Signal to Noise #60

Page 57

Screw, where nasty Southern street bangers are retarded and stuttered in such a manner that the listener believes that he or she is in the thick of a brown LSD psychedelic misadventure—has yet to infiltrate the mainstream or underground rock cultures in any significant way; doubtless someone’s slaving away in a dimly lit bedroom, struggling to bridge these divides. I wouldn’t say that Houston trombonist David Dove is in the hunt, but he deserves mention, because on Screwed Anthologies (subtitled “improvised music under the influence of DJ Screw”), Dove—in concert with steel guitarist Lucas Gorham—has stumbled upon a novel way to make screw music intriguing again. Namely: weave an uneven tapestry of select DJ Screw slurries, fold in pop-music steals (the guitar riff and vocal from Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out,” for instance), and improvise an accompanying abyss-deep, ochre-noise/doom jazz hybrid that mirrors the lawless urban decay and nihilism of (most) of the source material: a dirge parade, humid bone-rattling rumble after humid bone-rattling rumble. The impact of listening to this stuff in the car on a hot summer day is gently profound—like slow-sipping Long Island Ice Teas on your porch until it suddenly occurs to you that you’re hopelessly immobile—it causes one to consider one’s surroundings in an askew, altered-state way, through quivering glass. Scattered Remains in the Now, where Dove’s trombone grapples with the electronics, trumpeting, and fractured poetics of Jawwaad Taylor, is immersive in a different way, the squalid, pallid buzz, brrrrrrrrrur, squawk, and dog’s-hearing-pitch frequencies of the pair’s collaborative congress plugging the conceptual voids in Taylor’s non-sequitur/daisychain streams of half-consciousness. Raymond Cummings

Either/Orchestra Mood Music for Time Travellers Accurate CD

Conceived of in 1985 as a “little big band,” saxophonist Russ Gershon’s Boston-based Either/Orchestra has the flexibility and improvisational latitudes of a small combo and the increased tonal colors available to a large ensemble. The E/O has been through many personnel changes in its history (well-known alumni include Josh Roseman, John Medeski, Matt Wilson and Miguel Zenon), but aside from Gershon, trumpeter Tom Halter is the only remaining charter member. The line-up on this recording is Halter and Daniel Rosenthal, trumpets; Joel Yennior, trombone; Godwin Louis, alto saxophone; Gershon, tenor and soprano saxophones; Rafael Alcada, piano and Hammond B3 organ; Rick McLaughlin, double and electric basses; Pablo Bencid, drums; and Vicente Lebron, congas, bongos and percussion. Charlie Kohlhase plays baritone sax on five of the ten tracks, with Kurtis Rivers on bari for three others, and flutist Henry Cook added on two. The group returns to a program of all original compositions after a fruitful crossover project with Ethiopian jazz

musicians. Still, African and Afro-Cuban rhythms play an important part in the group’s signature sound. The compositions and improvisations are adventurous, forward-looking and— in many cases—quite complex, but there’s a joyful, egalitarian, populist feel too; it wouldn’t be a stretch imagining a dance-floor crowded with bodies gyrating to much of this music, particularly bassist McLaughlin’s “History Lesson,” a nod to Fela Kuti. Bill Barton

other wrinkles in the original. But that’s a small complaint set against the group’s spirit, especially on the closing track. Their read on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “The Inflated Tear” is inspired, alternating between rich jazz tones and clanging distorted guitars, with an extended feedback passage that suggests Kirk’s multiple horn blowing. Throughout the record, but especially at these moments, their reverence is, literally, electric. Kurt Gottschalk

son on songs as good as these. Bill Meyer

Exploding Star Orchestra Stars Have Shapes Delmark CD / LP

Jason Adasiewicz Sun Rooms Delmark CD

Cornetist and electronic/visual artist Rob Mazurek has a highly distinctive take on orchestration as a process. Emergency! The Ex His work with the Chicago UnderLive in Copenhagen Catch My Shoe ground has ranged from duos (with JVT CD Ex Records CD / DL / LP percussionist Chad Taylor) to larger groups, but even when pared down While Otomo Yoshihide’s talents for Cut down a bush and grows back it sounds greater than the sum of conceptualization and for arranging stronger. The same applies to The its parts through extensive overlays sounds in space have long been Ex, who lost singer and founding and electronics. The Exploding Star apparent, his prowess as a guitarist member G.W. Sok a couple years Orchestra, a large ensemble he has been sneaking up more slowly. ago only to rebound renewed with has directed for several years that After using the guitar as a noise a new singer, an evolved sound, features the cream of Chicago immachine early in his career (even and this swell new album. It’s still provisers (Jason Adasiewicz, Nicole designing one with a turntable atinstantly identifiable as The Ex; Mitchell, Josh Abrams, Jason Stein, tached to its face), he seemed to set there’s no other guitar duo that Damon Locks, et al.), has become the instrument aside until his more can orchestrate the slash and crash a vehicle for larger-scale acoustic recent forays into leading jazz-based of coarse-edged chords like Andy compositions, including a 2007 colensembles. With his New Jazz EnMoor and Terrie Hessels. No other laboration with trumpeter-composer semble, Quintet and Orchestra, he drummer combining martial rigidity Bill Dixon. Stars Have Shapes, the combined that same excellent sense and effortless flow like Katherina third Exploding Star disc to date, of timing with a fairly orthodox apBornefeld, and she still has a way differs markedly from the previous proach to guitar-playing, and applied with a non-English song. New guy two in that it concentrates on electroit to compositions by Eric Dolphy, Arnold de Boer is a more melodic acoustic explorations. Charlie Haden, John Lennon, Jim singer than his predecessor, and On the 20-minute “Ascension O’Rourke, Wayne Shorter, James brings his own angle to the longGhost Impression #2,” a seismic “Blood” Ulmer and others. standing Ex practice of calling out swirl of digital fuzz envelops the 13That effort is upped again in the the world’s wrongs and considering member ensemble as flecks of reed/ quartet Emergency! (punctuation one’s own complicity with them. brass and thrashing percussion pop theirs). A dual guitar explosion, He also brings a third guitar, which out. The fracas dies away halfway the band works like a traditional leaves room for one or the other through to reveal a soft ensemble high-energy jazz group even without of the veteran stringers to add a line that spotlights Mazurek’s light, horns. Yoshihide and Ryochi Saito bit of bass with a baritone guitar, incisive cornet over a loose sashay. (Yoshihide’s Core Anode, Fernando but also adds an extra incendiary Electronic flutter soon rises to Saunders) play twin melodicists, conspark to the instrumental tangle on the top of orchestral collectivity; stantly supporting and vamping off “Bicycle Illusion.” In the last issue as drums and bass clarinet peek of one another in front of the steady, of Signal to Noise The Ex spoke through the gauze, one gets the driving rhythm section of upright at length about their mutually impression of the orchestra as itself bassist Hiroaki Mizutani (Yoshihide’s nurturing relationship with Africa engulfed within a larger sonic field. New Jazz Orchestra, Tipographica, and Africans; Catch My Shoe is their Mazurek has worked in rock-oriented Akira Sakata) and longtime Yoshihide most African album yet, but not in contexts, and odd-metered rock drummer Yasuhiro Yoshigaki (who’s a showy way—the African elements rhythms have crept into Exploding also worked with Saunders as well as are fully digested elements of the Star before. Here, the flinty, knotty Kazutoki Umezu, and was a member lives they live. “Maybe I Was a “ChromoRocker” spotlights the of Altered States and Rovo). Pilot” may be founded upon a riff juggernaut of vibraphonist Jason Live in Copenhagen is their third they learned from Ugandan harpist Adasiewicz, bassist Matt Lux, and CD, recorded in 2006 at their first Iganitiyo Ekacholi, but you only drummers John Herndon and Mike concert outside of Japan. It’s a blisterknow it because they give him Reed. But electronic and sampled ing hour, just as excitingly contemcredit. They’ve turned it into driving sound environments remain the porary (and just as respectful of the rock music that is just as raw and most interesting aspect of Mazurek’s tradition) as the New Jazz groups. The remorseless as anything they played work as a composer—the way he set opens with the only original comin their punk-rock squat days. The swathes acoustic tones and snippets position, Yoshigaki’s “Re-Baptizum,” same goes for “Double Order’s” of jazz phrasing in a broad, gauzy which in title and focus on percussion interlocking, staccato figures, which architecture. Increasingly in his work, would seem to be a dedication to close the circle with Konono No. 1’s the ensemble-as-instrument has Famoudou Don Moye and the Art guitar-like thumb pianos by making given way to the whole sound. Ensemble of Chicago. It wanders electric guitars sound like Konono’s Sun Rooms is Adasiewicz’s latest somewhat, providing an opening amplified likembes. Trumpeter Roy disc, on which he’s joined by Reed of restrained tension and eventually Paci, who is a member of The Ex’s and bassist Nate McBride for a mix opening up to the electricity of the horn-enhanced Brass Unbound of originals and well-chosen covers guitars. That leads (with a posttouring project, joins the band (Sun Ra, Ellington, and the legendary production fade-in) into a remarkable for two songs. His unbridled but Hasaan Ibn Ali). For a small group, interpretation of Louis Prima’s “Sing perfectly slotted blare significantly the sound is massive, and it’s heard Sing Sing.” Here as on the following raises their temperature, and his to special advantage on the opening tracks they’re more concerned with presence simultaneously channels “Get in There,” based on frantic, vamping on the theme, using it as a the past and opens a door to the gooey tempo relationships, Reed suggestion for forays and foragfuture. On the one hand, hearing surging ahead as vibes and bass ing, than with playing through the his probing lines over Moor’s guitar pitch and yaw. Bowed bass and mepiece. The arrangements are loose, brings back sweet memories of tallic rumble introduce Hasaan’s “Off and the band jammier than the Dogfaced Hermans, the marvelous My Back Jack” (from his lone 1964 New Jazz groups, which is fun but and much-missed combo where he Atlantic LP), the vibist’s solo wandercan leave a desire for more. Their honed his skills before joining The ing over Reed’s brushy shuffle and take on Charles Mingus’s “Fables of Ex. But it also makes me hope that McBride’s rubbery plenum. There’s Faubus” is wonderfully visceral, but the Ex makes a record with Brass a glassy sheen to Adasciewicz’s it’s hard not to think of what more Unbound before very long; imagine phrasing on “Life,” his percussive the band would be capable of if they the thrill of having Wolter Wierbos, rivulets and thin clusters spreading stuck with the double-times and the Ken Vandermark, and Mats GustafsWWW.SIGNALTONOISEMAGAZINE.COM SIGNAL to NOISE #60 | 57