Sunday, August 12, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: A Whole Lot of Guitar, Horsehair and Bits

Elliott Sharp: Cryptid Fragments. 1993. Extreme: XCD 020.

Elliott Sharp: composer, computer processing, Buchla Thunder, sampler
Margaret Parkins: cello
Sara Parkins: violin
Michelle Kinney: cello
Soldier String Quartet:
Laura Seaton: violin
David Soldier: violin
Ron Lawrence: viola
Mary Wooten: cello

Cryptid Fragments - computer processed cello and violin samples
Shapeshifters - for string quartet
Twistmap - for string quartet
Umbra - for cello and Buchla Thunder

Brittle and deliberately dissonant. Sharp has a knack for scrambling horse hair and digital bits into an aggressive brew. This disc is a significant point of aesthetic reference for my own creative efforts. Cryptid Fragments draws upon a finite set of gestures that are processed in different ways. The consistency of each gesture's return adds a layer of unity to the four movement work. And many of these gestures are so sonically engaging that one looks forward to hearing their altered renderings return into the mix as each adds a sense of unity to the disorientation of extended acoustic and digital technique.

Terry Riley: The Book of Abbeyozzud. 1999. New Albion Records: NA 106 CD.

Terry Riley: composer
David Tannenbaum: guitar
Gyan Riley: guitar
William Winant: percussion
Tracy Silverman: violin

Cantos Desiertos for guitar and violin
Zamorra for two guitars
Dias de los Muertos for guitar and percussion
Barabasi for solo guitar
Ascencion for solo guitar

Spanish inspired acoustic guitar as refracted through the mind of Terry Riley and exquisitely performed and recorded on this disc. The melodic line from Cantos Desiertos was running through my mind all morning and it seemed only natural to reinforce memory with another visit to the Book of Abbeyozzud. The quiet spaces between guitar and percussion in Dias de los Muertos struck me this time around. I'm also enchanted by the irresistible timbre and melodic interplay between acoustic guitar and marimba.

Chris Mosley Trio: The Miraculous Aspect of Time. 2006. Red Button Records: RBR-101.

Chris Mosley: guitar, fretless guitar, 36-tone guitar
Damian Erskine: electric bass
Drew Shoals: drums

Chris Mosley is the introspective voice at Jazz Thinks and it's his thoughtful prose - and insightful ideas on alternate tuning in particular - that drove my ears to this gem of a CD. The improvisations are engaging and well thought through. And that is true of the rhythm section as well as the elastic bass sound of Erskine compliments the dynamic contours of Shoals' drumming. Each member of this trio crests into the foreground from time to time while affording plenty of space for one another. But Mosley is undeniably the leader, composer and main focal point of this particular session. The sound of his 36-tone guitar on "Interlude I" and "Interlude II" is fascinating and really could be the focus of a longer recording. I wish there was more fretless and 36-tone guitar material on this offering. But it's hard to complain given the quality of the material that is here along with the promise more fresh thinking to come from this emerging guitarist.

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