Sunday, February 12, 2012

HurdAudio Rotation: Dedication to Poets and Brums

Ornette Coleman: Dedication to Poets and Writers. 1962.
Magic Music: 30010-CD.

Ornette Coleman: saxophones
David Izenzohn: bass
Charles Moffett: percussion
Selwart Clark: violin
Nathan Goldstein: violin
Julian Barber: viola
Kermit Moore: cello

This particular set has been of particular interest for me.  Poised at an early transition point between Ornette Coleman's legendary quartet (the one that propelled him with full force onto the jazz scene) and the body of music that would follow.  This was a concert organized and funded by Ornette Coleman that barely broke even as bad weather kept attendance low.  Which also set the stage for the criminally low acceptance (and encouragement) of Ornette Coleman's forays into composed chamber works.  Hearing his intervallic logic worked out in a string quartet is incredibly fascinating and I wish that more ears perked up when he began exploring this direction.  Coleman's trio work is also presented here as a road he managed to travel more frequently.  We are left with this documentation that manages to hint at both what was to come and what could have been.

Ches Smith: Congs for Brums. 2006. Free Porcupine Society: 015.

Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone

Ches Smith sustains a 45-minute solo through a careful excursion through distinct territories.  Ches for Brums opens with a handful of notes on the vibraphone that border on being a network call sign.  This is then developed outward as a vibraphone solo that introduces bowed tones and moves toward metal bowls, bells and other percussion instruments along a path that leads toward the trap set.  Later pieces in this set move between the vibraphone and drums, exploring textural and stylistic variants that touch upon experimental percussion music, cool jazz and heavy metal.  Congs for Brums works as a showcase for Ches Smith's personal stylistic sensibilities.  His sense of formal development and his unique attack and tone.  It's less of a showcase of his formal technique.  His concern being weighted toward ideas and less toward flash.  This is is his own musical language and he speaks it fluently.  After a few spins of this disc I've come to appreciate his sense of dynamic variation and restraint.  He comes tantalizingly close to spinning out a sonic world that the listener can fully inhabit with transitions that cut things short before they get too comfortable.  Which is a sure fire way of leaving the listener hungry for more.

Various Artists: Technicolor Hell. 2007. Malleable: 01.

Mincemeat or Tenspeed
Dave Smolen
Sharks with Wings
Sweet Nothing
Charles Cohen
Joe Lentini
Cars Will Burn
Tim Albro
Drums Like Machine Guns

A compilation of the Philadelphia harsh noise scene that reveals multiple shades of aggressive signal flow.  The stand out for me is the relatively placid "I'll Let the Committee Name It" by Charles Cohen with his electronic textures of drips and liquid bubbling giving way to drumming textures.  It's a piece with a great sense of its own extremes and a sense of form that mines those extremes.  Newton's "Ode To My Bloody Philadelphia Heart" delivers the sharp bursts of static-laden noise that is a therapeutic staple of noise music.  Another track that lulls the ears in with its slow trickle of feedback before turning on the full fire hose of harsh is "Four Color Heck" by Tweeter.  A piece that deftly plumbs the high frequency drones most likely to leave the ears ringing afterward.  As a compilation, there is an inevitable uneven quality to these selections.  Though none of the tracks on Technicolor Hell are sub standard.  There are a few that slave a little too hard to an industrial beat for my taste.  But each does stand up as an aggressive (and necessary) expression.  This is collection is strictly for those willing to expand their awareness of sonic extremities.

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