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Very special release from filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. Highly reccomended.
"I first discovered khroniky – Ukranian folk songs – in the Highlands of Scotland. I was watching a screening of Bajka, a mesmerising documentary made by the filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. I knew nothing about these ballads beforehand, but I was fascinated by these odd, beautiful songs, especially the easy way in which they mixed misery and levity, where gentle melodies blend with tales of dark violence. The folk songs describe hardship, murder, torture, death in gulags, heavy drinking, outsmarting men, love affairs. But they’re often very funny too – many of the songs make fun of marriage, and there’s an amazing subcategory of khroniky songs called potka (vagina) songs.The khroniky have never been properly documented because they were considered too crude, or contained lyrics that were problematic, politically. When Ukrainian folk songs have been archived in the past, it’s normally a sanitised, more polite version of the ones that Lucia remembers from her childhood. Lucia grew up on the other side of the Ukrainian border in Slovakia. She is part of the Rusyn (Ruthenian) minority ethnic group found in the borderlands of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Poland. Rusyn is a centuries-old Slavic language, looked down upon as a poor, uneducated dialect by the neighbouring Ukraine and Slovakia. It was forbidden to talk about Rusyn culture at Nimcova’s primary school, but the khroniky stayed in her memories.“I remember weddings when I was young,” says Lucia, who now lives in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. “At the end of the night, when everyone was drunk and the young couple would go around their guests, people would sing in Rusyn. There was singing and dancing, and songs about being in prison or falling in love. I picked up the lyrics and sometimes my mum would make my sister and I sing them for people we met on the train. I was about five or six but the lyrics still come back when I sing to my kids.”Determined that these rich, nuanced, unique songs shouldn’t be forgotten, she decided to record them. Over two years, Lucia, joined by experimental musician Sholto Dobie, visited Rusyn villages high in the Carpathian mountains to rediscover the songs and make the documentary. It was at the beginning of war breaking out in Ukraine in 2014.“The Rusyn community is a very closed one,” explains Lucia. “Sometimes we’d have to wait several days to hear someone sing; we had to earn their trust before they shared something very personal to them. We’d stay up ‘til 5am at a wedding, then go straight to a morning baptism, or collect haystacks with the villagers, hoping they’d sing while they were working.”DILO is named after an important independent Ukrainian daily newspaper that was shut down when the Red Army entered Lviv in 1939. The four long tracks on DILO blur field recordings with song; an unpolished, privileged glimpse into a private world. We hear dogs barking and insects buzzing in the summer heat, then a blast of hurdy gurdy or violin will drift in, or a plaintive song soars softly over the rural background noise, with casually harrowing lyrics about a cuckoo, “lifeless in a world of misery”, as translated in the album’s booklet.For both Lucia and Sholto, it was important not to tamper too much with what they heard. “When you think about ethnography,” Lucia explains, “you have to have a lot of time, love and respect to document it with sensitivity.”“The songs all have their own atmosphere and intimacy from the spaces they were recorded in and it was important to maintain these particularities and move with them,” adds Sholto, who now lives in Vilnius, Lithuania. “They guide and sometimes interrupt a journey between interiors – domestic spaces; in kitchens, by the fire – and exteriors; marketplaces, cow sheds. We used contact microphones to record metal bridges and fences, and we spent one afternoon recording a wool processing machine, the details of the rattling and tuning wheels are the ground layer for the third track.”Lucia took rough notes and diary entries during the recording process, which are now shared in the booklet alongside a selection of lyrics, loosely translated, but revealing the depth and astonishing beauty that sometimes lies in the language of these folk songs.The feel of the album is intimate, flipping between laughter, where a woman sings about selling her pussy to buy a cow in one track, then shifts to a raw, painful truth; an adult son asks his mother why his dad won’t be back for dinner, as he’s gone to war.Since Lucia and Sholto began working together in 2014, they have shared the audio recordings on radio and film and shown photos in gallery spaces, making sure these special, smutty, poignant songs don’t get lost. This new record and booklet joins that same continuum, another glorious fruit from the same rare tree. "
Concept, photography, notes, and research by Lucia Nimcováwww.luco.skRecorded and mixed by Sholto Dobiesoundcloud.com/sholtodobieDesign by Ondrej Jóbwww.setuptype.comMastered by Tomáš Vtípil / dinn (dinn is not noise)www.vtipil.czWords by Claire Sawersclairesawers.comPhotography by Lukáš Rohárikbit.ly/2QT4r49Released by mappa as MAP025 in 2021This project has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.
Lucia Nimcová & Sholto Dobie – DILO
A singular exercise in Will Guthrie's discography, “People Pleaser”, a series initiated in 2017, sees the Australian partially put down his drumsticks and wear a producer cap for a result offering a resolutely singular perspective of / on his work with a very personal dimension.
On the first volume, with a cover signed Stephen O'Malley sets the tone by diverting the chamaré Warhol influenced visual of the album “Unit Structures” by Cecil Taylor. The portrait of the free jazz pianist has been replaced by passport photos of Guthrie. The result is a diversion into a fairly “Pop” aesthetic whose musical content works in a fairly similar way.
Four years later, the cover art's undertones are slightly darker and Guthrie hasn't aged a bit on his new passport photo. The twelve tracks of this second “People Pleaser” combine and arrange field recordings, heady loops, twists, musical quotes stuck on bedside records, recorded moments captured during travels, ghosty voices from low-fi lands, a police interview tape and imagined exotic sounds ... Guthrie could walk us for hours on his hard drive like looking at a photo album but he chose to build pieces based on this very personal sound material, much like a mixtape, with special care given to how sounds articulate, overlap and collide. He thus invites his heroes and his friends to join him in skilfully chiseled and finely edited imaginary jams.
The first to take pleasure in this “People Pleaser” is undoubtedly its author as some of his finds are enjoyably playful; we are there embarked in an addictive sound patchwork at high speed where a Balinese Squarepusher is propelled via a defective cathode ray tube in a temple where the happy marriage of the saxophone and the gong is celebrated before this too short respite is interrupted by a sustained hip hop rhythm. The multiplicity and variety of sources give the whole a very pop format and the way in which Guthrie combines sounds, textures, rhythms and vocal elements quickly takes on a narrative dimension and poses this exercise between hip hop and a very personal plunderphonic, evoking as much J Dilla or RZA as the irreverent inventiveness of People Like Us or Wobbly.Will Guthrie has never been in as good company as on a solo album, he also lists on the cover the list of friends, heroes, members of his family and countries who inspired him and to whom he pays homage / collage on this new disc; An aesthetic exercise apart in his discography, both infinitely personal and self-centered and resolutely turned towards what animates him, the aptly named “People Pleaser” reveals the music DNA of the Australian and can be listened to on repeat.
Will Guthrie – People Pleaser Pt.II
Maxed out and burning hot nasty, Electric Rag brings together the electric organs, electronics and alto sax of Jean-Luc Guionnet, with the closely amplified drums and percussion of Will Guthrie.
After years of playing together in the minimalist pointillist free jazz noise core trio ‘The Ames Room’ (with Clayton Thomas on bass) Electric Rag offers up another point of view on a musical history of nearly 15 years of playing together.The 8 titles of Electric Rag draw on their various experience in electronic music, free improvisation and experimental sound research, however the music is deeply rooted in their love of jazz, in its most potent, aggressive and antisocial form.
Jean-Luc Guionnet & Will Guthrie – Electric Rag
Thomas Bonvalet is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist. Having commenced his vocation as a bassist he cemented it as a guitarist at the heart of the band Cheval de Frise (1998-2004). Progressively straying from the guitar, he began to integrate foot tapping and various wind and percussive instruments into his performance, incorporating mechanical elements and stray amped-up objects into the soundscape. This formed the guiding principle of his solo project, L'ocelle mare, initiated in 2005, and continues to form the core of his instrumentation.
The release of Serpentement in 2012 marked the end of a cycle of four progressive stages, homogeneous but distinct from one another, released with successive regularity, proceeding with the elaboration of his singular set up, implicating the human body into a simultaneity of associated gestures and sonic tools and forming a commonality of timbres and tremors. This structure remained fluid and adaptable, finding a balance which lent itself quite naturally to collaborations, entering into the fields of improvisation, folk, rock and contemporary music. In recent years Bonvalet has collaborated, most notably, with Powerdove, Arlt, Radikal Satan, Jean Luc Guionnet, Arnaud Rivière, Will Guthrie, Gaspar Claus, Daunik Lazro, Fred Jouanlong and Sylvain Lemètre.
Without renouncing his solo work, his interruption from it has allowed a slower and more elastic evolution, permitting ancient shapes to gradually metamorphose. In this way new compositions successively articulated themselves in an almost self-determining manner.
Temps En Terre is the fifth album release from L'ocelle Mare, and the first to have been recorded in a studio. The preceding releases were characterised by a marked acoustic: the echoey reverberations inherent to Serpentement were thanks to the protestant temple it was recorded in; Engourdissement was entirely recorded in forest expanses, upon ponds and enclosed within remote wood cabins; Porte d'Octobre was recorded entirely in urban spaces; and his first, unnamed album was entirely recorded in caves and churches. The pieces forming Temps en Terre however, are recorded under a harsher gaze, presented in far cruder light, comparable to that of a live recording.
The instrumentation is composite, rustic, yet paradoxically sophisticated: piano, 6 string bass banjo, mechanical metronome, tuning forks, claves, hand and foot clapping and tapping, mini amps, amps, subwoofer, microphones, small mix desk, bells, mouth organ fragments, concertina, componiums, "stringin it", audio ducker, drum skins, clockwork motors...
Kythibong - 2018
L'OCELLE MARE – Temps En Terre
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'Patty Waters is a visionary avant-garde vocalist and composer, best known for her groundbreaking 1960s recordings for the legendary free jazz label ESP-Disk. Captivated by the music of Billie Holiday, she sang with Bill Evans, Charlie Mingus, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock before coming to the attention of Albert Ayler, who introduced her to ESP-Disk’s Bernard Stollman. The rest is history. Recorded with pianist Burton Greene, Waters’ haunting 1966 debut Sings juxtaposes a side of hushed self-composed jazz ballad miniatures with an iconoclastic take on the standard “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” Sharing Ayler’s affinity for the deconstruction of folk idioms, Waters dismantles the tune through a series of anguished wails, moans, whispers, and screams that cemented her reputation as a vocal innovator, predating the extended techniques of Yoko Ono, Joan La Barbara, and Linda Sharrock, and cited as a direct influence to Diamanda Galás and Patti Smith’s own freeform vocal excursions. The mythic side-long exposition stands as one of the 20th century’s most harrowing expressions of madness and grief, its incantatory mutilation of the word “black” into a full-spectrum monochrome resounding with a particular potency at a time when battles for civil rights were erupting across the country. After recording a second ESP-Disk album Waters disappeared from the music scene, moving from New York to California to raise her son. It wasn’t until 1996 that she returned with a new recording of jazz standards associated with Billie Holiday and began performing sporadically. Her Blank Forms concert—with original pianist Burton Greene as well as bassist Mario Pavone and percussionist Barry Altschul, both veterans of Paul Bley’s ensembles—was Waters’ first New York appearance since 2003. Dedicated to Cecil Taylor, who had passed away moments before she took the stage, Patty Waters Live preserves the mournful tension that was in the air that night. Her first new release on vinyl since 1966’s College Tour, the record divides the session in the spirit of her debut. Side A features a set of desolate ballads, including Waters’ own classic “Moon, Don’t Come Up Tonight,” while the B-side puts into stark relief the fact that the fight for civil rights that Waters invoked over 50 years ago is far from over. Beginning with her rendition of “Strange Fruit,” a 1937 song written in protest of black lynching and American racism, the suite’s form-bending contortions also features the second-ever recording of Waters’ original, exceptional lyrical take on Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman.” Equally adept at channeling the heartbroken intimacy of Lady Day and the catharsis of The New Thing, on April 5th, 2018 Waters proved that she has lost none of her fire, remaining one of the greatest living jazz singers.' - Blankforms
Patty Waters – Live
Born in 1964, Yukihiro Isso is a Japanese Noh flutist (hayashi-kata fue-kata) from a family that has been playing this instrument since the 16th century. He received his initial instruction in flute playing from his father Yukimasa Isso and performed on the Noh stage for the first time at the age of nine. From his middle school years he began to listen to a variety of different kinds of music and studying new instruments including the recorder, flute and piano. An acclaimed performer of classical Noh repertoire, Isso is also an accomplished improviser and has performed with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn..
Born 1946, Roger Turner grew up amongst the Canterbury musical life of the 1960’s with a strong jazz foundation. Since 1974 work has been concentrated on exploring a more personal percussion language through the processes of improvisation. Solo work, collaborations with experimental rock musics & open - form song, extensive work with dance, film and visual art, involvements in numerous jazz-based ensembles, & workshop residencies have formed part of that development.
Takanehishigu is the audio documentation of the first time these artists played together. The results are a breathtaking new music which remains respectful to the individual traditions whilst simultaneously subverting them.
Yukihiro Isso / Nohkan (noh-flute), shinobue, dengakubue, gemshorn and recorder.
Roger Turner / percussion
Takanehishigu was recorded live at Cafe Oto on 23rd Sep 2015 by Shaun Crook
Mixed by John Chantler.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Artwork by Paul Abbott.
Edition of 500 copies.
Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso – Takanehishigu
Last year's "Sibling", released on Special Guest DJ's Experiences Ltd was one of the year's subtle standouts, but Bondy's music refuses to tether itself to one sound or another, instead hovering around the fertile area between experimental ambient and outre club modes. "Glans Intercum" paces further sideways, toying with dub and drone ideas and sandwiching these sketches between buzzing drum workouts that squeeze texture from collapsing beat templates. Oscillating piquant shocks of vibrant energy with steeply opiated hypnagogia and OOBE-like sensations, the results locate a mind in flux, torn between the need to flex hyper-articulated limbs and becoming lost in discretely introspective ambient interzones.
The eight tracks course from a sort of kaotic power ambient energy to a lushly unresolved daydream serenity through alternately convulsive and temple-smushing turns. ‘Rest’ opens with a bitter explosion of digital scree that escalates into pill-belly jitters, and ‘Ash In Emerald Casing’ keeps toes off the ground with Rian Treanor-levels of pointillist hyper-footwork tekkers, contrasting with the DJ Python-esque slithering vox and atmospheric mulch of ‘Spangled (With Stella).’ From the skittish ‘Drip on Nape’ his circles start to bleed into one, with the aqueous shimmer of ‘Ven’ and Stella’s vocals returns on ‘2404’ to blur the lines between up/down, where ’Skizz’ enacts a sort of perpendicular grime and he ultimately comes to bliss out in the fragile glassine fractals wilting from the closing title tune.
West Mineral, 2021
Ben Bondy – Glans Intercum
Rhythm has always been central to Fell’s work, from his icy, repetitive minimalist excursions with SND to his legendary run of unashamedly funked abstract house experiments as Sensate Focus. Here, he continues to excavate that rich seam with an ongoing collaboration with Aussie percussionist Will Guthrie; “Diffractions” pushing both artists’ interests into sharper detail, toying with polyrhythms and unusual tuning to uncover a suite of transformative fidget spins and sonic storm clouds.
“Diffractions” features another two lengthy pieces of future-facing percussive abstractions that blur the line between synthetic and organic. Taking the influence of gamelan and fusing it with the heaving computer music that Fell has obsessively picked-at over the last four decades, the duo here zoom into a sound that’s almost effortlessly engaging; each piece is almost twenty minutes in length but they shift and mutate into polyrhythmic outer-realms and eerie universes of microtonality that are hard to fathom in one sitting.
There are trace echoes of free jazz hanging from the rafters, the post-everything clatter of Humcrush and Food drummer Thomas Strønen’s mind-expanding solo material or even Autechre at their most confounding. The genius here is that just when you convince yourself that this music could only possibly have been generated by a computer, Guthrie’s unmistakably human flex edges into focus - playing with your perception - your expectations - in the most bold, innovative way imaginable. Basically, this record fucking rules.
Mark Fell and WIll Guthrie – Diffractions
Cien Fuegos presents a reissue of Peter Brötzmann's 14 Love Poems, recorded and first released by FMP in 1984. Inspired by a poetry booklet by Kenneth Patchen (from which it takes it‘s title), this album focuses on expression and emotion. "A monument of post-free solo reeds playing and a stunning item in Peter Brötzmann's discography, 14 Love Poems is arguably the German saxophonist and clarinetist's strongest, most compelling solo statement.
Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984, this LP showcases the full scope of the man's art and presents it in a form much more enticing than what you'd expect. This album focuses on expression and emotion instead of virility or power (two terms often used to describe Brötzmann's playing). If 14 Love Poems can be dubbed "the softer side of Peter Brötzmann," it is by no mean a collection of watered-down solos. On the contrary, one finds all the energy, ferociousness, and angst the man is rightfully known for, but his palette of feelings is stretched out to also include tenderness, elevation, and beatitude. The opening "NR. 1" (no titles, just numbers) is in fact a tempered, delicate rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" on baritone sax. All the other pieces are freely improvised. They are all short (nothing over five and a half minutes), and the track list emphasizes mood swings and instrument swapping. In the course of the original album's 50 minutes, Brötzmann plays baritone; tenor and alto saxes; A, E flat, and bass clarinets; and tarogato. The range of instruments, emotions, and techniques (from straightforward melody to sound-breath techniques, circular breathing, split tones, etc.) produces a very rich, diverse, and ultimately endearing album. These pieces were recorded during the original sessions, August 21-23, 1984. Despite the fact that they don't add to the album (in terms of sound palette or techniques), they are just as lovely and striking as the pieces originally released -- not leftovers at all. This album is essential to understand the solo albums later recorded by John Butcher, Alessandro Bosetti, and the like.
"Highly recommended. 10/10" AllMusicGuide
Peter Brötzmann / alto, tenor & baritone saxophone, a-,e-flat & bass clarinet, tarogato
Cover by Peter Brötzmann. Producer: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann. Mix: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann.All compositions by Peter Brötzmann, except Lonely Woman by Ornette Coleman. Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984
PETER BRÖTZMANN – 14 Love Poems
Astral Spirits presents The Ritual and the Dance by Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed. Recorded by Michael Huon at the Oorstof concert series. Zuiderpershuis, Antwerp, Belgium, October 22, 2015. Live concert produced by Sound in Motion.
Roscoe Mitchell: reeds Mike Reed: drums, electronics
Released 2019, Astral Spirits. Artwork by Roscoe Mitchell.
Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed – The Ritual and the Dance
Popular and increasingly in demand, IZIPHO ZAM (my gifts) falls into the ‘rare’ category among record collectors and is a gift to fans of master Pharoah Sanders. This demand is partially galvanized by the fact that ‘Prince Of Peace’ has become an inspirational mine to Hip Hop artists and is much loved by samplers. I
zipho Zam is Pharoah Sander’s 3rd album, initially recorded in january 1969, it was originally released on the Strata-East label in 1973. On Izipho Zam Sanders and his band take you on a journey into another world providing an amazing experience! Passionate, intense and free, Sanders saxophone especially, is exquisite, pouring out its soul telling a story of its own. Hailed by peers as the best tenor saxophonist in the world, Pharoah Sanders is a legend in Jazz music. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of free jazz and is the mentor of jazz giant, saxophonist Robert Stewart. Born in 1940 into a musical family as Farell Sanders in Arkansas, he first played the clarinet before switching to tenor saxophone in High school. After High school he moved to California to study music and art.
In 1961 Sanders moved to New York where he often played gigs with a number of free jazz dignitaries including Billy Higgins, Sun Ra and Don Cherry. His name ‘Pharoah” was given to him by Sun Ra, who was his bandleader then. It was during one of these gigs that he met John Coltrane who became his mentor. While playing with Coltrane, Sanders inevitably rose to prominence due to his very distinctive tenor saxophone sound.
PHAROAH SANDERS – Izipho Zam (My Gifts)
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"Ears Are Filled With Wonder, the debut release from the duo of pedal steel player Heather Leigh and reedist Peter Brötzmann, blows the old adage about improvised music somehow not being best appreciated via the recordings to beautiful pieces. This is a music that demands re-visiting, that seems to alter, slightly, every time it is played, with new details emerging, new relationships of tone and style, new romance, even. Recorded during a mammoth stint in Kraków, Poland, where Brötzmann and Leigh played as part of big bands, trios, quartets, and duos, this duo performance represents the diamond heart of the sessions, an improvised set that bears little relation to what either of the players has achieved outside of its prodigious gravity. We mentioned romance and really Ears Are Filled With Wonder, a play on a line from the poet Kenneth Patchen, showcases the full reach of Brötzmann's rebel lyricism, his lover man style, now smoky, seductive, late night, now roaring and vibrating with energy. Leigh plays it extremely subtly, sometimes fixing on the most suggestive detail and from there spinning luscious webs of repeat-time bliss that make for some of the most psychedelic and otherworldly settings of strings and horn. Elsewhere the two of them tear the roof off with tactile fuzz and horn ascensions. It's a music of organic depth, of endlessly evocative unfolding, as themes bloom and sigh and disappear and arise and it feels curiously out of time, even as both players push their instruments into futuristic configurations. As such it doesn't sit neatly in either players' extensive catalogs. . . . Ears Are Filled With Wonder is a coming together of two of the most original voices on their respective instruments and the title reflects the joyful uncovering of a whole new way of listening and relating. Indeed, it might well be the first ever freely improvised electric pedal steel and saxophone duet ever put to tape. Either way it is one of the most startlingly beautiful combinations of players and temperaments to orbit the European jazz scene in years. And this is only the beginning. So hold tight." --Moshe Idel, Ronda, Spain, February 2016
Heather Leigh: pedal steel guitar. Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone, bass and B-flat clarinet, tárogató. Recorded November 8, 2015, in Kraków, Poland.
PETER BROTZMANN/HEATHER LEIGH – Ears Are Filled With Wonder
Second Editions presents Both by claire rousay. Claire Rousay has been exploring the sensitivities of sound always in relation to "the self" and "the other", equally. Her work is always seen as a contribution, as engagement. Recording, collaging and composing become acts of considering, remembering, giving. Therefore music becomes a context, or more precisely, a habitat. But what does it say about this music when the artistic choice goes deeper, when it is not only an urge to express but to find oneself? When there is more to communicate, to connect to than a "musical work"? This new record features two attuned location-based Hörstücke that sit somewhere between conceptual composition and magical realism. Library is a site-specific piece recorded at, and played back to the halls of the Central Library in San Antonio, Texas. A meticulous recording of social against functional space. Mixing a live microphone feed through a pair of loudspeakers and accompanying it with two sine tones pitched specifically to the building’s dimensions and resonant frequencies, rousay is blending architectual space and human interaction into one curated arrangement.
On the opposite side, Two Things acts as a transient dream sequence, an elusive mise en scene. It provides a sense of location so familiar yet very disorienting. A (re)introduction to a periphery state, a fictional truth, an outside world constructed entirely and deliberately from the inside of an apartment.
Composed and produced by claire rousay at Central Library San Antonio in Texas, 2019, and in Ciudad de México, 2019. Mastered and cut by Anne Taegert at Duplates & Mastering in Berlin, 2020
Claire Rousay – Both
Two recordings from performance, voice and sound artist Lucy Duncombe. 'Brace / Mend' are collaborative works exploring an early musical fascination with theatrical vocal transposition and its duality with machinic interference and technologies. Lucy recently expanded upon this practice with a joint tape release entitled THE RAPTURE OF CELLULAR ACCRETION, featuring riso prints by Al White. Produced by Lucy Duncombe, Kenneth Wilson and William Aikman With additional engineering on ‘Mend’ by Bosco Taylor and Stu Mastered by The Bastard (Wah Wah Wino)
12th Isle, 2021
Lucy Duncombe – Brace / Mend
"Back in 2018, I was invited by Dave Rempis to participate in the Exposure Series at Elastic Arts in Chicago. The Series was for me a shining example of artist-lead organizing of different yet connected communities around the Music. From my standpoint, it is yet another in the continuum of such actions, specifically in Chicago, and has been a major inspiration for my work as an artist and for the material on this recording. The ensemble was assembled by Mr. Rempis, and was the first time the group had ever played together. The experience was immensely moving and was a major event in my own musical development, having the chance to lead a collective ensemble of true pillars in Creative Music. Later that year, I was invited back to Chicago by Ken Vandermark for the Option Series at Experimental Sound Studio. It was then when I was able to schedule a recording and subsequent concert with the group, revisiting the material conceived by the ensemble earlier that year. As for the actual composition, I wanted to showcase the collectivism of the sounds produced in that first meeting. With that in mind I listened back to the first recording and transcribed different movements, motifs, and themes, plus added a few original composition ideas. We then recorded these collective compositions, first in a private recording session, second in front of an audience at Elastic Arts, where the Quintet first met. What is presented here on this double album is a collection of both sessions. I want to convey again the collectivity of the Quintet. The concept of being a (C)omposer is a result of centuries of musical hierarchy, regarded and celebrated as the ultimate form of a musical artist. The example set out by the journeys of many in Improvised Music, including the gentlemen on this recording, allows for exploration of "composition" in true collective non-hierarchical form. There are no single series of notes, timbres, and dynamics conceived previously by an individual that was then imposed. Rather the Music was allowed to be presented with equal representation from each individual. The "Composer" here, is merely the organizer of the spirit energy of the ensemble. This is the nature of the beautiful offering that This Music provides." - Luke Stewart, July 2020.
Luke Stewart - Bass, Compositions Edward Wilkerson, Jr. - Reeds Ken Vandermark - Reeds Jim Baker - Piano Avreeayl Ra - Drums
Released: Oct 2020, Astral Spirits
Luke Stewart – Exposure Quintet
'Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ plays deeply into one of the core influences of borderless Algerian/Egyptian label Nashazphone, highlighting a figure relatively unsung beyond the North African Arabic diaspora, introducing his unusually balmy, soft-voiced take on a genre that came to be known for its harder edges. Set to a mix of microtonal Roland synthesiser leads and swaying drum machines, El-Abbassi’s vocals emote with particular clarity and sensuality, carrying the jazz and psych rock-inspired early sound into a prototype of its current form across eight songs that chart his transition from working with principal group Les Freres Zergui, to selections from recordings by his own band’s influential releases during the mid-late ‘80s.
Drissi El-Abbassi was 17 in 1978, when he joined one of the main groups in Oran region, Les Aigles Noir, working as “stage animator” - a sort of hypeman, also responsible for relaying lyrics to the lead singer, at weddings and parties - and by 1979 he was a member of Les Freres Zergui, who pioneered the use of wah wah pedals and drums in the style of Rai; a new sound established by Messaoud Bellemou and his troupe, that incorporated trumpets and sax into a distinctive new Algerian genre. He cut his teeth playing two shows a night at the weekends with Les Freres Zergui, and his first solo tape came out that year with Zergui on guitar. Following Zergui’s passing in 1983, and the dissolution of the band, El-Abbassi set up his own group, embracing new technology and helping progress the style alongside legendary producer Meghni Mohamed for labels such as Editions Anwar, Editions Maghreb, and Editions Saint Crepain.
The eight songs on ‘Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ cover a spectrum of El-Abassi’s work during 1979-1989, from the mouth watering microtonal psych licks and nagging machine grooves of ‘Zedti laadab aliya’ to the lissom guitars and accordions of ‘Khalouni neck’, showcasing his smoothly contoured vocal cadence in finest style on cuts that resemble melodic Lovers Rock vibes in ’Trig maaskar’ and intoxicatingly sensual highlights ‘Jat jat’, plus the passionate, psychedelic ache of ‘Manetzouedj manebni dar’, or ‘Djibek liyam’, which should appeal to fans of Omar Khorshid as much as Omar Souleyman.
Drissi El-Abbassi – Rai Sidi Bel Abbes
Newly remastered by Rashad Becker for this vinyl edition, ‘5 S-Bahn’ finds Lucy Railton rendering a sublime, haunting impression of Berlin made in early Spring 2020 Boomkats Documenting Sound series of sonic postcards from around the globe. It’s essentially a recording of a world-renowned cellist duetting with the S-Bahn outside her apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, playing with, thru, and against the atmosphere of Berlin in spring during lockdown, capturing a scene that feels timelessly nostalgic, pregnant with an unresolved and restless quietude.
For a compelling 45 minutes Railton describes the slow daily arc of life under lockdown in a usually bustling Berlin slowed to stasis. Quite brilliantly, her voice and her musical gestures become fleeting ephemeral presences as much as the passing trains, planes overhead, birdsong, and the gorgeous church bells of P’Berg, which all unfold and recede in languorous turns. It reminds us of the exquisite, seemingly effortless location recordings used in Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ - ambient sound in the truest sense of the word; suggestive of life just outside our field of view; close - and out of reach. Railton’s ear for ghostly haptics serves to search out an underlying poetry in the ubiquitous and everyday, highlighting the serene yet dread-filled uncanniness of a usually bustling Berlin awakening from winter into the torpor of lockdown. Railton sets the scene:
"On the other side of our backyard wall is Berlin’s main railway line, the Ringbahn. A train passes the apartment block about twenty times an hour, drowning out our conversations and waking us up at night. It is a communal annoyance you learn to love. It structures the shape of this place and enforces a rhythm. I’ve always been glad of these interludes, they provide rich listening material that heightens an otherwise peaceful sonic space. ‘5 S-Bahn’ is my attempt to inscribe part of my sonic location and my own position within it.
By accident this is the second time I’ve ended up living by a busy train line. The first was in Hackney Wick in London. I was short-term living on my own in a studio with an industrial window wall that pretty much touched the safety rails of the train platform. I saw legs, dogs and the Overground Line for most of the day. It was strange being the bystander of a scene like this - what people do on platforms - I got used to their waiting and escaping. Sonically though, things were their best at night. Then it was Maersk and Delphis and other blurry cargo containers, momentarily paralysing us tenants as the noise of the passing freights peaked, sometimes in awkwardly long sustains, long enough that you could fall back to sleep inside them. These sonic treats were (almost) a comfort and, for us neighbours, these freight tremors brought a kind of communion as we endured their assaults together in our sleep, a bizarre way for us to connect, though I might have been the only one to romanticise them in this way.
In Berlin, the setting isn't as intense. Here, there's a distance and a wall separating the backyard and the tracks. I have to climb it to mount the recording equipment. Over the wall, I learn the look of the garage, the church, the rows of Maple trees, the tracks, a playground and the graffiti. Up here, the traffic on Schoenhauser Allee is more pronounced and the deep hum of the city funnels in along the tracks. The machines and people who had been in our ears all this time are now visible. Pressing record I start the process of learning this space and its articulations, hearing it washed out over and over again by the train’s intense interruptions. I wash out with it too, listening from inside my apartment with my headphones on, playing along, singing along, in duet with the tones and frequencies of this space and the organic shapes of its drama. There is so much music already here, maybe this is a collaboration or a dedication of some sort. I find myself admiring its virtuosity and its personality: relentless, seductive, beautiful in all its variation. By taking part in collaboration, I learn and absorb the character of the other, and through the sitting process, I find new shapes and tonalities and temperaments."
Boomkat Editions, 2021
Lucy Railton – 5 S-Bahn
"A long desire of extraordinaire saxophone player Peter Brötzmann was a studio recording of some of his favorite jazz tunes and his own music -- a grand bridge over the music important for his life and his musical career in the past and present. Trost invited him to Martin Siewert's studio in Vienna to do so in summer 2018. The result is intense, beautiful and touching. Features compositions by Harry Barris/Gordon Clifford, Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II, Herbie Nichols, Dizzy Gillespie, George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin, and Sonny Rollins. Personnel: Peter Brötzmann - tenor saxophone. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Martin Siewert. Liner notes and artwork by Peter Brötzmann."
Peter Brötzmann – I Surrender Dear