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Taking stock, a year half over

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The Downtown beauty of Lucien Dubuis
Lucien Dubuis
Lucien Dubuis

sax, alto
' music is that things fall apart, or to be accurate, his music gives the impression that things fall apart. Like the tumult of the bands Rootless Cosmopolitans or Ceramic Dog led by Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
b.1954
guitar
(a frequent collaborator of Dubuis), his music walks the jazz precipice, one side hardcore, the other Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
's free jazz. After a string of excellent power trio records, Future Rock (Unit Records, 2013), Ultime Cosmos (Enja, 2009), and Le Retour (Unit Records, 2007), the trio returns with the chamber ensemble Spacetet. Sometimes the band plays off of a beauty-and-the-beast theme, contrasting the charming sound of violins, viola and cello against the honk of bass clarinet and Django swing of Roman Nowka on a piece like "Oh My God." Other places, "Albumblatt Für Herrn Schprögel," the Spacetet sets the table for Dubuis' intricate post-punk jazz. The presence of the ensemble is an epoxy for the trio. The heavy drumming of "Parl" and "Agiato" is balanced by the strings, and the delicacy of the woodwinds lightens the trio's touch on a piece like "Au Bois," where Dubuis' contrabass clarinet plays the straight-man to the Spacetet's jocularity. The band doesn't eschew the hardcore. "Autägleche Wandverchehr" is a hair-curling piece that wouldn't be out of place at a Led Zeppelin concert and the title track, is a heavy funk/rock piece, a Dubuis trademark sound solidified by the strings.

Mummu Mitt Ferieparadis Va Fangool 2013

From the edges of the spaceways comes this low-fi 7" vinyl recording by a collaborative band Mummu. The two songs represent both ends of their musical spectrum. The quintet features the punk improvisers Christian Skår Winther: (electric guitar), Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard (electric bass), Joakim Heibø Johansen (drums) from Ich Bin N!ntendo, whose disc Ich Bin N!ntendo & Mats Gustafsson (Va Fangool, 2012) was a nihilist's dream of a noisy night. They team up with the low frequency noise musicians Anja Lauvdal (keyboards) and Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck (tuba) from Skrap, who released K.O. (Va Fangool, 2013). Mastered by noise giant Lasse Marhaug, the garage feel of "Logatunellen" assaults with shovelfuls of metal chards and dense beatings. The whistling keyboards fight for attention over the lumbering guitar chords, and distorted tuba. By contrast, "Feda Bru" hesitates, its lingering feedback and undulations of distorted noise make for an eerie combination of gestures. Strange, but true music.

Caspar Brötzmann Nohome Trost 2013

Brötzmann is back! No, not Peter Brotzmann, thank God he plans to live forever, making art and traveling the world performing free jazz. No, it is the return of Caspar, his son. The guitarist, seemingly absent since the 1990s reappeared at his father's 70th birthday celebration documented with the recording Long Story Short (Trost, 2013), where Caspar and his band Massaker to perform a 15-minute barrage of sound.

Now there's more. He formed Nohome with bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmüller and invited F.M. Einheit (probably best known for his work with Einstürzende Neubauten) to sit in on two tracks. Pliakas and Wertmüller are 2/3 of the power trio Full Blast, Peter Brotzmann's modern version of Last Exit.

This live recording from Berlin in August of 2012 attacks from the start with a hurricane of sound. Brötzmann is content to remain in the eye of the storm throughout, delivering an unrelenting attack of guitar. His wave upon wave of sound is equally matched and complemented by the heavy guns of Plikas and the thunderous drumming of Wertmüller. The second piece comes with Brötzmann playing sounds not unlike an emergency warning system. By then you are already on notice that this music will be cause to take shelter. Einheit's contribution, steel objects amplified, add an industrial touch to the assault that give the trio pause, but barely slows the storm clouds from enveloping the night.

Star Rover Western Winds Bitter Christians FYO 2013

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