Saturday, March 05, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Empire Smashing

Doctor Nerve: Armed Observation/Out To Bomb Fresh Kings. 1991 re-release of the 1987 and 1984 recordings. Cuneiform: Rune 38X.

Nick Didkovsky: composer, guitars, tiple
Samm Bennett: percussion
Doug Brown: electric bass
Anne Brudevold: violin
Lucian Burg: saxophone
Brian Carter: drums
Don Davis: tenor saxophone
Dave Douglas: trumpet, piano
Yves Duboin: soprano saxophone
Brian Farmer: drums
Mike Leslie: electric bass
Bill Lippencott: saxophone
Joachim Litty: saxophone
Michael Lytle: bass clarinet
Steve MacLean: electric bass
James Mussen: drums
Kyle Sims: electric bass
Marc Wagnon: vibraphone, percussion, piano
Chuck Verstraeten: trombone

An unlikely mashing together of aggressive progressive rock with algorithmic hyper-technique informed by jazz and new music impulses resonating from the time continuum of the late 1980s. In other words, the reverberant soundtrack of my adolescence. It also happens to be a music that has weathered the test of time well. Serving up blasts of sonic materials in short attention span friendly doses. Doctor Nerve is still active as a band and still loudly pointing toward musical directions seldom traveled. Even though it seems like there is little this kind of heady irreverence couldn't cure.

Sylvie Courvoisier: Signs and Epigrams. 2007. Tzadik: 8033.

Sylvie Courvoisier: piano

This collection features solo piano compositions by the master improviser. The continuity between her improvisations and compositions means these pieces uniquely expose the creative choices Sylvie Courvoisier makes as a creative musician. The decisive quality of both keyboard and extended technique into a multi-dimensional, multi-timbral whole. A sense of harmony that expands and contracts between single tonal centers and an explosive freedom. The multiple moments of brilliance spread throughout this hour-long performance keeps this music engaging and particularly rewarding to the active ear. Highly recommended.

Billy Bang: Vietnam: The Aftermath. 2001. Justin Time Records: JUST 165-2.

Billy Bang: violin
Ted Daniel: trumpet
Frank Lowe: tenor saxophone
Sonny Fortune: flute
John Hicks: piano
Curtis Lundy: bass
Ron Brown: percussion
Michael Carvin: drums
Butch Morris: conductor

This record has a strong pull on multiple levels. An incredibly positive expression born out of the trials and tribulations of the Vietnam experience (an experience shared by several members of this group who served). It took Billy Bang more than thirty years before he could confront his personal demons and experiences from that war. That gestation period allowing for a maturing of ideas. The Vietnamese folk melodies recalled by bang mingle within a swing groove equally informed by the blues and conduction methodologies. The camaraderie shared between these excellent players is hard to miss. Few records deliver such a lasting and decisive blow along such an emotional and intellectual level.

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