Sunday, November 14, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Supporting and Destroying Tradition

The Flying Luttenbachers: ...The Truth is a Fucking Lie... 1999. UgExplode Records: GR61cd/ug10.

Weasel Walter: drums, trumpets, electronics, mellotron
Kurt Johnson: bass guitar
Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello
Chuck Falzone: electric guitar, abyssic guitar
William Pisarri: bass guitar, shriek, clarinet
Michael Colligan: reeds
Dylan Posa: conductor, casio
Julie Pomerleau: violin

The world may not have been - nor be - ready for The Flying Luttenbachers. But it does need them. Music bound up within a tight knot of contradictions. There is something deeply cleansing about their dirty, gritty sound. Along with an uncompromising honesty to see the "truth" as a lie. Improvising musicians from the Chicago scene late in the twentieth century guided by Weasel Walter's insatiable drive to realize a brutal prog sound. The open embrace of noise and a willingness to play with it with unbridled aggression has produced a record that has aged well.

Ellery Eskelin: Forms. 2004. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 592.

Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone
Drew Gress: double bass
Phil Haynes: drums

Even the most talented free players are not immune to the charges of being somehow unable to play "straight" or inside the tradition. Often leveled by people who don't realize that playing "free" can be far more challenging. With Forms, Ellery Eskelin put together a nice F.U. to that kind of criticism. With tracks titled after the styles Eskelin employs; "Blues," "Ballad," "Latin," "Bebop" and so on, Eskelin shows off not only his ability to play "inside," but his compositional ability as well. Teamed up with a rhythm section of heavy hitters in Gress and Haynes, this music doesn't feel constrained at all by the tradition. Far from it. It turns out to be a good record full of inventive twists from one of the most relentlessly creative figures on the scene.

Dave Douglas: Sanctuary. 1997. Avant: 066.

Dave Doulgas: trumpet
Cuong Vu: trumpet
Yuka Honda: sampler
Anthony Coleman: sampler
Hilliard Green: bass
Mark Dresser: bass
Chris Speed: saxophone
Dougie Bowne: drums

Still a staple in the HurdAudio sonic ideal. The musicians on this recording have such strong personalities and the playing is so free that this becomes a double-disc game of picking out who is adding what to the overall sound at any given moment. This one hits a rare balance between structure and un-structure that soars in the hands and ears of these players. The presence of two samplers adding a constant destabilizing foil to the sound with the appearance and disappearance of sampled grooves combined with Dougie Bowne's excellent drumming. One can hear faint hints of the kind of electronic sound Dave Douglas would later be mining in the decade that followed.

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