[Music] Richmond Avant Improv Collective – Chance Operations

As I finally had a long stretch of time where I could actually enjoy hearing whole albums again, I decided that RAIC would be Album Number One today.  What a revelation this one has turned out to be!

According to the collective’s Bandcamp website for this release, “Chance Operations was inspired by John Cage’s “Silence.” RAIC often brings together musicians who normally would never play together. For Chance Operations, twenty musicians from a wide range of backgrounds- jazz, rock, noise and world music, some with backgrounds in improvisation and some without – came together at Etching Tin Studios in Richmond, Virginia. The musicians’ names were written on different ping pong balls and then placed in a sealed container. In a separate container were balls with the number for the ensemble ranging from a duet to a sextet.”  Chance operation, indeed.

The album itself makes for eerie listening.  There is one track which stood out for me, “Irrigating An Arid World,” where shrieks, wailing and very sparse instrumentation make one feel like they are on a heavy hallucinogenic trip.  The spirit of John Cage having a heavily spiked mushroom tea with Sun Ra and, maybe, Cathy Berberian or Diamanda Galás, permeates this album.  The group have a new album coming soon, and I’m already looking forward to hearing much more from them.

[Music] Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Necks to Perform in Melbourne — Avant Music News

Source: Broadwayworld. Supersense is thrilled to announce a once in a lifetime line-up bringing together two legendary ensembles of contemporary music, jazz and improvisation: ground breaking pioneers of American free jazz the Art Ensemble of Chicago and transcendent, internationally revered Australian trio The Necks. In a never-to-be repeated double bill at Hamer Hall on Sunday […]

via Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Necks to Perform in Melbourne — Avant Music News

[Music] Wadada Leo Smith – Spiritual Dimensions

A proper two-album set by Wadada Leo Smith, this double disc comes complete with two different, yet somehow well-meshed bands.  To see what I mean, take a look at each lineup:

Disc One:

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Vijay Iyer – piano, synthesizer
John Lindberg – bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums
Don Moye – drums

Disc Two:

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Nels Cline – guitar
Michael Gregory – guitar
Brandon Ross – guitar
Lamar Smith – guitar
Okkyung Lee – cello
John Lindberg – double bass
Skuli Sverrisson – electric bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums

These lineups are the cream of the crop of the improvisational music scene.  The music is as enjoyably quirky and free as you would expect from a collaboration as grand as this.

[Music] Kevin Drumm – Christ!

This new album is titled after Our Lord and Savior, whether you like it or not.  I have no idea if Kevin Drumm, perhaps the most important American experimental musician and composer active these days is a believer, or if this is an ironic title made to slap onto a photo of a statue of Jesus, but musically, it’s a dreamy slice of ‘noise’.

Drumm never fails to deliver a great album, and in his generosity, he is offering his whole digital catalog for under $25.  A worthwhile investment.

[Music] Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi with Masahiko Satoh – Proton Pump

Avant-garde bebop seems to be the most fitting way to describe this release featuring saxophonist Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi (drummer Chris Corsano and bassist Darrin Grey) along with pianist Masahiko Satoh.  No less than Jim O’Rourke gushes over the the musicianship of this improvisers, but this isn’t a racket-filled noise blast.  The musicianship is astounding, free, and engaging, something a lot of improvisers can’t seem to make happen unless they’re truly something special.  It seems that Sakata has been making music since the 1960s, so I have a bit of exploring to do on his previous work.