Friday, 22 May 2020

Einstürzende Neubauten ‎– Ende Neu (1996)

Style: Industrial, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute, Our Choice, Potomak

1.   Was Ist Ist
2.   Stella Maris
3.   Die Explosion Im Festspielhaus
4.   Installation N°1
6.   Ende Neu
7.   The Garden
8.   Der Schacht Von Babel

Strings Arranged By – Bertrand Burgalat
Cello – Jean-Pol Zanutel
Electric Bass Guitar, Guitar– Alexander Hacke
Percussion – Andrew Chudy
Viola – Benoit Gilot, Eric Gerstmans, Samuel Aelvoet
Violin – Carole Duteille, Françoise Derissen, Georges Siblik, Ingrid Aelvoet, Jean-Pierre Catoul, Renaud Lhoest
Vocals, Design – Blixa Bargeld
Written-By – Hacke, Chudy, Bargeld, Einheit
Producer – Einstürzende Neubauten
Recorded By, Mixed By, Producer – Jon Caffery

This was never one of my favorite EN records.  It followed the near perfect Tabula Rasa and at its center was the dreadfully too-long "NNNAAAMMM," which kept it from getting regular front-to-back plays in my house.  But now upon revisiting the album due to its reissue, I'm surprised at how many of my favorite EN songs come from this underappreciated gem.

The record starts with a quick and boisterous anthem in "Was Ist Ist."  Immediately, Blixa Bargeld's clever wordplay takes center stage as the album kicks into high gear around the chanted refrain that translates to "What is is, what is not is possible," it of course sounds much better in German!  I think that casual observers of EN probably most often associate the band with metal percussion, angsty collage, or the musical automatons that make performances so interesting, but Bargeld's lyrical style is for me the main draw on albums like this one.  With Ende Neu, the wordplay begins with the album's title which is formed by cropping the band's name down to words that are completely contained within it.  "Was Ist Ist" drives forward with the harsh cadence of consonants repeating, with words twisting to state truths and corollaries, and with phrases like "Einst neue Bauten" that play further with the sound and meaning of words.  This may be Neubauten's most clever work, and if it's occassionally more playful than powerful, it works more on the brain than in the guts. 
From the opener, the album slows way down for the lovely duet ballad of "Stella Maris."  This is EN at their most coy and romantic—a side of the band that poked through on Tabula Rasa and its companion singles, but that is more fully explored here and in later works. "Stella Maris" is so pretty that it's hard to swallow following the brash verbal assault of the album opener, and that may be why I don't associate the songs on this record very well.  Songs like "Stella Maris," "Die Explosion im Festspielhaus," and "The Garden" work from simple, sparse melodies and bass arrangements, eschewing the mechanized fury found elsewhere on the record. 
Though "NNNAAAMMM" is a perfect example of Bargeld's brilliant use of words as sounds and rhythms, its eleven-minute running time is an endurance test.  The track builds quite simply from the repetition of the words "New No New Age Advanced Ambient Motor Music Machine" and over several peaks and valleys it collects counter rhythms and the stretched out vocalized acronym "NNNAAAMMM" to induce a sort of trance—when I can stay with it.  "NNNAAAMMM" is the perfect track for a remix because of the brilliantly subversive idea to replicate machine rhythm with speech, but when I'm listening to the album straight through, the song can feel like a chore despite my appreciation for it.  Fans who were hoping that EN would turn out something motorik and maybe even danceable may find "NNNAAAMMM" to be just what the doctor ordered but for that type of track, I prefer the shorter and more mechanical "Installation No 1," which almost sounds like EN doing Kraftwerk with Bargeld repeating the oxymoronic command: "Disobey.  It's the Law." 
"The Garden" finds Bargeld once again harnessing the power of repetition, this time in English as he is backed by a string arrangement and a melodic beeping that keeps time.  It's a song that features beautiful orchestration that recalls the aching of "Armenia" from 1983's Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T. as much as it anticipates the melodic phrasing of 1999's "Total Eclipse of the Sun."  These are the Neubauten moments that I remember most fondly—the quieter and more refined moments where Bargeld's lyrics and the way that he utters them have time and space to sink deeply into the brain.  These are the moments when EN is functioning like a subversive pop band with hooks and catchy lines that linger long after the clanking and crashing of their more violent work has faded. 
In the end, I don't know that Ende Neu works for me as an album as much as it just provides some very good songs for the greater EN catalog.  I love the cover and the title and the way that it cheats the listener into thinking that EN the "rock band" is back with its clamorous opening cut, but I find myself skipping over some of the songs to get to the ones that really resonate.  With an entire remix album also available and an entire disc of Darkus remixes of "NNNAAAMMM," there's a lot to choose from.

PZ ‎– Império Auto-Mano (2017)

Style: IDM, Experimental
Format: CD, MP3
Label: Meifumado

01.   Pese Embora
02.   Olá
03.   Mais
04.   Anda Comigo Para A Lua
05.   Zona Zombie
06.   Antena
07.   Ainda Te Queimas
08.   No Meu Lugar
09.   Caga Nela
10.   Fome De Lulas
11.   Diz-me Quando
12.   Lado Nenhum
13.   Até Nós Sermos Iguais

PZ quer expandir o seu Império Auto-Mano e volta a dar-nos um disco divertido feito de electrónica minimal, em parte iguais parvoíce e observação do quotidiano. Nós aplaudimos. 
Paulo Zé Pimenta não é exactamente um novato. Anda há mais de dez anos a fazer música, a solo e em vários projectos, e é um dos responsáveis pela recomendável editora Meifumado. Ainda assim, a visibilidade maior vem-lhe da personagem que é, afinal, ele mesmo: PZ. 
Sim, o PZ de “Croquetes” ou “Cara de Chewbacca“, êxitos de youtube com vídeos quase caseiros que são tão parvos como as próprias músicas. 2017 traz-nos Império Auto-Mano, o seu quarto disco, que mantém as coordenadas que sempre o nortearam: electrónica minimal, letras que oscilam entre o ‘nonsense’ e a observação quotidiana, tudo regado com muito humor e aquele sotaque nortenho que torna a combinação irresistível. 
Ouça-se “Olá”, pop electrónica num tema sobre a falta de tempo e as coisas que temos sempre para fazer e para acabar. Ou “Anda comigo para a lua”, uma quase lengalenga de amor encantadora na sua inocência parva. Ou a sonoridade esquizóide de “Ainda te queimas”, a lembrar coisas dos saudosos Repórter Estrábico. 
Não vale a pena intelectualizar. Não estamos perante alta arte. Nem PZ o quer fingir, afinal continua a dar concertos de pijama. Estamos perante mais um disco bem-disposto, arejado, minimal mas muito divertido. 
O homem, esse bicho estranho no século XXI, directamente do quarto de um gajo que curte brincar com sintetizadores e dar-nos umas pérolas de parvoíce, sabedoria e irrelevância em doses iguais. 
Podia dar-lhe para pior. Nós gostamos.
Tiago Freire / Altamont

Leonard Cohen ‎– I'm Your Man (1988)

Genre: Electronic, Rock, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: CBS/Sony, Columbia

1.   First We Take Manhattan
2.   Ain't No Cure For Love
3.   Everybody Knows
4.   I'm Your Man
5.   Take This Waltz
6.   Jazz Police
7.   I Can't Forget
8.   Tower Of Song

Vocals – Leonard Cohen, Anjani, Jennifer Warnes
Producer, Written-By – Leonard Cohen

I’m Your Man reinvented Leonard Cohen at age 53. It is the most fun you can have while being told that life is a terrible joke. 
Leonard Cohen appeared on seven of his album covers before 1988, always looking cooler and wiser than his listeners: he was the saturnine poet, the seductive man of the world. On the cover of I’m Your Man he looks better than ever, with his sunglasses and impeccable pinstripe suit—except that he’s eating a banana, the slapstick fruit. James Dean would not have looked cool eating a banana. Gandhi would not have looked wise. Cohen’s publicist Sharon Weisz snapped the picture at the video shoot for Jennifer Warnes’ version of “First We Take Manhattan” and thought nothing of it, but Cohen thought it summed up everything the album was saying about himself and the human condition: Just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, life hands you a banana. 
Cohen was 53 when he released the album that reinvented him musically, vocally, linguistically, temperamentally and philosophically. It quickly became his most successful record since his 1967 debut and many people’s favorite. In Sylvie Simmons’ Cohen biography, also called I’m Your Man, Black Francis says: “Everything that’s sexy about him was extra sexy, anything funny about him extra funny, anything heavy was extra heavy.” Triple-espresso Cohen. Six of these eight songs were career highlights that featured on “The Essential Leonard Cohen” and his 2008 comeback tour. Over the years, they have been consistently covered and quoted and folded into popular culture. Not a bad strike rate for an album that, according to Cohen, “broke down three or four times in the making of it.” 
Cohen was on his knees when he made I’m Your Man. His 1984 album Various Positions had revitalized his songwriting with his embrace of cheap synthesizers and contained “Hallelujah,” destined to become a modern standard, but it had been rejected by Columbia Records in the U.S. He was running out of money. Songwriting, never easy, had become “hard labor”—he had been struggling with “Anthem” and “Waiting for the Miracle” for years and wouldn’t nail them until his 1992 album The Future. Above (or below) all, he was poleaxed by depression, unable at one stage to get out of bed or answer the phone. He considered retiring and withdrawing to a monastery but he didn’t feel he had the spiritual mettle. He felt that the personality he had sustained for so many years—as an artist, lover, friend—was disintegrating. “My own situation was so disagreeable that most forms of failure hardly touched me,” he said. “That allowed me to take a lot of chances.”

Cohen clawed back his self-respect by telling the truth. His account of writing “I Can’t Forget” reminds me of Hemingway’s solution to creative block: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Originally, the song was about the Jews’ exodus from Egypt but Cohen felt he lacked the religious conviction to sing it. “I couldn’t get the words out of my throat,” he said. So he sat down at the kitchen table, abandoned any pretense to wisdom and began to write one true verse, a twist on Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”: “I stumbled out of bed/I got ready for the struggle/I smoked a cigarette/And I tightened up my gut.” 
The actress Rebecca De Mornay, who began dating Cohen after I’m Your Man, summarized his attitude at the time: “Let’s get down to the truth here. Let’s not kid ourselves.” The truth, as Cohen saw it, was bleak. He had reached the end of a period of spiritual inquiry. His investigations would resume during the ‘90s when he spent years studying with the Zen master Roshi on California’s Mount Baldy, but on I’m Your Man he had reached a conclusion about how the world worked, and it gives the album a wry fatalism. His capacity for action is circumscribed by forces beyond his control. He is chained to music (“Tower of Song”), or a woman (“I’m Your Man”) or the memory of a woman (“Ain’t No Cure for Love”) and there’s nothing he can do about it. Bob Dylan said that with *Various Positions *Cohen’s songs were becoming like prayers—“Hallelujah,” “If It Be Your Will”—but there are no prayers here, and nobody to answer them. 
To the extent that I’m Your Man is political—with its allusions to racism, inequality and the Shoah—it is the opposite of protest, because protest is futile here. The bomb has already dropped. The flood has occurred. The plague has arrived. The language of politics or religion or romance has lost its power to console or inspire. All that Cohen can do is describe the blasted terrain without flinching and find a way to inhabit it with some modicum of dignity. “I got some sense that the thing has been destroyed and is lost and that this world doesn’t exist, and this is the shadow of something, this is the fallout, the residue, the dust of some catastrophe, and there’s nothing to grasp onto,” said Cohen, demonstrating his ability to deliver an answer in an interview that’s as finely turned as a poem. The album describes the aftermath—a state beyond pessimism or anxiety or hope. “A pessimist is somebody who is waiting for the rain,” he said. “Me, I’m already wet.” 
I’m Your Man is the most fun you can have while being told that life is a terrible joke. Because Cohen is a published poet and novelist and a limited musician, his grasp of pop music is often underrated, but he was enough of an entertainer to realize that this lyrical pill would require a lot of sweetening in the studio. The album began to take shape when Jeff Fisher, a keyboardist whom he had met in Montreal, arranged “First We Take Manhattan.” Cohen felt that if these words were couched in “serious Leonard Cohen music,” then they would be intolerable for both him and the listener. The song needed cinematic scope (Fisher’s version reminded him of Ennio Morricone’s work with Sergio Leone) and a beat you could dance to. The synthesizer enabled him to write to rhythms he couldn’t play on the guitar but it also connected him to cities, modernity, the tempo of the street. Fisher’s version, which resembles a militarized Pet Shop Boys, convinced Cohen the album was possible. 
Then there’s the voice, which had acquired a morbid gravitas ideally suited to delivering hard truths but was not yet a midnight croak. Cohen shows considerable range here, executing each syllable with deadly precision on “First We Take Manhattan”; as intimate as a late-night phone call on the title track; a more ravaged version of his younger self on “Take This Waltz”; jaded and urbane on “Tower of Song.” His backing singers Jennifer Warnes and Anjani Thomas serve as confidants, accomplices, angels and hecklers, encircling that voice like garlands on a statue. Finally, and most importantly, there are jokes. It may be the humor of the gulag or the cancer ward—the black comedy of low expectations—but no less funny for that. “When things get truly desperate,” said Cohen, “you start laughing.” 
The only man of action on the record, the only optimist, is the deranged narrator of “First We Take Manhattan.” Cohen had become fascinated by extremist rhetoric, from the KKK to Hezbollah, because its “beautiful world of certainty of action” stood in exotic contrast to his own sense that the human condition is defeat and failure. (“Anthem,” which he attempted during the *I’m Your Man *sessions, would articulate the consolation embedded in his anti-utopian philosophy—“Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in”—but not for another four years). The fanatic believes he knows exactly what needs to be done. The fanatic can always get out of bed. Obviously, Cohen didn’t endorse any of these ideologies, so he imagined a movement of one, leaving it unclear whether the narrator is an impotent fantasist or a genuine threat. The understanding of the mindset is chilling but, Cohen reasoned, “I’d rather do that with an appetite for extremism than blow up a bus full of schoolchildren.” Zack Snyder, in a rare instance of good taste and humor, deployed it at the end of Watchmen, where it speaks for the deranged utopianism of Ozymandias. 
I’m Your Man, which Cohen produced himself, has a reputation as Cohen’s synthesizer album, but each lyric demands a different setting. There’s a country song, a Casio blues number, a waltz, a Quiet Storm ballad and whatever the hell “Jazz Police” thinks it is. A friend of mine calls any near-masterpiece flawed by one outright howler a case of “Jazz Police Syndrome” and it’s hard to disagree, even if you accept Cohen’s intention to make “something quite wild and irresponsible,” inspired by hip-hop and the theme of a Pynchonesque “superagency” that secretly controls the world. Frenzied abandon isn’t one of Cohen’s natural modes, especially when it’s expressed through the medium of slap bass and stumbling drum machines. The joke fails to land. 
“Jazz Police” is the most extreme manifestation of Cohen’s dedication to the sound and the language of “the street.” He made the album in fragments, in Paris, Montreal and Los Angeles, a city that he felt was “really, truly an apocalyptic landscape.” I’m Your Man is his least spiritual, least poetic, least romantic album. It has no patience for beautiful abstractions. “Ain’t No Cure for Love” (its title inspired by L.A.’s AIDS crisis) and the title track take sentimental clichés—I’m addicted to love, I’ll do anything for love—to brutal extremes. Love is the monkey on his back and he’ll go to any lengths to appease it, even if it means erasing his identity. “I’m Your Man” fades out with Cohen still singing, as if he’s going to keep prostrating himself at the feet of the object of his desire until he gets an answer. There’s a very good chance she’s not listening. 
Cohen leaves the street just once, diverting all of his poetic energies into “Take This Waltz,” his lush version of Lorca’s 1930 poem “Little Viennese Waltz” that first came out in 1986 on the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death. He said that translating his favorite poet took him 150 hours and a nervous breakdown, which may not be hyperbole because it must have been a mammoth task to honor Lorca’s sinister dreamscape while thoroughly Cohenizing the language. Lorca’s striking image of a forest of dried pigeons becomes “a tree where the doves go to die”; the melancholy hallway becomes “the hallways where love’s never been.” Lorca wrote it during the year he spent in New York, and Cohen’s song retains that dance between the old world and the new as well as the one between love and death. 
If you had to boil I’m Your Man’s worldview down to just two songs, one would be “Everybody Knows,” a grim litany of human cruelty and injustice with a chorus like a Balkan wake. “It pushes things very, very far just to get a laugh,” he said. It’s been serially abused by posturing self-styled mavericks who miss the humor, from Christian Slater’s character in the 1990 teensploitation flick Pump Up the Volume to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but that’s not Cohen’s fault. He doesn’t valorize his cynicism or claim that it requires special insight. Everybody knows this stuff deep down, he’s saying. Let’s not kid ourselves. At a press conference in 2013, Cohen was asked by one earnest journalist what he thought about the state of the world. He paused and smiled and said: “Everybody knows.” Of course. 
The other keystone is “Tower of Song,” which suggests Beckett’s famous line, “I can’t go on; I’ll go on,” reworked as a stand-up comedy routine. “I was born like this/I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice” is the most famous of a string of very good jokes. Cohen laughed when he wrote that line: “a laugh that comes with the release of truth.” Elsewhere, he holds out the possibility that, despite all we’ve been told, things might not be as bad as he imagined: “There’s a mighty judgement coming but I may be wrong/You see you hear these funny voices/In the Tower of Song.” Even the music is comical, with its rinky-dink keyboard rhythm and faltering one-finger keyboard solo. On his comeback tour it functioned as both light relief and the key to his whole career—he recited the lyric when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Here, its droll resignation steers the album away from futility at the last moment. This is Cohen climbing out of his depression by accepting his lot as a singer and writer—a lifelong resident in the tower he described as a combination of factory and bordello. Songwriting is how he makes himself useful. It’s not much, but perhaps it is enough. 
Right up until his death on November 7, at the age of 82, Cohen was a great believer in useful songs. He once told a story about a conversation that helped him summon the conviction to finish the album when he was in a trough of despair. A friend told him that her father, who also suffered from chronic depression, had recently had a dream that made him feel better. It was a dream about Cohen. “I don’t have to worry because Leonard is picking up the stones,” he told her, smiling. 
I’m Your Man gives the impression that Cohen took this responsibility very seriously. It’s not an uplifting album, but it’s a strangely reassuring one, because you feel that Cohen is working like a dog on the listener’s behalf to make the intolerable tolerable. Leonard is picking up the stones.
Dorian Lynskey / Pitchfork

Koop ‎– Koop Islands (2006)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Superstudio Grå, Studio !K7, Compost Records

1.   Koop Islands Blues
2.   Come To Me
3.   Forces... Darling
4.   I See A Different You
5.   Let's Elope
6.   The Moonbounce
7.   Beyond The Son
8.   Whenever There Is You
9.   Drum Rhythm A (Music For Ballet Exercises)

Bass – Dan Berglund
Double Bass – Martin Höper
Percussion – Ola Bothzén
Vibraphone – Mattias Ståhl
Vocals – Yukimi Nagano

On the whole, we music fans are rather obsessed with categorization. Every record store I've seen is subject to rigorous organization into aisles by genre, swiftly separating the New Pornographers from the Pharcyde, or Coltrane from Amy Winehouse. Similarly, every CD entered into iTunes arrives with a verdict under the “genre” tag. In an environment so rich with infinite sub-genre classifications, Koop’s Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson (veterans of Stockholm’s late ‘90s jazz scene) must feel pretty damn cool as rebels. It’s simply refreshing to hear Koop Islands effortlessly merge 1930s swing grooves with 21st century electronic soundscapes. The duo describes it as “swingtronica”, both shamelessly retro and distinctly modern, a defiant liberation from the genre and sub-genre labels that hold us captive. 
While other electronic artists (the Books, for example) sound unmistakably like two expert sample-manipulators hovering over laptops and smoking cigarettes, Koop just as easily resembles a full orchestra at times (and live instruments are even more prominent, if not central, to the band’s live shows). Simonsson articulates the group’s roots as jazz artists, simply isolated from any pretentious soloing or needless clichés: “We, as jazzheads, wanted to make jazz. We love the swing rhythm, which is the essence of jazz in our opinion. I don't know if what we do is the way jazz ‘should' sound like, it's just our way of making jazz." 
Ultimately, though, the album's charm is nonexistent without two factors: the duo’s deft melodic instincts, and the endless revolving door of guest vocalists. “Come To Me” is 2007’s hit single that never was, a fine example of everything wonderful about Koop Islands. The subtle electronic ticks complement the jazz shuffle, and Yukimi Nagano’s smooth vocals slide perfectly atop the Christmas-like keyboards, bass arpeggios, and trombone flourishes. I challenge you not to groove along. 
While never quite as euphoric as “Come To Me”, Nagano’s vocals are featured on two other songs: “Whenever There Is You” and “I See A Different You”. The former is a headfirst leap into elegant vocal jazz territory, accented by fluttering string flourishes and a mild cloud of Billie Holiday influence. Like most of the album’s tracks, the lyrics are simple, yet pleasing and fitting for the singer’s stylish crooning: “Whenever there is you / To hold my hand / I’ll find a way to be true / And change my plan”. Meanwhile, “I See a Different You” is a bouncy, tuneful shuffle. The production is certainly flashy, yet the songwriting is timeless enough to fit in on Frank Sinatra’s celebrated Bossanova collaboration, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. About halfway into the song, Nagano’s wordless vocals synchronize with the vibraphone, while the rhythm syncopations float in and out. Blink and you’ll miss 'em, but it’s moments like this that assert the duo’s mastery of creative, yet flawlessly harmonious, arrangements. “Forces… Darling” is another winner, marrying Earl Zinger’s vocals to some uncharacteristically esoteric lyrical content (“She had force of nature / Some say force of hell / God took out an insurance / For when that angel fell / Understandably jumpy / It’s dark on those stairs”) and a drum loop seemingly straight out of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ “Zoot Suit Riot”. The big band influence is so dense you can taste it (Brian Setzer, anyone?), fused with Magnus Lindgren’s clarinet solo. The song’s sole flaw is that it constantly threatens to, but never quite, loses control, missing its full, climactic potential. 
Zinger’s vocals are also featured on a baffling excursion into spoken word entitled “Beyond the Son”, a cryptic reading of a letter from “the rebel without a cause”. Zinger’s uniquely British accent is reminiscent of Tindersticks' many fantastic spoken word experiments (“My Sister” is perhaps the most brilliant), but neither matches their delightfully charming musical backdrop, nor Stuart Staples' darkly poetic storytelling prose (despite the song’s promise “to write you some life affirming shit and not drag you on a regular trawl through the night seas to find what crawls”). However, the only real misstep is “Drum Rhythm (Music for Ballet Exercises)”, a brief, yet overly repetitive instrumental interlude that completely ignores Simonsson and Zingmark’s soulful melodic strengths in favor of a synthetic loop. 
It’s not the only foray into instrumental territory for the album, however. “The Moonbounce” is a fearlessly groovy (please, excuse the word choice – hear it and you’ll understand) jazz track in which a Samuel J. Hoffman sample is flawlessly woven into the live piano, bass, and flute tapestry. Koop’s fusion of samples with live instrumentation is entirely dissimilar from that of modern hip hop producers (from Kanye to Madlib and in between), whose sampling techniques are endlessly repetitive, like a broken record with a beat on top. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (see: UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem”, in which the Willie Hutch sample can be easily separated from the hip hop elements), but Koop entirely avoids this juxtaposition, giving the samples a wholly natural cadence of their own. 
“Youth has gone now, but we still shine”, declares Mikael Sundin on “Let’s Elope”, a danceable venture into complex, distinctly calypso rhythms, and it’s hard not to believe him. Koop Islands isn’t perfect, but it is adventurous, spirited, and fundamentally instinctive – when asked about the group’s musical future, Koop explained that “we try not to think so much, just grab the things around us”. This combination of the new with the old - swing music of the ‘20s and ‘30s with an electronic touch – is stimulating, unique, and never forced. It’s an eclectic blend that I’d recommend to fans of any such genre amalgam … if only I knew in which direction to point you at the record store.
Zach Schonfeld / popMATTERS

Jackie McLean & Michael Carvin ‎– Antiquity (1975)

Style: Post Bop, Free Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: SteepleChase

1.   The Tob
2.   The Hump
3.   The Slaveship
4.   The Hunter And His Game
5.   The Crossing
6.   Gong Go Lye
7.   Ti Ti
8.   Down In The Bottom
9.   De I Comahlee Ah

Alto Saxophone, Temple Block, Bells, Bamboo Flute, Vocals, Kalimba, Piano, Percussion – Jackie McLean
Drums, Temple Block, Bells, Bamboo Flute, Vocals, Kalimba, Percussion – Michael Carvin
Producer, Photography By, Liner Notes – Nils Winther

This unusual project matches alto saxophonist Jackie McLean (also heard on flute, percussion, and a little bit of piano) and drummer/percussionist Michael Carvin in a set of duets. The music (all originals) is atmospheric and often haunting, making a lot of use of space. Some sections meander, but the four-part title piece (which depicts slaves crossing the Atlantic Ocean) certainly holds one's interest. This is a unique project in thediscography of Jackie McLean, and is well worth a few close listens.
Scott Yanow / AllMusic