Saturday, June 06, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Hearing from the Inside

Burnt Sugar - The Arkestra Chamber Live: If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance then baffle them with your blisluth. 2005. Trugroid: 2005.

Gregory S. Tate: conduction
Jason DiMatteo: acoustic bass
Jared Michael Nickerson: electric bass
Shahzad Ismaily: banjo, stand up electric bass
Chris Eddleton: drums
Trevor Holder: drums
Qasim Naqvi: drums
Rene Akan: guitar
Tazayarah: guitar
Julia Kent: cello
Okkyung Lee: cello
Mazz Swift: violin
Matana Roberts: alto saxophone
Petre Radu-Scafaru: tenor saxophone
Satch Hoyt: flute, percussion
Bruce Mack: synthesizer
Vijay Iyer: piano, synthesizer
Jeremiah: voice
Lisala: voice
Justice Dilla-X: voice
Omega Moon: MC

The sound of applied conduction. The history of blues, jazz and funk rolled into a flow molded by an improvising conductor. A technique that lives and breathes within live performance. This has a profound effect upon textures and genres more readily identified by the use of studio crafting. Some of the material on If you can't... is uneven. But when it's on it sears a groove deep into the ears with satisfying results. The "Himatsuri (fire festival)" in particular is a knock out. "Night in Tunisia" opens up with a generous dose of Matana Roberts on alto saxophone - which is a fine sound to set the tone for this listening experience.

AMM: Laminal. 1996. Matchless Recordings: MRCD31.

The Aarhus Sequences
Denmark, December 16, 1969
Cornelius Cardew, Chrisopher Hobbs, Lou Gare, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost
The Great Hall
Goldsmiths' College, London, February 20, 1982
John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost
New York, May 3rd, 1994
John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost

The 1969 performance initially has a strong attraction for these ears as there is something about Cornelius Cardew that my aural system feels strong resonance for. Yet there's much of that same resonance where the piano playing of John Tilbury is involved.

The slice of AMM free improvisation taken from three separate decades is remarkable for how much - and how little - evolution there is over the span of years. AMM has always excelled at the long-form, extended quiet improvisation. It's the recording technology more than anything else that has changed from one sampling to the next. This group sounds "closer" in the more recent recordings. Something that is oddly augmented by the radio-as-instrument that runs through the 1969 performance like a guide frozen in time.

Inordinately focused and appealing. There is something glacial about AMM. A musical idea mined at a slow, slow melt that suggests a wealth of material lurking beneath the multiple layers of restraint.

Michael Vlatkovich Quartet: Alivebuquerque. 2003. pfMentum: CD045.

Michael Vlatkovich: trombone, percussion
Christopher Garcia: drums, percussion
Jonathan Golove: electric cello
David Mott: baritone saxophone

Each one of these performers is deep inside this music. They are creating it and being molded by it in the moment as they deftly peel off stunning improvisation after stunning improvisation. A casual ear might miss the richness of what is going on within the many details of this performance. But the listener willing to crawl up into this sound canvas will find something amazing here. David Mott's solo at the onset of "Every Second of Every Minute of Every Hour" is particularly spectacular. Michael Vlatkovich's compositions bring a rare sense of poetry into the abstract space of instrumental sound.

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