Wayward in Limbo Recordings

Source: Wayward Music Series.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been considering how we can most directly assist the artists who inhabit our particular niche of the Seattle music community.

With the Chapel closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wayward Music Series now moves from the concert hall to the living room. In place of our usual ten monthly concerts, Nonsequitur is curating and commissioning ten Seattle artists each month to create a series of streaming audio sessions of exclusive material. Many of these will be essentially “live” performances recorded at home for this occasion. Others may create a mix of pre-recorded material that has not been previously released elsewhere.

These tracks are available to stream at no charge on SoundCloud via the links below, and will be promoted like our concerts via our weekly e-newsletter, our Facebook group, and our Twitter feed. The artists retain all rights to their recordings. We strongly encourage you to visit their web sites and purchase their recordings or contribute to their personal crowdfunding campaigns.

This series will continue for as long as we are unable to use the Chapel for performances.

Wayward in Limbo 34: Michaud Savage

ACAB is Michaud Savage’s visceral audio-verite reporting from the front lines of the recent Black Lives Matter protests and Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone (CHOP) in Seattle. LISTEN

Wayward in Limbo 35: Evan Flory-Barnes

Bassist Evan Flory-Barnes (Industrial Revelation) deconstructs five of his own recent “avant-soul-pop” tunes. LISTEN

Two TOC Releases Coming to Circum-Disc


In April 2019, Toc performs its first North American road-trip, and between the Canadian snow and the Baltimore humidity, appears for the 3 musicians the desire to come back to record in a studio. They hadn’t had a chance to do so since the recording of You Can Dance (If You Want) (2012), focusing on instantaneous and live composition: the band’s music is shaped with the audience.
Available on Bandcamp on September 4th

Toc invited Dave Rempis to join the trio in February 2018 for the release concert of “Will Never Play These Songs Again” at the malterie, Lille France. The meeting is instantaneous, the agreement immediate. Could it be otherwise? (…) In addition to their taste for improvisation without barriers or eyes, Toc and Dave Rempis share a communicative energy and power, play the density and the organic and joyful trance.
Available on Bandcamp on September 4th

AMN Reviews: Thumbscrew – The Anthony Braxton Project (2020; Cuneiform Records)

Thumbscrew is guitarist Mary Halvorson, drummer Tomas Fujiwara (who also doubles on vibes), and bassist Michael Formanek. All have extensively performed or recorded with Anthony Braxton over the last couple of decades. Therefore, it is no surprise that they would collectively decide to provide an album of “covers” to celebrate Braxton’s 75th birthday. But there was no intent to make this release a best-of about Braxton’s more well-known pieces. Instead, Halvorson stated that “[t]he idea was for us to choose compositions of Anthony’s, mostly early compositions, which hadn’t been previously recorded (or, in a couple cases, recorded only once or twice).”

Going by Braxton’s opus numbers, most of the selected pieces are numbered less 70, which would place their years of origin before about 1975 or so. And indeed, even as someone who has listened to a great deal of Braxton (though will not claim anything resembling encyclopedic knowledge) few of these compositions seemed familiar upon first listen.

That is, while Braxton’s signature knotty rhythmic structures may suggest the composer, only one of the pieces screamed “Braxton” to these ears. This was Composition 61, which begins by the group exploring variations on a 5-note theme before it breaks out into controlled improvisation. Halvorson, Fujiwara, and Formanek add their own favor. Halvorson provides speed picking and note twisting, while Fujiwara’s supple yet intense snare work is a canvas upon which Formanek explores the extent of his bass without establishing a clear rhythm.  The three go in and out of synch with each other in a masterful fashion, such that the richness of this three-minute offering makes it seem much longer.

To that point, the sheer diversity of the structural and textural elements at play across these 11 pieces can be overwhelming.  Composition 68 features slow atmospherics, almost in a twisted folk style.  Composition 35 is outside-oriented with Fujiwara on vibes and winds up with an intricate and percussive modern chamber feel.  Composition 14 is presented three times, once for each instrumentalist performing solo. Of particular note is how Fujiwara makes his take harken to Varese yet captures Braxton’s playfulness.

Needless to say, trying to comprehend Braxton’s intellect through these recordings will keep you up late at night. Luckily, the compositions – and the performances herein – operate on many levels, and can be enjoyed on their face with further enlightenment achieved through repeated active listens.  With Braxton75 performances on hold worldwide for the moment, The Anthony Braxton Project is a more than a suitable substitute to get your Braxton fix. Very strong recommendation.

Reviews You May Have Missed – June 2020

Last month we published a number of original reviews of some very interesting music. Check out the list below.

Rune Grammofon New Releases

Source: Rune Grammofon.

Hedvig Mollestad: Ekhidna

In May 2018 Hedvig received an invitation from Vossajazz – the much loved annual festival established in 1973 – to write the commission work for 2019. This came at the right time, she had been thinking about writing for a bigger group than the trio, and this would be a good opportunity. To make it suitable for album release the full festival version was edited, sharpened and recorded from scratch in Amper Tone studio in Oslo. In addition to Hedvig on guitar, the line-up includes powerhouse drummer Torstein Lofthus (Elephant9) and percussionist Ole Mofjell, the youngest member, but with solid experience from the European improvisation scene. Keyboard duties are handled by Marte Eberson, probably most known from her five years with Highasakite, and Erlend Slettevoll (The Core and supergroup Grand General, Rune Grammofon 2013). Hedvig first met trumpeter Susana Santos Silva in Mats Gustafsson´s NU-ensemble. Ekhidna is a figure from Greek mythology; half woman, half snake. Hevig is keen to stress that it´s not a concept album as such, but loosely tied to themes of human struggle and being a mother in times when our increasing inability to live in harmony with nature paints a bleak picture.

I Like To Sleep: Daymare

aking their name from a Thelonious Monk quote, I Like To Sleep are three young Norwegian musicians, all 22 years old. Nicolas Leirtrø and Øyvind Leite first met in high school in Trondheim before they joined up with Amund in a youth big band. It soon became apparent that they shared the same musical background centered around ’70s progressive rock, classical music, jazz, and improvisation. Soon after the trio was formed, first for fun, but soon with higher ambitions, they won the prestigious “Young Jazz Musicians of the Year” award in 2018. Daymare is the trio’s second album, their debut was released on the small All Good Clean Records label in 2017. While their debut showed a lot of quality and promise, their new effort is a huge step forward on all accounts, especially considering their young age. The lazy way would be to place I Like To Sleep with certain other Rune Grammofon “power jazz” groups, but their unique instrumentation, natural openness and youthful curiosity place them apart from the rest. All three members are currently in the middle of their jazz studies at NTNU in Trondheim. They are active as composers, freelancers and in other projects, including concert booking on the city’s vibrant music scene. In case you recognize the name, Amund Storløkken Åse is the son of Ståle Storløkken who as a member of Supersilent appeared on Rune Grammofon’s very first release back in early 1998, and later on several more records with Supersilent, Humcrush, Elephant9, and a couple of times with Motorpsycho. The circle is closed. Personnel: Amund Storløkken Åse – vibraphone; Nicolas Leirtrø – baritone guitar; Øyvind Leite – drums.

Master Oogway: Earth And Other Worlds

Master Oogway are four young musicians aged between 23 and 26. They met at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2015 with a common desire to play vibrant, improvised music with strong themes and room for spontaneity at a high energy level. Like many players on the young, Norwegian progressive jazz scene their instrumental skills are already highly developed but never used to show off. Earth And Other Worlds is the quartet’s second album, their debut was released on the Clean Feed label in 2018. Their new effort is more dynamic and varied and shows more mature and accomplished songwriting, not to mention the stronger group interactions and the impressive solo stretches from sax player Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll and guitarist/composer Håvard Nordberg Funderud. While it’s fair to say that they operate in much of the same musical landscape as Bushman’s Revenge or Kokofant, it’s equally fair to note that their general approach and attitude comes with a slightly stronger emphasis on jazz. Håvard Nordberg Funderud finished his bachelor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2018 and has also studied in Gothenburg and Copenhagen. He is involved in several projects, but Master Oogway is his priority. Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll and Karl Erik Horndalsveen have both finished their education at the same academy as Funderud. Martin Heggli Mellem is currently finishing his bachelor at the jazz program at NTNU in Trondheim. Personnel: Håvard Nordberg Funderud – guitar; Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll – saxophone; Karl Erik Horndalsveen – double bass; Martin Heggli Mellem – drums.

Tangerine Dream’s Deepest Trips

Source: The Wire.

Tangerine Dream are the subject of a ten page special feature in The Wire 437 July issue. The spread includes an interview with the band’s current line-up about deep space, evolution and their late leader Edgar Froese; a special report on the group’s synthesizers; commentary on their 1970s albums, as well as their artwork, and their decades-spanning relationship with cinema. In this additional online feature, The Wire contributor Matt Krefting discusses the group’s deepest and trippiest tracks.

Clean Feed Records June Releases

Source: Clean Feed Records.

Pedro Melo Alves
In Igma
A conceptual piece of work by a stellar and unusual band lead by one of the top emergent composers in Portugal these days. His drumming on The Rite of Trio has been surprising the world in every performance but nothing prepared you for this. Three singers, bass, piano, prepared guitar and drums play an equal role on the music.

Who Trio
Strell (The Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn)
Absolute mastery of the three ones here, traveling so tight on this deep voyage as you can’t believe it. 20 years together as a trio can explain a lot about the way they go into and around the magnificent music composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Roots Magic Take Root Among the Stars (CD+LP*)
Third opus of the incredible band of Italians playing Afro American music in its many latitudes. They feel this music the way John Carter did some years back putting Charley Patton, Phil Cochran, Ornette Coleman, Skip James, Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre and Sun Ra in the same pot of folk music where they all belong. In my opinion once again they recreated the original music with knowledge and joy but this time much more organically. Roots Magic are a top band in Europe these days and they should be treated as that.
*LP only in Pre-order

Lynn Cassiers
I think of Lynn Cassiers as the most original conceptualist in Belgium jazz if that word means anything here. She brought eight American jazz standards and arranged them for an electro acoustic setup allowing the listener to find much details in the music in every listen of the record. The rewards are endless.

Martin Küchen & Landæus Trio
Mind The Gap of Silence
Multi reeders Martin Kuchen joins the solid and powerful Landaeus trio with his horns but also writing all the music for it. It’s such a joy to listen to Martin’s music played in such a different context from Angles and Trespass, makes one sure about the universality of his music. The trio is totally engaged making the music his own.

Larry Ochs & Aram Shelton Quartet
Continental Drift
A San Francisco related band led by Larry Ochs and Aram Shelton who you can listen on other Clean Feed releases don’t say all about the contend here. It’s surely in the jazz tradition as we see it in the XXI century but also comprises strong compositional elements that turns this record as a very unique one.

Nicola Snyder
Temporary Places
These are meticulously stitched together compositions constructed from field recordings made in several geographic locations, blended with various studio materials, like manipulated clay pots, organ flutes, branches, creaky chairs, cellos, piano, chorus, chimes and bells. These are Temporary Places indeed, moving and evolving, but all the while holding space for personal exploration and contemplation. Just beautiful.

John Russell Remembers Special Mopomoso Performances 

Source: The Wire.

Mopomoso is possibly “the longest running concert series dedicated to free improvisation in the UK”, according to co-founder John Russell, who is interviewed by Philip Clark in The Wire 437. Russell was already a promoter at the Red Rose Comedy Club in Finsbury Park when Mopomoso (Modern Post-Modern, So What?) took its name in 1990. The night then found a new permanent home at Dalston’s Vortex Jazz Club in 2008, and has continued there ever since, only now breaking for the Coronavirus lockdown.

Read more about the improv institution in Russell’s interview in the current July issue of The Wire. Here, the guitarist picks a selection of memorable shows from the series so far, taking in special guests, unusual venues and large group sessions.

George Lewis on Black Composers

From The New York Times.

A cone of silence hangs over the work of Black composers from Africa and its diaspora. It is not that Black men and women have not written music, but too often it has been ignored — and thus assumed not to exist at all. The work of Black composers is more often heard if they are working in forms thought to exemplify “the Black experience”: jazz, blues, rap. However, as the composer and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams once said, “We know that there are different types of Black life, and therefore we know that there are different kinds of Black music. Because Black music comes forth from Black life.”

Nice coverage of Abrams, Matana Roberts, Wadada Leo Smith, Ornette Coleman, and Anthony Davis.