Saturday, June 26, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Ugly Noises and Reimaginings

Joshua Jefferson: Jefferson Solo. 2007. Limited edition CD-R.

Joshua Jefferson: alto saxophone

Ten short improvisations that place the ear at point blank range. Immersed within the plumbing and mechanical workings of the instrument. Ever mindful of the organism of lungs, breath and spit that make it work. These are ugly noises and they are honest noises. Strong noises emitted from frail, human artifacts.

Vijay Iyer: Reimagining 2005. Savoy Jazz: SVY 17475.

Vijay Iyer: piano
Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone
Stephan Crump: bass
Marcus Gilmore: drums

A quartet that bursts through the speakers with a mixture of rhythmic intensity and joy on "Revolutions" for the opening track before winding down the sonic journey with a solo piano "re-imagining" of John Lennon's "Imagine." Somewhere in the middle the intensity slows - mostly out of necessity given the big bang that starts the set - that never settles into a low moment. This is a tight ensemble and Iyer has plenty to say musically. For all the extremes of musicianship oozing from every nuanced second of this music there is a lot of heart in this music as well. An outstanding record.

The Flying Luttenbachers: 'Incarceration By Abstraction'. 2007. ugEXPLODE Records: UG23.

Weasel Walter: guitars, basses, mellotron, organ, clarinet, electronics, drums
guests Jonathan Joe, Aurora Josephson: vocals on one track

Weasel Walter paints in slabs of multi tracked aggression. Trafficking in ugly sounds as a more honest means of telling an imagined post apocalyptic story. Balancing the forces of relentless intensity against a loosely conceptual album. All of which works under the Flying Luttenbachers rubric, even if this proved to be the final gesture before disbanding the now one-person band. One can hear the manic insanity and attention to detail at work behind the multiple layers of guitars and drums. The striking quality of this work is a whole is the ability to create contrasts without softening the onslaught of tension and dissonance. At times sounding like a rock opera that has dropped all pretense of accessibility.

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