Sunday, May 15, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: The Physics of Angels

Satanized: In Sickness and Hellth: The Secular Chansons of Satanized. 2007. Badmaster Records: BM010.

Andrew Gaspar: voice, turntable
Alex Nagle: guitar
Evan Lipson: bass
Pete Angevine: drums

Satanized has a sound that could convince the devil to take up residence in Philadelphia. Which would be a local move given its proximity to New Jersey. In Sickness and Hellth is a twenty minute burst of face ripping tracks complete with screaming, distortion and screaming distortion. All of it entirely therapeutic and sonically necessary as a counterbalance for all that is calculated to be "nice." And in the case of "Purple Pickle" it even flirts with clever hookiness. Put this on to cleanse the mind of those unhellthy thoughts.

LinkThe Bad Plus: Prog. 2007. Do the Math Records/Heads Up International: HUCD 3125.

Reid Anderson: bass
Ethan Iverson: piano
David King: drums

The Bad Plus bring a lot of polish to their arrangements, their performances and especially to their choice of pieces and sequencing. Each aspect of The Bad Plus is a near flawless gem that manages to maintain an immediacy. A piano trio that pays homage to the deep history of jazz piano trios while at the same time putting moving a long distance from any kind of stuffy, museum-like reverence for the music. Mixing in covers of music by Tears for Fears, David Bowie, Rush and Burt Bacharach, The Bad Plus draw upon a familiarity while lurching toward something deeply original. And it is the original compositions that absolutely soar as their ideas are free from the tethers of song form and familiar hooks. Reid Anderson's "Physical Cities" in particular gives an acoustic twist to the pounding rhythmic propulsion of metal. And Ethan Iverson proves again and again that it is possible to play melodic lines in octaves without inviting the "elevator music" vibe. The Bad Plus strives to be contemporary, vibrant and relevant and they succeed incredibly on every front.

Matthew Shipp Duo with Roscoe Mitchell: 2-Z. 1996. Thirsty Ear Recordings: thi 21312.2.

Matthew Shipp: piano
Roscoe Mitchell: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

This recording captures these two improvisers at such interesting trajectories in their respective creative voices. Roscoe Mitchell is completely at the top of his game while Matthew Shipp is at an early stage in developing his distinctive voice on the piano. Ultimately, 2-Z is a study in densities from a duo that expertly mines the extremes. It is the transitions and the journey between thick and thin that gives this session longevity.

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