AMN Reviews: Merzbow / Keiji Haino / Balazs Pandi – Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer (2019; RareNoiseRecords)

This unusual trio is back for a sophomore effort, following up on 2016’s An Untroublesome Defencelessness. Legendary noise artist Merzbow is joined by sludge guitar maestro Haino and drummer Balazs Pandi (who may be the most underrated percussionist on the planet). Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer allows these iconoclasts to explore for almost 70 minutes.

Recorded 100% live in the studio, Haino also contributes bass, electronics and occasional vocals, and Merzbow plugs in a second guitar from time to time. While the two are hard to distinguish at first, Haino focuses on overdriven, ponderous riffing punctuated by feedback, while Merzbow provides textures, bent notes, and speed-picking interspersed with his electronics. Unsurprisingly, the two blend and merge their sounds into a brutal assault of sharp angles and square waves. Pandi’s aggressive and often arhythmic drumming never lets up on the pace, keeping the tempo moving even when the other two proceed at a more deliberate pace. If anything, he keeps his bandmates grounded, to the extent that is possible with this form of extreme free improv.

One of the more interesting moments of this release is when Haino switches to bass and Merzbow plays psychedelic guitar lines in I Want to Learn how to Feel Everything in Each Single Breath I.  The group thus forms a traditional power trio in instrumentation if not in output. Rather than all-out improv, the group tones it down a bit for a moody and darkly introspective interlude.

If you like a shot of dissonance in your evening drink, the fuzzed out, wigged out, walls of distorted guitar offered on Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer will provide that, and much more. Merzbow, Haino, and Pandi also manage to maintain an attention-grabbing freshness throughout this lengthy release. As such, it should be no surprise that the album comes highly recommended.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Erlend Apneseth Trio with Frode Haltli – Salika, Molika (Hubros, 2019) ****

Joe McPhee, Piotr Michalowski & Andrew Drury – Live at Edgefest (2019) ***½

Maja S.K. Ratkje – Sult (Rune Grammofon, 2019) ****

Michael Janisch – Worlds Collide (Whirlwind Recordings, 2019) ****

Matt Mitchell – Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi Recordings, 2019) *****

Bertrand Denzler/ Ensemble CoÔ – Arc (Potlatch, 2019) *****

Udo Schindler/Jaap Blonk – Hillside Talks (Relative Pitch, 2019) ****

Composer Portrait of Anthony Braxton at the Miller Theatre 

Source: Miller Theatre at Columbia University.

Anthony Braxton
Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 8pm

The iconoclastic composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton is one of the most important musicians, educators, and creative thinkers of our time. Drawing upon a range of influences, from John Coltrane to Karlheinz Stockhausen, his work examines core principles of improvisation and structural navigation, alongside innovation, spirituality, and intellectual investigation. Joining in a worldwide celebration of the polymath’s 75th birthday, the JACK Quartet and Either/Or perform a selection of his unparalleled body of works.

Performers
Either/Or
JACK Quartet
Richard Carrick conductor

Repertoire
Composition No. 1 (1968)
Composition No. 17 (1971)
Composition No. 18 (1971)
Composition No. 40(O) (1975)
Composition No. 46 (1975)
Composition No. 101 (1981)
Composition No. 168 (1992)
Composition No. 358 (2006)

New Music Circle Upcoming Performances

Source: St. Louis’s New Music Circle.

BEN LAMAR GAY
Saturday, October 5, 2019 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Off Broadway ( 3509 Lemp Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118 / map )
ALL AGES
Ben LaMar Gay: cornet, synth, flute, vocals, compositions
Tommaso Moretti: Drum
Will Faber: guitar, flute , voice
Matthew Davis: tuba, bansuri, voice

FRED FRITH
Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Joe’s Cafe ( 6014 Kingsbury Ave, 63112 / map)
Fred Frith – solo prepared guitar & electronics

MATTHEW SHIPP
Presented in partnership with Department of Music at Washington University
Friday, January 24, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
560 Music Center ( 560 Trinity, 63130 / map)
Matthew Shipp – solo piano

SARAH HENNIES / MERCHE BLASCO
solo performances by
Sarah Hennies
Merche Blasco
Friday, February 28, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis ( 3750 Washington Blvd, 63108 / map)
Sarah Hennies – percussion, compositions
Merche Blasco – electronics, compositions

KUZU (TASHI DORJI, DAVE REMPIS, TYLER DAMON)
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Joe’s Cafe ( 6014 Kingsbury Ave, 63112 / map)
Tashi Dorji – electric guitar
Dave Rempis – saxophone
Tyler Damon – drums

KUZU
AMIRTHA KIDAMBI’S ELDER ONES
presented in partnership with Saint Louis University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts
Saturday, March 28th, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Xavier Hall at St. Louis University ( 3733 West Pine Mall, St. Louis, 63108 / map)
Amirtha Kidambi – analog synthesizer, vocals, compositions
Max Jaffe – drums & electronic percussion.
Matt Nelson – soprano sax
Nick Dunston – bass

CLAIRE ROUSAY & MICHAEL FOSTER (DUO)
Friday, April 24, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
Urb Arts ( 2600 N 14th St, 63106 / map)
Claire Rousay – percussion and amplified objects
Michael Foster – saxophones

ERIC REVIS QUARTET (WITH KEN VANDERMARK, KRIS DAVIS, CHAD TAYLOR
Late May, 2020 | 7pm Doors / 8pm Show
at TBA
Eric Revis – double bass
Ken Vandermark – saxophones
Kris Davis – piano
Chad Taylor – drums

Arthur Blythe Profiled

Source: burning ambulance.

Blythe was born in Los Angeles in July 1940, and grew up in San Diego. He made his recorded debut on Horace Tapscott‘s 1969 album The Giant is Awakened, and worked extensively with Tapscott’s Underground Musicians and Artists Association (UGMAA) before moving to New York in the mid-’70s. He gigged around, working with Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill, Woody Shaw and others before recording a concert that was split into two albums for the India Navigation label.

The first volume, The Grip, featured six tracks ranging from the three-minute solo sax piece “My Son Ra” to the nearly 13-minute “As of Yet.” Blythe’s band on this date was truly unique, including Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Bob Stewart on tuba, Abdul Wadud on cello, Steve Reid on drums and Muhammad Abdullah on percussion. The music had a rich, full sound which the dynamic range of the ensemble, particularly the horns, emphasized in a thrilling manner.