Marc Ribot’s Sun Ship

Marc Ribot‘s take on Coltrane is reviewed.

The dauntless, combustible energies of jazz’s 1960s avant-garde have long held a deep attraction for the guitarist Marc Ribot. His public profile may involve a great deal of tact and concision — he works widely as a gun for hire, often infusing low-gloss pop albums with a proper hint of twang — but as a bandleader he tends to reach for a messier, more transcendent ideal. In recent years he has expressed that impulse best through his band Spiritual Unity, inspired by the free-jazz firebrand Albert Ayler.

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This Week’s Best Albums from ALARM Magazine

In ALARM Magazine:

Bob Log III: My Shit is Perfect (Birdman)

For 15 years, Bob Log III has knocked out fucked-up, floor-stomping rhythms for adventurous show-goers, performing in full-body cannonball suits with a telephone-receiver mic fastened to a motorcycle helmet. His one-man-band MO consists of crazy blues riffs, drum-machine beats, solo kick-drum rhythms, and steel-stringed slide guitar. True to form, My Shit is Perfect is quintessential Bob Log with elements of stop-start timing, lighting-fast picking, and mostly incomprehensible lyrics.

Gouseion: More Friends for the Fire EP (Run Riot)

Electronic producer Cassidy DeMarco returns with another release as Gouseion, purveyor of buzz-saw synthesizers and big beats. For this EP, DeMarco stresses backing harmonies and scales back the power of his drum samples, resulting in a dancier mix whose appeal reaches beyond raves. Released less than six months after his last full album, Nijikon, this EP is a digital-only release.

Bushman’s Revenge: You Lost Me at Hello (Rune Grammofon)

Led by the down-tuned riffs of Even Helte Hermansen, the guitarist for the outstanding Norwegian prog-jazz group Shining, Bushman’s Revenge filters a heavy rock trio through the lens of an improvisational jazz outfit. The group cites inspiration as much from Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix as Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, and You Lost Me at Hello oddly sounds a bit like all of it, even if it leans on the first two. Boundless free jazz meets structured rock and roll on the album, which comes recommended for fans of both styles.

Pulling Teeth: Paradise Illusions / Paranoid Delusions (Deathwish Inc.)

Punching in at five songs and 23 minutes, this doubly themed release takes hardcore group Pulling Teeth in a crushing and despairing direction. The group’s full-throttle tempos, speed picking, push beats, and wailing solos are still present, but the final product is a more-complete, ominous concoction that adds a few melodic breakdowns.

Rahim AlHaj: Ancient Sounds (UR Music)

Iraqi political refugee Rahim AlHaj found asylum in the USA in 2000, finally free of the torture and imprisonment that he suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein for aligning himself with anti-Hussein groups. A master of the oud, AlHaj now lives in New Mexico, where he was able to vote last November for the first time in his entire life. His beautiful Arabic style, full of microtones and complex rhythms, has taken small elements of Western structure over the years, although this duet recording with sarod master Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is rather traditional.

Stinking Lizaveta: Sacrifice and Bliss (At a Loss)

Splashing together prog rock, math rock, stoner/psych rock, and bits of Eastern flavor, Stinking Lizaveta accomplishes quite a bit for having a semi-standard rock-trio lineup. Guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos shines with his technical and diverse creations, and he adds keyboards and theremin as sonic supplements. Sacrifice and Bliss comes strongly recommended for instrumental-tech-rock geeks.

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Matthew Shipp & the Roy Campbell/Joe McPhee Quartet in Antwerp

Der Saxophonist Joe McPhee beim Konzert mit de...
Image via Wikipedia

A recent performance by these gentlemen is reviewed.

Themed around the iconoclastic ’60s saxophonist Albert Ayler, the evening’s fare at the modern deSingel International Arts Center on the edge of Antwerp city center was an intriguing mix of the new, the old and, in terms of the heritage underpinning what we heard, even the older. Proceedings commenced with a late afternoon screening of the documentary My Name is Albert Ayler, which I missed, but then continued with a solo set by pianist Matthew Shipp, followed by the Roy Campbell/Joe McPhee Quartet’s Tribute to Albert Ayler. Seating was set up on the stage of the large Blauwe Zaal, making for an intimate space, which allowed unamplified performance, except for the bass. Excellent acoustics combined with a respectful audience resulted in a wonderful ambience in which even the quietest sounds rang out with absolute clarity.

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