Sunday, December 14, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: The Severe Stylistic Contrast Edition

Steve Lacy Qiuintet: Esteem. 2004 (from the 1975 tapes). Atavistic: ALP260CD.

Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone
Steve Pott: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Irene Aebi: cello, violin
Kent Carter: bass
Kenneth Tyler: percussion

These are old source tapes, not for the casual Steve Lacy fan. But they are filled with interesting details about the state of this quintet and their approach toward improvising withing Lacy's compositions during this period. The rhythm section of Carter and Tyler with Aebi often adding in to the texture with cello is a particular area that catches these ears. The compositions themselves are also something to drink in. Steve Lacy fashioned an incredible sound and one can hear its growth through these recordings.

Kyle Gann: Private Dances. 2007. New Albion: NA 137.

Compositions by Kyle Gann

Private Dances

Sarah Cahill: piano

Da Capo Chamber Players -
Patricia Spencer: flute
Meighan Stoops: clarinet
David Bowlin: violin
Andre Emelianoff: cello
Blair McMillen: piano

Time Does Not Exist
Sarah Cahill: piano

The Day Revisited
Patricia Spencer: flute
Meighan Stoops: clarinet
Blair McMillen: keyboard sampler
Kyle Gann: keyboard sampler
Bernard Gann: fretless bass

On Reading Emerson
Sarah Cahill: piano

This one completely defies expectations. In a good way. And expectations were pretty high when reaching for this disc. Private Dances is filled with beautiful moments and ideas that "dance" with a translucence of melodic and harmonic ideas creatively and formally developed with the discipline of a writer's sense of pace and editing. The Day Revisited is a particular treasure within this collection of gems as a just intonation ensemble work that unfolds with one delicious bend after another. The solo piano music has a Satie-esque sensibility beautifully realized by Sarah Cahill. Enthusiastically recommended.

Radiohead: OK Computer. 1997. Parlophone/EMI: 7243 8 55229 2 5.

Far too many folks I respect and read in various online communities profess a profound regard for Radiohead for me to continue to ignore this group. And I confess to being more than a little behind in warming up to the band named after the Talking Heads song that inspires the same kind of regard for me that so many express for Radiohead. That said, this is my second spin of OK Computer and I'm "getting it" a little more than the first spin. In many ways, this collection of songs hits the same mark as Remain in Light or Fear of Music in the way that I remember those "classics" of my own youth. That is, it feels and sounds good and invites further listening - the effect that vaulted its position of adulation more than ten years ago when it was released. And the years haven't taken too much of a toll on this sound either.

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