focus, largely, on improvised music
Warmer Summer 2002 Issue
Hi everyone. Thank you for your patience. It's 8/13/2002
and I turn 43 tomorrow. Bought a 1927 "fixer upper" house in May,
and have been FLAT OUT since. Built a porch and screenroom,
moved vines where we wanted 'em, dug gardens and planted future-fruit...it
goes on and on. Plus, the big kid's now in college, the next oldest
starting high school, and the lil' one has assembled a vast collection
of cicadas. Yeesh. Welcome to the new TUM. If your music
didn't make review here, c'mon back around November. We'll get'cha
in eventually. -bhh
Tony Passarell / Chip Handy:
[TP: reeds/horns/perc/synth; CH: gtr/perc/horns]
...an older release, on cassette (E-mail me for
their postal address), which has magnetic, pensive pauses...then, dense
forests of synchronicity - deciduous Handy and coniferous Passarell - ...now,
a dumpster full of urban waste and broken lawnchairs dropped through the
glass skylight of an abandoned spring factory. Chip Handy, who I first
heard a million years ago on the Fred Frith compiled Guitar Solos III
LP, is a direct stylistic ancestor of my friend Ernesto Diaz-Infante, and
Tony Passarell bluff, gambles, goes for the big pay-off, and effectively
turns the musical tables around often and deftly enough to keep the magic
snappin'. Fine improvisation!
Paul Angelosanto: Fly
Fruit Bat Fly! 4-song EP
[PA: voice/texts ; Gregory
Damien Grinnell: samples/sound design; Debbie Nash: voice/gtr]
spacey, reverby sound foundations...Eno-drops...spoken
self-dialogue/spoken word over extracts from Diary of Anne Frank...ghostly
female voice, looped and layered...not much going on instrumentally yet.
Sutrobath (Mike Soiseth and Rob Wollam) spurt out a
sonic Carmen Miranda hat w/ hard-bangin', post-80's stuff that is smart,
jamming, well crafted, and hearkens (me) back to the days when you could
catch XTC and [UK] Squeeze vid-clips on MTV during it's less slutty nascence.
I hear a bit of McCartney/Lennon reverence, some smooth "New Wave"-y stuff
(think Depeche Mode), even some ethnic poot 'n' toot that reminds me that
this in 2002, it's hotter'n Hell outside, and I need a lemonade!
Songs, songs, songs. Enjoy!
Sings Some Things Old and Some Things New
Remember that 60's nugget "Navy
Blue"? you know, it goes "...blue, I'm so blue, I'm as blue as
blue can be, 'cause my soldier boy said 'ship ahoy' and joined the Nay-EE-AY
-vy". Well, this is that Diane Renay, and she's offering
up a massive, 2-CD collection of tracks, many unreleased demoes and oddball
gems, along with brand new arrangements by studio hotshot David Lasley.
Although I grew up hearing this stuff coming out of my Dad's car radio,
it's not what I tend to run to when I need sound. Nonetheless, there
is a clear REFERENCE value in Renay's recordings, as they immediately predate
The Stillettoes, which spawned Debra Harry/and one can almost hear
Tanya Tucker belting through some Renay numbers while cutting her teeth
on AM radio as a kid. The song "Greenfields" is a psychedelic trip
that stands out in stark contrast to the radio-friendly bulk of this compilation...phased
bells, maniacal piano, ghost-town guitar...D.R. may have scored her biggest
hit in 1964, but she's still got the moves and the pizazz.
and Ladders: Staring at the Sun
got'cha 60's psychedelic balladeer (think
The Hollies/Donovan) voices, with great harmony arrangements
over "Nirvana MOOD SHIFT" verse/chorus/verse stuff...imagine a Pop sensibility
that sees Syd Barrett, The Monkees, Soundgarden, and The Stooges as peers
playing on level turf...dat wood soun' lahk dis. Blake creates modally
interesting chordal foundations on which drummer Greg Sullina and (ex-)
bassist Noah Dennis exploit the niches and spikes. "More 'hooks'
sexy, swingin' bluesy...Catie Moore's voice is a horn,
a flute, a piehole, an oboe, a perfect vehicle for these musings on can't
have/wouldn't have human collisions...smooth stylings by James Flores:
drums/kbds and Tim Rimbaugh: bs, a bit in the Steely Dan area for some,
but I dig this dive...guests on guitar, sax, and trumpet add spice and
The Music of Rogan CD
...I hear something between Creedence and the Butthole
Surfers here, with John Kay style fuzz-leads, Iggy reverb-fest voice treatments,
and splendid MC5-ish feedback pileups...falling cymbals...a maelstrom of
splat...some very clever Pop things happening here, like XTC, almost
entirely at or near the 'Surf' and 'Garage' idioms.
bass/drums/guitar/female voice..Berkeley (MA) School-style
Pop, very reminiscent of Piece de Resistance and better than Til Tuesday...that
early 80's Bostown sound I lived near, as well as some things I've heard
of Linda Perry's. These are words of praise. post-Heart Fem-Rock
that has shoes! Got high production valus, clever arrangements
("Walk Behind Me" sounds like an inverted On Broadway"), and cool
chops for radio music.
Guitar improvisation from the
Czech Republic...poignant, disappearing then reemerging, broken and bravely
limping chord-fragments, singing honestly, are tinged with augmentation,
arpeggiated movement, then calm stasis...the exploration of a fretboard
area, chordal type, or gesture...echo/reverb/pitch-shifted guitar MEAT
here ("Gate to the Other World"), sounding for all the world orchestral,
thick, shapely...MIDI???...now, an obese and obcenely TONY IOMMI sounding
gtr-groove/unaccompanied/enormous/naked, with an ass the size of Alaska
on it! I am reminded of those early 80's ECM abstract guitar
stylist loss-leaders of yore...brave bastidz (ie; David Torn, Terje Rypdal)
who collectively explored tone, duration, post-Riley repetition, and nuance
- while all the 'Sellerz' (Dimeola, VanHalen, Malmsteen, 'Bop' Schofield)
were packing MAXimum-notes-per-second into pint pails. Ick.
That ain't here, so you won't vomit one lil' drop. Excellent textural
guit-art. I want to do a duets record with Valecko ASAP.
Horrendous: "Let's Go Down"
Angel: vocals; Fast Paul Table: gtr/dm machine]
b/w "Down We Go"
[BH: gtr/mystery trumpet, effects]
the first tune, a sort of post-Beach Boys-y cum Nick
Drake (featuring Drumbo) sand-sex invite, I like the shifts from rock solid
real to odd-accent machine drums, and Angel's sultry vox is a cool counterpoint
to Ben's beatnic-drawl. the second tune is an instrumental extrapolation
of the first - similar in feel I think to Mirror Man/'Moody Liz'
era - the last days of Alex St. Clair / Jeff Cotton heavy-wrist, modal
guitar sparring - Magic Band, and the strange trumpet conveys the gentler
stretches into the hazy background...then becomes seagulls circling beach
self-defined as "ethereal rock", I might add that one
finds Middle Eastern (think oud, tabla, string-fiddle) texture, very present
drum kit, spoken-sung word, clever signal processing and what sound like
deliberate drop- and detunings of guitars...one or two of these pieces
drag on a bit, but that's MY attention span not necessarily everyone else's...got
some spacy funk with squeally-reverb Fripp-ness in its butt here...nice
liqui-gulpy 'T-Wah' guitar tone on this 'un...YEAH BABY, it's a minor blues
with a tongue!
where reverb-laden drawl harmonies, tribal yelling
entrainment, and stoned sounding reverie swimming in blue-black modal guitar
oceans abound...I see a tapestry waving in a dim room, w/o wind nor breeze...the
pattern coalesces into large, soft shapes and clearer textures..detail
begin to emerge, a breast, a red quartz and black marble obelisk, cool
jade doorways, chrome tusks and brass dodecahedra...sweet smoke on the
breeze, three cobra doze in the shadow of a fat houseplant, veiled prostitutes
and clutching lepers on every street corner...this is the soundtrack to
There. Now for some spiked coconut milk and baklava, then cognac and cigar.
Trio: Cross Country
[Jim Konen: gtrs/"various phunky things"; Mark Kissinger: "guitars &
Oomph!"; Zzaj: kbds/perc] CD
IMAGE THIS...a roller skating
rink full of jello...brother boogie woogie lo-frequency scratch...subtle
little ornaments hanging off the the dominant Zzaj-tree...some sweet and
asphyxiated fuzzy guitar dueling with a kitchen appliance approach to fret-attack...some
'sax-y' ivories here! convulsing and dervishly dancing over layers of swirling
and moaning string stroking...it's a Detroit to PA via the Pacific-NW thing.
Grant: After the Crash [GG:
funky-strummy acoustic song-poet
a la' Paul Simon/Richie Havens, with the added smootch of alto sax by the
songwriter...so's ya know the horn-dude knows the chartz...gotcha throaty
Marc Cohn-like vocal tone/delivery (that's a compliment) and no slouch
on the strings and reeds...ODD LYRIC: "with lips red from cherries picked
from the vine" (?)...show me a cherry vine!!! COOL SONG IDEA: Grant's
concept of being held prisoner by angles...sort of reminds me of
my Massachusetts song-poet friend James O'Brien's work.
[CR: instruments/production] CD
I like the guitar sound and pointillistic
splay of the foundation instruments....drumming is 'Techno'...sweet deep-fuzz
solo here, sorta A. Holdsworth cum Alex Lifeson sounding...
Uh oh...the Free Bird
guitar-frenzy thing!!!...giggles and more Rush-like guitar chording
...overlong w/o sufficient candy here...another solid post-70's solo over
big fist chording amongst some Discipline-era Crimson-y gamelan
guitar-dots...Good! bitchin' cover of The Eagles' 'Take it Easy' - reminds
me of a smooth Roxy Music arrangement with Root Boy Slim on megaphone -
sounds "electronic, like Disco...get to the point" (wife's comment re:
TK 4)... guess I have a higher threshhold for such things, having come
up in the 70's "guitar god" records...it's sorta like that, but not
as good as Robin Trower yet.
[JT: guitar/voice; Milo:instruments
+ add'l female voice] CD
[...grouped here because Milo
produced/engineered both records,] Joel Tuttle's Daniel Johnson-esque mutant
rave-ups and bent tearjerkers combine the best and worst of home recorded
song music: sometimes clever and offbeat lyrics, stylized voice, instrumental
abandon and hard attack, (too?) comprehensible structures, lack of a sense
of 'done', peciliar engineering quirks...Tuttle's 8 songs are 6 covers
(Dylan/Lennon/Parton/etc) and 2 originals. I like the originals best cuz
they swing more and have some concrete about them...LO-FI ALERT
if such things bug ya...Great optional time signature adherence
(a la' The Shaggs, old Blues cats).
Smell the Parade [Milo: instruments]
Milo is a "one man band" and
I'm glad to hear a really antique, cheap rhythm machine used this ridiculously
again, as it's been ages. sleazy "jazz" stuph a la' Bill Murray's
classic routine, a Jimmy Buffett send-up (?)...and the words to "Minimalist"
sound exactly like things I've heard people say...this reminds me of Kurt
Weill, but I don't know why..."Roach Under Glass"???? Yuck.
Jones: fretelss bass; Marc Wagnon: midi vibes; Frank Katz: drums; w/
John Goodsall: guitar (3), Mark Feldman: violin (4), and Sarah Pillow:
prepared voice (2)] CD
...like a lot of people, I eventually
bored of Genesis (right around And Then There Were Three) and
Kansas and Triumvirate and Kraftwerk and etc when I realized that everyone
liked it now, and that it had become crap anyway...Percy Jones'
late 70's smart-Rock combo Brand X provided respite and release,
to some extent because it was fiercely uncommercial, as complex as Gentle
Giant (but less cartoon-y), and sort of hovering somewhere between Yes
and Zappa (I later discovered that music that on that Yes/Zappa axis was
known by some as the "Canterbury" sound - such as Matching Mole, Robert
Wyatt vehicles, Steve Hillage, etc)...which eventually led me to the frontiers
patrolled by Fred Frith/H. Cow (also found by-way-of Eno, with whom
Percy Jones also recorded), and the rest is (my) History. Anyhow, if you
know what I mean by that, then you can well imagine what THIS delicate
and yet meaty "progressive" music sounds like...it's like a funky middle-era
Soft Machine/kinder-gentler Hot Rats-y cruise down
HehHeh Alley...preview the idea
in your head, then BUY THE DANG DISC AND STUFF YOUR WHOLE MIND
INTO SOME DECENT HEADPHONES WITH IT!
It'll help what ails ye.
[please remember, TUM
largely concentrates on improvisation]
your Review copies to:
The Unheard Music
428 Patrick Street
Eden, NC 27288