Monday, February 1, 2021

MICHEL REDOLFI / ANDRÉ JAUME – Hardscore (Côte D'Azur / LP-1981...?)




Label: Côte D'Azur ‎– CDA 02
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: France / Released: 1981
Style: Free Jazz, Musique Concrète, Experimental
Recorded and Mixed by Michel Redolfi in Marseille at GMEM Studios.
Artwork / Re-Design By [Cover Design] – V. Salvarica
Photography – Bragoni, Canavaggio, Pajot
Recorded By, Mixed By – Michel Redolfi
Producer – Philippe Conrath
Executive Producer – D. Buscail, Ph. Caviglio
Composed By – André Jaume / Michel Redolfi
Matrix / Runout (Side A): CDA 02 A- I
Matrix / Runout (Side B): CDA 02 B-II

side 1
A1 - André Jaume – Cupabia .................................................................................. 10:15
                                  part 1 Asciuma
                                  part 2 Ventitellu
                                  part 3 Timporale

A2 - André Jaume – Opalescence ........................................................................... 4:45
A3 - André Jaume – Ballade Pour Hector ................................................................ 4:42

side 2
B1 - Michel Redolfi – Naissance Et Agonie De Ma Lampe De Chevet .................... 9:45
B2 - Michel Redolfi – Hardscore ............................................................................. 10:37
                                   (text by – Lanie Goodman)

Personnel:
André Jaume – bass larinet / tenor saxophone
Michel Redolfi – synthesizer [synclavier digital synthesizer]
Jean-Marc Montera – guitar
Jacques Diennet – keyboards
Frank Royon Le Mée – vocals

Much more known for his aquatic electroacoustic environments including albums for that genre's landmark Ina/GRM imprint, it seems Michel Redolfi's association with the largely free music-focused imprint Hat Hut which issued his first album had the knock-on effect of bringing him together with both sax and clarinet improvisor Jaume (whose CV includes recordings with Joe Mcphee, Raymond Boni and Charlie Mariano) and the passel of improvisors more readily associated with the label during the early 80's, including guitarist Marc Montera and second keyboardist Jacques Diennet, who'd later join forces again for Diennet's 1987 Hat Hut-issued LP boxset Mante, though Hardscore itself wasn't actually issued on that label.



Jaume's compositions comprise side A, Redolfi's side B, though both appear throughout. The Jaume-penned outing on side A is splendid: a rambunctious and splutteringly digestive cartoonish sound clash akin to that deployed by the Un Drame Musical Instantane/GRRR crew that pits Jaume's bass clarinet and tenor sax against playfully gurgling atmospheres from Redolfi which are then cross-hatched and perforated by the fits and spits emitted from guitarist Jean-Marc Montera, second keyboardist Jacques Diennet and vocalist Frank Royon Le Mee. Redolfi's two B-side compositions are things of confounding beauty, stepping away from his understood identity far more than the surges of Michel Waisvisz-like free synth splatter that be brings to bear on Jaume behalf on the A Side. On Naissance Et Agonie De Ma Lampe De Chevet, Redolfi sticks to a background scrim of droning coloration while Frank Royon Le Mee and Jaume use clarinets, sax, delicate acoustic guitar and and vocals of bird-like delicacy and sensitivity to evoke a ritualistic summoning on the spirits, while the title track teases a candy floss of atonal synthetic unguent around Jaume's moist emissions 'til they both explode in a polyphonically saturated and tonally ripe burst of synthetically smeared sax love.

(Review By VDOANDSOUND)


This two-part suite is actually a hidden gem of rogue Acoustic-Electronic interplay & tight, blocky Concrète moves, heavily featuring Redolfi's Synclavier interjections.



If you find it, buy this album!

"A" TRIO and AMM ‎– AAMM (Unrock ‎– UnrockLP012 / LP-2018 + 7" Single)




Label: Unrock ‎– UnrockLP012
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album + Vinyl, 7", Single / Limited Edition
Country: Netherlands / Released: 15 May 2018
Style: Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
Recorded by Andreas Pysiewicz at St. Elisabeth Kirche, Berlin on August 27, 2015 in the context of DAAD's Mikromusik Festival
Artwork, Design – Mazen Kerbaj
Mixed abd Mastered By – Fadi Tabbal, Peter Koerfer at Tunefork Studios, Beirut, Lebanon
Producer [Produced By] – Al Maslakh
Recorded By – Andreas Pysiewicz
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched): UNROCKLP012 - I
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched): UNROCKLP012 - II

side 1
A - Unholy Elisabeth (Part 1) ................................................................................... 20:34

side 2
B - Unholy Elisabeth (Part 2) ................................................................................... 21:26

AMM:
Eddie 
Prévost – percussion
John Tilbury – piano

“A” TRIO:
Mazen Kerbaj – trumpet
Sharif Sehnaoui – acoustic guitar
Raed Yassin – double bass

All music improvised by Kerbaj, Prevost, Sehnaoui, Tilbury & Yassin.
No cuts, no overdubs, no use of electronics.


I always see an album cover as an extension of the album itself; the artists intentionally chose a visual component that they wanted to represent their music. When I look at this cover I think of the moon, cave paintings, and plants cells all packed together. All of these images are ancient, organic and an important part of our humanity. The Lebanese "A" Trio and now AMM duo team up in a release that channels that long-lasting energy. The "A" Trio is a group that is composed of Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Sharif Sehnaoui on acoustic guitar, and Raed Yassin on double bass. The AMM, now being sustained by veterans Eddie Prévost and John Tilbury, serve as partial mentors to the young improvisers. But thankfully this live recording is not just an example of a master-apprentice relationship, rather it's the joining of two different worlds through the power of improvised music. Tilbury and Prévost serve as a sort of enhanced rhythm section that provides a lot of interesting moments, yet the "A" Trio actually supplies the most flavor and substance throughout the whole piece. This isn't to discredit AMM; they perform fantastically, and I think they really bolster the performance of the other players. There's a real sense of cohesion and fluidity that is brought by these two clashing worlds, the East and West. Just recently released, this performance was over three years ago, completed without any cuts, overdubs, or use of electronics. This just provides further emphasis on the improvisational method of these musicians and helps us understand the development of their music in the moment.

The beginning minutes of "Unholy Elisabeth" are evocative of a quiet night, with the full moon shining down and rain drops falling from leaves above. Tilbury's piano playing is soft and melodic, almost like nature's own improvised nursery rhyme. The general calmness of the music during this introduction can be viewed as either the calm before the storm, or the silent aftermath. Either way, one's anxiety can build up as only the sterile scraping of guitar strings is present. As more musicians join in the tension can truly be felt, while each instrument adds a vital layer to the music that are like gusts of wind felt on the ground and through the branches. During the first quarter of this fifty-one minute piece my attention was almost solely focused Tilbury's serene notes cutting through. The AMM members provide the most obvious instrumentation and sounds, but it may be hard at times to distinguish what instrument is being played. More accurately which instrument is being tested and operated on. The bowed bass is the framework on which all other sounds are being added onto, and there sure are a lot of sounds. I prefer the duos or trio sections within the piece that pop up; a few elements that serve as a playful back-and-forth between musicians. This facet, along with the organic nature of the instruments, makes for a very wild and raw exposition of sound.




Mazen Kerbaj's trumpet is one of the most versatile instruments in the group; acting as a bubbling bog or a pleading prayer voice. The trumpet represents the human relationship with nature. We are always at its mercy but our connection to it is stronger than we think. The pauses in music and return to silence helps clear the mind and allows starting points that flesh out new ideas. Prévost's percussion style is scattered and muted to a degree, it's a hint at something sinister and underlying. About thirty-five minutes in, this playing is joined with steely strings and a beat which seems to be either finger tapping or airy breathing out of the trumpet. The trumpet exposes itself anyways and suddenly goes silent, only starting again with Tilbury's habitual peaceful playing. Kerbaj's playing turns into a true cry for help, an exasperated groan that is a last-ditch effort for an answer. Sharif Sehnaoui's guitar picking is pretty absent until near the end where he enters a mostly duo setting with Tilbury, as the vibrating trumpet serves as the background. Sehnaoui's playing is dusty and in an Eastern style, drawn out notes that sound like they've traveled across miles of sand dunes just to reach your ears. The trumpet moves forward and then everyone else joins in for one last burst of energy, just before dissipating into blowing sand...




Label: Unrock ‎– UnrockLP012 single
Format: Vinyl, 7", Single / Limited Edition
Recorded by Andreas Pysiewicz at St. Elisabeth Kirche, Berlin on August 27, 2015 in the context of DAAD's Mikromusik Festival
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched): UNROCKLP012 – I single
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched): UNROCKLP012 – II single

single / side A
C - In The House Of No Lord (Part1) ........................................................................ 5:54

single / side B
D - In The House Of No Lord (Part 2) ....................................................................... 3:19

All music improvised by Kerbaj, Prevost, Sehnaoui, Tilbury & Yassin.
No cuts, no overdubs, no use of electronics.


This uninterrupted live story is surely an adventurous treat, not only for the ears but for the mind. A prehistorical narrative is formed, concerning all humans and pointed towards the world around us. Including all the turmoil and peace that finds its way into our lives. It's puzzling as to why this was just released; either way it's an important release in the AMM catalog and a kindling agent to check out the rest of "A" Trio's releases. There's no doubt that a certain amount of clout is given to this release due to the inclusion of the AMM but besides the memorable playing of its members there is still a lot to absorb. Even in its improvisational style the "A" Trio brings it's Middle Eastern and Arabic music influences into the mix. There are hints of these melodies and playing styles that are projected onto their western instruments. It adheres quite well with the playing of Prévost and Tilbury, to assist in creating a unique and interesting addition to the AMM discography. It's not as harsh as some might expect, and I might even recommend this as a starting point for someone looking to peep into the AMM catalog. I wish more collaborations like this would occur; people of completely different backgrounds coming together through similar medium in order to create compassionate, natural music.

(Review By Kian Banihashemi / The Free Jazz Collective)



If you find it, buy this album!

JAN BERAN – Aniseikonia - Zeitsplitter - 4 Etüden (Bison ‎– BIS LP 010 / LP-1986)



Label: Bison Records ‎– BIS LP 010
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Switzerland / Released: 1986
Style: Avant-garde, Electronic
Recorded and Mixed at Tonstudio WETTER Winterthur, Switzerland, 1985.
Artwork By [Titelbild] – Maria Schüppen
Lacquer Cut By – SONDEREGGER
Mastered At – Tonstudio Rico Sonderegger
Distributed By – H.O.E. Zürich CH
Matrix / Runout (On Label): BISL P010
Matrix / Runout (Runout side A): LP BISP 010 A SWISS MADE [Crossbow logo]
Matrix / Runout (Runout side B): BISL P 010 B2 SWISS MADE [Crossbow logo]

side 1
A1 - Aniseikonia ....................................................................................................... 19:10
A2 - Etüde Nr. 1 ......................................................................................................... 2:15
A3 - Etüde Nr. 2 ......................................................................................................... 5:36

side 2
B1 - Etüde Nr. 3 ......................................................................................................... 3:24
B2 - Etüde Nr. 4 ......................................................................................................... 5:10
B3 - Zeitsplitter1 ....................................................................................................... 14:10

JAN BERAN – electronics

The devices used for the composition:
Yamaha DX 7, Yamaha TX 816, Oberheim Expander
Yamaha RX 11, Yamaha QX 1, Yamaha CX 5




Warped, asynchronous, mid-80s FM Synthesis assemblages, captured at the absolute cusp of the Analogue-Digital transition, from Czech-Swiss Composer Jan Beran.
But ah, the times, the times. After a few careful listens & a decade+ of consistently softened sensibilities I've relented..... I give you a multitude of small sounds, 6-operator particles, each with their own distinct trajectories. I get why this was such a mystery to so many that sought it, and how unlike anything from its era, before, or beyond it truly is.
Four short "Etüdes", each with their own personality and timbral spec, bookended by the lengthier "Aniseikonia" & "Zeitsplitter".



If you find it, buy this album!

RUSSELL / KONDO / TURNER – Artless Sky (CAW Records – CAW 001 / LP-1980)




Label: CAW Records – CAW 001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1980
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded live in Luton 19 Oct. 1979 on J.V.C. dummy head & Revox.
Design – Geoff Matthews
Photography By [Back Cover Photos] – Russell, Turner, Kondo
Photography By [Front Cover Photo] – Steve Francis
Composed By [All Compositions] – Russell, Turner, Kondo
Engineer – Tim Powell
Printed By – Senol Printing Ltd.
Pressed By – Nimbus Records Limited
Extra Rare Vinyl LP
Matrix / Runout (Side A Label): CAW 001 A
Matrix / Runout (Side B Label): CAW 001 B

side 1:
A - Artless Sky ......................................................................................................... 23:25

side 2:
B1 - Dear Listeners ................................................................................................... 3:30
B2 - When Crime Becomes An Option ...................................................................... 2:28
B3 - Pies .................................................................................................................... 6:10
B4 - Mounting On The Wind ...................................................................................... 5:02
B5 - Marcel Waves .................................................................................................... 2:59

Personnel:
John RUSSELL – guitar [plectrum]
Toshinori KONDO – trumpet, alto horn, effects [small amp & mutes]
Roger TURNER – drums, percussion

Note:
This album was made by Russell and Turner’s own label, CAW Records (not to be confused with Caw Records, no matter what Discogs claims).

In memory of the great guitarist John Russell (19 December 1954 - 18 January 2021)

It was German saxophonist Stefan Keune who told me in March 2020 that John Russell was dying of cancer and that he - depending on how well chemotherapy worked - didn’t know how long he would live. Now, the great British guitarist has passed away.

John Russell began to play in and around London from 1971 onwards. He soon connected with the emerging free improvisation scene and became a student of Derek Bailey's. Although he was obviously influenced by the legendary guitarist, Russell found his unique musical personality, he was highly abstract and unpredictable. Or, as my colleague Stuart Broomer once put it: “Where Bailey disrupted the idiomatic gesture, Russell sometimes invokes it; where Bailey practiced discontinuity, Russell can create alternative order“. Sometimes his improvisations seemed to resonate blues or swing patterns, but Russell used them extraordinarily freely, as if they had been carried by a gust of wind and moved on immediately. Another distinctive feature has to do with his instrument, a 1936 Zenith archtop acoustic guitar. It’s an unamplified but loud instrument, which was often used by swing band guitarists, who needed to compete with the brass section. This instrument allowed him to make use of harmonics in a genuinely significant way.



John Russell has played with almost everyone who’s important in the worldwide improv scene and his work can be heard on many albums. There’s a lot of his music which is really to be recommended, starting with his trio album Artless Sky (Caw Records, 1980) featuring Toshinori Kondo on trumpet and his longtime collaborator Roger Turner on drums. The album I became aware of him for the first time was News From The Shed (Acta, 1987) with John Butcher (sax), Phil Durant (violin, electronics), Radu Malfatti (trombone) and Paul Lovens (drums), a real masterpiece of improvised music, maybe the best FMP album which was never released on the seminal German label. London Air Lift (FMP, 1991) with Evan Parker (sax), John Edwards (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) must be mentioned here, as well as his duos with Stefan Keune. Recently Stuart Broomer has reviewed Nothing Particularly Horrible (FMR, 2019) enthusiastically, another collaboration with Keune, Lovens and bassist Hans Schneider.

However, Russell was more than just a musician. In 1981, he founded Quaqua, a large bank of improvisers put together in different combinations for specific projects and in 1991 he started Mopomoso, which has become the UK’s longest running concert series featuring mainly improvised music.

A true gentleman, a master of subtlety, an excellent musician has left the stage. He will truly be missed.

(By Martin Schray / The Free Jazz Collective)


Note:
Downloading this album you also get the complete issue of EARTRIP Magazine No. 4 in which you can read a great interview with John Russell.



If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

YUJI TAKAHASHI – Seasons (ALM Records ‎– AL-14 / LP-1977)




Label: ALM Records ‎– AL-14
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Japan / Released: 1977
Style: Post-Modern, Avant-garde, Experimental
Live concert "Yuji Takahashi plays J.S. Bach & J. Cage", May 30. 1974.
Art Direction – Nobukage Torii
Artwork – Tatsuya Yamaguchi
Engineer – Kousaku Urano
Other [Concert Planner, Promoter] – Tost
Producer – Yukio Kojima
Composed By – J.S. Bach (tracks: B2), John Cage (tracks: A1 to B1)
Comes with insert in japanese language.
Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, stamped): AL-14-A 1S 2
Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, stamped): AL-14-B 1S 2

side 1:
A1 - (John Cage) - Cheap Imitation [Excerpts] ......................................................... 6:40
A2 – (John Cage) - Metamorphosis ........................................................................ 16:43

side 2:
B1 - (John Cage) - The Seasons, Ballet In One Act ................................................ 15:26
B2 - (J.S. Bach) - Toccata No. 2 In C-Minor BWV911 .............................................. 11:12

YUJI TAKAHASHI – piano

Cheap Imitation written in 1969.
Metamorphosis written in 1938.
The Seasons, Ballet In One Act written in 1947.

All pieces recorded from the live concert "Yuji Takahashi plays J.S. Bach & J. Cage", May 30. 1974.




Note:
Track B1 - The Seasons, Ballet In One Act, is stated on both the back cover and the label to last 14:40, however, the actual duration is 15:26. 



If you find it, buy this album!

MASAHIKO TOGASHI – Voice From Yonder (Denon ‎– YX-7519-ND / LP-1978)




Label: Denon ‎– YX-7519-ND
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Japan / Released: Jul 1978
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on 2-3 February 1978, at Nippon Columbia's 1st Studio, Tokyo.
Japanese Original Press
Illustration [Cover] – Shozo Shinoda
Design [Cover] – Sign
Engineer – Masao Hayashi
Recording Supervisor – Yoshiharu Kawaguchi
Translated By [Poems] – Tom Oshidari
Composed By – Masahiko Togashi
Matrix / Runout (Side A, etched): YX-7519-ND – A
Matrix / Runout (Side B, etched): YX-7519-ND – B

side 1:
A1 - Voice From Yonder .......................................................................................... 13:40
A2 - Silence ............................................................................................................... 2:20
A3 - Welcome ............................................................................................................ 3:01

side 2:
B1 - Travelers .......................................................................................................... 12:13
B2 - It's Time ............................................................................................................. 3:34
B3 - Farewell ............................................................................................................. 2:35

Personnel:
Masahiko Togashi – percussion
Yoshiaki Fujikawa – reed, percussion
Takashi Kako – piano, percussion
Keiki Midorikawa – bass, cello, percussion

Note:
Recorded on 2-3 February 1978.
Production date on the record label says June 1978.
Production date on the sleeve says July 1978.
Liner notes (Japanese) written in May 1978.
Backside of the sleeve listed Personel as Masahiko Togashi Quartet. The album however is published with Masahiko Togashi as artist.

Masahiko Togashi (富樫 雅彦, Togashi Masahiko), March 22, 1940, Tokyo - August 22, 2007, Kanagawa) was a Japanese jazz percussionist and composer.




Togashi grew up in a musical household; his father was a double-bassist in a swing jazz ensemble, and Togashi learned violin and drums, playing the latter in his father's band. He worked with Sadao Watanabe, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Tony Scott in the 1950s, then founded the ensemble Jazz Academy in 1961 with Hideto Kanai, Masabumi Kikuchi, and Masayuki Takayanagi. He was an early free jazz leader in Japan, playing in this idiom with Yosuke Yamashita and performing with American musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, and Sonny Rollins on Japanese tours.

Togashi lost the use of his legs in an accident in 1969, and designed a new kit that would allow him to continue playing. Togashi’s technical expertise on a wide range of percussion instruments allows him to introduce into his performances telling effects that add intriguingly exotic undertones.
Later associations included performing or recording with Paul Bley, Don Cherry, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Steve Lacy, Gary Peacock, Masahiko Sato, and Yuji Takahashi. 



If you find it, buy this album!

MASAHIKO TOGASHI & MASAYUKI TAKAYANAGI – Pulsation (LP-1983)




Label: Paddle Wheel ‎– K28P 6244
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Japan / Released: 1983
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
A live performance: Masahiko Togashi Zojoji Concert No.13.
Recorded May 27, 1983 at Zojoji Hall, Tokyo.
Artwork – Masahiko Togashi
Photography By – Mieko Togashi, Tatsuo Minami, Toshihiro Asakura
Engineer – Hatsuro Takanami
Engineer [Assistant] – Seiji Kaneko
Mastered By – Akira Makino
Liner Notes [in Japanese] – Toshihiko Shimizu
Producer – Motohiko Takawa
Composed By – Masahiko Togashi
Manufactured By – King Record Co. Ltd
Matrix / Runout (Side A label): K28P 6244 A
Matrix / Runout (Side B label): K28P 6244 B

side 1:
A - Inner Pulsation ................................................................................................... 22:05

side 2:
B - Outer Pulsation .................................................................................................. 22:47

Personnel:
Masahiko Togashi – percussion, pearl drums 
Masayuki Takayanagi – guitar, Ren Hayashi's sound effecters


Virtually unnoticed in the West, the Japanese free jazz scene in the 1970s was bursting with creativity. The musicians shared a strong sense of adventure, as they welcomed the developments of creative music and free improvisation from USA and Europe while trying to find their own voice with a completely personal approach to improvised music. One of the main protagonists of that season was Masayuki Takayanagi, a strikingly original guitarist and musical thinker with a strong passion for both mainstream jazz and extreme noise. A generation younger but equally important was Masahiko Togashi, a drummer that, also due to an accident that forced him on a wheelchair after 1970, developed a unique approach to drums and percussions, using silence as an integral part of music making.

Originally released by Paddle Wheel in 1983, Pulsation documents a live concert at Zojoji Hall in Tokyo, and is the first record Togashi and Takayanagi made as a duo, even if they had worked together since the 1960s. The record is divided in two tracks ("Inner Pulsation" and "Outer Pulsation"), each one about 22 minutes in length, mirroring the original LP sides. The performance can be regarded as a single piece though, with a clearly symmetrical structure, even if the musicians cover much musical ground over the course of the album. The opening and closing sections are reserved to Togashi, that alternates between deeply resonating gongs and a relentless activity on the toms. Takayanagi enters the picture with sparse scratching sounds, slowly building an intense dialogue with the drummer, moving through a series of sections characterized by different approaches to both acoustic and electric guitars, with bowed strings, fast arpeggios, rumbling drones or heavily filtered electronic sounds, often opting to treat the guitar as an object to be manipulated more than a proper musical instrument. Throughout the performance Togashi tries different colors on the drum kit, adding bells, chains, shakers and tin cans, always returning to the toms in a mostly arhythmic percussive activity that maintains an intriguing, almost ritualistic dimension.




The extreme abstractness of the music guarantees many possibilities, but the main themes here are pure sound and space, investigated through a massive use of silence, ever-changing dynamics and slow structural developments unfolding with a mysterious musical logic. The improvisational process is always on full display, with the musicians constantly listening and responding to each other, and when the music opens up to more readable materials the effect is powerful: a few seconds of melodic statements from the guitar have the impact of a fully formed solo; a couple of minutes of insisting patterns on the drums achieves an almost hypnotic effect.

(Review By Nicola Negri, AAJ) 



If you find it, buy this album!