Saturday, June 04, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Of Toys and Surrealism

Erik Friedlander: Maldoror. 2003. Brassland: HWY-005.

Erik Friedlander: cello

Solo cello improvisation loosely based upon and inspired by the surrealist writings of Comte de Lautreamont. Music translated from stark images and labyrinthine texts from an altered version of this reality through a filter of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, it is Friedlander's own talent and abilities as an improviser that breathes life into this solo yarn. For these thirsty ears, a perfect chance to hear the cellist in isolation relying upon his own sense of musicality. A recording that I gladly come back to again and again.

Mad Love: White With Foam. 2009. Ipecac Recordings: ipc-115-2.

Trevor Dunn: bass, vocals, keyboards
Sunny Kim: vocals
Hilmar Jensson: guitar
Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone
Shelley Burgon: harp
Marika Hughes: cello
Mazz Swift: violin
Jessica Troy: viola

For a band made up of such an outstanding lineup of musicians and the compositional and arranging prowess of Trevor Dunn this music makes a poor first impression. The rock driven song forms feel just a little too polished and the sticky sweet vocal style of Sunny Kim just seems to glide along the surface of this music as a brittle focal point. It takes a few spins to hear the qualities buried within this set and the inspired moments that weave throughout. But there is precious little enticement for repeated listening once the slick veneer of "accessibility" hits these ears.

Gavin Bryars: The Marvelous Aphorisms of Gavin Bryars: The Early Years. 2007. Mode: 177.

The Squirrel and the Ricketty-Racketty Bridge (1971) for 2 guitars (1 player) or multiples of this
Seth Josel: electric guitars

Pre-Mediaeval Metrics (1970)
Ulrich Krieger: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, contrabass saxophone, tom-tom
Seth Josel: electric guitar, 12-string guitar, electric bass

Made in Hong Kong (1970)
Ulrich Krieger: diverse toys

1, 2, 1-2-3-4 (1971) interpolating music by The Beatles
Ulrich Krieger: tenor saxophone, recorder, tambourine, maracas
Seth Josel: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar
Eli Friedmann: electric guitar
Yayoi Ikawa: piano
John Davis: electric bass
Kenny Growhowski: drums

A glimpse into the sonic and conceptual territory of Gavin Bryars that reveals a mixture of the austere with humor. The obsessive rhythmic territory of Pre-Mediaeval Metrics contrasted against the minimalism of The Squirrel and the Ricketty-Racketty Bridge. These are in turn balanced against the humor of the soup of Beatles riffs in 1,2,1-2-3-4 and the deeply unpleasant Made in Hong Kong. Much of the humor exists as an undercurrent running through the selection of material (or instruments). The Marvellous Aphorisms of Gavin Bryars is a mixed bag of compositions. Each succeeds on its own merits. Though occasionally those merits are set fairly low.

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