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
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.