TheUnheardMusic
we focus, largely, on improvised music
Globally 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: Duet   CD
[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: Aquatica
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! 
Diane Renay: Sings Some Things Old and Some Things New  CD
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. 
Snakes and Ladders: Staring at the Sun    CD
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' than Hellraiser." 
Sunset Room:   Almost an Angel   CD
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 secret sauce

Rogan: 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.


The TradeI Mi' Lu'nasa   CD
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.

Zdenek Valecko: Shiver in the Mind   [ZV: guitars/processing/etc]   CD
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. 
Ben Horrendous: "Let's Go Down" [BH: vocal/gtr/bs/perc; Angel: vocals; Fast Paul Table: gtr/dm machine]
b/w "Down We Go" [BH: gtr/mystery trumpet, effects]                                    CD SINGLE
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 popcorn.

Mountain Mirrors: Improvisations from a Void   [Jeffrey Sanders: guitars, etc]    CD
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!
Mountain Mirrors [Jeffrey Sanders: guitars, etc]  untitled 3-song EP
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. 
MiWaPa 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.  
Greg Grant: After the Crash [GG: guitar/vocals/sax]   CD
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.  
Chris Reddy: Meadowlarking  [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.  
Joel Tuttle: Meet Joel Tuttle
[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).
Milo: Smell the Parade [Milo: instruments]   CD
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. 
Tunnels: Progressivity [Percy 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.

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