Saturday, April 21, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Solo, Trio, Solo

Forbes Graham: Another Return. 2007. CD-R - available from the composer at
Forbes Graham: trumpet, laptop computer.
The laptop computer serves as a microscope into the plumbing of the trumpet as Forbes Graham builds sonic worlds from the minutia of the brass instrument. After seeing Graham performing live at the Red Room a few weeks ago I had to come back and listen to this music on CD just to hear how it would strike me without the visual element of his performance. The characteristics of "trumpet" are still in the sounds. One can hear the shape of the tubing amplified, the spit rolling around the pipes and the air moving through the columns through all the electronic manipulations. Graham has an ear for the tension of amplified quiet.

Bill Frisell: Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones. 2001. Nonesuch. 79624-2.
Bill Frisell: electric and acoustic guitars, loops
Dave Holland: bass
Elvin Jones: drums
The pieces on this disc will be familiar to anyone who has followed Bill Frisell's career. It's the trio, and the way they interpret these compositions, that becomes the focal point here. And I always come away from hearing this one with renewed awe for the drumming of the late Elvin Jones. Frisell has played with so many great drummers. But teaming up with Elvin Jones may be the most inspired combination on record.

Gunda Gottschalk: Wassermonde. 2002. Elephant 002.
Gunda Gottschalk: solo violin and viola
This is a well-recorded representation of the solo Gottschalk experience. She has a unique, beautiful sound and a fascinating approach toward solo improvisation. Though on this recording, the formal structure of this 66-minute work is incredibly clear, and a little more obvious than what I heard live. Perhaps I bring a different level of attentiveness to this recording than when seeing her perform. Her ability to return to themes and sounds developed earlier within a single improvisation is convincing and does make for a satisfying listening experience.

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