Music Reviews



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Artist: Wade Matthews/Ernesto Rodrigues/Neil Davidson (@)
Title: Erosions
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I enjoyed a lot the page of artistic diary intended to say something about this project by one of the involved musician - arguably the one whose sound art is more audible here -, Wade Matthews, who got inspiration for entitling a session recorded in March 2010 with the skilled Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Neil Davidson on acoustic guitar from a message sent by the photographer caring the artwork of this release, Mary Petrosky (is it fun a photographer with such a surname, as "petra" Latin root means "stone", likes taking pictures of rocks! It's really cool the one on the cover, looking like to a sort of scratched liver...), titled "Rocks I've met". Maybe he was influenced by the sweltering day occured in July 2010 in Madrid, as Wade himself admits, but he made a bizarre association between the general flow of the sound of this issue, whereas an important role has been played by the astonishing manipulations on field recordings (you'll have the sensation of being in his cool studio where any object, even his ringing phone, plays a role in this nice recording...a process which could remind the role of the notorious Stockhausen's dog!) and digitally synthesized creatures (some of them look like signals grabbed from ether or astronomic capturing system to be honest...) while guitar chords and viola sketches are just put in appearance here and there, and the erosive action of water on rockets. "At first glance", Mr Matthews argues, "water seems to adapt to the form of its container, and yet, over time, the opposite occurs. [...] As it flows, water erodes its container, wearing away the hardest of surfaces to reveal what is beneath. Extending our metaphor, we could say that sound flows from the actions of musicians, and among listeners. As such, it erodes both. But it also polishes both, and most of all, it reveals both". Is Erosions going to reveal something according the conceptualization by Matthers, acting in keeping with improv music principles? It's up to the listener...
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Artist: Markus Eichenberger
Title: Halbzeit - Clarinet Solo 2008
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
If I should try to explain the choice by Markus Eichenberger of putting an old black and white photo from his childhood album, the first thing coming into my mind is the way some jazz players names the clarinet, id est the liquorice stick, whose sugared version is normally considered a titbit by young children. The second possible explanation could be found in the almost dadaistic approach to the instrument as it seems suggesting some phrases not so dissimilar to some childish toys (in the initial and in the final halbzeit - half time -, some repeated sequences of tones could even remind the sound of sirens or nursery rhymes as well as some tunes could easily remind those "improvised" sets on whistles or scholar flutes by young pupils). The way Markus plays his clarinet, based on single phrases with prolonged pauses of total silence or during which he just emits air and recursive persistence on the same tone, has the advantage to highlight the peculiarity of the sound of this instrument, wrongly considered a close relative of the trumpet, as it's normally believed to be one of the most piercing woodwind instrument. There are many quotations, sounding more like musical memories resurfacing from the depths of consciousness, such as Mozart's compositions for clarinet, Bechet's Petite Fleur as well as some Swiss folk songs, but it should be listened as a sort of introspective musical journey than just a collection of sketches, which has many moments of breathtaking intimacy and poetical brilliance.
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Artist: Jason Kahn (@)
Title: Sin Asunto
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Many reviewers mistakenly think that graphical score is just an almost unuseful and somewhat provocative act of oddness or a disrespectful corruption of standard musical notation. The last example of such a different graphical representation I introduced on this web pages was the one Blixa Bargeld made while relistening to the sound sculputers by Alva Noto on the occasion of their appreciated collaboration (ANBB); the one by Jason Kahn is remarkably different not only because his ensemble of musicians, met in Seul in 2006, doesn't use both electronic devices and human voices, but also as it's not properly a graphical visualization inspired by sound stimulation, but it's definitively a real score! If you'll have a look on it, you will notice it could remind both some similitudes with the cycle of water - waves of different length, drizzle, raindrops, concentrical cicles close to the ones you'll notice on a liquid surface when throwing some object into it, snow crystals and so on among the symbols on this diagram for each musician - and a sort of stratification akin to the one of the atmosphere, following a sort of timeline - the horizontal axis of this diagram has been divided into 5-minutes long time intervals and you could follow the composition on this bizarre libretto! -. And even if this "organic" piece, composed for a concert series at the Moods club in Zurich, has been entitled Sin Asunto (with no subject!), both the mentioned remarks sound coherent and symbiotical to the artistic purpose of the composer, intended to "create an atmosphere akin to one pushing up to the surface from the very great depths of a vast and dark body of water, rising to the light streaming down from above with both a sense of urgency and resignation". It's really amazing the way the tunes resurface from the evoked depths and they way each musician - Vincent Millioud on violin, Bo Wiget on cello, Christian Weber on contrabass and Jason itself on amplified percussion, mentioned following the altimetric order on the graphical score! - follows these "atmospheric" punctuation with ease, showing their fluency in the most intruiguing and unruled language humankind knows. It's music!
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Artist: Jean-Luc Cappozzo & Edward Perraud (@)
Title: Suspension
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Suspension has undoubtedly been one of the listening I hugely appreciated in recent times. Recorded in the end of april 2009 during a live session at La Chapelle St.Anne, lasting almost one very intense hour, by the skilled trumpet player Jean-luc Cappozzo and the "magnifique" (fitted definition of his value according to the words of Monsieur Cappozzo during a short break of this performance) drummer Edward Perraud - one of the most impressive talent of the free jazz and improvisational jazz scene I had the pleasure of listening on the occasion of a concert with Michel Portal -, it's a breathtaking collage of musical sketches oscillating between stylistical bluffness, touching blues-veined moments, fuzzy experiments with vocal blows and length alterations into this legendary brass, enclosed tonal games with crammed valves, funny conversations between the brass and the drums and spotted quotations, the venomous fitting of trumpet tones in the intricate drumming web by Edward looking like the stinging invisible tentacles of suspended jellyfish! The final ovation after a sort of pointillist version of Summertime, the notorious standard by Gershwin, is the most trustful and varacious feedback for such an emotional recording. Brilliant!
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Artist: Seeded Plain (@)
Title: Entry Codes
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Well, I'm not sure if this album has some hallucinogenic properties, but while listening Entry Codes through headphones in drowsiness I dreamt about flying over Charing Cross Road during an imaginary contest of Gnawa trance music bands. I definitively should avoid snoozing while listening to such releases as I could commit many valuational errors and saying for instance the unconventional rhythmical codes Bryan Day and Jay Kreimer - the two eccentric craftsmen (an acceptation to the point as they just use some homemade instruments in their sets) - have recorded could be good to enter into a somewhat deviated oniric world, but I should say they activated some auditory remembrances as their rhythmical structure maybe have some points of intersection with Morrocan or Nubyan trance musical tradition with the remarkable difference that they use totally different sonorous objects, while sound in such an amazing way you could envisage the possibility to send some home stuff you don't need anymore to their mail account instead of collecting it in the bins for recyclable materials! If you decide to approach to Seeded Plain's acoustic devilments, I warmly reccomend to dwell upon tone-colour strange and estranging sounds Jay and Bryan manages to obtain by striking and so giving life to their noisy freaks so that the hums and all those rasping noises in Tarpaper Neutrality, the muted tolls and metallic squekings in Vacuum Insert, the metallic garglings and the sinister snoring together with somewhat stunned strokes of hit box-springs in Ciar of Thumbs and Waxwing Lattice as well as the dull wooden rumbling interrupted by a teeming of metallic bumps and plops could be considered as the whimpering of creatures born inside an audio-genetical mad lab!
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