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Taking stock, a year half over

Mark Corroto By

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Even after forty-plus years, the sound of Albert Ayler's tenor saxophone can cause chills to run down your spine. His short life (he died at 36) and even shorter career shook up not only the jazz community, but it also altered the music of John Coltrane and Peter Brotzmann. As part of its 50th anniversary, ESP-Disk, perhaps the most important free jazz label ever created, has selected several releases to be remastered and re-released. This celebration is from Ayler's final recordings (he would be dead 4 months later) July 25, 1970, at the Maeght Foundation in St. Paul de Vence, France. Recorded as a trio, with his pianist Call Cobbs stuck at the airport, Ayler pulls music from his free jazz beginnings, eschewing the rock, funk, and R&B elements of his New Grass (Impulse!, 1968) and Music Is The Healing Force Of the Universe (Impulse!, 1969) sessions. He was also without his brother Donald Ayler, who had suffered a breakdown. The saxophonist carried the weight of this entire performance. He opens the night with a plaintive wail that scorches the curtains and thumps the chest. Mary Maria's spoken words deliver Ayler's philosophy, a true belief (it was the end of the 1960s) that revolution and peace could be attained through the popular movements of the people. The clarity of this remastered recording is quite remarkable. Ayler's voice delivered through multi-phonics and upper register tongues. He plays through his love of marches, some calypso, arriving in the end at "Ghosts," his signature tune. The crowd responds to the music, cheering and stomping. Or is that the beating of my heart?

Richard Pinhas Desolation Row Cuneiform 2013

The Godfather of 70s electronic and experimental music Richard Pinhas, is back. Actually, back again. After forming Heldon in 1974 (the French equivalent to Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen), the guitarist began a solo career that has spanned avant-rock, ambient, industrial, and since the 1990s, noise genres. His ability to pull together disparate musics and styles has marked his later work, such as his collaborations with Japan's Masami Akita, aka Merzbow and Wolf Eyes from the States. Here he teams up with noise and experimental giants Lasse Marhaug, Oren Ambarchi, and Noel Akchoté. The session is rounded up with Pinhas' son, Duncan Nilsson, Erick Borelva, and saxophonist Etienne Jaumet. There is a little bit of everything here to appease his fans from the various phase of his forty years of music making. The disc opens with "North," a smattering of noise layered with insistent guitar that mushrooms over the 16-minutes of fervor. The piece gains locomotion and is continually animated by the tenacious drumming of Borelva. Pinhas corroborates his investigation into industrial noise here, tweaking its accessible beats. Clocking in at 18-plus minutes is "Moog," a bit of retro-sound. The music is bathed in analog synthesizers and chilled ambience. It builds upon a late night lounge sound that is best suited for those who do not suffer from an attention deficit disorder. The more successful pieces "South" and "Circle" build upon Pinhas' strengths, intensifying drone music and the incorporation of beats. His ability to layer the guitars, electronics and noise of Marhaug, Ambarchi, and Akchoté, keeping each of these strains distinct might be the genius here. After all of his years working with drum machines, the 'live' drummer effect makes this meeting timeless.

Tracks and Personnel

Tres Cabeças Loucuras

Tracks: Ol' Dirty Hummingbird; Into The Rising Sun; ArNus NusAr; Over The Rainbow; Evetch; Six-Handed Casio; Love I Feel For You Is More Real Than Ever; Basilio's Crazy Wedding Song; Arvore De Cereja E Ausente; Taking Back the Sea Is No Easy Task.

Personnel: Rob Mazurek: cornet, Elvolver, harmonium, ring modulator, analog delay; Mauricio Takara: cavaquinho, percussion, electronics; Guilherme Granado: keyboards, samplers, synthesizer, voice.

The Electric Miles Project

Tracks: Agharta Prelude; Mad Love Pt. 1; Direction; Ife; Sivad; Mad Love Pt. 2.

Personnel: Chris Kelsey: soprano saxophone, straight alto saxophone; Rolf Sturn: electric guitar; Jack DeSalvo: electric guitar; Joe Gallant: electric six-string bass; Dean Sharp: drums.


Tracks: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9.

Personnel: Michael Coleman: keyboards, electronics; Aram Shelton: saxophone, live processing; Alex Vittum: drums, percussion.

Design Your Future

Tracks: Albumblatt Für Herrn Schprögel; Parl; Au Bois; Suite En Eb: Andante Misterioso; Agitato; Zoppicando; Tempestoso; Lalila; Autägleche Wandverchehr; Au Bois (Spacetet Version); Design Your Future; Oh My God.

Personnel: Lucien DuBuis: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; Roman Nowka: bass, guitar; Lionel Friedli: drums; Estelle Beiner: violin; Regula Schwab: violin; Isabelle Gottraux: viola; Babarara Gasser: cello.

Mitt Ferieparadis

Tracks: Feda Bru; Logatunellen.


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