Mining Pop for Avant-Garde Inspiration


More recently the pianist Christopher O’Riley has devoted full CDs to transcriptions of songs by Radiohead and the melancholy songwriter Nick Drake; and Alarm Will Sound, the inventive chamber orchestra, has been fascinated with electronica, having recorded an album of its own transcriptions of Aphex Twin’s brashly amusing pieces and gone on to arrange works by Autechre, Mochipet and Preshish Moments, as well as proto-electronica oldies by the Beatles (“Revolution 9”) and Varèse (“Poème Électronique”).

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Free Music General

Edgar Varèse and the Jazzmen

A rare set of recordings has been discovered, including Edgard Varese conducting Charles Mingus. They are now available for free download.

Edgard Varèse conducts a workshop with jazzmen Art Farmer (trumpet), Hal McKusik (clarinet, alto sax), Teo Macero (tenor sax), Eddie Bert (trombone), Frank Rehak (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Hall Overton (piano), Charlie Mingus (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), probably John La Porta (alto sax)… We don’t know who is on vibes…

It might be the first free jazz recording (totally unissued) of History of Music. Varèse might have influenced jazzmen or was he only aware of what was happening on the jazz scene? No matter of the answer, it’s a bomb, as this music is 3 years earlier than Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman! We also know Charlie Parker wanted to study with Varèse in autumn 1954 but the composer flew to Europe to conduct Déserts. When he came back to New York in May 1955, Parker had already died. We also know that Varèse used to listen to John Coltrane at the Village.

Between March and August 1957, these Sunday jam-sessions were followed by arranger George Handy, journalist Robert Reisner, composers James Tenney, Earle Brown and John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham. The organizers were Earle Brown and Teo Macero who will become Miles Davis‘ producer among others. Varèse used certain extracts of the workshop for his Poème électronique.

The original of this tape is at Fondation Paul Sacher.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Stirborg – Perceiving The World with Hate
Perceiving The World with Hate is the next grim yet creative sonic chapter in Stirborg’s distinctive take on the black metal genre, it shows Stirborg repeating old tricks effectively but adding in a few new ones to the blacked pot too.

Various Artists – Adventures in sound
Adventures in sound is a rather splendid compilation that focus in on early electronic & Electro-Acoustic composition, musique concrete, and avant- grade composition. Collecting together tracks from: Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry and Edgard Varese. Making this an highly enjoyable, varied primer and introduction to these old avant-garde masters

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Upcoming Detroit Area Shows

Image of Nate Wooley from Facebook
Image of Nate Wooley

From the Bohemian National Home in Exile:

Friday, April 10th: Taylor Ho Bynum/Thomas Fujiwara Duo, The Sure Shots, Jeff Marx Detroit Quartet
At Detroit Evolution Laboratory
Our first event at Detroit Evolution Laboratory in Eastern Market is a variety show like we haven’t seen in a while. Taylor Ho Bynum and Thomas Fujiwara are two leading improvisers of theor generation. Bynum has played cornet with the heaviest of the older generation, including Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor and Bill Dixon. He has also shined in groups with Jason Kao Hwang and Joe Morris. Fujiwara plays percussion in both Bynum’s trio and sextet; he also performs with another noted brasswind player, Nate Wooley, and spent some time touring with the off-Broadway hit Stomp.

Jeff Marx made a big impression on those only familiar with his inside playing at our recent 2739 Edwin performance. His agile phrasing and big sound on assorted saxophones was a real pleasure to hear in an unamplified settinG. We’ll have more of the same from his quartet of Marko Novachcoff, Kurt Prisbe and Joel Peterson.

Jennie and the Sure Shots just can’t stop playing everywhere all the time! We’ll be fresh out of the studio and rearing to go.

Detroit Evoltion Gallery is a new space in Eastern Market dedicated to healthy living through food, exercise and community events. They serve food, teach cooking classes, host yoga-and now they feature music and other events as well. 1434 Gratiot (at Russell St.). Doors at 8:30. $5-15 suggested.

Wednesday, April 15th: Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Psychedelic Horsesh!t and TBA at Old Miami
The amazing Quintron and his puppet-wielding partner Miss Pussycat return to Detroit for the first time since their huge, just-after-Katrina show at the Bohemian. Swap rock organ, automate d drum buddies and Edgar Varese style percussion can all find their way into Quintron’s bag. But undeniably, this is dance music of a type unique to Quintron’s spell casting.
With Columbus’ Psychedlic Horsesh!t and another act TBA.
The Old Miami is at 3930 Cass Ave. Doors at 8:30; $8.

Friday, April 17th: BoxDeserter Trio at Detroit Institute of Arts
Our favorite pianist, Thollem McDonas, returns to his favorite American city to kick off a tour by BoxDeserter Trio, with Skeeter Shelton and Joel Peterson. Speaking of favorites, Diego Rivera’s mural in the DIA is another of Thollem’s, which he didn’t realize was in Detroit until I took him to the museum. Now he gets to perform surrounded by it!

BoxDeserter mixes new chamber music, free improvisation and the broad repertoire of its members to create innovative, yet highly accessible music. Thollem has a new record coming out on ESP Disk and another release featuring his recent concert on Debussy’s piano in France! Skeeter Shelton is one of the great unsung saxophonists in Free Jazz and has performed with Fred Anderson, James Blood Ulmer, Dushun Mosley, Hakim Jami, Faruq Z. Bey and others. This will be the kick-off to BoxDeserter Trio’s midwest and east coast tour, so join us in The Rivera Court for two amazing sets- it’s free, of course!

5/5 Peter Brotzmann Duo
5/14 OffOnOff (Terry Ex of The Ex, Massimo Pupillo of ZU and Paal Nilssen Love)
5/30 Jack Wright/Bob Marsh

Boxdeserter Trio tour dates:

Apr 17 2009 8:00P
Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit
Apr 18 2009 8:00P
Kerrytown Concert House Ann Arbor, Michigan
Apr 19 2009 8:00P
Hungry Brain Chicago
Apr 20 2009 8:00P
Iron Post Urbana, Illinois
Apr 21 2009 7:30P
Charles and Limey’s Lounge (w/ End Times Trio) Springfield, Illinois
Apr 23 2009 8:00P
Schlafly Tap Room St Louis, Missouri
Apr 24 2009 8:00P
Schlafly Tap Room St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 28 2009 8:00P
Exile Long Island, New York

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CSO’s MusicNOW series gets another boost

Pierre Boulez in 2004
Image via Wikipedia

Pierre Boulez garners praise in Chicago.

Pierre Boulez is a shot in the arm for both the players on the stage and the large audience in the house. Despite the efforts of MusicNOW principal conductor Cliff Colnot, programming of the series under current CSO composers-in-residence Osvaldo Golijov and Mark-Anthony Turnage has not always been the most challenging, sometimes even veering into new-music easy listening.

Just as he does at Orchestra Hall with the big band, Boulez, who turns 84 this month, reminds us that serious need not be morose. Far from it. The concert he curated and led Monday night, featuring an essential 1975 score by Elliott Carter and recent works by French and German Boulez proteges, showed that rigor, discipline and edginess captivate much more than endless loops and post-modern noodling.

Despite his name and ancestry, Bruno Montovani, 34, is French to the core, and his 2005, 15-minute “Streets” for 10 players is a brilliant update on Edgard Varese’s pioneering works inspired by sounds of the big city. Tightly wound and carefully composed, Montovani’s music is rhythmically propulsive and laced with surprising turns.

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