Thursday, November 8, 2018

Abstract Orchestra - Madvillain Vol. 1 (ATA RECORDS November 2018)

Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra have been a consistent presence on the u.k. music scene, touring constantly in promotion of their debut LP “Dilla” and follow up 45 “New Day feat. Illa J”, steadily building a loyal and supportive fanbase. Inspired by the legendary live performances of The Roots with Jay-Z and the 40 piece orchestral arrangements by Miguel-Atwood Ferguson of the work of J Dilla, classic arranging techniques underpin modern loop-based structures, breathing new life into familiar material. 

The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene who collectively have played with Jamiroquai, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, John Legend & the Roots, Roots Manuva and Amy Winehouse. 

“Madvillain Vol. 1” takes the template of their debut LP “Dilla” and applies the same approach to the collaboration of MF Doom and Madlib, aka MADVILLAIN and their albums MADVILLAINY and MADVILLAIN 2. Sampling the likes of Sun Ra, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, George Duke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder gave the albums a jazz oriented feel and ethos which in turn lend themselves perfectly to the deconstruction and re-imagining of Abstract Orchestra. As with their debut, all the tracks were recorded live in the studio with very few overdubs. 

Abstract Orchestra’s MADVILLAIN Vol 1. explores the jazz, TV soundtrack and film score aspect of the original work, combining it with classic big band writing and a focus on improvisation. There is a strong influence of Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin and David Shire (Composer of the soundtrack to The Taking of Pelham 123) on the album, and the arranger Rob Mitchell crafts his own sound that inhabits the space between Madlib’s production and Quincy Jones’ writing. Bandleader and arranger Rob Mitchell says of the record: “‘MADVILLAINY’ is a jazz album as much as it is a hip-hop album and I wanted to explore this reciprocal territory there has always been between jazz and hip-hop. 70’s cop show soundtracks have always captured my interest and imagination, and I discovered so much amazing music through TV themes, Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin in particular.

They explored sounds that were menacing, angular, dissonant, frantic and yet captivating. They were also able to write music that was the flip side of all that dark chaos, and write lush and beautiful music. Arranging and scoring up MADVILLAIN Vol 1. Has allowed me to explore these sounds that I’ve always loved, yet keeping a strong hip-hop identity as the core of its sound.” 

1. Accordion 03:14
2. Curls 03:12
3. ALL CAPS 04:35
4. Bistro 02:25
5. Fancy Clown (free) 02:35
6. Raid 03:37
7. MADMIX 1 06:44
8. Great Day 04:23
9. MADMIX 2 08:37

Thought Gang (Angelo Baladamenti / David Lynch - Thought Gang (SACRED BONES RECORDS November 2018)

By the time Twin Peaks’ second season had aired and Fire Walk With Me had just began principle production, Thought Gang had been born. The esoteric jazz side­ project of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti evolved from the seeds of Twin Peaks’ trademark slow cool jazz and blossomed into more experimental pastures: horizonless vistas of acid­-soaked free­jazz, laced with spoken word narratives and sprawling noisescapes. Fire Walk With Me’s soundtrack would ultimately showcase two preliminary tracks (‘A Real Indication’ and ‘The Black Dog Runs at Night’) from a full­length album that wouldn’t see release for the next two and a half decades. 

Between May of 1992, and continuing throughout 1993, the bulk of the remaining material for the album was recorded in pieces...dove­tailed into a string of contracted sessions for other Lynch­/Badalamenti projects. The defining elements that would birth Thought Gang into a fully­-formed concept and eventually an entire album, however, happened during the 1991 session for ’A Real Indication.’As the oft­-told story goes, Lynch and Badalamenti had just finished recording the initial instrumental take for ‘A Real Indication.’ A set of lyrics had been penned, leaving Lynch with the question: who would he get to sing them? Eager to prove and deliver, Badalamenti suggested that he himself give it an attempt, much to Lynch’s uncertainty that he’d actually be the right fit. “I’d heard Angelo sing before...he used to sing on demos and things...I knew what Angelo sounded like and I thought he was going to embarrass himself...I thought there’s no way this was gonna work.” 

Much to Lynch’s surprise, Badalamenti launched into the song with his distinctive talk­-sing delivery, summoning such a violent laughter­-fueled excitement from Lynch that he literally induced a hernia. “It was like a lightbulb exploded in my gut,” Lynch recalls. “Angelo was feeling it. He was feeling it...we hit the button and he just took off!” A giant lightbulb simultaneously went off in Lynch’s head, and it was perhaps the precise moment Thought Gang splintered off into an entity separate from all prior collaborations the two had had up until then. Weeks later, Lynch was thrust into principle photography of Fire Walk With Me, carrying through the production the very same herniated stomach. 

Recordings for Thought Gang continued throughout 1992 and 1993, spontaneously happening during a run of sessions for an assortment of other projects. During a September 1992 recording date for Lynch’s HBO miniseries Hotel Room, ’Logic & Common Sense’ was recorded. “We would book a session for something, and then go off and do other things [toward the end],” Lynch recalls. “Once the players were in the room, we’d make hay while the sun shined.” Each player involved was a unique wealth of talent that enabled the improvisational approach to the recordings to flourish. Improvisation had always been an important tool in Lynch’s repertoire, and an early title for ‘Logic & Common Sense’ (originally entitled ’Headless Chicken’) reveals the original directive the musicians were given in order to elicit the performance.

Bassist Reggie Hamilton remembers distinctly how Lynch set the tone of the improvisation, recalling thebrief but descriptive sentence: “Imagine you’re a chicken with your head cut off running around with a thousand bennies shoved down your throat!” What followed was a frenetic, amphetamine-­esque musical conversation between seasoned players for exactly 3 minutes 32 seconds before the end of the 2” tape whipped across the Studer’s play head, flopping against the take­-up reel and cutting the recording short. Every inch captured from that performance can be heard on the final record, down to the roll out. 

Similarly, the sprawling ‘Summer Night Noise’ began with a verbal brief outlining the piece’s desired structure: “I would just tell [the guys], it starts out really, really quiet...think summer night: insects, a breeze, grass blowing in the wind...and in the distance a storm is coming...and the storm is getting closer...and closer...and the storm breaks loose and it’s just a violent summer storm with thunder and lightning...and it goes and goes and goes and then calms down and drifts away...and then we’re back to a moist, humid quiet.” “I would tell them a bunch of stuff and then they would play that. It was them catching the thing and painting a picture with their instruments and talent.”In the years following, fragments and working versions of Thought Gang material would make appearances in everything from a Lynch­-helmed Adidas commercial to scenes in Hotel Room, Mulholland Drive, INLAND EMPIRE, deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me and most expansively utilized in Showtime’s third season of Twin Peaks. 

Both ‘Frank 2000,’ ‘Summer Night Noise’ as well as an alternate instrumental mix of ‘Logic and Common Sense’ would score scenes from season three and aid in defining the show’s distinctly experimental, noise­tilted soundtrack. “It’s sort of like jet-­fueled jazz in a weird way...but it’s all based on stories,” says Lynch. “It’s Modern Music.” Those two words seem to efficiently capture both Thought Gang’s essence and distinctively genre­less genre. Quite often music that finds release beyond its decade of creation experiences a bit of an aural patina resulting from the process of marinating in the ether of time. Perplexingly, Thought Gang retains a contemporary quality difficult to quantify.

“I actually had the name Thought Gang along time before we even recorded anything for it” Lynch casually remarks...and, fittingly, the resulting album somehow still sounds ‘modern’ and will continue to remain ‘modern,’ decades upon decades after is creation.

Huw Warren - Everything We Love and More (November 2018)

One of the UK's most creative composer instrumentalists.... Genre defying pianist and writer,has worked in many areas of music including co founder of perfect houseplants, collaborations with june tabor mark feldman maria pia de vito iain ballamy peter herbert pamela thorby the orlando consort and many others...recent projects and recordings with Erik Truffaz, Maria Pia, Ralph Towner and Ramamani.

1. Habibi
2. Urban 02:20
3. And the Kitchen Sink 05:41
4. Happy as Larry 02:12
5. Sachte 01:53
6. The Art of Hairdressing 03:08
7. Coup de Soleil 03:51
8. Freckle Counting 02:42
9. How about this? 02:27
10. Bass Choir 03:18
11. Kuuru Bizu 02:53
12. Whistling Rufus 04:36
13. Friendly Fire 02:07
14. Both Levels 03:07
15. Mil Harddach Wyt 04:15
16. Deep End 05:20

Charlotte Hug: SON​-​ICON MUSIC - Orchestra And Choral Works (FUNDACJA SLUCHAJ November 2018)

Son-Icon Music - orchestra and choral works by Charlotte Hug Music notation and conducting form the basis of the classical Western tradition of composition and performance. As early as the 1960s, alternatives to this system were sought again and again – a system which implies a lack of maturity in the individual performer. With her “Son-Icons” Charlotte Hug developed a medium and compositional technique, which integrates the imagination and artistic resources of the individual into a guided whole. These are “sound drawings”, which form the basis of both her “Nachtplasmen” for orchestra and “Inn Cammino” for choir: graphic, often mobile inspirational objects, which can be read precisely as a score, but without constraining the players. On the contrary, the Son-Icons can be turned and reversed, and can be read in reflection, backwards or in retrograde. Son-Icons are reminiscent of a visual transposition of a compositional technique, familiar from the work of Bach and the Second School of Vienna. 

For “Nachtplasmen”, made of graphite drawings, which were quite literally created in the tides of the Irish Atlantic, Charlotte Hug assigned an individual Son-Icon to each player, thereby giving them their own flexible voice, with which they could work collectively on the development and overall sound. Hug directed the first and third parts of “Nachtplasmen” according to the Principles of Conduction initiated by Butch Morris, a language of conduction which was substantially developed by the London Improvisers Orchestra, of which Charlotte Hug was also a member for over ten years. 

In the middle of the “Nachtplasmen” it becomes dark, the conductor pulls back, and the players are alone with the Son-Icon video score, which stretches over them like a canopy. Thrown back on their own senses and resources, the individual is now invited to draw from their imagination and at the same time to steer with the collective sound using hearing and feeling. 

Composed for young players of the international Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra 2011, Hug used the “Nachplasmen” as the starting point of a pathway. This led to a further stage with the choir piece “Inn Camino”, interpreted by the via nova choir of Munich in 2013. “Inn Camino” follows the structure of “Nachtplasmen” with two framing pieces which are directed, and a central piece which is not directed. Just as the players move from a day-time consciousness to a night-time consciousness, the nine singers drift back and forth from an external to an internal focus. For this Hug used the “Interaction Notation” which she developed herself for her intermedia artistic contexts and compositions (based on a pure musical notation system by Larry Ochs). The visual stimuli of the Son-Icons arouse an alert acoustic interaction amongst the players. In this way, the singers take the timing of the piece into their own hands, which adds a further level of individual artistic involvement. 

For her drawings in “Inn Cammino”, Charlotte Hug went from the vastness of the Atlantic back to the source, namely to the origins of the Inn in the Swiss high mountain valley of the Engadin. Colourful tuff stone adds a new dimension to the graphite drawings. Here Hug has created two Son-Icons as a musical basis for every singer: the first drawing suggests the different formations of the inside of the mouth. She thereby invites the singers to be aware of the inside of their bodies as resonating chambers.

The second drawing suggests a spinal form and directs the eye to the system as a whole, in which the individual vocal sounds and the different rhythms become an integral part of one entity. For while the movements of the Atlantic obey an overarching cosmic rhythm, in the mountains Charlotte Hug encountered the polyphony of what she has called “Quellrhythmen”, the individual rhythms and polyrhythms of the mountain streams.

And thus, “Inn Cammino” is characterised musically by the intertwining of many individual vocal sounds and rhythms at the beginning of a pathway, which will open out into the great breathing movement of the tides.

Trevor Watts & RGG - RAFA: Live in Klub Zak Jazz Jantar 2018 (FUNDACJA SLUCHAJ November 2018)

First ever meeting of legendary British saxophone player Trevor Watts and probably greatest Polish piano trio RGG recorded live on Jazz Jantar Festival 2018.

1. RAFA 1 12.08
2. RAFA 2 13.16
3. RAFA 3 17.40
4. RAFA 4 18.19
5. RAFA 5 8.17

Trevor Watts - alto & soprano saxophones
Łukasz Ojdana - piano
Maciej Garbowski - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

All music improvised by Trevor Watts / Łukasz Ojdana / Maciej Garbowski / Krzysztof Gradziuk

Recorded live on 15th of March 2018 at Jazz Jantar Festival, Gdańsk

Mixed & Mastered at TOKARNIA Studio by Jan Smoczyński

Special thanks to: Trevor Watts / Łukasz Ojdana / Maciej Garbowski / Krzysztof Gradziuk / Magdalena Renk / Jan Smoczyński

Photo by Krzysztof Gradziuk
Produced by: RGG & Maciej Karłowski
Executive Producer: Maciej Karłowski
Cover Design: Małgorzata Lipińska

Charlotte Hug & Lucas Niggli - Fulguratio (FUNDACJA SLUCHAJ November 2018)

Drum and voice – a more archaic pairing could hardly be imagined. Under this motto, in 2016 the festival “Ad libitum” in Warsaw invited Charlotte Hug and Lucas Niggli as an improvisation duo. Although they live in the same city of Zurich, this was a first for both musicians. The electrified audience was just as overwhelmed by this recent discovery as the duo themselves: if they had known that their meeting would release such an exceptional, electrifying energy, this duo would have been born long before that evening. 

Hug and Niggli have a similar archaic approach to their production of sound – but came to it from quite different directions: Hug is a classically trained viola player and a visual artist. At the same time, she is a composer, performer and voice artist. She integrates the various disciplines into her own intermedia art form. Niggli, one of the most versatile drummers of his generation, operates mainly in the field of free jazz and improvisation. What connects the two musicians is their fascination with freedom in music. On this basis their CD “Fulguratio” was created.

From their contrasting positions, using improvisation and with great compositional awareness, in the sense of Instant Composing, the duo explores the potential of their great range: how close and how far can they be and still communicate with one another and even create sparks? Hug and Niggli allow the extremes of tone and energy in their “instruments” – the fragile and the robust – to collide purposefully and release their charge like a flash of lightning. 

The thunder roll which they attract acquires a life of its own. Thus, variants of this discharge of energy – “Fulguratio: sheet lightning” “Obliqua Fulmina: spider lightning” – and other meteorological phenomena – “Virga: drizzle” “Lacunosus: lacunosus cloud” (cloud cover with holes like a loose honeycomb) have become metaphors of their immaterial and at the same time physical music. Just as purposefully, the Duo allow the extreme tonal opposites to come close together, to touch, to rub, to merge into one another – to the point where percussion and voice are barely recognisable as such and are perceived rather as a hybrid “third sound”. Into this hybrid soundscape, Charlotte Hug also integrates the viola. 

The supposed divide between the archaic elementary power of the voice and drum and the cultivated musical art object, which a viola traditionally embodies, brings the Duo/Trio with its shimmering playfulness almost to the point where they disappear entirely: voice and drum are applied for percussive as well as melodic purposes. Where Hug draws out the most original, most physical sounds from her viola, each exclusive artistic characteristic enters the background in its own right. For the Duo therefore this also means freedom: freedom to navigate with archaic power and stylistic flexibility spontaneously and sensitively through the whole spectrum of sound between tonal extremes and hybrids. 

Fourth Page: Charlie Beresford, Carolyn Hume, Peter Marsh, Paul May - The Forest From Above (LEO RECORDS November 2018)

It's been a long time since the release of the first CD by Fourth Page (CD LR 619 Blind Horizons). Surreal, mystical and hypnotic, the music is like nothing you've heard before. It breathes and pulsates, it is scary and beautiful at the same time, yet it is utterly original. This new album covers a lot of ground from hushed ambience to immersive, trance-like grooves, folkish ballads and restrained bursts of abstract clutter. It is luminous, dark, seductive and edgy. The line-up is still the same: Charlie Beresford - voice and guitar, Carolyn Hume - keyboards, Peter Marsh - bass, Paul May drums.

Marilyn Crispell / Tanya Kalmanovitch / Richard Teitelbaum - Dream Libretto (LEO RECORDS November 2018)

This CD is a very personal statement from Marilyn Crispell. MEMORIA / FOR PESSA MALKA was composed as a memorial to her relatives who died in the Second World War, and to her parents, husband, and close friends who have passed on during the past several years. The five movements comprise a journey through suffering to redemption. First half of the CD is a trio with Tanya Kalmanovitch (violin) and Richard Teitelbaum (electronics), while the second half is a duo with Tanya. The seven violin/piano improvisations are not connected to the memorial piece, but they seemed to fit the ambience established by it.

Ivo Perelman - Strings 1 & Strings 2 (LEO RECORDS November 16, 2018)

Ivo Perelman Reaches Into Distant & Recent Past,

Exploring Newly Forged Collaboration With

Violist Mat Maneri On Strings 1 & Strings 2

Double Disc Set Available

November 16 via Leo Records

In recent years, the irrepressible and inexhaustible tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman has forged a special relationship with violist Mat Maneri, with whom he has recorded six albums since 2013. “When I play with him, I have the best of both worlds,” Perelman explains. “I have the wonderful sounds that a string instrument can produce – the bowing, the pizzicato, the sad timbre of the viola, the intimate sound; but I also get the wonderful phrasing of a woodwind player.” This no doubt owes to the influence of the violist’s father, the iconoclastic Boston-based saxophonist & clarinetist Joe Maneri. “I don’t have that relationship with anybody else that plays a string instrument,” adds Perelman, who remarked, after their first encounter, “it’s like each of us is playing both instruments at the same time.” 

This musical compatibility undergirds two new albums that inaugurate the saxophonist’s latest themed series of recordings. Strings 1 and Strings 2 (available November 16 via Leo Records) are the first of seven recordings, each of which showcases the core unit of Perelman and Maneri but in different settings formed by the addition of other artists. Perelman has previously employed a similar methodology to great success. In 2015, he issued five albums built around his relationship with drummer Gerald Cleaver. In 2016, he presented two separate projects in which he and his most frequent collaborator, pianist Matthew Shipp, welcomed varying combinations of bass, drums, and trumpet. Such projects present Perelman as a sort of experimental scientist, adding and subtracting reagents to affect the results, and they represent the most ambitious segment of his discography.

On Strings 1, Perelman and Maneri are joined by two admired violinists known for their improvisation, Mark Feldman and Jason Hwang. This creates, for all intents and purposes, a string quartet – except for the fact that here, the tenor saxophone stands in for the cello. While this quartet represents a unique grouping, it is nonetheless rooted in the distinct similarities linking the tenor and the cello. They share an almost identical written range and tonal color, from luscious mahogany in the low notes to a sweet chartreuse in the upper register; each instrument is considered the most “vocally” expressive instrument within its respective family. (In fact, you could say that the cello sounds something like a “tenor violin.”) What’s more, Perelman has previously stated his tendency for his saxophone playing to “mutate” in the presence of the violin family, saying, “I start to incorporate the bowing, the instruments’ phrasing, in my own playing.”

“I am particularly in love with this session,” Perelman admits now, “because I was not expecting anything like it at all. I thought that maybe this wouldn’t work, that maybe it was too many high-pitched violins. I never thought I would become the ‘cello’ anchoring it all down.”

As is the case with any Perelman album, the music on Strings 1 sprouts from total spontaneity, created with neither written music nor even any outline regarding themes, tempos, form, or harmonic movement. But the results seem anything but haphazard: motifs arise and spread, counterpoint blinks in and out of existence, and passage after passage raises the question of where improvisation ends and true composition begins.

Perelman has always had a strong affinity for the instruments that make up the violin family. The roots of this predilection extend to his youth: as a child in his native Saõ Paulo, Perelman played cello for several years before he turned to the saxophone, and the instrument still haunts him. As he explains when discussing Strings 2 – which marks his first partnership with a stand-alone cellist (as opposed to an earlier recording with the Sirius String Quartet) – he initially leaned toward excluding the instrument from any of the recordings in the “Strings” series. “When there’s a cello there,” he admits, “I kind of become a different animal, because I have sentimental values attached to it. Without the cello, I can work without distractions. Throw a cello in there, and it’s something else. The cello just drives me crazy. It’s a powerful thing; the deep, deep sound – it speaks to my soul immediately.”

Strings 2 features cellist Hank Roberts, whose extraordinary eclecticism – he has played traditional jazz, folk and country music, rock, and avant-garde improvisation – has allowed him to perform with artists ranging from Gary Burton and Rudy Royston, to Bill Frisell, to Sting, to Julius Hemphill and Tim Berne. Like Maneri, Roberts de-emphasizes traditional praxis in favor of expressivity, sublimating pyrotechnics to achieve an elegant balance of resolve and fragility. Strings 2 also marks Perelman’s first on-disc meeting with Ned Rothenberg, among the admired reed virtuosos in post-freedom improvisation, who plays bass clarinet on four tracks.

This represents another rare occurrence in Perelman’s extensive discography of 100-plus albums: until the 2018 release of Kindred Spirits and Spiritual Prayers, each of which comprised duo improvisations by tenor and bass clarinet, Perelman had previously recorded with another woodwind player only once. “This means so much to my development as an artist,” Perelman has said in describing the experience of working with bass clarinet. By including that instrument, along with the cello (his first great love) and the viola of Mat Maneri (another “kindred spirit”), Perelman has assembled a group that reaches into his distant and recent past to point his art in yet another new direction.

Heisenberg Quintet - Live at Kühlspot (AUT RECORDS November 2018)

This is the first album of the Heisenberg Quintet, made up by Anna Kaluza on alto sax, Hannes Buder on guitar, Nikolai Meinhold on piano, Stephan Bleier on double bass and Rui Faustino on drums. 

The album consists of three improvised pieces of long duration, offering a various musical landscape characterised by a strong interplay, with moments of bliss alternated to more aggressive and intense situations. 

Definitely a must for the lovers of the "Echtzeit" music scene!

Anna Kaluza – alto sax
Nikolai Meinhold – piano
Hannes Buder – guitar
Stephan Bleier – double bass
Rui Faustino - drums

Recorded live by Hannes Buder and Nico Meinhold 
at Kühlspot Social Club Berlin when on 19th February 2018

1. Live at Kühlspot 1 25:45
2. Live at Kühlspot 2 20:42
3. Live at Kühlspot 3 13:28