Sunday, August 05, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Poets, Writers and Flowers

Elliott Sharp/Tectonics: Errata. 1999. Knitting Factory Records: KFR-255.

Elliott Sharp: compositions, studio recording and editing (guitar, computer, alto saxophone, etc.).

Tectonics is electronica as envisioned by Elliott Sharp. And when Sharp is responsible for the creative decisions there will be steep twists on the genre as he steers these multi-layered textures into some heady territory. Fearless in applying steady, intensely propulsive grooves he is equally fearless in piling on similarly aggressive noise or even pulling the rug out from under the pulse. But it is the final sequence of the last three tracks from "Goomy" to "Kargyraa" to "Errataka" that Sharp proves he has a knack for finding (and destroying) a good hook.

Ornette Coleman: Dedication to Poets and Writers. (Also released as Town Hall, 1962) 1962. Magic Music: 30010-CD. (The last link is a free download of the whole recording!)

Ornette Coleman: saxophone
David Izenzohn: bass
Charles Moffet: percussion
Selwart Clark: violin
Nathan Goldstein: violin
Julian Barber: viola
Kermit Moore: cello

Recorded at an important transition point in Ornette Coleman's creative development, this CD continues to haunt and beckon to be heard. The trio format that would play such an important role in his future is documented for the first time. And then there is the beautiful string quartet composition "Dedication to Poets and Writers" that serves as a precursor to the masterpiece of Skies of America that lay in store. For some reason, Coleman encountered a great deal of friction in realizing his "classical" compositions and subsequently there isn't nearly enough of it on record. But what there is is outstanding and this particular recording is a gem.

Susie Ibarra: Flower After Flower. 2000. Tzadik: TZ-7057.

Susie Ibarra: composer, drums, kulintang, percussion
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, brushes
Chris Speed: clarinet
Assif Tsahar: bass clarinet
Charles Burnham: violin
Cooper-Moore: piano, flute
John Lindberg: bass
Pauline Oliveros: accordion

As a drummer, Susie Ibarra has a light, fluid approach that is a joy to behold in live venues. As a composer, that same light fluidity carries over as she gives her mixed ensemble of deep listening improvisers plenty of space to add their own slight imprints on the sound. The slow growth and organic beauty of flowers is readily apparent in the music that blooms on Flower after Flower. It's the unexpected textural turns that these compositions take that make this such an engaging listen. While never abrupt, the sequence of transitions is surprising and rendered all the more remarkable by the way it sneaks into the listening foreground as improvising duos and trios converge and merge into the larger overall ensemble. The brief solo excursions of every other track offer a nice contrast to the large scale compositions. Cooper-Moore's solo piano interpretation of "Fractal 3" is particularly good.

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