Sunday, January 31, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Resonant Spirits

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [disc 2]. 2004. Revenant Records: 213.

Albert Ayler Trio, June 14, 1964 @ The Cellar Cafe, New York City
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

Albert Ayler Quartet, September 3, 1964 @ Cafe Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Don Cherry: cornet
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

Burton Greene Quintet, February 1966 @ Slugs', New York City
Burton Greene: piano
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Frank Smith: tenor saxohpone
Steve Tintweiss: bass
Rashid Ali: drums

This disc appeals to both the archivist and the mind hungry to hear how these musicians played together back at a time when Albert Ayler was still birthing his music. The multiple takes on "Spirits" and "Children" gives an invaluable glimpse into how these tunes evolved in his personal repertoire while the roughness of the recordings leave equal traces of regret that the session wasn't better engineered and gratitude that this documentation exists at all.

Arnold Dreyblatt: Resonant Relations. 2008. Cantaloupe Music: CA 21046.

Resonant Relations
performed by the Crash Ensemble
Susan Doyle: flutes
Roderick O'Keeffe: trombone
Deirdre Moynihan: violin
Lisa Grosman: viola
Kate Ellis: cello
Malachy Robinson: bass
David Adams: harpsichord, keyboards
Steve Kelly: percussion

Twentyfive Chords In Twentyfive In Ninety Four Variations
Arnold Dreyblatt: miniature princess pianoforte, excited strings bass
Konrad Sprenger: sinewaves

A welcome chance to revisit one of the highlights of the Bang on a Can marathon concert a couple of years back as the Crash Ensemble delivers a crisp interpretation of the obsessively driven Resonant Relations. Blocks of repetitive textures spun from an ensemble that has been re-tuned to realize this work. There is little to no transition as parts follow one another in a succession of episodic moments. The ear is invited into its teaming sonic undercurrent but not forcefully so. Twentyfive Chords In Twentyfive In Ninety Four Variations steps back into sparse textures that expose an even further methodical obsession. Music that is both exquisitely beautiful and painfully sterile at the same time. Irresistible and cold. Familiar and alien.

John Cage: The Freeman Etudes. 1995. Newport Classic: 85616/2.

Janos Negyesy: violin

Solo violin writing that stretches the boundaries of what is possible - both through notation and virtuosic playing. Occupying more than two hours without recourse to narrative form. Each moment falling within an even tapestry of indeterminately generated fragility. Layered over the top of this singular instrument scratching and plucking my ears begin to impose human cries and expressive gestures of solitude. The sound of honesty within a seemingly rigid aesthetic of a music free from want and desire. The interpretation offered by Negyesy is polished and relaxed despite the prolonged (and often severe) demands the score places upon the performer.

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