177

Philip Gayle: The Mommy Row

By

Sign in to view read count
Philip Gayle: The Mommy Row
Experimental music has always been something of a risky venture. The general public is rarely ready for what the avant-garde has to offer—and it often takes years, even decades for genius to be recognized and snatched from the jaws of obscurity. Luckily, New York has always had a place in its heart for the searching musician. The Downtown music scene was built on that affinity, and clubs like Barbès and the Stone, as well as the Downtown Music Gallery record store continue to open their doors and stages up to the kind of esoteric minds that yearn to explore new sonic worlds.

Philip Gayle is just such a musician. The Mommy Row is a rich sonic offering that finds the guitarist applying Cageian preparations to his acoustic guitar, while conjuring hypnotic musical vistas using bells, drums and the haunting cry of the water-phone in a solo performance as rewarding as it is challenging.

Right off the bat, the listener is thrown off balance by "Gyo, Gyo, Gyo, Gyo. Furiously plucked passages overlap in oblong sequence as bent highs ring out over twanged bass notes. The guitar's two highest strings are drastically detuned to the point where they hang from the neck and Gayle forcibly manipulates them with his left hand while plucking with his right to produce distinctive bent quarter-tones.

"Zoomly Zoomly is Eastern-sounding in its meditative drone and gong punctuations, a strong foil to the frantic nature of the first track. The sound of the water-phone (used mostly in horror movie soundtracks and as a background on TV shows like Forensic Files) permeates the entire track, at times joined by wavering electronic sounds and grating metallic shrieks, contributing an eerie vibe.

Unlike most albums, where a uniform sound tends to bridge each track, The Mommy Row is best described as eleven self-contained sonic excursions; Gayle gives listeners a few seconds of rest before starting again with an entirely new palette. The ringing bell tones of "Kanojo No Pan bear little resemblance to the melodic snippets and schizophrenic phrases of "The Payphone or the quasi-chordal, electronic phase of "April Warp, but therein lies the album's beauty. It takes artistic vision to find beauty in unconventional forms—and courage to share that vision.

Gayle shared his vision in a solo performance last month at Downtown Music Gallery. There, before a modest crowd, the Houston guitarist delivered a completely improvised performance, utilizing many of the techniques from the album in drawn-out performances that ranged from reflective to frantic. He established and painstakingly maintined sonic landscapes before the hushed audience, which showed Gayle its appreciation.

Track Listing

Gyo, Gyo, Gyo, Gyo; Zoomly Zoomly; Kanojo No Pan; The Payphone; Koyanji Sesu; Certificate; Cow People; 128 High; April Warp; Flat Tire; Yagamo.

Personnel

Philip Gayle: all instruments.

Album information

Title: The Mommy Row | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Unknown label

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Sacred Ceremonies
Wadada Leo Smith with Milford Graves and Bill...
L'Impact du Silence
Francois Bourassa
The Bright Awakening
Paul Dunmall - Matthew Shipp - Joe Morris -...
Live in Ohrid
Dzijan Emin & The Magical Orchestra
Sing To The World
Benito Gonzalez
Quasar-Mach
Jeffrey Morgan
Inspirations
Mindaugas Stumbras

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.