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Jazz / Free Jazz
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Ballads of a troubadour from Gobi Desert in Central Asia. Wang Xiao was born in Karamay, Xinjiang in 1966. His parents are oil exploration workers. From childhood, he followed his parents to live and grow up in the wilderness of Gobi Desert. In 1989 he quit his oil field job and started traveling as a troubadour. He has lived in Tibet for 10 years and now resides in Yunnan. “In my memory, there is no ‘home’ concept, just keep moving from place to place”.
The album is clearly not “indie city folk”, nor is it “world music”. However, after years of immersion in the vein of Central Asian culture, the influence of traditional music from various Central Asian regions is obvious. The whole album is dark and deep, like the rocks in the desert. The occasional overtone singing plays well with the dombra tone, the musician is seeking the divine nature of the universe. “Folk singers in the past were poets and sorcerers themselves. They could only sing after divination and sacrifice, or by helping people to predict diseases, fortunes, planting and family affairs. Folk singers should be the ones who atone for the lives.”The symbolic and poetic lyrics are also an important part for the album. With Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava), Edward Sanderson and Josh Feola's help, we included the full Chinese lyrics with English translation, it will help the listener to have a better understanding of Wang Xiao’s music.The album was recorded in the winter of 2007 in Beijing. “At that time, it was just me, Wu Junde and Wu Tun to do this recording. They bought me some wine, we drank them and recorded the album (dombra and vocal) for only two hours, then I went back to Tibet right after.” Wu Junde and Obul added tanbur, mouth harp, more vocals and percussions afterward. “We didn’t feel it’s a very good album at first. The tempo is not always right because we didn’t use a metronome, but as you listened to it for a long time, it was great. It's a record that can't be repeated, because it's made at one go, and it's very straight.”Previously self-published as CDr in 2010, now we reissue this album as a Ten Year Anniversary Edition, with new graphic design and a bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016. All tracks are carefully remastered by our friend Cyril Meysson.“Black Horse River, for me, is my real motherland.” – Wang Xiao“His voice is original, it’s a blend of a shaman and the characteristics of the nomadic people. His way to play dombra is unusual, not with the finger but a plectrum, that makes the music fiercer and more rhythmic. Wang Xiao spent many years in Lhasa, he also put the rhythm of the monks chanting into his music, all these make his works dialoguing with the sun and the earth, it contains the essence from the land and the passing time.” - Zhang Zhi 張智（旅行者樂隊）“I came up with the nickname ‘Folk shaman’. I met Wang Xiao back in 2002-2003, when he was still a rock-n-roll young guy in Shenzhen, but his mental state was like channeling with a shaman or a minstrel. It may have something to do with his life experience, mysterious and unique.” - Wu Junde ---
Music/Lyrics/Vocals: Wang Xiao(Except "Wild Geese" Lyrics by Sa Dao & Wang Xiao, "Cover Song" Original singer Li Shirong, Music/Lyrics by Lei Zhenbang, rearranged by Wang Xiao)Dombra: Wang Xiao (Track 1-10)Guitar: Wu Junde (Track 1)Mouth Harp: Wu Junde (Track 5)Chorus: Wu Junde (Track 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Tanbur: Wu Junde (Track 4,8)Percussions: Obul (Track 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Recorded by Wu Weiyi in Beijing, China, winter 2007, previously self-released in 2010(Except bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016)Remastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2019English lyrics translated by Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava)Proofread by Edward Sanderson & Josh FeolaCover art: Wang Yuanqing, Photography: Li Ming, Design & Layout: ruò tánSpecial thanks to Wu Tun & Wu Junde
Wang Xiao – The Son of Black Horse River (Ten Year Anniversary Edition)
Chinese free improvisation saxophonist / flutist 老丹 Lao Dan's debut saxophone solo album (previously released in cassette format, sold-out) reissue in 6-panel Digipak CD format, with new artwork.
These recordings are from Qinglongdong Tunnel in Hangzhou, China. All natural cave reverbs, the free improvisation of Lao Dan's alto saxophone and the sound of the passengers and the cars were recorded, as every functioning individual."Lao Dan is a monster improviser. I'd never heard of him and I was completely swept away by his powerful playing and concept.""I have this feeling Lao is a soldier that cannot be silenced."Lao Dan is a freelance musician and wind instrument player, who started learning sax at the age of 8 and later turned to Dizi.During 2002 to 2006, he studied dizi in Beijing. In 2007, he was admitted with the highest score to Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), majoring in Dizi. During college, he served as the principal Dizi player of Youth Chinese Orchestra of SYCM.From 2012, he started his research on wind instruments from all over the world, including Jew's harp, Didgeridoo, Bansuri, Bamboo Sax, Duduk, etc. Lao Dan blends his own thoughts into the traditional way of playing Dizi, in which he pays a lot of attention on details of freedom, mood, thought and space. With plenty of performing and recording experience, Lao Dan has been experimenting more on his music since 2014. Based on Dizi and sax, adding various wind instruments and with new elements such as experiment, noise and improvisation, his music has been improved to a more substantial and creative level. He has also been actively cooperating with artists worldwide, including the legendary Japanese drummer Sabu Toyozumi.In 2013, he formed the music group Red Scarf with Deng Boyu and Li Xing, covering a variety of music genres including progressive rock, thrash metal, avant-garde jazz, funk metal and punk rock, and released their eponymous debut album in 2016.In May 2017, Lao Dan finishde recording his first Dizi solo album “Zhui Yun Zhu Meng (追云逐梦)” and it was ready to be released under Modern Sky World Music. In June, he joined a four-country avant-garde saxophone project raised by Japanese label Armageddon Nova, where his own composition “Self-destructive Machine (自毁机器)” is issued.
Lao Dan / alto saxophone, chinese flute
Recorded by 老丹 at Qinglongdong Tunnel, Hangzhou, China23 August & 25 December 2017Mastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2018Photography by 饒依爾 Rao Eer & 若潭 ruò tánTranslation by 呂立揚 Li-YangLayout by 若潭 ruò tán
Lao Dan – Functioning Anomie
An amazing document of the life experiment that was the Organic Music Society. This super quality audio, recorded by RAI (the italian public broadcasting company) in 1976 for television, documents a quartet concert focused on vocals compositions and improvisations. Here, Don Cherry and his family-community’s musical belief emerges in its simplicity, with the desire to merge the knowledge and stimuli gained during numerous travels across the World in a single sound experience.
Don's pocket-trumpet is melted with the beats of the great Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, the Italian guitar of Gian Piero Pramaggiore, and the tanpura drone of Moki. A pure hippie aesthetic, like in an intimate ceremony, filters a magical encounter between Eastern and Western civiliziations, offering different suggestions of sound mysticism: natural acoustics in which individual instruments and voices are part of a wider pan-tribal consciousness.
A desert Western landscape marries Asian and Latin atmospheres. Indigenous contributions with berimbau explorations find fossil sounds of rattles and clap-hands invocations. Influences of Indian mantra singing are combined with eternal African voices or with folkish-Latin guitar rhythms , while flute and drums evoke distant dances. In the Organic Music everything becomes an act of devotion and love, an ecstatic dwell in the dimension of a sacred free-rejoice.
Don Cherry – Om Shanti Om
"Let's get the facts out up front: Lines Burnt in Light is pure insane genius. Evan Parker, for decades a master of the saxophone in various contexts, steps up about three levels on his new solo disc. As the inaugural release on his new Psi label, this is going to be a hard act to follow. Parker insistently pursues a high-level spiritual energy on these three extended improvisations for solo soprano saxophone. And he does not relent. Lines Burnt in Light documents a live performance with no effects or overdubs (apart from the rich acoustics of London's St. Michael and All Angels Church).
Parker wastes no time firing up his engines during the first piece, recorded before the audience's arrival. His playing operates at many levels. At its most literal, the music cycles through a long series of short, high loops. As time moves on, these cycles drift fluidly through musical space, acquiring new elements, leaping up and down, and defining new tonalities. But this music is clearly about much more than the literal. Parker colors his fundamentals with an inexhaustible array of overtones, and it's at this level that these improvisations really come alive. Each note turns furry, spikey, or rounded, depending on how the saxophonist chooses to shape it. The high notes sail through the air with birdlike delicacy, chirps and whistles all about, as if a flock of songbirds have alighted on the microphone.
As the recording proceeds, Parker meets his audience head-on with a similar urgency. While some listeners may find the sheer density and intesity of Lines Burnt in Light daunting, those with open ears and hearts can look forward to over an hour of pure invention and delicacy. The saxophonist's pursuit lies far beyond technical fluency (which he happens to have in great abundance), much as Coltrane aimed for a higher realm. It's this process of transcendence which lifts Lines Burnt in Light to a spectacular zenith of light and sound. Maybe it's the glow of the full moon outside as I listen, but this music provides express transportation to another world." - All About Jazz
Evan Parker – Lines Burnt in Light
Black Truffle’s documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier’s works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross (recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, for whom it was composed, on Black Truffle 033).
Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier’s works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behaviour of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. Titled Arc, for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where Double Helix, for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier’s excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier’s continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work.2CD release presented in a deluxe 4-panel digipak with cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier plus a 16-page booklet with live photos. Disc 2 of this release includes the bonus Adaptions for the Ever Present Orchestra featuring two pieces (“Two Circles” and “Braid”) that are not included on the vinyl version. Mastered by Rashad Becker. Design by Lasse Marhaug.
Alvin Lucier – Works for the Ever Present Orchestra
Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie returns to Black Truffle with Nist-Nah. Like his previous solo record on the label, the abrasive hip-hop concrète of People Pleaser (BT027), Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, this time in a suite of six percussion pieces primarily using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. The music presented here is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. However, far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music, the pieces presented here are equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.Nist-Nah presents a variety of approaches across its six pieces, from the crisp, precise rhythmic complexity of the opening title track to the droning textures of ‘Catlike’ and ‘Elders’. On the epic closing ‘Kebogiro Glendeng’, Guthrie offers an extended, layered rendition of a Javanese piece belonging to a repertoire primarily used for warmups, beginner’s groups and children first learning Gamelan, elegantly gesturing to his own amateur status while using the piece’s insistently repeated melody as an extended exploration of the hypnotic effects of repetition, falling in and out of time with himself to create woozy, narcotic effects until the piece eventually dissolves into a wavering fog.
Will Guthrie – Nist Nah
Continuing Black Truffle’s series of releases documenting the recent work of legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier, String Noise presents three major works for violin solo and duo composed between 2004 and 2019. Lucier has developed his compositions in close collaboration with many instrumentalists over the years; the three works presented here are performed by the violinists for whom they were originally written, Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris, who together make up the innovative violin duo String Noise, and have premiered works by a plethora of major figures in contemporary music. The long-form compositions presented here continue Lucier’s life-long exploration of acoustic phenomena, drawing on aspects of some of his most well-known compositions and extending them into new instrumentation. Tapper (2004) extends the experiments with echolocation – gathering information about an environment by listening to the echoes of sounds produced within it – that Lucier began with his classic 1969 work Vespers, where performers explore a space equipped with hand-held pulse oscillators. Here, the same principle is put into practice for solo violin, the body of which the performer taps repeatedly with the butt end of the bow while moving around the performance space. The result is a subtly shifting web of echoes and resonances produced by the reflection of the sharp tap off the surfaces of the room (in this case, the Drawing Center in New York). In Love Song (2016), two violinists are connected by a long wire stretched between the bridges of their instruments, causing the sounds played on one violin to also be heard through the other. As the two violinists play long tones using only the open E string, they move in a circular motion around the performance space, thus changing the tension of the wire, which creates a remarkable array of variations in pitch and timbre ranging from ghostly wavering pitches reminiscent of a singing saw to near-electronic tones. In Halo (2019), one or more violinists walk slowly through the performance space in a zig-zag pattern while sustaining long tones. As in Tapper, the consistent sound production reveals the sonic properties of the environment. As the title of the piece suggests, the outcome is a shimmering halo of sound produced by the reflection of the violin’s extended tones off the walls and ceiling of the performance space (in this case, Alvin's home).
Alvin Lucier – String Noise
One of the landmark albums in the British avant garde reissued on Evan's psi label. Includes 2 tracks not issued on the LP. Gorgeously reproduced. Monumental set of improvisations between Parker, Bailey, and Bennink, considered by many to be a key recording in the history of improvised music, it brought together three musicians who then continued to develop the genre in the intervening three decades : EVAN PARKER (soprano & tenor saxophones), DEREK BAILEY (guitar) and HAN BENNINK (percussion, etc).
Evan Parker – The Topography of the Lungs (psi edition)
Evan Parker's 1st solo saxophone recording from 1975 with additional FMP recordings from the same year, extreme and amazing improvisations aptly titled "Aerobatics".
Recorded by Martin Davidson in 1975 at the Unity Theatre in London, at that time the preferred concert venue of the Musicans' Co-operative. Further solo material for the original LP release was recorded by Jost Gebers in the FMP studio in Berlin later that year.
Evan Parker – Saxophone Solos
Saltern presents its fifth release, Charles Curtis: Performances & Recordings 1998-2018, the first comprehensive collection of recordings surveying the career of renowned, American cellist Charles Curtis. Selected by Curtis and Tashi Wada from recordings spanning the past two decades, the collection offers a broad, inclusive view of Curtis’s activities across the diverse worlds of music he inhabits, containing rare, unreleased recordings, and never-before-released music by Terry Jennings, Richard Maxfield, Éliane Radigue, Alison Knowles, and Curtis. The wide-ranging scope of this release speaks not to a musical restlessness, but to a genuine spirit of inquiry, as these areas of activity for Curtis have existed concurrently in dialogue, not simply in succession, for decades. Over two hours of music by composers and artists with whom Curtis is closely associated including Éliane Radigue, Guillaume de Machaut, Tobias Hume, Silvestro di Ganassi, Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman, Anton Webern, Olivier Messiaen, Alison Knowles, Richard Maxfield, and Curtis himself.
“Underpinning everything [Curtis] has achieved is a deep communion with, and a profound technical understanding of, the stuff of sound itself.” – Philip Clark, The Wire
Produced by Tashi WadaAdditional mixing by Anthony BurrMastered by Stephan Mathieu
Second edition of 500. Liner notes by La Monte Young, Spencer Gerhardt, Curtis, and Tashi Wada. Custom packaging and screen printing by Alan Sherry.
Charles Curtis – Performances & Recordings 1998-2018
Post-metal sludge avantgarde powerhouse SUMAC around Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom) follow up their collaboration with legendary Japanese guitarist and singer/performer Keiji Haino on Thrill Jockey (American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You are too Hideous to Look at Face on) with another monolith - heavy and experimental at the same time
Keiji Haino / guitar, voice, flute, taepyeongsoAaron Turner / guitarNick Yacyshyn / drumsBrian Cook / bass
KEIJI HAINO + SUMAC – Even for just the briefest moment Keep charging this “expiation” Plug in to make it slightly better
This is a recording of the entire -- nearly three hour -- performance of the great Sun Ra Arkestra, live at Jazzgalerie Nickelsdorf, Austria on March 11th, 1984.
Personnel for this show was Sun Ra (piano, synth, vocals); John Gilmore (tenor saxophone, clarinet, evi, vocals); Marshall Allen (alto saxophone, flute, kora, percussion); Danny Ray Thompson (baritone saxophone, flute, percussion); Eloe Omoe (Leroy Taylor) (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, percussion); James Jackson (basoon, flute, drums, vocals); Ronnie Brown (trumpet); Rollo Radford (standup bass); Don Mumford (drums); Matthew Brown (congas, dance); Myriam Broche (dance); Greg Pratt (dance).
Sun Ra Arkestra – Live in Nickelsdorf 1984
French guitar player Boni teamed up with legendary US jazz-musician McPhee in the early 80s for some intense cooperations and albums (as a duo and as a trio with Andre Jaume).
The complete concert inspired by the words of Eric Dolphy: "When you hear music, After it's over, It's gone, In the air, You can never capture it again."
Joe McPhee / soprano saxophone, electronics and voice
Raymond Boni / Electric guitar and electronics
Recorded at Hulsey Recital Hall on the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) campus. April 20,1985
Joe McPhee & Raymond Boni – Live From The Magic City
"Bassist Joëlle Léandre and pianist Elisabeth Harnik have only been playing together since 2016 but this debut CD – a recording from their third ever performance – reveals a duo who have already developed a highly simpatico and sophisticated approach to spontaneous composition that draws equally on elements of free improvisation and contemporary classical music. Rather than the waxing and waning 40 minute set that presently constitutes a lot of live recordings, there is an adroit attention to form in operation here, as the duo present half a dozen perfectly shaped and finely delineated miniatures, ranging from six to 11 minutes long.
For much of the time, Léandre favours a high, tightly controlled arco full of fragile harmonic overtones that often sounds more like a cello than a double bass. When Harnik responds with pellucid splashes and rippling hazes, the two are capable of creating sustained moods of gentle wonder and delicacy. Léandre adds an element of enigma with her slightly off-mic vocalising: somewhat absent-minded, more overheard than performed, it´s ephemeral, transitory and soothing in its wordless calm, evoking the private musings of a washerwoman at work or a nursing mother cooing her love. One almost feels compelled to lean in and strain the ears, searching for fleeting meaning in her mysterious mutterings.Many of the pieces are so balanced and sensitively executed that they possess a kind of inevitability. Call it perfection if you prefer. By contrast, the more abstract and experimental gambits gleefully ride a puckish unpredictability: the scritch-scratch of agitated piano strings and polystyrene squeak slotting into Léandre´s multiphonic gossamer arco textures; dirge-like dabs of unhurried bass with arachnoid scuttlings in the body of the piano. But, even at its furthest extent, this music emanates a warmth, a patience and, yes, as the title suggests, a tenderness that´s rarely heard." - Ken Vandermark
Elisabeth Harnik / piano
Joëlle Léandre / double bass
Mastered by Jean-Marc Foussat. Artwork by Lasse Marhaug.
Leandre-Harnik – Tender Music
At The Hill Of James Magee presents the duos complete performance at the extraordinary monument "The Hill" in the Chihuahuan Desert in the middle of nowhere in Texas. John Butcher and Joe McPhee had never shared a stage before which ended up being an attentive collaboration, starting with a long duo, alternating solo performances, and closing the atmospheric set with another duo.
"The four solo pieces are advanced clinics in saxophone technique, again supplemented by architecture and wind and weather. Each performer invited the desert into their sound, giving the listener the feel of sand between our toes and the visual of sage brush rolling by." - All About Jazz
Joe McPhee / alto saxophone
John Butcher / tenor saxophone
McPhee, Butcher – At The Hill of James Magee
For the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Machine Gun recordings at the Lila Eule in Bremen, Peter Brötzmann put together a trio with the Berlin pianist, composer Alexander von Schlippenbach and the percussionist Han Bennink, who already sat on the drums 50 years ago. They were so pleased with the music that they decided to release it and continue to play gigs as the trio. Machine Gun was originally recorded in May 1968 by an octet consisting of influential musicians of new jazz and improvised music. The LP was repressed on Cien Fuegos in 2018 (CF 020LP).
Peter Brötzmann / tenor saxophone, b-flat clarinet, tarogato
Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano
Han Bennink / drums
BROTZMANN / SCHLIPPENBACH / BENNINK – Fifty Years After... Live at the Lila Eule 2018
New band from three UK masters of contemporary improvised music – they released a trio cd under this title on Relativ Pitch (NYC) in 2017, now choosing it for their bandname for continuing activities.
Crucial Anatomy is their follow-up album which was recorded live at Cafe OTO in 2018.
"With players of this calibre - all working at the very pinnacle of European improv -- it hardly matters: the level of rapport and collective virtuosity is astonishing." - Jazzwise
"A lucid exposition of how the concept of musical chiefs and leaders becomes an irrelevance to this trio, so much are they as one with a sonic unity, a metaphor for a different kind of society expressed with so much clarity in the realms of free jazz." – Morning Star"
John Butcher / tenor and soprano saxophones
John Edwards / double bass
Mark Sanders / percussion.
Recorded by Shaun Crook, live at Cafe Oto, London on August 8, 2018. Mixed and Mastered by John Butcher.
Crucial Anatomy – Last Dream of the Morning
Japanese free jazz saxophonist Akira Sakata meets with his long-time collaborators Giovanni Di Domenico, Jim O'Rourke and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto to release the second album under their name Bonjintan. It combines contemporary Avantgarde and Free Jazz in a beautiful way.
---Akira Sakata / sax, clarinet, voice
Jim O’Rourke / double bass
Giovanni Di Domenico / piano, hohner pianet
Tatsuhisa Yamamoto / drums
Recorded Jim O'Rourke at Hoshi to Niji Studio, 30th June 2018
BONJINTAN – Dental Kafka