Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

116

Johnnie Valentino: 8 Shorts in Search of David Lynch

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
By Ken Waxman

Sort of a modern day Thomas Alva Edison, Los Angeles-based guitarist Johnnie Valentino takes a practical approach to the somewhat esoteric concept of sound design. True to the functional philosophy of the Wizard of Melo Park, Valentino mostly uses manipulated sounds in his day job, scoring and providing sonic textures for animated TV shows and feature films.

8 Shorts is another matter, however. It's a high art application of his collection of found sounds far removed from the tone designs he provides for sci-fi and children's products such as Alvin & The Chipmunks or Wonder Boys. It proves that a musician with ingenuity can compartmentalize his creations, using some for art and others for commerce.

An Easterner like Edison, Valentino has been operating like this for years. In Los Angeles since '84, he's recorded with top improvisers like trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and multi-reedist Vinny Golia, the latter of whom is featured on three tracks here.

Essentially, 8 Shorts is made up of the musicians playing live in the studio using Valentino-created abstract sound beds as springboards for improvisations. As can be expected from the title and his background, the results are cinematic, but mostly in an experimental un-Hollywood fashion, all the way down to titles. Especially memorable is "Unveiled," a duet for Golia's flute and Valentino's guitar, seemingly suspended birdlike over raunchy thunderclouds and bubbling forest streams. In between fripple manipulations and offbeat chording, the soundscape brings up growls, yelps, and other potential wild animal tones and a coda of dripping water.

Other players include such certified New York downtowners as cellist Erik Friedlander, trumpeter Russ Johnson, and pianist and percussionist Mick Rossi. Rossi's dual skills are put to good use in pieces like "Vessel," where wheezing background textures, sometimes extended with muezzin-like cries and what could be rooster crows feature non-specific pitchsliding brass tones. Moving between keyboard timbres and stopped internal piano action, the pianist gives Valentino additional accents on which he can prop his metallic fingerpicking and scattered amp loops, scattering and shattering fluttering found sounds. Friedlander's contributions encompass legit glissandi and song-like spiccato episodes. The soul of modesty, Mike Sarin mostly confines himself to scattered cracks and knocks and off-centre rambling beats, while Golia's buzzing bass clarinet provides alternating swelling and wavering backdrops for low-key pianisms mixed with discursive side band tones.

Perhaps these shorts won't find David Lynch. Perhaps they shouldn't. Most of the way through this CD, however, the guitarist has produced intelligent, practical sound designs with that can be appreciated as is, without visuals.


Track Listing: Ambiguity; Exploration; Under Current; Components; Vessel; Verge; Unveiled; Concrete Irrationality.

Personnel: Johnnie Valentino, guitar, ukulele, mandolin; Mick Rossi, piano, prepared piano, drums, percussion, tabla samples; Erik Friedlander, cello; Russ Johnson, trumpet; Vinny Golia, flutes, bass clarinet; Mike Sarin, drums; Randy Jones, tuba; Elissa Lala, voice

Title: 8 Shorts in Search of David Lynch | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ToneScience

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Stolen Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Chasing the Unicorn" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing the Unicorn
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 6, 2017