Monday, December 13, 2004

noises from the funhouse

Some reviews from the funhouse/esoteric circle mansions to get things started cheers kami

Rev 99 – Everything Changed After 7-11 (Pax Recordings)
A loose collective of instigators, originators and manipulators led primarily by sound poet 99 Hooker, Rev 99 has set out to undermine and overturn any preconceptions you may have about improvised music. Clashes of found sound, musical instruments, background leakage, remixing, slice/dice/cut & paste all come together in a soup for the soul – as long as you’ve sold that soul to the devil. This recording from 2002 sets the tone just by its title – instant recognition of (and poking the bone at) America’s consumer culture and its commercialisation of the country’s grief. Rev 99 want to make you think, want to make you notice what’s happening around you but they offer no easy way out, or in for that matter. With pieces recorded over phon e lines, remixed via the mail, channelled back and forth to be poked & prodded, the lines between improvisation, composition, ownership and responsibility are not so much blurred as rubbed out with a cheap eraser, still there just smeared and barely visible.

Ernesto Diaz-Infante – Ucross Journal (Pax Recordings)
More and more I find myself drawn to minimalist works, pieces that say as much in the silences as in the music. The solo piano pieces presented here and inspired by Ernesto’s time in Ucross, Wyoming are again works that show that sound does not necessarily need to be heard to be felt. This is the sound of the desert, of the clear horizon and your watch stopping. You sit by an open window, watching clouds gather, listening to the silence between the keys – time travel is now possible.

Evan Parker/Stan Tracey – Suspensions and Anticipations (PSI Records)
Saxophone and piano improvisations from two of the elder statesmen of the U.K. scene. (or are they all elder statesmen now?) A subtle work with both players showing constraint and playing within themselves. And by that I don’t mean that they’re not trying – I simply mean that there’s as much left out as put in. It’s knowing when to push and when to pull back that sets Parker apart. And in no way is Tracey just a sidekick here – this is a duo recording, he’s not here to accompany Parker, he’s here to partner him. Anyone can play ‘crash & burn’ but it takes a master (or in this case two) to hold back and let the nuances of sound reveal themselves, to let the instruments guide you instead of vice versa.

Claudia Quintet – I Claudia (Cuneiform Records)
Vibes, accordian, clarinet, acoustic bass – by all rights you’d expect this quintet to be old guys playing dixieland in a corner bar but they ain’t and they don’t – instead it’s a sweet, full sound by a bunch of ‘young’ veterans offering hints of jazz history but staying ahead of it the whole time. Tiny licks of memory sneak out to tease you occasionally but then slide back to hide behind the sweet rhythms of a unit who just maybe like to dance in the privacy of their own homes but ain’ too sure about making it public just yet. Truth is, these guys can swing; that might not be hip right now but it is mighty refreshing. And I get the feeling they don’t really want to be hip anyway.


Post a Comment

<< Home