Sunday, November 26, 2006

Had another thoroughly enjoyable Record Club last evening. Guests were the painter David Humphrey and his wife, painter Jennifer Coates. David played a track from Fred Frith's "Gravity" and then a pretty fascinating one by the Brooklyn-based thrash/rap/jazz band Candiria, Jennifer a wild piece by the 60s British psych/folk group Comus. One of the interesting things about hearing the music in this context is how good something can sound which I would never, ever have gone a half-inch out of my way to hear. Something like the First Edition's "Ruby" which Nayland played last night. Scary. Derick came up with a marvelous piece by Ian Murray from an old Tellus cassette. Kind of an early Plunderphonics piece from around 1970, Murray edited together the opening 10 seconds from all the Number One pop hits of that year, back to back, then hired a drummer to "play along" with the tape without having heard it. Pretty hilarious. My selections were, 1) "Qua Cau Gio Bay", from Vol. 1 of Music from Vietnam, the fantastic three-disc set issued in '94 by the horribly named Celestial Harmonies label. It features Trieu Tien Vuong on the sao mot lo, a bamboo flute capable of a gorgeous, keening tone. The piece is a folk song, one that was covered by, of all people, Henry Kaiser as part of a medley with a blues and a Grateful Dead piece ("Cold Rain and Snow", I think) on one of his cover albums, an incredibly beautiful song and 2) "The Ballad of Wounded Cities" from Blitzstein's "Airborne Symphony" about which I've raved earlier.

On the way there, I made a stop at Shakespeare's and picked up:

Updike - Rabbit Redux
Murakami - After the Quake
Palahniuk - Haunted

I read the first contained story in the latter, "Guts" after getting home last night whilst parked on the toilet. Not a good place to read that particular story. Hard to believe that some variation on the escapade described therein failed to make it into "The Aristocrats".

With a little more time to waste, stopped in DMG and bought a new Feldman release on New World. Three pieces, all earlier recordings. "The Viola in My Life" with an ensemble that includes David Tudor, Feldman conducting, "False Relationships and the Extended Ending" with Paul Jacobs and Yuji Takahashi on pianos, Feldman again conducting and "Why Patterns?" with Eberhard Blum, Jan Williams and Feldman his own bad self on piano. That last made it a necessary buy as I don't believe I have any other recordings with Feldman playing his own work Beautiful stuff. The ending of "Why Patterns?" kills me every time.

I also bought, with many reservations, the new Earle Brown disc on Tzadik. Those reservations revolved around the personnel which, looking at the back cover where they're grouped together, included Zorn stalwarts like Ikue Mori, Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman etc, and musicians I've never cared for like Larry Polansky. On the other hand, Steven Drury was there as well as Christian Wolff and Brown himself. Happily, Manny had an open copy, so I could ascertain that the performances (of "Folio" and "Four Systems") were in varying combinations with most of my uncared for personnel confined to single tracks. It's on now. Sounds pretty OK.

Oh, and the Lescalleet review referenced yesterday is up here

5 comments:

Robert said...

Hey Brian,

I'm definitely going to have to get that Feldman, but surely you have the Edition RZ Feldman disc which features him playing on two tracks? One soloe on with Tilbury.

Also between you and Richard I think I'm going to break down on the Brown as well, which I had also initially written off.

thanks for the reports!

-Robert

Brian Olewnick said...

Hi Robert,

Yeah, the Feldman sounded great on first hearing. And you're right, I do have that Edition RZ disc--forgot about it as my Feldman collection swells. Fascinating to hear his approach on "Why Patterns?"; a little rougher--just a little--than other renditions I've heard, which imparts a nice robustness.

The Brown performances (again on only one listen), seemed to roughly break down along lines I would've expected. Wadada Leo Smith's track was decent; I was a little worried there. But it's the type of thing I need to listen to a lot more.

Richard Harland Smith said...

I distinctly remember you being in characteristically high dudgeon some dozen years ago about the (to your thinking) preciousness of the indie movie title AMONGST FRIENDS, you being bothered by "amongst" being used over the more functional "among"... and yet you throw the word "whilst" around quite blithely these days... quite blithely. Good day to you, sir... good day.

Brian Olewnick said...

Surely your memory is faulty! My whilsts are never blithe! In fact, I'm considering adopting usage of "amoungst", so there.

Too much hanging around those damned Brits.....

Richard Pinnell said...

One might take offence at that statement if one did not realise they were amoungst friends.

The Brown is about 50% good, not sure I agree on the Wadadada Leo Smith track however.