Monday, February 21, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Time Does Not Exist

Wadada Leo Smith and Ed Blackwell: The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer. 1020. Kabell Records: 111.

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, flugel-horn, flute, mbira, voice
Ed Blackwell: drums, percussion

Duo collaboration at its finest as two improvisers with a direct link to divine musical flow deliver a complete expression despite minimal contact prior to this 1986 performance. The multi-instrumentalism of Wadada Leo Smith works along a spiritual logic as he is at the peak of his linear, melodic abilities for this recording. Music as unquestioned as mighty river carving its path toward the sea. To listen to this session is to behold a natural wonder.

Kyle Gann: Private Dances. 2007. New Albion: NA 137.

Kyle Gann: composer

Private Dances
Sarah Cahill: piano

Da Capo Chamber Players
Patricia Spencer: flute
Meighan Stoops: clarinet
David Bowlin: violin
Andre Emelianoff: cello
Blair McMillen: piano

Time Does Not Exist
Sarah Cahill: piano

The Day Revisited
Patricia Spencer: flute
Meighan Stoops: clarinet
Blair McMillen: keyboard sampler
Kyle Gann: keyboard sampler
Bernard Gann: fretless bass

On Reading Emerson
Sarah Cahill: piano

Those of us who care deeply about the tradition of American art music that extends through the music of Charles Ives, Henry Cowell and Conlon Nancarrow recognize the good fortune of having the music and ideas of Kyle Gann available to the ears and mind. The music on Private Dances make audible - with breath taking clarity - the conceptual worlds that Gann has long advocated for as a writer and composer. And on this disc he is a composer first and foremost. Experienced as a solo piano experience with a pair of chamber works that blossom from within this program. The Day Revisited is a wonderful ensemble work focused upon the harmonic potential found in creative intonational approaches. Hovenweep takes on an unknowable mysticism and succeeds. Private Dances, Time Does Not Exist and On Reading Emerson benefits enormously from Sarah Cahill's incredible attention to detail. Sophisticated simplicity in concept, while rhythmically diabolical in practice. Cahill makes the unplayable poly rhythm sound smooth and effortless. It has been far too long between listenings to this wonderful recording.

Radiohead: OK Computer. 1997. Parlophone: 7243-8-55229-2-5.

Thom Yorke: vocals, guitar, piano
Jonny Greenwood: guitar, synthesizer, string arrangements
Phil Selway: drums
Ed O'Brien: guitar, backing vocals
Colin Greenwood: bass guitar

Listening to OK Computer is my penance for completely ignoring this album (and this band) back when this phenomenon was current. Shaded by the passage of time, the adulation that this recording received is puzzling. Much of this music sounds dull by current standards and for this particular listening I am struggling to connect with it.

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