Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Hearing the Unstated

Matthew Shipp Duo with Roscoe Mitchell: 2-Z. 1996. Thirsty Ear: thi21312.2.

Matthew Shipp: piano
Roscoe Mitchell: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

Subtitled "The Physics of Angels," it is Roscoe Mitchell that displays all the effortless ability of dancing upon the head of a pin with his tremendous flights and sensitive counterbalance to the pianism of Matthew Shipp. Shipp's lines maintain an impressive clarity and his explosive reserve is also well on display. For a pair known for blistering virtuosity it is the tranquil patches that fall in between that are most amazing. A recording worthy of many return visits.

Erik Friedlander: Maldoror. 2003. Brassland: HWY005.

Erik Friedlander: cello

Solo cello improvisations guided by Friedlander's creative interpretation of the surrealist poetry of Comte De Lautreamont. Well worth hearing. There is a warmly detached quality to this music as it hovers somewhere between Friedlander's psyche and the dark and strange verbiage left unspoken.

Gavin Bryars: The Marvellous Aphorisms of Gavin Bryers - The Early Years. 2007. Mode Records: Mode 177.

The Squirrel and the Ricketty-Rachetty Bridge (1971)
Seth Josel: guitars

Pre-Mediaeval Metrics (1970)
Ulrich Krieger: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, contrabass saxophone, tom-tom
Seth Josel: electric guitar, 12-string guitar, electric bass

Made in Hong Kong (1970)
Ulrich Krieger: diverse toys

1, 2, 1-2-3-4 (1971) - Interpolating music by The Beatles: Help; Helter Skelter; Glass Onion; Fixing a Hole; I Want You; A Day in a Life; Sexy Sadie; Good Night
Ulrich Krieger: tenor saxophone, recorder, tambourine, maracas
Seth Josel: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar
Eli Friedmann: electric guitar
Yayoi Ikawa: piano
John Davis: electric bass
Kenny Growhowski: drums

These "aphorisms" may not be the best starting point for those not yet acquainted with the unique sonic universe of Gavin Bryars. There is an admirable conceptual purity and unpolished quality to these early works. Sometimes striking a nerve with their ragged beauty. At other times getting on those same nerves with their rigid adherence to uninspired process. Often achieving both results within the same work - as is the case with 1, 2, 1-2-3-4. The Squirrel and the Ricketty-Racketty Bridge is the most interesting work in this collection as Seth Josel brings a clean interpretation to this oddity. Made in Hong Kong is the least interesting as the loosely guided "playing with toys" is clearly lacking the theatrical element found in live performance. The later works of Gavin Bryars that clearly developed from the path explored in these early pieces was well worth the journey. Even if those later works can only be heard as a foreshadow in this collection.

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