Saturday, April 12, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Thinking, Dancing, Dreaming

Ornette Coleman: Sound Grammar. 2006. Sound Grammar: SG 11593.

Ornette Coleman: saxophone, violin, trumpet
Denardo Coleman: drums, percussion
Gregory Cohen: bass
Tony Falanga: bass

Ornette Coleman remains the creative force he's always been. The shape of jazz past, present and things yet to come. He's honed his harmolodic instincts into a molten sound that takes on resounding hues with the quartet assembled for this date. The arco bass, pizzicato bass and ragged drumming of Denardo forms an ideal rhythm section for melodic turns of breath taking angularity. At its core, this music is about bringing players together and drawing out from within. And when it works, which it does completely on this recording, it makes for a sound that is intensely human and at ease within its own shifting restlessness.

Tom Ze: Fabrication Defect: Com Defeito De Fabricacao. 1998. Luka Bop, Inc/Warner Bros.: 946953-2.

Tom Ze: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bochexaxado (cheek xaxado), rubber balloon on tooth
Dino Barioni: guitar
Marcos Di Santis: trombone
Gilberto Assis: bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals, rabe ca (Hill Billy violin), baixolao
Jarbas Mariz: percussion, 12-string guitar, mandolin, bottles, vocals
Marco Prado: bongo, 10-string guitar
Lauro Lellis: drums
Cristina Carneiro: vocal, keyboards, bottles
Luanda: vocals
Nilza Maria: vocals
+ many guest musicians

Where has this exquisite concept album been these past ten years and why isn't it a wide spread obsession? The "first world" is put on notice by the "third world" that the growing population outside our comfortable borders will continue to think, dance and dream. To quote from Ze: "In the eyes of the first world, we in the third world who think these things, and who explore our reality on the planet, are like 'androids' who are essentially defective. To have ideas, to compose, for instance, is to dare. In the dawn of history, the idea of gathering vegetable fibers and inventing the art of weaving took great courage. To think will always be considered an effrontery." The cultural insularity that this music and these ideas puncture makes Fabrication Defect a potent listening experience that speaks with authority on how the quality of arrangements and inspired ideas leads toward expressions of enormous cultural and human value. It rocks, it swings and it adds new wrinkles to the brain. It confronts the insipid marketing label of "world music" and its segregated inclusiveness and boldly mocks the imaginary safety of thinking, dancing and dreaming in any geography or socio-economic reality.

Giacinto Scelsi: Natura Renovatur. 2006. ECM: 1963.

Francis-Marie Uitti: solo cello
Munchener Kammerorchester
Muriel Cantoreggi, Max Peter Meis, Romuald Kozik, Clara Baek, Michaela Buchholz, Viktor Konjaev, Bernhard Jestl, Mary Mader: violins
Kelvin Hawthorne, Nancy Sullivan, Stefan Berg, Aidan Pendleton: violas
Peter Bachmann, Michael Weiss, Benedikt Jira, Claudia Weiss: cellos
Veronika Papai: bass
Christoph Poppen: conductor

Ohoi - for 16 strings (1966)
Ave Maria - for solo cello (1970)
Anagamin - for 11 strings (1965)
Ygghur - for solo cello (1961)
Natura renovatur - for 11 strings (1967)
Alleluja - for solo cello (1970)

Scelsi's reclusive intensity has particular resonance with his compositions for strings. The solo cello works - especially Ygghur written and dedicated specifically for Frances-Marie Uitti - are the primary attraction on this disc as the quiet solitude envelopes the single performer. The ensemble pieces are incredible compositions, offering a glimpse into the eccentric meditations of the Italian Barron. The conceptual attractiveness of the textures and forms have unusual gravity. But once Uitti's bow starts tracing the outline of Scelsi's Latin Prayers the exceptional access this performer had with this composer takes on a tangible quality that makes this listening experience something else.

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