive rock.

Since their 2014 Seaprog appearance, The Mercury Tree (Portland) have been honing their style of adventurous rock music and bringing in microtonal sounds to create something truly unique, so we’re happy to give them an encore appearance on our stage.

Faun Fables is based in the Bay Area, but they occupy a realm far from the mundane world we live in; the duo presents a modern version of acid folk infused with a deep artistic sensibility that’s won them fans around the world. Seattle’s own Clearly Beloved is a band with a vision involving violins, unpredictable songs, and baking bread.

We’re excited to be presenting our first Vancouver band, Marching Mind, to represent that city’s rich cultural scene with a sound that combines classic prog and edgy ’90s rock.

Moraine played the very first Seaprog in 2013, but a lot has changed since then, with new personnel and new material, so they’re due a return engagement.

Other Northwest area artists we’ve enlisted include the Seattle Guitar Circle, Spontaneous Rex, Cantrip, Ocelot Omelet, and Himiko Cloud (Wenatchee).

Coming Soon on RareNoiseRecords 

David Torn

Source: RareNoiseRecords.

Sonar with DAVID TORN – Vortex

Stephan Thelen – Guitar
Bernhard Wagner – Guitar
Christian Kuntner – Electric Bass
Manuel Pasquinelli – Drums
David Torn – Electric Guitar, Live-Looping & Manipulation

The band, comprised of guitarists Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner, bassist Christian Kuntner and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli have long been celebrated for combining the visceral power and dynamics of art rock with a minimalist aesthetic. Their previous album, 2015’s Black Light, attracted significant media and musician attention. Legendary avant-guitarist Henry Kaiser took a particular interest in the group and was determined to pair them up with Torn for their next album. “Henry wrote me and said ‘There’s this Swiss band Sonar that uses tritone tunings in a really interesting way. They’re pretty minimalist. I think you should produce it,'” said Torn. “I dug into Black Light and enjoyed the music right away. The band has a boldness within its sparseness. I started having ideas quickly. I felt some of the rock elements could be more rocking and that things could be rougher sounding. I wanted to add another layer to it. And off we went.”

Joshua Trinidad – In November

Joshua Trinidad – Trumpet
Jacob Young – Guitars
Ståle Liavik Solberg – Drums, Percussion

Denver-based trumpeter-composer Joshua Trinidad makes a strikingly original statement on his RareNoiseRecords debut, In November. Recorded in Giske, Norway, this highly evocative trio outing features the adventurous Norwegian guitarist-composer and ECM recording artist Jacob Young and drummer Stale Liavik Solberg, a central figure on Oslo’s improvising music scene. Brimming with deep and winding lyricism, Trinidad’s elegiac seventh album as a leader is a compelling mix of bold long tones on trumpet, atmospheric guitaristry, fluid melodic invention and daring group improv, all delivered with rare authority by the three intrepid improvisers. From the minor key rubato opener “Beside” to the melancholy soundscape “Bell (Hymn)” to a darkly entrancing “The Attic” and the stirring title track, Trinidad and his empathetic crew of deep listeners show respect toward space and silence on these spellbinding noirish numbers.

Firehouse 12 Spring Jazz Series

English: Mary Halvorson, Jazz guitarist; Pictu...

Source: New Haven’s Firehouse 12.

Marty Ehrlich‘s Philosophy of a Groove
Friday, March 16, 2018
Saxophonist Marty Ehrlich’s new quartet Philosophy of a Groove performs featuring James Weidman on piano, Jerome Harris on acoustic bass guitar, and Ben Perowsky on drums.

Allen Lowe and the Fake Music Ensemble
Friday, March 23, 2018
Saxophonist and composer Allen Lowe will perform his suite entitled Black, Brown, and Beige, Yellow, Trans, and Queer: My Country ‘Tis of This which is a response to the current political situation in the USA and the question of what it means to be American.

Mary Halvorson‘s Code Girl
Friday, March 30, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl featuring Amirtha Kidambi, Adam O’Farrill, Michael Formanek, and Tomas Fujiwara perform in celebration of the release of their eponymous album on Firehouse 12 Records.

Joseph Daley Tuba Trio with Special Guests
Friday, April 13, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Joseph Daley’s Tuba Trio with percussionist Warren Smith and multi-reedist Scott Robinson performs. Special guests include reedist Bill Cole, kora player and vocalist Althea SullyCole, and trombonist Craig Harris.

Susie Ibarra: DreamTime Ensemble
Friday, April 20, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra presents her DreamTime Ensemble featuring cellist Yves Dharamraj, violinist Jennifer Choi, multi-instrumentalist Jake Landau, vocalist Claudia Acuna, and electronics artist Yuka C. Honda.

Manuel Valera Trio
Friday, April 27, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Pianist Manuel Valera performs with his trio featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer EJ Strickland.

Josh Lawrence and Color Theory
Friday, May 4, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Trumpeter and composer Josh Lawrence performs with his group Color Theory featuring saxophonist Caleb Curtis, drummer Anwar Marshall, bassist Luques Curtis, pianist Orrin Evans, keyboardist Adam Faulk, and trombonist Brent White.

Jen Shyu‘s Nine Doors
Friday, May 11, 2018
8:30 PM 10:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Jen Shyu presents a solo work for voice, Taiwanese moon lute, Korean percussion, piano, and dance.

Mario Pavone Dialect Trio
Friday, May 18, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Legendary bassist Mario Pavone performs with his Dialect Trio featuring pianist Matt Mitchell and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey.

Jamie Baum Septet +
Friday, May 25, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Guggenheim Fellow and flutist Jamie Baum performs with her Septet + featuring trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, saxophonist Sam Sadigursky, French hornist Chris Komer, guitarist Brad Shepik, pianist John Escreet, bassist Zack Lober, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield.

Jason Kao Hwang/Sing House
Friday, June 1, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Jason Kao Hwang’s Sing House performs featuring percussionist Andrew Drury, bassisst Ken Filiano, pianist Chris Forbes, and trombonist Steve Swell.

Ben Goldberg Quintet
Friday, June 8, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Clarinetist Ben Goldberg’s new quintet performs which features guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara from Goldberg’s other group The Out Louds and adds Stephan Crump on bass and Ellery Eskelin on saxophone.

Samuel Blaser Trio
Friday, June 15, 2018
8:30 PM 11:00 PM
Firehouse 12 (map)
Trombonist Samuel Blaser’s Trio performs featuring guitarist Marc Ducret and drummer Peter Bruun.

Rise of the Machines at Convergence London, March 18

English: Barry Guy, Jazz bassist; Picture take...

Source: Convergence London.

Concerto for Drum Machine & Orchestra (2017) – *world premiere*
One movement composed by each of: Beni Giles, Laurence Osborn, Josephine Stephenson, Jo Thomas, Max de Wardener

Nick Ryan & John Matthias: Cortical Songs (2008)
A work for string ensemble and solo violin in which the orchestra is partially controlled by the neural patterns of a tiny computer brain. The resultant work takes the orchestra into an ethereal sound world of lush strings juxtaposed with the skittering crackles of neural activity.

Barry Guy: Mr Babbage is Coming to Dinner! (2015)
This piece was inspired by Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No2 and was commissioned by the NMC. The graphic score hand-drawn and partially coloured by Barry Guy is a work of art in itself. It calls on spontaneity and improvisation from the orchestra.

Magnus Lindberg: Engine (1996)
The title of this piece is inspired by the computing language associated with using the Patchwork1 programme. “Engine” is a sort of generator of musical material, which operates according to the rules pre-established by the composer. The texture is composed by the machine, on which the composer imposes dozens of constraints2.