Rova Saxophone Quartet Profiled Ahead of Pittsburgh Performance

Source: Pittsburgh Current.

Larry Ochs, the tenor saxophonist in the Rova Saxophone Quartet, says the group’s baritone man, Jon Raskin, once opined that the group should release an album called The Happy Few. “Because the few who do actually come [to see us] are really happy they came,” Ochs says. “We really should use that at some point.”

That comment might imply Rova is searching for an audience, but the Bay Area quartet has won admirers around the world over the past 42 adventurous years. That includes listeners in the Soviet Union, which Rova first toured in 1983, the first American new music ensemble to make such a journey. (Their travels were filmed for a PBS documentary at the time.) In addition to a wealth of original material, the group has embarked on ambitious projects like Electric Ascension, a reimagining of John Coltrane’s tumultuous “Ascension,” which Rova performed with a 13-piece group of A-list improvisers that included guitars and electronics along with horns.

AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom (2019; Eighth Tower Records)

With Halloween right around the corner, Eighth Tower Records offers this timely-themed release featuring UK-based dark ambient artists. Some have been previously discussed in these pages (Grey Frequency, Howlround, and Michael Bonaventure), while others not (Daniel Williams, Sky High Diamonds, Rapoon, and Satori). Regardless, the nine pieces on this compilation explore the haunting landscapes and fear-laden tension that one might expect from an effort of this nature.

Grey Frequency kicks off with Elegy for Vinegar Tom, which begins with sweeping loops overlaying a cracking foundation.  This slowly morphs into a more conventional (yet still dark) set of synth drones.  Rapoon’s The Village evokes mysteries with its use of church bells as well as an echoing bassy theme accompanied by a sax motif.

Howlround’s first contributed track provides drones as well as looped and rapidly manipulated electronics with a squeaky rasping, while the second is aqueous and otherworldly. Satori’s staticky drones combine with low-level percussive elements poking in and out of the background. Michael Bonaventure’s Coronach is an organ piece that captures a retro-horror feel using modern compositional technique.

Both Daniel Williams and Sky High Diamond’s pieces are spoken-word stories dealing with witchcraft.  The former is accompanied by static, stringed instruments, organ, and electroacoustic sounds, the latter by soft ambient walls and comparatively more abrasive electroacoustic sounds.

Ultimately, Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom is a compelling mix of fright-inducing atmospherics that is suitable for accompanying your trick-or-treat candy bowl – aside from the likelihood that it might scare off younger visitors and garner more than a few apprehensive looks from their parents.

Reprint of Glenn Branca Profile from 1985

Source: SPIN.

In the amorphous field of new music, Glenn Branca is one of the most controversial figures. Since the late ’70s, he’s been working in a gray area somewhere between avant-garde rock and avant-garde classical music, producing along the way five “symphonies” for large groups of electric guitars or specially constructed keyboards and drums. This is music to make anyone expecting a traditional symphonic work run, shrieking, from the hall.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Louis Moholo-Moholo’s Five Blokes – Uplift the People (Ogun 2018) ****

Angles 9 – Beyond Us (Clean Feed, 2019) ****½

Sarah Gail Brand / Steve Beresford / John Edwards / Mark Sanders – All Will Be Said, All To Do Again (Regardless, 2019) ****

Deep Listening to Bruno Duplant: Recent Works

Zeena Parkins • Wobbly – Triplicates (Relative Pitch, 2019) ***

Nick Millevoi – Streets of Philadelphia Limited Edition music book (s/p, 2019)

Brötzmann/Leigh – South Moon Under (s/r, 2019) ****½

ECM Records 50th Anniversary Performances

Source: ECM Records.

October 24-27 at SF Jazz:
Shai Maestro Trio
Tigran Hamasyan w/ Special Guest Areni Agbabian
Larry Grenadier
Wadada Leo Smith Golden Quintet &Amp; Avishai Cohen Quartet
Peter Erskine
Vijay Iyer Trio
Ralph Alessi’s “This Against That”
Egberto Gismonti

November 1-2 at JALC’s Rose Theater:
Tenor Saxophone: Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, Mark Turner
Trumpet: Ralph Alessi, Avishai Cohen, Enrico Rava, Wadada Leo Smith
Guitar: Bill Frisell
Guitar and Piano: Egberto Gismonti
Piano: Fabian Almazan, Nik Bartsch, Marilyn Crispell, Giovanni Guidi, Ethan Iverson, Vijay Iyer, Shai Maestro, Andy Milne, Craig Taborn
Piano and Voice: Meredith Monk
Cello: Anja Lechner
Bass: Dezron Douglas, Matthew Garrison, Larry Grenadier, Drew Gress, Thomas Morgan, Barak Mori,
Drums: Carmen Castaldi, Andrew Cyrille, Jack DeJohnette, Mark Ferber, Ziv Ravitz, Nasheet Waits

Interview with Morton Subotnick And Lillevan

Source: The Quietus.

At Madrid’s L.E.V. Mataderothis week, the great Morton Subotnick, one of the most pioneering figures in 20th century music, will be performing alongside Alec Empire of Atari Teenage Riot and long-time visual collaborator Lillevan. The three will play a piece entitled From Silver Apples To A Sky Of Cloudless Sulphur, which sees Subotnick and Empire trading improvisational sequences based on the former’s 1967 colossus Silver Apples Of The Moon, before pulsing their way through later works Sidewinder and Until Spring up to his final studio LP, 1980’s A Sky Of Cloudless Sulphur, and recent live work Crowds And Power.

It’s a performance that Subotnick and Lillevan have been working on for almost a decade, since first coming together around a production of the opera ‘Jacob’s Room’ in Austria in 2010, and with the recent addition of Empire, one that shows that Subotnick’s five-decade mission to push the boundaries of what’s possible is far from over. To find out more about the project, and what we can expect from their Madrid performance next month, tQ caught up with Subotnick via phone, and Lillevan via email.