Friday, August 29, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian no 4 2% wide

EFlatMixolydianNo4-2PercentWide

The E Flat Mixolydian no 4 2% wide. The minor third gap opened up by the missing fourth degree gets an extra 6-cents tacked onto its girth with the 2% stretch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Triative

EFlatMixolydianNo4Diminished5MappedToTheTriative

The E Flat Mixolydian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Traitive Scale. To the ear submerged in 12-tone equal temperament and octaves as the assumed interval of harmonic equivalence the first four notes of this ascending scale pattern forms an oddly tuned diminished harmony - suggestive of a transitional role in harmonic development.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sax Fiend

Metasaxophone 10-year Retrospective Concert @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, August 23, 2008

Music composed by Matthew Burtner

"Portals of Distortion" (1998)
MS9 Saxophone Ensemble:
Gary Louie, Brian Sacawa, Sheri Oyan, Paul Tucker, Sean Fredenburg, Rose Hammer Burt, Cory R. Kasprzyk, Michael Straus, Steve Temme, Zach Herchen: tenor saxophones

"SXueAk" (2007)
for soprano saxophones, squeaky toys and electronics

"SxrAtch" (2006)
Matthew Burtner: metasaxophone

"Split Voices" (1998)
Matthew Burtner: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, electronics
Brian Osborne: drums

"That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies" (2005)
Matthew Burtner: Tibetan bowl, soprano saxophone, electronics
Brian Osborne: drums

"Delta 3" (2004)
Matthew Burtner: feedback electric saxophone

"Mindcam" (2007)
Matthew Burtner: metasaxophone, drum kit
Think Thank: video

"Incantation S4-X" (1998)
Joint Chiefs of Sax:
Paul Tucker, Steve Temme, Chris Blossom, Jeremy Koc

"(dis)Locations" (2007)
Michael Straus and Matthew Burtner: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, computer, video

"Noisegate 67" (1999)
Matthew Burtner: metasaxophone

"Endprint" (2004)
MS9 Saxophone Ensemble

Matthew Burtner has a sax obsession.  A fetish that achieved an audio-visual apex with "(dis)Locations" as the accompanying video sequence of Selmer parts found within a natural environment were lovingly re-assembled into the instrument of the evening.  A complicated, yet sensuous, combination of body, key pads, rods and mouthpiece with only the reflection upon the surface of the instrument itself to reveal a human form distorted along its winding, curved form.  

Over the course of the evening that obsession with the saxophone, with multiple saxophones and the electronic manipulations engineered through the metasaxophone embraced the reedy timbre and vibrations of this wind instrument in an impressively singular way.  This horn was celebrated as physical artifact - as a sax object - rather than drawing upon a continuum stretching from Charlie Parker to John Coltrane to Joe Lovano.  This was a music growing from "research" extending into live manipulation of sound as signal through the application of electronics in the service of sax.  

"SXueAk" allowed a strain of humor into a music borne of sonic research.  The theatrics of squeaky toys and soprano saxophones focused upon a microphone for MAX-driven manipulation in real-time posing the obvious (and snide) question: in a blind-fold test, can one discern between the sound of a squeaky toy and a soprano saxophone?  The computer manipulated the timbre of each without prejudice into a room-filling sound of impressive quality.

In an evening long on impressive saxophone timbres it was the wall of tenors - without electronic enhancement - that held these ears most completely.  The fluctuations in texture coordinated by hand gestures from Burtner in the back of the room rippled with a deliberate sense of sound design in the service of compositional form.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Mixolydian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2

EFlatPythagoreanMixolydianNo4MappedToTheSquareRootOf2

The E Flat Pythagorean Mixolydian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. Just to point out an obvious bit of mathematics that comes into play when taking the square root of frequency ratios: the square-root-of 81/64 is equal to the 9/8 major second at 203.91-cents. Also, the square-root-of 16/9 is the same interval as the 4/3 perfect fourth at 498.04-cents.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Scale of the Day: A Flat Pythagorean Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool

AFlatPythagoreanConstructNo1LydianModeReflectedIntoTheFirstPool

The A Flat Pythagorean Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Scale. By a quirk of reflected consonance this scale happens to contain the pitches of a just major triad on A flat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Scale of the Day: G Dorian no 4 mapped to the Triative

GDorianNo4MappedToTheTriative

The G Dorian no 4 mapped to the Triative Scale. The chasm where the "fourth' degree once was opens up a particularly expansive interval as everything gets stretched to fill the 1901.96-cent triative.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scale of the Day: G Dorian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2

GDorianNo4Diminished5MappedToTheSquareRootOf2

The G Dorian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. The diminished fifth restores the symmetry lost when the fourth degree was subtracted. Mapped into the equal tempered "tritone" this places a quarter tone 150-cents away on either side of the diminished fifth (now a minor third when compressed to half-size).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Dorian no 4 diminished 5

EFlatDorianNo4Diminished5-interval-analysis

The intervallic content of the E Flat Dorian no 4 diminished 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Scale of the Day: G Pythagorean Dorian no 4

GPythagoreanDorianNo4

The G Pythagorean Dorian no 4 Scale. The subtraction of the just perfect fourth leaves the 3/2 perfect fifth as the only scale interval without its counter balancing inversion within this Dorian.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Aeolian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2

CSharpAeolianNo4MappedToTheSquareRootOf2

The C Sharp Aeolian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. There's a subversive satisfaction in filling the equal tempered "tritone" with six notes that include the enharmonic spelling of E-sharp and F-natural (although the E-Sharp is a quarter-tone flat in this case).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Scale of the Day: G Sharp Aeolian no 4

GSharpAeolianNo4-interval-analysis

The intervallic content of the G Sharp Aeolian no 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Petra-fied, lower-cased and Drinking in a London Trio

Petra Haden and Bill Frisell: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell. 2005. Songline/Tonefield: TND 312.

Petra Haden: vocals, violin
Bill Frisell: electric guitars, acoustic guitars, loops

This one is a stunner. If more vocalists had the intonation, humor and taste that Petra Haden has in spades there would be a lot more voices pouring past these eardrums. With plenty of overdubs from both of these artists to fill out a rich, beautiful sonic canvas this pair takes a non-dogmatic tour through multiple song sources and identities. Giving each song the Lee Townsend production sound that often elevates well above the original versions of these songs. "Moon River" is outstanding, and has the clear stamp of Frisell's frequent visits to this tune. "Floaty" takes the Foo Fighters sound toward a decidedly different Seattle sensibility. "Yellow" leaves no trace of the egos behind Coldplay. The traditional Tuvan "Bai-laa Taigam" maintains its spiritual connection. And this arrangement of Frisell's "Throughout" leaves these ears hungry for a full treatment of the Frisell songbook.

Morton Feldman: Works for Piano. 1990. Hat Hut Records: hat ART CD 6035.

Marianne Schroeder: piano

Intermission 5 (1952)
Piano Piede to Philip Guston (1963)
Vertical Thoughts 4 (1963)
Piano (1977)
Palais De Mari for Francesco Clemente (1986)

I've been hearing this kind of texture referred to as "lower-case music." Slight traces of quiet piano gestures that barely leave a ripple in the silence. It's a thoughtful tranquility made up of a sequence of gestalts that stubbornly refuse to develop beyond mere temporal proximity of one to the other. Listening to it is like finding hidden details in a freshly raked rock garden. The rigor behind this meditative space is deceptive. It demands a calm from both the performer and listener that is a rare commodity in this world. Easily disturbed by the slightest murmur from the surrounding environment. Even "lower-case" thoughts leave reflections when the mind is submerged within this suspended state.

Anthony Braxton/Evan Parker/Paul Rutherford: Trio (London) 1993. 1993. Leo Records: CD LR 197.

Anthony Braxton: reeds
Evan Parker: reeds
Paul Rutherford: trombone

Having, and listening, to this CD is simply not optional. If you are a "friendly experiencer" of the creative music of Anthony Braxton there is already the considerable gravity of his presence on this set of improvisations. Then there is Evan Parker, another luminary of saxophone improvisation. Inserted between this pair of titanic reedsman from either side of the Atlantic is Paul Rutherford on trombone. The fact that it manages to exceed expectations already set high by these figures makes for a rewarding spin of trio improvisation that spans wide dynamic and textural range while adding a few happy wrinkles onto the attentive brain. Recorded live at the Bloomsbury Theatre during the 1993 London Jazz Festival at a moment in time when all three of these players were way on top of their game, this is exactly the kind of experience that drives free jazz archivists to keep seeking more.

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Aeolian no 4 diminished 5

CSharpAeolianNo4Diminished5

The C Sharp Aeolian no 4 diminished 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Scale of the Day: A Sharp Phrygian no 4

ASharpPhrygianNo4

The A Sharp Phrygian no 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Hunter, Hill and Mmmmmmmm

Charlie Hunter: Charlie Hunter. 2000. Blue Note Records: 7243 5 25450 2 5.

Charlie Hunter: 8-string guitar
Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone
Josh Roseman: trombone
Leon Parker: drums, percussion
Stephen Chopek: percussion
Robert Perkins: percussion

An overdue spin of this completely Blue Note-worthy guitarist. For his self-titled release Hunter mixes and matches a percussion driven set of originals (and a Monk tune) as a showcase of his great tone, chops and sense of time. "Two for Bleu" is a standout track with the horn section of Apfelbaum and Roseman sitting in. Josh Roseman's trombone solo on that track is well worth coming back for on this one. A solid effort from a mesmerizing talent.

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure. 1964 (Rudy Van Gelder edition released in 1999). Blue Note Records: 7243 4 99007 2 1.

Andrew Hill: piano
Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Richard Davis: bass
Tony Williams: drums

If you've developed a proper love of jazz and the creative talents that have manifested through the music over the decades then the list of players found on Point of Departure should trigger a mix of awe that so much fierce creativity was concentrated in one place at one time along with a pang that such inspired talent continues to recede into the past. With this artifact - this recording - these speakers spill out with so much evidence of a place and time where lightning struck. And for Eric Dolphy, this Point of Departure nearly coincided with his own as he departed this dimension just three months after this recording.

From the first sounds of "Refuge" through a set of outstanding Hill compositions (especially "New Monastery" and "Dedication") the mixture of profound awe and near disbelief that nearly half a century has done little to dull the vitality or thorny challenge that this music presents. The ears are tempted to go back in time and live within the Blue Note back catalogue with material such as this.

Trio M - Myra Melford/Mark Dresser/Matt Wilson: Big Picture. 2007. Cryptogramophone: CG 134.

Myra Melford: piano
Mark Dresser: bass
Matt Wilson: drums

My appreciation of all projects involving Myra Melford on piano is well documented in this space by now. Trio M takes that "Melford effect" to the next level as this trio of equals takes the traditional piano trio instrumentation to a new evolutionary plateau. The simpatico of creative forces that fuses Melford's blend of blues and free jazz with the sonic world of Mark Dresser on bass and the endless percussive joys of Matt Wilson on drums is one of the greatest live ensembles I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. With Big Picture we have the tangible documentation of this trio one craves after experiencing them first hand. The democratic contributions of compositions and grounded improvisations growing organically from the unique vocabulary developed by each of these individuals is a transcendent sound. And yet Big Picture yields just a glimpse of their outstanding potential as this trio has gelled even further since this recording date. Seek out and savor this disc. Seek out the live experience of this group and let the mind reel as it contemplates what the Big Picture could not contain.

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Locrian no 4 mapped to the Triative

DSharpLocrianNo4MappedToTheTriative

The D Sharp Locrian no 4 mapped to the Triative Scale. These wide leaps between adjacent scale members - the 158.50-cent seconds or the 475.49-cent chasm that opens up where the fourth degree was subtracted - leads to a harmonic terrain where the contrast of 'consonance' and 'dissonance' is built upon an expanded sense of interval proximity.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Locrian major 2 no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2

DSharpLocrianMajor2No4MappedToTheSquareRootOf2

The D Sharp Locrian major 2 no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. After the alteration and subtraction this square-root-of-2 based scale retains only a single quarter-tone on the third scale degree.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Pythagorean Locrian no 4

DSharpPythagoreanLocrianNo4

The D Sharp Pythagorean Locrian no 4 Scale. An octave divided into utonal intervals with 3 as the largest prime factor in the denominator of each frequency ratio.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Scale of the Day: B Whole-tone no 2 mapped to the Square-root-of-2

BWholeToneNo2MappedToTheSquareRootOf2

The B Whole-tone no 2 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. One of very few square-root-of-2 based scales that can be found in traditional 12-tone equal temperament.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Scale of the Day: B Whole-tone no 2 (4 - 1)

BWholeToneNo2(4-1)

The B Whole-tone no 2 (4 - 1) Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. Featuring a pentatonic scale for today's harmonic statement.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Scale of the Day: A Octotonic-1 no 2

AOctotonic-1No2

The A Octotonic-1 no 2 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Of Frictions and Sax-sonic Poetry

Joshua Jefferson/Samuel Burt/Paul Neidhardt @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
August 2, 2008

Joshua Jefferson: alto saxophone
solo, and in a trio with -
Samuel Burt: balloons, bass clarinet
Paul Neidhardt: frictions, percussion

Like shards of explosive sonic grains the opening salvo from Joshua Jefferson's solo alto saxophone set unleashed short bursts of loud, timbrally mutilated gestures that threatened to puncture the eardrums and settle deep within the skull.  With these seeds planted within the cranium of the attentive (and rudely awakened) listeners he then followed up with short improvisations exploring the opposite extreme of volume.  The brevity of his compact, self-contained solos was poetic to a fault - leaving one longing for a mix of longer expositions and developed ideas.  The shards of poetry, and creative use of mutes, gave a sense of ideas capable of taking root where these seeds had been planted.

The second half of the first set then transitioned into a study of frictions as Samuel Burt and Paul Neidhardt applied flesh to balloons and drum heads.  The expansive, sustained volumes of bowed sheets of metal and aggressively twisted rubber settling into a long-form meditation punctuated by the abrupt pop that ended the set.

The second set brought these three creative forces into a single fold as each contributed to an attentive and organic sonic form.  Duos formed and coalesced instinctively as each player left spaces within the collective sound and mined the timbral extremes of their instruments.

Scale of the Day: E 7-axis, Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool

E7-axisConstructNo1LydianModeReflectedIntoTheFirstPool

The E 7-axis, Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Scale. The "reflection" being the 1.571 is to 7/4 what 7/4 is to 2.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-2 no 1 (3 - 1)

EFlatOctotonic-2No1(3-1)

The E Flat Octotonic-2 no 1 (3 - 1) Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. After the subtractive and alteration this one is equivalent to a Mixolydian augmented 4 or a Lydian minor 7 Scale.