General Industry Releases

The Eleven Project

MV5BZThlYzM4MWItMGYwNi00YTAzLWE1NjItNDMxZWIxZDhjYWMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_SY1000_CR0010371000_AL_Avant Garde / Experimental Guitarist Scott Fields is inviting guitarists to participate in The Eleven Project.  A project dedicated to Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel.  Scott is asking guitarists to contribute an 11 second recording of solo guitar with the amp turned up to 11. The compilation will be released in November on 11/11. For more details including how to submit your recording visit – The Eleven Project.


AMN Reviews General Releases Reviews

AMN Reviews: “The Happiness Handbook” – The Instruments of Happiness, Tim Brady [Starkland ST-232]

ST-232 Instruments of Happiness_The Happiness Handbook_Cover_HiRes

In the 20th century the electric guitar was invented and then proceeded to globally dominate popular music for decades. But the electric guitar is still somewhat of an outsider in the world of contemporary composition. Many conservatories and university music schools still do not allow students to select the electric guitar as their principal instrument of study. But despite this situation we now have several generations of highly trained electric guitarists possessing both the skills and the interest in playing something other than popular music.

In the last forty years or so a new chamber format has appeared all over the planet – the electric guitar quartet. The electric guitar quartet offers contemporary composers a chamber ensemble with an enormous sonic palette, an instrument familiar to all kinds of listeners, a globally increasing number of skilled instrumentalists and no defined “style” or accepted common practice. All of this has led to an increase in new works for the electric guitar. The Sheer Pluck Database of Contemporary Guitar Music  currently contains more than six thousand entries of works specifically for or that include the electric guitar.

Still much of the interest from composers in writing for the electric guitar has largely stemmed from the efforts of a small group of proponents. A leader among these proponents is composer/guitarist Tim Brady. Brady has spent more than thirty years composing and commissioning new works, organizing concerts and performing new works for the electric guitar.  Whether it be for the opera, the orchestra or the electric guitar quartet, Tim Brady is a composer whose compositional eclecticism synthesizes the sounds of classical, folk, rock, jazz, noise, improvisation, and electronics into his own personal sound world.

“The Happiness Handbook” is the second album on Starkland from the electric guitar quartet configuration of Tim Brady’s ensemble known as “The Instruments of Happiness”. The album features premiere recordings of compositions from Scott Godin, Jordan Nobles, Maxime McKinley, Gordon Fitzell, Emily Hall and Tim Brady. Each of the composers explore many of the unique sonic abilities of the electric guitar and often reference popular electric guitar styles and techniques. Style wise the compositions generally fall into the new tonality and post minimalist aesthetics; making the album ideal for a wide range of audiences.

“The Instruments of Happiness” quartet members Marc-Oliver Lamontagne, Jonathan Barriault, Simon Duchesne and Tim Brady have playing skills that are deep and wide.  The quartet is extremely well versed in everything from classical chamber music to popular music to extended techniques and experimental music including electronic effects and pedals. As an ensemble they are tight, lyrical and energetic.  They play with a wide range of dynamics and control and are able to move effortlessly from an ensemble of highly independent voices to performing as one large instrument.

“The Happiness Handbook” opens with Scott Godin’s “Martlandia” which explores swelling chords and intricately articulated themes with shades of progressive rock. Tim Brady’s “Equal But Opposite Reaction” combines standard and extended techniques with electronics into a wonderful contrapuntal kaleidoscope that covers a lot of ground.

Jordon Nobles “Deep Field” would make a great sci fi soundtrack with its swells of sounds that roll by as it moves slowly through deep space. It’s as if a flamenco and blues gesture were combined and intertwined; then slowed down a few hundred times while slowly twisting and turning to reveal itself.  A wonderful piece!  Maxime McKinley’s “Reflects de Francesca Woodman” begins with harmonics bouncing and refracting off of one another that eventually builds up into jagged variations on a bluesy theme only to finds its way back into a refractive meditative state. Gordon Fitzell’s “Bomb Crater Garden” is an aggressive mix of clear harmonics and scattered noisy sounds. It beautifully utilizes extended techniques and electronics to slowly build up and then melt away into a kind of noisy slide guitar bird song.  The album ends with Emily Hall’s “The Happiness Handbook”. A suite of five short movements that covers a lot of ground as it celebrates the sheer joy of playing the electric guitar.

“The Happiness Handbook” is a wonderful album. Many AMN readers will enjoy this album, especially guitarists. I think the album should have appeal not just with the minimalist/post minimalist, new music and experimental guitar crowds. “The Happiness Handbook” may be an ideal gateway recording to introduce progressive rock and fusion listeners to contemporary electric chamber music.  So, give it a listen!

Highly Recommended!

Chris De Chiara

AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Ian Vine – Frieze/Static Form/Division [bandcamp]

Frieze/Static Form/Division is composer-guitarist Ian Vine’s tripartite essay into immersive sound for acoustic or electric guitar and electronics. The recording is somewhat deceptive in that what at first appears to the casual listen to be drone music in fact on closer consideration reveals itself to be music of deliberately slow harmonic rhythm. Frieze, the opening track, does indeed begin as a ringing drone, but over the course of its eighteen minutes it develops through gradual changes in color and texture as well as harmonic movement brought about by the backgrounding and foregrounding of different overtones. The rougher-surfaced Static Form follows with melodic movement in slowly descending tones, while the final track, Division, maintains a sense of tension by holding harmonic resolution dramatically in abeyance.


Now Now Fest 2010

Mani Neumeier (German musician, here - on drum...
Image via Wikipedia

From the NOW now, an organization that puts on improv music in Australia:

Our 9th festival is happening JAN Friday 22- Sunday 24 2010 in the Blue Mountains.

starring…THE SPLINTER ORCHESTRA, Mark Boar (damaged guitar, tapes); Kirsty Stegwazi (violin cello, etc), STREIFENJUNKO (NOR), Somaya Langley (electronics) & Jon Hunter (guitar, electronics), Kris Wanders (sax), Adam Sussman (guitar), Rory Brown (bass) & Mani Neumeier (drums), Rizili (vox, guitar); Martin Ng (tuntables, electronics);Borce Markovski (vocals); Mike Majkowski (vox), PEKING: Clare Cooper (bass guitar); Brendan Walls (guitar); Stu Olsen (drums), Ensemble playing various microtonal instruments of Kraig Grady, Kraig Grady, Terumi Narushima, Alex Masso, Fin Ryan, Laura Altman (clarinet); Rory Brown (double bass); Aemon Webb (electronics); Kim Myhr (guitar); Espen Reinertsen (tenor sax & flute), SIMS PROJECT: Claire Herbert (laptop/MAXMSP); Fred Rodrigues (laptop); Abel Cross (bass guitar, pedals); Adrian Klumpes (keys); Hirofumi Uchino (electronics); Tony Osbourne (vocals), QUINTET EXPERIMENTA (ARG): Adriana de los Santos (prepared piano, objects); Grod Morel (sampler, laptop); Claudio Calmens (electric guitar, wind instruments); Zypce (electric percussion, tuntable, CD); Claudio Koremblit (visuals, prepared electric guitar), POTATO MASTA: Hayato Yoshinari (electronics, vox), CHRONOX, Jon Rose (fence), Neill Duncan (sax,); Alex Masso (percussion, drums); Sam Pettigrew (double bass); Sam Dobson (double bass); Alister Spence (piano), ZEIT KUNST 6, Michel Doneda (sax); Kim Myhr (guitar, objects); Matthias Muche (trombone); Clayton Thomas (bugle, kazoo, etc); Sven Hahne (computer), Clare Cooper (Guzheng), NHOMEAS, JOEY AND THE CALYPSOES, Interactive Netball, facilitated by Jon Rose and lots more

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Jessica Pavone + Curhachestra + Scopa Trio at Zebulon Nov 12th

A free(?) show coming to New York’s Zebulon:

November 12th
8:30 pm (free)
258 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211-3914
(718) 218-6934

Jessica Pavone presents:
Wordless songs inspired by life’s cast of characters
Jessica Pavone – violin, viola
Brandon Seabrook – guitar
Jonti Siman – eletric bass
Harris Eisenstadt – drums

Brian Drye (farfisa organ, synth)
Timothy Monaghan (drums, guitar)
Brandon Seabrook (electric guitar and banjo)
Christopher Tordini (bass)
Curha (alto trombone, guitar and other odd items).

The Curha-chestra is a group that strives to combine electronic music concepts with an acoustic mindset. Somehow, the music creates a thin line between new wave and old time with the ever-shifting orchestral possibilities keeping the sound fresh and interesting. Curtis Hasselbring is the creative voice behind the Curha-chestra. Under the moniker Curha, he has created a large body of works that are a combination of lo-fi electronics, sample-based technology and his own skills as a multi-instrumentalist/composer. Curha has also remixed the music of Slavic Soul Party, Golem and Frank London in addition to his self-made releases.

Brian Drye Presents:
Scopa Trio
Brian Drye – Trombone / Compositions
Vinnie Sperrazza – Drums
Geoff Kraly – Electric Bass

Brian Drye (Slavic Soul Party, Frank London, Firewater) has formed a new power trio with new compositions. These days, trombone is the new guitar.

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Out on Bo’Weavil Recordings

Bo’Weavil Recordings has a new avant-jazz release:

by N.E.W. (Noble/Edwards/Ward)

N.E.W are the combined improvising talents of Steve Noble (Drums/Percussion), John Edwards (Bass), and Alex Ward (electric guitar). This, the third release for N.E.W, catches them in all their live ferocity, potency and inventive group improvisation, equal measures free improv as avant-rock, these 3 lives tracks reveal the sheer power, attack and total commitment that these three have to reaching new heights.

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Coming Up From Sonic Circuits

From DC’s Sonic Circuits:

Monday June 15
Doors 730pm Music 8pm SHARP
8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910
located three blocks south of the silver spring metro station (red line)
Free parking in gated lot out front

Gregg Kowalsky resides in Oakland, California where he completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College. Kowalsky’s compositions range from drone and noise pieces to meditative psychedelia with minimalist aesthetic. Gregg has composed dance, sound installations, ?lm and acoustic ensembles.

For the past 15 years, Ben Bracken has slowly been creating a unique sonic language utilizing electronics, acoustic sound sources (guitar, cymbal, bells, found objects, etc), electric guitar, and field recordings. Primarily interested in the possibilities of a kind of echo- relocation that exists with sound based art, his work has oscillated from performance to installation, often blurring the lines between the two. In both, the location of the event becomes an active participant, intimately shaping the nature and direction of each work. After finishing a graduate degree in Electronic Music at Mills College in Oakland, CA, Ben moved on to his current technical support position at Cycling ‘74, the developers of Max/MSP. Ben also curates the Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut, a performance space in West Oakland, CA. Some previous or current musical groups include Crystal Village (with Gregg Kowalsky), Flashpapr, Tiny Lights, Remote Viewing Ensemble, Duo with Luis Maurette, Duo with Zach Wallace, Bones (with Jacqueline Gordon). Ben has improvised with Le-Quan Ninh, Brent Guetzeit, Kevin Drumm, Peter Kowald, Chris Cutler, Phil Minton, Rhodri Davies, Werner Dafeldecker, Fred Van Hove, Johannes Bauer, among others.

Trio O is Rich O’Meara (Kwo’m Percussion Group, Silent Orchestra) on amplified vibes, electronics and percussion, Kevin O’Meara (Videohippos, Blood Baby) on drums and percussion and Gary Rouser (Vector Trio, Nine Strings) on NS bass/cello and other objects.

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Tom Carter, Steve Gunn, Shawn David McMillen, The Boy Who Spoke Clouds in Syracuse

Coming on June 20, from Metropolis Underground:

Tom Carter is best known for his work with acclaimed psych-drone iconoclasts Charalambides, which he co-founded with Christina Carter in 1991, he has branched out into other collaborations since 2001, playing and recording with long-term projects Zaika (with Marcia Bassett) and Badgerlore (with Rob Fisk, Ben Chasny, Liz Harris, and Peter Swanson), as well as in frequent collaborations with Bay Area sound artist Robert Horton. Other fellow travelers have included Christian Kiefer, Tetuzi Akiyama, Thurston Moore, Shawn David McMillen, Dredd Foole, Lorren Connors, Pip Proud, Inca Ore, Jandek, Bardo Pond, and Matt Valentine, among many others.

Most recently, Carter has focused on his solo performances and recordings, touring constantly from 2007-2008, and finally settling in New York City in early 2009. His solo work covers a vast territory, but latter-day sightings show him to be concentrating on looped guitar drones of immensely-stacked grit and beauty, with heaps of psychedelic melodic content missing from the repertoires of many noise and drone bands.

Shawn David McMillen met Tom and Christina Carter Charalambides—now considered early pioneers of the present avant-folk movement—as well as Heather Leigh Murray. Heather and Shawn moved to Galveston, where she attended Texas A&M/Galveston while “working at an animal clinic, recording music constantly, and having cataclysmic experiences on acid together at the beach.” Shawn and Heather recorded together as Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, releasing one CD on Charalambides’ Wholly Other imprint and playing one show with Palace Brothers. Circa 1999, the pair moved to Austin where they played with Rick Reed in Abrasion Ensemble and later formed Iron Kite. Recorded mostly at night, Catfish is acoustic-based only because Shawn had no electric guitar at the time. Other instruments include autoharp, Roland keyboard, Indian goat bell, Indonesian gongs, bowed electric bass, African kalimba (thumb piano), and shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute). Cited influences at the time include American Indian lore, music from the Middle East and India, Phil Yost, Robbie Basho, and Malachi.

Steve Gunn plies his trade in the Northeast, calling Brooklyn home. He’s best know for the major role he plays in the group GHQ. Over the course of numerous excellent releases, it became clear that Gunn was a real force in experimental music. Once his solo music started being unearthed, there was no turning back. Steve will be performing a mix of improvisational blues based guitar works.

The Boy Who Spoke Clouds is the moniker of Adam Casey, former guitarist and singer of Australian sextet, Seascapes of the Interior. The Boy Who Spoke Clouds began as a musical departure point from Seascapes of the Interior, amalgamating Adam’s love of gypsy and indigenous music and the polyrhythmic approach of composers such as Steve Reich and Gyorgi Ligeti with his bittersweet shamanic-folk based compositions.

Show starts @ 8pm

$5.00-$10.00 donation

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Performances Reviews

Anthony Braxton & The Walter Thompson Orchestra Reviewed

Anthony Braxton
Image via Wikipedia

One of probably many reviews of this weekend’s concerts:

Braxton was a busy man, moving from composing to playing three instruments (alto, soprano and sopranino sax?) as part of the ensemble. At times, Braxton and Thompson were conducting simultaneously, using a combination of their musical systems (Language Music and Soundpainting, respectively) to shape the music and action (there were also a group of actors who moved behind and through the musicians and contributed various vocalizations – spoken, chanted and sung). Instruments included (prepared?) piano, synth, electric guitar, bass, various horns, gong and woodblock percussion, cello and violin.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Wolfskin – O Ajuntas das Sombras
O Ajuntas das Sombras (Ajuntas of the Shades) is a darkly enchanting, often hypnotic and at times very creepy shot of earthy woodland and ritual based dark ambience and chilling drone craft with hints of slowed and damned folk matter weaved in here and there along the albums deep dark and compelling woodland track.

The Incapacitants – Box Is Stupid(boxset)
Box is Stupid is a really luxurious and rather neat boxset that brings together 10 cd’s worth of early out print 1990’s tape releasers by Japanese noise tearing duo The Incapacitants. It’s really a must have item item for any serious and discerning noise fan

Deadwood – Ram Black
Ram Black is an ultra bleak and violent mixture of noise, blackened metal and doom guitar tone, brooding pitch black ambience and the odd primal industrial battering.

RST – Tomorrow’s Void
RST is New Zealand’s Andrew Moon, an artist who, though he has been known by those three initials for over a decade, seems tailor made for the Utech label. His electric guitar experiments are carefully arranged as to appear fully composed, yet on the other hand naturally flowing, indicating at least some level of improvisation. Moon’s approach to the guitar is not unheard of; he shapes feedback and seems to rarely if ever actually touch the strings of the instrument. What he culls from what has become an increasingly commonplace practice is what sets him apart; he creates a massive, cavernous atmosphere by overlapping elements created by plenty of analog effects and more than enough amplification.

Figueras,Toop & Burwell – Cholagogues
This is a rather active, quirky, textural varied and enjoyable long form piece of improv that was original recorded and put out in 1977 and here returns in a digital remaster form.

Sum Of R – Self Titled
Sum of R’s sound sit’s in an heady and atmospheric place between doom metallic’s, guitar drone craft, filmatic post-rock scaping, grim ‘n’ glighty ambience and general atmospheric dwell and unfold

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