Sunday, 28 December, 2008

Orkest De Volharding - Trajekten (1992)

This CD celebrates 20 years of the Orkest de Volharding. In Holland's forgotten streets, in harbour areas, in community centres, you still come across the word: laundries, shipyards and workers' choirs still bear the proud name DE VOLHARDING - an echo from before the War, when socialism was not just a bitter necessity, but carried within the promise of a better world, a world which could only ever be achieved through unremitting VOLHARDING - "perseverance".

Orkest de Volharding was founded by the composer Louis Andriessen who created both a piece of music and a band to play it at the same moment. Andriessen's decision to name the new work De Volharding, with all its connotations, was no accident. The changes which they were trying to introduce were not restricted to music: they had a social dimension as well. It was 1971. De Volharding's aim was to clear away the barriers between composer and performer, between high and low culture, between the music of the concert hall and the music of the street.

Together with saxophonist Willem Breuker, Andriessen assembled an orchestra made up partly of jazz musicians, and partly of classically trained players. They made it a wind band, since the ensemble was often going to perform in the open air. The composer appeared as the pianist, and there was no conductor, because authority was anathema. Maarten Altena, Bob Driessen, Jan Wolff and others also joined in.

Twenty years later, one or two things have changed. Of the original group only three members remain. The orchestra no longer plays at demonstrations in the freezing cold. The music of Protest has disappeared from their repertoire, and since 1989 the orchestra has even had a conductor. With only a few exceptions, they continue to play mostly music which has been written specially for them, through a close interaction between musicians and composer.
The eight works on this recording provide a retrospective glance at the first 15 years of the Volharding repertoire, from a total of 130 compositions.

Short notes on the compositions
Louis Andriessen's On Jimmy Yancey is a musical transplant of themes written by the pioneer of boogie-woogie piano. Misha Mengelberg's Dressoir explores the contents of a dresser, some movements having emerged during improvisations with Han Bennink. Vasques Dias' Balada do Amor Militante (Ballad of Militant Love) is based on a poem by Manuel Alegre. Van Manen's Trajekten (1981) quotes jazz, Stravisnky and early 20th century French music. Klas Torstensson's Jarn (Iron) is composed of 3 linked sessions "striving towards velocity and violence", while Van Zeeland's Lacune refers to "the void which still exists between the music of Stockhausen, Monk, Varèse and Zappa", using Zappa's and Stockhausen's paralell chords; Varèse's holding of a given sound; and Monk's shuttering motion. Janssen's Woeha explores the use of different tempos, working toward disintegration, and is a tribute to Hergè's and Tintin's dog. Louis Andriessen's Dat Gebeurt in Vietnam (This is happenning in Vietnam) uses, according to the composer, "elements from American gangster film music".

Dil Engelhard - Flute; Beatrice Driver - French Horn; Marteen van Norden - Saxs; Rutger van Norden - Saxs; Bob Driessen - Saxs, Clarinets; Reijer Dorrensteijn - Trumpet; Louis Lanzing - Trumpet; Anita van Soest - Trumpet; Willem van Soest - Trumpet; Carl Daleboudt - Trumpet (except 2 & 5); Johan de Meij - Trombone; Hans Visser - Bass Trombone; Jaap Dercksen - Piano; Sjeng Schupp - Double Bass, Bass Guitar, Cover Illustration; Cees van Zeeland - Conductor; Klas Torstensson - Conductor (on #5)

1. Louis Andriessen - On Jimmy Yancey (1973)
2. Misha Mengelberg - Dressoir (1977)
3. Amílcar Vasques Dias - Balada do Amor Militante (1981)
4. Willem van Manen - Trajekten (1981)
5. Klas Torstensson - Järn (1982)
6. Cees van Zeeland - Lacune (1984)
7. Guus Janssen - Woeha (1984)
8. Louis Andriessen - Dat Gebeurt in Vietnam (1972)

Recorded in October 1991 in Amsterdam.
Released by NM Classics - Radio Nederland Transcription Service in 1992


Friday, 26 December, 2008

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Three Blind Mice Vol. 2

The eminent Prof. Steve Jazzme, who sometimes comes through the chimney of the Bravo Mansion to offer some records from his impressive collection, has left this album in the comments box as a Christmas gift and suggested that we post it. Here it is, for the joy of all friends of Juju. Let us praise Prof. Jazzme for his generosity!

"The second of two CDs that greatly expand the original Three Blind Mice LP captures the all-star Jazz Messengers sextet of 1961-62 at two separate concerts. The five extended performances, which consist of four group originals (including "Mosaic" and "Ping Pong") and "It's Only a Paper Moon," include many strong solos from trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Cedar Walton, all future bandleaders. Highly recommended". Scott Yanow

1. It's Only a Paper Moon
2. Mosaic
3. Ping Pong
4. The Promised Land
5. Arabia

Art Blakey - Drums
Wayne Shorter - Tenor Saxophone
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet
Curtis Fuller - Trombone
Cedar Walton - Piano
Jymie Merritt - Bass

Recorded live in 1961-62. Released by Blue Note.


Tuesday, 23 December, 2008

Christian Marclay + Otomo Yoshihide - Moving Parts (2000)

Performer, sculptor, and sound artist Christian Marclay has been experimenting with phonograph records and turntables, applying the constructs of hip-hop to avant-garde sound art deconstruction since 1979. Having teamed up with Japanese turntablist and guitar player Otomo Yoshihide for their collaboration Moving Parts, the two continue in their ongoing quest to evolve music and sound far beyond anything that is even remotely accessible to a mainstream audience. Moving Parts is a ravenous bricolage of plunderphonics, pulling sounds from cut-up and reassembled records and the turntable itself. Even with all the noise, Moving Parts succeeds on a heady plane of association where, as Marshall McLuhan would definitely state, "the medium is the message."
Juxtaposing Hawaiian guitars, gas being released from valves, faint carnival noises, and double-bass pluckings, Marclay and Yoshihide assemble these harsh noises with the elegance of impressionist painters. And that is truly how they might imagine themselves, painting subtle pictures that change with each viewing depending on the angle and distance with which they are seen. Moving Parts toys with the endless possibility of chance and takes the greatest pleasure in knowing that listeners will either passionately love and/or actively hate listening to this record. Ken Taylor

1. Sliced and Diced
2. Derailment
3. Deep Down Under
4. Elephant Memories
5. Blood Eddy
6. Suburbia
7. Hyoushi
8. Fanfare
9. Lucky Seven
10. Distant Trip
11. Untitled (hidden track)

Recorded in San Francisco and NY between 1997 & 1999.
Released by Asphodel in 2000.


Sunday, 21 December, 2008

V/A - Women in Electronic Music (1977)

The original release featured Charles Amirkhanian’s selections of electro-acoustic works by seven women who were, or would become, prominent composers of their day. Although the 1977 album title (New Music for Electronic & Recorded Media) did not refer to gender, the project sought to raise the visibility of women in classical music. The composers selected were Johanna M. Beyer, Annea Lockwood, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Megan Roberts, Ruth Anderson, and the soon-to-be well-known Laurie Anderson.

As with many technological developments from the beginning of the twentieth century that came to fruition after World War II, the ideas of early electro-acoustic composers outpaced the readily available technology. For example, Johanna M. Beyer’s 1939 Music of the Spheres, which opens the CD, allowed violins to be substituted for the three electronic instruments specified in her original score. The first performance of Music of the Spheres as conceived by Beyer was produced and recorded in 1977 specifically for this album. After a lion’s roar and triangle duet opening, the piece unfolds with one of the electronic instruments performing an ostinato figure that gradually accelerates and then decelerates while the other two electronic instruments present a two-voice contrapuntal melody, punctuated throughout by occasional triangle attacks.

The repetitive motorized sounds that open Annea Lockwood’s World Rhythms are jolting after the serenity of Beyer’s work. A composition exploring the polyrhythms of nature, a series of initial water sounds precedes an overlapping succession of recordings of pulsars, earthquakes, volcanoes, geysers, rivers, peepers, fire, storms, waves, and breathing. Recordings of nature and the shared journey are important elements in Lockwood’s work, and would be displayed again on a larger scale in her well-known A Sound Map of the Hudson River (1982) and the recently completed epic A Sound Map of the Danube.

Oliveros’s 1965 San Francisco Tape Music Center work Bye Bye Butterfly demonstrates her early use of electronic music technology to create an improvised real-time performance piece. The studio equipment available to her was too large and bulky to move easily into a concert hall, so her works in this style were improvised directly to magnetic tape. She continued to work on this concept, which she called the Expanded Instrument System (EIS), and its current digital incarnation, created with design and programming contributions by Panaiotis, David Gamper, and Zevin Polzin, remains central to much of the music that Oliveros composes today. Bye Bye Butterfly opens with a primary texture of electronic combination tones processed through tape delay feedback loops. Halfway through, a recording of Madame Butterfly is introduced and processed in a similar fashion (a precursor to the digital sampling and looping we take for granted in music today). Oliveros explained that she simply wanted to include an LP recording in her new composition, and her choice of the Madame Butterfly disc was completely random. This chance selection, however, can also be heard as a metaphorical goodbye to Pauline Oliveros, the orchestral French horn player from Houston, as this spirit from the past mingles with the new sounds of the experimental composer she had become.

Appalachian Grove I, inspired by mountain fiddle music, is an up-tempo, computer-generated composition by the highly inventive and under-recognized composer Laurie Spiegel. Produced at Bell Labs in 1974 using Max Mathews’s GROOVE programming system, Spiegel says the piece was “composed in reaction to an overdose of heavy, sad, introspective contemporary music.” Spiegel’s simple computer-generated timbres result in the discrete, fast-moving dots of sound that dominate the composition. The pointillistic opening leads to a passage of sustained sounds that then return to the initial texture. A broader selection of Spiegel’s musical experiments from this period can be heard on her EMF recording Obsolete Systems.

The two Laurie Anderson pieces that close the CD, New York Social Life and Time to Go, gave the world its first exposure to the experimental composer/performance artist who would soon achieve mainstream success with the rise of Oh, Superman on the British pop charts. New York Social Life follows Anderson through a day of quick conversations often beginning with “Hey, how are you,” and ending with “really busy now,” “we should really get together,” and “got to go.” Interspersed are a gallery owner’s lament that “It’s just not like it was in the ‘60s, those were the days,” and a man from Cleveland inviting her to perform, saying her work is “not really my style, kind of trite, but listen, it’s just my opinion.” Her day ends with a friend calling to say “and listen Laurie, if you want to talk, I’ll leave my answering machine on and just give me a ring any time.” Anderson delivers her text with a waltz-like lilt accompanied by an unconventional performance on the tambura by Scott Johnson. Time to Go opens with a guitar and organ riff performed by Johnson as Anderson tells the story of Diego, a night-shift guard at the Museum of Modern Art whose job it is to snap the patrons out from their “art trances” and tell them to leave. As the story ends, a multi-tracked minimalist violin duo by Anderson thickens the texture while her voice continues to repeat the phrase “time to go.” -- Douglas Cohen

1. Johanna M. Beyer - Music Of The Spheres (1938)
Performed by The Electric Weasel Ensemble
Donald Buchla: Frequency Shifting
Brenda Hutchinson - Pulse Control
Allen Strange , David Morse , Stephen Ruppenthal - Synthesizer
Charles Amirkhanian - Triangle

2. Annea Lockwood - World Rhythms (1975)
3. Pauline Oliveros - Bye Bye Butterfly (1965)
4. Laurie Spiegel - Appalachian Grove I (1974)
5. Megan Roberts - I Could Sit Here All Day (1976)
Danny Sofer - Drums
Phill Loarie & William Novak
- Voice
6. Ruth Anderson - Points (1973-74)
7. Laurie Anderson - New York Social Life (1977)
Scott Johnson - Tambura
8. Laurie Anderson - Time To Go (1977)
Scott Johnson - Guitar, Organ

Compilation by Charles Amirkhanian.
Originally released on LP by 1750 Arch Records, 1977.
CD re-release by CRI in 1997 and New World Records in 2006.

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Monday, 15 December, 2008

Bravo Clippings #38

>> click to enlarge

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #3, 1994.

Friday, 12 December, 2008

Jazkamer - Metal Music Machine (2006)

With "Metal Music Machine", Jazzkammer have made the album that Lou Reed did not make, they have taken Lou literally and made Metal Machine Music in the proper sense of the words. This is the Metal album of 2006, featuring members from Enslaved and Manngard. Jazzkammer is part of the tradition of bands that mix the avantgarde with noise, kraut, metal and punk, and creates new music with and unpretentious DIY esthetic. Part of the Jazzkammer team on this album are: Jørgen “Sir Dupermann” Træen of Toy, Ivar Bjørnson of Norwegian black metal legends Enslaved, as well as Iver Sandøy and Olav Kristiseter both of the metalband Manngard.

Jazzkammer mainmen are the Norwegian kings of noise, Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre (of Kaptein Kaliber among others). During their 8 year long existence Jazzkammer have explored different kinds of sound expressions and co-operated with different musicians, but the core has always been Marhaug and Hegre. Their first album “Timex” (Rune Grammofon) was part of the avantgarde electronics scene with acts such as Oval and the Mego label.

On their next album, “Rolex” (Smalltown Supersound) Jazzkammer were remixed by the noise elite, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore (as far as we know Thurston's first and only remix), Merzbow, Pita and Francisco Lopez. After this album, they performed together with Merzbow at the Molde International Jazz Festival, which resulted in the album “Live at Molde International Jazz Festival”. And when everybody started to talk about the Norwegian noise scene, Jazzkammer went in a total different direction and released an album consisting of silence, or lowfrequent noise, an album so silent that one had problems hearing it. They called the album “Pancakes” with an artwork that looked as if it was taken from a late 70's punk album.

Even their label Smalltown Supersound had by then given up to define them and moved them over to their new sister label Smalltown Superjazzz, a label for free-jazz, noise and avant stuff. And they insisted on calling themselves Jazzkammer and to be on an own label called Smalltown Supernoise. Smalltown Supersound gave after and made a one-off label under Smalltown Superjazzz called Smalltown Supernoise. Confused? So are we, that is why this is the first and last album on this label.

1. Friends of Satan
2. The Worms Will Get In
3. Abomination
4. Metal Music Machine
5. Occult Glider

Released by Smalltown Supernoise/Superjazzz in 2006


Thursday, 11 December, 2008

Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978)

1. Hanging On The Telephone
2. One Way or Another
3. Picture This
4. Fade Away and Radiate
5. Pretty Baby
6. I Know But I Don't Know
7. 11:59
8. Will Anything Happen?
9. Sunday Girl
10. Heart of Glass
11. I'm Gonna Love You Too
12. Just Go Away
13. Once I Had a Love (aka The Disco Song)
14. Bang a Gong (Get It On) (Live)
15. I Know But I Don't Know (Live)
16. Hanging On the Telephone (Live)


Alejandro Viñao - Children of Nancarrow (2004)

This radio programme is about the Children of Nancarrow, the composers who came after him and have been influenced by his music or, perhaps even more so, by his ideas. This post Nancarrow generation took off where Nancarrow's piano etudes left to explore in different directions the issue of multiple simultaneous tempi. During the programme I play and discuss selected movements or complete pieces by these composers. Alejandro Viñao

Featuring excerpts from:

*Alejandro Viñao, 'The World We Know'
*Alejandro Viñao, 'Phrase & Fiction' performed by the Flux Quartet
*Javier Alvarez, 'Cuaderno Para Armar', by Banda Elastica
*Luca Francesconi, 'Mambo', by Jean-Luc Plouvier (piano)
*Gyorgy Ligeti, 'Etudes Pour Piano - No.6' , by Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)
*Gyorgy Ligeti, 'Piano Concerto' by Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Pierre Boulez with Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)
*John Adams, 'Short Ride in a Fast Machine', by Netherlands Wind Ensemble conducted by Stephen Mosko
*Conlon Nancarrow, 'Etude No.15' by a player piano
*Conlon Nancarrow 'Etude No.9' performed by Ensemble Modern
*Moritz Eggert, 'The Trouble with Trills'
*Charles Amirkhanian, 'To a Nanca Rose'
*Charles Amirkhanian, 'A Rimsky Business'
*Charles Ives, realised and completed by Larry Austin 'Universe Symphony'
*Igor Stravinsky, 'The Rite of Spring' by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez
*Giuseppe Verdi, 'Requiem' performed by the orchestra and choir of Teatro de la Scala conducted by Ricardo Muti
*Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 'The Magic Flute' by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan
*Hector Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique' by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan
*Johann Sebastian Bach 'Musical Offering' by the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner

Aired on 18.09.04 by BBC Radio 3, Hear & Now.
Written & presented by Alejandro Viñao
Produced by Philip Tagney


Monday, 8 December, 2008

Peter Herbert - B-A-C-H: A Chromatic Universe (2001)

With B-A-C-H: A Chromatic Universe, Austrian bass maestro Peter Herbert, serenades Johann Sebastian Bach while basing his schema upon the four-note-motive of the letters B-A-C-H and the chromatic transpositions. Basically, Herbert’s novel intentions allude to melding elements of classicism with softly rendered rhythmic structures and the band’s modern jazz style interplay as the leader penned all but three of these works.

Herbert’s employment of semitones and non harmonic tones within daintily performed motifs presents a curious proposition. However on the opener, “Fuga” pianist Marc Copeland’s wonderfully articulated phraseology and often magical thematic developments offer some respite from a nondescript theme brimming with extended note choruses by trumpeter/flugelhornist Ingrid Jensen and bass clarinetist Carol Robinson. The piece titled, “Stauber” features an underlying Afro-Cuban pulse amid a few diversions and sullen overtones, whereas Herbert, Jensen, Copeland and Robinson perform brief solo interludes on their respective works, “B-A-C-H bass”, B-A-C-H trumpet,” “B-A-C-H piano” and B-A-C-H bass-clarinet”. The band executes subtle alterations in pitch, sans a strong reference point on the composition, “Divi Blasii”. On this piece, Copeland elevates the somewhat ambling or meandering proceedings to fairly lofty heights via his imaginative embellishments and sweet tempered musings. Glenn Astarita

There is a striking balance achieved in this unusual Johann Sebastian Bach-inspired set of original compositions performed by a quintet organized by leader and bassist Peter Herbert. There are also a number of enigmas to this intriguing recording that draw the listener's attention. While four of the shorter feature pieces use the letters of Bach's name as a four-note "motive" (Bb/A/C/B), elsewhere the connection to the great classical composer is a tad nebulous. The influence of trumpeter Franz Koglmann, artistic director for the label, is more pervasive. The choice of Marc Copland on piano and particularly Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn for a fairly free style meeting might seem strange, but they both acquit themselves splendidly. In fact, Jensen is so impressive and convincing that this is one of her best sessions to date. As for the music, it is strikingly original: soft, and chamber-like; and it winds, curves, and peers about with a graceful elegance that belies its improvisational input. Steven Loewy

1. Fuga
2. Stauber
3 B-A-C-H bass
4. Stadtpfeifer
5. B-A-C-H trumpet
6. Divi Blasii
7. B-A-C-H piano
8. Hausmann
9. B-A-C-H bass clarinet
10. Actus Tragicus
11. Heavy Snow

Carol Robinson: bass-clarinet
Ingrid Jensen: flugelhorn, trumpet
Marc Copland: piano
Kenny Wollesen: drums, percussion, "bug"
Peter Herbert: bass

Recorded & mixed by Bob Ward, 25-26/9/2000
Released by Between the Lines in 2001.


Friday, 5 December, 2008

U. Srinivas - Carnatic Classical Music on Mandolin

1. Shri Maha Ganapati
(Rangam-Nata; Adi Mayura Vishvanatha)
2. Parandhama
(Ragam-Dharmavati; Rupagam Dikshitar)
3. Sudha Madurya
(Ragam-Sindhunamakriya; Adi Thyagaraja)
4. Bajare
(Ragam-Abheri; Adi Mysore Vasudevachari)
5. Ennathavam
(Ragam-Kapi; Adi Papanasam Shiva)

U. Srinivas - Mandolin
Sikil Baskaran - Violin
Palghat Raghu - Mrdangam
V. Nagarajan - Ganjira
T.H. Subhash - Gatham


Wednesday, 3 December, 2008

Slim Whitman - The Only Place to Be

1. Way Down in Florida (That's the Only Place to Be)
2. Whippoorwill Yodel
3. By the Waters of Minnetonka
4. Dear Mary
5. Careless Hands
6. Die Son Skyn Weer More (Sunrise)
7. Fluisterende Hoop (Whispering Hope)
8. Indian Love Call
9. I'm Casting my Lasso Towards the Sky
10. The Twelth of Never
11. I Remember You
12. Cattie Call
13. Rose Marie
14. I Remeber Slim (by Louisiana Hayride announcer Frank Page)

Recorded 1948-1968.
Published in 2002 by Sundown Records in association with The Louisiana Hayride.
This Machine Kills Martians.


Tuesday, 2 December, 2008

Shaun Tan - Là où vont nos Pères (2008)

Shaun Tan, Là Où Vont Nos Pères.
Known in English as The Arrival.

Published by Dargaud in 2008.
Winner of the Fauve d'Or award, Angoulème 2008

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