Monday, February 18, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Endless Travels

Fennesz: Endless Summer. 2001. Mego: 035.

Christian Fennesz: electronics, manipulations

Ambient glitch albums are a little off the beaten path for these ears. But the reputation that precedes this recording warranted further investigation and the sound that's been pouring out of the speakers has been strangely beautiful. There's a peculiar balance between wisps of slightly processed guitar and highly processed textures that present harmonic turns as if they were under a microscope. For all the layers of digital manipulation there is a sense that this music breathes and churns beneath the efforts to extend and extract noise environments.

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Travelling Somewhere. 1973 (Re-released in 2001). Cuneiform Records: Rune 152.

Chris McGregor: piano
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Mark Charig: trumpet
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Malcolm Griffiths: trombone
Harry Miller: double bass
Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Mike Osborne: alto saxophone
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone
Gary Windo: tenor saxophone

Proving once again that ignorance is deaf, the Brotherhood of Breath was one of the most joyous and animated big bands of all time and they labored in exile because the small minds behind South Africa's apartheid policy were threatened by a mixed-race ensemble. Sound travels far more quickly than social justice as art finds a way to thrive despite political immorality. If the Brotherhood of Breath doesn't already figure prominently into your sense of jazz history then take a moment to put these historic recordings in your ears. The free flowing spirit of these performances and the infectious quality of these themes is remarkable.

The Lounge Lizards: Queen of All Ears. 1998. Strange and Beautiful Music: SB 0015.

John Lurie: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, vocals
Michael Blake: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Steven Bernstein: trumpet
David Tronzo: slide guitar
Evan Lurie: piano, organ
Jane Scarpantoni: cello
Erik Sanko: bass
Ben Perowsky: percussion
Calvin Weston: drums

This is a good dose of that late-90's "downtown" sound as this large ensemble snakes and grooves around some tight arrangements. The emphasis in this sound is on orchestration and compositional form as opposed to generous helpings of individual solos in the spotlight. The way the layers come together into funk-heavy pockets makes for a pleasant listen. This collection in particular is well worth revisiting.

No comments: