[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.

[Video] Peter Brötzmann / Shoji Hano / Tetsu Yamauchi / Haruhiko Gotsu – Dare Devil

Peter Brötzmann was my introduction to free jazz. The genre is full of brutal music, and it seems that Herr Brötzmann is its (vodka) king. It’s for a good reason. He is a tireless skronker, has more energy in his 70s that many fellow travelers do in their 30s. He also knows whom to collaborate with.

In this piece for the Japanese record label DIW (an old favorite of mine), he collaborates with Shoji Hano, Tetsu Yamauchi and Haruhiko Gotsu in a piece that melds free jazz together with a sort of broken blues. Yes, it’s a mess, but a lovely one.