The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo + KAZE: Peace (Tribute To Kelly Churko) (Libra)

Pianist Satoko Fujii's Orchestra Toky + the band Kaze, bringing guests trumpeter Cristian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins alongside trumpeter Natsuki Tamura into a spectacular big band of great power but also subtle meditation, in four works that include a tribute to the late guitar and Fujii collaborator Kelly Churko. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii : Invisible Hand [2 CDs] (Cortez Sound)

After bringing her band Kaze to the Cortez club in Mito, Japan, the owner asked pianist Satoko Fujii back to perform a solo show, captured here across two CDs showing her extensive technical skills and passionate approach to playing, in a mix of new work and new takes on previously recorded compositions. ... Click to View


The Thing: Garage [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

Heavy free jazz in the 3rd release from the trio of Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, covering an eclectic set of punk and free jazz titles including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Sonics, White Stripes, Norman Howard and Brotzmann; thick and sick free improvisation. ... Click to View


Julius Hemphill : Raw Materials and Residuals [VINYL + CD] (Black Saint)

An essential 70s Black Saint album from New York saxophonist Julius Hemphill in a trio with Abdul Wadud on cello and Don Moey on percussion, merging blues, free jazz, free bop and inspired approaches to improvisation, reissued on vinyl LP with a CD copy included. ... Click to View


Sound American: The Cassette Issue tape: Featuring Nate Wooley [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Nate Wooley's Sound American online magazine presents a complete rehearsal of the trio of Philip White (electronics), Chris Pitsiokos (sax) and C. Spencer Yeh (violin), as they discuss their work and develop a piece entitled "Shredding Treatise"; and an interview by Nate Wooley of Baltimore music researcher, record producer, and writer Ian Nagoski. ... Click to View


Monas (Fisher / DeBlase / Millions): Freedom [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

With connections from both the free jazz and improvising rock scene, including Borbetomagus, Many Arms, Caribou, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Zevious, &c, the trio of Colin Fisher (saxophone, guitar), Johnny DeBlase (electric bass) and Kid Millions (drums) debut their Monas project of intense, electronically spiked, free form improvisation. ... Click to View


Jerman / Barnes: Karst [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Experimental sound artists Jeph Jerman and Tim Barnes continue their exploration heard in their erstwhile and Confton releases, here in two new tracks recorded in Arizona and Louisville as they prepared for their 2016 performance at the No Idea Festival in Austin, TX. ... Click to View


Birchall / Smal / Webster: Drop Out [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Two sides of the London trio of David Birchall on guitar, Rogier Smal on drums, and Colin Webster on alto saxophone, bringing a bit of madness into very free improv, the first side an immersion in unflagging collective improvisation of great detail, the second side a bringing introspective dialog into an evolving collaborative free-for-all. ... Click to View


More Eaze / A.F. Jones & Steve Flato: Split Release [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

A split tape from Austin-based More Eaze (aka Marcus Rubio) and San Diego-based duo A.F. Jones and Steve Flato, More Eaze presenting a work of surprising twists, drone, and audio turns; Jones & Flato create an electronic composition of strange detail using a wide auditory palette encompassing the lowest to highest tones. ... Click to View


Marteau Rouge ‎ (Pauvros / Sato / Foussat): ... Un Jour Se Leve [VINYL] (Fou Records)

The free improvising trio of Makoto Sato on drums, Jean-Francois Pauvros on guitar and Jean-Marc Foussat on synthesizer & voice in a studio album of unique electro-acoustic dialog recorded in Paris in 2013. ... Click to View


Departement d'Education Psychique: Untitled [VINYL] (Fou Records)

The trio of Jean-Marc Foussat on synthesizer and voice, abd Dynamo Dreesen & SVN on electronics, crossing artists more associated with techno with free improvisation, here in their second release recorded live at Ohm in Berlin, Germany and at"Neues Deutchland" in 2016. ... Click to View


En Corps (Eve Risser / Benjamin Duboc / Edward Perraud): Generation (Dark Tree Records)

The 2nd album from En Corps, the improvising trio of Eve Risser on piano, Benjamin Duboc on double bass, and Edward Perraud on drums, was recorded live at Artacts 16 festival in St Johann, Austria in 2016, performing two building works--"Des Corps" and "Des Ames" (The Bodies, The Souls)--which evolve from intricate quiet interplay into rich harmonic interaction. ... Click to View


Anemone (John Butcher / Peter Evans / Frederic Blondy / Clayton Thomas / Paul Lovens): A Wing Dissolved in Light [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A brilliant quintet brought together for the Tampere Jazz Happening, in Finland in 2013, with NY trumpeter Peter Evans, UK saxophonist John Butcher, Australian bassist Clayton Thomas, UK drummer/percussionist Paul Lovens, and French pianist Frederic Blondy for a phenomenal extended improvisation presented in parts: "Une Aile Dissoute Dans La Lumiere". ... Click to View


Klaus Treuheit / Lou Grassi: Port of Call [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

An informed set of creative iprovisations recorded in the studio and drawing clearly from the traditional jazz idiom between German pianist Klaus Treuheit and NY drummer Lou Grassi, performing original 4-part compositions including the "Misterioso", "L'espace Sonore", and "Lament # Pb". ... Click to View


Paul Rutherford / Sabu Toyozumi: The Conscience [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

The 1st in a series of unreleased concerts from the 90s recorded in Japan by Chap-Chap Records, acquired by NoBusiness to bring them to light; this duo album brings the late and influential UK free improvising trombonist Paul Rutherford together with drummer Sabu Toyozumi for five far-ranging dialogs of both reflective and enthusiastical energetic playing. ... Click to View


Itaru Oki / Nobuyoshi Ino / Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

An exciting and uniquely orchestrated free jazz trio concert recorded live at Cafe Amores, Hofu, Yamaguchi in Japan in 1996 from the trio of Itaru Oki on trumpet and bamboo flute, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass, and Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Ino providing often stunningly quick bass lines over which the otherwise rhythm-less band are afforded great flexibility. ... Click to View


Itaru Oki / Nobuyoshi Ino / Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen (NoBusiness)

An exciting and uniquely orchestrated free jazz trio concert recorded live at Cafe Amores, Hofu, Yamaguchi in Japan in 1996 from the trio of Itaru Oki on trumpet and bamboo flute, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass, and Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Ino providing often stunningly quick bass lines over which the otherwise rhythm-less band are afforded great flexibility. ... Click to View


Spunk: Still Eating Ginger Bread For Breakfast (Rune Grammofon)

Norway's unconventional improvising quartet SPUNK with Maja S. K. Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Lene Grenager and Kristin Andersen are heard live at Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo, Norway in 2015, capturing these two sets of uniquely unexpected and jaw-dropping recordings from a band on the cutting edge of avant improvisation. ... Click to View


Whit Dickey / Mat Maneri / Matthew Shipp: Vessel In Orbit (Aum Fidelity)

While working with Matthew Shipp on an Ivo Perelman album, drummer Whit Dickey and pianist Shipp agreed to record an album of their own and enlisted violist Mat Maneri to record this album of deep space-themed improvisations, collective music of heavy propulsion that bursts from impassioned exchange to convoluted clusters of sound. ... Click to View


Daunik Lazro / Joelle Leandre / George Lewis: Enfances 8 Janv. 1984 (Fou Records)

A live recording at 28 rue Dunois, in Paris, France in 1984 from the trio of Daunik Lazro on alto sax, Joelle Leandre on double bass and voice, and George Lewis on trombone, a trans-Atlantic enounter of creative inventiveness and innovative vision, a great document of three persistent masters captured early in their incredible careers. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / John Edwards / Steve Noble : PEN (Dropa Disc)

Bringing together three leaders from the UK free jazz scene, the new trio of Evan Parker on tenor sax, Steve Noble on drums & percussion, and John Edwards on double bass present a masterful album drawing from the roots of free improvisation in playing that rises and recedes like a tidal force, captured live at the Oorstof concert series in Antwerp. ... Click to View


Ballister: Low Level Stink [VINYL & DVD] (Dropa Disc)

One of the super-groups of free improvisation, colliding elements of jazz, rock, ea-improv and beyond, the Ballister trio of Chicago stalwarts Dave Rempis (sax) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) are captured live at the Oorstof concert series in De Studio, Antwerp, presenting the concert in a limited, combined vinyl LP and DVD release. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / John Russel / Ian Brighton / Phillip Wachsmann / Marcio Mattos / Trevor Taylor: Live From Cafe Oto (FMR)

London's Cafe Oto organized a reunion of String Thing, guitarist Ian Brighton's project with violinist Phillip Wachsmann, bassist Marcio Mattos, & Trevor Taylor on percussion and electronics, adding guitarist John Russell and saxophonist Evan Parker, here capturing an impressive night of improv, and Brighton's first public appearance in nearly 40 years. ... Click to View


Fred Lonberg-Holm / Adam Golebiewski: Relephant (Bocian)

Chicago free improvising cellist and electronicist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Poznan, Germany drummer, having worked together in larger group settings, met as a duo at MDK Dragon Club in Ponzan to record these four far-ranging improvisations of unusual textures, rhythms and sonic interactions. ... Click to View


Antoine Chessex / Apartment House / Jerome Noetinger: "Plastic Concrete" / "Accumulation" (Bocian)

Two long-form compositions combining acoustic and electronic orchestration by Antoine Chessex, convoluted works that take unusual twists and turns from spirited interaction to beautiful sonic passages, performed at London's Cafe Oto by an ensemble including Dominic Lash, Andrew Sparling, Jerome Noetinger, &c. ... Click to View


Miles Okazaki: Trickster (Pi Recordings)

Intricate interplay in modern jazz from guitarist Miles Okazaki in a quartet with fellow New Yorkers Craig Taborn on piano, Anthony Tidd on bass, and Sean Rickman on drums--Tidd and Rickman his compatriots in Steve Coleman and Five Elements--performing Okazaki's playfully complex and innovative compositions that drive some serious grooves. ... Click to View


The Necks: Unfold [VINYL 2 LPs] (Ideologic Organ)

Four side-long improvisations from the Australian trio of Chris Abrahams on piano, Tony Buck on drums, and Lloyd Swanton on bass, each side a masterpiece of slowly transpiring and evolving music, unhurriedly expanding each track to reveal tension and allure. ... Click to View


Archer / Clark / Grew / Hunter: Felicity's Ultimatum (Discus)

The 2nd release in a new series of small groups drawn from members of the Discus Music family, where the group meets, writes, rehearses and records in one single session, here developing ten compositions from all four players edited into a continuous sequence of structure and improvisation, embracing melody, texture and pure abstraction. ... Click to View


Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere: 02 (Discus)

An absolutely impressive album blending advanced/progressive rock forms with improvisation, starting from collective improvisation and layering in the studio to create a sophisticated psychedelic music, the second album from this ensemble that is headed by Martin Archer (reeds & keys), Chris Bywater (keys & synth), and Steve Dinsdale (drums & percussion). ... Click to View


Daniel Levin / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten / Chris Corsano: Spinning Jenny (Trost Records)

Three innovative improvisers, Daniel Levin on cello, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Chris Corsano on drums, in a studio album of collective free playing that's traverses both ferocious and introspective aspects of their dialog with tremendous technical skill and wonderful creative strategies. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Warren Burt 
  Harmonic Colour Fields  
  (Pogus) 

   review by James Keepnews
  2003-09-08
Warren Burt: Harmonic Colour Fields (Pogus)

Listening to drones - or music based in and around them - is a complex procedure. Among other considerations, one rarely, if ever, hears the drone by itself, in isolation. Because of the nature of distinctive overtones giving each sound its distinctive character, even listening to, say, an Alvin Lucier piece for sine-wave generator - which generates a "pure," overtone-free drone - results in spacial and psycho-acoustic accumulation and sympathetic vibrations that any single tone will pick up along the way from generator to eardrum.

Which is to say, the involved nature of drones and their hearing spans the history of musics sacred and the profane and listening to them can be an involving, powerfully revealing experience - although, if you're like me, a first listening to Warren Burt's new cd might suggest otherwise. Harmonic Colour Fields consists of five long pieces, each, as Burt observes in the liner notes, "descended from the 'drone' pieces of such composers as LaMonte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, (Harold) Budd" and Burt himself. The quotes around "drone" here are appropriate, since, properly speaking, these pieces are not drones exclusively but intriguing extrapolations of extended microtonal intervals derived from the overtone series or non-12-tone, equal-temperament scales. The close frequencies of these tones do not create new drones but very rich, sliding microtonal harmonies, suggesting a harmonic fog - or "colour field," in Burt's preferred term. The pieces take these tones and a variety of extrapolations realizes them by sequencing software within which Burt entered the notes by hand. These pieces are, in turn, played by the nearly obsolete (even in the 1996-97 period when these pieces were composed) Roland Sound Canvas - Burt's enthusiastic endorsement in the liner notes refers to the no-longer-manfactured sound module "the world's best cheap solution for fine tuning microtonality (and they're not even paying me to say this!)" He was maybe expecting they would?

The effect of this admittedly cheap solution's cheesy timbres and the long-form explorations of nearby tones left me nonplussed in my first few listens to the cd, which seemed to offer only five barely differentiated microtonal blurs, like an orchestra of DX7s with broken pitch wheels. Successive listens have reinforced not only Burt's unforced appreciation of overtonal complexity but his canny strategies for utilizing his materials. Burt admits that "any sense of melody is simply the result of how the harmonic material is articulated," and while that articulation does not allow for "melody" in any conventional sense, these contemplative pieces permit a listener to ultimately luxuriate in the eerie, austere harmonic baths they generate.

The first piece, "Portrait of Erv Wilson," sets the tone for what's to come. Based around a pre-Pythagorean mathematical table, the "Lambdoma," this is, as Burt notes, the most consonant piece of the collection, as well as the most conventionally melodic of the bunch. The sensibility, here as elsewhere, is close to the undulating chromatic cascades of the recent guitar-looping "Soundscapes" by Robert Fripp (as opposed to the more severe diatonicisms of the first-generation "Frippertronics" loops). That comparison, however, refers more to the ebb-and-flow drone dynamics of these works than a direct similarity in content - this work's "consonance" is relative only to the more intense microtonality to come.

"Portrait of John Chalmers" follows, taking a Western equal-tempered concept - triad chords based on stacked "thirds" - and applies it to a 24-tone equal tempered scale. Each successive triad is quietly sounded and the movement from low to high triads, intervallically speaking, suggests a shift from "minor" to "major" scales ... and a few in-between. "Adjacencies (A drone on breaking my kneecap)" - which, as Burt relates was "written under morphine in a hospital bed in Amsterdam " - confounds the ear with tones of less than 17 cents difference between them (the distance between, say, C and C# is, for example, 100 cents). Utilizing a timbre that suggests sawtooth wave oscillation, the closer in intervallic distance each sounded tone-cluster has, the more "beating" of vibrations sympathetic and otherwise are generated, making for a strangely calming piece that's as soothing as it is serrated.

Matters get conceptual, perhaps even astrological, with "11:21:23 (A drone for Mom and Felix's Birthdays)" - Mrs. Burt and composer Felix Werder were born two days apart - where the tonal material is derived from the harmonics and subharmonics 11, 21 and 23, with inversions and other versions of the chord laid over the original triad. The timbre is more square-wave hollow on this piece, and quieter still. The closer "48=>53; 53=>48" applies the harmonics of 48 through 53 onto the subharmonics of 53 to 48, resulting in the most superficially "dissonant" work on the cd. It's also, given the closeness of successive tones, the one piece closest to a continuous drone, but a continually shifting, harmonics-rich drone that sounds like a near-relation to LaMonte Young's mighty Dream House drone, but with the gradual changes over time in the Burt piece beguiling the ear with higher register "melodies" and a long view of a form working itself out over time.

As with all microtonal works, it takes a while for the ear to acclimate itself with nonstandard Western tuning sensibilities - this, combined with the unvarnished, limited timbral palette made available by the Sound Canvas, makes the molasses-like outpouring of infelicitous FM-synth harmonic colors on Harmonic Colour Fields feel like very slow going indeed at the outset. Give it time, though - you'll have to anyway. Using these very simple materials in sophisticated ways, Burt's pieces have the flavor of fin de siecle-ital plainsong: minimalist in the particulars, pure and profound in their realization and multiple implications.





Comments and Feedback:



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Evan Parker/
John Russel/
Ian Brighton/
Phillip Wachsmann/
Marcio Mattos/
Trevor Taylor:
Reunion Live
From Cafe Oto
(FMR)



Miles Okazaki:
Trickster
(Pi Recordings)



Orchestra of the
Upper Atmosphere:
02
(Discus)



The Necks:
Unfold
[VINYL 2 LPs]
(Ideologic Organ)



Evan Parker/
John Edwards/
Steve Noble :
PEN
(Dropa Disc)



Ballister:
Low Level Stink
[VINYL & DVD]
(Dropa Disc)



Ivo Perelman/
Joe Morris/
Gerald Cleaver:
The Art Of
The Improv Trio
Volume 6
(Leo)



The International Nothing:
The Power Of
Negative Thinking
(Monotype)



Angelica Sanchez Trio
(w/ Michael Formanek/
Tyshawn Sorey):
Float the Edge
(Clean Feed)



Michael Attias Quartet
(w/ Ortiz/
Hebert/
Hebert):
Nerve Dance
(Clean Feed)



Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day
(w/ Wooley/
Bauder/
Niggenkemper):
On Parade in Parede
(Clean Feed)



Trespass Trio
(Zanussi/
Strid/
Kuchen):
The Spirit of Pitesti
(Clean Feed)



MIR 8
(Andrea Belfi/
Werner Dafeldecker/
Hilary Jeffery/
Tim Wright):
Perihelion
[VINYL]
(Shhpuma)



Daniel Sarid Trio:
Leventuruos
(OutNow Recordings)



Trouble Kaze
(Fujii/
Agnel/
Tamura/
Pruvost/
Lasserre/
Orins):
June
(Helix Circum-Disc)



MarsaFouty
(Jean-Luc Foussat/
Fred Marty):
Concerts
(Fou Records)



Matt Mitchell
plays Tim Berne:
Forage
(Screwgun)



I Am Three
(Eberhard/
Neuser/
Marien):
Mingus Mingus Mingus
(Leo)



Simon Nabatov:
Monk 'N' More
(Leo)



Derek Bailey/
Joelle Leandre/
George Lewis/
Evan Parker :
28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982
(Fou Records)







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (55237)