AMN Reviews: Oli Steidle & The Killing Popes – Ego Pills (2019; Shhpuma)

Oli Steidle is the drummer on Phillip Gropper’s two most recent releases (Consequences and Live at Bimhaus), both of which rank highly on AMN’s “album of the year” charts. Here, Steidle leads his own group through 8 tracks of jazz-inflected avant-rock with refined production and a few doses of free improv.

Steidle is joined by Frank Möbus on guitar, Phil Donkin on bass, and both Dan Nicholls and Kit Downes on keyboards. Most of the pieces fall into the 5-7 minute time frame and are structured around a handful of main themes, though each musician appears to be given leeway to explore. A number of guests provide additional contributions covering vocals and including Gropper on sax. But for the most part, Ego Pills is instrumental.

A line can be drawn between Steidle and group’s efforts here and the 70’s Rock in Opposition (RIO) movement. But this album is closer to that of those influenced by RIO than the progenitors of that loose genre. Thus, comparisons with European outfits Blast, X-Legged Sally, Fukkeduk might be appropriate, though Steidle and group incorporate more electric jazz.

As examples, Alive begins with a freeform set between bass, guitar, and keyboards, before a tense – almost mechanical – drum pattern cuts in. The main theme rapidly alternates between rock-oriented rhythms and more angular runs and motifs (with the focus on the latter as the track evolves). Möbus’s guitar takes a jangly and discordant lead in many of these. The dual keyboards are also emphasized, with one providing backing chords and the other leads and effects. In contrast, Strange Condition features punctuated and crooked melodies over slightly less chaotic drumming, with keyboards adding a surprising amount of spaciousness and atmosphere to an otherwise frantic track. But once again, each musician manages to squeeze in a few unconventional improvisations of his own.

Ego Pills is an unusual and compelling release that crosses genres with ease, resulting in a barely-classifiable amalgam of creative music that is full of surprises. Well done.


Extended Techniques NYC Calendar September 2019 

Source: extended techniques.

SUNDAY, September 1
6pm Sam Weinberg / Weasel Walter / Henry Fraser
Tenor Sax / Drums / Contrabass

WEDNESDAY, September 4
9 PM Violeta Garcia, Tamio Shiraishi, and Weasel Walter
VENUE: Muchmore’s

WEDNESDAY, September 4
7:30 PM Resonant Bodies Festival 2019: Anaïs Maviel, Kate Soper, Ted Hearne
VENUE: Roulette
ADMISSION: $20-$25

THURSDAY, September 5
8PM Frode Gjerstad (alto sax and clarinet), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), David Watson (guitar)
244 Rehearsal Studio
VENUE: 244 Rehearsal Studio

Saturday, September 7
1pm and 3pm Sirius Quartet
Beside the Point (Fung Chern Hwei)
Knives Out (Radiohead, arr. Gregor Huebner) Cavatina (Stanley Myers, arr. Fung Chern Hwei) New World, Nov 9, 2016 (Gregor Huebner) #STILL (Gregor Huebner)
To A New Day (Fung Chern Hwei)
More Than We Are (Jeremy Harman)
VENUE: Nolan Park on Governors Island

TUESDAY, September 10
8:30 PM Trio
Ingrid Laubrock (sax) Tom Rainey (drums) Zeena Parkins (harp)
VENUE: The Stone

TUESDAY, September 10
6PM Stephen Gosling, piano
John Zorn, 18 Studies from the Later Sketchbooks of JMW Turner (1841-1845) (2019), world premiere
VENUE: Miller Theater

THURSDAY, September 12
6:30 Alan Braufman with Cooper-Moore
+ James Brandon Lewis, Andrew Drury, Ken Filiano
performing “Valley of Search” and debuting new music
VENUE: Murmrr Ballroom

FRIDAY, September 13
8:30 pm MZM Trio
Myra Melford (piano) Zeena Parkins (harp) Miya Masaoka (koto)
VENUE: The Stone

SATURDAY, September 14
2 PM Sun Ra Arkestra
VENUE: Blank Forms at James Cohan Gallery (48 Walker Street, New York)

SATURDAY, September 14
8:30 pm Trio
William Winant (percussion) Ikue Mori (electronics) Zeena Parkins (harp)
VENUE: The Stone

TUESDAY, September 17
8:30 pm Matt Mitchell, Craig Taborn, Ches Smith, Dan Weiss
Matt Mitchell, Craig Taborn (synthes) Ches Smith, Dan Weiss (drums)
VENUE: The Stone

WEDNESDAY, September 18
6:30 Susan Alcorn
Susan Alcorn, pedal steel guitar
VENUE: Blank Forms at James Cohan Gallery (48 Walker Street, New York)

WEDNESDAY, September 18
8:30 pm Snark Horse A
Matt Mitchell (piano, compositions) Kate Gentile (drums, compositions) Jon Irabagon (sopranino and tenor saxophones, alto clarinet) Ben Gerstein (trombone) Mat Maneri (viola) Brandon Seabrook (guitar)
VENUE: The Stone

FRIDAY, September 20
7PM Goldstein\Coleman\Long
solo and ensemble performances by:
Malcolm Goldstein – violin, composition
Anthony Coleman – piano/organ, composition
Steven Long – piano/organ/harmonium, composition
Margaret Sloyer – flute
Sara Salomon – violin
Noemi Gasparini – violin
Gabriel Garcia- alto sax
Travis Bliss – tenor sax
Doug Wieselman – clarinet
Lucia Stavros – harp
Sam Graham Jones – voice
Carrie Furniss – voice
Andres Abenante – guitar
Henry Fraser – bass
Ross Wightman – bass
Dan Klingsberg – bass
Peter Moffett- drums
VENUE: Spectrum
ADMISSION: $10/$20

SATURDAY, September 21
12PM The Music of Ferruccio Busoni and the Omnipresence of Time
Geoffrey Dorfman, piano recital and talk
VENUE: The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation

TUESDAY, September 24
7PM Jazztopad
Wacław Zimpel, clarinets
Ksawery Wóciński, double bass
Uri Caine, piano
Cat Toren, piano
Andrew Drury, drum set
VENUE: Soup & Sound

WEDNESDAY, September 25
8pm Composer Portraits: Anthony Braxton
JACK Quartet
Richard Carrick conductor
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)
VENUE: Miller Theater
ADMISSION: from $20

September 25–October 6
Various times: Antigone
Satoshi Miyagi, Director
Hiroko Tanakawa, Composer
VENUE: Park Avenue Armory

THURSDAY, September 26
7:30 PM Jazztopad: Amir ElSaffar with Ksawery Wójciński, Wacław Zimpel, and the Lutosławski Quartet
Opening set by Wacław Zimpel
VENUE: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

THURSDAY, September 26
8:30 PM Fred Frith Trio with special guest Lotte Anker
Fred Frith (guitar) Jason Hoopes (bass) Jordan Glenn (drums) Lotte Anker (sax)
VENUE: The Stone

FRIDAY, September 27
7 PM Meditations
Alvin Lucier: Music for Cello with One or More Amplified Glass Vases (1992)
Catherine Lamb: Prisma Interius VI (2017)
Musical prelude at 7 pm with music by Eliane Radigue.
Hannah Levinson, viola
Carrie Frey, viola
Chris Gross, cello
David Adamcyk, electronics
VENUE: Tenri Cultural Institute
ADMISSION: $10/$20

FRIDAY, September 27
8:30 pm Fred Frith Trio with special surprise guest
Fred Frith (guitar) Jason Hoopes (bass) Jordan Glenn (drums) plus special surprise guest
VENUE: The Stone

MONDAY, September 30
8PM Elliott Sharp – solo concert of compositions and improvisations on acoustic guitar and bass clarinet
VENUE: Zürcher gallery

Coming to Washington DC

Monday September 2, 2019@8PM, CINGHIALE – Saxophonists Mars Williams and Ken Vandermark, guitarist Steve Marquette, plus saxophonist Sarah Hughes. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street, WDC 20002.

On Saturday, September 7, 2019@7:30PM, music by African-American composers. Curated by Blair Goins, and featuring Celaya Kirchner on violin, Rhonda Buckley-Bishop on alto saxophone, Blair Goins on tuba, and Carl Banner on piano. Performing William Grant Still’s ‘Suite for Violin and Piano’, the World Premier of Blair Goins’ ‘Trio for alto, tuba, and piano’, George Walker’s ‘Sonata #1 for violin and piano’, and Oliver Nelson’s ‘Sonata for alto sax and piano. @Banner Arts, located at 7502 Flower Avenue, in Takoma Park, MD.

On Wednesday, September 11, 2019@7:30PM@The Black Cat, The Messthetics, Janel Leppin, Mock Identity. The Messthetics, is w/drummer Brendan Canty, bassist Joe Lally, and guitarist Anthony Pirog, plus cellist Janel Leppin, and Mock Identity, w/vocalist Adriana-Lucia Cotes, guitarist Jeff Barsky, bassist Joshua David Hoffman, and percussionist Nate Scheible. The Black Cat is at 1811 14th St. NW Washington, DC, 20009.

On Saturday, September 14, 2019, @4PM, Transparent Production’s begins its 23rd season with Jason Hwang’s CRITICAL RESPONSE, featuring Anders Nilsson on guitar, Michael T.A. Thompson on drums, and Jason Kao Hwang on violin and viola. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street, WDC 20002.

On Sunday, September 15, 2019 @8PM, Transparent Production’s presents Michael Bisio’s BISIO KNUFFKE LONBERG-HOLM, featuring Michael Bisio on bass, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street, WDC 20002.

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, the opening concert of ‘The Piano Trio: A Survey in 8 Concerts’, with the Milo Trio, featuring Celaya Kirchner on violin, Emma Hays Johnson on cello, and Carl Banner on piano, presenting a series of eight concerts devoted to exploring the history and development of the piano trio. This first concert explores the music of Haydn and Mozart. @Banner Arts, located at 7502 Flower Avenue, in Takoma Park, MD.

Coming to Philadelphia

Source: Bowerbird.

Modney, Roberts, Wubbels Trio
at University Lutheran (3637 Chestnut St)
A new chamber formation brings together Josh Modney, Mariel Roberts, and Eric Wubbels, three of the leading musicians of the New York new music scene, whose playing draws on over a decade of experience playing together in the Wet Ink Ensemble and Mivos Quartet. Their debut program features if and only if , a new large-scale work by Eric Wubbels, written over an extended period of close collaboration with Modney and Roberts. if and only if combines a microscopic attention to tuning, acoustic beating, and instrumental vibration with an austerity and simplicity derived from Medieval music.

with Nelson Patton
at Holy Apostles (51st and Spruce)

Bowerbird is pleased to present Alabama-born sculptor and musician Lonnie Holley (performing with Nelson Patton -Dave Nelson and Marlon Patton) and Philadelphia-based musician, poet, visual artist, and activist Moor Mother. “Despite undeniable sonic and aesthetic connections to Sun Ra and Arthur Russell, Lonnie Holley’s music is a law unto itself, with the inimitable blues orator free-forming at its core”. (vinyl factory) “Lonnie Holley is the closest thing America has to a prophet.” (SF weekly). As Moor Mother, Ayewa’s work operates at the intersection of spoken word, rap, punk, and free jazz, examining consciousness, identity, blackness, and the global socio-political landscape through an Afrofuturist lens.

October 10, 11, 12