AMN Reviews: Matthew Lux’s Communication Arts Quartet – Contra​/​Fact (2018; Astral Spirits)

This album was actually released on cassette back in September 2017, and it was either a quiet release or we completely missed it (probably the latter). Nonetheless, it is already being re-released on vinyl with greater fanfare. In fact, this version of the recording is a new edit of the album with a different track ordering.

But on to the music – bassist Matthew Lux is a familiar name in Chicago jazz circles, playing with Rob Mazurek among many others. Contra​/​Fact is his first release as a leader. Accompanying Lux are drummer Mikel Patrick Avery, cornetist Ben Lamar Gay, and reedist Jayve Montgomery. All members of the group contribute percussion and either keyboards, synth, electronics or samples.

As might be assumed from the retro-stylings of the album cover, Lux and friends provide more than just a nod to the past. Indeed, Contra​/​Fact has a thick, analog, funky, and experimental feel that invokes the early 1970s. Take the aforementioned Mazurek, combine with Art Ensemble of Chicago and electric Miles, and you have the beginnings of a description of these efforts. But Lux’s quartet heads off into uncharted territories, which gives the album a freshness as well.

This not free jazz, as most of the tracks have a clear rhythm if not a groove. Nonetheless, experimentalism reigns with voices, disjoint themes, odd percussion elements, and electronics accompanying the horns across long jams and shorter statements.  The result is a dense, heady mix that deftly connects two time periods, and comes highly recommended.

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Heterodyne Performance at the Make Music Festival in Arlington, VA

At noon on Thursday, June 21, Heterodyne performs in the “Make Music” celebration at Clarendon Central Park in Arlington VA.

Make Music is a free celebration of music around the world on June 21st. Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, it is now held on the same day in more than 800 cities in 120 countries.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.

Treader Recordings Releases

Source: Treader.

TRD 20 BISHOPSGATE CONCERT
John Tilbury solo using two pianos-one prepared,the other not, the former being the famous old piano which once belonged to to Myra Hess. Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith solo accompanied by the spectral sound of sympathetic strings from John Tilbury’s prepared piano,followed by a long and utterly absorbing duo from these two masterful musicians.

TRD 21 SPUKHAFTE FERNWIRKUNG
Following in the august footsteps of Berg,Webern,Messiaen and Ligeti,Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer assembled this wonderful international octet for the Donaueschingen Festival in 2012.Their live improvisation with Phil Minton, Ute Wassermann, Lori Freedman, John Butcher, Rhodri Davies and Paul lovens was then used as material for the beautiful studio work Hmyz,recorded on the following day.

TRD 22
In the only studio recording of this duo,John Tchicai and Evan Parker improvise a set of pieces at once reflective and joyful, introspective and responsive by turns. Recorded in 2005 during John’s visit to London at the invitation of John Coxon and Ashley Wales. A beautiful dialogue between these two great figures.

TRD 23
A five part suite evoking the memory of Jimmy Guiffre and Giancinto Scelsi.Alex’s brilliant clarinet playing perfecty complements Coxon’s musical experiments in which the listener’s spatial perspectives are constantly being challenged-extremely vivid recordings of guitars,kalimbas,78rpm recordings,pebbles,metal objects and handbells form surreal landscapes as he takes the listener on an extended musical journey.

TRD 24
The extraordinary improvising duo of John Edwards and Mark Sanders have recorded together in countless groups,but only once as a duo [Nisus Duets EMANEM 2002].For this recording,Mark uses an unorthodox kit setup with horizontal orchestral bass drum.John’s huge bass sound is captured in full by the old RCA ribbon microphone used in this recording. Constantly imaginative,thrilling playing.