AMN Reviews: Evil Genius – Experiments on Human Subjects (2018; Orenda Records)

Here is a different take on the power trio: guitar, drums, and…wait for it…tuba. Evil Genius is a Portland / Los Angeles experimental jazz/rock group, and Experiments on Human Subjects is their second release.

The unusual instrumentation is just part of the story. Evil Genius also breaks the so-called rules in terms of compositional style. Guitarist Max Kutner and tubist Stefan Kac employ labyrinthine contrapuntal lines, deftly weaving in and around one another’s playing. Particularly, Kac uses the tuba’s wide dynamic range to provide a bassy, staccato contrast to Kutner’s distorted leads, but also to duel with Kutner on the high end. Kutner adeptly moves between approaches based on hard rock, post-rock, metal, jazz, and even a bit of blues, while drummer Michael Lockwood is the quintessential busy percussionist. Evil Genius doesn’t just vary their influences and styles – they seem to be blissfully unaware of any of the (largely artificial) lines drawn between genres.

The eleven tracks on Experiments on Human Subjects are best thought of as stand-alone short bursts of energy, with only two exceeding six minutes. Judging from the titles, such as Skateboarders Versus Security Guards: Double Agents in a Proxy War Between the Forces of Good and Evil and The Great Pilling of Pat Metheny’s Sweaters, there is more than a little tongue-in-cheek humor at play. Still, toward the second half of the album, Evil Genius tones down the freneticism a bit but not the virtuosity. Overall, the playing is so tight that the group will surprise you by subtlely slipping between heavily-composed and openly-improvised sections.

Comparisons can be made to the work of guitar / drums duo Ahleuchatistas, but…yeah…tuba. Highly recommended for fans of experimental rock bands that take their music, if not themselves, seriously.

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Chicago Scene: May 12-19, 2018

English: Art Institute of Chicago Maim Buildin...

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Saturday, May 12th 2018

1:00PM at Lampo Annex, 53 W Jackson, St 1656 (Free, RSVP)
Nate Wooley

7:00PM at the Rhythm Room, 1715 Maple Ave, Evanston IL, 847.491.9723
Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound Trio with Brian Seyler, Tyler Papierniak

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($35-$30)
Vijay Iyer Sextet with Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman, Mark Shim, Stephan Crump, Marcus Gilmore

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont ($10) (wheelchair-accessible)
Helen Money
Peter Maunu, Carol Genetti

10:00PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($35-$30)
Vijay Iyer Sextet with Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman, Mark Shim, Stephan Crump, Marcus Gilmore

Sunday, May 13th 2018

11:00AM at R Public House, 1508 W Jarvis, 872.208.7916
Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound, with Artie Black, Mike Harmon

7:00PM at Woodland Pattern, 720 E Locust, Milwaukee WI, 414.263.5001 ($10)
Joe McPhee, Daunik Lazro

Monday, May 14th 2018

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444 (wheelchair-accessible)
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Jim Baker, Ed Wilkerson Jr, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt

Wednesday, May 16th 2018

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Bob Galaxxu Khan
Sara Goodman / co founder of S H R I N E
Skyler Rowe, Anton Hatwich, Joe Suihkonen
In Secure Models

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont ($8) (wheelchair-accessible)
Joshua Abrams, Tatsuya Nakatani, Jim Baker

Thursday, May 17th 2018

6:00PM at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan (Free with museum admission)
Marc Ribot

Saturday, May 19th 2018
7:00PM at the Rhythm Room, 1715 Maple Ave, Evanston IL, 847.491.9723
Jimmy Bennington Colour and Sound Trio with Jim Baker, Davi Priest

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:

http://now-is.org/, http://www.ratchetmusic.com, http://www.mcachicago.org, http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenterschedule.html, http://www.skylarkchicago.com, http://www.hideoutchicago.com, http://www.elasticrevolution.com, http://www.myopicbookstore.com/music.html, http://www.lampo.org, http://dalniente.com, http://iceorg.org/events/category/chicago, http://www.emptybottle.com/

Jazzword Reviews 

Source: Jazzword.

Sophia Domancich Pentacle
En Hiver Comme Au Printemps

Veder
Evergreen

Spinifex
Amphibian Ardour

Bones
Haberdashery

Liquid Trio
Plays Bernoulli

Agustí Fernández, Artur Majewski, Rafał Mazur
Spontaneous Soundscapes

Suzanne Ciani Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Suzanne Ciani’s life has always been filled with music. Throughout the composer’s Quincy, Massachusetts upbringing, it was deeply cherished. Though her father, an orthopedic surgeon, at one time had dreams of becoming a musician, Ciani’s mother, a housewife wrangling five girls and one boy, was the driving force. She was the one who brought the Steinway piano and classical records into the home that made such a significant impact. Ciani played the Steinway for hours each night, getting lost in Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Music—especially classical music—was an immediate passion for Ciani, one that quickly became the focus of her life and education. After finishing high school, she went to Wellesley College to study classical music.

Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

Evan Parker, saxophonist, picture taken in Jaz...

Source: London’s Vortex Jazz Club.

SUN 13 MAY 2018
CHICAGO / LONDON UNDERGROUND
A Night Walking Through Mirrors, released on Cuneiform Records, documents the first meeting of these four artists, recorded live at London’s Café Oto in April 2016.

MON 14 MAY 2018
EARLY EVENING SPECIAL: MALABY, BONNET, DARRIFOURCQ (DOWNSTAIRS)
Guitarist Richard Bonnet and drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq – two exciting french improvisers – meet the great saxophonist American Tony Malaby.

SUN 20 MAY 2018
MOPOMOSO
Sylvia Hallett (violin, electronics) / Ian McGowan (trumpet) duo plus Kay Grant (voice) and other musicians to be confirmed plus John Russell (guitar) / Stale Liavik Solberg (drums)…

WED 23 MAY 2018
BLACKSALT -LUCIAN BAN & ABRAHAM BURTON DUO
“If Abraham Burton were to be drawn in a caricature, there would be flames coming out of his horn…” Approaching three decades as a prominent figure on the jazz scene, world-renowned saxophonist and educator Abraham Burton’s passionate sound can still ignite a room filled with patrons.

THU 24 MAY 2018

EVAN PARKER AND FRIENDS
a trio with John Edwards bass and Roger Turner drums.

Taran’s Free Jazz Hour Podcast 09/2018

Kidd Jordan playing saxophone at Luscher Schoo...

Source: Taran’s Free Jazz Hour.

Rick Countryman
Tributary: Rick Countryman, as/ Christian Bucher, Dr/ Simon Tan, B

Jya-NE: Rick Countryman, as/ Sabu Toyozumi, Dr/ Simon Tan, B/ Stella Ignacio, Vo/ Isla Antinero, Tbn

Slam
Three Way Conversations: Glen Hall (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Bass Flute), Bernie Koenig (Drums, Vibes), M.j. Idzerda (Electric Keyboard)

Setola Di Maiale
Bag of Screams: Paul Rogers, B/ Emil Gross, Dr, Perc

Valid Records
Masters of Improvisation: Kidd Jordan, Ts/ Alvin Fielder, Dr/ Joel Futterman, P/ Steve Swell, Tbn

Kevin Sun
Trio: Kevin Sun – Tenor Saxophone, C-melody Saxophone, Clarinet Walter Stinson – Bass Matt Honor – Drums

Why Play Jazz
Live at Bimhuis: Philipp Gropper’s Philm

Leo Records
Sensoria:heath Watts / M.j. Williams / Nancy Owens / Blue Armstrong

Z-country Paradise: Jelena Kuljic Voice Frank Gratkowski Alto Sax, Bass Clarinet Kalle Kalima Guitar Oliver Potratz Electric Bass Christian Marien Drums

Oneness: Ivo Perelman, Ts/ Matt Shipp, P

Roguart
Accelarated Projection: Matt Shipp, P/ Roscoe Mitchell, Saxes

Iluso
Hesitantly Pleasant: Mike Caratti, Dr/ Rachel Musson, Sax/ Steve Beresford, P, Elec