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We Travel the Spaceways

Art Strike!

By Published: May 22, 2013
The blender effect, that is what we'll call it. The phenomena of mixing languages, cultures, and in this case, jazz scenes. Where a mechanical blender may chop, liquefy, and even puree, this blending of Chicago bassist Jason Roebke and Amsterdam- based saxophonist Tobias Delius makes for a synthesis and common language.

Roebke, a key player in the ever expanding Chicago scene, can be heard in Mike Reed's People, Places and Things, The Jeb Bishop Trio, Jason Adasiewicz
Jason Adasiewicz
Jason Adasiewicz

vibraphone
Rolldown, Jason Stein
Jason Stein
Jason Stein
b.1976
clarinet, bass
's Locksmith Isadore, and bands led by Keefe Jackson
Keefe Jackson
Keefe Jackson

saxophone
and Aram Shelton
Aram Shelton
Aram Shelton
b.1976
saxophone
. Born in Great Britain but now claiming Amsterdam as his home, Delius is a regular member of the ICP Orchestra, Available Jelly, and Sean Bergin's MOB. He also leads his own quartet and has a steady duo with bassist Wilbert de Joode.

The eight improvised tracks presented here are an audiophile's dream. The deft tactile recording captures every breath, vocalization, and stroke. We hear saxophone keys fingered and bass strings pulled, plucked, caressed, and grazed. Roebke and Delius are satisfied to apply a coolheaded, imperturbable sound here. They promenade each piece without conflicts. The music draws from a traditional sound like Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone
or Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
and Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
or Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
1922 - 1960
bass
, refurbished for a 21st century context by applying extended technique and freedom from strict song forms.

Masami Akita & Kiyoshi Mizutani

Merzbow Duo

Tourette Records

2012



If Masami Akita, aka Merzbow had a Teo Macero, he would be a household name. Well, at least he would be an improvised music lover's homestead favorite.

It wasn't until after the death of Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
that Sony Records began releasing all the raw studio material the trumpeter recorded for albums like In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969), Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), and A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1970). Sometimes, hearing the final product players like John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
b.1942
guitar
and Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
could barely recognize their studio work. Miles, actually more like producer Teo Macero, took pieces and parts of studio sessions, snipped, cut, and looped tape (manually because there were no digital studios back then) to assemble the now famous LPs.

Merzbow's LPs, CDs, digital downloads, and cassettes skip the middle man. He provides the material raw. Without a Teo Macero, his music is noise, and noise is the genre he dominates as an innovator. He has collaborated with Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
b.1964
reeds
, Balázs Pándi, Mike Patton, Sonic Youth, Lasse Marhaug, Richard Pinhas, Elliott Sharp
Elliott Sharp
Elliott Sharp
b.1951
guitar
, and Jamie Saft.

Of late, he has released the session tapes that have become the stuff of his earliest releases. While his music is always unprocessed, these sessions provide a bone-chilling and often mind-numbing assault of uncooked din. Duo follows the box compilations Merzbient in CD (Soleilmoon, 2010) and in LP (Soleilmoon, 2012), Merzphysics and Merzmorphosis (Youth Inc., 2012).

The 10-CD box and limited edition box with a bonus CD, Duo, delivers source tapes for the SCUM cut-up LPs Merzbow released in the1980s. Recorded between 1987 and 1989, Merzbow then was a collaboration between Masami Akita (the man we now know as Merzbow) and fellow noise artist Kiyoshi Mizutani. These sessions are a significant piece of the Merzbow story, in that they expand and flesh out the experimentation of Akita in those early years. Duo has, of course plenty of harsh feedback sections that are meditatively worthy. In those years, before laptop and digital performance, the pair utilized a plethora of instruments from drums to guitars, radios, metal boxes strung with piano wire, and audio mixers. The sounds are comparable to John Zorn
John Zorn
John Zorn
b.1953
sax, alto
's Parachute Years 1977-80 (Tzadik, 1997), but much (much) more harsh. Interspersed between the noise are some rocked out sections that could be mistaken for Thurston Moore's music, a nice blues guitar duet, and some percussive jamming. All of which makes this, perhaps the most accessible Merzbow release (that's not any oxymoron) to date.

Rachel Musson/ Liam Noble/ Mark Sanders

Tatterdemalion

Babel Label

2013



An early flicker of recognition for saxophonist Rachel Musson happened in the year 2000 with the release of drummer Federico Ughi
Federico Ughi
Federico Ughi
b.1972
drums
's The Space Within (SLAM). Her blip in the world of recorded music was just two tracks, but the significance was indeed profound. She surfaced again with her own quintet Skein with Flight Line (F- IRE, 2010).

Her music begins with Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
circa 1961 on the Williamsburg bridge as she deals with the tsunami that was Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
, John Gilmore
John Gilmore
John Gilmore
1931 - 1995
saxophone
, and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, then branches outward embracing the European influences of the horn.


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