Compact Disc

It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. --- Corbett vs Dempsey, 2021

Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake – Keep Going

Previously released on accompanied by “Gone, Gone Beyond”, “The Mirror” is the dreamy soundtrack of an a/v project from collage artist extraordinaire Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us.With ‘’The Mirror’’ Bennett continues her eternal disassembling of popular music by exploring how the narrative of familiar sounds/songs can change dramatically under a new context, with that context always changing, in a never-ending flow.Each song is singular. And each song is a collage of and undefined number of other songs from other artists. It sounds familiar because that has been the modus operandi of People Like Us since the early 1990s. But “The Mirror” plays with the notion of familiar, driving around a collection of famous pop songs/artists, messing around with the memory of the listener and, of course, his unique comprehension of those specific songs applied in a new context.Because of the use of familiar pop sounds, “The Mirror” is often grandiose. Like an epic film only with highs, never letting the listener down or letting him doubt the power of pop. Even, of course, when the coordinates are twisted, mixed, over or underrepresented. Each moment feels like something that could only happen in a parallel universe. Although that may sound naïve, it’s just a lost thought of reaction to the beautiful collages of People Like Us in “The Mirror”. This mirror doesn’t reflect an image of ourselves or an image of pop. But an image on the way memories drift and are being constant rebuilt. An unfinished collage. 

People Like Us – The Mirror

Imagine yourself as a grape in a Belgian glasshouse, is the theme of this quietly immersive suite conjured by Christina Vantzou (CV) and Lieven Martens (Dolphins Into The Future) for the latter’s Edições CN  The musical component of a broader project incorporating poetic texts and photography, ’Serrisme’ conveys the cyclical experience of table grapes growing in vast glasshouses in the Flemish countryside. It was commissioned by the Flemish Heritage Fund to artfully document a peculiar culture that has existed for around 150 years, and has supplyied sweet little orbs to mouths from Russia to UK and USA.  The grape growing industry there is now a paler shade of what it once was, but the remaining glasshouses offer Vantzou and Martens a rich atmosphere and range of textures to work with. Maybe best known for his tropical dream sequences as Dolphins Into The Future, Lieven Martens plays to his strengths in evocative field recording for the first half, variously placing us under rain on glass and  between snipped vines for a nuanced evocation of the glasshouses’ day-to-day sounds.  Beloved for her work solo, with The Dead Texan and recently with a run of dead strong CV & JAB recordings; Vantzou takes a more impressionistic approach to the subject with two slow burning ‘Glisten’ beauties. Both working around he 10 minute mark, they offer amply room to drift with long, sustained glassy tones encouraging sublime states of mind, with strings and choral touches that suggest a sort of fading glamour of an old world viewed from outside. --- Serrisme is: a musical illustration - by Christina Vantzou, sound registrations - by Lieven Martens, a long poetic text - by Jan Matthé, analogue photographs - by Christophe Piette, and the usual perfect design - by Jeroen Wille. --- Edições CN, 2021

Christina Vantzou, Jan Matthé, Christophe Piette, Lieven Martens – Serrisme

From Lawrence English  "I am ceaselessly fascinated by how memory operates and, I’m regularly struck by how individually subjective a collective experience can be when recalled by its participants. Lynch’s Lost Highway comes to mind here, specifically Bill Pullman’s character Fred Madison who says “I like to remember things my own way. How I remembered them, not necessarily the way they happened.” Like Madison, I can’t help but sense that memory takes shape through an accumulative process that reflects how each of us have lived (and maybe even wanted to live) up to that point in time.  Going back to listen again to these recordings of which I was a part with David and Akio, I was surprised by what elements had stayed with me and what others had slipped into the eternal greying of my mind. I have vivid recollections of listening to a Lyre bird before recording the pieces together at Witches Falls. I remember both Akio and David finding musicality in decaying palm fronds. I remember Akio’s voice, amplified through his Analpos, bouncing off the stones and trees. I remember David’s flute, so quiet in the pitch black of the night forest as to appear like a hushed tone of wind or a distant animal calling. I also remember trying to match my modest hand held electronics with the pulsing and pitching of the insects around me.  Reading David’s text, which is included in the book published alongside this edition, he recounts several things I had forgotten. Conversations about memory, ironically enough, had vanished from my mind until reading his words. I also didn’t really remember my role as tick surgeon, removing a living insect from David’s ear. I do remember his cooking though, as does Akio (captured aptly in his drawings), no doubt a testament to David’s improvisational culinary expertise.  Breathing Spirit Forms represents a distinctive exchange between friends and collaborators. Tamborine commands a special presence and encourages a deep patience from those who are willing to give time to its varied environments. For the three of us, we were fortunate to share these moments together, fleeting in our lives as they might be, to sense the mountain’s unique qualities, to respond to them through our exchanges and to form memories (as disparate as they might be) we carry forward with us in time."

David Toop, Akio Suzuki, Lawrence English – Breathing Spirit Forms

New album on bison from Kumio Kurachi, whos only performance outside of Japan was here back in 2009. "After 11 albums and unknown quantities of cassettes, compilations and split releases, Sound of Turning Earth is the first release outside of Japan for one of the most original figures in Japanese music, Kumio Kurachi. Recorded by Jim O’Rourke at his home studio, Sound of Turning Earth is Kurachi solo on vocals and guitar, mixing surreal lyrics and theatrical vocal personas with unorthodox tunings inspired by Japan’s national instrument, the koto. Lyrically Kurachi draws life from the small events of life, the hira, - the joy of choosing a lipstick in springtime, the business of changing the tatami, raindrops deciding whether to fall as snow. Set to his own brand of progressive folk in the Hirajōshi scale and laced with winding melodies which can be hard to forget, Kurachi maps his own territory for the people who inhabit his everyday. As much a visual artist as a musician, we are pleased to present Sound of Turning Earth in the form of a deluxe CD accompanied by new artwork by Kurachi and full translation of his poetic lyrics. These striking songs speak for a liberated imagination." “The music is so melodious that the mixture of the strange wording, guitar and variations of voices thrives all together and it can haunt you without noticing it, just like the small events of everyday life you can't escape from." - Midori Ogata  --- All songs written by Kumio Kurachi Guitars and vocals by Kumio Kurachi Recorded and mixed by Jim O'Rourke Mastered by Daichi Tokunaga (PLUM) Translation by Midori Ogata Design by Maja Larrson Special thanks to Midori Ogata --- Kumio Kurachi has performed actively in Japan since the 80's, and still plays shows in Fukuoka regularly. Past collaborators include Taku Unami and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. He has played with Tenniscoats, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Katsura Yamauchi, Tori Kudo, Jim O'Rourke and Eiko Ishibashi." 

Kumio Kurachi – Sound of Turning Earth

The latest chapter in the unfolding musical story of Bill Wells finds the Scottish jazz outsider’s compositions played by a trio of tuba players with contributions from young brass players from his adopted hometown of Glasgow.The results, The Viaduct Tuba Trio Plays The Music Of Bill Wells, are alternately ruminative, playful and profound, ranging from the cyclical opener Fanfare For Three Tubas to a mischievous interpretation of The Midges, a comic tribute to the entomological scourge of the Highlands by Scottish singer Kenneth McKellar, and the doleful Chorale 4K before the arresting finale of Stone Throw Dream Anthem. Throughout the record you are reminded of both the power and tenderness of brass instruments – their capacity to astound and reassure, to soothe and tickle.The trio in the title – Antony Hook, Danielle Price and Mark Reynolds – formed in 2018 to perform in the lee of the Glenfinnan Viaduct as part of the Loch Shiel Festival. Built on the West Highland Line and opened in 1901, the 21-span viaduct is nowadays best known for its appearance carrying the Hogwarts Express. Wells contributed three tunes for the performance, including Fanfare For Three Tubas, and composed the remainder after being commissioned by Glasgow’s underground/experimental festival Counterflows as a direct result of the Glenfinnan Viaduct performance. The trio subsequently performed Wells’ tunes in Glasgow with the Gorbals Youth Brass Band, who play on three of the album’s 10 tracks, sharing a bill with a duo featuring Chicago composer, flautist and educator Nicole Mitchell and London-based percussionist Mark Sanders.The Viaduct Tuba Trio Plays The Music Of Bill Wells represents another creative achievement for the prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist, whose output in recent years includes an album for an Estonian indie label (Remixes For Seksound, 2018), the eponymous debut LP by The Sensory Illusions, his guitar-and-tuba duo with Danielle Price (Karaoke Kalk, 2019), and Standards Vol V by his mischievously titled National Jazz Trio of Scotland (Karaoke Kalk, 2019), featuring the voice of Gerard Black (Rozi Plain, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Francois and the Atlas Mountains).Prior to these Bill collaborated with artists including Yo La Tengo, Amy Allison and Syd Straw on Nursery Rhymes (Karaoke Kalk, 2015) and Aidan Moffat on Everything’s Getting Older (2011) and The Most Important Place In The World (2015), both on Chemikal Underground. He has also recorded albums with Jad Fair, Maher Halal Hash Baz and Stefan Schneider of To Rococo Rot among others.The Viaduct Tuba TrioMark Reynolds studied in Glasgow and Munich. During his time there he performed with, among others, the Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Bavarian State Opera and the Munich Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he was appointed principal Tuba of the Royal Philharmonic of Flanders, Belgium and became a founder member of the Ottone Brass Quintet. He has frequently performed as a soloist including performances of the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic of Flanders and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.Rising star Antony Hook was Loch Shiel Festival’s Young Artist for 2018 and currently studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.Supported by the Countess of Munster Trust, Danielle Price studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and graduated with distinction from the Master of Music Course in 2013. She has since enjoyed a versatile career playing in a range of projects and ensembles including Pure Brass Quintet, The Sensory Illusions, Dopey Monkey, Red Note Ensemble, The Old Fountain Jazz Orchestra, New Antonine Brass Quintet (current Live Music Now Scotland artists) besides traditional jazz ensembles The Copper Cats and The Red Hot Rhythm Makers. She has also performed in the bands of Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, Ashley Paul, Bella Hardy and Oxbow, and as an extra musician with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.The Gorbals Youth Brass BandThe band was formed in 2012 in Glasgow to offer local children free instrumental tuition. Each child is provided with a brass instrument and attends weekly lessons and rehearsals. GYBB also attend competitions, masterclasses and concerts.  The Viaduct Tuba Trio Plays The Music Of Bill Wells was recorded at Castle of Doom studios in Glasgow by Tony Doogan, mixed by Bill at Loathsome Reels and mastered by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. The cover art is by longtime collaborator Annabel Wright.

Bill Wells – The Viaduct Tuba Trio Plays The Music Of Bill Wells

Fresh output from John Chantler's 1703 Skivbolaget - the new duo from two masters of very different string instruments. ‘The Air Around Her’ beguiled its audience when recorded live in a bakery at Edition Festival in 2016, and carries beautifully through to this release. Microtonal timbres meet gnarled defiance - the result is surprisingly symbiotic. Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument has been a long-term life-work of incredible ambition and dedication. The result is immediate, exciting and inspirational. Okkyung Lee has completed rewritten the possibilities for the cello in solo and group improvisation whilst maintaining a steadfast defiance to the many attempts to contain her work within pre-defined genres. ‘The Air Around Her’ was recorded on 20 February 2016 during the First Edition Festival for Other Music in Stockholm, Sweden at Kronobageriet — the former bakery to Swedish Royalty that dates back to the 17th Century and is now the site of the city’s Performing Arts Museum. The Edition Festival was given access to the space while renovations took place and Fullman allowed the requisite time to install and tune her long string instrument along the full 26 metre length of the room. --- Music by Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee. Recorded during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016. Concert producer: John Chantler. Recording Engineer: Maria W Horn. Mixed by Ellen Fullman and Thomas Dimuzio. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Artwork by Bill Nace. Made possible in part by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists (2015). The title, "The Air Around Her" is a quote from "Vermeer Interiors" a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book, "Granite Dives". This release has been supported by the Swedish Arts Council. © 2018 Ellen Fullman (BMI) / Okkyung Lee (ASCAP) Released by 1703 Skivbolaget in cooperation with Ideell Edition

Ellen Fullman & Okkyung Lee – The Air Around Her