Source: 15 questions interviews AMN contributor Daniel Barbiero.
When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
It seems like I’ve been composing ever since I’ve been conscious of music as something one could compose—as opposed to something that was just out there, in the air–whether or not I actually knew what I was doing. The urge to experiment with creating objects out of sound has always been very strong, and predates my having the conceptual vocabulary to be able to articulate that thought. And it’s proceeded along two parallel lines. The first is purely pragmatic—the need to have material that can be used for performance, generally as launching points for improvisation. The second is more concerned with exploring specific problems or concepts—a kind of counterfactual, or “what if?” approach to organizing sound. This latter approach grows directly out of my very earliest fascination with composition. It’s never left me, really.
Gordon Mumma may be the most important innovator of electronic music you’ve never heard of. With any luck, that is changing with the recent publication of his book Cybersonic Arts: Adventures in American New Music (University of Illinois Press). Part memoir of a remarkable life at the center of 20th and 21st century American experimental music, and part a collection of Mumma’s thoughtful, provocative, and influential essays, the book introduces this pioneer to a new generation of sonic explorers.
Source: Bandcamp Daily.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to draw comparisons between the creative fearlessness of cornetist Rob Mazurek and the work of Miles Davis. Both carved out their niches with brass instruments, and both have prolific recording histories that cross any number of unwritten music borders. They may sound nothing alike, but what they share is a drive to expand their sonic perception—to seek out something original, in both the new and the familiar.
Thinking Plague, from Denver, Colorado, is an absolute delight to the ears–that is, if you enjoy maniacal circus organs and angular post-punk rhythms atop the lava of 20th century classical. The avant-prog band has been redefining what rock is since 1982, with release after release of highly irregular din including 1989’s landmark album “In This Life” (think Cocteau Twins meets Art Bears and you’re sort of close).
Source: BOMB Magazine.
Trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith has spent five decades as a positive force in global improvised music. Born in Mississippi in 1941, he joined Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1967 and promptly appeared on 3 Compositions of New Jazz (Delmark, 1968), Anthony Braxton’s first record. The watershed LP included “The Bell,” a work that introduced—in embryonic form—Smith’s new method of notation, something he would later term “Ankhrasmation.” In the 1970s, during an extended period based in New Haven, Connecticut, Smith wrote notes (8 pieces) source a new world music: creative music, a powerful self-published treatise on the state of African American music and the politics of improvisation. He also founded his own label, Kabell Records, documenting his evolving concept, which he has emphatically referred to as a system of language scores, in marked contrast with the more common idea of graphic scores.
Source: Burning Ambulance interviews Ward about his new Mingus-inspired recording.
Alto saxophonist Greg Ward‘s new album, out this week, is his first in five years. Touch My Beloved’s Thought, credited to Greg Ward & 10 Tongues, is an interpretation of Charles Mingus‘s 1963 album The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. But rather than simply re-record the music, Ward and the rest of the group (tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman, tenor and baritone saxophonist Keefe Jackson, cornetist Ben LaMarGay, trumpeter Russ Johnson, trombonist Norman Palm, bass trombonist Christopher Davis, pianist Dennis Luxion, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Marcus Evans) take fragments of Mingus’s epic composition and use them as jumping-off points. Some of the bits are major themes on Black Saint, and will be immediately recognizable to fans; others are smaller, and require Ward and company to head into territory all their own.
Source: Webzine Point of Departure.
Issue 55 – June 2016
Page One: a column by Bill Shoemaker
Ellery Eskelin: The Big Picture: by Troy Collins
A Fickle Sonance: a column by Art Lange
Henry Grimes and the Spiral of Time: by Pierre Crépon
Ezzthetics: a column by Stuart Broomer
The Book Cooks:
Cybersonic Arts: Adventures in American New Music
by Gordon Mumma
(University of Illinois Press; Urbana, Chicago and Springfield; 2016)
Jumpin’ In: a column by Greg Buium
Moment’s Notice: Reviews of Recent Recordings