Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ‎– Henry's Dream (1992)

Style: Alternative Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute, Elektra

Tracklist:
1.   Papa Won't Leave You, Henry
2.   I Had A Dream, Joe
3.   Straight To You
4.   Brother, My Cup Is Empty
5.   Christina The Astonishing
6.   When I First Came To Town
7.   John Finns' Wife
8.   Loom Of The Land
9.   Jack The Ripper

Credits:
Backing Vocals – The Bad Seeds
Bass – Martyn P Casey
Cello – Dennis Karmazyn
Drums – Thomas Wydler
Guitar – Blixa Bargeld
Piano – Conway Savage
Rhythm Guitar – Mick Harvey
Violin – Barbara Porter, Bruce Dukov
Vocals, Written-By – Nick Cave

In a sense, all of Nick Cave’s projects since The Birthday Party have been ways to show that punk rock was always around as an attitude or an aesthetic, whether in country, blues, folk, gospel or whatever else he could get The Bad Seeds to play. (Bear in mind, The Birthday Party were heavier than most of the early-Eighties bands labelled 'post-punk' or 'industrial', so it would have been hard to stay artistically credible being as abrasive or self-destructive forever). A stopgap covers album, Kicking Against the Pricks, had given The Bad Seeds a chance to expand their repertoire, and then The Good Son made piano ballads acceptable (by slipping in a healthy dose of murder).

Having de-camped to Buenos Aires, and taken on Neil Young’s producer (David Briggs), The Bad Seeds could have been succumbing to rock-star cliché, but Cave found all new inspiration in the favelas, where the local buskers played a kind of stripped down, acoustic murder ballad – improvising their lyrics over frantic, percussive, chordal guitar playing. In 1992, The Year Punk Broke™, they sounded like no-one else (as the sleevenotes point out), but they also managed to be more punk than most grunge bands, showing up the banality of the fashion-sense, the narrowness of the musical pedigree, the superficiality of the production values.

My first encounter with Cave & co, Live Seeds (1993) was then (and still is) the most devastating, perfectly captured live-album I had ever heard. As such, the parent album for the best songs (i.e. Henry’s Dream, 1992) has been shamefully neglected over the years… and it is a shame, because songs like ‘Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry’ are a masterclass in narrative songwriting, superior even to ‘The Mercy Seat’ (which fully deserved the Johnny Cash cover, of course, but an aging Cash couldn’t have sung the line about “a fag in a whalebone corset / draping his dick across my cheek”). This is the song where a hard rain IS a-falling in the chorus, and you realize what’s missing from all of Dylan’s best protest songs when Cave snarls “lynch mobs! Death squads! Babies born without brains!” It's the moment when he starts to become the monster he's fighting with.

Matching the opener for energy, but a world away in its piano arrangement, the album’s single was ‘Straight to You’ – at once uplifting and catchy, but almost too forceful, like Liam Gallagher missing the point of one of Noel’s songs – and thereafter the album resumes its favela-punk, with ‘Brother, My Cup Is Empty’, ‘John Finn’s Wife’ (she of the “tattooed breasts and raven hair… legs like scissors and carving knives”) and finally ‘Jack the Ripper’. Around the same time, Afghan Whigs made a classic album with the premise that all women are bitches… and all men are dogs, but Nick Cave was already way ahead of them with his demon lovers hacking at each other, and no-one getting the upper hand.

Given that the band were disenchanted by the experience of making the record (Briggs was basically lost in a Nineties studio), and have only recently come round to accepting that it’s an essential landmark in their career (seeing as how it could have been even better), the extra tracks on the re-release aren’t exactly a treasure trove… but that’s not all there is. With its drum machine and Hammond organ, ‘Bluebird’ is an early taster for the sound of The Boatman’s Call (1996), and could easily have replaced ‘Christina the Astonishing’ on a more accessible (but less artistically satisfying) album. As it happened, Cave was still going through his phase of obsessing over the lives of the saints, and the album’s atmospheric centrepiece conveys the mystery of faith (and the weirdness of folk traditions), rather than just rattling out a pretty tune. The live version of ‘Jack the Ripper’ suffers from slightly weak acoustic guitar, and singing that’s too rigid and staccato, although the Bad Seeds do sound as if they’re singing down a coalmine, which works for them. The live version of ‘I Had a Dream’ sees Nick indulging in some self-parody a little too close to Vic Reeves’ club singer. The four other live tracks are solid, but you’ve already got Live Seeds, right? RIGHT...?!
Alexander Tudor / Drowned In Sound

Bullett - The Lost Tapes (2002)

Style: Instrumental, Dub, Downtempo
Format: CD
Label:  Loop:Recordings

Tracklist:
01.   Music For Your Tape Recorder
02.   NATO Jam
03.   Curry Breaks
04.   Cairo's Bazaar
05.   Bulllet's Idea
06.   Empty
07.   Meeting In Zagreb
08.   The San Remo Affair
09.   Hildedard Message
10.   The Lost Tapes
11.   Voz Del Pueblo
12.   Ballistic Studies
13.   Back Home
14.   Prague Connection
15.   In The Basement
16.   The Chase
17.   The Supplier

Credits:
Mastered By – Joe Fossard
Scratches – D-Mars
Scratches – DJ Nel'Assassin

Vladimir é um espião russo treinado pelo KGB que tem como missão registar movimentações numa base da NATO. Armando Teixeira é o criador de alguma da mais estimulante música feita em Portugal. Nome de código de ambos: Bullet. 
O nome dele é Teixeira, Armando Teixeira. Mas ao longo dos anos tem sido também o principal rosto de projectos como Ik Mux, Bizarra Locomotiva, Boris Ex-Machina, Balla e, agora, Bullet. Durante anos fez também parte dos Da Weasel, grupo que abandonou o ano passado, e ainda em 2002 vai vestir a pele de Knock-Knock, um projecto de colaboração com o desenhador de BD António Jorge Gonçalves. Para já é Bullet e "The Lost Tapes" o título do álbum de estreia do novo projecto. Mas é também Vladimir Orlov, o principal protagonista da história imaginária que atribui sentido ao disco. Um espião russo, treinado pelo KGB, que tem como nome de código Bullet. A sua missão é registar movimentações numa base naval da NATO, situada na Turquia, em plena guerra fria. Rui Miguel Abreu foi quem imaginou a trama narrativa de "The Lost Tapes". "Foi como criar a banda-sonora para um filme. Só que em vez de um filme e imagens, tínhamos um guião e palavras", afirma Abreu. Por sua vez, Armando Teixeira, inspirado pelos motivos da história, imaginou a música, inspirado em alguns dos mandamentos rítmicos do hip-hop ou do dub e nas colorações vivas do jazz, do funk e do easy-listening. O que daí nasce é um dos discos portugueses mais consistentes dos últimos tempos. 
A conversa com Armando "Bullet" Teixeira.Balla e Bullet. 
Para além de ser o mentor de ambos os projectos, existe alguma ligação entre os dois?  
Existe qualquer coisa, sem dúvida, ambora não consiga identificar com precisão essa ligação. Por exemplo, em termos de sonoridade, alguns temas de Bullet, se tivessem sido desenvolvidos como canções, podiam ser dos Balla. Algum do material de Bullet tem já um ano, enquanto o restante foi composto há cerca de um mês. Ou seja, alguns temas de Bullet nasceram quando estava a criar o álbum dos Balla. 
Como é que se processou a triagem? Os temas instrumentais foram colocados de lado para fazerem parte do álbum de Bullet?  
Não, até porque tenho temas instrumentais que também não se adequam à ideia que está por trás de Bullet. Por isso, optei pelos temas que, de alguma forma, tinham a ver com a história que estávamos a desenvolver. Faixas que pudessem justificar a narrativa, atribuir-lhe sentido. Por outro lado, em termos sonoros, optei pelos temas que tinham um cariz mais hip-hop. 
Como é que surgiu a ideia de criar um disco a partir de um guião pré-definido, com uma personagem e uma história por trás? 
A ideia foi do Rui Miguel Abreu, foi ele que me convenceu. Nunca tinha pensado em criar música dessa forma, mas agradou-me o desafio. Por exemplo, a segunda faixa do álbum contém elementos de hip-hop, electrónica e apontamentos americanos que não estão lá por acaso. Estão lá para dar essa ideia muito precisa de que estamos a ouvir músicos americanos influenciados pelos blues e soul. Esse tema é um exemplo de uma faixa criada com um objectivo concreto, para dar uma certa atmosfera. 
Quer dizer então que todos os temas foram criados tendo em atenção o fio narrativo da história? 
A maior parte, sim. A escolha dos "samples", a forma como toco os teclados, as sonoridades que procuro, tudo isso define um ambiente que nos transporta para uma determinada época. E isso não é casual, foi procurado. De qualquer maneira, cerca de 30 por cento dos temas já estavam feitos porque se encaixavam no conceito. Mas mesmos esses foram retrabalhados e reavaliados. Existiu um processo de adptação dos temas à história, embora por vezes essa adequação fosse inconsciente. O guião existe na minha cabeça e do Rui, mas quem tiver de fora do processo provavelmente não o vai reconhecer da mesma forma. 
Na música dos Balla já existiam referências ao mundo das bandas-sonoras para filmes policiais. Foi isso que o atraiu no projecto Bullet? 
Sim. Na música que faço esse tipo de ambientes está sempre presente, é o que gosto, é o que oiço. A história do Rui foi importante porque me obrigou a fazer. Não tinha desculpas. Criou um pretexto para que organizasse sons com objectivos precisos. Em relação à influência de filmes "negros" e policiais, parece-que que ela é óbvia. Os temas são muito visuais e fácilmente identificáveis no espaço. Alguns deles reflectem influências indianas ou italianas - da Riviera italiana - e isso transporta-nos para essa ideia de viagem da personagem. Se existe algo que é comum aos seus diferentes projectos - Balla, Bizarra Locomotiva, Boris Ex-Machina, Da Weasel - é uma certa ideia de construção de canção. Bullet é mais um projecto sónico, instrumental. É verdade, mas muitos dos temas de Bullet são canções sem voz. Quase todos têm "refrão" e não são servidos por estruturas muito complexas em termos de desenvolvimento. Gosto muito de sentir o desenrolar de uma tema, deixá-lo fluir, e Bullet tem isso. 
O facto de não ter que obedecer ao padrão clássico da canção pop deu-lhe maior liberdade ou, pelo contrário, sentiu-se perdido? 
Os resultados só são bons, falemos ou não de canções, se existir inspiração. Isso é o mais importante. Mas o facto de não ter o objectivo de fazer canções deu-me maior liberdade. Não estive tão dependente de eventuais contrangimentos. Nos grupos por onde passou, depois de feito o disco, existia o objectivo de o apresentar ao vivo com uma banda. "The Lost Tapes" é mais um disco de produtor. Estamos a pensar apresentar este disco com manipulação de vídeo em tempo real. Não faz sentido apresentar apenas um disco ao vivo quando se tem uma banda. Existe um circuito paralelo, aos festivais e às salas de concerto das bandas, que nos interessa explorar. Sempre tive algum preconceito em estar em cima do palco cercado por instrumentos e apenas uma ou duas pessoas para os tocar. Faz-me confusão, mas existem tantos exemplos de bom funcionamento a esse nível. No tempo dos Ik Mux assobiavam-nos apenas por termos uma caixa de ritmos em palco. Felizmente, as coisas mudaram. 
Dos vários projectos onde se viu envolvido, o que teve maior visibilidade foi os Da Weasel, que abandonou. Como está a viver o pós-Da Weasel? 
Os Bullet acabam por ser uma reacção a essa fase. O que me interessa, hoje, não é tanto a procura da acessibilidade, mas a procura de públicos específicos com os quais me possa identificar. Uma das coisas que me chateava nos Da Weasel era não me identificar com o público que ia aos concertos. A média de idades era baixa e sentia que não estava a fazer música para as pessoas que podiam sentir e pensar da mesma forma que eu. Nos Bizarra Locomotiva, Boris Ex-Machina, nos Balla ou, agora, com Bullet, sinto que estou a fazer música que gosto. 
Ao contrário de todos esses projectos, a criação de "The Lost Tapes" foi um processo solitário. Não sentiu falta da dinâmica colectiva? 
Cada vez mais vejo-me confrontado com a utopia de ter uma banda. É muito complicado. Desenvolvo ideias de forma muito rápida e quando as pessoas trazem as suas já estou numa fase diferente e quero fazer outras coisas. Ou então não consigo motivar as pessoas porque apresento as coisas muito produzidas. Não sei... A única forma de colaborar com músicos é ter ideias bem definidas e pedir-lhes para realizarem apontamentos ocasionais. Foi isso que aconteceu no álbum de Bullet com convidados como DJ Nel Assassin, Fuse, D-Mars ou Miguel Pereira. Interessa-me mais convidar músicos depois do trabalho estar desenvolvido. Dar-lhes liberdade, mas com base naquilo que já está feito. Neste momento não faz sentido ter uma banda.
Vitor Balenciano / Público

Brian Eno With Kevin Shields ‎– The Weight Of History ● Only Once Away My Son (2018)

Style: Drone, Dark Ambient
Format: Vinyl
Label: Opal Records

Tracklist:
1 .  The Weight Of History
2.   Only Once Away My Son

Credits:
Composed By – Eno, Shields
Producer – Eno

When word surfaced of a collaboration between Brian Eno and Kevin Shields, a few questions sprang to mind. First: What took them so long? The ambient-music guru and the My Bloody Valentine mastermind have immersed themselves in neighboring oceans of sound for decades; Eno even worked with MBV’s fellow shoegaze godheads Slowdive on Souvlaki, their iconic 1993 album. And if anyone could cure Shields of his interminable perfectionism, it’s the inventor of the quintessential tool for breaking musicians’ creative block, the “Oblique Strategies” card set. Next question: What type of collaboration would this be? 
Eno’s most famous partnerships (David Bowie’s Low, U2’s Unforgettable Fire) filtered his collaborators’ songwriting visions through his erudite lens, but “Only Once Away My Son” is more a meeting of the minds, like his work with David Byrne or Robert Fripp. For nine-odd mind-bending minutes, what you’d guess are Shields’ sub-aquatic drones meld with what are presumably Eno’s gamelan-like chimes, contorting themselves into breathtaking shapes. With its decaying hums, low-end rumblings, and coruscating clatter, the instrumental track may not be groundbreaking for them, but it’s familiar in the best way. The biggest question: Is this good? Unequivocally, yes.
Marc Hogan / Pitchfork

Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes ‎– Ame Debout (1971)

Style: Prog Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Phlips, Style: Prog Rock, Experimental

Tracklist:
1.   Ame Debout
2.   Diborowska
3.   Alpes 1
4.   Alpes 2
5.   Alpilles
6.   Aria Populaire
7.   Le Kleenex, Le Drap De Lit Et L'Étendard
8.   Dingues

Credits:
Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lyre – Patrice Moullet
Organ – Patrice Lemoine
Percussion – Claude Thiebaut
Vocals – Catherine Ribeiro, Patrice Moullet
Written-By – Catherine Ribeiro, Patrice Moullet
Producer – Laurent Thibault

Beauty and chaos intermingle in these early-1970s touchstones of avant-garde folk. The French-Portuguese singer’s unearthly voice and searching lyrics made them cult classics. 

The first three records by the French-Portuguese singer Catherine Ribeiro and her inventive, psychedelic backing band Alpes are the types of elusive record-collector gems that feel like transmissions from another world. These new reissues from Anthology Recordings mark their first official release in the United States, and, up until now, their legend was due in part to their scarcity. Kim Gordon, one of Ribeiro’s most vocal supporters, recently noted that she only discovered Alpes’ 1971 sophomore album, Âme Debout, around a decade ago, possibly hipped to it by Jim O’Rourke. A lot of people arrive at Ribeiro’s music with similar stories. You hear this unearthly voice emerging from somebody’s speakers. You listen to the wild, visionary music accompanying it. Suddenly you need to know everything. 
Ask Ribeiro, and you won’t find many answers. The accompanying liner notes sketch her life prior to Alpes’ debut, 1970’s Nº2, in stark terms: “It was an immense pile of waste and solitude,” is how she summarizes her formative years. In her 1999 memoir, L’Enfance, Ribeiro dives deeper. She was born in Lyon, France during wartime. Her brother died as an infant. She spent an inordinate amount of her youth hiding in the darkness of a makeshift bomb cellar. Before she immersed herself in music, Ribeiro was an actor, appearing in Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 anti-war film Les Carabiniers. In her most memorable scene, she watches her soldier husband display a series of surreal, beatific postcards from the war. The message was simple: Look how we suppress and miscast the brutality of our lives; look how we reenact that violence on others. Ribeiro swore to never make this mistake in her art. 
With Alpes, Ribeiro filtered nihilism, anger, and empathy into triumphant, multi-layered collages, galloping and stuttering as though the acid had kicked in midway through a hike at sunrise. “Peace to those who howl because they see clearly,” goes one of her iconic lyrics. Ribeiro does just that, but her voice is such a versatile instrument that it cannot be limited to one mission. She laughs, she caws, she screams, she mourns, she barks, she brays. She sings about suicide, about motherhood and madness, about doomed affairs between Eastern European women and politicians from imagined countries. The music—which calcified into the sound of an identifiable avant-garde-leaning psych-folk band throughout these three LPs—touches on the swirl of 1960s rock and the theatrical swell of 1970s prog, stretching both genres to their most impressionistic extremes. As a group, Alpes can sound eerily beautiful or demonically possessed, sometimes whiplashing between those modes as if satirizing the entire scope of rock music.

Prior to the formation of Alpes, Ribeiro mostly sang folk songs. Among her first recordings was a French translation of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.” In her home country, where solo singers were still more fashionable than bands, she summoned a backing group called 2Bis, featuring multi-instrumentalist Patrice Moullet. Their music rattled and buzzed like something wild in a too-small cage: You could hear Ribeiro trying to break free. When she rebranded as Alpes, Ribeiro fully embraced chaos. Nº2’s “Poème Non Epique” spans 18 minutes as she intones with ferocity against Moullet’s rumbling backdrop. Inspired by Malcolm Lowry’s novel Under the Volcano (and the hallucinogens Lowry reportedly ingested to complete it), Ribeiro aimed to make music that spoke to her “cravings for freedom, for incomplete epiphanies, for spontaneous careless decisions.” Smoky and uncontainable, Nº2 finds her embarking on that journey like she’d been waiting her whole life to take it. 
From here, her music would grow more disciplined and more boundless. Moullet would remain the only consistent member of her band, alternating between gorgeously fingerpicked classical guitar and noisy, invented instruments like his “cosmophone,” which looks like a lyre but sounds like a buzzsaw. Âme Debout, the sparsest release of the three, peaks with its ballads at the beginning and end: “Diborowska” and “Dingue,” acoustic laments that Ribeiro sings in a frayed, desperate tone like she’s trying to tear them apart from the inside. At the center of the album is a series of tracks titled “Alpes” that feel improvisatory, almost drone-like, save for one thrashing element (Claude Thiebaut’s restless percussion in “Alpes 1,” Ribeiro’s unsettling growls in “Alpes 2”). The crescendo resolves with the wordless “Aria Populaire,” a prayer that forecasts the emotional clarity to come. 
If Âme Debout was the sound of a band finding its footing, then 1972’s Paix is when they become airborne. It stands as Ribeiro’s masterpiece because it comes the closest to containing her multitudes, housing her most beautiful composition (the love song “Jusqu'à Ce Que La force de T'aimer Me Manque”) and her most wildly experimental. The music is driven by an incessant rhythm, echoed by Patrice Lemoine of the prog/space-rock band Gong on organ (maybe the sound that most directly time-stamps this music to its era). Throughout, Ribeiro gazes toward the future. The final third of the epic title track resembles doom metal in its descending bassline and Ribeiro’s spectral vocals. But instead of building to a roar, it simply sustains, melting into the closing “Un jour... la mort”—a nearly half-hour piece that’s alternately ambient and explosive, earthy and weightless. 
For all its hallucinogenic qualities, Ribeiro’s work, as you dive deeper, proves to be less of an escape than a magnification: She zooms so deep into her psyche that all its turmoil appears as stillness. Unlike some cult acts, Ribeiro’s career has continued long after these quietly influential albums. Among her later recordings are faithful covers of Edith Piaf’s songbook: music that, even at its most traditional, Ribeiro can’t help but scour for its latent mayhem. Listening back to her early work, you can hear her challenging herself to find the darkness within traditionally beautiful sounds—the horror that’s always on the other side of awe. “Calm is not of this world,” she commands in “Dingue.” “What’s the point of being calm? I want to go crazy.” It’s the legacy she created, a mantra for the legions of disquieted minds who heard themselves in her voice and howled along.
Sam Sodomsky / Pitchfork

Einstürzende Neubauten ‎– Fuenf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala (1987)

Style: Industrial, Experimental
Format: CDVinyl
Label: Potomak, Some Bizarre

Tracklist:
1.   Zerstoerte Zelle
2.   Morning Dew
3.   Ich Bin's
4.   Modimidofrsaso
5.   12 Staedte
6.   Keine Schoenheit Ohne Gefahr
7.   Kein Bestandteil Sein
8.   Adler Kommt Spaeter

Credits:
Producer – Einstuerzende Neubauten, Gareth Jones
Remastered By – Michael Schwabe
Written-By, Composed By – Alexander Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit, Mark Chung, N.U. Unruh
*Vinyl Reissue* "This is the fourth album by German avant-garde industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, originally released in 1987. The bonus track "Adler Kommt Spaeter" is an early version of "Zerstörte Zelle." Considerably lower-key than all their previous releases, Fünf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala(trans. "Five On The Open-Ended Richter Scale"), with especially puzzling, almost country-rock track "Morning Dew," sung in English, but with moments of whip-cracking and atomic explosions. There's the same attention to rhythmic assault on this record as on the others, but there's a quieter, more sinister, darker, lower-key ambience at work here, with Blixa Bargeld's vocals right at the center-front of the mix, as he experiments with breath, lower pitches, whispers, and barely-audible squeals. There's a barely-restrained, beautiful tension here that never gets resolved, sounding as if the band is holding itself back from complete annihilation."
boomkat
 
Like watching a stalker cleverly follow its prey for miles, only to watch it shy away just short of lodging a knife into the back of the followed, Fünf Auf der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala (Five on the Open-Ended Richter-Scale) is Einstürzende Neubauten at their unsettling, gripping, and tension-ridden best. It was also the group's most subdued and measured work to that point, organic dark ambient that rarely utilized the chaos and cacaphony for which they had become known. You expect the big release during the closer, "Kein Bestandteil Sein," but you don't get it.
Andy Kellman / AllMusic

Annette & Paul Bley ‎– Dual Unity (1972)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Freedom, RCA, Bamboo, Trio Records

Tracklist:
1.   M.J.
2.   Gargantuan Encounter
3.   Richter Scale
4.   Dual Unity

Credits:
Bass – Mario Pavone
Drums – Laurence Cook, Han Bennink
Synthesizer, Electric Piano – Paul Bley
Electric Piano, Piano, Electric Bass, Vocals – Annette Peacock
Producer – Annette Peacock, Paul Bley

The madly in love combination of Paul Bley and Annette Peacock, toting all kinds of unstable synthesizer equipment around Europe, and backed by the madcap Han Bennink on drums, adds up to the stuff of musical legend. Sadly enough, this is one of the better musical documents from these encounters, ungenerous as it is in its playing time. Several of the tracks feature a different group, without Bennink. The side-long "M.J." is vaguely ludicrous, although certainly listenable. The amazingly dated nature of electronic sound may turn out to be the overall theme, since sounds that made artists of the early '70s feel practically like they were sitting in the cockpit of a rocket to Mars come across as more than just tame a few decades later. The melody and harmonic structure of this tune, occurring and occurring and occurring as it does, begins to sound like the pop group the Classics IV. Meanwhile, Bennink carries on like he is playing with John Coltrane; good thing, that. Peacock's electric bass is a very nice touch throughout a track that can't be said to sound like that much else on record, by Bley or anyone else. 
Of course, subsequent generations of listeners returned to electronic antiques such as this, savoring the tones of the instruments as if chewing on nectar-laden cherries. "Gargantuan Encounter" lacks the longer track's melodic sentimentality, beginning somewhere mid-performance and going straight for the jugular vein with a series of wacky electronic sounds from both Peacock and Bley, all of which the wonderful Bennink tramples as if flattening a small ant hill with an oil drum. With Bennink exiting stage left, the supposition might be a return to a more normal musical environment, but the tracks with bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Laurence Cook are even more chaotic. This rhythm section and the music in general goes wild in a Cecil Taylor manner, Peacock energetically attacking an acoustic piano as part of a mix that is continually saturated by synthesizer sounds. These electronic comments seem more and more like radio frequency jamming as things proceed. Details like a frantic arco bass solo are undermiked, adding to the overall insanity. "Richter Scale" contrasted with one of Bley's piano ballad performances -- on other records, to be sure, as there is nothing remotely lke that here -- show the wondrous contrast certain artists achieve in their careers. The final track is a short showcase for Peacock's vocals.
Eugene Chadbourne / AllMusic

The Lloyd McNeill Quartet ‎– Washington Suite (1970)

Style: Soul-Jazz, Fusion
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: ASHA Recording, Soul Jazz Records, Universal Sound

Tracklist:
A1.   Home Rule
A2.   Just 71% Moor
A3.   2504 Cliffborne Pl.
B1.   Fountain In The Circle
B2.   City Tryptych
B3.   Fountain In The Circle, Pt. 2 (Flute And Piano)

Credits:
Bass – Marshal Hawkins
Bassoon – Keneth Pasmanick
Clarinet – William Huntington
Drums – Eric Gravatt
Electric Piano – Eugene Rush
Flute, Composed By – Lloyd McNeill
French Horn – Orrin Olson
Oboe – Andrew White
Recorded By – Curt Wittig

LMcN’s third album, Washington Suite is also known (AKA) as Asha 3 (a reference to his debut album), but we’re dealing more with a gentle JR/F album than before, despite featuring same quintet, mainly due to Gene Rush’s use of the Fender Rhodes. A bunch of extra wind players (oboe, bassoon, French horn, etc..) were added, but it’s not like they are a determinant aural factor. 
Much to my enjoyment, many of the modal/psychedelic ambiances of the Asha debut are still to be found on WS, but the extended presence of Rhodes gives it an edge over its predecessor. At times, it gets “fusionny” enough to be slightly reminiscent of Mwandishi, but don’t let that scare you, because it is more the exception than the rule. If the A-side has three separate tracks that hover between JR/F (Home Rule and 71%) and standardier jazz (Cliffbourne Place), the flipside features a sidelong suite that features a classical interlude (Fountain In The Circle) as an intro than the full body 3-movement splendid City Triptych follows (Rush’s Rhodes rules) that is definitely McNeil’s apex. The closing Fountain In The Circle) outro is indeed much jazzier than the intro, but is it “classical” anymore? Not IMHO. 
I take it that the album’s only “classical” composition is the reason why the album is often tagged as Third Stream, but to these ears, there is no fusion between the two genres LmN is dealing with. As a matter of fact, that “Fountain” intro piece sounds more like it’s a track from a different artiste that got lost on this one… Totally out of context to my ears, though I’m sure McN would beg to differ. As far as I can see/hear from this album, the Third Stream label/category would be much better suited to Deodato or Alice Coltrane than McNeill, because the mix of jazz and classical is effective, while here, they simply co-exist. 
Somewhat like LmN’s Asha debut, the CD reissue Washington Suite comes in a bizarre digipak format, which will make it difficult to store it normally in your shelves, but unlike its predecssor, it doesn’t features any booklet and extra liner notes. Outside that UFO track, I tend to prefer Asha 3 to Asha, because Lloyd dropped the somewhat annoying piccolo to concentrate on the “normal” flute. For what it’s worth and what I’m aware of McNeil’s work, this is IMHO his better effort.
Sean Trane / Jazz Music Archives