Monday, June 29, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Cold Hearts and Blood

Cold Reading Trio: Life of Ghost. 2007. Form Function Records: f(F)0701.

John O'Brien: drums, percussion
Evan Mazunik: accordion, melodica, electric piano
Christian Pincock: laptop computer

That strange noise coming out of Brooklyn is the creative integration of live sample/playback in the service of layering within the timbral universe - and relentless impulse - of live accordion and drums. Cold Reading Trio evades the obvious traps of building upon ostinato patterns in favor of heavy, live manipulation along a low-repetition soundscape. The dynamic range of this group is particularly striking with collective phrases of all lengths that both work within an open, quiet texture or build upon layers toward full saturation. This is a collaboration that makes the case for live electronics within an improvising ensemble.

Myra Melford/Tanya Kalmanovitch: Heart Mountain. 2007. Perspicacity: PR03.

Myra Melford: piano, harmonium
Tanya Kalmanovitch: viola, violin

A much welcome return spin in the rotation for this understated gem of improvised chamber music. There's a lean responsiveness to this music. Seemingly absent of performer habit and ego. Each responds to the other with flawless technique and empathetic telepathy. The fact that Myra Melford has incredible ears is well established. The musicians she takes along in small duo outings like this one invite generous listening to her network of creative travelers.

James 'Blood' Ulmer: Birthright. 2005. Hyena Records: TMF 9335.

James 'Blood' Ulmer: vocals, guitars, flute

This stuff is raw, direct and grounded in the blues in every sense of the term. It speaks to the human condition without compromise with a musicality that is simply unmatched. It's amazing how much can be captured in recording a solo artist like this in just one take.

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