Friday, July 31, 2009

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Phrygian no 4 major 6


The intervallic content of the D Sharp Phrygian no 4 major 6 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scale of the Day: A Sharp Locrian no 4


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

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scale of the Day: F Locrian no 4 diminished 6


The F Locrian no 4 diminished 6 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Apology to the Daydream Believers

Interplay: Apology to the Atonists / Tritone Suite. 2008. Porter Records: PRCD-4009.

Elliott Levin: poetry, flutes, saxophones
Rick Iannacone: guitars, electronics
Keno Speller: flute, vocals, percussion
Ron Howerton: cuica, percussion
Ed Watkins: percussion

A free flowing group effort that juxtaposes the personalities of the individuals at odd common purpose with one another. Levin's poetry is a spontaneous prose that can invite and repel while finding a strange resonance. As improvisers, this ensemble is anything but tentative. A beautiful cacophony.

Mark Helias' Open Loose: Atomic Clock. 2008. Radio Legs Music: RL 012.

Mark Helias: bass
Tom Rainey: drums, percussion
Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone
guest -
Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone (on one track)

Cookin' free jazz numbers that hinge well along Tom Rainey's excellent drumming. Tony Malaby's tone straddles a divide between lyrical and guttural with a superb sense of time. One might almost say you could set an Atomic Clock by that sense of time. Some tasteful post processing on a few of these tracks shift the illumination of this sound - giving the Atomic Clock the feel of neurons firing at odd angles within a twisted mind. This is one great trio.

Shonen Knife: Happy Hour. 1998. Big Deal: BD 9055.

Naoko Yamano: vocals, guitar, bass
Michie Nakatani: vocals, bass
Atsuko Yamano: vocals, drums

A dose of contrast within a listening diet heavy on the serious stuff. Clean punk from a life where one needs to wake up early enough not to miss happy hour. Songs about cookies, chocolate, banana chips, the sushi bar and Dolly the sheep abound in typical Shonen Knife fashion. By the end of this disc the 3-minute song begins to feel a stretched a bit thin given the almost haiku quantity of materials. But then redeems itself with a wonderful track about a magical carp and a cover of the Monkeys' "Daydream Believer" as it settles back into the quirky charms of this cultural cross-over. English as a second language set to music has such a delicious, casual quality to it.

HurdAudio Rotation: The Monk and The Nun

Ellery Eskelin: Premonition. 1993. Prime Source: CD 2010.

Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone

An unfettered stretching out through materials and ideas by the enormously creative tenor saxophonist. Other than the brief final track with its light pre-programmed percussion underpinning the Latin "Besame Mucho" by Torres Velazquez. The first half of this disc offers up conceptual purities of Eskelin's design. Melodic - even lyrical - textures torn at odd angles by controlled, ragged bursts. Each feeling a little short - no small feat within an extended period of unaccompanied monophonic instrument. Eskelin then takes a turn toward interpreting "Body and Soul" and Monk's "Off Minor" to reveal the manner in which he embraces song form with his stylistic bravado. Each sounds more beautiful and intimate than the piece before it. A worthy reedsman in a landscape of evolving jazz giants.

Johanna Beyer: Sticky Melodies. 2008. New World Records: 80678-2.

Suite for Clarinet I (1932)
Daniel Goode: clarinet

String Quartet No. 1 (1933 - 1934)
Miwako Abe: violin
Aaron Barnden: violin
Erkki Veltheim: viola
Rosanne Hunt: cello

Three Songs for Soprano and Clarinet (1934)
Merlyn Quaife: soprano
Craig Hill: clarinet

Bees (date unknown)
Peter Dumsday: piano

The Federal Music Project (1936)
The Astra Choir
John McCaughey: conductor

Movement for Two Pianos (1936)
Peter Dumsday: piano
Kim Bastin: piano

Suite for Clarinet Ib (1932)
Craig Hill: clarinet

String Quartet No. 2 (1936)
Miwako Abe: violin
Aaron Barnden: violin
Erkki Veltheim: viola
Rosanne Hunt: cello

Ballad of the Star-Eater (1934)
Merlyn Quaife: soprano
Craig Hill: clarinet

Movement for Double Bass and Piano (1936)
Nicholas Synot: double bass
Kim Bastin: piano

Three Pieces for Choir (1937)
The Astra Choir
John McCaughey: conductor

Sonatina in C (1943)
Peter Dumsday: piano

Beautifully performed and recorded double-CD that fills in a missing contemporary of Ruth Crawford-Seeger, Henry Cowell and Carl Ruggles. (Missing for these ears until now, that is). An astonishing collection of modernist works realized through the Great Depression with an ear for the Dissonant Counterpoint theories developed by Pete Seeger. Each work included here is an absolute gem. The string quartets are a fantastic balance of texture, counterpoint and thematic development. The choral works feature turns of whimsy along with ghostly sustained tones trailing off from the sopranos. Deserving of many more listenings.

Thelonious Monk: The Complete Riverside Recordings [disc 1]. 1986. Riverside: RCD-022-2.

July 21 and 27, 1955 sessions with:
Thelonious Monk: piano
Oscar Pettiford: bass
Kenny Clarke: drums

March 15, 1956 & April 3, 1956 sessions with:
Thelonious Monk: piano
Oscar Pettiford: bass
Art Blakey: drums

It's Sunday morning, and there is no experience closer to deity than the interactions between Monk and Pettiford 54 years ago. This first disc features a generous selection of mostly Ellington tunes given the Monk treatment with precision brevity. With a melodic sensibility so inventive that the solos don't need to make any formal departure into a world of chord changes. "Caravan" is a highlight with the laid back forward momentum of the rhythm section of Pettiford and Clarke. The excellent Fats Waller tune "Honeysuckle Rose" is transformed into something other worldly and the often dreadful Van Heusen ballad "Darn That Dream" gets some much needed dissonant voicings. A case study in how to draw the most creative verve out of show tunes and standards.

Scale of the Day: E Whole-tone no 2


The E Whole-tone no 2 Scale as one would find it on any standard, equal tempered instrument. An infrequent appearance of a conceptually useful pentatonic scale on the Scale of the Day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weasel Ways

Weasel Walter Large Ensemble and Tony Dryer/Jacob Felix Heule/Bobby Loachfillet Trio @ The Uptown, Oakland, CA
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weasel Walter: drums
Aram Shelton: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Ava Mendoza: guitar
Aaron Bennett: baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone

Tony Dryer: bass
Jacob Felix Heule: percussion
Bobby Loachfillet: electronics

With a single movement, large-scale conceptual chamber work for a large ensemble Weasel Walter unleashed a cycle of ten chords propelled along an hour of creative noise. A piece that confronted the paradox of "writing for improvising musicians," as Weasel Walter put it in his introduction, "in a way that allows them to do their own thing, but still control the output." He went on to assess how his composition measured up to that: "It's kind of a paradox. And I don't know if I've met that challenge. But it sounds good so I really don't fucking care." What this piece did accomplish was the application of a simple form in a manner that allows these players to "work it."

This kind of intense, conceptual music will find its way into more "legitimate" venues like concert halls one day. That will be a sad day as the gritty, unkept quality of this music brings so much electricity as it reverberates off the painted black dives such as The Uptown. This is where uncompromisingly progressive ideas are being realized as Weasel Walter (an others, notably The Zs) unleashes the modern day equivalent of The Rite of Spring with the calculated "primitivism" of this richly layered wall of noise. Walter's conducting included a set of cue cards designed to shape group and individual improvisations in real time. Single word instructions such as "louder," "quieter" and "weirder" providing an unsubtle prodding of an ensemble already working from the same aesthetic page. The final moments of this piece was the sound of "weirder" unleashed several times over. A sound well worth the build up leading into it.

The short Dryer/Heule/Loachfillet Trio set that followed gently pulled the evening back into a sonic space of frictions and micronoise. Loachfillet's electronic processing and live analog tape manipulations punching through with waves of amplified noise interwoven with the acoustic machinations of Dryer and Heule.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 no 2 - Lydian Mode


The E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 no 2 - Lydian Mode - Scale. The all-otonal Lydian mode gives this scale its unique spelling with the augmented second and augmented third.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Octotonic-2 no 1 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The C Sharp Octotonic-2 no 1 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. Subtractive and with quarter-tones.

HurdAudio Rotation: Startling Turns and Lyricism

Marc Ducret: Un Certain Malaise. 1997. Screwgun Records: Screwu 70005.

Marc Ducret: electric guitar

Solo electric guitar with plenty of turns toward avant asides and aggressive energies. Marc Ducret brings a unique ear to his instrument that soars in the unbridled and unaccompanied setting. The final tracks settle toward more lyrical material without losing any of the jagged edges that poke throughout this performance. Beautiful and fully engaging throughout.

Misha Mengelberg: The Root Of The Problem. 1997. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 504.

Misha Mengelberg: piano
in duos, trios and quartet formed with -
Steve Potts: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Thomas Heberer: trumpet
Michel Godard: tuba, serpent
Achim Keremer: percussion

The overlapping improvisational sensibilities of Misha Mengelberg and Thomas Heberer makes for some startling play between the piano and tuba. "Play" is the operative word to describe this music. Loose yet strangely focused and a wonderful freedom to stumble in and out of established jazz conventions toward free improvisation and back. At its core, a string of moments that connect and stand independently from one another. A rare balance of form and idea.

Louis Moholo-Moholo/Marilyn Crispell: Sibanye (We Are One). 2008. Intakt: CD 145.

Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Marilyn Crispell: piano

I have a particular interest in this recording as one who was present at this first-time collaboration at Baltimore's An Die Musik. Listening for specific moments I remembered from that evening with an ear toward deeper understanding of how this duo achieved such a joyous sound. This was also the performance that piqued my interest in Luis Moholo-Moholo's artistic journey and his work with the Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath. A body of music I now regard as indispensable for understanding the evolution of free improvisation in Europe via exile from South Africa. In this encounter, the evolved languages of Moholo-Moholo and Crispell mesh together as each generously extends space toward the other. The rich, tonal lyricism of much of Crispell's playing in this session was startling - and still is on recording.

Beats and Beatings

sfSoundGroup: sfSoundSeries @ ODC Dance Commons, Studio B, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fondamenta (1998) by Olga Neuwirth

ma++ ingalls: bass clarinet
John Ingle: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Monica Scott: cello

n+1 (2009) by ma++ ingalls

ma++ ingalls: clarinet, bass clarinet
John Ingle: alto saxophone
Alexa Beattie: viola
Monica Scott: cello
Christopher Jones: piano

Lied (2008) by Hans Thomalla

John Ingle: tenor saxophone
Kjell Nordeson: vibraphone
Chirstopher Jones: piano

Improvisation (2009) by sfSoundGroup

ma++ ingalls: clarinet
John Ingle: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
Alexa Beattie: viola
Monica Scott: cello
Christopher Jones: piano

Q (1996) by Alvin Lucier

ma++ ingalls: clarinet
Jen Baker: trombone
Alexa Beattie: violin
Monica Scott: cello
Richard Worn: doublebass

All Set (1957) by Milton Babbitt

ma++ ingalls: alto saxophone
John Ingle: tenor saxophone
Tom Dambly: trumpet
Jen Baker: trombone
Richard Worn: doublebass
Hadley McCarroll: piano
Loren Mach: vibraphone
Kjell Nordeson: percussion
Chirsopher Jones: conductor

The first half of this concert featured a music working through a language of harmonic beating, rhythmic hocket patterns tossed between instruments and a restless shifting through textural territories - even the more obsessive, process heavy constructions of ma++ ingalls would shift on a dime. Olga Neuwirth's Fondamenta was a particularly stunning example of this as the sequence of ideas held seamlessly in place through a gentle prism of psycho acoustic phenomena.

The second half featured a work singularly focused upon the rhythmic and harmonic qualities of beating with Alvin Lucier's fantastic Q for ensemble and sine tone generator. The sine tones playing a steady major second that the ensemble played against, adjusting to the minute range of tight frequencies that produce the phenomenon of beats between slightly detuned pitches as they go in and out of phase with one another. The result was a beautiful, droning wash of sound that opens the ears to the physics of sound.

The final work, All Set by Milton Babbitt is a piece that gives the performers a beating of a different sort as they navigate the wickedly difficult score. The interpretive angles of this performance taking on a particular interest as one who played this piece with Mobtown Modern back in December. The brush work on the drum kit made for a nice texture and I was struck by the sense of teetering on the brink of being utterly lost and out of control I recognize from rehearsing this piece. I thoroughly enjoyed watching other performers sweat bullets through what is a remarkably endearing work of swinging pointillism.

Monday, July 20, 2009

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


The intervallic content of the E Flat Octotonic-2 no 1 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Traditions Missed, Invented and Celebrated

Elliott Sharp: In The Land of The Yahoos. 1987. SST Records: CD 128.

Elliott Sharp: mirage, voice, bass pantar guitar, saxophone, drum computer
Christoph Anders: voice, mirage
Sussan Deihim: voice
Elizabeth Fischer: voice
David Fulton: electronic drums
Paul Garrin: pat, rewinds
Shelly Hirsch: voice
Shigeto Kamada: drums
Christian Marclay: turntables
Jane Tomkiewicz: bendir, clay drum

I have enormous affection for this 1987 slice of downtown flavored "pop." There's something appealing about a music that works with the materials of commercially viable genres that effectively assaults the ears and mind at every step along the way. Both unsurprisingly and sadly, it represents a direction that popular musics have bypassed. The fiercely anti-authoritarian impulse behind this music builds from the relentless drum programming (much of which was well ahead of its drum 'n bass time) and occasional poetry. The disturbing "found poetry" of Pat Robertson's statement that "in a free society, the police, the military are god's special envoy" echoing multiple layers of absurdity and dubious theological totalitarian impulse through repetition of that idiotic phrase. The snarling voice of alienation in the title track has always held an immediate appeal for these ears. But over repeated listening it's the ragged, raw voice of Elizabeth Fischer on "Sink or Swim" that grows on me. A song that thrives upon its lack of chorus as it builds outward with a formal construction that fits the words with an ugly beauty.

Terry Riley: Bosendorfer Imperial piano tuned to a 5-limit just intonation scale

Another longstanding favorite from the '80s. Tune a beautiful sounding Bosendorfer and turn Terry Riley loose on it for two hours. The microphone is a bit close to the hammers on the piano for my taste, but the richness and mesmerizing tapestry of harmony that pours out of it is incredible. Ten movements featuring tonal centers (on a 5-limit chromatic scale tuned around C-sharp) - the structural and artistic similarities to The Well Tuned Clavier are there. In the hands of Terry Riley, these movements take on his characteristic story telling charisma as he uses abstract language to unfold a journey filled with fantastic deeds and mythological beasts.

Matt Wilson: Arts and Crafts. 2001. Palmetto Records: PM 2069.

Matt Wilson: drums
Larry Goldings: piano
Dennis Irwin: bass
Terell Stafford: trumpet

"I feel jazz music is comparable to attending an Arts and Crafts fair. There one can experience the celebration of folks expressing themselves with material that inspires them. Is the common person's toothpick sculpture a less important piece of art than works hanging in museums?" - Matt Wilson. It's easy to understand how playing jazz with this degree of passion and relaxed interplay has led the likes of Charlie Haden or Myra Melford to incorporate Matt Wilson into their own groups. Solid, grounded music that sits squarely and joyously in the tradition. Their take on Ornette Coleman's "Old Gospel" in particular will make a believer out of anyone.

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Octotonic-2 (3 - 1)


The C Sharp Octotonic-2 no 1 (3 - 1) Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Chromatic no 1


The C Sharp Chromatic no 1 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Octave divided into 2 Equal Parts - reflected into the second pool


The E octave divided into 2 Equal Parts - reflected into the second pool - Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Lydian minor 2 perfect 5 & augmented 5


The E Flat Lydian minor 2 perfect 5 & augmented 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scale of the Day: F Ionian diminished 5 & perfect 5


The F Ionian diminished 5 & perfect 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

HurdAudio Rotation: Arts and Poise

Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians. 2007. Innova: 678.

performed by
Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble
Bill Ryan: director
Gwendolyn Faasen, Stacey Van Vossen, Mary Crossman: voices
Amanda Duncan: voice, marimba
Alexander Hamel: xylophone, marimba, maracas
Samuel Gould: xylophone
Nicholas Usadel, Tim Church: marimbas
Joshua Puranen: marimba, maracas
Gregrey Secor: vibraphone
Daniel Redner: piano, maracas
Craig Avery: piano, marimba
Shaun MacDonald, Kelly Rizzo, Kurt Ellenberger, Lee Copenhaver: pianos
Mark Martin: violin
Pablo Mahave-Veglia: cello
Charlan Mueler, Alexander Kolias: clarinets, bass clarinets

A knockout performance of one of the major minimalist works combined with near-flawless production values. Every instrument has incredible presence in this recording as the one hour pulsating tour through eleven harmonies engulfs the air and any beings held in its sway. The slowly evolving harmonic progression is incredibly satisfying here. One of the lessons of minimalist music is how "change" can become such a focus when there is relatively little of it. In this piece it takes on a grandeur similar to the change from dawn to dusk unfolding across the skyline. The shifting of shadows and the coastal breeze blowing through the open windows almost dances along with the contours of each change as it plays through the speakers. An accompaniment to mid summer existence.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [box set - disc 9]. 2004. Revenant: RVN 213.

Albert Ayler interview with Kiyoshi Koyama for Swing Journal.
July 25, 1970 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Don Cherry and Mocqui Cherry interview with Daniel Caux.
1971, Paris, France

There's a sadness to these interviews. A sadness of knowing of Ayler's mortality. The demise that would take this artist too soon not long after his 1970 interview and the discussion of the artist lost in Cherry's 1971 interview. A glimpse into a life of one so spiritually and creatively ahead of his time struggling with the petty reluctance of a world that values little. The touching belief and naivete that staying true to his innate direction would pay dividends in this life coupled with a longing to perform in better venues. At this point, Ayler had grown weary of the night club scene and was demanding the respect that his concertized, "classical" creations deserved. Once again, the artist was right and the world was wrong. The contour of a life interrupted traced to its completion in a box set that begins with Ayler playing "straight" takes on Rollins and Gershwin in Helsinki ends with a conversation in France. In between runs a forceful sound that will continue to shape generations of improvisers to come.

Brad Jones' AKA Alias: Uncivilized Poise. 1999. Knitting Factory Records: KFR-247.

Brad Jones: acoustic bass, electric voice, vocals
Abe Fogle: drums, percussion, vocals
David Gilmore: guitar
Jeff Lawrence: keyboards, vocals
Bob Debellis: alto saxophone, flute
with -
D.K. Dyson: vocals
Beans: vocals
Curtis Fowlkes: trombone

Two things found in abundance on this disc is monster chops on every instrument and wide stylistic range. At times sitting squarely in the late-90s Knitting Factory "downtown" sound (back when the Knitting Factory mattered) before veering off into hip hop beats or straight ahead Jazz Passenger swing. Every turn is met with ridiculous musicianship right down to the spot-on vocals and terrifying ability of David Gilmore on electric guitar. Occasionally polished to a fault, but never dull.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian perfect 4 & augmented 4


The E Flat Mixolydian perfect 4 & augmented 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Sounds from Philadelphia, Lebanon and Saturn

Katt Hernandez/Evan Lipson: Hisswig. 2007. Limited-run mini-disc.

Katt Hernandez: violin
Evan Lipson: bass

A quick hit of the Philadelphia free improvised music scene as two of its most active players lock strings and sonic agility that alternates between aggressive and delicate. The wide, slowly oscillating vibrato of Hernandez's violin drifting within Lipson's orbit before launching toward slight melodic turns toward new vibrato centers. Lipson's fortissimo pizzicato drawing from the foundations of jazz traditions and uncompromising in-the-moment responsiveness.

Mazen Kerbaj: Brt Vrt Zrt Krt. 2005. Al Maslakh: 01.

Mazen Kerbaj: trumpet

There's two sides to this solo trumpet music. There's the "how the hell is he making that sound" side. And once one puzzles out the extremes of coaxing out such extended acoustic source the mind turns toward "how the hell do you record that sound." The virtuosity here is in the maniacal realization of a concrete soundscape without recourse to electronic manipulation. It's profoundly beautiful and fiercely like anything else. It draws the ears well into the inner plumbing of the instrument through the humanity of breath and mind. The geopolitical backdrop of this musician, record producer and cartoonist from Lebanon's somewhat isolated free improvised music scene adds a fascinating dimension that plays pathos against the fiercely independent qualities of this music.

The Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen: Points On A Space Age. DVD. Directed by Ephraim Asili. 2009. MVD Visual: MVDV4774.

When does Marshall Allen get his just due? A question forcefully posed by one of the surviving Arkestra members in this video as the final Marshall Allen chapter of the music and wisdom of Sun Ra is being written. "What will happen to the kids that really want to know this music? This guy is in his 80s! Where will they go to learn when all we are left with is mediocrity?" The practitioners of this music serve a dual role as disciples sent out by an absent Ra to prepare human beings for a future that almost defies comprehension within a society dominated by consumer-driven sensibilities. When reduced to spectacle and packaged entertainment along with an inability to discuss music in terms other than units sold (and downloaded) it becomes harder to impart the vision of a band leader who took such creative control over his own narrative. The man from Saturn preparing our souls for journeys that transcend.

Points On A Space Age documents a frustratingly brief slice of the Marshall Allen chapter. It's hard to imagine how a video of any duration could capture the nearly indescribable experience of a live Arkestra show. With just over half an hour this video doesn't attempt to bring that, though there are glimpses of performance footage - including a powerful segment of dance set to "Love in Outer Space" - that is rarely allowed to develop and unfold at its own pace as performances are spliced and manhandled by the editing process. There is also a small sampling of interviews with individual performers that brings out a taste of the mixture of belief and passion in the practice of this music. Segmented by Ra's poetry as read by director Ephraim Asil, there is no shortage of love in this video. But it is short considering the magnitude of the subject. A small document that scatters along multiple trajectories of sound, archival footage and interviews that hints at something much larger.

Scale of the Day: G Lydian 1% wide


The G Lydian 1% wide Scale. A slightly detuned version of the equal tempered Lydian.

This completes another cycle of scales in the "Scale of the Day" feature. That's 24-cycles complete. Tomorrow, the 25th cycle begins with an additive scale.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Stand Strong

Chris Mosley Trio: The Miraculous Aspect of Time. 2006. Red Button Records: RBR-101.

Chris Mosley: guitar, fretless guitar, 36-tone guitar
Damian Erskine: electric bass
Drew Shoals: drums

With a rhythm section this tight, and material this well crafted, it's easy to miss just how multifaceted this music is. Chris Mosley has his ears wide open and it's not just the miraculous aspect of rhythm that pins this sound down as it is his sense of harmony. (The miraculous aspect of frequency?) The two "Interlude" pieces performed on the 36-tone guitar suggest a small opening into a sonic sound-space that beg for immersion. They also demonstrate Chris Mosley's searching outside the established fretboard for new contours well served by his intuitive approach.

Myra Melford/Be Bread: The Image of Your Body. 2006. Cryptogramophone: CG131.

Myra Melford: piano, harmonium
Brandon Ross: electric guitar, banjo, voice
Cuong Vu: trumpet, electronics
Stomu Takeishi: electric bass, acoustic bass guitar, electronics
Elliot Humberto Kavee: drums

Has anybody else noticed the body of works Myra Melford has steadily been recording and polishing with these great ensembles she's assembled? "Yellow Are Crowds of Flowers, ii" with Cuong Vu tracing the melody along side Melford's thorny counterpoint before launching into an explosion of free improvisation within the compositional frame is a thrill that both scratches and inflames the Myra Melford itch that has developed within these ears. Adding the guitar tone of Brandon Ross to this world is an excellent choice. The intense spiritual grounding of this music cannot be overstated.

Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake: Indigo Trio Live in Montreal 2005. Greenleaf Music: GRE-P-03.

Nicole Mitchell: flute, wood flute, vocals
Harrison Bankhead: acoustic bass, vocals
Hamid Drake: drums, hand drums

Three musicians tapping into a pulsating vein of creativity. A nice documentation of the brilliant qualities that come to the fore in a live setting. It's also a slice of the Black Earth Ensemble material that Nicole Mitchell has been composing and polishing for some time now. Material like this in the hands and ears of these players is well worth a listen. Music that pulls from a sense of pride of African roots and identity that opens up into a sound of empowering inclusiveness. Not to mention deep musicianship combined with feeling.

Scale of the Day: G Lydian mapped to the Triative


The G Lydian mapped to the Triative Scale. The intervals of the equal tempered Lydian stretched to fill the 3/1.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Scale of the Day: G Lydian augmented 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The G Lydian augmented 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. The augmented fifth leaves this scale with two quarter-tones leading upward into the tonic.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Scale of the Day: F Lydian

Audio of the F Lydian Scale (as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument).

see also:
F Lydian notated
F Lydian interval analysis

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Scale of the Day: G Flat Lydian augmented 5


The intervallic content of the G Flat Lydian augmented 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Scale of the Day: G Pythagorean Lydian


The G Pythagorean Lydian Scale. An all-otonal, 3-limit just tuning of the standard Lydian scale.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Jimmy Best on his back to the sucker punch of his childhood files

John Schneider: Just Guitars. 2003. Bridge Records: 9132.

John Schneider: guitars, vocals
Rebekah Raff: kithara
Gene Sterling: diamond marimba

Rhythmicon I (1988) by Carter Scholz
Scenes from Nek Chand (2002) by Lou Harrison
Tandy's Tango (1992) by Lou Harrison
Cinna (1957) by Lou Harrison
Palace Music (1971/88) by Lou Harrison
Plaint & Variations on 'Song of Palestine' by Lou Harrison
Serenado pour Gitaro (1952) by Lou Harrison
Letter from Hobo Pablo (1943) by Harry Partch
December 1942 (1942) by Harry Partch
Three Intrusions (1949) by Harry Partch
Harp of New Albion (1984/95) by Terry Riley
Lament (1981) by John Schneider

Microtonal works beautifully recorded by the virtuosic - and theoretically grounded - John Schneider. The guitar arrangement of Terry Riley's Harp of New Albion is a particular attraction for these ears so familiar with the piano version. The Lou Harrison pieces weave a melodic tapestry that highlights the harmonic virtues of just intonation and the Harry Partch pieces retain their hobo-esque restlessness. Attractive on so many fronts.

Lisle Ellis: Sucker Punch Requiem: An Homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat. 2008. Henceforth Records: 104.

Lisle Ellis: bass, electronics, sound design
Pamela Z: voice, electronics
Holly Hofmann: flutes
Oliver Lake: saxophones
George Lewis: trombone
Mike Wofford: piano
Susie Ibarra: drums, percussion

An utterly brilliant conceptual piece that mixes notated materials, electronic post-manipulations and improvisation to realize an expression of a fractured requiem to Jean-Michel Basquiat. The final sound owes much to Ellis' explorations as a painter as a mixed media offering that fills its hour-long canvas with brilliant colors and fresh sonic turns. The line between live realization of the written source material, free improvisation and aggressive electronic manipulation blurs along an exquisite frame of clear, artistic focus. Highly recommended.

Matthias Kaul: Fever. 2002. Nurnichtnur: LC 1020120.

Matthias Kaul: percussion

Listen, This is for You (2000)
Amandeau Antonio Kiowa (2000)
Bachmann (1991)
Fever (1999)
Listen, this is for You (II) (2001)

Solo works for percussion that mine the singular soundscape created by Matthias Kaul. The vibrations of a hurdy-gurdy, microphones rubbed against drum skins, Tibetan temple bells, glass harp and any combination of wires, styrofoam and children's toys become sculpting clay in the hands of this sonically obsessed performer. The amplification of small spaces becomes the focal point of this ear engaging journey. The compositions providing form and aesthetic purpose for the vast spaces within frictions, breath and stricken objects. As a whole, these five pieces are a generous offering. A voyage just beneath the skin of what is possible.