Paranoid Cat is Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth’s third solo album and the first for Family Vineyard. It is a sprawling, harmonically-charged side-long suite backed by a clutch of compositions merging raw and delicate American roots traditions. After more than a decade trotting the globe and recording with a mess of today’s avant garde greats, plus co-leading the brazenly absurd Peeesseye, Forsyth has arranged a full-band with dummer Mike Pride and members of D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Peeesseye, and Mountains to accompany his electric six-string vision of interlocking arpeggios and maximalist peaks. The kaleidoscopic arrangements of Paranoid Cat are a leap from the stripped down attack on Forsyth’s hotly acclaimed 2009 Dreams -- to be reissued by Family Vineyard later this year -- with hints of John Fahey's “America,” Richard Lloyd's work with Television, John Lee Hooker, and Van Dyke Parks all being identifiable somewhere in the swirling mix.
Family Vineyard reissues an obscure and sought after punk/new wave treasure. Dow Jones and the Industrials’ 1981 debut and sole 7-inch EP, originally issued on the Hardly Music label, is immaculately re-mastered from the original tapes and now available on audiophile vinyl. Dow Jones and the Industrials of West Lafayette, Indiana existed from the late 1970s into the early 80s amongst a stylistically matchless state-wide scene that included The Gizmos, Zero Boys and Dancing Cigarettes. This EP -- of which original copies have swapped hands for more than $400 -- contains the often bootlegged and covered anthem “Can’t Stand the Midwest,” along with “Let’s Go Steady” and “Indeterminism.” The four member DJI combined jagged rock ‘n’ roll songwriting with emerging electronic instrumentation and smart-ass collegiate humor into a wild new wave sound that won them immediate popularity among Indiana’s punks and co-eds of the day and has remained in the hearts of record collectors these past 30 years. Includes exact reprints of the two different versions of an insert included with the original record. Family Vineyard will be reissuing the complete recordings of Dow Jones & The Industrials later in 2011.
Tokyo-based guitarist/singer Hisato Higuchi presents his fourth full-length and first LP release. “Henzai” is Higuchi at his most bare. Each song appears like a spectral poem -- sewn together with hushed electricity and whispers. This recording is wholly intimate, recorded in seclusion, and washes over the listener like a hazy, day-break dream. Higuchi splits these 12 torch-songs between slow-motion improvisations and the composed, yet each is sung with a mix of beautiful wordless/Japanese language moans that appears to have no beginning or end. The electric guitar catches the fainest of blue melodies and single note trances before flickering into black nothingness. The disparate touchstones for the emotional weight waged across this LP range from Blind Willie Johnson to The Cure’s “Pornography.”Higuchi first embarked on his artistic travels as a puppeteer for a theater company. In 1990 he started creating music in his home studio and eventually self-released his debut CD EP “She” in 2003. Soon after he appeared on PSF’s famed Tokyo Flashback compilation series, and Family Vineyard released the full-lengths “Dialogue” (2006) and “Butterfly Horse Street” (2007). Higuchi will be featured on an upcoming installment of Root Strata’s Tsuki No Seika 7-inch series.=Higuchi recorded, produced and shot the cover art for this 550 edition LP
Suzanne Langille started her recording career as a vocalist alongside Loren Mazzacane Connors on a string of rare LPs in the mid-1980s acclaimed for their startling transformation of the blues. Since, Langille has added vocals and lyrics to many Connors albums, including the landmark "Hell's Kitchen Park," collaborated with San Agustin and issued a conceptual full-length on Secretly Canadian in 1998. But all along a proper solo album has never surfaced -- until now."Wild & Foolish Heart" joins Langille with Indian classical musician Neel Murgai -- a long-time collaborator and leader of his own ensemble. Langille's blues-filled moans are perfectly matched to the dazzling drone and subtle melodic rhythm of Murgai's tanpura and daf (Persian frame drum). Their reworking of popular/traditional songs and Langille's own dramatic compositions draw out redemption, sorrow and celebration in a way that makes listening to these sides feel like uncovering a lost field recording of otherworldly haunts or spirituals. Langille's pervading melancholic tone flares in the tradition of Patti Smith and Thalia Zedek at times. The LP ends with a scorching blowout from the Haunted House band, the legendary/defunct downtown 'blues rock' improv-combo fronted by Langille, with Murgai, Connors and San Augstin guitarist Andrew Burnes.This 550-edition LP features cover art from Loren Connors, a selection of his rarely seen photography/collage work, and is pressed in an edition of 550 copies.
Into the Night Sky is the sixth album from avant guitarists Alan Licht and Loren Connors, the first after 2003's In France. Since 1993 these New York City artists have evolved an instrumental dialogue merging shades of electric blues and minimalism. These two epic pieces — one from 1996, the other 2006 — recorded live in concert clearly show far their desolate sound world grew over a decade of collaboration while the core of layered guitar complexities and alien melodies remain. The atmosphere conjured by the duo is unmistakable — the ebb of eloquently shaped feedback — while the harmonic patterns recall 20th Century classical music. Active since the early 1990s, Licht has worked with a veritable who's who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends to downtown composers while performing in Text of Light and an ongoing duo with Aki Onda. Since 1978 Connors has released dozens of acclaimed and sought after LPs documenting his singular adaption of the blues and forging his place as one of America's most iconoclastic artists.
Human Skab was a 10-year old boy from Elma, Washington who played African music with buckets and spoons. Thunder Hips and Saddle Bags is a 1986 cassette recorded by young Travis Roberts with his neighborhood pals and siblings. It was injected into the underground network of tape traders, zine scribes, college DJs, and freak seekers who were universally bowled over by its bewildering and utterly poignant snapshot of the mid-1980s. Skab's music — an orchestration of pots n' pans, three string guitar, poorly-tuned upright piano, broken bottles, toy guns, a garden rake, and a "Snake Mountain" microphone — is a response to fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, He-Man cartoons, Twisted Sister, the coolness of dinosaurs, the uncoolness of John Wayne, and Ronald Reagan. Roberts captures the fervor of do-it yourself ethos, punk energy and the rawness of early American folk by acting on his wild child imagination and enigmatic sense of song.These rare recordings have never been made widely available until now. This reissue includes the complete 1986 cassette. The CD version contain a bonus 1987 radio interview. The 16-page booklet in the 500 edition LP and CD contains extensive liner notes by Roberts and Cousin Franky, and radio DJâ€ˆJohn Straub along with many full-color photographs and news clippings.
Jailbreak is the duo of pedal steel/vocalist Heather Leigh and drummer Chris Corsano. The name foregrounds the kind of outlaw violence with which the two reformulate rock/roll instants by bringing free jazz fire power to amp-humping sex beats. Their musical alliance goes all the way back to the legendary Brattleboro Free Folk Fest, the birthplace of the ‘New Weird America’, where Corsano and his long-term saxophone partner Paul Flaherty joined Leigh and Christina Carter for a quartet show that took the roof off the building and the skin off their fingers. Since then Corsano and Leigh have worked together as part of Taurpis Tula and as members of Thurston Moore’s Dream/Aktion Unit. So, who better to describe this 700 edition debut LP, than Mr. Flaherty: For those of you who've been worried that the Free Power Noize scene has become a little too tame, (and seriously who isn't somewhat concerned about that), a new screamin' creamin' duo -- Jailbreak -- expoldes to the rescue. The Rocker is a blast-furnace of blisteringly joyous witch-howling assaults on the essence of whips and chains and repressive injustice gone legal. Both of these magisterial musicians are capable of extreme dynamics and subtleties, but those concepts don't get in the way of this monster-truck of a record. And why should they when drums and guitar can slash and burn in a riotous electric smash fest like this crazed merry madcap of an album. Over the top . . . Way!
Friendly Pants is the first American release by legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. It pairs the 65-year-old traveler alongside Chikamorachi, the bombast rhythm section of drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise Glace). Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as Yamashita Yosuke Trio and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brötzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others.
Since 2005 Sakata has been aligned with Corsano and Gray — a duo equally informed by underground American rock, noise & free jazz — and already issued two other smoked and blown out albums with them in Japan. On each of those they were joined by Jim O’Rourke, who remains in the producer’s chair for this session. Sakata deliverers ferocious / highly lyrical approaches to the post-bop field and with Chikamorachi’s recalls late-period John Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders during the early 1970s at times. While the three smear and tear at the edges, Sakata’s massive tone and melodic sense reins in the chaos to create beauty and awe.
Originally issued on O’Rourke’s Japanese imprint Shakaijin Records, Friendly Pants is now reissued for the rest of the world to dig.
In 1981 guitarist Loren Connors took his tape recorder to the graveyard where the legendary Midnight Mary's grave lies in New Haven, Conn. The curse is: Anyone who gets caught in her graveyard past midnight will die the next day. But Connors, like a young fool, taped in that place, making this album that was lost and forgotten until uncovered in 2008.
Recorded between Connors’ eight volume Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations LP series and the folk albums he would make with Tom Hanford and Kath Bloom, these nine pieces meld those distinct forms. Connors, singing in a trance like moan, reforms the Mississippi Delta blues on his acoustic guitar with flashes of melodic hooks and a percussive guitar style that erupts into boogie-woogie riffs and other world spirituals. It’s an album for fans of Connors’ solo avant work and collaborations with Jim O’Rourke or Jandek; and will enthrall devotees of early the 20th Century blues of Blind Willie Johnson and Charlie Patton. A rare and essential peak into the still mysterious early years of this American guitar master.
These two nice Catholic boys, Loren Connors and Jim O'Rourke, met at the crossroads each night during a 1997 European tour. By this time O'Rourke already reissued Connors' seminal heartbreak album In Pittsburgh on his Dexter's Cigar label and and was preparing to produce the guitarist's big-band mash-up with Alan Licht, Hoffman Estates. Together, Connors-O’Rourke unravel slow motion ghost blues across three extended pieces that evolve from the elder’s martian style to the thundering, feedback splattered lead grooves of that whippersnapper. The spontaneous melodies shift from devastating, country road intimacy to hypnotic overamped rock. It's ferocious, epic, and an utter beauty capable only from two who know themselves and each other all too well. This live CD is only the second duo release by these musical partners despite performing together since the mid-90s. During the past decade, O'Rourke has repeatedly returned to the hours of recordings captured across Europe to select these 47 minutes.
Fakerie is a digital sÃ©ance of aural and visual sculptures by the New Zealand artist Rachel Shearer, formerly known as Lovely Midget. Filmed in an environment to facilitate focused listening, Fakerie is as much for the ears as the eyes. Glowing white lights ebb and expand from darkness in shifting series — like clustered stars — as penetrating resonances of acoustic and electronic overtones decompose into the tiniest sand-like components. Traces of Mary Lucier’s mid-1970s burn films and Francois Bayle’s musical investigation into the physical and psychical world is present. The specially programmed Region 0 (free)/NTSC format DVD plays in constant loop. Its 22-minutes can be expanded into hours allowing the user to immerse themselves in the work. This DVD is Shearer’s first long-form film release. In the past 20 years she has released records on Siltbreeze, Xpressway, Flying Nun, Corpus Hermeticum and Ecstatic Peace as Lovely Midget and with Queen Meanie Puss and Angelhead. Packaged in a mini-LP-styled gatefold book, this set also contains a 20-page booklet investigating the ghosts, distances and signals of fakerie.
Aria Nativa is more than Paul Flaherty’s third solo saxophone album; it merges rhapsodic avant garde music, patriotic dream verse, and mortality into a frighteningly pure work of audio, visual and literary sledge. Recorded during a pair of 2007 performances, its four pieces capture lifeblood in stunning detail from foot stomps to gut hollers and crowd roars as Flaherty’s free power blues dips into the well of wretchedness and raises with fists of mirth. It’s the sorta record that splays naked the artist for all: equal parts wise ass and universal vision. From his early 1970s woodshedding through a dozen plus albums each with drum buddies Randall Colburne and Chris Corsano, and collaborators Bill Nace, Wally Shoup and Sunburned Man of the Hand, Flaherty remains a total wildcat — on and off the alto/tenor horns. For this LP his massive tonal craft is equally matched by Ken Hill’s gorgeous cover shot of a snow blown grave and “No More America” — Ken DelPonte’s epic poem that spans nearly five decades and fills the back jacket, framing the atmosphere the music was recorded under. Each 500 copies contain a download coupon for MP3 version of the album that includes a bonus track of “No More America” read by the author.
The Great Orthochromatic Wheel is The Blithe Sons first full-length release since 2004. In the years since the California duo of Loren Chasse and Glenn Donaldson may have traversed poppy fields and swam to aqua cities though mostly they've remained active with their Jewelled Antler offshoots: Ov, Of, and Child Readers (Chasse) or Skygreen Leopards and Flying Canyon (Donaldson) and both in Thuja. These five songs combine nature's elodic pull and minimalist songs forms summoned by a miniature orchestra of eclectic instruments. Each LP side flaunts a different depth of the Sons, one recorded outdoors and the other inside. The indoor set consists of slow-motion ballads built on hymn-like organ, nylon string guitar, analog drum machine & stark percussion. The outdoor side offers a web of exotic wind-instruments & battery-powered electronics reverberating in a cavernous hall cut in the side of a sea-cliff. Each 500 copies contain a download coupon for MP3 version of the album.
For over 30 years troubadour wailer Dan Ireton, aka Dredd Foole, has called upon the spirit of 78 shellac blues n' psychedelic Stooges n' Velvets to fuel his guttural, pure soul ethos of the song. Whether solo or leading mass, Foole hints at the classic forms of Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks, Buckley’s Starsailor and the celestial fug of Sun Ra’s third-eye vision to create an approach untraveled yet increasingly influential (see: Six Organs of Admittance, Sunburned Hand of the Man). Produced in multi-dimensional spectrasound by Matt “MV” Valentine (Bummer Road, Tower Recordings), Kissing The Contemporary Bliss spans 50 miles of elbow room (it’s a double CD) and kicks up the most outward bound and staggering approaches to Gus Cannon's "Walk Right In" and Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway" while offering ear-popping originals colored by Erika Elder’s jug blowin’ and Coot Moon’s ecstatic, reverb dosed banjo. You’ll hear nothing like this in 2008 or beyond. Packaged in a mini-LP-styled gatefold book with full color photos of The Foole in action.
Between 1988 and 1998, John Terrill (co-founder of the late ‘70s new/no wave Dancing Cigarettes) recorded this album and made a few copies for close friends and for mailing to musical heroes. In another era, it could have stood next to Scott Walker or Michael Hurley’s early albums or even Randy Burns’ LPs on ESP Disk. It’s an out-of-time classic that mixes honey baked orchestration, acoustic soul, and pop-psychedelia into cracked and spellbinding songs. Now reissued for all and remastered with a bonus track from 1984. “I feel this album is a little gem. Lyrically—a man up against it (Frowny Frown) as opposed to (Smiley Smile), but still leaning towards humor, kindheartedness, and no bitterness within the adversity. A very feeling album and all kinds of sonically interesting things. The kind of direction Brian Wilson might even have taken himself if his own circumstances had been different. Beach Boys meet Mothers of Invention.” — Bill Fay.
Don't call it a comeback. Bridge Out!, the first release in almost a decade by the outlaw duo of saxophonist Paul Flaherty and percussionist Randall Colbourne, is better thought of as a renewal, a reawakening of a collaboration which has lain dormant for too long. Joining forces in the late 1980s, these two New Englanders released over a dozen uncompromising albums of avant garde jazz on their own and other labels that have since vanished into legend. Since then, Flaherty has expanded across the world stage in improv, out-rock and noise (with Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Wally Shoup, etc.) while Colbourne pursued private study. Together again, they’ve created eight instant compositions of coiling sax lines and polyrhythmic patterns that commemorates the past celebrates the new. Includes liner notes by Nick Cain.
Debut collaboration of New York artists and long-time duo partners Alan Licht and Aki Onda, whose combined history connects artists straddling the pop and experimental worlds, including Fennesz, Loren Connors, Takemura Nobukazu, Lee Ranaldo, and Toriko Nujiko. In the past decade their montage-inspired solo work---Licht's permutational guitar and tape pieces on Rabbi Sky and A New York Minute, Onda's field recording recontextualizations on Bon Voyage! and Ancient & Modern---has co-existed with their experimental sound/visual projects Text of Light (Licht) and Cinemage (Onda). Everydays is five grandly formed soundscapes that mix Onda's poetic/textural cassette sounds and the rhythmic/lyrical pull of Licht's guitar. Morphing from recognizable structures to dissonant hammered chunks and rapid cut-ups, the album perfectly weaves their signature applications of sound diaries, minimalism, grainy fidelity, looping and free blues into a dynamic and ambitious statement.
Jed Speare is a crossover artist who has been working in sound, video, and performance for over thirty years. Sound Works 1982-1987 reflects his investigation and uniquely expressive practice of musique concrete-like analogue sound/field recording, editing, combining and mixing during that era. He is the creator of the Smithsonian Folkways LP Cable Car Soundscapes (1982), a project that begins as a sound documentary and ends as a tape composition based on cable car sounds. In the early 80s he recorded with the San Francisco groups, Research Library (appearing with and solo on the legendary Red Spot compilation LP; Subterranean Records), Ultrasheen (7" ep; Subterranean), and Appliances. This 2xCD collects five of Speare’s long-form compositions for the first time. Splicing together sources into towering movements used for stage and screen, these two hours of music take you to the heart of sound where nothing can own you. Twelve page booklet features introduction by video artist and writer George Quasha, Speare’s detailed notes on each piece, rare photographs and score reprodcutions. Remastered by Bhob Rainey (nmperign).
Tokyo-based guitarist/singer Hisato Higuchi has shaped an inimitable sound sphere of solitary electric notes that drape across his unearthly moan during the course of two full-lengths and an EP. Channeling loneliness and desires as elegant six-string tone poems, Higuchi has reached the heights of fellow travelers from Meredith Monk to Charalambides. Though Butterfly Horse Street adds an unexpected snarl as Higuchi erupts into free/noise, wall of sound guitar style that echoes the most ecstatic string manipulation of Masayuki Takayanagi or Donald Miller (Borbetomagus). Ferocious and howling, Higuchi still paints desolation whether bleeding into the red or as hushed beauty.
Noise In You is an album of gorgeous music about noisy emotions: our desires and distractions, anxieties and passions, love and loss, and the living hum of our bodies. It is David Garland's 8th album since entering New York City's downtown scene in the 1980s, and it's the first to receive the wide distribution and attention his music deserves. Garland is a multi-instrumentalist currently exploring the sumptuous jangle of a 12-string guitar; he sings with a voice that's deep, honest, and intimate. Noise In You is unclassifiable: pop music that's both experimental and accessible, and is rich with intricate layered harmonies and startling colors and textures. It features the beautiful, sometimes mystical voices of a younger generation of musicians -- Sufjan Stevens, Mira Romantschuk (of Mi and L'au), Diane Cluck, Viking Moses, and David Deporis -- together with guitars, flute, piano, clarinet, sarode, oboe, and more. Noise In You unfolds into a wondrous, subtly interconnected song cycle that sweeps you up in its imaginativeness, drama, and sensual pleasure.
It gets nasty at times--feedback laden, meters in the red--even psychedelic as Tigersmilk pour it on thick, straight from some cosmic mind's eye teat. Android Love Cry is the third album from the voodoo concrÃ¨te jazz crew of Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Mandarin Movie, Exploding Star Orchestra) on cornet, laptop/synth (and banjo), acoustic/electric bassist Jason Roebke (Rapid Croche, Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio), and percussionist ylan van der Schyff (Talking Pictures). It's a dynamically gorgeous and dissonant thirteen part cycle that delves into obscure conditions of wilderness and transformation backed by a pulsing and often volatile syncopation not far from Max Neuhaus' electro-acoustics or even Cluster's space 'n' rhythm glow. Even with engorged synthesizer and percussive fields Tigersmilk's heart is the post-bop flare of Bill Dixon's late-60s orchestra and the oceanic pull of minimalist cool. Tradition is deep in these abstractions--it's the unshakable bond of these three travelers who've created an album even a dark prince would love.
Simitu is the second album from Cold Bleak Heat, the dream-team, east-coast avant jazz line-up of alto/tenor saxophonist Paul Flaherty (Dream/Aktion Unit), drummer Chris Corsano (Vampire Belt, Six Organs of Admittance), trumpeter Greg Kelley (nmperign, Heathen Shame), and acoustic bassist Matt Heyner (No Neck Blues Band, Test). While explosive as their 2005 debut, Simitu brings a melancholic, even sensitive feel to these improvisations. Yet, no need to worry about these four wipin' tears on their sleeves. CBH wages between the melodic centers/ghostly solos of Flaherty/Kelley and loose, downhill, free blow outs you'd expect, all while mainting the grand swell of a hardcore jazz symphony. Even as complex and multi-paced beats sink into bowed-drones and vocal hollers, focused lyricism remains the returning leader. Features liner notes and drawings by Christina Carter (Charalambides).
Hey, smooch! The Foole, aka Dan Ireton, has finally come out and endeda near decade of silence and Daze on the Mounts, a spiralingthree-dimensional crest of the so-called avant-folk expression, is thecelebratory homecoming. Originally a limited 2004 CDR, this reissuepresents the colossal side for all. In collaboration with MattValentine and Erika Elder (MV&EE/Bummer Road and Tower Recordings),two of modern-time's purest interstellar travelers, Dredd Foole boundsbetween Tim Buckley-esque bellow and a hyper-extended take on the songform (a dewy mash of Ra-space and Vermont-lore) alongsideenvironmental treatments (harmonica, synthesizer, percussion) and hisown acoustic guitar work to fully transcend limitations. From thevisceral 80s garage days with The Din to becoming a beacon for many afree folk explorer, the Foole remains a bona fide master of universalrevelation.
Dialogue is the first American release by Tokyo's Hisato Higuchi. Originally a puppeteer, Higuchi has transformed his glacial, shadow-box inspired hand movements to the twilight theater of electric guitar. His six-string melodic tones and hushed vocals fan out from the haunted torch songs of Patty Waters and moon-like ambiance. Higuchi's seemingly wordless Japanese croon is a smoky, after-hours call of loss or introspection. The songs of Dialogue float like spectors, each piece manifests itself in a unique and singular conception that seeps into your mind and soul. The perfect introduction for stateside listeners.
Rope formed in Poland as a guitar/bass duo in 1998. Since relocating to Chicago in 2000 they have become one of the city’s most flummoxing avant rock groups. Heresy, and Then Nothing But Tears is their second full-length album. Robert Iwanik (bass, vocals), Przemyslaw Krzysztof Drazek (guitar) and Michael J. Kendrick (trap set, percussion, electronics) blend deconstructed strains of Swans’ emotional weight and Last Exit's fury with Krzysztof Komeda’s classical suspense into lush and often uncompromising no wave abrasion. Rope's constantly evolving ocean of rhythms, screaming guitar and Iwanik's hissing voice adds up to an ultra-dynamic group force of cryptic awe. Features guest vocals from Grazyna Auguscik and songwriting/vocal collaboration by Oxbow's Eugene Robinson on four songs. Cover art by famed Polish fringe painter Stanislaw Ignacy "Witkacy" Witkiewicz.
Saxophonist Paul Flaherty is New England's purveyor of the ecstatic jazz pulse. Even before his 1978 debut Flaherty remained unshakable in the pursuit of soul healing and demon dashing through freedom music. Whirl of Nothingness, Flaherty's second solo album, is eight pieces of alto and soprano saxophone steeped in the theme of loss channeled through blasting improvisations that showcase his fabulous wailing and inferno of sound to stark bluesy melodies. Even without drum buddies Chris Corsano or Randall Colbourne, Flaherty’s horn shudders and roars in gargantuan ways. In the slim cannon of solo horn records (alongside Anthony Braxton, Coleman Hawkins, Peter Brötzmann, Arthur Doyle), Whirl of Nothingness stands triumphantly strong and wholly distinct as a shifting sphere of sound poetry and spiritual tongue.
The Beloved Music is the most thoroughly realized blueprint for a post-hardcore take on improvised jazz to date from the duo of legendarily long-serving New England saxophonist Paul Flaherty and young firebrand drummer Chris Corsano. Forsaking the call and response modes of countless improvising ensembles, the duo deal more in a simultaneity of sound, an elemental non-stop gush of ideas, rhythms and epiglottal forms that at points feels like a small-group response to the orchestral conceptions of the Peter Brötzmann and John Coltrane big-bands as much as epochal duo deals like the Rashied Ali/Frank Lowe and Muhammad Ali/Frank Wright sides. Between studio collaborations and tours with Wolf Eyes, Nels Cline, Six Organs of Admittance, and Cold Bleak Heat (their quartet with Greg Kelley and No Neck Blues Band's Matt Heyner), Flaherty and Corsano have coalesced and elated serious jazzbos alongside noise fans and freak-folk followers. Liner notes by The Wire's David Keenan.
We're An American Band -- MX-80's first studio album in over a decade -- is both hilariously depressing and morosely upbeat. The ground-breaking Bay Area quartet, known for its searing guitar work -- founder Bruce Anderson was labeled as one of America's “Unknown Greats” by Guitar Player Magazine - and deadpan commentary of vocalist Rich Stim, has managed to combine the worst of the digital and analog worlds to create a masterwork that mixes Satan, Howard Hughes and current theories on brain transplants. In a bit of musical cannibalism, "We're an American Band," includes samples from the cinematic tapestries of O-Type, the musical side excursion guided by MX founders Dale Sophiea and Anderson. Claimed as an inspiration by many underground stars, MX-80 's 30 year career is crowned by this tract on the modern American, living up to its moniker as the “the most arty Heavy Metal band in the world.”
FV12 MX-80 “So Clear” b/w “Lights Out” 7” FV31 O-Type Western Classics FV10 O-Type Lugubrious FV8 Bruce Anderson & Dale Sophiea Medication FV4 Bruce Anderson Brutality: Balkana II FV1 Bruce Anderson & Dale Sophiea Strict
The Mommy Row is guitarist Philip Gayle's monstrous, magma opus; the biggest, jaw-popping swallow one can now take in the upper/outer echelon of free thinking acoustic voyagers. This gent's three previous solo records collected smitten global praise yet held no clues this would be next. Recorded in pristine audiophile splendor, the NYC-via-Houston-based Gayle multi-tracked himself in duo, trio, hell Â¬- sextet catacombs of 12-string guitar, aluminum egg bar, prepared toy piano, baritone ukulele, hand held cymbals, classical guitar, gongs plus an isle more of stringed wood and tempered metals. At its core, Gayle locks these spatial clusters, subtracting adding or multiplying the bent themes that pass between, into a cohesive oft melodic form that shows itself in genius flashes. Orbiting an overtly damaged sphere risen from Derek Bailey, Sun City Girls, Thelonius Monk, Christopher Tree, Harry Bertoia, and years of bedroom perfection, these pieces owe most to the moment of recording. Gayle's style remains totally unique, crossing itself with Oriental motifs, classical, humor, flamenco and free improv leanings
Unstable Ensemble's third full-length is their most finely honed improvisational gesture. Embers is a mÃ©nage of sax/guitar melody slivers shifting amongst crackling electronic tones and bowed percussion. Existing amongst the shadowy fringes of North American improvisation since 1999, Unstable Ensemble's driftage has carried itself vast miles toward border crossings and large/no audiences to bestow ephemeral sound demonstrations as anti-placates to jazzbo tokers and noise-junkies. Encapsulating many forces, Embers surges with titanic electronic gale and absolute stillness while inner lyrical intricacies summon forlorn memories. A wholly distinct extension of the Musica Elettronica Viva and AMM world-view.
Cold Bleak Heat is the East Coast's maximalist tour de force of spontaneous sound construction. It is a staggering group line-up that raises the eyes and the ante. “It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War,” is the debut from a subterranean assembly of today's most active: Connecticut's prevailing operator of the alto/ tenor saxophones, Paul Flaherty; the seemingly ten-handed/ footed drummer Chris Corsano (Sunburned Hand of the Man, Six Organs of Admittance), definitely today's leading light in pure spectrum propulsion; sound sculpting trumpeter Greg Kelley (nmperign, Heathen Shame), who opens into full-force gales during this session; and Earth-boom grounding acoustic bassist Matt Heyner (No Neck Blues Band, Test), whose tone/shape-shifting agility wrangles all these wild horses into one field. From the start Flaherty's combusting, scorched tone burrows into the torrential grooves with a bleating and vivid lyricism that never waivers. His 30+ years of New England horn calling is at its apex with these younger brothers-in-arms. The human electric pulse and ecstatic goal of Cold Bleak Heat keeps these four riding the lighting from end to end. Corsano and Heyner's ass-throb danceathon spin is more than enough evidence to squelch the freedom naysayers. How can you not get down to that!?! These four actioners embody a cosmic shuffle of unresolved parallel. Cold Bleak Heat is a wake up call to the evolving life of the avant garde.
“From the Bottle” is the second album by Tigersmilk, the trio of cornetist, electronicist and Brazilian-based laptop manipulator Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Isotope 217, solo releases on Mego, Delmark and Moikai), Chicago-centered acoustic bassist Jason Roebke (Rapid Croche, Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio, Terminal 4) and Vancouver percussionist Dylan van der Schyff (Francois Houle, Talking Pitctures, John Butcher). Tigersmilk is a full-improvising unit that surpasses the jazz-as-jazz sound for an individualist style steeped in a continuously unfolding mood. Without overplaying or extending any instrument, the three eloquently display deep orchestral colors and momentum that can shift from chattering avant garde interplay to ambient suspensions. The hard-bop tendencies and staccato horn of their 2003 self-titled Family Vineyard debut return with a more sinister and daring stylistic flourish. Mazurek’s cornet runs create sensuousness and melancholy that find an equal standing next to Roebke’s wobbly lines and the tumbling pro/anti-beat of van der Schyff. Whereas Mazurek’s electronics and sonic depth charges were a mere accent on the first album, here they are riding up front, propelling a bright force of abstraction and connecting stasis and activity.
O-Type is members of the legendary and iconoclast MX-80 sans singer Rich Stim. Here Bay Area guitarist / bassist Bruce Anderson, sampler/sound sculptor Dale Sophiea, Jim Hrabetin (guitar, bass) and dual drums of Dave Mahoney and Marc Weinstein facilitate a dark venture into electronic ambient tendencies within a six-string frame that references the sustained tones of Morton Feldman to Ennio Morricone. Western Classics is not a tribute per se to the films represented as song titles (“Mean Streets,” “The Searchers,” “Out of the Past”) though each musical venture takes a nod to the cinematic view before remorphing and adding fields of abstraction. Western Classics is the fifth release in O-Type’s New Edge Series of ambient music that contained previous albums “Lugubrious,” “Medication,” “Balkana: Brutality II” and “Strict.” The final piece “McCabe & Mrs. Miller (with deleted scenes)” pools together the members’ three decades of musical research of minimalism, sound collage, music concrete, and composition into a 30-minute epic that stands above and without association with any current musical trends or scenes.
Arm of the Starfish is the fifth full-length release from the outdoor wandering The Blithe Sons, the Jewelled Antler-related duo of Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja) and Glenn Donaldson (the Birdtree, Thuja, Mirza), and their second CD for Family Vineyard. Performed mostly in coastal environs on acoustic and battery-powered instruments, the sound of waves, wind, tide pools, seabirds and shifting sand plays an active role in these minimalist folk atmospheres. Incorporating 12-string cuatro, acoustic guitar, dulcimer, banjo, harmonium, percussion, toy amplifiers, wood flutes, Thai mouthorgan, violin-uke, Casio and Donaldson’s mysterious vocal utterances, Arm of the Starfish evokes haunted shorelines, windswept cliffs and vast undersea caverns. The Blithe Son’s previous Family Vineyard release We Walk the Young Earth was critically acclaimed the world over by Mojo, The Wire, Pitchforkmedia, Vice, Dusted, Signal to Noise, and many other publications.
Anyone who thought Grand Ulena’s M.O. was a solid rush of melted melodies and discombobulated rhythms enforced with rapidity, needs to rethink with Neosho. The EP exists because of the enthusiasm and expertise of engineer and Semaphore Studios owner Jeremy Lemos (Smog, Jim O’Rourke, Wilco). Having unexpectedly finished their album Gateway to Dignity a day ahead of schedule, Lemos suggested the band -- St. Louis’ instrumental trio of ex-Dazzling Killmen and On Fillmore bassist Darin Gray, guitarist Chris Trull (Darling Little Jackhammer) and drummer Danny McClain (Johnny Angel, Arrmy of Robots) -- take the opportunity to use his newly acquired 1/2-inch tape machine to record live in the studio. Lemos had heard Ulena "jenning," (improvising for the lay person) throughout the recording of the Dignity sessions, and it seemed a shame to him for this music to go unheard. Ulena obliged and three songs are the result. Neosho shows a different side of the band than is heard on Gateway to Dignity. A searing minimalism is at the core of the three pieces, a result of the spontaneity and immediacy of the session. Ranging from the push/pull of vicious volume to near silences, Neosho brings forth Grand Ulena’s jenning to those who have missed their onslaught of live performances. Here you go.
Lovely Midget is Rachel Shearer, an integral player in the New Zealand underground. Performing with Kiwi bands Angelhead and Queen Meanie Puss during the late 80s/1990s, Rachel entrenched her sound in the ears of adventurous stateside record collectors, recording for labels such as Flying Nun, Xpressway and Siltbreeze. Since becoming Lovely Midget in 1995, Rachel has created a transcendent world of shivering ambient sounds, distant ruptures and warm washes of analog sheen. Building pieces around aching tube equipment, delicate strokes of guitar, bass, percussion and vocal hum. Lovely Midget's international appeal has far surpassed her output. Outside a number of extremely limited NZ releases, her 1996 U.S. debut was a 10" record on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label, followed up by the highly heralded Corpus Hermeticum CD and an obscured contribution to a Freedom From cassette. These releases established Lovely Midget as a devastatingly unique sound sculptor, somehow crossing the paths of Brian Eno to Jason Lescalleet and Elanie Radigue to Fran?ois Bayle with a personal intimacy in the lovingly woven aural tapestries New Zealand has become known for.North Head brings together two years of recording to reinstate Lovely Midget as a sublime aural architect of a new order.
On their debut full-length Widow’s First Dawn, an epic six-part song-cycle about a life buried by its surrounding loss and failure, Rope transcends modern influence and looks back to the staggering explorations of Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda and other European classical maters. Iwanik's whispered, near vocal hissing confessions shape the music’s cinematic swell equally as the near-smeared scat bellows of guest vocalist and Polish jazz icon Grazyna Auguscik. Kendrick’s percussion whirlwind meets at the crossroads of William Hooker and Glenn Kotche: traditional trap set infused with a literal kitchen of pots, pans, metal pipes and miniature percussion makers. While laying a buoyant weight to the cascading streams of sound, Kendrick injects free interplay and 1960s jazz spirit into each song while still creating a forward beat. Though guitarist Drazek’s crystallized guitar sheen, which crosses paths of No Wave and classical styles, pushes Rope’s sound beyond musical similarities. Widow’s First Dawn was recorded and mixed with Steve Albini at Chicago’s Electrical Audio in the fall of 2002.
We Walk the Young Earth is the third full-length release from The Blithe Sons, the duo of Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja) and Glenn Donaldson (the Birdtree, Thuja, Mirza). The Sons’ debut (on their own Jewelled Antler Collective) combined studio constructions with field recordings, but by the second album, the studio had moved completely outdoors. Acoustic and battery-powered instruments were recorded via field-mic in a grassy meadow bristling with insects, birds and wind. We Walk the Young Earth continues this outdoor-recording practice and was edited from performances that took place under a creek bridge in San Gregorio and inside WWII-era bunkers on sea cliffs in the Marin Headlands, California. With acoustic guitar, harps, bells, harmonium, toy-amplifiers, gongs submerged in a creek, cymbals, battery-powered keyboards, vocals, banjo, birds, pipes, bell-blocks, drums, branches and the location itself as an instrument, We Walk the Young Earth weaves minimalist hymns with stark drones. The Blithe Sons conjure an imaginary wilderness through the sounds made within these mysterious locales, combining Chasse’s leanings towards tones and percussive textures with Donaldson’s folk-inflected melodies.