Coming to Roulette

Source: Roulette,

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2022. 8:00 PM
Violinist Jennifer Choi and the European guitar duo Les Frères Méduses perform an original score for the 1927 silent film The Unknown.

The New York-based saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson and trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Wadada Leo Smith.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2022. 8:00 PM
The multidisciplinary artists celebrate the release of their new collaborative album with an improvised performance.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2022. 8:00 PM
The visionary pianist taps into the elemental nature of inspiration for her exhilarating new project, Fire and Water.

Coming to Seattle

Source: Wayward Music Series.

James Falzone: So Far Still
Sat. Oct. 8, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

James Falzone presents a solo performance on clarinets, piano, penny whistles, shruti box, and bells, in celebration of his new release, So Far Still, recorded by Steve Peters at the Chapel as part of the Wayward in Limbo series. Joining James will be spoken word artist Omar Willey.

Michelle Huang & Erin Wight
Thu. Oct. 13, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

The Seattle-based duo of Michelle Huang (piano) and Erin Wight (viola) presents an intriguing program exploring the idea of transformation through the works of composers Mary Kouyoumdjian, Clarice Assad, Rebecca Clarke, and Arvo Pärt.

Ben McAllister
Fri. Oct. 14, 7:30 PM; $10 donation at door

Ben McAllister offers a solo set involving projected notation and home-brewed software slicing-and-dicing, then an hour of audience collaboration which will result in some new compositions. Bring your voice or another unamplified pitch-making apparatus.

Earshot/NonSeq: Vitamin D/Drum Orbit
Sat. Oct. 15, 8:30 PM; $10 – $20 advance/door

Drum Orbit is a new experimental quintet led by turntable artist/producer Vitamin D, featuring Kassa Overall (drums), Darrius Willrich (keys), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), and Gerson Zaragoza (guitar), seeking new approaches while acknowledging ancestral traditions and rhythms.

AMN Reviews: Gianluca Becuzzi – Axis Mundi (2022; Bandcamp)

From religion and mythology, axis mundi is a pathway or bridge linking Earth, Heaven, and Hell. With that insight, its use as the title to Gianluca Becuzzi’s latest album makes sense. Becuzzi combines three distinct forms of instrumentation – synthesized drones, chanted vocals (samples from actual orthodox liturgical chants, apparently), and heavily distorted guitars. Thus, you have the landscape of Earth represented in the drones, Heavin in the chants, and Hell in the guitars. Becuzzi adds other less distinct samples and percussion into the mix, so maybe I am reading too much into this. But as a framing for exploration of the nearly two hours of material on this album, it works.

Interestingly, each of these tracks moves along points on the axis where the sounds of at least two, if not all three, planes can be heard. In fact, most of these points incorporate voice, synth, and power chords at various levels and lengths. One of these elements may be temporarily downplayed as the others take the fore, but all are represented.

Case in point, Hierophanies serves as an exemplary track. It begins with the ominous tolling of a bell, which is soon joined by background synth and massive walls of distorted guitar. The structure of this piece is more song-like than some of the others, as it has clearly-discernable patterns. One of these is a triplet of drumbeats, a high-pitched guitar motif, and the aforementioned chording that appears and reprises throughout. All this is coupled with subtle sampling and additional sparse percussion. Missing are the vocals, though they are well-represented on other tracks, many of which exhibit further abstractions as well.

Axis Mundi is yet another excellent addition to the Becuzzi oeuvre. Comparisons to Sunn O))) and drone metal are appropriate, but Becuzzi cannot be so easily pigeonholed. The album was released on October 1, so do not hesitate.

AMN Reviews: Richard Pinhas / Merzbow – CODA (2022; Bam Balam Records)

Pinhas and Merzbow team up again for two iconic slabs of electronic noise, both of album-side length. Helping out are Oren Ambarchi on motor guitar, Florian Tatard on accordion, and Senza Testa on synths. But the main thrust of CODA is a showcase for Merzbow’s sculpted white noise, rich with staccato patterns and oscillating structures of distortion and feedback. Pinhas’s contributions are largely synth layers in the background, including thick walls thereof. Both generate “cosmic” tones and themes that are reminiscent of the Kosmiche and space music of four or five decades past. Indeed, the second track begins with a Pinhas melody that would not be out of place in his Chronolyse era.

All this adds up to an overall sound that is not as harsh as some of Merzbow’s offerings. Indeed, the album can be listened to as a trippy journey through dense forests of hissing noise and drones – not exactly something to which you can easily bliss out, but not far from that mark. And do not hesitate to twist the volume knob to the right, as there are so many details deep in the mix that this Pinhas and Merzbow excursion sounds like a different album when cranked up appropriately.

CODA will be released on October 8 by Bam Balam Records.

Coming to West Oakland

Source: Paul Dresher Ensemble.

Oct 8, 2022 – 7:30pm
Matt McCright and Gloria Cheng: Piano solos and duos
Concert Among Friends with Pianists Gloria Cheng and Matthew McCright
Pianists and longtime friends Gloria Cheng and Matthew McCright team up for an evening of new music for solo and four-hand piano.

October 9, 2022 – 7pm
George Brooks and Utsav Lal featuring Keshav Batish and Mat Muntz
Saxophonist George Brooks and pianist Utsav Lal create dynamic new music drawing on the traditions of Indian classical music, American jazz, and contemporary improvisation rendered by a quartet of extraordinary instrumentalists.

Zappa, Beefheart, and Bongo Fury

Source: Yahoo Entertainment.

While not a collaboration, there’s no denying that Frank Zappa helped bring Captain Beefheart’s game-changing Trout Mask Replica to fruition. Yet while both were demanding bandleaders busy tearing up the rulebook and redefining the lexicon of rock – Zappa with his satirical deconstructions of rock’n’roll, Beefheart with his primal, blues-indebted exhortations – they were also headed down divergent paths. Zappa left nothing to chance, planning everything to the final detail. Beefheart, meanwhile, worked in a creative hurricane that sometimes seemed as chaotic as his stream-of-consciousness lyrics. An acrimonious split between the two personalities would take several years to mend.

In the mid-70s, however, both were at a crossroads. Zappa was about to say goodbye to his long-time band The Mothers Of Invention, while Beefheart, following his divisive foray into more overtly commercial territory, found himself casting around for a new Magic Band. Burying the hatchet, the two hit the road for a brief spring US jaunt in 1975, portions of which were captured on tape for Zappa’s 1975 album Bongo Fury, part recorded in the studio, part recorded at the World Armadillo Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The Best Experimental Music on Bandcamp: September 2022 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

All kinds of experimental music can be found on Bandcamp: free jazz, avant-rock, dense noise, outer-limits electronics, deconstructed folk, abstract spoken word, and so much more. If an artist is trying something new with an established form or inventing a new one completely, there’s a good chance they’re doing it on Bandcamp. Each month, Marc Masters picks some of the best releases from across this wide, exploratory spectrum. September’s selection includes unruly sax journeys, meditative guitar excursions, restless noise rock, and murky psychedelia made with the help of a CB radio.

AMN Reviews:  Live Music in Chicago – Kali Malone at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Every so often the universe shifts (probably more than we think) and allows fortune to look down upon…the patrons of musical arts.  Last Saturday was one of those times.  Kali Malone put on a 60-minute organ performance (aided by the two “extra hands” of Stephen O’Malley for about two-thirds of the show) that was a perfect facilitator for an autumnal evening of sound as instigator of vision.

Obvious credit to Malone and O’Malley…both talents in long form, immersive drone-like works and in Malone’s case (from what I’ve previously heard), epic (and slow) organ-based structures.  I wasn’t overly acquainted with Malone’s previous work, only hearing sporadic bits and pieces so subsequently, I was expecting more of a minimalist vibe.  My expectations were dashed a few minutes in as there was a whole lot more activity within the pieces than I was expecting.  (Don’t get me wrong, this was welcomed.) There was the mistaken assumption that I was going to hear long, drawn-out tonal studies focusing on the interior nature of a single sound or small group of sounds, i.e chords.  Instead, I got lots of chordal movement and lots of melodic motifs which proved to heighten my perceptions and senses in very colorful ways.  Over the course of the show, there were re-occurring themes floating in and out which I began to anticipate and interpret as “a return to safety” but came to realize they were there acting as sort of a base camp for the newer excursions that followed. 

Both artists have the ability to move planets off their orbital planes with the subtlest variance of timbre…but let’s not forget some extrinsic factors at work that had equal sway in elevating this musical evening.  While the sound creation was seeded by Malone’s excellent Pipe Organ scores, there were certainly other “things” that equally contributed. The gargantuan E.M Skinner Pipe Organ, one of the biggest instruments of its kind at the equally impressive Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago were integral actors in this experience. 

The performance, for the most part, was in total darkness apart from some unusually styled accordion-like lamps flanking the upper portion of the organ.  These provided enough ambient light to read the scores.  The small lamps were aesthetically interesting, enough to catch my attention throughout the performance but it was the sound of the organ itself, and its ability to inundate the sky-high cathedral with impressionistic vibrations that was riveting, in short…awe-inspiring.

Starting with a black canvas, the performers ported their energy into, and through the organ. Working in concert with the space, the perceptual frame was filled with a multitude of experiential emotions and personal (perhaps even shared) stories.

These three components (performers, instrument, space), taken together, synergistically delivered an encounter that resonated in individually unique, and maybe even in common ways with the almost packed house.  Judging from the reaction of the audience…the encounter was highly positive.  For me…well let’s just say I’m highly anticipating her appearance at the 2023 Big Ears Festival.  If she is performing in your area any time soon, this comes as a strong recommendation!

Mike Eisenberg
Twitter: @bigaudio999