[Music] NUM – False Awakening

Only a fool would believe we’re not living in a great time for music.  The world of pop is banal, and should only be seen as entertainment.  Actual music, that which is trying to continue breaking borders, bending (or snapping) rules, is doing quite well.

Iranian-born composer Maryam Sirvan has been featured on the blog before, having her powerful solo album reviewed here, but this is a newer release where she teams up with fellow composer Milad Bagheri and saxophonist Rezo Kiknadze.  Few composers of this stripe are able to combine the intellectual rigors of electroacoustic music, especially that of the INA-GRM variety, with the gritty, ghostly feel of 20 Jazz Funk Greats-period Throbbing Gristle.

This is a brilliant work, and I hope to see more composers appearing out the of Caucasus soon.

[Music] The Ed Palermo Big Band – Eddy Loves Frank

Judging by the quality of the music and the fact that this is Ed Palermo’s third full-length album dedicated to Frank Zappa’s avant-big-band interpretations, I think that the album title is apropos.  Eddy does indeed loves Frank!  From his Bandcamp site:

Ed and his amazing 16 piece band (+ guests) return with his third album of his distinctive, big-band interpretations of the great 20th century composer, Frank Zappa. This body of work has won them huge acclaim from both new and old fans of the music and they even appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition for a short feature which was heard by millions of listeners in 2006. For those not already familiar with Ed’s colorful, jazz-based arrangements of Zappa’s compositions, Ed has led a big band for 30 years (!) and has had his band performing the music of Frank Zappa for 15 years. Many years of playing these pieces in front of hugely enthusiastic crowds have honed the band’s skills interpreting Zappa’s beautiful but notoriously difficult material to where they are able to perform these challenging charts with apparent ease. All of these musicians are high caliber, hugely talented NYC professional players, and most of them have been playing this music for a decade and a half with this group, not because it is a good paying gig (it isn’t) but because they all admire and appreciate the genius of Zappa’s work and they love having the opportunity to be able to perform these terrifically exciting charts.

“Wonderful, breathtaking, fantastic, exhilarating, great sound, great production, great musicianship…I run out of superlatives…”
– paradoxone.uk

“Palermo developed these charts during years of live shows with these musicians, and their mastery of the material shows in the performances, which turn on a dime yet feel fierce with spontaneous invention…. Palermo’s arrangements and these performances are precise, dedicated, raucous and incisive—just like Zappa himself.”
– JazzTimes

“Palermo uses Zappa’s compositions as a framework for inspiration, rather than simply trying to recreate what is already available on CD.”
– allaboutjazz.com 


[Music] Santiago Fradejas – The Box You Sleep In

It’s a very happy occasion when I get to review a new album by Santiago Fradejas!  Our friend, guitarist and composer now based in Barcelona, Spain, comes at us with another disc full of soundscapes which sit well between the more mellow compositions of John McLaughlin, the usual powerful post-Industrial soundscapes, and maybe because I have been listening a lot to him lately, some bits that would not sound out-of-place in a Charles Mingus album.

[Music/Literature] “Poetry About Everything, Words About Nothing”: a consideration on Edwin Morgan and John Cage’s approach to creativity. — University of Glasgow Library Blog

Guest blog post by Eli Coderoni Rigamonti, MLitt Theatre Studies, on placement in Archives and Special Collections. This article aims to draw a connection between artists Edwin Morgan and John Cage, focusing on their common interest for Modernist techniques, and their view on art and perception. Sometimes authors who never had a chance to meet […]

via “Poetry About Everything, Words About Nothing”: a consideration on Edwin Morgan and John Cage’s approach to creativity. — University of Glasgow Library Blog

[Music] Sven Laux – You’ll Be Fine.

Though I was impressed on initially hearing the track Flickering Lamp on Sven Laux’s newest release, I wondered if his record label, Archives, had mis-tagged the album.  Ambient and electronic music I certainly here, IDM I certainly don’t.  No dub, but definitely there is a nod to classic 1970’s electronic music albums (think Neuronium from Spain, and perhaps a more electronic-leaning Popul Vuh, sans the horrible ‘techno’ phase).  The album also has a feel of this modern classical vibe I keep running across.

This album was not what I expected to hear at all.  It’s damn-near perfect walking music.

[Music] Jim Perkins & Tom Gaisford – Byrds

It’s not everyday that you see a single of classical music released, but this reinterpretation of the works of 16th and 17th Century English composer William Byrd, ably handled by Jim Perkins & Tom Gaisford, even features a remix by Leah Kardos of Byrd’s Kyrie.  Bigo & Twigetti continue to knock it out of the park in terms of quality releases.

For a more in-depth review, consider visiting our friends over at a closer listen.

[Music] Juhani Silvola – Post​-​Biological Wildlife

Norwegian composer Juhani Silvola is the heir of the French electroacoustic music tradition, and he has managed to update the sound while maintaining its spirit.  According to his biography, “Juhani’s music often explores themes circling post-humanism, nature and virtual reality, questioning the role of humanity in the near future, and painting varied scenarios without exclusively condemning or glorifying the techno-futuristic vision.”  We’re in for a bleak future, folks.

Post​-​Biological Wildlife is his latest album, released on his own Eighth Nerve Audio.

[Music] Jeff Gburek – Passages Into Beyond (for Joseph Jarman & Alvin Fielder)

We have the pleasure of announcing a new release by Jeff Gburek, an American composer living in Europe who should not be a stranger to readers of this blog. I consider him to be among the top five most important composers/improvisers living today, so each release is an event.

From Jeff’s Bandcamp notes:

Passages is the result of 2 live sessions, the second session over-dubbed onto the first, without any rehearsal, the only minor post-production changes I could make therefore where bits of localized compression here and there. I am both graced and doomed to be unable to alter the improvisational verities of the composition. Session one (1/16/19) consisted of, tympani, cymbal, piano, synthesizer, voice, shortwave radio noise tuned by theremin — the piano wires themselves being antennae and the transistor radio speakers also transmitting the piano strings sound, hence, the distortion you hear, which is deliberate, evocative of another medium, timbre and epoch — and as proof that this composition is improvisational: the cymbal used was a piece I found at the KM studio space and we just had to get it on, right there on the head of the old school Polish tympanic drum, goat-skin stretched over copper pot. The tracks were recorded one after another with the idea of becoming a spine for an album that I’d imagined as Passages for Joseph Jarman. What I did not know was that I would wake up and record the second session two days later (1/18/19) at the home studio on Bukowska, suddenly, without any time for much premeditation. Instruments for the overdub session: bluesky instrument, bass recorder, snare drum, voice, Bulgarian cow bells, Goa bells, aluminum homemade gamelan, pan-pipes, radiator, melodica, skin — with a bit of reverb on all that to create a magical Pranic shield against the trams and buses out the window just meters off. Not a trace of guitar in any of it.

While recording this ritual of passage for Joseph Jarman, great ancestral spirit now, gradually re-enfolding the neighboring cosmos of my life as a lonely alien sometimes feeling soon to follow, the wings of Alvin Fielder became sensible in moments and thusly the whole wake became many-mansions in one. I kept walking through one portal into another, spanning visions and centuries of ghost, ochre & jade princesses, ancestor fox, lynx, radium ladies and seminole redwoods lifting arms. This will probably be epic or at best just another rehearsal. I fell to dreams several times during the mixdowns as if Ayahuma, the flower spirit of Amazonia descended on my member and dripped up with the proboscis of a black butterfly my pineal offerings. I learned who’s brother saved another one in the Spanish civil war and the reason behind was the unbound Romany who hid the weapons of the church warden. These dreams are not mine, I thought. But that’s rather presumptuous.

This is either a trip, an epic travail or fail but I release it because it’s timely, the recent passing of spirits, that command, for some reason, yes, I could ignore it. When Jarman died, here, when Fielder did, here, within me, there was no one around me to share this sense of loss with. How absurd, even cruel, to create something in the mind of another person, only to show them it’s gone, doesn’t exist. So I do the work for myself and you few who are listening and who may read this. I publish my soul even when among my peers I have few people who take my music seriously, who never read my posts or click on a link for whatever reasons of their own: I can’t buy your wonderful albums because I’m too poor, all these years and you think I’m ignoring you. I can’t praise what I can’t hear but maybe I should learn and I know you, the non-listener, make room, grant me silence, peace. You don’t need me and my music as much I need me to live and the music comes through me to tell me I have through this purpose become dedicated to the non-suicidal pact, against all the inhumane indifference, driving with a new engine. In the absence of culture in which I have communion with community, I find my trips on such dream Titanics that icebergs have not been able to reach. I play a chord and it flies with the winds. Some bees, somewhere over the horizon, move in the direction of the hands the flowers petals of sound waves tremble and extend. Love.

Every release from Gburek’s catalog is a deep, personal, and provocative. You can find his catalog here, via Bandcamp.