Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tetuzi Akiyama/Jeff Gburek - respect (Spectropol)

One never quite knows what to expect from any project involving Akiyama but this one, a duo with the always intriguing Jeff Gburek, is pitched decidedly toward the quite and contemplatively sad. Akiyama is on acoustic guitar, Gburek on the same plus prepared slide guitar and electronics. The four pieces unfurl slowly and gently, plaintive tones squeezed out like tear, referring to blues traditions but in a way that's perhaps in the Connors lineage but removed a step or two, hazy in the distance like the tree line on the disc's cover. Polish cold marsh blues. Gburek is nicely chary with his electronic insertions, discreet sounds that sizzle on the edges of the guitars. The tone is consistent over the tracks, a welcome aspect, though the details vary more than enough, ensuring that each possesses an individual character. The music is genuine, quite approachable and just a pleasure to experience. No nonsense, heartfelt playing. Recommended.

Andrea Borghi - Musica per Nastro (Tape Music) (Spectropol)

Many a time I hear contemporary electronic music that immediately catapults me back to the classic work of the 60s (Riijmakers, Koenig, et al). I often wonder if I'm being too hasty making those connections. Well, Borghi is explicit about it, so I'm on solid ground, at least about that. Ten short pieces using real-time editing software. Borghi's music is refreshingly subdued and subtle bearing none of the flashy, cool sounds for cool sounds' sake that often infects the genre. While the referents may often ring a bell, the way they're deployed and tinged lend the desired 21st century aura to the work. It's interesting the way it (unintentionally) relates to the Akiyama/Gburek release above: a very similar contemplative sensibility, a fine insistence on non-stridency and inhabiting an indentifiable zone while finding great variety therein. Borghi's incorporation of electric bass into the proceedings serves him well, allowing the gentlest of pulses to buoy the fragile sounds atop. A fine recording, recommended too!


Heddy Boubaker - Dig! (Petit Label)

ok, unfortunate album title; same goes for several track titles...but it's a fairly enjoyable recording. I'm guessing it's solo saxophone, possible alto and baritone, though enough of the sounds could well have been generated via different means. Overall, however, it oddly enough fits in alongside the above two releases, at least in the quiet and contemplative sense. Boubaker, one senses, has a bit of the rascal in him ad their are waggish nods towards birds, dogs, bugs, etc. but it's mostly a considered exploration of his axes, using various extended techniques that, while more or less familiar, are nonetheless well carried out and sustained. Bubbles, buzzes, breath, taps; not as tired as one might guess. "Lazy Unicorn Drips" closes the disc out really nicely with a whole forest of miniature sounds (electronics here for sure, if not elsewhere). A tough row to hoe, but pretty well done, worth a listen.

Petit Label

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