Friday, 29 February, 2008

Olga Neuwirth - Vampyrotheone, Hooloomooloo, Bählamms Fest

"Born in Austria in 1968, Olga Neuwirth has emerged over the last few years as one of the leading members of the rising generation of European composers, with a string of prestigious commissions in the pipeline. She has studied film as well as music, and references to the visual arts permeate her works, which also make extensive use of electronics and real-time spatial effects and transformations.

The 1995 Vampyrotheone (the title evokes a fictitious deep-sea creature) is the only piece here that does without any extra technology, with its three spatially separated ensembles led by instrumental soloists, while Hooloomooloo reinforces another trio of ensembles with a recording of an ondes martenot. The writing is sometimes dense, sometimes exuberantly florid, and Neuwirth’s musical language seems indebted to Boulez more than to any other composer. This pair of striking pieces is framed and separated by the three ‘instrumental islands’ taken from Neuwirth’s 1999 music drama Bählamms Fest, based upon a play by Leonora Carrington; the sound of a central group of instruments is blended with their own electronic reflections to produce an extraordinary continuum of colors. An intriguing introduction to an important composer". Andrew Clements

"... like Tex Avery and Boulez planning a submarine attack on a highly civilized tropical island to conquer the dwarf raccoon."
Ken Kercheval

1. Instrumental-Insel I aus "Bählamms Fest" (1997-00)
("for Ensemble centrally positioned in space and Live-Electronics")

2. Vampyrotheone (1995)
("for 3 soloists and 3 Ensemble formations")

3. Instrumental-Insel II aus "Bählamms Fest" (1997-00)
("for Ensemble centrally positioned in space and Live-Electronics")

4. Hooloomooloo (1996-97)
("for Ensemble in 3 groups with CD-Player")

5. Instrumental-Insel III aus "Bählamms Fest" (1997-00)
("for Ensemble centrally positioned in space and Live-Electronics")

part1 @320
part2 @320

Monday, 25 February, 2008

Mississippi John Hurt - Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings

"Mississippi John Hurt's latter-day recordings after his rediscovery have somewhat obscured the importance of these debut sides -- the ones that made his rediscovery an idea initially worth pursuing. Archival recordings such as Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings are the collector's items that made his rep in the first place, and stand as some of the most poetic and beautiful of all country blues recordings. Hurt's playing is sheer musical perfection, with a keen sense of chord melody structure to make his bouncy, rhythmic execution of it sound both elegant and driving. Mississippi John's voice -- he was 36 at the time of these recordings -- was already a warm and friendly one, imbued with the laid-back wistfulness that would earmark his rediscovery recordings half-a-lifetime later. His best-known songs -- his adaptions of "Frankie (& Johnny)" and "Stack O' Lee," "Avalon Blues," "Nobody's Dirty Business," "Candy Man Blues" -- are all accounted for in their original incarnations here, and the NoNoiser remastering on this collection is superb. Mississippi John Hurt would go on to re-record this material for other labels in the '60s with fine results, but these are the originals -- the ones that much of his justifiable reputation rests on". Cub Koda, All Music Guide

"New York is a good town, but it's not for mine" -
Avalon Blues

1. Frankie
2. Nobody's Dirty Business
3. Ain't No Tellin'
4. Louis Collins
5. Avalon Blues
6. Big Leg Blues
7. Stack O'Lee
8. Candy Man Blues
9. Got the Blues (Can't be Satisfied)
10. Blessed be the Name
11. Playing on the Old Camp Ground
12. Blue Harvest Blues
13. Spike Driver Blues

All tracks recorded Dec. 21-28, 1928 in NY.
All tracks written by Mississippi John Hurt, except 10 & 11 (traditional).
Re-released in 1996 using NoNoiser processing.


Thursday, 21 February, 2008

Bravo Tubes #5

Ivor Cutler

Wednesday, 20 February, 2008

Ben Goldberg - Eight Phrases for Jefferson Rubin (1998)

"In the last few years Ben Goldberg has become the most consistently splendid of all clarinetists. Each of his half dozen plus releases are superb & distinct in their own way. So far he has done two avant/klez cds the New Klezmer Trio, a duo cd with Kenny Wollesen, a live gig with Zorn as the West Coast Masada, an avant/bebop Junk Genius quintet cd, a double clarinet quintet cd with Marty Ehrlich, a trio improv cd with John Schott & Michael Sarin and another new cd on Music & Arts. This new effort was originally commissioned by John Zorn and features a double unit of two reeds-Larry Ochs (Rova) & Ben, the two acoustic basses of Trevor Dunn, John Schott on electric guitar without effects and Michael Sarin ( or Thomas Chapin & Dave Douglas) on drums. This cd is dedicated to a childhood friend of Ben's who died too young in a truck accident. The pieces range from delicate, melancholy, shadows moving through fields of dreams to restrained explosions of well written ensemble passages. A well selected sextet that shines throughout. Often beautiful" DMG

"Dedicated to a boyhood friend who died at age 35, this music is neither an elegy nor a celebration, but a journey into the mysteries of human ---and musical---interaction. The six instrumentalists make scattered appearances. like characters in a play, in order to feed off of another person's energy and compassion, or contribute their ideas into a continually shifting mosaic of thematic and emotional details. Often the mood is of quiet introspection--epitomized by Goldberg's understated clarinet and supported by the strength of bassists Trevor Dunn and L.S. Ellis---which is momentarily shattered by the brittle polyphony of "Brace and Bit" or the eruption of Larry Ochs' tenor in "Lost Touch." This piece and guitarist John Schott's solo epilogue, "Snow" swell and recede like a painful but fulfilling memory." Art Lange

1. Problem
2. Plain of Jars
3. Visited
4. Eight Phrases
5. Brace and Bit
6. Elements
7. Lost Touch
8. Snow

Trevor Dunn - bass
L. S. Ellis - bass
Larry Ochs - saxophone
Michael Sarin - drums
John Schott - guitar
Ben Goldberg - clarinet

megaupload |OR| rapidshare part1 : part2 [all@320]

Sunday, 17 February, 2008

The Residents' Freak Show Comic Book (1992)

"Freak Show actually began in the studio when one Resident was tinkering with some tracks that sounded strangely like a weird circus environment. Perhaps another was reading Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, or maybe saw the movie Freaks, as the writing continued. In any case, Freak Show evolved -- a concept album that takes place in a carny side show, each story telling the story of a different freak. This comic , inspired by the album, came about through the generous efforts of all its creators and Dark Horse comics. Fans of The Residents, each was given a copy of the album and asked to create a visual interpretation of one of the freaks. Although the process was done in reverse, the album could be a sort of "soundtrack" for this comic -- one possible interpretation of the Residents' brilliant musical story-telling". Rich Shupe

1. Preface
2. Kyle Baker - Everybody Comes to the Freakshow
3. Brian Bolland - Harry the Head
4. Matt Howarth - Jello Jack
5. John bolton - Wanda the Worm Woman
6. Savage Pencil - Mickey the Mumbling Midget
7. Richard Sala - Herman the Human Mole
8. Pourneaux Graphics - Benny the Bouncing Bump
9. Dave McKean - Lillie
10. Kyle Baker - Nobody Laughs When They Leave
11. Afterward (sic)


To read this you can simply unzip the file and read it as a PDF document.
Or you can use a CBR reader, available here (mac) or there (windows)

Thursday, 14 February, 2008

Elmer Bernstein - I Love You Alice B. Toklas (1968)

Surprisingly produced my a major studio, but nevertheless ultimately conservative, I Love You Alice B. Toklas is a timely comedy that attempts to caricaturize the clash and continuities between the "American way of life" as it was known before the 60s and the hippie movement. Directed by Hy Averack in 1968, it tells the story of Harold Fine, an asthmatic Jewish lawyer who lives out this tension, slides between these two models and "evolves as a human being" in the process. The trigger for such a change is... a woman; or better yet: two women and a dozen marijuana brownies. By embracing the beautiful, sweet, libertarian hippie girl, and rejecting the exhaustive emotional parasite who wants to drag him into a colorless marriage, Harold engages with the Mondo Teeth universe, a world where gurus tell you parables and make riddles about flowers, where junkies bathe in your tub with their clothes on, where directors make extra-long movies about dental realities, and where "it is very unhip to say you're hip". The film is equally sympathetic to both parties, the hip and the square, and concludes by arguing that true freedom and humanity is to be found outside the chartered territories of hypocritical conservatorism and the oft-silly "counterculture" of the 60s.

Elmer Bernstein's soundtrack explores some of the sounds and instruments that were to become a trademark of the decade. It opens with the title theme, in which the Harpers Bizarre sing about Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, the author of a recipe book that teaches you to cook hashish fudge. (This, however, is not the version included in the movie, which has mellower and, er, groovier vocals). Most of the remaining tracks are stop-and-go instrumental restatements of this and other two themes. with a generous use of sitar, bongos, horns and string orchestration, the small musical episodes that compose a soundtrack not being excluded and creating a satisfying succession of miniature approaches to the same basic phrases. The overall orientation of the record is, perhaps as implied in the movie plot, a merging of "psychedelic" grooves and more "traditional" Hollywood orchestral arrangements, and the soundtrack can be read as a mature and ironic document of the musical experiments and stereotypes of the decade as seen through the glasses of a sympathetic outsider. Whether you're hip or square, whether you're into Gertrude Stein and dope brownies or not, whether you're an asthmatic Jewish lawyer or a freewheeling hairy refusenik, it is likely that, like Harold Fine, you'll love Alice B. Toklas.

link@320 [vinyl rip]

This vinyl rip is a courtesy of Phil, whose Eastern Eye offers a sample track of this and other great records. Many thanks for this.

Monday, 11 February, 2008

Sachiko M, Günter Müller, Otomo Yoshihide - Filament 2 (1999)

"Filament, normally comprised of the duo of Otomo Yoshihide and Sachiko M, is joined here by Swiss percussionist/electronicist Gunter Muller for a series of calm, sparse improvisations which are eerily evocative and strangely beautiful. By "limiting" themselves to fairly low-tech electronics and by simply relaxing and taking their time to investigate each sound-world encountered, this trio succeeds brilliantly in keeping the listener extraordinarily interested and focused, as the sounds tumble forward in logical yet surprising fashion. There tend to be high and low frequency borders established by Sachiko's sine waves and low, throbbing drones (presumably supplied by Otomo), sandwiching all manner of midrange activity by Muller on delicate percussion and Otomo's turntablism. Throughout, there's a warm and inviting quality not always found on recordings in this genre, the various hums generally taking on a consonant nature and the rhythmic patterns muted instead of harsh. But it's the non-stop inventiveness of the musicians involved which make this such a success and a superb example of the heights this type of music can achieve". Brian Olewnick, All Music Guide

"A post-Ground Zero Yoshihide and Sachiko Matsubara square off against For 4 Ears proprietor Gunter Muller in this superior sequel to 1998's Filament 1 (Extreme). Matsubara again works solely with the sine wave emissions of a sampler emptied of all memory. Her choice of sounds may be limiting, but she resourcefully bends and tweaks the clean, shrill frequencies in sympathetic response to Muller's ultra-sparse freeform percussion and spattering of electronic crackle. An uncommonly restrained Yoshihide, acting anything but the plunderphonic dervish, supplies the tiniest fragments of sampled CD and vinyl grooves. Throughout the first two pieces, the trio's improvisation is surgically precise - an exacting, controlled performance that produces just enough audible information to suggest the memory traces of music and maintain a peripheral conscious presence. An infrequent blip quickens the pulse; a frugal drum-machine tattoo or the ghost of a recorded voice pricks the ears like a lance. The busier "Filament 2-3" and "Filament 2-5" are genuinely exciting. Matsubara and Muller's electronics fall in unpredictable anti-patterns, sounding on the former like the enigmatic growlers and whistlers heard in VLF-shortwave spheric recordings and mimicking Xenakis-like packets of compressed computerized sound-data in the latter. Yoshihide isn't quite as stingy with his well-chewed sound-bites in these later "Filament"s, and the plentiful bits of microscopic sound begin to form macroscopic clumps. Muller, an experienced improviser whose seemingly haphazard and disposable contributions here are in fact the backbone for the process of cohesion, is the key to Filament 2's success. His dry clicks, so prominent as to suggest an almost techno-minimalist grid on "Filament 2-4," corral the dispersed sampledelic debris. Like a vigilant sheepdog, Muller drops a percussive signal or an admonishing bleep to redirect the flow of the improvisation whenever he senses that Matsubara or Yoshihide has strayed from the instinctive course". Gil Gershman

Sachiko M - sampler with sinewaves
Günter Müller - electronics, selected drums
Otomo Yoshihide - records, cds

part1 : part2 [@320]

Thursday, 7 February, 2008

Variable Geometry Orchestra - Stills (2007)

"The music produced by the Variable Geometry Orchestra (VGO) results from the juxtaposition of acoustic and electronic sound matter that constantly searches for detail and meaning. Its sounds contain subliminal as well as psycho-acoustic characteristics and include the possibility of complete silence. (...) The conduction is operated by balancing the sound masses that travel in the acoustic space, dictating the construction of the real-time composition, and thus revealing the organized juxtaposition of specific instruments as mobile sound groups.

This leaves space for the musicians to regain their natural rhythm and breathing, as well as their sense of random pulsation. It also allows them to listen to all the sound events that are happening at any given moment and thus to act accordingly. On the contrary, they can simply listen to what another musician has just begun. The musical space is thus filled only with the intrinsically essential elements.

Another of the outstanding aspects of the orchestra is how open it is to new participants. That is one reason why it is called 'variable'. The influx of new creative power is tempered only with a truly democratic spirit where hierarchy is reduced to a bare minimum, also permitting a very large number of combinations and permutations of smaller ensembles to be arranged on-the-spur-of-the-moment.Last but not least, the orchestra encompasses three generations of musicians who have set age aside to pursue a common contemporary language." Ernesto Rodrigues, CD Liner notes

E. Rodrigues - Conduct., Violin, Viola (all)
João Castro Pinto - Computer (1,2,3,5)
Adriana Sá - Digital Synth (1,2,3,4)
Eduardo Chagas - Trombone (1,2,3,4)
Olympia Boule - Voice (1,5)
Etsuko Kimura - Organ (3)
J. Silva - Cracklebox, Field Recs. (3)
P. Bastiaan - ASax, Melodica, Ds (1,2,3)
Fala Mariam - Alto Trombone (1, 5)
A. Moimême - TenSax, El. Guitar (1,3,4,5)
Ivan Fontes - Didgeridoo (2,3)
Eduardo Lalá - Trombone (2)
Silvia Freitas - Violin (3)
Katia Santandreu - Viola (3)
G. Rodrigues - Cello (1,2,3,4,5)
J. Lampreia - Flute, Soprano Sax (1,3,4)
Lizuarte Borges - Alto Sax (3)
Nuno Moita - Sampler, Turntables (1,3,5)
Plan - Turntables (1)
Hernâni Faustino - Double Bass (1,2,3,4,5)
A. C. Neto - Alto & Tenor Sax (2,4,5)
João Oliveira - Drums (1,4,5)
R. Ausar-Sahu - Double Bass (1)
Sei Miguel - Pocket Trumpet (1,4,5)
Nuno Torres - Alto Sax (1,2,3,4)
Rafael Toral - Modified Amp. (1,4)
Nuno Rebelo - Amplified Objects
A. Gonçalves - Analog Modular Synth (3)
J. Krieger - Trumpet, Frech Horn (2,3,5)
G. Gonçalves - Tuba, Euphonium (1,2)
Marcelo Maggi - Trumpet (1, 3)
M. Bernardo - Clarinet (1, 2, 3, 4)
B. Parrinha-Cls., ASax, Harmonica (1,2,3)
J-M Charmier-Trumpet, Euphonium(2)
M. Pereira - Contrabass (3)
J. Viegas - Bass Clarinet (1,3)
Pedro Portugal -Trumpet (1,2)

R. Pinheiro - Piano (3)
Travassos-CircuitBending,Tapes (all)
A. Pereira - Accordion (1,2,3,4,5)
P. Castello-Lopes - Percussion (1,3,5)
Jorge Oliveira - African Percussion (3)
A. Chaparreiro - Electric Guitar (1,2,3,5)
C. Burago - Cowbell (1, 4, 5)
M. Trinité - Cymbals, Objects (2,3,4)
Carlos Santos - Computer (1,2,3,4,5)

disc 1
1. The Morning Walk After The "O" Of The Clock
disc 2
2. Just As You Were Able To Talk About Nothing
3. Suddenly The Dream Became A Promise Of White
disc 3
4. Loosing The Place Where Someone Watched Over Me
5. We Almost Turned Around And Headed Home
- all@320 -

Wednesday, 6 February, 2008

Bravo Tubes #4

Tonino Valerii & Sergio Leone, "Il Mio nome è Nessuno" (1973)

Tuesday, 5 February, 2008

Harry Partch - The Wayward + And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma

The second volume of CRI's series of Partch works includes several major pieces and a couple of exquisite jewels. The first four compositions are grouped under the general heading, "The Wayward," all of which deal, in part, with the musical rendering of everyday American speech, particularly the slang employed by migrant workers and hobos in the Depression era of the 1930s. "U.S. Highball" is a string of such exclamations, asides, and dispirited remarks set to a nonet of Partch's idiosyncratic instruments, including various percussion, strings, and justly tuned organs. The exoticism of the instrumental sound contrasts squarely with the everyday patterns of the speech (both sung and spoken), creating a unique kind of tension rarely encountered elsewhere.

Next, who but Partch would have though of orchestrating the cries of newsboys selling their wares on a foggy San Francisco night? Or setting the text of a letter from a friend to music, sometimes chatty, sometimes carping on personal matters? The result is hugely affecting, as the composer is able to ferret out the deep humanity beneath the superficial observations and provide precisely the right accompaniment, not quite sentimental but extremely sympathetic. For "Barstow," Partch went to an even more basic text source: the inscriptions and graffiti found on a highway railing in the remote California town, left over the years by itinerant travelers, not all of it "respectable" by any means (the piece ends with the shout, "Why in hell did you come, anyway?").

The final work, "And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma," is sheer bliss, a showpiece for his invented instruments arranged in a series of 34 one-minute-long sections, gradually increasing from duos to a concluding septet. Many of the themes were working models for those employed in his soon-to-be-written masterwork Delusion of the Fury. They are scrumptious lines full of otherworldly melodies and infectious rhythms, both serving as wonderful illustrations of his instruments' capabilities and utterly delightful miniatures in their own right. A superb recording, The Harry Partch Collection, Vol. 2 is a must-have for any self-respecting fan and a reasonable introduction to the composer's work for the intrigued listener. Brian Olewnick, All Music Guide

[01-04: The Wayward]
01. U.S. Highball - A Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip (1943, rev. 1955; recorded 1958)
02. San Francisco - A Setting of the Cries of Two Newsboys on a Foggy Night in the Twenties (1943, rev. 1955; recorded 1958)
03. The Letter (1943, rev. 1972; recorded 1972)
04. Barstow - Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California (1941, rev. 1968; recorded 1982)

05. And on The Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma (1963-64, rev. 1966; recorded 1964)

link@320 [The Wayward]
link@320 [Petaluma]

Bravo Clippings #24

We eat with pleasure fatigue:
Auvergne Salami. Absolute Food Purity.

The good salami of the
Wonder Pig!

Saturday, 2 February, 2008

Lorenzo Ghielmi - Anno 1630 (2003)

"This disc is naught but a feast of the most engaging music from the early Italian baroque in and around 1630. A super programme of music which simply ignites passion from beginning to end as the performers explore works from one of the most exciting periods in the history of music, where we see the early development of highly decorative monody, sonata and concerto forms in their nascent state.

Lorenzo Ghielmi plays on an organ built in 1587 by Costanzo Antegnati, which was recently restored by Marco Fratti in 1996, with a sound that is spectacular to say the least. The first piece for organ solo is the Toccata Settima by Michelangelo Rossi (1601–1656). This is a piece full of remarkable passages that would have enthralled the listener as much then as it will now, particularly in the precipitous chromatic episode at the end of the work, itself preceded by a glut of digital dexterity clamouring for recognition. Aria Detto Balletto from Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) is a second solo piece displaying Ghielmi’s commanding sense of style, nothing is understated in the choice of registrations, the mixtures bringing a lively solution to music that is bright and lucid. Ghielmi further delights with two solo harpsichord contributions from Frescobaldi later in the recital upon aninstrument built by Tony Chinnery in 1989 after Carlo Grimaldi’s instrument of 1697.

Enrico Onofri is a superb practitioner of early Italian violin and vocal styles. Though more a violinist, as one will recognise on this disc, one cannot question his singing even if it is not as refined as some in this category of music; the important thing for me is the way his Italian origin lends the music its essential vitality. I feel that I am hearing the spirit in which this music was composed and should be sung. Onofri has much to teach performers of this music. For as much as his vocalisations are dramatic with the text one finds that spirit and drama shifted also to the violin; one hears the music speak in many exciting ways, from the choice of decoration, be that a trillo or ornamental vibrato, through to his beguiling phraseology. Onofri is a truly distinguished stylist.

Margret Köll’s contribution to this disc is just as vital. Her playing on the Arpa Doppia a tre registri (Double Harp), made by Simon Capp in 2001 after a large 17th century Italian triple harp, is sensitive to all that surrounds her. The Toccata Seconda & Ligature per l’arpa by Giovanni Maria Trabaci (1575-1647) is beautifully etched, adding a moment of repose in this recital.

Although the disc is housed in a carefully thought-out and unusual CD casing therein lies little information excepting the programme and the instrumental makes and names that I have already imparted above. For as much as that will be tantalising, I would still harry you to go out and acquire this recording that is a testament to three performers of outstanding stature in today’s world of historically informed performance practice". The Organ Magazine

01. Sonata Seconda a Violino Solo (G. Battista Fontana)
02. Canzona detta la Bernardinia (Girolamo Frescobaldi)
03. Toccata Setima (Michelangelo Rossi)
04. "Haec Dies Quam Fecit Dominus" - Motetto a Voce Sola (F. Turini)
05. Toccata Seconda & Ligature per l'Arpa (G. M. Trabaci)
06. "Exulta, Filla Sion" - A Voce Sola e Continuo (Claudio Monteverdi)
07. Sonata Prima à Sopran Solo (Dario Castello)
08. Aria detto Balletto (Girolamo Frescobaldo)
09. Sonata Seconda à Sopran Solo (Dario Castello)
10. Toccata per l'Elevazione (Girolamo Frescobaldi)
11. Toccata Prima (Girolamo Frescobaldi)
12. Cento Partite Sopra Passacagli - I Parte (Girolamo Frescobaldi)
13. O Quam Pulchra Es (Claudio Monteverdi)
14. Cento Partite Sopra Passacagli - II Parte (Girolamo Frescobaldi)

Lorenzo Ghielmi: organ, harpsichord
Enrico Onofri: violin, voice
Margret Köll: harp

Recorded with no processing at Chiesa S. Maria della Consolazione (Almenno San Salvatore, Italy) in July 2002. Released by Winter & Winter in 2003.

part1 : part2 @320