Monday, August 31, 2009

Scale of the Day: G Pythagorean Ionian no 5


The G Pythagorean Ionian no 5 Scale. A 3-limit just tuning of this subtractive scale. The 4/3 perfect fourth is the only utonal member of this scale.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Bassoons, Grooves and Harmolodics

Wayne Horvitz/Gravitas Quartet: Way Out East. 2006. Songlines: SA1558-2.

Wayne Horvitz: piano, electronics
Peggy Lee: cello
Ron Miles: trumpet
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon

Composed jazz from the melodically centric - and deceptively ingenious arranger - Wayne Horvitz. Each one of these pieces bears the harmonic turns and phrasing that marks so many of Wayne Horvitz's pieces. And that is a good thing given the addiction my ears have built up for that sound. Added to that is the "chamber jazz" quartet of piano, cello, trumpet and bassoon. An instrumentation uniquely suited for (and to) these pieces. Given the luminescence each of these players brings to the session this music hovers in the air along a sinewy strain quirky beauty. This one meets my high expectations for Wayne Horvitz and adds bassoon.

Miles Davis: The Complete On The Corner Sessions [disc 3]. 1972 recording, 2007 release. Sony/BMG Entertainment: 88697 06239 2-D3.

Miles Davis: trumpet
Carlos Garnett: soprano saxophone
Cedric Lawson: organ
Reggie Lucas: guitar
Khalil Balakrishna: electric sitar
Michael Henderson: electric bass
Al Foster: drums
Badal Roy: tablas
Mtume: congas
Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone
Pete Cosey: guitar

Such large sheets of funky material like this is best served by the box set format that allows for so many alternate takes and sprawling expanse of jam sessions. This one fills the ears and the soul with heavy jams. The louder you listen to these, the closer you get to 1972. As expansive as this material is - and it comes off in enormous sheets - there's also the detail and variety within this sound. "Peace" and "Mr. Foster" building up from smaller units in the wake of thick textures makes for striking contrast. And sewn into the wicked pulse of this music are these spectacular solos. Rich material that call for soaking within them.

Ornette Coleman: Beauty is a Rare Thing [disc 2]. 1959 (1993 re-release). Atlantic Records: R2 71410.

Ornette Coleman: alto saxophone
Don Cherry: pocket trumpet
Charlie Haden: bass
Billy Higgins: drums
Ed Blackwell: drums

On a pair of October afternoons in the Radio Recorders studio of Hollywood in 1959 the Ornette Coleman Quartet forever changed the course of jazz with material that eventually ended up on Change of the Century. Music that still crackles with "it" factor to spare decades later. The second disc of the Atlantic Records Beauty is a Rare Thing opens with "The Face of the Bass" as the ears are reminded of the "it" factor of Charlie Haden. The aural treasures continue from there. Don Cherry's halting solo on "Forerunner" is astonishing. The sound rolling off of Billy Higgins' cymbals behind that solo is another fascination. The spark that this quartet possessed in these early recordings is understood. Yet it's still a jolt to confront the ears with just how rich this music is.

Scale of the Day: C Mixolydian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The C Mixolydian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scale of the Day: A Mixolydian no 4


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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scale of the Day: C Mixolydian no 4 diminished 5


The C Mixolydian no 4 diminished 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scale of the Day: G Sharp Dorian no 4


The G Sharp Dorian no 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Cube-root-of-2, 3 - Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - in Square-root-of-2-space


The E Cube-root-of-2, 3 - Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - in Square-root-of-2-space - Scale. Another long name for a harmonically impoverished scale.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Square-root-of-2, 3 - Construct no. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Inversion


The E Square-root-of-2, 3 - Construct no. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Inversion Scale. Long name for a harmonically impoverished scale.

Thrash and Burn with the Spirit

Go-Go Fightmasters/Qwok/The Spirit Moves Us @ Kingman's Ivy Room, Albany, CA
Monday, August 10, 2009

Go-Go Fightmasters
Vijay Anderson: drums
Aaron Bennett: tenor saxophone, flute
John Finkbeiner: guitar
Aram Shelton: alto saxophone
Lisa Mezzacappa: bass

Devin Hoff: electric bass
Ava Mendoza: guitar
Weasel Walter: drums

The Spirit Moves Us
Jim Ryan: saxophones, flute, kalimba
Bob Marsh: cello, electronics
Spirit: drums, percussion

The Kingman's Ivy Room has become the reliable, Monday night spot for live avant improvisation from the fertile Oakland and San Francisco improvised music communities. The old fashioned bar and cocktail lounge providing the setting for a no-cover, low-risk venue for musicians to work out ideas at various stages of polish. The rough edges of this particular evening were clearly intentionally so as three excellent sets explored a wide embrace of jazz thrashing against a coarse mix of thrash, speed metal and punk.

Go-Go Fightmasters is a smokin' hot band. Aaron Bennett and Aram Shelton moving comfortably between swinging lines and unholy torrents of blast from their horns as the group grooved hard to Bennett's charts.

Qwok is a new power trio of three outstanding musicians focused on insanity. The loud, hard rockin' take on Ornette Coleman's "Focus on Sanity" was particularly tasty.

The Spirit Moves Us ushered in the late hours with free improvisation driven by the creative propellant of Spirit on drums. The shifting timbres folding along an intuition shared between the three performers. One o'clock in the morning has never rolled around so quickly.

Of New Music and "New" Music

sfSoundGroup @ ODC Dance Commons, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, August 9, 2009

Intuition (2009) by Christopher Jones
Stacey Pelinka: flute
Kjell Nordeson: percussion

Planetary (2009) by Christopher Burns
Kyle Bruckmann: oboe
Matt Ingalls: clarinet
John Ingle: alto saxophone

Schattenblatter (1975) by Klaus Huber
Matt Ingalls: bass clarinet
Monica Scott: cello
Christopher Jones: piano

Improvisation (2009)

Kreuzspeil (1951) by Karlheinz Stockhausen
Kyle Bruckmann: oboe
Matt Ingalls: bass clarinet
Christopher Jones: piano
Shayna Dunkelman, Russell Greenberg, Kjell Nordeson: percussion
John Ingle: percussion

temporary structures (2009) by David Bithell
Kyle Bruckman: oboe
Matt Ingalls: clarinet
John Ingle: alsto saxophone
Alexa Beattie: viola
Monica Scott: cello
Christopher Jones: piano
David Bithell: conductor

Composition no. 75 (1988) by Anthony Braxton
Kyle Bruckmann: oboe
Matt Ingalls: clarinet
John Ingle: alto saxophone

With a mixture of "established" new music pieces performed along side severely recent works, it was the old that sounded most other worldly, and revolutionary. Huber, Stockhausen and Braxton offering up self contained worlds of acoustic matter while the works of Jones, Burns and Bithell displaying an affinity for ideas transitioning into sound.

The highlight of the evening was the fantastic Schattenblatter composed by Klaus Huber. The lightly prepared piano performing along side the bass clarinet and cello creating soft textures with vibrant detail.

Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kreuzspiel offered up a larger ensemble version of austere sonic space as the piano part worked from the extreme registers toward the center where it was met by the oboe and clarinet along a sonic bed of percussion.

Planetary by Christopher Burns and Composition no. 75 by Anthony Braxton each shared the same instrumentation of oboe, clarinet and saxophone applied toward very different ends and aesthetic disposition. Planetary focuses on cycles of different durations moving against one another with surprising (and pleasant) turns toward whimsical gestures. Whereas Composition no. 75 exists well within Braxton's thick, cerebral matter that finds structural integrity through multiple, parallel ideas. The earnest, dynamic performance did justice to both pieces.

Overall, a well performed selection of works that contrasted the new with the recent. The newest of the new music suggesting the ideas that these selected composers will be focused on from the present moving forward while the older "new" music drew a taut line toward the traditions being extended.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Deep and Dirty Projectors

Marilyn Crispell: Vignettes. 2008. ECM Records: 2027.

Marilyn Crispell: piano

The "deep lyricism" of Marilyn Crispell's current creative incarnation sears deep into this solo expression. Within these spare, melodically focused tracks there are so many different dimensions along which Crispell will vary things. A universe of nuance falls under her fingers as the spaces between notes and chords expands and contracts along a wide horizon. Unpredictable yet structured within Crispell's distinct sensibilities. In many ways, this is a music that reaches deeper toward the spirituality of John Coltrane that first inspired Marilyn Crispell to take up improvised music.

Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca. 2009. Domino Recording Company: DNO217CD.

David Longstreth: vocals, guitar
Amber Coffman: vocals, guitar
Angel Deradoorian: vocals, keyboard, samples, guitar, bass
Brian McOmber: drums
Nat Baldwin: bass
Haley Dekle: voice
Jordan Dykstra: viola
Caleb Russell: violin
Andrew Todd: violin
Anna Fritz: cello

Summer soundtracks come from unexpected places. I recall bonding with Talking Heads 77 while lying on a hardwood floor on a hot summer in Portland, Oregon. The sophisticated simplicity of a "Psycho Killer" and "Don't Worry About the Government" creating their own wrinkles in my brain with their infectious, guilt free listening. A sound that is immediately appealing that does not wear out after periods of addictive listening. Bitte Orca is that kind of record. Vocal centric writing that threads a line through infectious, addictive territory while retaining an aggressively sophisticated edge in the unexpected turns of form and development. A polished, produced recording that doesn't feel the weight of over-production serving up a set of songs that immediately appeal to the ears while darting out at odd angles away from traditional song form. Generous portions of drum-free textures contrasting against satisfying, full ensemble material. And the voices alternate between male and female while moving in and out of the focal point of the overall sound. This is a wonderful record.

Iannis Xenakis: Works for Large Orchestra - Volume II. 2001. Timpani: 1C1062.

Jonchaies (1977)
Shaar (1983)
Lichens (1983)
Antikhthon (1971)

Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
Arturo Tamaho: conductor

Jonchaies is written for 109 musicians. And the din Xenakis rips out of all that humanity is thoroughly unholy and relentless. What a fantastic work! Orchestral music that begs to be played loud to feel the relentless pummeling of percussion, brass, piercing piccolos and strings. Major props to the Orchetre Philharmonique du Luxembourg for performing this music with an aggressive bite not normally associated with genteel orchestras.

Orchestral masses and forces set in motion characterize all the works on this disc. Shaar pours Xenakis's unique language into a large string orchestra while Lichens and Antikhthon add plenty of percussion, brass and winds to the massive ensemble load. Music that thrives under the baton of Arturo Tamaho as the assaultive, unapologetically dissonant textures burn with a heat more often reserved for wicked feedback solos. Recordings like this make the best argument for modernist aesthetic of the previous century.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Aeolian no 4 mapped to the 3/2


The E Flat Aeolian no 4 mapped to the 3/2 Scale. The equal tempered Aeolian scale - minus the fourth degree - shrunk down to fit within a just perfect fifth.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Music of Feedback and Forces

Jonathan Zorn: for Rob Powers: Suite no. 2 - additive feedback. 2004. Set Projects: set-03.

Jonathan Zorn: electronics

From the liner notes: "Suite no. 2 is an additive feedback loop that grows module by module, track by track, causing the sound to become increasingly unstable." Process music with a nearly pure realization. The first twenty minutes existing just on the edge of human perceptibility. Rotating one's head relative to the speakers altering the high pitch tone psycho acoustically. The change in perceptual loudness into the other tracks feels enormous. The increasing instability of the tone taking on an electrical, free improvisation-like of compounding intensity. The thinness of sound taking on a beautifully deliberate quality. A slow, thoughtful alteration of electronic tone.

Elliott Sharp/Tectonics: Errata. 1999. Knitting Factory Records: KFR 255.

Elliott Sharp: electronics, drum programming, guitar, saxophone

Dense, heavy slabs moving along their own timetable. Indifferent to the earthquakes triggered along the way. Errata builds its density with beats, pulse, groove and a constant shifting of timbral elements often bearing Elliott Sharp's characteristic preference for sonic abrasion. While built with the sonic materials of electronica this could hardly pass for drum 'n bass or be found spinning where DJs expect people to dance. The illusion of dance is never far from the surface of this music - but it is frequently thwarted or overwhelmed by the density of textures. The ears and the body are lured into a hostile ground. It is ugly. And it is an old favorite for these ears.

Ornette Coleman: Dedication to Poets and Writers. (a.k.a. Town Hall, 1962). 1962, re-issue date unknown. Magic Music: 30010-CD.

Ornette Coleman: saxophone
David Izenzohn: bass
Charles Moffett: percussion
Selwart Clark: violin
Nathan Goldstein: violin
Julian Barber: viola
Kermit Moore: cello

The legendary concert and transition point between two major phases of Ornette Coleman's career. The trio of Coleman, Izenzohn and Moffett that would become an important and well documented facet of his music is given its first public appearance in this concert. The string quartet writing realized on "Dedication to Poets and Writers" is an exciting, vibrant realization of Coleman's Harmolodics Theory through composed music. This important aspect of Coleman's music has not been well documented and the few recordings that do exist are a miracle given the fierce resistance he has encountered in realizing his composed music. A revival of "Dedication to Poets and Writers" and his orchestral work "Skies of America" are long overdue. The interaction between both trio and string quartet on "The Ark" suggests that the separation between these two sides of Coleman's creativity were not as far apart in his mind. The sudden winter storm that kept attendance low for this concert is a potent metaphor for the various forces that have contrived to keep a deserving genius from wider recognition and unprejudiced love of his melodic sensibilities.

HurdAudio Rotation: From Burnt to Bad

Annie Gosfield: Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires. 1998. Tzadik: TZ 7040.

Nickolaievski Soldat (1994)
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard
Roger Kleier: electric guitar
Jim Pugliese: percussion
Christine Bard: percussion

Freud (1996)
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard
Roger Kleier: electric guitar

The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory (1995)
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard
Roger Kleier: electric guitar
Jim Pugliese: percussion
Christine Bard: percussion

Four Roses (1997)
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard
Ted Mook: cello

Blue Serge (1996)
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard

Brawl (1998)
Rova Saxophone Quartet:
Bruce Ackley: soprano saxophone
Steve Adams: alto saxophone
Larry Ochs: tenor saxophone
Jon Raskin: baritone saxophone

Conceptually and sonically stunning compositions. There's an intuitive feel to the unfolding of these pieces as they gravitate from pulsating groove to asymmetrical gestures that fall away to reveal the sound design work embedded in the sampling keyboard parts. The creative (and never overtly systematic) use of microtones consistently move this material into a harmonic territory adapted toward the timbral impulses at work in this music. With Brawl, it is striking to hear how the ideas that are so tangled with the electronics and sampling technology in the other compositions on this disc carry over into Gosfield's writing for acoustic instruments. Restless, at times violent, music that taps into a thought filled energy.

Mark Feldman: What Exit. 2006. ECM: 1928.

Mark Feldman: violin
John Taylor: piano
Anders Jormin: double-bass
Tom Rainey: drums

Mark Feldman's illustrious career as a performing violinist includes a stint with the television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Though it's hard to imagine a more satisfying "hallelujah" than the swelling textures of "Arcade" that open this disc. The tide that ushers in the violin toward a plateau of the full quartet inspires an "amen" as it stretches out through righteous arrangement toward its symetrical decrescendo at the close. The shorter tracks that follow in its wake are well crafted prayers of jazz composition. Particularly "Everafter," offered up in memory of David H. Baker. And the Tom Rainey effect is in full force throughout this disc. (Tom Rainey effect = involuntary admiration of great drumming triggered by either recordings or live experiences with this amazing drummer). This one is a real favorite in the rotation.

The Bad Plus: Give. 2004. Columbia/Sony Music: CK 90771.

Reid Anderson: bass
Ethan Iverson: piano
David King: drums

An outstanding trio. And Give is an irresistible Bad Plus party that hits all the cerebral, emotional and groove-happy nodes. Each track is a polished, live and exuberant balance of play and arrangement. Unafraid to rock and unafraid to flash a smart harmonic turn or virtuosic sequence.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Aeolian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Triative


The E Flat Aeolian no 4 diminished 5 mapped to the Triative Scale.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Aeolian major 3 no 4


The E Flat Aeolian major 3 no 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. With the third raised and the fourth missing, this is the unnatural "natural" minor. With that major third, it's not even minor.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: The Path from Heaven to Minneapolis

Olivier Messiaen: Messiaen Edition [box set] [disc 2]. 2005. Warner Classics: 2564 62162-2.

La Nativite du Seigneur (1935) - Neuf Meditations pour orgue
Le Banquet celeste (1928)
Apparition de l'eglise eternelle (1932)

Marie-Claire Alain: organ

This is the sound of devotion. Organ music born of faith and an expression of Messiaen's Catholicism prior to the trials of his faith that were in store after these pieces were composed. These are also prior to his discovery of bird song as a source of melodic inspiration. The sense of devotion that would carry Messiaen through those trials is already audible. Such faith has an other worldly quality. Without the talented composition and skillful performance by Marie-Claire Alain it would be hard to imagine the particular nerve this music touches.

Miles Davis: The Complete On The Corner Sessions [disc 1]. 2007 (recorded in 1972). Sony BMG Music Entertainment: 88697 06239 2.

Miles Davis: trumpet
Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone
Chick Corea: synthesizer
Herbie Hancock: electric piano, synthesizer, organ
Harold Ivory Williams: organ, synthesizer
John McLaughlin: guitar
Colin Walcott: electric sitar
Michael Henderson: electric bass
Jack DeJohnette: drums
Don Alias: congas, percussion, kalimba, African percussion
Badal Roy: tablas
Billy Hart: wood block, cowbell, percussion, drums
Carlos Garnett: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet, flute
Dave Creamer: guitar
Lonnie Liston Smith: electric piano
Al Foster: drums

After such a heavy dose of spiritual edification, On The Corner pulls the body along with unedited master takes of some large ensemble, improvisational funk. Also an expressive necessity no more or less threatening than the devotion of Messiaen. This music created a stir among the jazz intelligentsia and critics of its day. Today it feels incredibly vital and absolutely necessary. A reminder of how aesthetic movements will counter-balance past excesses and gleefully leave behind those not ready to find the road (traveler, there is no road). These deep grooves are to rhythm what Kind of Blue's modal jazz was to harmony. A simplification that reveals incredible potential and an awesome beauty offered to the open ear. The physicality of a sound that invites dance and movement with a gravitational pull of Dionysian abandon.

Happy Apple: Youth Oriented. 2002. Sunnyside Records: SSC 3006.

Erik Fratzke: bass guitar, guitar
Michael Lewis: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, double bass
David King: drums, toys, waterphone, megaphone, mellotron

Great band. I appreciate the lines Michael Lewis spins through these tracks. The solid bass lines put down by Erik Fratzke. And David King is the same incredible drummer he is with The Bad Plus. You put these three together to realize their own creative compositions and out comes a complete winner like Youth Oriented. The range of textures out of this trio is remarkable. From the punkish energy of "Salmon jump suit" to the protracted open spaces of "Drama section" complete with a multi-stylistically informed range of gleeful genre-bending sounds in between. In a more just world this trio would be an overwhelming presence on the radio and tour circuit.

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Phrygian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The intervallic content of the D Sharp Phrygian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale.

HurdAudio Rotation: I Shot the Sheriff

Charles Ives/Ivan Wyschnegradsky: Quarter-Tone Pieces. 2006. Hat Hut Records: hat[now]ART 143.

Josef Christof: piano
Stefen Schleiermacher: piano

24 Preludes In Quarter-Tone System (excerpts)(1934/70) by Ivan Wyschnegradsky
Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos (1903 - 23) by Charles Ives
Three Page Sonata (1905) by Charles Ives
Etude sur le "Carre Magique Sonore" op. 40 (1957) by Ivan Wyschnegradsky

Where is the obsession due for Ivan Wyschegradsky? Come on, people. He's Russian. Russian composers are supposed to be over-exposed to the point where I'm tired of hearing them (think Shostakovich or Scriabin). He's even a wild-eyed mystic (like Arvo Part). Is it the microtonal thing that's holding back his exposure? Because I scratch and dig for recordings of this cat and I cannot get enough. The excerpts from the 24 Preludes is fantastic. And it's typical in the current recorded oeuvre of Wyschnegradsky that there isn't a complete edition readily available out there. Let's have an all-Wyschnegradsky festival at Tanglewood so these ears can get their fill of this important microtonal composer.

Charles Ives is another composer these ears have enormous appetite for. These works for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart are pure joy. And again, I know there is much, much more material like this out there. Hungry ears left hungry well after this beautiful appetizer. Especially the "Chorale" movement from the Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos.

This disc is harmonically rich, rich modernist music beautifully performed. The extra layers of dissonance and consonance afforded from dividing the octave into 24-equal parts opens up surprising vistas that remain an open frontier nearly a full century after these works were composed.

Andrew Violette: Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin. 2008. Innova: 711.

Robert Uchida: violin

A substantial composition for solo violin. Andrew Violette focuses squarely upon the linear development of melodic materials and their formal presentation as base constructs that are systematically and creatively deconstructed, varied and later reassembled.

The first disc of this double-CD includes .pdf files of the score and the liner notes. A practice I heartily applaud as following along with the score reveals the compositional integrity and prolonged focus of this piece. I am struck by the total absence of dynamic markings - leaving interpretive freedom to the individual performer taking on this long form and making it their own (something Robert Uchida has done with enormous musicality). Also missing to a large extent are rests. Or any vibration of string other than bowing (no pizzicato). Other than the space between movements, these are straight melodic slabs that meticulously work through the intervals found within the Aria (and its numerous variations), Bells (later appearing with trills and scales) and a long Chaconne.

Robert Uchida's performance brings this score to life with impressive depth. The prolonged focus upon the linear harmony of this music shimmers with a balance of disciplined playing and humanity. A work worthy of revisiting.

Bob Marley and The Wailers: Burnin'. Premium Audiophile pressing on heavyweight 180 gram vinyl of the 1973 classic. Island Records: 07314 54889414.

"Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights." Words of truth and words of consequence in regard to fighting on the side of justice for the oppressed. Musically fascinating and resonant as a near-concept album espousing right in the face of power. My younger ears escaped the hook of this music. Now the appeal is immediate and embraced. Add to it the warmth of vinyl with a lazy summer evening and this soul hears something eternal in this expression of honesty combined with the intrinsic musicality of this production.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Traveler There Is No Road

Elliott Sharp/Bootstrappers: GI = GO. 1992. Atonal Records: ACD 3014.

Elliott Sharp: guitar, bass clarinet, processing
Jan Kotik: drums, percussion
Thom Kotik: prepared bass

Elliott Sharp working his guitar with a powerful, tight rhythm section from the era when I developed a strong identification with his aesthetic. This sound continues to have a pull for these ears as the familiar timbral language pulses and throbs. The jagged, dissonant angles running in lock step with a forceful willingness to keep time within abrasive materials. While the music has aged well, the titles for these tracks have not. "Optimize My Hard Disk, Baby" makes me cringe over the text even as the improvised sound bearing its name resonates deeply.

Dave Douglas: Freak In. 2003. RCA Victor: 09026-64008-2.

Dave Douglas: trumpet, keyboards, voice
Jamie Saft: keyboards, loops, programming
Marc Ribot: electric guitar
Karsh Kale: tabla, drums
Joey Baron: drums
Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar
Brad Jones: ampeg baby bass, acoustic bass
Ikue Mori: electronic percussion
Seamus Blake: saxophone
Chris Speed: saxophone, clarinet
Craig Taborn: fender rhodes
Michael Sarin: drums

"Put on your headphones and FREAK IN. Call on world leaders to do the same." I freakin' love Freak In! From the coursing, electric opening of the tablas to the sonic montage of groove and melody to the mellow turns of "Maya" flowing into the explosive 4-against-3 rhythms in "Traveler There Is No Road" this is an assemblage and snapshot of who's who of the downtown New York scene under the relentless creative vision of Dave Douglas. And it just sounds better and solidifies as a touch stone of a sound I simply love. "This is also important. Have fun and don't let them stop you."

Rene Lussier/Martin Tetreault: Dur Noyau Dur. 1997. Ambiances Magnetiques: AM 057 CD.

Rene Lussier: acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Martin Tetreault: tourne-disques, pick-up, radio

This recording places the ears at an extreme proximity to the sounding sources. Ear drums placed impossibly close to the struck guitar string or coursing within the same electrical wiring that powers the amplification of signal and noise. A confluence of free improvisation within musique concrete. Or a musique concrete aesthetic operating within a free improvising duo. A sonic microcosm almost completely devoid of anything beyond its sounding machinations. Noise turning upon an indifference that both challenges one to listen and try to turn away. In the end, the ears return to this world. Changed in some way. Defiantly beautiful. Defiantly ugly.

Scale of the Day: A Phrygian no 4 major 6 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The A Phrygian no 4 major 6 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. Plenty of quarter-tones between the harmonically equivalent "tritones."