179

William Hooker/Roger Miller/Lee Ranaldo: Out Trios, Vol. 1: Monsoon

Clifford Allen By

Sign in to view read count
William Hooker/Roger Miller/Lee Ranaldo: Out Trios, Vol. 1: Monsoon While the idea is consistently maligned by the improvised music cognoscenti, it is nevertheless a fact that the heaps of praise and credibility given improvised music by members of Sonic Youth – specifically guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo – have helped provide free jazz the boost in popularity that it enjoys today. Moore is of course the major player in this realm, having written much on the subject, but Ranaldo has for years quietly built a catalog of consistently wigged solo work, as well as cutting a number of sessions with free jazz drummer William Hooker. For this, the fourth document of collaborations between Hooker and Ranaldo, they are joined by electronic musician Roger Miller in one 50-minute group improvisation.

Neither Ranaldo nor Moore have ever particularly engaged anything close to free jazz improvisation in their own playing (unless, that is, you count Moore's often spastic appropriation of late-period Ray Russell pyrotechnics as "jazz"); rather, their approach stems from the "noise" end of the spectrum, epitomized by the early '80s work of guitarist-composers Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham.

Ranaldo's solo efforts typically constitute drones and looped feedback, over which he sometimes recites poetry or adds further guitar effects. In previous sets with Willam Hooker, such as Envisioning , the two players seemed to counteract one another, Ranaldo's subtle, layered minimalist approach having little to do with the bombastic bashing that tends to characterize Hooker's playing.

From the get-go Monsoon falls once again into this disparity. Ranaldo and Miller are both highly textural players, and Hooker once again sees fit to lay in with uninventive polyrhythms that have almost nothing to do with the soundscape created by various types of feedback. This web of sound, however, does achieve enough foreground prominence that one can overlook Hooker's relatively isolated methods and concentrate on textural issues.

There is an ebb and flow in the trio's playing, passages of intensity that rise from the relaxed-yet-dissonant flow, giving this set an extra edge over similar efforts. Though this is a live recording, it's also mixed so that everything the group does is audible but the audience remains undetected. Of course, a single fifty-minute improvisation is a difficult beast, and it is a tall order to maintain a sense of direction throughout. Monsoon is unfortunately no exception; at about the 35-minute mark, the doldrums appear and last for a good ten minutes before the trio get rather excited again towards the end.

If you're already predisposed to improvised free-rock and noise, this should be an enjoyable listen. Monsoon certainly eclipses previous duo efforts with William Hooker in terms of variety and interest – and in terms of quality, it far exceeds some of Thurston Moore's free music experiments. Of course, if you're expecting the usual free jazz or anything like it, this probably won't fit the bill in the least.


Track Listing: Monsoon (49:01).

Personnel: Lee Ranaldo - guitar, effects; William Hooker - drums; Roger Miller - keyboards.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "To The Universe" CD/LP/Track Review To The Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "As subtle as tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review As subtle as tomorrow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Free World Music" CD/LP/Track Review Free World Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Allison Philips Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Allison Philips Trio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!