The relationship between electronics and acoustic instruments has evolved since Miles Davis' groundbreaking Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969), with artists continuing to manipulate technologies within their current environments. These lines are becoming increasingly blurred on recordings such as Opsvik and Jennings' A Dream I Used To Remember (Loyal Label, 2009) and Humcrush's Rest at Worlds End (Rune Grammofon, 2008).
Further proof of this techno-improv pandemic is witnessed in Stade's Freewheel, yet another brilliantly creative duo featuring keyboardist Pierre Audetat and drummer Christophe Calpini.
The duo creates infectious melodic sound-canvasses; industrial strength concoctions of music, rhythm, and noise with real and sampled sounds. Its meticulous compositions incorporate live manipulations with free-styling like hip-hop DJ turntablists. But the surprise here is how the duo interacts with three special guests who are no strangers to the edge: French trumpeter Erik Truffaz, Swiss harmonica master Gregoire Maret and New York guitarist Elliott Sharp.
The fifteen tracks alternate between Stade and each of the guestsstarting with the ambient vibe of "Introscape," with its steady drum back-beat, static white noise, frosty keyboards and Truffaz's hushed trumpet mutations. Next is the copacetic "Sonatune," with Maret's harmonica floating against the airy backdrop as Stade improvises on the theme with gentle drumming and keyboards. On "Bats in the Car" the earth-quaking bass throbs with incessant syncopation as Sharpe's guitar twists, shouts and twangs a tune that might suggest a punk rebellion against noise control.
The guitar and trumpet, whether amplified or processed, would seem more natural foils for these electronic adventures, but it's Maret's unplugged axe that provides the more interesting texture, as his earthy harmonica fits comfortably with the processed sounds on tracks like "Retired Kinky Ballerines," where Stade lays down heavy hypnotic techno-dance rhythms.
The consistent bond in this pulsating machine is the minimalist ingenuity of Stade's musictaking simple melodies and ostinato patterns and injecting them with variety and attitude. "Black Parrot Arising"'s killer dance moves and its ultimate demise in "My Parrot Entombment" shows Stade's humor and flexibility in keeping the music fresh, making Freewheel a totally hip ride.
Track Listing: Introscape; Sonatine; Triceratops at Work; Bats In the Car; Black
Parrot Arising; Stac eaux limpides; Freewheel; Midnight Summer
Volcano; Retired Kinky Ballerines; West Virginia (Remix); Innercoast
Whispers; My Parrot Entombment; Pluton Alltimes Hit;
Horologi Forcasts; Echolalies.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.