Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Pareidolia - Selon le Vent (JACC)
Pareidolia: The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image or pattern in a random or ambiguous visual or sound image. Good word, glad to know it and, clearly, a meaningful one in this neck of the woods. This Pareidolia, however, is a trio comprised of Joāo Camões (viola), Gabriel Lemaire (alto and baritone saxophones, alto clarinet) and Yves Arques (piano, prepared piano) with Alvaro Rosso (double bass) on the second of two works.
The first track, 'Himmelskino', is a fine mix of free playing and vague nods to tradition, especially from the viola. Lemaire's saxophonics are discreet, burbling and obligingly grimy and the trio creates an invigorating space that, while relatively active, feels uncrowded. Arques' piano is also a highlight, with very well deployed, resonant bell tones appearing near the end. A very satisfying work. The other piece, 'Herzkino', at first strays a bit far, for these ears, into that busier strain of improv where things become somewhat fussy, though Camōes gets into some strong playing that evokes Leroy Jenkins. Eventually, it settles into a calm, steady flow, calm enough that I'm reminded of, perhaps, late 70s Garbarek. An odd direction to take, one that doesn't quite do it for me, but the trio (and quartet) is intriguing enough to warrant a listen and to keep an eye on.
JACC at bandcamp
Anne F. Jacques/Ryoko Akama/Takamitsu Ohta - The Magic City (Hasana Editions)
Given the title, I thought this might be a Sun Ra tribute but, in fact, the two pieces were performed shortly after the death of Takehisa Kosugi in October, 2018 and dedicated to his memory. The trio use an array of small, everyday objects, a melodica and some electronics to fashion bustling, mini-landscapes. I wasn't familiar with Ohta's work, but from what I'd heard of Jacques', the resultant sounds seem midway between her usual approach (relatively dense and noisy) and Akama's (sparse and serene). 'Chris in the magic city' is like lifting a stone and watching an ant's nest. Quiet scurrying, a general overall pattern or set of sequences but varying immensely within that. Rattles, clicks, scrapes, the odd melodica passage, all unforced, as easily listened to intently as allowed to become part of one's environment. The general approach of 'Holly in the city magic' is more or less similar though the palette has changed to include lightly popping sounds, some slight whoosh in the background and an essentially more up front feeling--not aggressive but brighter, even a bit acid. If the previous track was formic, this one's like a hive of iridescent beetles. Fine, subtly unusual work.
Will Guthrie - Some Nasty (Hasana Editions)
As nasty as he wants to be, I suppose, but not nearly as much so as I expected. Guthrie's more than capable of laying down extremely nasty (not to say, brutal) drumming but actually reins himself in quite a bit here. His vaunted precision is still in effect but he shows a much lighter touch than, say, with Ames Room or on several solo projects. Two side-long tracks (though fairly brief, at 13-14 minutes each) which are more or less suites, with Guthrie utilizing a substantial amount of electronics, field recordings and various gamelan-related percussion in addition to his drum set. Side A begins with some rapid fire electronica, bells and sizzling drum work. This ceases abruptly and we're suddenly in a steamy Javanese environment, all soft, hazy bells and background hiss and grumble. Possibly the nastiest part occurs next, Guthrie (?) reciting some text in a strangulated, distorted matter followed by abused metal and harsh ripping, tearing noises and more. Side B begins with cloudy gongs, bells, light drums and electronics, growing progressively denser and denser before moving into a little bit of straight up funk, then settling down again into Southeast Asia with beautiful wood blocks sounding over LP scratching and other shards of percussion and finally a great section for drums with gamelan. Good work, unexpected and invigorating.