On Tuesday May 10th, I presented a Mayhem special about Treasure Column, the YouTube bot programmed by Derek Arnold. Earl Grey helped me to stream Treasure Column videos at live.kfjc.org along with the broadcast, which featured interview and mic breaks with Treasure Column underneath. Derek told me about why he wrote Treasure Column, his methods, and about finding one of his video sources out in the world.
I’ve reviewed some great records for KFJC in the past quarter. I write these reviews and read them in a booming voice at the staff meeting, I sit at the top of the lecture hall and let ‘er rip. Most have youTube links so you can check out the tunes yourself. It’s a far-reaching mix of jazz, psych, and classical and beyond. Play the youTube links while you read. Dig it!
Hauschka, Abandoned City (City Slang)
A is German pianist Volker Bertelmann and electronic processing. Violin and bass on one track, otherwise all sounds come from the piano. Percussive rhythmic patterns.
B is remixes with big washy effects. Remix by Devendra Banhart.
Monkey Power Trio, Left Behind (Pocohontas Swamp Machine)
Freaky band meets up one day every year and makes recordings. These are from years 13, 14, & 15. There are several 7″s from other years in the KFJC library.
Sounds made up on the spot because it mostly is. Absurd, juvenile, amateurish There is a recorder. First song on each side is best, A1 has pathos, B1 has autotune. Last track on B a space transmission from Earth saying Don’t come here.
A4 FCC A5 FCC
Raoul Björkenheim ecstasy, Out Of The Blue (Cuneiform)
Helsinki jazz quartet – guitar, sax, bass, and drums. The tight and funky rhythm section supports outwards-looking lead instruments. The guitar uses distortion and the saxophone plays a variety of voices and textures. Some times more mellower, sometimes all out whammy-bar.
Track 3 “Fly In The House of Love” buzzes along, blinking, water dripping, buzzing.
Track 4 “Uptown” has a commanding intro – sax and guitar trading off with bass and drums. Slide guitar. Really energized.
Track 7 “Roller Coaster” shares something cool with Ornette Coleman.
Track 8 “Zebra Dreams” muted guitar strings sound like African thumb piano, sax animal cries. Then it gets more complicated..
David James GPS, Billionaire Blues (Self Produced)
Chamber jazz septet – viola, guitar, drums, bass, clarinet, trombone. Lush arrangements. Sounds downright old-fashioned sometimes. Sesame Street, bowling alley. All composed by guitarist David James. Vocals on #4. We have more David James in the library. Features Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, Beth Custer on clarinet. Funded by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
Pat O’Keefe, Conetnts May Differ (Innova Recordings)
Six pieces written for clarinetist Pat O’Keefe, mostly solo. On this release O’Keefe is concerned with legacy, and considers the composers as his collaborators.
Dissonant Grooves opens the album with dissonant pitches set to accessible rhythms. Dendrite soundtracks snowflake formation. Contents May Differ explores close-miking. The Broken Mirror Of Memory (6-9) adds piano and electronics to very compelling effect.
Andrew Jamieson, Heard The Voice (Edgetone Records)
Dedicated to spiritual transformation at the piano, Andrew Jamieson earned his Master’s degree in music composition from Mills College. Passionate about black gospel music, he plays for faith communities in Oakland and San Leandro. Jamieson is also a free improviser with Ell3 and Nine Fingers. “Heard The Voice” is his attempt to integrate these traditions. African American church music is reconstructed with an eye towards Sun Ra, John Cage, and free improvisation. Reharmonized and improvised passages illustrate the struggle and fervor of a spiritual journey. Harmonies recall Thelonious Monk. Descending harmonies and extensive use of the pedal gives the music a wild conflict. We have other versions of many of these traditional songs in the library from artists like Mahalia Jackson and Fishbone.
James Freeman, Echoes of Nature II (Edgetone Records)
Improvisers on strings, reeds, and synth-percussion paint an abstract foreground over naturalistic sound beds. “Frog Pond” “Owls” “Stream” and “Jungle Flute” are 4 impressionistic tracks between 9 and twenty minutes.
Recalls field recordings, Lou Harrison, Loop 2.3.4, Cut Hands.
Kevin Murray Quartet, Primary Sound (Subruckus Collective)
Four tunes recorded straight to tape from this local quartet led by 16-year old drummer and Subruckus Collective label head Kevin Murray. It’s 1 of 40 copies.
Opening tune by Murray, 2 & 4 are improvisations, 3 is an Ayler tune.
The recording is straight-to-tape, very casual in feel, like a jam session or live set. Murray played with William Parker at school and it inspired him. The band feels for a way out but never gets too far gone out even particularly skronky, rhythm keeps it moving. Very enjoyable.
Sonny Simmons, Leaving Knowledge, Brilliance of Wisdom (Improvising Beings)
Shamanic drone quartet gives 10 long tracks over 4 CD’s. Released in 2014 to celebrate Simmons’ 80th birthday. His English horn plays an Eastern scale, an incantation is heard, hand percussion, organ atmospherics or subtle electronics. Long reverbs. Commanding, ceremonial tone pervades throughout.
Tapio & Tuomi Duo, Matka (Karkia Mistika Records)
Finish duo Jorma Tapio on reeds and flutes and Janne Tuomi on percussion. “Ranging in mood from serious to wanton.”
Sometimes it’s a heated free jazz duo, other times it’s very primitive with vocalizations and hand percussion. Draws you in.
Claudio Gizzi, Flesh For Frankenstein (dagored)
Strings. Horror! Terror! Suspense… & Fucking!!!
Composed by Claudio Gizzi, this is the 1973 soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s Flesh For Frankenstein, directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol. Re-issued with great art, vinyl, and numerous alternate takes by Florence-based Dagored.
Baron Frankenstein dreams of restoring Serbia to glory, so he builds male and female monsters whose children will become the new master race. Determined that they be fruitful, he aims to equip the male body with the brain of someone possessing a powerful libido. Thinking horny stable boy Nicholas (played by the Factory’s top hustler Joe Dallesandro) will be perfect, he mistakenly gets the head of Nicholas’ pious friend. Meanwhile, Nicholas seduces the baron’s wife. Rated X.
Orchestral music for horny sluts. Admirably trashy. Great colored vinyl.
Chippendale Gustafsson Pupillo, Melt (Trost)
Recorded Aug 12, 2014 in East Berlin at Radialsystem. Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) on drums vox & fx. Mats Gustafson (The Thing) plays a belligerent sax and live electronics. Massimo Pupillo (Zu) plays bass.
Two long tracks. For me the 2nd track between 18:30 until 30, or even 40 minutes was best. Brian tells about his first show, a Metallica concert. For Lightning Bolt fans this is a must. Chippendale is very energetic and tenacious as usual.
William Parker, Stan’s Hat Flapping In The Wind (Aum Fidelity)
19 Songs about the mysteries of death and life as revealed to a Native American who’s hat began flapping in the wind. Between 5:00 and :22 long.
Music & Lyrics by William Parker. Sung by Lisa Sokolov. Cooper-Moore at the piano.
Sokolov does a great job interpreting and straddling the line between brassy Musical singing and more delicate Jazz vocals. The lyric is very well written.
16 (Prayer) & 17 (Invocation) deliver two different looks to the album. Reminds me of Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee which is the apropos because one of the songs mentions her.
Lubomyr Melnyk, Rivers and Streams (Erased Tapes)
Shapes merge, multiply, fade, regroup, and fade again and again. Echoes and ripples. The surface of clear water makes the things inside dance and wobble, and flow around.
Meditative trio. “Continuous piano” arpeggiates and self-immolates. His hands become “Water, Air, and Stone … the three manifestations of he Continuous Technique.” Like Philip Glass.
I put together a playlist featuring great music from around the world, new experimental rock, and Classical, and Beethoven. And Cumbias! It was fun and I further developed my program format for a specialized show focusing on a canon created from Western Classical music and indigenous music of all cultures. I learned some things. Check out the streams below.
Hour 1: Starts at 9:55 so you get a few minutes of Fox Populi. Then psychedelic shaman songs, Lonnie Holley, Burma, Benin, Luc Ferrari.
Hour 2: African funk, calypso, Sonny Simmons power drone.
Cambodian Rock and Roll
Hour 3: Gipsy songs, Sahara blues, Cambodian rock, Cumbia!!
I’m trying to figure out a way to combine western classical music with international music and from that structure a 4-hour program. I like playing classical music. It’s up in the farthest uppermost corner of the library. Most of it isn’t registered in the library. It seems neglected. I dust it off and try to learn about it. I like the sound of classical music, and the great performances, and I find much of the same qualities in the music of other cultures. I like hearing them together.
Hour 1: Starts at 9:55 so you get a few minutes of Fox Populi. The first hour’s program starts in Greece, then Irish Violin, Indian violin, Schubert songs, Burmese songs, and Turkish songs.
Hour 2: Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, African songs.
I figured out a new way to search the review archives, which go back 15 years or more. It helped me build a show of drum-led duos and jazz violinists. I made mistakes like front-announcing the wrong song titles a few times, but overall the show flowed pretty well.
Hour 1: Starts at 9:55 so you get a few minutes of Mitch Lemay. Then I get percussive with Max Roach’s M’Boom, Idris Muhammad, Wadada Leo Smith & Jack deJohnette, Walt Dickerson. I enjoyed this hour a lot, it was very percussive and exciting.
Hour 2: Test, Weasel Walter & Chris Pitsiokos, Joe McPhee.
Hour 3: David S. Ware, Joseph Jarman, Anthony Braxton, wrapping up with Ornette Coleman. More instrumental this hour but very rhythmic at times.
Hour 4: Joe Venuti, Billy Harper, Rob Mazurek and Exploding Star Orchestra.
I’ve reviewed some great records for KFJC in the past two months. I write these reviews and read them in a booming voice at the staff meeting, I sit at the top of the lecture hall and let ‘er rip. Most have youTube links so you can check out the tunes yourself. It’s a far-reaching mix of jazz, psych, and classical. Dig it.
Jean Guerin, Tacet (Souffle Continu)
Originally released in 1971 on French cult label Futura. The most expensive production they ever did, and worth every penny. This is Musique concréte psychedelic jazz. It has something for everyone! Reissued by Parisian label & record shop Souffle Continu (“Continuous Breath”). Turns out Futura owner Gerard Terronés is a close neighbor of the shop.
Squeaky brass splatters and furtive bass, high-pitch solfege singing, saxophone variations inter-cut with vintage electronics, analog drum machines, patch-bay air sirens, burbling cauldrons, and something called “water trumpet”. Primal, futuristic, dystopian.
Glenn Stallcop, Myths and Fairy Tales (Self-released)
Solo piano improvisations in the western classical tradition. Pensive, expressive, melancholy. Recalls Debussy. Recorded in a cabin in Arizona. Glenn Stallcop plays double bass in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.
David S. Ware / Apogee, Birth of A Being (Aum Fidelity)
Capably remastered from 8-track tapes, the first recordings of David S. Ware, with his Berklee School trio, Apogee: Cooper-Moore on piano and Marc Edwards on drums.
CD1 was originally pressed by hat Hut in 1979, and is long out of print. CD2 features material from the same sessions that has never before been issued. Ware had been a part of the Cecil Taylor Unit for a few years and the influence is apparent.
Different versions of “Prayer” open both CDs and both are compelling in their own ways. CD1 is a collective blowing session, while CD2 contains a more varied mix of material and arrangement. “Ashimba” (#4, CD2) features a solo recording of Cooper-Moore playing a xylophone of his own design and construction. “Solo” (#5, CD2) is David alone and very powerful, a sweet interrogation.
Rob Mazurek / Galactic Star Orchestra, Galactic Parables Volume 1 (Cuneiform Records)
Sides A-C recorded live in Sardinia, broadcast on Italian radio. Sides D-F recorded live in Chicago in front of a hometown crowd.. Large ensemble improvising music like Sun Ra, with poet and electronics. The poet, Damon Locks is x-Trenchmouth with Fred Armisen.
A, B, & E are sidelongs, last track on C has a great cornet solo by Mazurek.
Lots of other Rob Mazurek and other Exploding Star Orchestra CDs in the Jazz library.
On the back of the release is a quote from the late Amiri Baraka upon hearing the Sardinian broadcast, here’s another: “A man is either free or he is not. There cannot be anyapprenticeship for freedom.”
Mimi Stillman and Charles Abramovic, Freedom (Innova Recordings)
Authoritarians fear abstraction because, who knows, it might be about them.
Two commissions and one long-lost recovery. Performed by the Dolce Suono Ensemble of Mimi Stillman on flute and Charles Abramovic at the piano.
Tracks 1-5 Composed by Miecyzslaw (me-etch-eh-SLAV) Weinberg in 1947. Weinberg was a close friend of Dmitri Shostakovich, and along with Prokofiev, they were persecuted in Stalin’s 1948 Anti-Formalist purges. Recovered from the St. Petersburg library, this is the premiere recording.
Tracks 6-9 commissioned from Russian-Jewish composer David Finko in 2012, reflections on narrowly escaping the Nazis, and later persecution by the Soviets. The flute is earsplitting at times.
Tracks 10-12 add Yumi Kendall’s cello for Remembering Neda, commissioned from Richard Danielpour in 2009. Composed during the Iran protests, in memory of Neda Agha-Soltan, murdered protesting in Tehran.
Powerful meditations on upheaval and freedom, top quality performances. Stillman in particular is probably the most celebrated flutist of her generation, having received awards from Chamber Music America, Young Concert Artists, and many others.
Billy Harper Quintet, Live on Tour In The Far East, Vol. 2 (SteepleChase)
Texas Tenor Billy Harper on tour with his quintet in Taiwan. The first track is Priestess, Harper’s most famous composition. The next tune is also by Harper, and he is very energized on the horn. The first two tracks are 17 and 25 minutes, great for the bottom of the hour. He solos first on both tracks, until trumpeter Eddie Henderson takes over at about the ten- or 11-minute mark. The band displays impressive command of the material, fluidly changing arrangements to evoke different moods. The album was remixed and mastered by Danish jazz god Nils Winther, and it sounds great.
It was Freak Week, so the break clock was suspended and the only break I was required to take was for the FCC-mandated legal ID at the top of the hour – Broadcasting from foothill college this is KFJC Los Altos Hills. DJs come up with special themes for their shows, focusing on artists in a musicological in-depth way. I couldn’t think of anything that satisfied me so I took a strucuralist approach. I went to the library, in the first box of the A section and played with the library. In four hours, I got from Kamal Abdul Alim to the All Star Trumpet Spectacular. The show was actually fun to do, a lot of the tracks were great listens and the show flowed smoother than I would have expected. In a future Jazz Collective show, I’ll continue it.
Hour 1: Starts at 9:55 so you get a few minutes of Ding Dong DJ’s wildly provocative Freak Week show. Then I play from Kamal Abdul Alim to Joshua Abrams.
Hour 2: From Joshua Abrams to Cannonball Adderley.
Hour 3: Cannonball Adderley to Joe Albany.
Hour 4: Joe Albany to the All Star Trumpet Spectacular.
I filled in for Thurston Hunger, who’d broadcast the State Champions / Sophomore Records live mic the day before. I’d been a listener to The Eating Disorder for some time. It was Freak Week, so I didn’t have to do any breaks other than the top of the hour. I broke in periodically to tell people about what they were hearing. The Eating Disorder features some ‘out’ sounds, so that’s where my programming went.
Hour 1: Starts at 6:55 so you get a few minutes of Spliff Skankin. I spend most of hour with the sounds of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Morocco. Then I jump off the deep end and drown with Junko & Michel Henritzi.
Hour 2: Jazz, brass quartet, reed duo, then creepy horror Stelvio Cipriani. Some cool segues this hour.
Hour 3: Towers, wierdo I cover the waterfront Eugene Chadbourne, Chad Ho Bynum entire side – cool band.
Repeating vocal samples and distorted vocalizations set to electro-acoustic percussion. Loop 2.4.3 is composed and performed by Thomas Kozumplik (The Clogs). Pulsating rhythms. Chimes and hand drums in time and space.