Saturday, July 17, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Water, Earth and Psycho Killer

Satoko Fujii/Myra Melford: Under The Water: Piano Solo and Duo. 2009. Libra: 202-024.

Satoko Fujii: piano
Myra Melford: piano

Recorded live at the Maybeck Studio, September 14, 2007.

Satoko Fujii and Myra Melford are pianistic talents worthy of the prestigious jazz piano traditions recorded at the Maybeck Studios. Each of them is a tidal force creating strong currents when their creative energy collides. Under the Water provides an ear full of the collaborative qualities found when Fujii and Melford work both inside and outside of their instruments. Melford's solo take on "Be Melting Snow" offers a glimpse of the solo piano recording I keep hoping is in store. While Fujii's "Trace A River" reveals the contemplative spaces lurking beneath her energetic flow of ideas. Together, in their duo performances, there is an intuitive grasp of compositional balance that never impedes their spontaneous discourse as they weave a language of texture. Sadly, the dynamic range occasionally overwhelms the engineering with distortion toward the later moments of this dialogue. A scratch along the surface of an incredible performance and promising collaboration.

Various Artists: Earth Music: Ten Years of Meridian Music: Composers in Performance. 2009. Innova: 751.

Steps (excerpt) - Vinny Golia
Vinny Golia: bass clarinet

Quarter Turn (excerpt) - John Bischoff
John Bischoff: electronics

Improvisation (excerpt) - Matthew Sperry
Matthew Sperry: contrabass

Lines For Trio (to Paul Klee) - Damon Smith
Damon Smith: contrabass
Hugh Livingston: cello
Carla Kihlstedt: violin

Pauline's Solo (excerpt) - Pauline Oliveros
Pauline Oliveros: accordion

All Chords Stand For Other Chords (excerpt) - Ben Goldberg
Ben Goldberg: clarinet
John Schott: acoustic guitar

Improvisation - Shoko Hikage
Shoko Hikage: koto

Improvisation - Frank Gratkowski
Frank Gratkowski: alto saxophone

Improvisation - Schoenbeck/Burr
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon
Ellen Burr: flute

Improvisation (with San Francisco sounds) - Viv Corringham
Viv Corringham: voice, electronics, field recordings

Sonic Coordinates - Jon Raskin
Jon Raskin: baritone saxophone

Microtonic meditations for endings and beginnings, mvmt II: Scherzo - Mickley/Marsh
Tom Bickley: recorder, voice
Bob Marsh: accordion, voice

Composition 40 N and Composition 110 A - Anthony Braxton
Philip Gelb: shakuhachi
Jie Ma: pipa

Nightwatching - Theresa Wong
Theresa Wong: cello, voice

A survey of sounds curated by the Meridian Gallery in downtown San Francisco over the past decade. Each passing track offering a small taste of an entire universe of personal sonic language. The collective beauty of these different expressions giving a sense of place. The Meridian is a unique gallery that finds roots in an urban center. With a garden miraculously carved in a small patch of outdoors behind the building, this venue provides a same sense of rugged beauty through the compositional and improvisational arts. Each performance exhibiting and drawing from vulnerability. Vic Corringham folds the sounds of the city itself into his vocal improvisation. The unpredictable-yet-periodic car horns and familiar trolley bells running in counterpoint to his voice. The deliberate brush strokes of bassoon and flute exposing a startling texture with Sara Schoenbeck and Ellen Burr's improvisation. The incredibly beautiful and intricately structured song by Theresa Wong that concludes this disc. The excerpted brevity of so many ideas giving way to a blur and celebration of an aesthetic from a time and place.

Talking Heads: Talking Heads: 77. 1977. Sire Records: 6036-2.

David Byrne: guitar, voice
Jerry Harrison: guitar, keyboards, voice
Martina Weymouth: bass
Chris Frantz: drums

I bonded completely with this record many years ago. Throwing it into the rotation is levity bordering on nostalgia. Every detail of the music frozen for all time on this recording is well known. The CD doesn't do justice to the way "No Compassion" used to straddle the A and B sides of the vinyl. And while "Psycho Killer" was the runaway hit, "Don't Worry About The Government" will always be my favorite song of all time. As the recording debut of Talking Heads, this was the first in a sequence of records that continues through David Byrne's solo career that has often served as my personal soundtrack of summer.

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