Almost-Winter 2001 Issue

TUM4                      11/07/2001                            by bhh

Featured Artist:
Worcester, Massachusetts' word-legend - Francis "Woody" Woodbridge 
Zen Guitar (CD) [contact]
Music-as-Path-to-Inner-Peace theorist/guitarist Phil Sudo ('psudo') lifts listeners through six lengthy, and five shorter meditations utilizing the Zen Guitar method. and employing and deploying the substantial talents of salvatore principato and chas schreier on drums; jay wasco on bass; natsuo sudo: shamisen, several vocalists, and the sound of a class at the maui martial arts academy.  Gots a sweeping and Eno-like translation of the Beatles' "tomorrow never knows", and many minutes of swirling, writhing, organic and expansive instrumental structured-improvisation.  Techno influences seem evident, as do spacerock (Hawkwind? AshRa Temple?) allusion.  Very nice.  Sudo has a book for experiencing his Zen Guitar ideas (which I unfortunately have not read & reviewed yet) published by and available through Simon and Schuster.  Check it out.

The Fourfathers - "LIVE"  [contact]
Dennis Martian: vocals
Fast Paul Table: guitar
Bejamin Horrendous: bass, guitar
Zark Starfish: drums
Vital Will: tenor sax
ELEVEN (!) splendidly executed Captain Beefheart covers (I won't list 'em all, but "When It Blows Its Stacks", "Bat Chain Puller", "Well"... very nice picks).  Eleven other interesting and intelligently composed and expressively bleated songs - most by band Horrendous + band members.  Recorded on two dates during August 2000, makes me wish I could have been in one of those pubs, basking and bathing in nostalgia, and pounding some pints of tasty Brit-sudz (some of which would be blasting out of my schnoz now and again, 'cause The FourFathers clearly entertain on several levels).  Strong playing.  Good gigs.  A successful hommage to sincere influences. 

OFF RAMP - "Off Chance"  [contact]
Doug Carroll: electric cello
Jim Hearon: electric violin
Tom Nunn: electroacoustic percussion boards
As I have a deep and abiding fascination with the Homemade Instrument, I cannot but
be interested in 'bout anything Tom Nunn does with any of his not only symphonic, but beautiful, sonic creations.  OFF RAMP convenes three powerful improvisational minds into spontaneous dialogue; six dextrous hands instantly orchestrating planet movements, mining operations, whispered vows, shouted curses, and other ear vistas that evoke conflicting memories... I hear ants and I hear manatee...  I hear a cello, a violin, and a terrible bus accident... I hear lovers passing out.  Wonderful dialogue and interplay. 

Ted Killian - "Flux Aeterna"  [contact]
Ted Killian: electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops, sound design
After my first listen to this disc, I found myself scouring the Web reading up on what Terje Rypdal's been up to (playing an 8-string Strat, for one thing!) since I last heard one of his records..[it was on ECM and came out in '79].  Anyhow, for those fond of signal- processing, cavernous reverb, echo-loops, vibrato, and all those nifty tints and shadings that can be applied, like tie-dye, to performed notes, sounds, and noises, Killian will make you dive for your headphones and hookah.  Line-noise is minimized through EQ-beheading, which casts an interesting grey over the edge that distortion can sport.
Tap-delay pointillism, while becoming common, can still be pulled-off impressively - as Ted Killian does here on Last Sparrow.  Slow-Frippish... David Torn-ific... is this Hip-Hop?

Ben Waters - "Uncharted"  [contact]
Ben Waters: prepared guitar, guitar, bass, prepared bass, organ. [in 1992]
So THIS is the collection from which Ben drew the piece he so generously contributed to Delicate Furies [vigorously seeking licensing!!!] - Spiralled Riotous Felicity.  The insert doesn't give away too many of his Horrendous secrets, but I can tell ya that the aforementioned track was performed on electric guitar using cutlery!!  Here, Waters uses the studio to capture solo improvisations and to create instant arrangements. His preparations generate a lot of slobber and spit, sparks and confetti.  His melodic modal explorations akin in some ways to Robbie Basho or the particularly hammered John Fahey pieces.  Ben Waters manages to dance with dexterity in both the idiomatic (Magic Band-y) and non-idiomatic (freer formed) domains, which is cool.  A unique gathering of improvs.

Mountain Mirrors - demo  [contact]
Handdrum butt-beat...shift onto tribal conga/fuzz-guit/bass-circle pattern with flangesque voice a la' P. Gabriel via Kurt Schwitters and tight wiggle-harmony skips through... is this what sequncers can make tracks do?..."Is there a 'Carlos' in the building?"...near-Blues now, many open strings voicing up there, gettin' sorrowful... I almost thought of "Yr"... virgins walking naked and solemn toward the volcano... later, sounding like some sort of obscene mating of the post-Beefheart MU instrumental vigor with The Soft Boys carrying the vocals (Eno signal-processing everything en route to tape deck)...this riff makes me want to spank something.  Jeffrey Sanders is onto something groo-vay here and is enthusiastically encouraged by TheUnheardMusic to finish this dang record!!

Jason Bivins & Ian Davis - "Guitar & Percussion Duets"  [contact]
Jason Bivins: guitar
Ian Davis: drumset, percussion
Ian and I have done some noises together and he was working with a tiny kit; a heap of things that go clack, whang, shkshkshkshkhsk, ding, bLAnG!, and pooT!; and an active ear.  He talked to me some about Jason Bivins, and yup - the guy has a personal voice and a sound-pallette without discernable popular-overlap or obvious imitation - NICE CHOPS, and whatthehell wasTHAT? and howthehelldidjamakethatsound,Jason?  Nineteen variations on the moment, with tiny glimpses into what may Jazz clubs...or burning pet stores - hell, I don't know...but there's red on the horizon, 18' waves, and I hear approaching thunder... next, lightning hits a small plane, a steel tumbleweed rattles down a fire escape, some sandpaper on my uncle's eyeball, drunken flea market chatter, and something rabid is in the dumpster.  Miles of good "Huh?"  Surreal, like Life.

ANT-BEE - "Lunar Musik" [contact]
A GLIMPSE:   I don't know if all of these have b/w photocopied inserts, but mine's kinda hard on the eyes (and I can't see that SYD BARRETT art on yer cover, Billy).  Opening cut -Snorks and Wheezes- is multi-instrumental ANT-BEE-meister, Billy James' (successful!) "grand tribute to the Mothers of Invention" those Ruben and the Jets-y vocal humor-harmonies, 50's backbeat and chordal themes, abrupt Zapp-oid edits inserting ["Indian in the group"] non sequitur, got rude and scatological (snot/shit/phlegm) noises, layers of key-noodles and zippidee fuzz-tar...[then, skip forward a million years to...] Diva Gliss, a sprawling 'verb-fest a la' Eno/Fripp's side-long stoned reveries of the early 70's (Soft Machine/Gong-lad, Daevid Allen, guest-glissando guitarist) - sounds great, and really ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... [oops, it's 1960-something!, and who's that frizzy-headed, paisley lad sitting Buddha-like on an overstuffed pillow excreting sheets of pre-Hendrix feedback? It's... It's..] you were gonna say "Syd", right?  Nope, but this arrangement of The Monkee's Love is Only Sleeping simply BOOTS ASS by taking what was one of the great weird time-signature (it's largely in 7) Pop tunes of my childhood, slapping a Barrett (w/ echo) cum Elliot Ingber (w/ distortion) slide guitar on there, and really nailing the singing.  [That was one of the Monkees' records that had Stills/Young of Buffalo Springfield + Ry Cooder on guitars.]  Yum-may! James has aging-but-still-doin'-tha'-Do alumni from the M.O.I., Hawkwind, Gong, The Alice Cooper Group all over this some sort of 40th high school reunion that any music fan would wanna attend...which makes me wanna write a damn music biography book to get some heavy cats like these on my records!  There's a cool layered marimba theme that keeps popping up across "Lunar Musik"..sort of reminds me of the 'head' from that Down Under hit-song from MenatWork in the 80's...which at that time reminded me of a Mothers' percussion riff.  A carefully and lovingly assembled homedisc of high quality (and probably even collectibility).  Very nice. 

Matt Turner - "Crushed Smoke"  [contact]
Matt Turner: cello, Yamaha electric cello
I've written about enjoying Turner's piano improvisation here in the past.  With this many-faceted gathering of sit down, spin around, lean over, reach amongst, scrape across, hammer against, squeeze and splatter, Ear gets taken on a themepark of visceral and bladder-threatening dimensions.  Hear cello as drum, as harmonium, as throat-singer, as monad-gamelan, as welder, as wirebrush... because without any of the 'taboo' devices of the trade whatsoever, Turner births, nurtures, and eventually releases to the winds all manner of sound and noise, whisper and field holler.  Nicely spat.

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