AMN Reviews: Alexander Noice – Noice (2019; Orenda Records)

Yeah, I know that we’ve written a bunch of reviews (soon to be 1000 – more on that soon). But you need to pay attention to this one.

Alexander Noice is a guitarist and composer active in the Los Angeles creative music scene, a loose group of artists who are developing distinctive voices. Many of their efforts have been captured on the Orenda Records label. Noice’s previous release, reviewed here, focused on processing of the human voice and was easily one of the most innovative offerings of 2016. Noice, on the other hand, is a full group effort but maintains the composer’s penchant for vocal-oriented weirdness. And it certainly is an album of the year candidate for 2019.

The lineup consists of Noice on guitar and compositions, Karina Kallas and Argenta Walther on vocals, Gavin Templeton on sax, Colin Burgess on bass, and Andrew Lessman on drums and percussion. Stylistically, Noice and Templeton set forth cascading or spiraling guitar and sax lines, over which Kallas and Walther provide singing, chants, and wordless utterances. Burgess and Lessman lay down involved rhythms that span jazz and rock. Still, the approach is highly-structured, procedural and has more than a few hints of minimalism. Put another way, Noice has plenty of moments that are reminiscent of Reich, Glass, Orff, and even Magma. In fact, I get the same buzz of off this release as those of Christian Vander and company. The overall effect is a complex and jarring soundscape that is a modern rock opera with hints of electronic music.

To reiterate, this is one of the more vanguard albums of a year with plenty of vanguard releases. Noice is thoroughly enjoyable, virtuosic, and catchy. Don’t walk, run out and get this one when it becomes available on August 23.

Intrigued? Check out the video of a track from Noice.

Chicago Scene: August 3-10, 2019

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

Saturday, August 3rd 2019

8:00PM at the Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway, 773.878.5552 ($15) (wheelchair-accessible)
Rob Mazurek’s Desert Encrypts: Volume 1
Kris Davis, Chad Taylor, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Rob Mazurek

Sunday, August 4th 2019
8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($10)
Beautifulish : Katie Young, Sam Scranton

Monday, August 5th 2019

7:30PM at Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N Ravenswood, 773.769.1069 ($10-$8) (wheelchair-accessible)
Alisa Kolot

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Edward Wilkerson Jr, Brian Sandstrom, Bill Harris, Jim Baker

Tuesday, August 6th 2019

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Marker : Ken Vandermark, Macie Stewart, Steve Marquette, Andrew Clinkman, Phil Sudderberg

Thursday, August 8th 2019

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Phlebotomy Quartet : Reid Karris, Johanna Brock, Erica Miller, Eric Novak
Keefe Jackson’s Likely So, with Jeff Kimmel, Jason Stein, Emily Beisel, Nick Mazzarella, Mars Williams, Dave Rempis

9:00PM at The Whistler, 2421 N Milwaukee (wheelchair-accessible)
Mako Sica : Przemyslaw Drazek, Brent Fuscaldo, Chaetan Newell
Grex : Karl Evangelista, Rei Scampavia
Tatsu Aoki, Karl Evangelista, Avreeayl Ra

Saturday, August 10th 2019

9:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($12)
Wendy Eisenberg, Shane Parish
Steve Marquette

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

Jamaaladeen Tacuma Interview

Source: burning ambulance.

Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma is a legend. He was barely out of high school when guitarist Reggie Lucas recommended him to Ornette Coleman, who hired him for what would become Prime Time. He stayed with Coleman for a dozen years, working with James “Blood” Ulmer and recording albums on his own at the same time. He’s been part of some really amazing records that I love, including Derek Bailey‘s Mirakle, James Carter‘s Layin’ in the Cut, James Brandon Lewis‘s Days of FreeMan, and the Young Philadelphians‘ Live in Tokyo. He also produced the new Last Poets album, Transcending Toxic Times.

In this interview, we talk about a bunch of different aspects of his career, his sound, his style, his upbringing in Philadelphia, and his interest in fashion. In addition to being a musician, Tacuma runs a consignment boutique in Philadelphia called the Redd Carpet Room, where he sells designer clothes he picks up while traveling around the world. This guy is sharp in every possible way, so I really think you’re going to enjoy this conversation a lot. I know I did.

Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

Source: London’s Vortex Jazz Club.

THU 08 AUGUST 2019
ERIS136199 Lineup: Han-earl Park (guitar), Catherine Sikora (saxophone) Nick Didkovsky (guitar) The group Eris 136199 was formed in New York in 2012 and is the quick-reacting cyborg virtuosity of Han-earl…
Time: 8 – 11PM

SAT 10 AUGUST 2019
John Etheridge (guitar) Vimala Rowe (vocals) Legendary English guitarist brings sensational new vocal star Vimala Rowe to the Vortex for an evening of passion and soul. John will play…
Time: 8 – 11PM

THU 15 AUGUST 2019
The Orchid and The Wasp is: Chris Sharkey (electronics/guitar) Mark Sanders (drums/percussion) Veryan Weston solo (piano) The music was created in-residence at Chapel FM in Leeds and is…
Time: 8 – 11PM

THU 22 AUGUST 2019
Our monthly Vortex residency with the master of free improvisation. A major force in European improvising, Evan Parker has collaborated with everyone from Dave Holland, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley & Anthony Braxton,…
Time: 8 – 11.30PM

The Best New Ambient on Bandcamp: July 2019 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

A quick browse through the Bandcamp ambient tag will reveal any number of works from composers unified in their artistry through atmosphere, but with wildly differing approaches to how they achieve their goals. From the intimate and warm to the unsettling and tense, ambient is a diverse and endlessly thought-provoking genre. Every month, Ari Delaney walks through the best recent releases you can find right here on Bandcamp.

In this edition, we’re highlighting albums released from June 15 through July 15, including a climate change-themed drone record and intimate contemporary classical originally composed for film.

Six Artists Who Make Music on Homemade Instruments 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

There are DIY artists—the kind who shun industry structures in favor of managing every aspect of their career themselves—and then there are artists who take DIY to the extreme. Not only do they home record and handle their own booking, they also build their own instruments from scratch. From an artistic perspective, that kind of independence can be liberating.

“If you start totally from scratch and really engage with every step of the process, you are bound to come up with something uniquely your own,” says Jason Sidney Sanford of the band Neptune. Sanford’s instruments are like functional sculpture, made from sheet metal, repurposed VCR cases, and metal chairs. “The drawback is that it takes a lot longer—there are no off-the-shelf solutions. The reward is that you come up with music that no one else could ever have made.”

Other artists prefer making music with found objects, or by circuit-bending discarded electronics. Those options are cheap—most garbage is free—and they’re environmentally friendly as well. “Electronic gear contains a lot of toxic, non-biodegradable, destructively extracted materials,” says John Hardin, the mastermind behind Electric Earth Music. “I love what electronics can do with sound, but because of their high environmental cost, I feel that electronic gear should be made to last a lifetime. The proliferation of disposable electronic toys bothers me. The idea of circuit-bending discarded toys into unique musical instruments appeals to me.”