Sunday, 12 May 2019

Africa Express ‎– Terry Riley's In C Mali (2015)

Style: Contemporary, Minimal, African
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Transgressive Records 

1.   In C Mali

Co-producer, Mixed By – Andi Toma
Composed By  – Terry Riley
Featuring, Balafon – Kalifa Koné, Mémé Koné
Featuring, Calabash – Alou Coulibaly
Featuring, Djembe, Percussion – Badou Mbaye
Featuring, Flute – Cheick Diallo
Featuring, Guitar – Jeff Wootton, Nick Zinner
Featuring, Kora – Djelifily Sako, Modibo Diawara
Featuring, Melodica – Damon Albarn
Featuring, Percussion, Kalimba – Andi Toma
Featuring, Strings – Guindo Sala
Featuring, Vocals – Bijou, Brian Eno, Olugbenga
Featuring, Xalam – Adama Koita
Leader, Violin, Baritone Guitar, Kalimba – André de Ridder
Mastered By – Guy Davie
Producer, Recorded By – André de Ridder
Recorded By – Stephen Sedgwick
Recorded By, Edited By – Jeff Wootton

Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project, which over the years has fostered collaborations between a huge number of Western and West African musicians, puts a decidedly unique spin on Terry Riley’s minimalist landmark In C. 
Terry Riley’s minimalist landmark In C turned 50 years old in 2014. In that time, it’s become one of the most well-known and oft-performed minimalist compositions, and the reasons for this seem clear enough: The piece’s heterophonic structure is harmonically unusual, but uniformly consonant, and the piece’s insistent rhythm and devotion to melody, however fragmentary, give it a sense of unstoppable motion. It is friendly music, and a lot of music that challenges compositional traditions is not. 
The basic structure of In C is simple: Someone plays a simple, droning pulse on the note C, usually on a piano or marimba, and the other performers, whose number and instrumentation Riley did not specify, have 53 melodic phrases from which to choose. The musicians select the phrases they want to play and decide how long to play them. The effect is that the phrases overlap in unpredictable ways, creating shifts in harmony, evolving polyrhythms, tonal and timbral changes and the sense that nothing is constant, even though the same note repeats insistently under the whole performance at the exact same tempo. 
There are dozens of recordings, starting with Riley’s own from 1968. Some are kinetic and exciting, others never seem to come together, but the piece is so dramatically different from performance to performance that it never grows old. Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project, which over the years has fostered collaborations between a huge number of Western and West African musicians puts a decidedly unique spin on In C. With an ensemble of 17 musicians—including Albarn on melodica, Brian Eno, Bijou and Olugbenga on vocals, Jeff Wootton and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner on guitar, Cheick Diallo on flute, Badou Mbaye, Alou Coulibaly and Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma on percussion, Modibo Diawara and Defily Sako on kora, Guindo Sala on imzad, Kalifa Koné and Mémé Koné on balafon, Adama Koita on kamel n’goni, and André de Ridder on several instruments and conducting—they have an earthy collective sound, and their dynamic interplay is quite distinct from any other version of In C I’ve heard. 
For one thing, the non-tonal percussion included in the ensemble layers a dance vibe under the piece’s usual trance vibe. Diallo’s flute in particular is so dissimilar from every other sound on the recording that he stands out and shifts the emphasis briefly to melody, while the three voices lend it an ethereal quality. The mellow tone of the koras, kalimbas, and balafons, meanwhile, have a strange effect during the period cooldowns over the course of the piece; they lend it an odd, cool darkness that I usually don’t hear in In C. These passages lend it a suite-like feel where the piece most often is structured as a giant crescendo followed by a long diminuendo. The most bold decision here comes just past the halfway mark, though, when the ensemble goes nearly silent, including the pulse, leaving just guitars and koras playing the slowest melodic phrases in a strange kind of canon, and then we’re treated to a brief spoken word passage (not in English) before the larger ensemble dives back in with even more rhythmic insistence than before. 
This willingness to play with the form and shape of an iconic piece of music is one of the things that most fully sets this recording of In C apart from most others. It’s unexpected and enlivens the music just as much as the djembe that lends the evolving beat its weight. The overall form of the piece may be more premeditated than Riley originally intended, rather than the independently reached and unforeshadowed consensus of a large group of musicians, but this mostly serves to make it an engaging performance and worthy interpretation of a piece of music that’s so eternal it could literally be played eternally if someone was able to get musicians to keep showing up to play it. Africa Express keeps it to a bite-sized 41 minutes, and every one of them includes something to savor.
Source: Pitchfork 

Hiromasa Suzuki ‎– High-Flying (1976)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CDVinyl
Label: Columbia

1.   High-Flying
2.   Screwdriver
3.   Scramble
4.   Between O&M
5.   Smash
6.   Straight Flash
7.   Out Of Focus

Composed By, Arranged By, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Piano, Electric Piano – Hiromasa Suzuki
Drums – Shuichi Murakami
Electric Bass – Akira Okazawa, Kenji Takamizu
Electric Guitar – Fujimaru Yoshino, Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Masayoshi Takanaka
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Jun Fukamachi
Liner Notes – 尾川雄介
Percussion – Larry Sunaga
Producer, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Jiro Inagaki
Vocals – Kayoko Ishu

Loads of great keyboards here from Hiromasa Suzuki – working in a mode that's somewhere between earlier funky jazz, and the tighter Japanese fusion of the late 70s! The style here is never too smooth, yet Suzuki really manages to blend some great elements together – his own keys, lots of funky rhythms, saxes from Jiro Inagaki, and even a touch of vocals from Kyoko Ishu – used in ways that are relatively spare, and more musical than lyrical – which fits in perfectly with the groove! The feel of the set is like some lost bit of funky jazz from mid 70s Fantasy Records – and titles include "Screwdriver", "Scramble", "Between O & M", "Straight Flash", and "Out Of Focus".
(Part of the Deep Jazz Reality series! Fantastic Japanese pressing – heavy vinyl!)  © 1996-2018, Dusty Groove, Inc.

Masayoshi Takanaka ‎– An Insatiable High (1977)

Genre: Jazz, Rock, Funk / Soul
Format: CD
Label: Kitty Records

1.   Sexy Dance
2.   Malibu
3.   An Insatiable High
4.   E.S.P.
5.   M 5
6.   Sundrops
7.   Good (Bad?) Old Days

Arranged By [Horns] – Greg Adams
Arranged By [Strings] – Jun Fukamachi, Katz Hoshi, Masayoshi Takanaka
Baritone Saxophone – Steve Kupka
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Chuck Rainey
Drums – Ed Greene, Harvey Mason, Shuichi Ponta Murakami
Guitar – Lee Ritenour, Masayoshi Takanaka
Horn – Tower Of Power
Keyboards – Jun Fukamachi, Patrice Rushen
Mixed By [Remix] – Teruaki Kitagawa
Percussion – Motoya Hamaguchi, Paulo De Costa, Steve Forman
Producer – Masayoshi Takanaka
Recorded By – Bob Stone, Teruaki Kitagawa
Tenor Saxophone – Emilio Castillo, Lenny Pickett
Trumpet – Greg Adams, Mic Gillette
Vocals – Jim Gilstrap, Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Anderson, Maxine Willard Waters

Steve Reich ‎– Works: 1965-1995 (1997)

Style: Modern Classical, Experimental, Post-Modern, Minimal
Format: Box Set / CD
Label: Nonesuch
Disc One:

01.   Come Out
02.   Piano Phase
03.   It's Gonna Rain - Part I
04.   It's Gonna Rain - Part II
05.   Four Organs

Disc Two:

01.   Part I
02.   Part II
03.   Part III
04.   Part IV

Disc Three:

01.   Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ
02.   Clapping Music
03.   Six Marimba

Disc Four:

Music for 18 Musicians 
01.   Pulses
02.   Section I
03.   Section II
04.   Section IIIA
05.   Section NIB
06.   Section IV
07.   Section V
08.   Section VI
09.   Section VII
10.   Section VIII
11.   Section IX
12.   Section X
13.   Section XI
14.   Pulses

Disc Five:

01. Eight Lines (Octet)
Tehillim for Voices and Ensemble 
02.   Part I: Fast n:46
03.   Part II: Fast
04.   Part III: SlOW
05.   Part IV: Fast

Disc Six:

The Desert Music
01.   First Movement (Fast)
02.   Second Movement (Moderate) 6
03.   Third Movement, Part One (Slow)
04.   Third Movement, Part Two (Moderate)
05.   Third Movement, Part Three (Slow)
06.   Fourth Movement (Moderate)
07.   Fifth Movement (Fast)

Disc Seven:

New York Counterpoint
01.   Fast
02.   SlOW
03.   Fast
04.   1st Movement
05.   2nd Movement
06.   3rd Movement
07.   4th Movement
08.   5th Movement
The Four Sections
09.   I. Strings (with Winds and Brass) J=80
10.   II. Percussionion J=80
11.   III. Winds and Brass (with Strings) J=120
12.   IV. Full Orchestra J=180

Disc Eight:

Different Trains 
01.   America - Before the war
02.   Europe - During the war
03.   After the war
Electric Counterpoint 
04.   Fast
05.   SlOW
06.   Fast
Three Movements 
07.   Movement I: J=176
08.   Movement II: J=88
09.   Movement III: J=176

Disc Nine:

Excerpts from The Cave 
01.   Typing Music (Genesis XVI)
02.   Who Is Abraham?
03.   Who Is Ishmael?
04.   Genesis XVIII
05.   Genesis XXI
06.   The Casting Out of Ishmael and Hagar
07.   Machpelah Commentary
08.   Genesis XXV
09.   Interior of the Cave
10.   Surah 3
11.   El Khalil Commentary
12.   Who Is Abraham?
13.   Who Is Sarah?
14.   Who Is Hagar?
15.   Who iS Ishmael?
16.   The Binding of Isaac
17.   The Cave of Machpelah

Disc Ten:

01.   Proverb
02.   Nagoya Marimbas
City Life 
03.   I. "Check it OUt"
04.   II. Pile driver / alarms
05.   III. "It's been a honeymoon - Can't take no mo'"
06.   IV. Heartbeats / boats & buoys
7.0   V. "Heavy smoke"

EABS ‎– Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda) (2017)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CDDigital
Label: Astigmatic Records

1.   Knowledge (Introdukcja do Etiudy Baletowej)
2.   Perły I Dukaty XIV / Repetition
3.   Private Conversation VIII
4.   Niekochana
5.   Pingwin VI
6.   Free Witch And No Bra Queen / Sult
7.   God Is Love (Bariera XIII)
8.   Step Into The Light (Wiklinowy Kosz)
9.   Waltzing Beyond (The Song On The Day The World Ends)

Marek Pędziwiatr - piano, synths, vocal
Vojto Monteur - guitar
Paweł Stachowiak - bass
Jakub Kurek - trumpet
Olaf Węgier - tenor sax
Marcin Rak - drums
Spisek Jednego - turntables

EABS is the innovative approach to jazz through the prism of hip-hop vibe, vibe which brought up these musicians. They blend elements of soul, funk, hip-hop or electro keeping up with fresh approach to composition. What is more, EABS seeks to breathe fire into jazz bringing back its former glory ignoring clichés, exploring and experimenting.
The growth in popularity of jazz music in recent years has been described as a renaissance or new chapter for the genre. Attracting new audiences has seen a growth in acclaim for international artists including Kamasi Washington & The West Coast Get Down collective or BadBadNotGood. This resurgence has also been felt within british jazz scene. Musicians such as Yussef Kamaal, Shabaka Hutchings, Ruby Rushton, Nubya Garcia or Moses Boyd have put a new stamp on jazz music by fusing elements of classic jazz with modern sounds. Polish septet, EABS applies a similar philosophy to their music, blending traditional Polish Jazz with sounds from other genres, thus creating a new and personal interpretation of modern jazz. 
EABS debut album entitled “Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda)” is a dedication to Polish Jazz legend Krzysztof Komeda. This album is an analysis of conscientiously selected compositions by Komeda between 1962-1967. EABS explores some of Komeda’s lesser-known compositions featured in ballet etudes, movies, short films, documentaries, animations and compositions illustrating Polish poems recited in German. 
Carefully chosen compositions, the background of the movies for which the music had been written and Marek Pędziwiatr’s lyrics all add up to “Repetitions” being some kind of a concept album about the condition of the human soul in the 21st century. The questions one may ask might be similar to those which could have been asked by the artists witnessing post-war debris: will history come full circle? Lack of knowledge, flourishing idiocracy, aggression, aiming for conflicts, shortage of community spirit and love may lead to another doomsday. Perhaps we simply aren’t able to see the impending doom now… Just like in a poem by Czesław Miłosz, “A Song on the End of the World”, to which Krzysztof Komeda wrote “Waltzing Beyond”. 
EABS have created their unique compositions by employing an approach exercising the idea of “reconstruction from deconstruction” where sampling and looping are merged with jazz improvisations. The injection of hip-hop, jungle, funk, gospel and electronic music add a futuristic tone to the tracks. However EABS have made a conscious decision to ensure their nod to Komeda enables the spirit of the Polish Jazz to remain alive. Michal Urbaniak another Polish Jazz legend is the only guest on the album. His violin can be heard on the track “Free Witch And No Bra Queen/ Sult”. 
         Source: Bandcamp 

Pão ‎– Pão (2012)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Classical
Format: CDDigital
Label: Shhpumma

1.   Gods Wait Do Delight In You
2.   Dyson Tree
3.   It Was All Downhill After The Sling

Keyboards, Harmonium, Percussion – Tiago Sousa
Recorded By – Pedro Magalhães
Tenor Saxophone – Pedro Sousa
Tape, Voice, Electronics – Travassos
Producer – Pão

The first released document by the trio PÃO is an invaluable addition to the present day vitality of the creative music scene in the city, illustrating the recent but increasingly focused collaboration between three of Lisbon’s finest music makers of today.
Travassos (on electronics, tapes and object manipulation) has been, for the past years, one of the pivotal agitators in the local improvised music scene, both as a performer and as an organizer, while Tiago Sousa (organ, harmonium) has been steadily building a fantastic career as a composer and pianist, pushing forth the boundaries between improvisation and composition, between (non) academic classicism and do-it-yourself expression. Pedro Sousa (tenor sax), in its turn, is hailed as one of the last few years’ revelations, his fiery blowing in the duo with drummer and percussionist Gabriel Ferrandini standing out amongst his many collaborations. 
© Vera Marmelo (photo) 
The trio’s music is a sound continuum falling somewhere between the intersection of La Monte Young’s brand of eternal music and the tense interplay and occasional outbursts present in many of European free-improvisation’s landmarks, all the while permeated by a sense of expansion and peaking, and by the constant addition and subtraction of elements over an always present layer of silent crudity.
There is a strong melodic feel, though, courtesy of the foundational presence of the harmonium and the restraint displayed almost throughout by Pedro Sousa’s tenor, coupled with the textured, organic layers coming out from Travasso’s electronics. 
Melody, though somber and occasionally harsh, is indeed a key concept in these three long tracks that point out interesting new directions for drone music, near-silence improvisation and free-form jazz-infused explorations. Pão’s language, though subject, due to its openness, to future change and development, is already serenely but powerfully established.

J.B. Lenoir ‎– Alabama Blues! (1966)

Genre: Blues
Format: CDVinyl
Label: L+R Records, Bellaphon

01.   Alabama Blues
02.   The Mojo Boogie
03.   God's Word
04.   The Whale Has Swallowed Me
05.   Move This Rope
06.   I Feel So Good
07.   Alabama March
08.   Talk To Your Daughter
09.   Mississippi Road
10.   Good Advice
11.   Vietnam
12.   I Want To Go
13.   Down To Mississippi
14.   If I Get Lucky
15.   Born Dead
16.   Feelin' Good

Drums – Fred Below
Producer – Horst Lippmann
Vocals – Willie Dixon
Vocals, Guitar – J.B. Lenoir
Written-By – J.B. Lenoir

Original issue, probably also released in France on CBS (with same number). Recorded in Chicago, May 5, 1965

"J.B. Lenoir was one of the outstanding blues artists of all times. His album Alabama Blues is the first recorded document by any blues poet, who included and incorporated very critically the social and political situation of black people living in the U.S.A. in the year 1965. Thus a musical document was created long before the black communities in the United States became proud of their heritage - their roots. Jimi Hendrix was the first artist who acknowledged that J.B. Lenoir's work, preserved in this album, was a major part of his self-liberation and of finding his own identity. Though the Library of Congress has placed this album in its archives as an important part of American Music History - comparable to Duke Ellington's 'Black, Brown and Beige Suite' for example - it was never released in the United States, and even in Europe its distribution was poor. Because of this it has become one of the most searched-for collectors' items in music today."

Nubya Garcia ‎– Nubya's 5ive (2017)

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CDFLAC
Label: Jazz Re:freshed
1.   Lost Kingdoms
2.   Fly Free
3.   Hold
4.   Contemplation
5.   Red Sun
6.   Hold (Alternate Take)

Bass – Daniel Casimir
Drums – Femi Koloeso, Moses Boyd
Piano – Joe Armon-Jones
Tenor Saxophone – Nubya Garcia
Trumpet – Sheila Maurice-Grey
Tuba – Theon Cross
Engineer – David Holmes
Mastered By – Cicely Balston
Mixed By – David Wehinm

EP Review \\ Nubya Garcia – Nubya’s 5ive
In the UK we have a saying, one that’s particularly favoured by busy Londoners; “three buses come at once”. For those of you less adept with British proverbs, it explains the idea of waiting for something, to then have several of them arrive at the same time. Rather than buses, something far more specific arrived in London; young talented instrumentalists, who are holding the rule book on jazz by choice, not obligation. The remarkable thing however, is that they can grasp the book in one hand, instrument in the other, as they dance to the beat of a genre that has most likely existed for a fraction of the time that jazz has. Marching down that same procession – humbly and unabashedly – comes Nubya Garcia. 
The 25 year old saxophonist has just revealed her debut release, Nubya’s 5ive, on the Jazz re:freshed label. You may have heard of her already; she’s one seventh of Nérija, a multi-influenced instrumental group, and a member of rising Afro-Spiritual outfit Maisha. Garcia’s a serial collaborator too, playing regularly in the projects of tuba player Theon Cross, drummer Moses Boyd and vocalist Poppy Ajudha; she’s stitched into the fabric of London’s cross-pollinated jazz scene. What Garcia’s debut solo release establishes isn’t her talent as a composer – it’s her style; in a scene that’s drawing heavy influences from grime, jungle and broken beat (nods to Yussef Kamaal and Moses Boyd Exodus), Garcia’s pretty much taken things back to basics. A lot of contemporary jazz releases take tradition so far that they’re glorified cover albums that lack a sense of date or relevance. With Nubya’s 5ive, however, Garcia embraces older trad influences and presents them with relevance. 
Nubya’s 5ive’s strongest elements are in common with many great jazz records; accessible melodies, varying textures and a few surprises; three of the tracks feature two drummers (Femi Koleoso and aforementioned Boyd), and pianist Joe Armon-Jones tinkles the ivories way higher than what they’re used to on Fly Free. A head’s up from us: we predict that Armon-Jones will be making international impressions when he drops his debut release later this year. On Hold (Alternative Take), there’s a tropical, gyrating lilt. Cross, on tuba, also takes us higher up the register than what we’re used to hearing. Every song is rising. In some moments you’ll only want to dance. 
Nubya Garcia clearly isn’t concerned with trying to rewrite any jazz rule book. Nubya’s 5ive is a bona fide release, unconcerned with following the trends that her London circle have set. This EP marks her arrival alongside a parade of equally talented musicians, who together are gaining recognition at live shows everywhere from New York to Singapore. What it proves, is that a trendy, talented 25 year old woman can unapologetically release a jazz EP without any kind of angle. Garcia has connections with London’s genre-bending jazz scene, and Garcia’s own tastes in music have clearly been nourished by it (catch her DJ sets for a better idea). But Nubya’s 5ive is a jazz record. And it’s a really, really good one.
          JS | Tina Edwards

Coil ‎– Gold Is The Metal (With The Broadest Shoulders) (1987)

Style: Industrial, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: ArsNova,Threshold House, Normal

01.   The Last Rites Of Spring
02.   Paradisiac
03.   Thump
04.   For Us They Will
05.   The Broken Wheel
06.   Boy In A Suitcase
07.   Golden Hole
08.   Cardinal Points
09.   Red Slur
10.   ...Of Free Enterprise
11.   Aqua Regalia
12.   Metal In The Head
13.   Either His Or Yours
14.   Chickenskin
15.   Soundtrap
16.   The First Five Minutes After Violent Death

Written-By – Coil
Music By – John Balance, Otto Avery, Peter Christopherson, Stephen F. Thrower

The use of the word gold in the album title is ironic, since a collection of outtakes and leftovers is generally considered to weigh in well under the gold scale. With a group such as the evolving Coil collaboration, however, there's the chance that a well-conceived collection of archive material could have quite a positive impact, whatever the relative status of individual tracks in terms of what projects they were first created for. Rejected material can become a highlight out of a combination of whatever unusual aspects already exist in a piece as well as the dramatic impact of a newly conceived program flow. Gold Is the Metal is a great example of this since the individual tracks continually present challenges to the listener combined with a sonic magnetism. Pieces seem kooky, out of shape, or severe, but no desire to skip any of the offerings results. In contrast the music is consistently engaging, the performers projecting a kind of lust for gorgeously sound-packed tracks as well as moments of eccentric distraction.
Eugene Chadbourne / AllMusic