AMN Reviews: All Traps on Earth – A Drop of Light (2018; AMS Records)

It has been six years since the last studio release of quintessential 1990’s progressive rock band Anglagard. In the mean time, original and current bassist Johan Brand has teamed up with original keyboardist Thomas Johnson and current drummer Erik Hammarström to record a debut as All Traps on Earth. Joining them are Brand’s daughter Miranda on vocals, as well as a number of guests on various brass and woodwind instruments (flute in particular). Despite the pared-down lineup, A Drop of Light is Anglagard in all but name. A favored child, if you will.

As might be expected from Brand and Johnson, these five tracks (four of which exceed 12 minutes) exhibit dark atmospheres, rhythmic sophistication, and a thick retro feel without being overly derivative. In fact, as may be said about Anglagard, All Traps on Earth plays a perfected form of symphonic prog that goes beyond their influencers of the 1970-78 period. Brand and Johnson include the expected Moogs, Mellotrons, Fenders, Rickenbachers, and Wurlitzers, while Hammarström incorporates a plethora of percussion into his drum-set based contributions. But there is also a sax solo, something that the parent band did not explore until recently. Miranda Brand’s vocals are wordless chants that subtly add to the more foreboding breaks and motifs.

Thematically A Drop of Light falls somewhere between Anglagard’s first two albums, though it is not far removed from their latest either. Some has said that it is the logical follow-on to their debut, Hybris. What I hear is akin to all of that but with moments of playfulness combined with the serious stuff. Ultimately, I have a soft spot for this sort of thing despite not being a huge prog rock fan. In short, fans of Anglagard should not hesitate. But there are many layers to unwrap in A Drop of Light that will likely keep anyone interested in complex, classically-oriented rock engaged for quite some time.

Seattle Scene: December 6-15, 2018

From Seattle’s 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.

ARX Percussion Duo
Thu. Dec. 6, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

Internationally recognized percussion group arx duo offers their first performance since relocating to Seattle. Mari Yoshinaga and Garrett Arney met at Yale University and came together to perform Alejandro Vinao’s marimba duo Book of Grooves, which they practiced in an apartment kitchen during Hurricane Sandy. They’ll perform that work and others written for them.

Fri. Dec. 7, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at the door

PREYER is a duo between Ebony Miranda and Adam Troy. Their music is a blend of cello, drums, and electronics. Together they create heavy, atmospheric, experimental music through free improvisation.

Thu. 12/13 – Kasson Crooker, immersive electroacoustic music for koto and electronics + DAHLIA with Patchwerks owners Tom Butcher & Cindy Reichel

Fri. 12/14 – Laure Stuber (piano) and Luke Fitzpatrcik (violin) play music by Dallapiccola, Messiaen, Pärt, Britten, and Shostakovich

Sat. 12/15 – Neal Kosaly-Meyer, Finnegans Wake, Chapter 5

Colin Webster / Mark Holub to Tour Europe in February 2019

The long-running saxophone and drums duo of Colin Webster and Mark Holub return with a new album and European tour in February 2019. The LP entitled ‘Nadir’ will be released by Raw Tonk Records, the label which was also home to the duo’s first two albums.
The Webster/Holub tour will begin in Vienna on Feb 25th before heading to Leipzig, Poznan, Berlin, and Wroclaw.

25. Feb – Celeste, Vienna, AT
26. Feb – Subbotnik, Leipzig, DE
27. Feb – Klub Dragon, Poznan, PL
28. Feb – Kühlspot, Berlin, DE
1. March – OPT Creative Arts Centre, Wroclaw, PL

Interview with Dave Morecroft of WorldService Project 

Source: First Post.

The London-based “anti-Brexit” quintet WorldService Project has attracted attention worldwide with their exciting and edgy blend of music — combining punk’s abrasive attitude with jazz’s improvisatory essence. Inspired by the sounds of Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa and John Zorn, and the playful impertinence of Monty Python, WSP has released four equally well-received studio albums and performed at festivals across the world.

Pop-Up Concerts Coming to Miller Theatre 

Source: Miller Theatre at Columbia University.

Tuesday, January 29
Music of Richard Carrick
Richard Carrick, piano; Jennifer Choi, violin; Vasko Dukovski, bass clarinet;
Margaret Lancaster, flutes; Chris McIntyre, trombone

Deemed “a trustworthy purveyor of fresh sounds,” Either/Or is a frequent feature on the Miller stage, and they return to shine a spotlight on one of their own – director/pianist/composer Richard Carrick. Experience up close the connection between ensemble and composer with a program of his recent works, including two premieres (one that calls for audience participation), alongside two selections by prolific composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator Anthony Braxton.

Richard Carrick lanterne for solo bass flute (2018)
Richard Carrick Sarang Ga for bass clarinet with piano (2018)
Anthony Braxton Composition No. 101 (1981) and Composition No. 168 (1992)
Richard Carrick autour for ensemble (2019), world premiere

Tuesday, February 12
Mivos Quartet & Nadav Lev
Olivia De Prato, violin; Lauren Cauley Kalal, violin;
Victor Lowrie Tafoya, viola; Tyler J. Borden, cello
Nadav Lev, guitar

String quartet and guitar aren’t a common combination, but the unique pairing is at the core of this Pop-Up featuring the Mivos Quartet and guitarist Nadav Lev. Two works for this amalgamation bookend the adventurous program, including two New York premieres and a piece for solo guitar by Tristan Murail.

Richard Carrick Space:Time for electric guitar and string quartet (2014/2018),
New York premiere
Tristan Murail Tellur for solo guitar (1977)
Anahita Abbasi Distorted Attitudes IV / Facile synthesis for string quartet (2015),
New York Premiere
Yair Klartag Nothing to express for electric guitar and string quartet (2014)

Tuesday, February 26
Third Sound
Sooyun Kim, flute; Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Karen Kim, violin;
Michael Nicolas, cello; Orion Weiss, piano

Third Sound, the New York-based collective of chamber music superstars, makes its Miller debut with an eclectic program of pieces spanning a century. Schoenberg’s masterwork, Chamber Symphony, Op. 9, anchors two more recent creations, including one by Third Sound Director Patrick Castillo.

Ingrid Arauco Fantasy-Quartet (2004)
Patrick Castillo Music for Four (2017)
Arnold Schoenberg Chamber Symphony, No. 1, Op. 9 (1906)

Tuesday, March 12
Marilyn Nonken
Spectral Salon

Marilyn Nonken is known as “one of the greatest interpreters of new music” (American Record Guide), especially in her mastery and knowledge of the music of Tristan Murail, with whom she has closely collaborated. Here, she explores the relationship between teacher and student with spectral works by Murail and his teacher Olivier Messiaen. Nonken gave the world premiere performance of Murail’s Les Travaux et les jours at Miller Theatre in 2002 and reprises it for this Pop-Up, sixteen years later.

Olivier Messiaen Regard du Fils sur le Fils from Vingt regards sur
l’Enfant Jésus (1944)
Olivier Messiaen Prélude No. 6, Cloches d’angoisse et larmes d’adieu, (1929)
Tristan Murail Les Travaux et les jours (2002)