We need your help – please
Jazz / Free Jazz
Outsider / Art Brut
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Folk / Song
Old Heaven Books
"Atlantis is an exhilarating listen, equally thanks to its fierce free jazz and brightly textural abstraction" Antonio Poscic, The WIRE, Feb 2020
Following closely on the heels of his ravishing solo album Tomorrow is Too Late, Stockholm-based synthesist and improviser John Chantler switches gears to unleash the stunning second album by his trio with saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Steve Noble, Atlantis. Chantler is well-known for his solo electronic work, which frequently explodes richly layered ambient soundscapes into visceral explosions and thrilling physicality, to say nothing of his imaginative experimentation with the organ, heard in radically transformed mode on the recent solo recording. But Chantler is equally invested in real-time improvisation and he’s developed a dazzling rapport and sound world with Wright and Noble, two of England’s most distinctive, active, and turbulent figures in spontaneous music over the last couple of decades. The pair has worked together in numerous contexts over the years, but it took Chantler to create an ongoing context for them, and since forming in 2017 the trio’s rigour and level of communication have steadily expanded.“My fantasy idea in the beginning when I wanted to do this trio was thinking about taking Derek Bailey’s role in the Topography of the Lungs trio,” he says, referring to the classic 1970 album with Evan Parker and Han Bennink. “That’s not what happened, but that was my way of imagining how I could make the synthesizer have the kind of range and ability to both comment on stuff and guide and push in certain ways, like Derek did in that group. That remains a kind of ambition even if aesthetically it doesn’t feel very close to that, but that’s how I first thought about what my role would be.” Indeed, Chantler serves as a pesky interrogator, his serrated tones and viscous globules cutting through the kinetic din dished out by Wright and Noble, and on the new album his integration is more fully realised to the point where it’s often impossible to decipher where the output of one musician ends—the sibilant bowed cymbals of Noble or the feedback-laced lines of Wright—and the pushback of another begins.The album was cut and mixed in a single day with in-house engineer Janne Hansson at Stockholm’s legendary Atlantis Studio, a facility made famous by the chart-topping albums recorded there by Abba in the 1970s, when the place was known as Metronome. Prior to entering the studio the trio spent an exhausting, all-in week rehearsing at the arts space Fylkingen—where they also played a show—in addition to playing a handful of gigs in Norway. Locked in, they discovered much different acoustic qualities at Atlantis from what they’d previously encountered. “There’s a very specific sound at the studio, and we’d been playing for a week together at Fylkingen, so we started to develop a thing that really works in that room, and then you move somewhere else, and the drums in particular sounded really different, and in some ways they had a bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll kind of feeling.” explains Chantler. Responding to that radically different, reverb-soaked ambience, he and Wright took advantage of a pair of matching Fender tube amps, charging their individual signals to match the booming, resonant sprawl of Noble’s pinpoint clatter.Compared to the group’s debut album Front and Above—a live recording of the trio’s very first performance at London’s Café Oto—which Chantler edited to emphasise the sparser expanses of the raucous, performance, the new album reveals a more open-ended spectrum, from delicate to crushing. Noble’s beautifully metallic rustling and throbbing snare bombs hang pregnantly in the air, and Chantler and Wright thicken the atmosphere with twinned abstractions, alternately ethereal and punishing. The transitions between calm and chaos are sometimes seamless, sometimes abrupt, but the full landscape transports the listener to another realm regardless of how ferocious or gentle the attack may be. As strong as the trio’s first album was, Atlantis marks a massive step forward. “The more you play together the more it starts to cohere into some kind of specific language,” says Chantler. “You start to understand the point of what a particular constellation might be.” With Atlantis there’s little doubt these three improvisers know exactly what the point of it all is, which thrillingly means that many new paths in the future have opened up.
John Chantler / synthesiser
Steve Noble / drums
Seymour Wright / alto saxophone
RECORDED AND MIXED AT ATLANTIS GRAMMOFON AB, STOCKHOLM 24 JANUARY 2018ENGINEER: JANNE HANSSONMASTERING: STEPHAN MATHIEUPAINTINGS: LESTER WRIGHT
RECORDING SESSION MADE POSSIBLE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS
John Chantler / Steve Noble / Seymour Wright – ATLANTIS
'Most people are familiar with the Ethiopian music of the "golden seventies". The great CD series of "Ethiopiques" focuses on this remarkable period of truly amazing and rich music. The era of the big brass bands came to an end in the period of the "Derg", the military government in Ethiopia from 1975 till 1991. After that, the scene seemed confused. Many great musicians were forced into exile or passed away. The horns mostly disappeared and were replaced by cheap keyboards everywhere. Awful bombastic overproduced "plastic" pop-productions flooded the market. Synthesisers, vocoders, drum machines and hasty productions that all sound alike.
But in the last few years something new is emerging. Young producers have started combining traditional rhythms and strong dance beat production. The result is very original, uplifting and very danceable music. The gurage, wollo, gondar, oromo and other traditional rhythms work wonders for this new dance music. And the Ethiopian youth loves it. It can be heard not only in the hip areas like Bole, but all over Addis and other Ethiopian urban areas. Blasting from restaurants, taxis, coffeeplaces, grocerystores and Addis' giant market, the Mercato. The "Ililta" CD is a compilation of this new Ethiopian dance music, recorded with a new generation of singers over the last decade. A cross-selection of the production work of Mesele Asmamaw and some of his close colleagues. ' Play loud and go for it!
Various Artists – Ililta! New Ethiopian Dance Music
Absolutely mindblowing recording, live from Cafe OTO on 9th July 2019!!
Rich in musical associations yet utterly singular in its voice, joyous with an inner tranquility, the music of Natural Information Society is unlike any other being made today. Their sixth album in eleven years for Eremite records, Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) is the first to be recorded live, featuring a set from Cafe OTO with veteran English free-improv great Evan Parker, & the first to feature just one extended composition. The 75-minute performance, inspired by the galvanizing presence of Parker, is a sustained bacchanalia of collective ecstasy. You could call it their party album.
This was the second time Parker played with NIS. Joshua Abrams: “Both times we played compositions with Evan in mind. I don’t tell Evan anything. He’s a free agent.”
The music is focused & malleable, energized & even-keeled, drawing on concepts of ensemble playing common to musics from many locations & eras without any one specific aesthetic realization completely defining it.
Joshua Abrams guimbriLisa Alvarado harmonium & effectsMikel Patrick Avery drums Evan Parker soprano saxophoneJason Stein bass clarinet
recorded: London, Cafe OTO, 2019-07-09 producers: Abrams & Michael Ehlers engineer: Jimmy Dunn cover painting: Lisa Alvarado
Natural Information Society with Evan Parker – Descension (Out of Our Constrictions)
10 Albums – 91 total tracks – 594 minutes (10 hours) of all new music created expressly for this collection.
That William Parker is a bassist, composer and bandleader of extraordinary spirit and imaginative drive is common knowledge among any with an interest in the progressive jazz scene of the past 25 years or more. What’s become increasingly apparent, though, is Parker’s stature as a visionary of sound and song – an artist of melody and poetry who works beyond category, to use the Ellingtonian phrase. The latest multi-disc boxed set from Centering Records/AUM Fidelity devoted to Parker’s expansive creativity underscores his virtually peerless achievement in recent years. Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10) is a 10-album collection of vocal and instrumental suites all recorded expressly for this set between late 2018 and early 2020, with women’s voices at its core. This is music as empathetic as it is intrepid, as philosophical as it is visceral, as resolutely modernist as it is attuned to tradition. Parker’s art not only draws from the deepest well of African-American culture; it breathes in inspiration from across the globe, with sounds drawn from Africa, Asia and Indonesia as well as Europe and the Americas; there is free improvisation and re-imagined sonic collage; there are album-length explorations of solo piano and solo voice, along with string ensembles and ancient wind instruments. There are dedications to jazz heroes, Native Americans and Mexican migrants, plus tributes to the great African-American culture of Harlem and the mix of passion and compassion Parker found in vintage Italian cinema. Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World conjures a vast world of music and feeling, and its creation is a feat that ranks with that of the most ambitious talents in any genre.
MUSICIANS William Parker: compositions, bass & addt’l instruments Featuring: an international, inter-generational array of singers & musicians, drawn from both long-standing colleagues and a new generation of devoted artists.
Composed, Arranged & Produced by William Parker for Centering Records, © Centering Music (BMI) Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios, Brooklyn, NY : November 2018 – February 2020 [ except THE MAJESTY OF JAH - click on 'lyrics' above, and as noted in booklet ] All text written by William Parker (except as noted in booklet) Artwork throughout this work by Jo Wood-Brown Box Set Production & design by AUM Fidelity
William Parker – Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World – [Volumes 1–10]
In response to the arguably self-righteous pronouncements made in the 1990s as to what jazz is and isn’t, Julius Hemphill (1938–1995) spoke up as he had done throughout his career. “Well, you often hear people nowadays talking about the tradition, tradition, tradition. But they have tunnel vision in this tradition. Because tradition in African-American music is wide as all outdoors.” This collection of music, this celebration of artistic collaborations that engaged Julius Hemphill throughout his life, adds much to what we know of his creativity in exploring the implications in that wide space.His work, done in what was not much more than twenty-five years, illuminated so many byways of that protean tradition, created in America against the direst of odds. Equally vital, Julius claimed, with great passion, his space to be expressive. He worked inward as much as he looked outward, in his artistic creativity and cultural engagements.
Julius Hemphill with:
Malinké Elliott, K. Curtis Lyle, Abdul WadudBaikida Carroll, John Carter, Olu DaraNels Cline, Alan Jaffe, Jehri Riley, Jack WilkinsJerome Harris, Dave Holland, Steuart Liebig, Roberto MirandaMichael Carvin, Alex Cline, Jack DeJohnette, Philip WilsonUrsula Oppens, Daedalus String QuartetRay Anderson, Marty Ehrlich, Janet Grice, John Purcell, Bruce Purse
“Somehow I discovered I could write this music and play the saxophone. All that stumbling around and stuff, I ended up finally being able to play it a little bit. I ain’t the greatest by any means, not even close—but I think I’ve got depth, a broadness of my musical sensibility, that a lot of soloists don’t have, because they focus on that one thing, soloing. I want to develop the whole backdrop, the scenery. Once I found out that was possible, that I could collaborate with people, I came alive musically.” — Julius Hemphill
This box set contains musical compositions and performances that have come to light from the Julius Hemphill Archive at the Fales Library of New York University. These performances present thirty-five Hemphill compositions culled from close to 180 audio and visual documents of his work. Twenty-five of these works did not receive a commercial recording in his lifetime. Also represented in this box set are ensemble contexts Julius formed which did not receive substantial, or in some cases, any public documentation. These performances put Julius’s improvisational work as a saxophonist and flutist to the fore, from solo to quintet contexts. (The one exception being Disc 4, where we hear pieces Julius wrote for others to interpret.) Equally important, these performances deepen our experience of Julius’s long associations in artistic collaboration. — Marty Ehrlich (from the liner notes)
Julius Hemphill – The Boyé Multi-National Crusade for Harmony
The complete performance from Peter Evans' first trip to China, on the invitation of Old Heaven Books and the OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival in October 2019. "Peter Evans believes that his music is closely related to the philosophical concept of "Wu Wei (literally means "doing nothing" or "inaction")" from China. As a composer and improviser, Peter Evans "talks" about "Wu Wei" with his superb trumpet playing, and named his first album released in China "Into the Silence". It's worth mentioning that the artwork on the front cover was made by the closest friend of Old Heaven Books, woodcut artist Liu Qingyuan. Birds and man, noise and silence, freedom and constraint: the artwork is the perfect aesthetic echo to this album." - Old Heaven
This release is a collaborative release between More is More and Old Heaven.
Recorded live at the OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival October 20th, 2019, Shenzhen China.
Peter Evans – 于无声处 Into the Silence
Rhodri Davies self reissue of Wound Response originally released by Alt Vinyl in 2012. Reissued alongside the solo acoustic 'An Air swept Clean Of All Distance', Wound Response is loud, distorted and forms an attempt to work with rhythm and pitches in an open and fluid way.
Wound Response was first released on LP with Alt Vinyl, av038 (2012) and formed a radical departure for Davies’s solo work. Inspired by the ‘Destruction in Art Symposium’ (1966). Davies used two main techniques: over-articulate the strings (what harpists are taught notto do) and attack the strings with a plectrum, forcing the tuning into new relationships until the strings eventually broke. This is the first time that this album will be released on CD.
“Wound Response is a raw recording scored for solo lap harp, overdrive, volume pedal and twin amplifiers. The fuzz is particularly cranky here, giving Rhodri’s obsessively repetitive harp soundings the kinda scorch of solo Masayuki Takayanagi.”David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue 2012
Rhodri Davies – Wound Response
Akosh S. (Szelevényi) is a Hungarian saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, improviser and composer. He has been living in France since '86. As the leader and founder of his group Akosh S. Unit, he has released many records at Universal. He once records and tours with the rock band Noir Désir, and he works with choreographer Josef Nadj, cultivates improvised music with Joëlle Léandre, Gildas Etevenard, Hamid Drake, etc. He composes music for theater, contemporary dance, films, and collaborates with French rappers Marc Nammour. Since 2016, he has been working with Hungarian musicians - double bassist Peter Ajtai and drummer Szilveszter Miklòs. These two young figures are already emblematic of current creative music in Hungary and a joy to see. the trio were invited to play in a trio at OCT-LOFT festival 2019, and the whole show was recorded and released as LP, DVD and CD here.
“Regarding the title of the album what I found by looking further is ‘Inside Out’. To explain in a few words from Hungarian: at the base, there is ‘itt’ = ‘here’, and ‘ott’ = ‘there’. From ‘itt’ derives ‘ide’ = ‘from there to here’, from ‘ott’ follows ‘oda’ = ‘from here to there’, so there is a dynamic in ‘ide’, which there is not in ‘itt’, which is stable. ‘Kint’ is ‘outside’. ‘Idekint' therefore means, that we are outside and we invite to be outside (while ‘Odakint’ would mean that we are inside, to designate the outside), not locked in our certainties, but in outside of it all, like free animals, or like homeless ones too, but also alive, outside our mother...”
- Akosh S.
作曲 Composed by：Akosh Szelevényi (1, 3, 5, 7, 8)；Akosh Szelevényi, Péter Ajtai, Szilveszter Miklós (2, 4, 6)录音 Recording：曾君 Zeng Jun；罗绿野 Luo Lvye混音 Mixing：刘英 Liu Ying；Akosh S.母带处理 Mastering：David Mascunan at Mastermixlabs制作人 Producer：涂飞 Tu Fei统筹 Coordinator：周雁朝 Zhou Yanchao；尹思卜 Yin Sibo
Recorded at the 9th OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival on October 18, 2019B10 Live, Shenzhen, China
旧天堂书店出品 Published by Old Heaven Books 2020
Akosh S. Trio – Idekint / Out Here
Two improvised concerts where are woven between the piano and the saxophone subtle games of harmonic textures, appearances of differential sounds, resonances and sometimes some more noisy sequences.
CD1 was recorded 2016 April 16 in the Saint-Maximin church in Metz, France. CD2 was recorded 2019 November 22 by the Radio France teams for Anne Montaron's programme "À l'improviste" broadcast 2019 December 15 on France Musique with also an interview with John Tilbury and Bertrand Gauguet.
John Tilbury and Bertrand Gauguet improvise a music of slowness, sometimes silent, sometimes tempestuous. Playing with the acoustic qualities of the place, are woven between the piano and the saxophone subtle games of harmonic textures, appearances of differential sounds, resonances and sometimes some more noisy sequences. A music to stretch the listening like a bow.
The artwork on the cover is a drawing made in 2016 by the French artist Pierre Mabille.
Bertrand Gauguet : alto saxophone John Tilbury : piano
Graphic design: Atelier Ter Bekke & Behage.
Akousis Records, 2021
Bertrand Gauguet, John Tilbury – Contre-Courbes
Born in 1945, Guo Yongzhang is a true maestro of Henan Zhuizi, a traditional Chinese talking-singing art that has a history of over 100 years. Almost blind, he plays Zhuihu and Zhuibang to accompany his own singing. His vocal style is peculiar, resounding yet smooth, adopting various types of arias from traditional local operas such as Shandong Bangzi and Shandong Zaobang, and he always sings with deep feelings and great verve. Originated in Henan, Zhuizi is included in the national intangible cultural heritage list and has been popular in Henan and its nearby regions. Its main accompaniment musical instrument is Zhuihu, a two-stringed bowed instrument made of wood, and secondly the Zhuibang, a wooden percussion played with foot tapping. Since Zhuihu has a wide diapason with a soft sound and relatively high volume, the performer can use it to imitate the voice of human and animals. Guo was born with bad eyesight. Growing up in poverty, he never had enough food and had been living on begging in the nearby village with his parents. It was during that period he discovered Zhuizi for the first time, and was so obsessed with its unique charm that he decided to learn playing by himself. He bought a second-hand Zhuihu from the local opera troupe with wages from hard physical labor, and soon managed to play some short pieces by hard practice. However, it was still difficult for him to gain respect from the local folks without training under the traditional master-apprentice system that he couldn’t afford, and even worse, his eyesight went worse and worse to nearly blind. Not until he turns 17 was he reluctantly accepted by a Zhuizi master and has been assiduously learning and playing until now. Lyrics of Guo’s Zhuizi are about respecting the old, valuing the righteousness and compassion, while keeping a sense of humor. Today, he is widely-known in the border region of Suzhou, Shandong, Henan and Anhui, and is commonly regarded as a Zhuizi master. Guo has been playing among people tirelessly for decades. As he ages, Guo knows there is not much time left for him, and he feels sorry that nowadays only few people want to learn Zhuizi. He is worried that this precious art form would disappear someday.
This studio album is recorded after Guo Yongzhang performing on the 5th Tomorrow Festival stage.
Released by Old Heaven Books, 2019
Guo Yongzhang – Guo Yongzhang Zhuizi Selections
Garden of Jewels is a feast of ear food delivered with passion, fearlessness and a unity of purpose." –S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!
Ivo Perelman / tenor saxophoneMatthew Shipp / pianoWhit Dickey / drums
"Their collective sound is sophisticated in its inventiveness and elegant in its fury. Garden of Jewels demonstrates, once again, that Perelman is a uniquely accomplished artist whose prolific output is matched only by his brilliance. This intriguingly explorative work delights with its textured construct, thanks in great part to Perelman’s equally innovative colleagues. The sublime album is cerebral without being abstruse and visceral while eschewing self-indulgence and, as such, is a gem in its own right." –Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz MagazineOne of the most exhilarating qualities shared by great improvising musicians is the ability to bring one’s immediate situation – the joys, sorrows, fears and desires of the day – into each unique performance. What made this most recent convening of the Ivo Perelman Trio so singular was the fact that not only were all three musicians – prolific saxophonist Ivo Perelman, pianist Matthew Shipp, and drummer Whit Dickey – immersed in the same present-day miasma, so was every potential listener, wherever they might be.Garden of Jewels was recorded in June 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the globe. On the day that these three longtime collaborators warily (and safely) entered the studio for the first time since the virus forced us indoors, the un-precedented circumstances provided the trio a profoundly urgent source of inspiration. At the same time, the country was in the midst of a series of turbulent protests that added an additional layer of vitality to the proceedings.“There was so much creative tension in the air,” Perelman recalls. “It was the first time that I came out of hibernation in my Brooklyn apartment, where I’d been focused on playing the saxophone for many, many hours every day while listening to sirens outside and wondering what life was about. Matt, Whit and I came together and cathartically created music out of all this mess.”While Garden of Jewels is only the second time that Perelman, Shipp and Dickey have recorded as a trio – the first, Butterfly Whispers, was released in 2015 – all three share a long and rich history. Shipp and Dickey, of course, worked together as integral members of the David S. Ware Quartet & in Shipp’s own Trio, while the pianist and Perelman have spent the last decade creating one of the most well-documented partnerships in improvised music history.The trio entered the studio without having discussed what might transpire at the session – the eight tracks that resulted provide vivid evidence of the band’s deft spontaneity, kaleidoscopic versatility and deeply felt camaraderie. It’s also the latest glimpse of the ongoing evolution of their collective identity. “We’re like scientists dealing with sound,” Perelman says with a chuckle. “Each recording is a means to check our development.”Also of note here is Perelman's revived interest in jewelry-making, which Perelman initially took up 20 years ago and resumed shortly before the pandemic. One example of his recent work graces the cover of Garden of Jewels. In addition to suggesting its title, the graceful, elegant piece seems to materialize the fluid swoops and whorls of Perelman’s tenor sax lines into golden arabesques.These pursuits not only provide an outlet for Perelman’s indefatigable creativity, but a source of light amidst the darkness of the present era. That balance is one that Perelman says the trio felt that June day in New York, and one whose energy pervaded beyond the studio walls.“There was a dark energy surrounding all of us, counterbalanced by the sheer power of creation. We had to become an antenna to capture the angst and anxiety of the times and transform it into art and catharsis. There was a social function to that music, not just for us but for anyone who might hear it one day. I left the studio with a new soul.”
Ivo Perelman Trio – Garden Of Jewels
Lanaya is an instrumental trio from Bamako, Mali. They play music rooted in a centuries old tradition, in which the stories and sagas of Mali are musically preserved. The musicians are part of a professional caste, the griots or jalis. From generation to generation the knowledge is passed on; they are the keepers of the culture. All three Lanaya musicians are from one of the biggest and wellknown griot families, the Diabates. Djibril, the kora player (the 21-string harp-lute) is the nephew of the renowned Toumani Diabate, also his teacher. Fassery, on the balaphone, is the son of Keletigui Diabate, a key figure in the Malien music scene. Keletigui played with many African and western musicians, including Duke Ellington. Mohamadou Kamissoko is from a family of Ngoni players. The Ngoni is a small African guitar. His mother is Massara Diabate, a singer. All in their early twenties, Lanaya is the new generation. Within their own culture, this is traditional music still in full development. Each generation adds their own specific style, interpretation and arrangements. What stands out with Lanaya are their long, narrative improvisations and incredible virtuoso playing. The Ex met Djibril through Dutch master drummer Han Bennink, who played in Mali with, among others, Toumani. They invited Djibril for a tour in October '97. It was so amazing that in November '98 The Ex asked the whole group to come over, and it seemed like a good idea to release their first CD for that occasion.
Balafon – Fassery Diabate Kora – Djibril Diabate Ngoni – Mohamadou Kamissoko
Terp Records – AS-01
Released April 27, 2017
Soun Soun, La Tradition Mandingue – Lanaya
'In March 2001, Andy (also guitarist in The Ex) and I were in Addis Abeba, checking out possibilities for The Ex to play some concerts in Ethiopia. But also to check out other music. There is so much amazing stuff there. One day, in the middle of the Mercato, we were struck by something that we had never heard before. Out of the street speaker of a little cassette shop, flowed a sound that was dark, heavy and serious, but also light, fragile and spiritual. We couldn't quite pin it down. We knew the great Ethiopiques 11 of Alemu Aga, but this was different. Slightly embarrassed at the fact that the shopkeeper had had to take the cassette out of the machine and that the street was suddenly silent, we bought the tape. It turned out to be Zerfu Demissie. In March 2004, we organized a series of concerts in Holland called "An Ethiopian music night". The programme consisted of The Ex + Han Bennink, nine of the greatest Azmaris from Addis and Alemu Aga on the begena. Quite a contrasting line-up! In Ethiopia, the Azmaris and Alemu are from completely opposite sides of the musical spectrum. The Azmaris' music is about drinking, politics, sex, dancing, jokes. Playing the begena, on the other hand, is rooted in meditation, concentration and prayer. Deeply devoted to the Orthodox Christian tradition, Alemu was in his fasting period during the tour, which for him meant an even stronger spiritual commitment and no meat and alcohol. He played his songs and right after, The Ex performed. A very different music from a very different background. But when we were finished, Alemu was there standing at the side of the stage, offering us some cold beers. This is not a rigid religion and culture. This is about people.
We became more and more intrigued by Ethiopian music and culture. We were also intrigued by the begena, an instrument that dates back thousands of years; with its mesmerizing buzzing sound and its special role in the musical, sociological palette. There are the fascinating lyrics, sometimes hundreds of years old and occasionally very contemporary. At times biblical, at other times tapped from different sources. But all including this typical Ethiopian phenomenon known as "Wax 'n' Gold", the subtle poetry with double meaning, which is deciphered as an abstract art form.
This music is unique to this worid. We had to find out more. August 2006, and we were back in Ethiopia. Jeroen took his mobile studio and Emma her camera. We were hoping to find Zerfu to make a recording with him. And we did find him. He agreed to the project, and a few days later, we recorded him in his empty bedroom at home. Beautiful! Enjoy the sounds within!'
Terrie Ex - Wormer, November 2007.
Zertu Demissie - begena, vocals
Recorded August 12, 2006 at Zerfu's home in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia Mixed & Engineered By – Jeroen Visser Terp AS 12 Released 2007
Zerfu Demissie – Akotet
Throughout their existence, the Ex have always been steadfastly uncommercial, refusing major label deals and remaining close to the radical politics that fueled them from the beginning. During their first decade, the Ex released a steady stream of albums and peripheral tracks, all on vinyl, and while the full-lengths have all found their way to CD, the numerous flexi-discs, compilation tracks, splits, and 7-inch EPs they put out remain exceedingly rare.
Singles. Period. rectifies this situation by compiling all 23 non-album tracks the band recorded from 1980-1990, nicely remastered with pulverizing low-end and liner notes so thorough they take the disc's full 70-minute running time to read. The constants across the disc are Terrie Ex's ablating guitar and G.W. Sok's dry, amelodic vocals, taking on overzealous police raids, Apartheid, the El Salvadoran Civil War, and nuclear power with motor-mouthed rage. Bass players, drummers, and other assorted instrumentalists come and go around them, and the band evolves vividly across the chronologically-arranged disc, taking the agit-funk of the Gang of Four to rougher, nastier extremes and mixing directly with the European radical groups whose causes they espoused.
Terrie - guitar (1-21, 23), acoustic guitar (22) G.W. Sok - voice (1-21, 23), backing-vocals (22) Ome Geurt - drums (1-7) René - bass (1-7) Wim - drums (8-11) Bas - bass (8-15) Sabien - drums (12-18) Yoke - bass (16-18) Luc - bass (16-21, 23), double-bass (22) Nicolette - guitar (19) Katherina - drums (19-21, 23), vocals (22) Andy - guitar (23) Guests: Gert-Jan Blom - organ (4) Coby Laan - tiny grand piano (12) Jon Langford - drums (12-13) Ferry Heyne - guitar (13) Dolf Planteijdt - heavy mental guitar (16) ? of Awara - violin (18) Jeroen - samples (19) Marion, Andy, Wilf, Colin + Martin from Dog Faced Hermans - trumpet, acoustic guitar, rattle, woodblock, mandolin, backing-vocals (23)
Album tracks taken from:
All Corpses Smell The Same (7", He Records, 1980) EX 001 Utregpunx (compilation 7", Rock Against Records, 1980) Z 2 New Horizons in Retailing (7" flexi, Ping Pong Records, 1980) w/ Raket fanzine Weapons For El Salvador (7", f 3,50 Records, 1981) EX 006 w/ Gramschap Villa Zuid Moet Blijven (split 7" flexi, 1981) Gonna Rob The Spermbank (12", Sneeelleeer Records, 1983), EX 015 The Red Dance Package (split 12", CNT Productions, 1983) CNT 017 Awara / The Ex (split 7", Gramschap, 1984), DEI 975-EX 21 w/ Gramschap magazine Rara Rap (7", Lala Records, 1988), WAWA 01 Stonestampers / Steinklopfer (7", Ex Records, 1990), EX 043 Mekons / The Ex (split 7", Clawfist, 1990), CF 4
The Ex – Singles. Period
A compilation of cassette recordings by the Azmari (traditional Ethiopian singer) Bahru Kegne. Woozy and hypnotic tracks lulling the listener with its hypnotic air, which really exemplifies the singer’s talents. It’s certainly a worthy work of historical documentation, but this is also an accessible compilation that will deservedly further our knowledge of Ethiopia’s music and traditions
Music By, Masinko, Vocals – Bahru Kegne Bass Guitar – Abijou Solomon Keyboards – Berhane Kidane Saxophone – Yared Tefera Arranged By – Abebe Melesse, Yilma Gebreab
Released November 22nd 2013
Bahru Kegne – In Memory Of Ethiopia’s Greatest Azmari
Improviser Jean-Marc Foussat has been appearing in these pages on a regular basis, sometimes solo or in groups, often presenting excellent releases on his own Fou Records label. Today’s double disc set Cafe Oto 2020 (FOU RECORDS FR – CD 38/39) holds a special personal place in his heart, I would assume. We’ve long known that he was drawn to free improvisation in the early 1980s, and personally made some great recordings of live music that ended up on the Incus label. He told the story of his epiphany to this magazine in 2004 (TSP 12th issue). “Travelling from Nice to Italy, because I’d read in a Jazz magazine an advert about the Florence/Pisa festival in 78 or 79, I received confirmation of the kind of music I wanted to engage with, hear, listen, do, live and love. Something was happening in this festival as a meeting between the US and the European way of music, between Jazz and Contemporary music, and the confrontation of those two spirits was marvellous…listening to the Lovens/Lytton duet I thought the music I was hearing was genuinely coming directly from the brains of those two human beings playing together.” Further episodes of the story, and connections with great musicians, are contained in the liner to today’s release; he met Daunik Lazro at Angouleme around this time, and counts him as a lifelong friend. And he met Evan Parker at that Pisa and Florence festival, confirming that “I was so overwhelmed by the power of their music that I decided on the spot throw myself into the adventure, body and soul”.
Some forty years later, these musicians remain his friends, and he is still in love with the music. When invited to play at Cafe OTO in London, he was delighted at the chance and invited his two “prime friends” to play with him. The results of this 22 January 2020 concert are now ours to enjoy…the opening set is Foussat solo for 31:35, playing his Synthi AKS – an instrument he has made all his own – and adding wailing tones with his singing voice. ‘Inventing Chimeras’ is strikingly original synth music, 100% improvised on an instrument not often associated with or heard within this genre. Characteristically for this very passionate player, the music is filled with emotion, passing through numerous turbulent and stormy passages (some of them verging on the terrifying), balanced out with melancholic and still sequences of plaintive wailing. Voice and instrument merge seamlessly, and the classical imagery of the title is enough to allow us to hear other supernatural beings from antiquity, such as the Furies or dead spirits from the house of Hades. Heartfelt and haunting music for sure, and stamped with the very honest and expressive personality of Jean-Marc Foussat. It’s some way from the wild noise of his 1980 solo LP i, but the subtlety and craft of this work is non-pareil.
The second disc, titled ‘Présent Manifeste’, is the trio of Daunik Lazro (tenor and baritone sax) and Evan Parker (soprano), playing with Foussat on the Synthi and voice. What makes this work so well is that it’s a glorious polyphony – four voices (effectively) all sounding at the same time and not getting in each other’s way…the circular loops, intricate repeated patterns, and inventive drones of Parker, the alienated cries and heroic warrior-shouts of Foussat, his freaky synth noises and echoed repeats, and the romantic and florid lines of Lazro. Everything overlapping and mutating in a free-form and free-floating array of ideas. Also much to enjoy in the full-on continuity of the music; no mindless droning on automatic pilot, nor is the music fractured into multiple unconnected outbursts of sputtering, restless, “free” music. It couldn’t have turned out better if the whole 44:50 had been composed and scored from start to finish; this is real interaction and telepathy at work. And yet apparently it was the first time they played as a trio.
“For the past 40 years we have been dreaming the music we could make together,” writes Jean-Marc wistfully, “and finally, here we are, the three of us, for the very first time.” From 1st June 2020; an essential set.
JEAN-MAC FOUSSAT / DOUNIK LAZRO / EVAN PARKER – CAFE OTO 2020
For the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Machine Gun recordings at the Lila Eule in Bremen, Peter Brötzmann put together a trio with the Berlin pianist, composer Alexander von Schlippenbach and the percussionist Han Bennink, who already sat on the drums 50 years ago. They were so pleased with the music that they decided to release it and continue to play gigs as the trio. Machine Gun was originally recorded in May 1968 by an octet consisting of influential musicians of new jazz and improvised music. The LP was repressed on Cien Fuegos in 2018 (CF 020LP).
Peter Brötzmann / tenor saxophone, b-flat clarinet, tarogato
Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano
Han Bennink / drums
BROTZMANN / SCHLIPPENBACH / BENNINK – Fifty Years After... Live at the Lila Eule 2018
An amazing document of the life experiment that was the Organic Music Society. This super quality audio, recorded by RAI (the italian public broadcasting company) in 1976 for television, documents a quartet concert focused on vocals compositions and improvisations. Here, Don Cherry and his family-community’s musical belief emerges in its simplicity, with the desire to merge the knowledge and stimuli gained during numerous travels across the World in a single sound experience.
Don's pocket-trumpet is melted with the beats of the great Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, the Italian guitar of Gian Piero Pramaggiore, and the tanpura drone of Moki. A pure hippie aesthetic, like in an intimate ceremony, filters a magical encounter between Eastern and Western civiliziations, offering different suggestions of sound mysticism: natural acoustics in which individual instruments and voices are part of a wider pan-tribal consciousness.
A desert Western landscape marries Asian and Latin atmospheres. Indigenous contributions with berimbau explorations find fossil sounds of rattles and clap-hands invocations. Influences of Indian mantra singing are combined with eternal African voices or with folkish-Latin guitar rhythms , while flute and drums evoke distant dances. In the Organic Music everything becomes an act of devotion and love, an ecstatic dwell in the dimension of a sacred free-rejoice.
Don Cherry – Om Shanti Om