Thursday, July 29, 2021

Mike Lloyd / Peeter Uuskyla / Gunnar Backman / Anders Berg - Leavings (July 29, 2021)

I have a soft spot for Peeter Uuskyla and his loose, deceptively clumsy style of drumming. Here, he is accompanied by Mike Lloyd on trumpet, Gunnar Backman on fretted and fretless virtual guitar (possibly the storied Yggdrasil) and live loops, and his long-time companion-at-arms Anders Berg on bass.

I am familiar with some of Uuskyla and Berg’s previous work. I am less familiar, however, with Lloyd and Backman. Both have appeared on previous Simlas releases, sometimes together and sometimes, in the case of Backman, with other configurations of an apparently tight circle of musicians featured on Simlas (run by guitarist Tellef Øgrim and Berg) and Backman’s own label, Brakophonic Records.

In other words, most of these musicians seem to play together frequently. (Lloyd may be an outlier in that respect when it comes to Uuskyla, but the claim certainly applies to the rest of combinations.) Although the music itself can hardly be called “tight,” that familiarity shows in the Leavings. As the cover art shows, each musician can be thought of one within an interlocking system of gears. When one gears turns, the others must as well. If one were to stop abruptly, the others would have to follow suit. Were one to malfunction, the entire apparatus would be rendered kaput. I do not want to make too much of this image. Gears, of course, have no volition and no recourse outside of their track. When working properly, they do not take detours or try new things. The whole image, of course, is too mechanical to be perfect. But, as free music lovers would likely agree, the pursuit is not reproducibility or mere function, but an unexpectedly moving whole.

And that is what Leavings achieves. Uuskyla sweeps one direction with his blustery rolls. Berg lays an unsteady beat that collides with Uuskyla’s bass drum. Lloyd offers muffled fanfares and restrained runs that reference electric Miles, though it shies from the intensity and funk that Miles so perfectly harnessed. And Lloyd, alternates between disrupted radio-wave atmospherics, feedback-laden background fidgeting, and straight-up shredding. This sounds psychedelic without the polish and pop. It sounds like a less manic Acid Mother’s Temple, before their morning cup of coffee (or, maybe, in the laggard after-hours of the night), fumbling in search of some indeterminate magical combination of sound. It is fusion played by free jazz musicians. Or, free jazz played by prog rockers who found that too restrictive and jam bands too long-winded. Or, something of the sort. I am not sure which direction these sessions went in. I can say, however, that this album rocks, through and through. This may not be music that blows you away, but it is music that, if you heard it at a friend’s house (were that still a thing in these times), you would likely say, “Wild stuff. Who is that?” - By Nick Ostrum - Free Jazz Blog

1. FOOD 12:35
2. IS THAT SO? 15:54
3. VERILY 07:27
4. BOOKSMART 14:04
5. DOGGY BAG 08:49
6. LEAVINGS 13:33

Lars Larsson / Anders Berg / Fredrik Lindholm - Underground (July 2021)

1. 1 06:51
2. 2 05:03
3. 3 10:35
4. 4 08:46

Lars Larsson - baritone saxophone
Anders Berg - bass
Fredrik Lindholm - drums

Recorded June 2020
Mixed and Mastered by Lars Larsson at Hönshuset Studios
Cover Art by Lars Larsson

Álvaro Domene - The Sword Still Hangs Upon The Wall (July 2021 Iluso Records)

Iluso Records is delighted to release Álvaro Domene's new solo album, The Sword Still Hangs Upon The Wall, which is in continuation from his orchestral inspired solo works for electric guitar captured on Illustris 2020, and The Compass 2018.

"We might well ask upon whose wall this sword hangs, this sword Álvaro Domene testifies to in his music. It is a simple comparison to link the guitar and the sword and to ask which bodies and minds might be set free by each. Both are part of a techne that captures vectors and arcs which force-multiply through other systems- separating them, clarifying them. Domene’s sound sculptures pose questions of emotion, spirit, intellect, the cosmos- and in the end, these questions of sound invite us to act in some way. The sword hangs upon all our walls and in ringing metal it leads to one destination in unison. A ‘land of song’, puissance, voices raised in glorious clamor. In unison against a falling power. ‘This machine ends all fascism.’

Domene’s work on this album explores the outer limits of engagement with the instrument itself and is in dialog with a broader milieu of guitarists who operate in the New York orbit and beyond. He deploys a galactic array of forms that include jazz, various species of metal, palettes of sonic texture from inside and outside the instrument’s techniques, experimental guitar which we can trace emerging in part from the 70s NYC downtown scene [and in Alvaro’s other collaborations with a key protagonist in that NYC scene, the magister ludi Elliott Sharp]. Domene joins a project which has been underway for many decades and accelerates it forward.

There is an underlying engagement both across the music and in his thinking. Beyond transport through joy, intricate formal unfoldings, ecstasy: how can sound take on a set of ethical, moral and political responsibilities? Perhaps by an openness to pure chance in the midst of an articulate structure; a commitment to texture, timbre; a set of extended techniques conjuring vast spaces dancing through the boundaries of carefully programmed delay matrices. Across and beyond a terrain of post-minimalism and the aesthetic positions minimalism held, Domene’s work jumps epochs, fusing myriad styles and an epic, almost symphonic form with his personal vocabulary of guitar. It exists in a tension between the given and the discovered, a structure and the evolving patterns and living sound. Like the scintillation of life itself.

And in this life-sound a core is revealed. Electromagnetic flux wrings it out, flattens it, folds it back upon itself. Layer upon layer rewrought. A core capture, a heat birth, an edge a molecule wide and a parsec long arcs out across our system. Information cascades, swarms again, dancing blades warding off the energy. Bow shock. A bubble. Inside, the denser matter becomes an encoding system. 
A position. A gesture, a supplication. The bubble grows. The bubble is gone, and we float in emptiness. Silence. The dark. And then a sudden light. All flows down. The roots of the ash tree. Æ. Star food, light, blood. The leaves burst forth.

Fiat Lux

The Sword Still Hangs Upon the Wall 18:12
Cascading ice in nacreous, luminescent sunlight. Light from an evening star, a falling star.

A Great Filter. A transmission. A halo of refractions, crystal revelation, sound writ large on the skies. Crumbling, smoldering. A thousand arms thrown up, swarming, to block the heat and light. Time lost; Starless we coast as the future wraps around us. Lensed unto the end. The end of all things. The end of all. Things themselves. The core again. Mother. Core resistance. Uplift against a fallen angel. A slight wingbeat, a feather in the void.

Moving Beyond the Misnomer of Chaos 11:38
A falls falling, as the falls falling. A hand grasping at signals. A wave, a wave. Metallic foam on the crest, a wave of liquid light. In the deeps, the refrain holds. A shadow casts its own diamond shadow. The waves race across themselves. The abyssal. Crystals tumbling down the slope, free fall into darkness.

Albatera 07:39
A saccade across the surface of the sun. Time compression. Stutter, We. Why, the below, the above, the hum sawtoothed upon itself. Iridescence, putrefaction, rebirth. The core returns. I, Thou. We. The saw-edge. Force. I turn to face the sun. My eyes run black. Seeing within sight, I see again. I turn to myself. My eyes run white. A swarm, an arc, a blade against the plasma saws. Devour all. Kali, your arms swarm. Your foot holds the enemy. Darkest mother, your necklace. Fire. 
I, Thou. We. Our water on the barkless branch. Only faith. Only faith for life. ‘Love is the law, love under will.’

The Veriest Delusion 06:06
A walk forward and backward. A falling, falls falling. The transmission again, a deep rumble below. A whirling. Hands blur. A thread of blood through the depths. The geometry of the phrase is liquefied. A bell in motion. The clay. The ore. The furnace cold. The bell cools. The bell’s architecture flows. Time. The crack. A liquid whistle, a hum.

Unsheathed Again 11:26
Axiom. Echo. A Law. The waves intersect. Axiom. Echo. A desert fire, a wind, a tornado, a whirlwind lifting dust. Explosion of the forward wave. Dust in our eyes, the wave behind. A river of glittering dust. A flame upheld. A core breach. A pressure inversion. The dust scatters. Wings afire, we hold the cup high. Dust. On fire. Dust whirling in glittering flame. A pillar of gold in the conflagration. Unity. Echo. A Law. A body laying in the desert snow. An eye slowly blinks. The cave. The bell.

Puerta al Sur 09:21
Seeking. Seeking. An attempt to articulate. A whirlwind, a lashing. The bodies in phase.

A gate standing. Sleeting hail of electrons. Time compression, orbit. An attempt to articulate. A whirlwind, a lashing. The bodies phase again. Phase shift, sleeting light. Erosion, torsion, flux.

Seeking, seeking, the point of collapse. A tight coil, a glittering. An eye forms… electron flux. The eye collapses in. A position. A gesture, a supplication. The bubble grows. The bubble is gone, and we float in emptiness. Silence. The dark. And then a sudden light. All flows down. The roots of the ash tree. Æ. Star food, light, blood. The leaves burst forth.

Fiat Lux - Ed Keller

Álvaro Domene: compositions, seven string electric guitar, live electronics.
Recorded (January-March 2021), mixed, and mastered by Domene at Singularity Studio, Kingston (New York).
Ed Keller: liner notes
Published by Dometone Music BMI 2021
High quality audio files, 24-bit/96kHz. Better than CD.

Dean Granros / Zacc Harris / Chris Bates / Jay Epstein - Taller Tales (July 2021 Shifting Paradigm Records)

After what was supposed to be a one off gig in 2014, with long time trio of Dean Granros, Chris Bates Jay Epstein being joined by a second guitarist, Zacc Harris, an audience member offered to pay for that lineup to record in the studio. In early 2015, the band did just that, spending two days at the Terrarium in Minneapolis, tracking around 15 tunes. Seven of those resulted in the 2015 release TALL TALES. During the months of isolation from the pandemic, Harris tracked down the unreleased takes and mixed and mastered them, resulting in this new release, TALLER TALES. Thanks to Jason Orris of the Terrarium for taking the time to find these tracks in their archives, and to Dylan Nau of Rocket Snake Records for his incredible guidance during the mixing process.

1. Blue Sparrow
2. Boats
3. Miss America 1983
4. Cowboy Hat
5. I Mean You
6. Wingless Transportation

Dean Granros - guitar and compositions
Zacc Harris - guitar
Chris Bates - bass
Jay Epstein - drums

Recorded February 2015 at The Terrarium, Minneapolis, MN
Engineered by Rob Oesterlin
Mixed and Mastered by Zacc Harris
Cover Design and Photo by Zacc Harris
All compositions by Dean Granros, except "I Mean You" by Thelonious Monk

Kippie Moketsi & Hal Singer - Blue Stompin' (July 2021 We Are Busy Bodies)

Reissue of Kippie Moketsi and Hal Singer’s collaborative album, Blue Stompin’. This release is in partnership with the legendary As-Shams/The Sun Records. Remastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel Mastering. Artwork and text restoration by Steve Lewin.

1. Blue Stompin' 11:19
2. Hang On There 06:39
3. Scrap Iron 10:53
4. Yes Baby 12:38

Národní Divadlo - Antropocén (July 2021 Stoned To Death)

"The photo used on the cover comes from the demolition of a never completed miner's hostel belonging to the coal mines in Frenštát, which has long been a threat to the Beskydy landscape and a symbol of the arrogance with which we treat our surroundings. But the end of coal is just a tiny fragment in the kaleidoscope of what we must do to make the anthropocene not just an age of destruction, but a time that will leave behind the anthropocentric worldview and allow us to truly coexist with the other species with whom we share our living space."

Národní Divadlo - Antropocén


Přemýšlím, jestli vůbec nějak zvládnu mapovat tradici volné improvizace v Čechách mimo metropolis. Kolik se asi v okresních a menších městech nachází individuií, kteří jsou ochotni zalézt do zkušebny, chvíli se neřídit absolutně ničím a jen podlehnout pocitu a euforií z formující se masy chaosu, který vypustili na cestu, ovšem všemi směry? A kolik z nich pak ještě někdy vleze do studia nebo zapne na zkušebně rekordér a tohle svoje počínání nějak zaznamená?

Eviduji aktivní scénu na Ostravsku (Massola, aktivity Martina Režného), severočeské Eine Stunde Merzbauten, budějovickou scénu, která tlačí improv skrz rockové tendence (Microvomit, Rek atd.), věci kolem herr majora Čundi, Zabloudila apod. Národní Divadlo do téhle skládačky pasuje též, ale podobně jako pardubičtí Frisk se vymykají nižším zatížením noisových vlivů a většímu tíhnutí k tradiční formě. Trochu vlnobití na hladině, ale nepříliš daleko od břehu, takže by se z toho dalo ještě vyplavat trochu intenzivním kraulem. Anebo se nechat na chvíli stáhnout pod hladinu a doufat, že mě na konci vyhodí polonahý Poseidon trojzubcem na pláž.

Na frenštátské Národní Divadlo mě upozornil odběratel a suportér Stoned to Death extraordinaire Petr Jahoda a děkuji mu za to. V českém prostředí jsem si jen těžko dokázal představit trio muzikantů, z jejichž zvuku sálá inspirace Fredem Frithem, Derekem Bailey nebo štěpivou atonalitou Anthonyho Braxtona. Hudební abstrakci naopak rozrážejí konkrétním vizuálem, ve kterém upomínají na destruktivní plán minulého režimu, který plánoval rozšířit uhelnou těžbu ve Frenštátě až pod severní svah Beskyd.

Pokud jste zrovna dojedli pozdní oběd, tak vám přeji hezké trávení, tady máte zhruba sedmdesát minut kvalitní pohody. 

Národní Divadlo - Antropocén

1. Vítr v remízkách, kde ptáci 07:45
2. Za dobou středník 01:39
3. Z jakého dřeva jsou ostrévky 05:20
4. Pravý hák Arthura Cravana 04:22
5. Torza mostů 07:13
6. Stožáry vysokého napětí 06:06
7. Vysychání 00:51
8. Vodojemy 07:24
9. Archeologie (Josefu Bláhovi) 10:53
10. Skleněná louka 05:19
11. Rýhy v březích 09:22
12. Šipky k rozvalínám města UR 07:31

Národní Divadlo
Marek Tragan – acoustic guitar
Lukáš Fojtík – drums
Jiří Štěpán – bass

Recorded April 25th, 2020, Frenštát pod Radhoštěm

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Lukáš Fojtík

Polymetrum Ensemble - Eastern Influence (July 2021)

Eastern Influence is a suite in 4 parts composed by Rasmus Henriksen, and played by Polymetrum Ensemble. A jazz septet from Odense, Denmark featuring some of the best players from the area.

Composers note:
The inspiration for this album comes from the many great jazz recordings made behind the Iron Curtain in the 60s and 70s. A composers imaginary travel through time, picking up inspiration for his own music.

My intention has not been to imitate the music, but rather to use it as a starting point for my own compositions. The result is a suite in 4 parts that pays tribute to my favorite East European musicians and composers. Enjoy listening. Rasmus Henriksen

1. Metamorphosen 15:48
2. Radiant Sunset
3. Junctions for Restlessness
4. Bewegung

Kasper Wagner (alto & soprano saxes, flute)
Andreas Bøttiger (tenor & baritone saxes)
Mads la Cour (trumpet & flugelhorn)
Rasmus Henriksen (trombone)
Łukasz Borowicki (guitar)
Mariusz Praśniewski (double bass)
Anders Mogensen (drums)

Recorded at Peak Productions, Odense, on December 4th & 5th 2020 by Jesper Malling

Mixed and Mastered at Pelles Room, Copenhagen, by Pelle Fridell

U F G - Up For Grabs (July 2011 Simlas Produksjoner)

1. Snömos 15:06
2. Sediment 04:12
3. Kris 04:41
4. Geggamoja 01:28
5. Sideboard 04:30
6. Much More 05:55
7. Kennelhosta 07:17
8. Jazz 06:12
9. Up For Grabs 05:15

Peter Thörn reeds
Anders Anderssson drums
Gunnar Backman guitar (banjo track 2)
Anders Berg bass
Morgan Ågren drums (track 3,9)

Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes - Music for Saxofone and Bass Guitar More Songs (July 2021 Leaving Records)

The follow-up to 2018's underground jazz milestone from Los Angeles-based musicians Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes. Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar More Songs collects nine additional tracks from the duo's live performance archive.


Performed, recorded, mixed and produced by
Sam Gendel + Sam Wilkes
additional bass by Daniel Aged on THEEM PROTOTYPE, COLD POCKET, FLAMETOP GREEN
Mastered by Matthewdavid McQueen
Recorded on location at Mh Zh + Daniel's Basement + etc.