Thursday, December 6, 2018

WERNER LÜDI SUNNYMOON – Serendipity (C W R – CW 1009 / LP-1987)




Label: Creative Works Records – CW 1009
Format: Vinyl, Album, LP / Country: Switzerland / Released: 1987
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Soundville Recording Studios, Luzern, January 1987.
Mastered At – CBS Studios, London
Design – Guy Bettini
Engineer – René J. Zingg
Producer – Werner Lüdi Sunnymoon
Liner Notes Verfasser: Werner Lüdi
Matrix / Runout (Side A): CW 1009 A-1 SVS 206 A-1
Matrix / Runout (Side B): CW 1009 B

The cover jacket has two large holes (front and back) and is printed inside so, if it's empty, you can see a far moon in a black sky and a far sun in a clear sky. Insert the inner sleeve and you get a black or white sky. Insert the double insert and you may have a lunar footprint and a sun crown, or a globe with trees and a second one with an ancient map on it, or a washing machine door and an actress' nice face and so on.

side A
A1 - Second Story Twilight : A Manhattan Melodrama ......................................... 7:44
A2 - Jungle Moon In June ..................................................................................... 5:12
A3 - Carolina Morning ........................................................................................... 4:51
side B
B1 - Macho Duck Disco ........................................................................................ 6:06
B2 - Santorini Sailing Sun ..................................................................................... 5:45
B3 - Blindado Flying Circus .................................................................................. 5:18

Personnel:
Werner Lüdi – alto saxophone
Hans Koch – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Stephan Wittwer – electric guitar
Martin Schütz – bass, cello
Dieter Ulrich – drums, percussion, bugle

Werner Lüdi (April 22, 1936 in Poschiavo, Graubünden – June 21, 2000 in Zurich) was a Swiss jazz musician (alto and baritone saxophone) and author.


Lüdi spent the early years of his life in Val Poschiavo and spent his youth in Landquart, where he played accordion in a band. He became familiar with cool jazz and played baritone saxophone in Tone Schädler's band. In 1958, he moved to Hamburg, where he participated in jam sessions. In jam sessions, he got to know Peter Brötzmann.
In 1964, he made a tour as an alto saxophonist with Gunter Hampel's band for one year and then, he went to Munich, where he made jam sessions with Pierre Favre. Then, he came back to Switzerland in 1966 and started to work as a photographer in a public relations office and copywriter in an advertising agency.



In 1981, Lüdi came again to jazz scene and founded the group Sunnymoon with Stephan Wittwer, Fredy Studer and Léon Francioli. In 1984, Hans Koch, Martin Schütz, Timo Fleig and Lüdi played free improvisation in this group. Later, Koch, Schütz, Lüdi and Paul Lovens performed together. At the end of 1980s, he played with Mani Neumeier, Wädi Gysi and the trumpet player Mich Gerber as the group Blauer Hirsch.

He has performed also with Brötzmann's Märzcombo, Butch Morris, Sainkho Namtchylak, Peter Kowald, William Parker, Saadet Türköz, Burhan Öçal, Peter Conradin Zumthor and Daniel Seiler.



If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

TED CURSON with GEORGES ARVANITAS TRIO – Pop Wine (LP-1971)




Label: Futura Records – GER 26
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album & Country: France Released: 1971
Style: Free Jazz, Leftfield, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded 18 June 1971 at Europasonor Studio, Paris
Design – Pierre Delgado
Layout – Jean-Pierre Bonnet
Photography By – Christian Fauchard, Philippe Gras
Recorded By – Claude Martenot
Producer – Gérard Terrones
Composed By – Ted Curson
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched Runout): Fut. 2028 A MP
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched Runout): Fut. 2028 B MP

side A
A1 - Pop Wine ...................................................................................................... 5:10
A2 - L.S.D. Takes A Holiday ............................................................................... 12:40
A3 - Song Of The Lonely One .............................................................................. 5:45
side B
B1 - Quartier Latin .............................................................................................. 13:20
B2 - Flip Top ......................................................................................................... 6:30

Personnel:
Ted Curson – trumpet, piccolo trumpet
Georges Arvanitas – piano
Jacky Samson – bass
Charles Saudrais – drums, percussion

This Futura LP issue of vanguard trumpet legend Ted Curson with the Georges Arvanitas Trio in a Paris studio is one of those very special dates where everything seems to go right.



Curson is in excellent form here, whether he is playing free improvisation as on "Latin Quarter," and is a fiery 13-minute excursion into the outer reaches of free jazz, or turning in a slightly bent but nonetheless streaming hard-bop performance as on the "Flip Top." The Arvanitas Trio, an under-celebrated band that backed virtually every major American musician in Paris proves how well it adapts to Curson's muscular style by responding with more muscle. Arvanitas' left-hand rhythm comping is tough and full of fire and edges. On "L.S.D. Takes a Holiday," Arvanitas pushes Curson hard to the edges of a harmonic shelf that finally bleeds off into a blazing symmetry of angles that is propelled into an abyss by the ferocious bass playing of the under-heralded Jacky Sampson. Also noteworthy are Curson's compositions here that, like much music of their time, leave tradition to the dust. He engages it and the blues in a sort of modal inquiry, where he wraps extant ideas about form, tonal sonance, and intervallic architecture in a phraseology and compositional elegance that was beyond most of his peers. Futura's LP sounds warm, lovely, and very much alive.

Review by Thom Jurek, AllMusic



If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, November 30, 2018

GEORGES ARVANITAS TRIO – In Concert (Futura Rec. – GER 11 / LP-1970)




Label: Futura Records – GER 11
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: France / Released: 1970
Style: Contemporary Jazz
Recorded live at the Centre culturel américain on November 25, 1969 (tracks: A2, B1) and on January 27, 1970 (tracks: A1, B2).
Layout – Gilles Coussine
Photography By – Christian Fauchard, Eléonore Bakhtadzé
Recorded By – Roger Delongeas
Liner Notes – Georges Arvanitas
Producer – Gérard Terrones
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched Runout): Fut. 2007 A MP
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched Runout): Fut. 2007 B MP

side A
A1 - Sixième Sens   (G. Arvanitas) ..................................................................... 11:30
A2 - Colchique Dans Les Prés   (Arranged By – G. Arvanitas) .......................... 11:32
side B
B1 - Ah ! Le Chat   (G. Arvanitas) ........................................................................ 7:40
B2 - Indian   (C. Saudrais, G. Arvanitas) ............................................................ 16:30

Personnel:
Georges Arvanitas – piano
Jacky Samson – bass
Charles Saudrais – drums, percussion

The best album by this extraordinary piano/bass/drums trio from France - THIS is the record I play when I want to hear a dynamic, subtle and inspired jazz trio.

"Ah ! Le Chat" (a wordplay on Charlie Parker's "Aleucha", of which this is a new arrangement - and a hidden reference to Le Chat Qui Pêche, a tiny jazz club in Paris where the Arvanitas Trio had a permanent residency, and where one could hear french musicians like Christian Vander (jamming with various alumni from the US jazz scene..) and "Colchiques dans les Prés" (a french traditional nursery rhyme turned into a beautiful, smoking jazz piece) are the best moments of this outstanding set, which was assembled using pieces from 2 dates recorded at the Centre Culturel Américain de Paris in Nov. 1969 and Jan. 1970 - the first of which was interrupted due to EDF (Electricité de France) being on strike. (I am not making this up, it's in the liner notes written by Arvanitas himself..).
Strikes, demonstrations, riots, the Futura label.. French way of life ! ....... :-)



One of Europe's most consistent and versatile musicians, Georges Arvanitas has been active since the early '50s. He's worked with traditional, swing, and bebop musicans, accommodating the demands of the many expatriate Americans who've come to Paris. Though far from being an innovator or daring soloist, Arvanitas is a capable pianist, knowledgeable of bebop fundamentals and able to work effectively in many situations, from recordings to concerts to jam sessions. Arvanitas worked with traditional jazz groups in Marseilles in the '40s, then moved to Paris in the early '50s. He played with Jimmy Archey, Bill Coleman, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Donald Byrd and several others in the '50s and '60s. He was later resident pianist at the Blue Note and formed his own group. Arvanitas played with Buck Clayton, Don Byas and Sonny Criss in the early '60s. He visited New York in 1964 and 1965, working with Ted Curson and Yusef Lateef. He paid a return visit in 1966. Arvanitas's trio with Jacky Sampson and Charles Saudrais worked with several major musicians in the late '60s and early '70s, among them Art Farmer and Dexter Gordon, Buddy Tate and Bill Coleman, Slide Hampton, Anita O' Day, and Curson. Arvanitas played with Robin Kenyatta in 1972, toured Japan with Michel Legrand and worked in Italy with Criss and Stitt. He later worked with Pepper Adams, Curson, Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody in the '80s. He's recorded for Columbia and Saravah among others as a leader, and for Spotlite, Futura and Impro as a session musician.....

E n j o y !!!



If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, October 8, 2018

JEAN GUÉRIN – Tacet (SouffleContinu Records / LP-1971 / Reissue LP-2015)




Label: SouffleContinu Records – FFL009, Futura Records ‎– SON 04
Format: Vinyl, LP, 45 RPM, Reissue / Country: France / Released: Sep 2015
Style: Free Jazz, Leftfield, Abstract, Experimental, Space-Age
Recorded January 1971 at Ossian & Magne Studios.
Overdubs and mixing at Europasonor.
Licensed by Gérard Terronès
Mixed By – Charles Rocher, Claude Martenot, Daniel Naudin, Jean Guérin
Sleeve Notes – Philippe Carles
Photos – Hilary Gostinsky
Composed By – Jean Guérin
Matrix / Runout: No identifiers
Barcode: 3491570051221

Limited run of 200 / pressed on solid grey vinyl
©2015 SouffleContinu Records / originally released in 1970 by Futura Records.
Although the label says 33rpm, it has to be played at 45rpm

side A
A1 - Triptik 2 ........................................................................................................ 5:42
A2 - Mixage Vert .................................................................................................. 3:49
A3 - Maochat ....................................................................................................... 4:40
A4 - Ca Va Lecomte ............................................................................................ 4:52
side B
B1 - BM 37 .......................................................................................................... 1:57
B2 - Interminable Hommage À Zaza ................................................................... 4:41
B3 - Reflexion 2 ................................................................................................... 5:06
B4 - Gaub 71 ....................................................................................................... 8:17

Line-up / Musicians:
Jean Guérin – electric bass, goblet drum [darbouka], electronics [vcs3, generator],
                        percussion, vocals [gloup tenor], drums [electronic]
Bernard Vitet – trumpet [water trumpet]
Jean Paul Rondepierre – trumpet
Philippe Maté – tenor saxophone
Dieter Guévissler – double bass, cello [violon]
Françoise Achard – vocals [gloup vocal]

Fourth in a reissue series of the cult French underground Futura label.
Highly surreal and wonderfully futuristic, “Tacet”, one of the best kept secrets of the Futura catalogue is the soundtrack work of Jean Guérin for Claude Faraldo's anarchic film "BOF, anatomie d’un livreur". This avant-garde psychedelic jazz masterpiece is a blend of abstract vocals, unusual electronics, twisted sound envelopes and nervous brass instruments.
First official vinyl reissue in over 40 years fully licenced by Gérard Teronnès. Easily one of the finest archival discoveries of the year. 
Housed in gatefold jacket, but unfortunately, ______SOLD OUT___

https://www.soufflecontinurecords.com/product/jean-guerin-tacet-ffl009-son04-grey


The French never cease to amaze and confound! Jean Guérin was mostly known as a drummer, appearing on quite a few free jazz sessions. For this, his only solo outing, he set out to make a soundtrack to a film (by Claude Faraldo) called "BOF, anatomie d'un livreur". The soundtrack was released as "Tacet" on the cult Futura label (also known for putting out records by Red Noise, Mahogany Brain, Chene Noir, Jac Berrocal, Bernard Vitet) for the legendary "SON" series. His choice of musicians is absolutely impeccable; notable figures of the French scene like Bernard Vitet and Philippe Maté contribute their talents. Vitet even plays "underwater trumpet"! Guérin himself takes up a lot of instruments, from electric bass to darbouka to VCS3 and sound generators. Overall, "Tacet" is full of strange sounds and even stranger arrangements. Françoise Achard (of Jac Berrocal "Parallels" and Michel Potage "Occupe" fame) contributes wordless vocals to several tracks, and most of the time her voice sounds like another instrument rather than a human being. The use of both contrabass and electric bass on some tracks provides an interesting sound, considering the electric bass is treated to sound nothing like it should (this isn't a bad thing!). It's hard to pick out standout tracks, since this all flows together perfectly and is best experienced all the way through. The first and last tracks, "Triptik 2" and "Gaub 71" respectively, both feature the same fast rhythm (which sounds like a mix of darbouka and primitive drum machine), but otherwise are different entities. "Gaub 71" is the more experimental of the two, with a constantly evolving structure over its eight minutes. "Triptik 2" is punctuated with the trumpets of Jean Paul Rondepierre and Vitet, and Maté contrubutes his saxophone. This is the closest that "Tacet" comes to jazz, as the remaining tracks are pure explorations of sound, somewhere between free jazz and the cosmic explorations of Kluster et al.




The music on "Tacet" is much more closely related to Herbie Hancock´s Mwandishi sextet - not rhythmically but sonically; incidentally, Patrick Gleason participated in the recordings of "Tacet". One can imagine Gleason to have played this recent recording to Herbie Hancock before they went to the studio to record Herbie´s new music. "Tacet" was recorded before Hancock´s Mwandishi albums! It doesn´t make those LPs less spectacular, but somehow it puts things in a different light. I had always thought that Herbie had been the pioneer launching himself and me into a musical parallel universe with "Mwandishi, Crossings" and "Sextant", and nobody followed on that path. Only Miles Davis and Weather Report occasionally recorded some kind of psychedelic Jazz and only for a short time: Miles went silent in ´75 and Weather Report went into fusion and that was that. German psychedelica such as Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh or Klaus Schulze pale into insignificance by comparison to "Tacet". Nothing quite like it - the closest comparison I can come up with is the free-jazz-in-a-reverberating-echo-chamber sound of Sun Ra's "Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy" combined with the extraterrestrial electronic experiments of Pierre Henry, throw in some absurdist vocals, and ... I don't know. It's so odd. But then in all comes together in an entrancing future-primitive vibe, with bubbling water sounds, mysterious echoey effects and hypnotic rhythms (and non-rhythms).........................

If you want truly unique music, this is it! Truly an obscure masterpiece!!!

(Review by V. S.)



If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

GIGER - LENZ - MARRON – Beyond (Någarå – mix 1011 n / LP-1977)




Label: Någarå – mix 1011 n
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Germany / Released: 1977
Style: Jazz, Fusion
Recorded At Biton Studios Frankfurt/M, 1976.
Engineer – Paul-Gerhard Landsiedel
Layout – Irene Giger
Producer – Günther Georgy-Engelhardt, Peter Giger
Distributed By – Mix-Musik
Matrix / Runout (Side A, etched): MIX 1011 A SST
Matrix / Runout (Side B, etched): MIX 1011 B SST

side A
A1 - Beyond   (Marron) ....................................................................................... 8:42
A2 - Quinar   (Giger) ........................................................................................... 5:58
A3 - Flying Wheel   (Marron, Giger) .................................................................... 4:39
side B
B1 - Alyrio   (Giger) ............................................................................................. 5:30
B2 - Antep   (Marron, Lenz, Giger) ..................................................................... 7:39
B3 - Blues For Chaturlal   (Marron, Lenz), Giger) ............................................... 7:10

Personnel:
Peter Giger – drums, percussion
Günter Lenz – double bass, electric bass
Eddy Marron – guitar, baglama [zàz]



In 1976, former Dzyan members drummer Peter Giger and guitarist/zaz player Eddy Marron teamed up with jazz bassist Günter Lenz to record two stellar, but very obscure, jazz oriented records "Beyond" (77) and "Where The Hammer Hangs" (78). The sound is not quite as experimental as Dzyan (what is?) but the group qualify as really well done fusion with some interesting twists with time changes, and different moods conveyed with Marron's tasty guitar, Lenz's probing bass, and Giger's flowery percussion.


To Skye............. I want a pleasant listening..... Enjoy !!!



If you find it, buy this album!

GRUPPO DI IMPROVVISAZIONE NUOVA CONSONANZA – Musica Su Schemi (Cramps Records - 6109/LP-1976)




Label: Cramps Records – CRSLP 6109
Series: nova musicha – n.9
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Italy / Released: 1976
Style: Abstract, Experimental, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Orthophonic Recording Studio, Roma.
Art Direction – Gianni Sassi
Photography By – Roberto Masotti
Engineer – Sergio Marcotulli
Produced by Cooperativa Nuova Intrapresa
Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, etched): CRS-LP 6109 A1
Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, etched): CRS-LP 6109 B2

side A
A1 - Schema 1 .................................................................................................... 8:55
A2 - Schema 2 ................................................................................................... 11:14
side B
B1 - Schema 3 .................................................................................................... 2:30
B2 - Omaggio A Giacinto Scelsi ........................................................................ 16:40

Personnel:
Franco Evangelisti – piano, percussion [various]
Ennio Morricone – trumpet, flute, instruments [various]
Giovanni Piazza – french horn, flute, violin
Antonello Neri – piano, instruments [various]
Giancarlo Schiaffini – trombone, flute
Egisto Macchi – percussion, strings

This group of Italian avant composers from the '60s and '70s created challenging music that sought to define new methods in the compositional process through group improvisation.


Like AMM and Musica Electronica Viva, they came from a background of avant-garde classical music rather than jazz, but embraced the strategies of freeform music that were being explored by both Europeans and Americans. Going a step further, this ensemble employs the techniques of post-World War II classical music, such as the preparation of instruments pioneered by John Cage, as well as the atonality and abrasive percussion that was being explored by Iannis Xenakis in the '60s. The striking trait of this ensemble is in the outlandish and courageous music that it performed, which has aesthetic similarities to the work of Maurucio Kagel and Luigi Nono in that it exploits the peculiarities of both sound and strategy. Furthermore, legendary Italian soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone was breaking ground as a member of this critical ensemble. With a membership that revolved, the group was most prominently a house for the experiments of Franco Evangelisti and Mario Bertoncini.




This LP reissue is debatably the best document of this ensemble following the rediscovery of late-20th century classical music's many diversions. This is a vital document in the history of avant-garde music and, like the work of Musica Electronica Viva and AMM, it sounds absolutely new even 40 years after the fact.

(Review by Dean McFarlane, AllMusic)



If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, September 3, 2018

CORNELIUS CARDEW + THE SCRATCH ORCHESTRA – The Great Learning (1971)




Label: Deutsche Grammophon – 2538 216
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: UK / Released: 1971
This LP, released in Germany, was also available as part of the six LP box set 'Avantgarde Vol.4' on Deutsche Grammophon, catalog number – 2561 107.
Style: Post-Modern, Avant-garde
Recorded at Chappell Studios, London, on February 15/16, 1971. Composed in 1969.
Design – Erich Lethgau
Engineer – John Timperley
Musical Assistance [Musical Advisor] – John White
Producer – Karl Faust
Producer [Assistant] – Richard V. Hill
Orchestra – The Scratch Orchestra
Composed By, Conductor, Liner Notes – Cornelius Cardew
Printed in Germany by Gebrüder Jänecke, Hannover
Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, stamped): 1 ℗ 1971 UK 2538 216 / 2561 107 S1-A
Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, stamped): 1 ℗ 1971 UK 2538 216 / 2561 107 S2-B

Side A
A - Paragraph 2 ................................................................................................... 21:45
Side B
B - Paragraph 7 ................................................................................................... 20:30

Performers:
CORNELIUS CARDEW – conductor
and
THE SCRATCH ORCHESTRA

Though David Jackman is not mentioned anywhere on the sleeve, he was an active member of the Scratch Orchestra at this point and is probably one of the massed singers. Some of the other members mentioned in the liner notes are: John Tillbury, Gavin Bryars, Michael Parsons, Howard Skempton, Michael Chant, Christopher Hobbs, and Hugh Shrapnel - each of who recruited friends, family and students to swell the ranks.
Paragraph 2
Cornelius Cardew composed experimental works for each of the seven paragraphs of The Great Learning by Confucius (translated into English by Ezra Pound). Each piece is for different instrumentation. Paragraph 2, for drums and voices: groups were situated around outdoor arcade, each group consisting of one drummer and a number of singers. The drummers play through twenty-six rhythms, in any order each chooses, while the associated vocalists sing the text from Confucius on notes that evolve slowly, timing their entrance to the downbeat of their particular drummer. Each group is autonomous, and each performance unique.
Paragraph 7
Paragraph 7 is less raucous than Paragraph 2, being for singers only. Each singer chooses a pitch to begin, and sings the first line ("If"—see the score below) softly eight times, each time for the length of a breath. Then she moves around the space, listening to other singers, until hearing a new pitch of her choice, at which time she sings the second line ("the root", five times) on that pitch. Everyone progresses through the piece this way, as a cloud of pitches gradually coalesces into several clusters. The audience moves throughout the space, similarly to the singers, so the piece is a locomotive and auditory kaleidoscope.

Consider this statement of Morton Feldman in 1966: “Any direction modern music will take in England will come about only through Cardew, because of him, by way of him. If the new ideas in music are felt today as a movement in England, it’s because he acts as a moral force, a moral centre” (quoted by Michael Nyman in Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, 115).

Cornelius Cardew

Born in England in1931, Cardew became involved on the continental music scene during the late the 1950's, years that marked the consolidation of the postwar avant-garde’s achievement. Cardew worked with Stockhausen from 1956 to 1960, serving as the composer’s assistant in the production of Carre, and was associated with Cage for fully a decade (1958-68). As a performer, writer, and organizer of concerts, Cardew actively promoted the music of these and other adventurous composers, including Pierre Boulez, Christian Wolff, and Terry Riley. Cardew thus established his credentials as an experimental music professional during these years, yet that very professionalism eventually struck him as problematic: Cardew viewed contemporary music increasingly as the occupation of a highly trained elite, completely removed from the experience of the general public. Dissatisfied with this situation for both musical and political reasons (Cardew had become active in leftist politics at this time), Cardew became interested in music that could bridge the gap between amateurs and professionals. Cardew’s compositional response to this challenge during the years 1963-67 was Treatise: a graphic score of nearly 200 pages. Experimental composers such as Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown had been using graphic scores for years, but Cardew’s was different: he provided no instructions for interpretation of the images. The performer is presented with page after page of complex combinations of circles, lines, squares, triangles, and their derivatives, yet no instrumentation is specified, nor is the relationship of the images to pitch or rhythm in any way explained. The performers of Treatise must study the images and realize them through improvisation or in fully-notated compositions. Writing some years later in his Treatise Handbook, Cardew stated his intention [“Each player interprets the score according to his own acumen and sensibility. He may be guided by many things—by the internal structure of the score itself, by his personal experience of music-making, by reference to the various traditions growing up around this or other indeterminate works, by the action of the other musicians working on the piece, and—failing these—by conversation with the composer during rehearsal. (Treatise Handbook, Edition Peters, 1971, xii)]. Treatise is perhaps best regarded less as a composition than as a stimulus to composition.



In its breadth, complexity, and rigor, Treatise was an enormous achievement, yet it did not lead to a subsequent series of graphic works. Instead, Cardew sought to create music that not only was accessible to amateurs, but that could be performed by large groups of people. Part of the solution, Cardew believed, was to establish a community of performers, a community that embraced individuals of varied talents and backgrounds who would approach music-making in a collective manner. This was the impetus behind The Scratch Orchestra, the focus of Cardew’s activities in London during the years 1969-72. As described in “A Scratch Orchestra: draft constitution” (Cardew, Scratch Music, 10-11) the ensemble of professional and nonprofessional musicians engaged in improvisation rites, “scratch music” (structured improvisation), popular classics (traditional works, freely adapted from memory by the performers at hand), composition, and research projects. Since most of this music was improvised to some extent and was not recorded, it has faded from memory. The notable exception is The Great Learning, Cardew’s monumental setting of a text by Confucius. If Treatise stands as Cardew’s major composition of the 1963-66, The Great Learning is his masterwork of the Scratch Orchestra period.

(Stephen Miles: Notes on Cornelius Cardew)



If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, August 27, 2018

MAURICIO KAGEL – Exotica (Deutsche Grammophon – 2530 251 / LP-1972)




Label: Deutsche Grammophon – 2530 251
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Germany / Released: 1972
Style: Post-Modern, Contemporary
Recorded in Munich, Germany, Polydor Studio, 22.-26.3.1972.
Artwork by – Mauricio Kagel
Photography – Zoltan Nagy
Engineer – Klaus Hiemann
Producer – Dr. Rudolf Werner
Recording Supervisor – Hansjoachim Reiser
Liner Notes – Dietmar Ströbel, Mauricio Kagel
Matrix / Runout (Side A): 1 ℗ 1972 G 00 2530 251=3 S1
Matrix / Runout (Side B): 2 ℗ 1972 G 00 2530 251=2 S2

Side A
A - Exotica – I ........................................................................................................ 26:31
Side B
B - Exotica – II ....................................................................................................... 23:20

Leader, composer:
MAURICIO KAGEL
Performers:
MICHEL PORTAL, VINKO GLOBOKAR, SIEGFRIED PALM, THEODOR ROSS, WILHELM BRUCK, CHRISTOPH CASKEL

Gatefold cover with 4 pages booklet tacked into centerfold, both showing liner notes and photographs.
Packaging text in German, English and French.
Some 200 instruments were used, from almost all (non-European) parts of the world, made available from the Instrument Collection of the Munich Stadtmuseum, from the Otoia Collection and the Olympic Committee in Munich, Germany, from the "Institut Fondamental D'Afrique Noire" of Dakar University, by Dr. Ramon Pelinski and Rolf Miehler, by the composer, and by the performers themselves. 


non Occidental instrument

“I have always had the desire to compose a work where the essential condition for each performer lies not in the fact of playing the instrument which they have trained with for years, but an instrument for which they do not possess the technical skills (with full orchestra, the realization of this principle would lead to inconceivable sound effects: a major part of this imperfect result could resemble a perfect interpretation of contemporary music; On the other hand, this work would also call to question the technical skills of the performers, so that with dismay and panic, perhaps somewhat tinged with irony and enjoyment, they would invent original music.) Conventional musicians would most certainly not be thrilled with such a piece. But others?”  — Mauricio Kagel, 1972 (translated from the original text).
Composed during 1971 and 1972, Exotica presents the peculiarity of having been written for extra-European instruments and voice: “a dominant place is reserved for song […]. It is exactly this possibility to sing that seems essential to me; because contrary to the musical practice of other continents, it was systematically rejected by European serious music.”
The work leaves all freedom for the instrumentarium choice up to the interpreters as well as the selection and organization of the various sections. However, the work lacks the elements of a continuous improvisation and, even when the musical indications consist of the imitation of certain musical parameters regarding a recorded medium, the duration of the interventions of every instrumentalist, the parameters of imitation to retain the quality (from ‘most faithful’ to ‘most incorrect’) remain noted with the greatest precision.




What relationship then prevails between the source of inspiration — the vast cultural heritage of traditional oral music — and the writing of the work? Kagel responds: “in Exotica, my desire was not to incorporate modes, notes and exotic rhythms in a learned way, on the contrary I sought the wild, natural, raw state. […] with Exotica, we are continually suspended over an exalting abyss, which has nothing to do with ethnic music, nor with standard combinations of contemporary music.” In fact, the score often gives the impression of being a transcription familiar to an ethnomusicologist, but a transcription of a particular kind: That of traditional music which the unpredictable imagination of the composer would have reconstituted, where the theatrical spirit and the humor compete in a spirit of musical inventiveness.
Furthermore: “those listening to this piece will also be confronted with a sound world which they doubtless will have difficulty in placing. Does it parody Asian, African or Oriental music? Or are we obviously in the presence of stylistic imitations intended only to slightly blur the intangibility, the aura and the characteristics of the original? Does the resulting music ring of the “exotic” because it was remodelled by a Western composer’s pen? Or, going still further, because the instruments are so typified, that no typically Western music is emitted? Each of these questions deserves answers both diverse and elaborate.” In fact it calls into question our relationship with “other” music and more generally, music’s universality. Laurent Aubert summarizes this questioning in the following way: “our discovery of the music of the “other,” is experiential, a transcultural individual experience from person to person where the perception of otherness becomes secretly entwined with our own sensibilities towards otherness. Listening also contributes to the transformation of the object by imposing new paradigms. We are left to consider a new approach towards notions such as universality or otherness: indeed, if, as it is often said, the music is a universal language, what music are we referring to, when and under which conditions is it considered universal?” (Laurent Aubert: La musique de l’Autre, Georg éditeur, Genève, 2001.)



Now, 46 years after the composition of Exotica, when the question of interculturalism and its implications are at the forefront of the media, this interrogation retains all of its relevance. From naive fascination to patronizing caricature, Exotica stages the vast distorted mirror of our world perception, inviting the public to journey to the borders of the construction of musical identity.

Fabrice Marandola [English translation: Peggy Niloff]



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