Saturday, November 15, 2008

Anna Zaradny - Mauve Cycles (Musica Genera)

Just as we've heard certain aesthetics from the 60s--like that of Fluxus--re-mined in recent years, so one occasionally hears echoes of the tape collage work from that period (Koenig, Raaijmakers) resurface in altered form. That's what hit me first on Zaradny's fine new release. Certain colors, those metallic, ringing tones, that immediately hearken back to a specific era, not to mention a vigorous, wavelike structure you normally don't hear in laminal eai (though interpolating sound elements you do). "Mauve 1" generates an enormous head of steam, richly colored and throbbing. It might overstay its welcome a tad (would've worked better as a 15-minute piece instead of 26) but it's a breathtaking ride. The second track, "Mauve 2", is more in a throbbing, minimalist vein, maybe think Radigue. It's OK, something of a relaxant after the earlier work. Worth hearing, certainly. musica genera

College Radio - College Radio (CDR)

Jersey City's own improvisatory noise/guitar duo (Chris Landry & Sean Kiely), teetering between attractively grungy noise and spacier concerns. The referents seem to me to be more post-isolationist rock than AMM and if you like your raunch on the dark side, pieces like VBBBR serve it up well-done and gnarly. They get a bit "lost souls suffering the torments of hell" sometimes, as on the final track, "The Bad Pilgrim Room" (well, I guess so!); curious to hear how they'd sound if they tethered those impulses and just dealt with the sounds they generate, which are often intriguing and harsh. More info here

Chicago Sound Map - Performs Compositions by Olivia Block and Ernst Karel (Kuro Neko)

Don Malone conducts a ten-piece group (reeds, strings, electronics, percussion) in the realization of three ambitious pieces, only partly successful. There's no bigger fan of Block's music out there than myself, but this work, "Stop the Sound of the Big Bell" (a story there?) never attains the cohesion of most of her prior music, the ensemble rambling about in rumbling darkness. The first of two version of Karel's "Heard Laboratories", on the other hand, carries that dark sensation superbly, a tense, tightly wound work, almost filmic, slightly reminiscent of Roscoe Mitchell's "Tnoona" (high praise, from me). The second version never quite attains the same tautness; possibly the extra length works somewhat against it. It's still an attractive work, but lacks the punch of the other. Interesting ensemble, though; hope they stick around. kuro neko

Mitsuhiro Yoshimura/Toshiya Tsunoda/Taku Sugimoto - Santa (presquile records)

Trying to determine exactly why this is so disappointing. I certainly had my hopes up upon seeing the personnel (Yoshimura-microphone, headphone, book/Sugimoto-papers/Tsunoda-buzzer, brass sticks) but the overall effect is one of irritation. The overt reason would be the gnat-like whine (Yoshimura, I take it) that's so up front throughout the hour-long track. It's aggressive in a way that virtually cancels out both the activities of his companions and, more importantly perhaps, any sense of the space in which this was recorded. One doesn't normally associate the term "cloying" with eai, but that's the sense I get here. Performed in the Aoyama Book Center, one can pick up the occasional handling of reading material, but even that has a flattened, airless quality. I leave open the possibility I'm missing something, but this release leaves me unmoved.

Mitsuhiro Yoshimura/Masahika Okura - Trio (presquile records)

The other new release on Presquile Records, despite the title, is a duo between Yoshimura and Okura (alto sax), the third member being the external environment which, true, has more to offer than on the prior recording. Here, Yoshimura reins himself in and balances perfectly well with his partner (leading me to suspect a specific strategy may have been in play on "Santa"). The ultrahigh tones are wisp-like, weaving between the generally soft wafts from Okura, ample air between. Sounds like it would have been a lovely event to have attended. presquile records (not crazy at all about the label's design aesthetic, but....)


Richard Pinnell said...

My thoughts on the two Presquile discs are scarily similar to yours Brian. I really like Trio, but Santa is unbearably claustrophobic.

I didn't enjoy the Zaradny much either to be honest. The first ten minutes or so were nice, but after a while the looping qualities became a little annoying. Her disc with Cor Fuhler and Tony Buck is good though.

I need to get hold of that Chicago sound map disc.

RFKorp said...

I actually quite like Santa. Haven't gotten to listen to Trio yet (saving it for a calm moment, everybody's gotten my hopes up high). But I tend to hear Tsunoda's buzzers as doing a lot more of that stepping way out front and blotting out the other players than Yoshimura to whom you give it credit. Yoshimura's sounds may very well be "gnat like" but in a much thinner, more spread out manner than the focused pitches I assume Tsunoda is inserting. So when a louder solid tone happens, it easily obliterates a heavy chunk of Yoshimura's output.

And I bet most of that book handling noise is actually the papers Sugimoto is credited with playing!

You're right on point with the Chicago Sound Map disc. I couldn't even finish listening to Olivia Block's piece.

Brian Olewnick said...

I was (wrongly, I guess) assuming the louder noise was Yoshimura--haven't had prior experience with Tsunoda as buzzer-wielder. Whatever the case, there was a monolithic aspect to it that bothered me. But, just goes to show.

Looking forward to the 12/6 event, Richard.

Anonymous said...

I found Trio to be really great, definitely the better of the two, but I wasn't as turned off of Santa as you or 1/2 Richards. Oddly enough for Yoshimura I found that one better on headphones - there is a lot going on there but I think you have to have it aggressively loud to appreciate open air. At too high of volume this kind of music does become oppressive I think. So you might want to give it another try with the cans. I'm with you are the album art though - not digging it much, too photoshoppy and for lack of a better word silly.

So what's happening Dec. 6th?

Brian Olewnick said...

A Night of Electro Acoustic Improvised Music

Featuring three sets:

mpld (Gill ArnĂ²) : amplified slide projectors
Andrew Lafkas : contrabass
Barry Weisblat : homemade electronics

Bryan Eubanks : open circuit electronics
Tandem Electrics
[Richard Kamerman : amplified laptop circuits
& Reed Evan Rosenberg : programming]

Margarida Garcia : electric contrabass
Mattin : laptop feedback

Saturday December 6th at THE GRACE EXHIBITION SPACE

840 Broadway
2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York

8:00 PM


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. Those first two listed sets look great - I hope to hear your report.

Richard Pinnell said...

OK, I'll go back and listen to Santa again. I hadn't noticed the presence of the buzzers upfront in the mix and had also assumed it was all Yoshimura so I'll give it another go.

As for that live gig I'm also very interested to hear what Mattin and Garcia will do. I like "For permitted consumption" a lot. It would be interesting to know if they continue to play in a similar vein.

Brian Olewnick said...

Yes, I'm very intrigued to revisit that duo myself.

RFKorp said...

I'm looking forward to seeing how the duo has changed since "For Permitted Consumption" too. That's why I asked them to play! Though I guess we'll hear reports from Philly first.

Glad to know you're definitely coming, Brian.

Anonymous said...

I do not aagree with Mr Pinnell at all theres no looping around if you really listen to it.
probably if this would be somebody much well know she and this cd gots a much more attention.
this is quite great and very rare stuff in fact.
trio is very different thing, other musical world.

cheers, franz