Thursday, January 28, 2016

spires that in the sunset rise with michael zerang - kata physin (tape/digital, no index)

the best thing going: the great presence. 

airy, feathered, everything in the air at once, rhythms being sucked away and pulled at by the cosmic other-side, flute and strings and percussion and voice exploring their own being in light-year room openness, older messages created on the spot through instrument-poem territorial moon-howl. underneath the soil songs.  

add water and light and breath and lightest touch in freer increments, no guidelines, no rules, living the magnetic slowest of spontaneous growths over higher time.  

improvisation could be cacophony but it's naturally heavy listening, organic in the pursuit and unobtrusive until it needs that extra lapsed gear. then instruments and singing hit difficult speaking vocab/slang moving past the original generating-thing and towards an idiomatic impulse/reaction. always in flow and with the current. searching for more than just musical decisions. 

if out-of-reality (or inside its permutation) could be loudened/translated to the biological, blood alive and mind free in distinct/instinct now, millions of seconds ticking live, the immense power from the few would shake the trees wild with wind and option. and that'll turn the natural to the super. 

closer is a one of a kind dream grower, growing into our dreams, brain-wave activity now a collaborative rapids of coherent musical interplay, completely compatible and moving. 

completely moving.

forest management - snapshot (cd/digital, sequel)

blur the image and take it farthest away, but not far enough so we can't see what impressions it first left. they'll reflect and act like particles where they can be counted and etched and tallied into outlined form. maybe it's a city that was once background, or the idea of that city is the background, but the available now made to life materializes directly in yr memory and it'll be more of a long-drawn far off feeling, coloured with simple gesture, turned to sound in that same motion, and there's no way it's going anywhere now unless you purposefully try and forget it and you won't and it still won't go away anyway and the marbled structure from imaginary reprographic hindsight will not allow it to go away, it'll sit where you need it to and you can call on it when you need to, but the act of bringing it to life is the sweeping artistic intellectual subverted wink, or stick on head, stick on own head, as the simplest act of impressionistic memory is now flexible enough to transfer to fingers and to the energy they can eclipse when that footprint of atmospheric art made an impression larger than all of the moments inside the thinking and the writing and this writing and the creating of the gear and the eyes and the hands and the mind-established feeling that initiated and was inherited from an idea of an idea of an idea...

sunmoonstar - ibid. (tape/digital, twin springs tapes)

appearing from far away and emerging like past memories lifted on a lush mix, the instruments resting in tranquil posture, split in stereo serene and warm, an ever-rolling circulatory fort-making force-field. vibrancy paired with dissolving crystal-clear performance. 

all shapes are crisp and defined and mesh together in venn diagrammatic blend, yet never lose the contours or balance of the individualistic sun-coated part-thing, recorded lighter than the weight of the keys. 

retold playing twilights like bells in exposed light. 

capacity to search beyond the noted and synchronized tracking, to find it and repeat it, cleanly offers the pervading feeling of the uncluttered mind/body bond. what's out of reach can be underlined and lingered-on like the rest of the fast-forward business, but the sharpening and pulling back and photographic pause can be archived and moved-on from in new moment execution. 

wavelengths getting out of their own way. 

tomás pérez - adjust your tracking (digital, self-released)

lift off into stereo-laser edit, fair bright whistling missiles going for ear-damage annoyance. the improv in the head-fuck dial-damage keeps you stimulated beyond the top-layered speedball restlessness. there's no rest. 

pummel lines burn/curb down into broken-up rotting polite evisceration and for-a-second go away, but slam back with more power regained at full strength and pinpoint specifically for the finishing move. 

then drums tick in for a fleeting second starting with gong-style theatre throb before cackling away in wipe-out aural maniacal let-loose pulling zero punches as all of the franticism misses and lands paralleledly. 

video game tweeter sounds crack and crunch into a handled ball that makes the sound of sheet metal warping. the freestyle noise undoubtedly shuts down the dual-play and scares off the competition. 

tangent, you'll never hear a better/harsher let it be. 

nutso chilean messery, clearly an enjoying and sneaky construction, turn it up and watch yr plants dive out of the open windows. that's a sacrifice to make when dealing with this kind-of feral oven-mitt mosquito commotion. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

james place - 2015 (digital, self-released)

hiss/off-structure slipping into that techno beat, the crackling underneath makes for lay-down dance-floor terrificisms, and gives plenty of time to hand-turn a knitted knob. and wrench out the sliding spheres like trimmer pennies being dropped into black and blue fountains. an out of print wish.

snares so quiet the hiss pitches up to the static, steps aside for a sec, the frequencies split and let go for that fourth micro-second, and it fills back in/rides. 

later, the forgotten makes its way to the front and takes up center spectrum. the parts drop in step, robotic, fenced/linked to the same grid, and when they fall away from that mechanical consequence, the program teases the between-note cratered with a spot of the mainline. 

i'd drive around to this if i liked to drive, passenger seat then (un-alone), latest night emptiness and turning flash-heavy angles righted by the rhythms and figurative sketches lining up perfect with everything blinking and looping. momentary glitches devoid of light, timed to also shine and hit ragged road. ripping speed or laying it back: a driving music. 

last track a beautiful lullaby for closing down the day. let it all river-flow and shutter, rewarded, for a gratifying new one's a couple of on/off switches to begin with away.

lujiachi - drums (cdr/digital, self-released)

repeating landscape cluster in fewer points of attack, keyboard swings in viola moves, shooting out and staying close to the delayed and generated reverberations. 

synthesizer explorations based around beat (or heartbeat), where the droning pulse lingers around rich and meditational melody. loner sounds for late night escapism, where the beautiful finds its way to the stars covered by the dark towering city skyline. straightening out the polluted affect into sun clear vision finger point and helping with warding off apparitional excess asking to be left behind. 

you couldn't nail when or where this came from (to answer: now and taipei), just deep and pinned-in sound wanting to get out and attach to air, sailing on the movement of the patched experiment-turned-proper-adventure, finding repetition within the fluctuations, taking off out of the assembly, digging out what's building inside and looking it in the mystical mirror. 

i can take these pieces with me as i drift out of (or into) myself to sleep, or keep them close by for any extended missions needing the temperamental hold-down. 

ultimately hits at feeling somewhere else, or that feeling is the same as being contented enough to go further inside the mind where the superficial here-now juxtaposes starkly against a need for blank space. not the physical other, but the person-other being chased into obscurity. 

gregg skloff - haze rupture (tape/digital, self-released)

counterpointed feedbacks and rumbling low-end drones clinging to white-noise eventuality, lowest of notes being held to turn speakers into bombing shards head-level and running hot. fired up gear-release and the bass-strings vibrating, and barely having to be touched, in loudest formational colour-turn. 

let it gather wheeze and effects-painted accentual wall-of-sound so large the heaviness released from one man's bass with its huge drenching what-the-hell opens lysergic doors to wah'ing moan-psych and outsider-rock (minus the band). 

my kind of amp exploding, push everything until it folds itself up on the edges of the cones and blows out in overdriven/flooded support. 

great, great sound-creation and the washing wealth of electricity is dizzying and psychedelically-true, brain melts into newer shapes and stuns the mind from thinking the same as before, and the small pickups turn wood into dust and you'd think they should be as large as tree trunks to get that kind of width and granularity. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

rotational q-and-a with phong tran

straight away, phong tran is a friend i made when i offered to put out some of the music he was cooking up in washington, dc, a few years ago. i had no idea of his breadth of taste, his archiver's background or his sky high friendliness/intelligence/digger's combination at that time but i'm beyond happy to learn all of this (and more) along the way. i was lucky and super stoked to release a tape he made in duo format with the ever-awesome patrick cain on my own power moves label, called the shouts from the sea. 


so i wanted to mention that up front to settle that conflict-of-interest (but really it's a confluence of influence) and have you grabbing that scorcher of a release too. besides the work in the shouts from the sea, phong's had a hearty hand in a few noisier/rock projects as well: halo valley and boat burning. 

let's throw the experimental and abstract music aside for a few minutes, as phong is a maniac for indian classical, and the last few months i've listened to little else at work and at home and my stereo speakers/headphones constantly drone like a tanpura because of it. could be my tinnitus though. he's the first person i thought of that could really help shed some light on some of the questions and mysteries that were building for me as i was getting deeper and deeper into it. so i thought it would be great to dive into this music with him and have him guide us through some styles and legacies and open us all up to this incredible universe. 

phong doesn't consider himself an expert, just a massive lover of this music. and we're covering hindustani as that is what he is more familiar with (as opposed to carnatic music), but i've learned a whole ton from talking with him about this. with tons yet to explore. 

i asked phong, through email, a series of questions that wrapped around particular instruments, as i find the more i understand about the basics of each purpose/use the more i can get my head around the immensity of it all.

i hope you enjoy our conversation. 

(this is a long one, and i'm all for long form interviews, so hang in there. i've left phong's responses as he sent them back to me in full/unedited and we've added some youtube clips of incredible performances, so let them soundtrack the reading if you can.) 


rotational: so we'll start with the sitar and the obvious starting point is ravi shankar. and abdul halim jaffer khan (whom i've just heard)'s wiki mentions these two with the third, vilayat khan, as the sitar trinity. but i feel like leaving nikhil banerjee out of that equation is odd, and then learning a bit about the rivalry between shankar and khan adds to that having-to-define the masters, etc, which is silly since all of these players are friggin amazing. and i hate the "who do you like best?" way of comparative musicology, so i'll ask: any particular recording or specific raga that you've been drawn to more than others? or one's technique or voicings that speak to you more personally? and on top of that, any other sitar players that you really enjoy listening to? i feel like the sitar-tabla combination is so perfectly tonal.

pt: i agree with you, a sitar trinity in my book would be ravi shankar, vilayat khan and nikhil banerjee. it's a matter of stylistic/tonal preferences, and of studying from a certain gharana. this is a big deal in indian music. my sitar teacher, krishna bhatt, his guru was ravi shankar. for me, as a student living with my teacher etc., it meant a devotion to the gharana. and so it's always been maihar
[the name of allauddin khan's home place and of the style lineage associated with his tradition]... nikhilda, his gurus were ali akbar khan and of course, baba allauddin khan... now speaking of the sitar, what is crucial in someone's tone is their jawari. this is the overtone buzz created by the curve of the sitar's bridge vibrating against the strings. each bridge made according to the player's taste. raviji's jawari is referred to as more open (more buzz), while vilayat khansaheb [khan + saheb, commonly used as an honorific, other examples of honorifics are ji and da]'s is more closed (less buzz, more classicist/purist). nikhilda's was between the two. he also was much less a performer than raviji and khansaheb. raviji came from a dance background via his brother, the great uday shankar. khansaheb's performances were legendary, he even broke out into ghazals, if the mood was right... nikhilda, though, he's the one for me. he was all about getting inside the raga, not necessarily performing for an audience. nikhilda's releases on raga records, each one is great: the intimate settings, the atmospheric recordings, the great tabla players on board with him, etc. i'll just mention one, the 1967 kpfa broadcast of chandrakauns and khamaj with mahapurush misra. sublime.  

speaking of ragas, my favorites tend to be the ones associated with transitional cycles of the day/night: bhairav, marwa and malkauns, for example. their tonal moods resonate with me, from peaceful to haunting to foreboding to meditative. then there are the 'lighter' ones such as bhairavi and kirwani. they grab me in a different way... i was learning one raga (yaman, the one most start with) for a long time, really exploring it, before moving onto others.    

two other sitar greats to definitely check out are mushtaq ali khan and manilal nag. 

rotational: quick add to that, any particular instrumentation that you feel is a little bit under-represented that works well together when paired with the sitar?  

pt: indeed, sitar/tabla is the ideal combo. when another solo instrument is added, it often drags into a crowd-pleasing cutting contest, to the detriment of the raga... of course, there are exceptions which transcend this: nikhil banerjee and ali akbar khan's sarod. vilayat khan and his brother imrat khan's surbahar, vilayat khan and bismillah khan's shehnai. these are classic jugalbandis. the tonal spectrum by these duos is so nicely balanced... also, it's telling that these pairings were all of family members, teachers/disciples or close friends. it works best in this context. 

rotational: i recently picked up (meaning: downloaded) a sarod lp by sharan rani backliwal, whom studied under ali akbar khan and his father and ultimate-master allauddin khan. really amazing. she has the speed and the pacing down, and i feel like the sarod just speaks to me on such a basic level, like the overtones and notes are just where they're supposed to be. the sarod has so many incredible handlers, i know that you hipped me to the documentary by james beveridge from 1971 on amjad ali khan, another sarod specialist, where there is the most beautiful scene of him playing in front of that room at around the 20:00 mark. 

and it's just heart-breaking stuff. all of the universe realizing something in unison then forgetting it in bliss. do you think the power of the sarod comes from the materials and how it's played? the sliding and the plucking? the overtones? do you think it has extra-magical powers too? and give me a few of yr top performances - you've probably seen a bit of this in person as well, can you give a bit of yr feeling catching something live too? 

pt: wah, the sarod. what an instrument... the gharanas of allauddin khan, hafiz ali khan and radhika mohan maitra. sarod lineages basically stem from these greats... from its design, the sarod has that resonance/overtone thing down, the goat skin/teak wood combo just perfect. and yeah, the slide aspect means you can get much deeper bends than on the sitar, for example. a mellow and huge tone... in regards to recordings, for starters, definitely track down the ali akbar khan ones from the 60s on connoisseur society (some later reissued by khansaheb's ammp), so excellently recorded and khansaheb in early prime... i'm lucky to have caught several of khansaheb's concerts while living in the bay area in the early 90s. transcendent stuff... i remember one particular experience of a concert at st. john's church in berkeley when i felt being levitated by his sarod together with swapan chaudhuri's flying carpet tabla... that melting that happens beyond time, out of and locked in. all the tonal colors that happen between the notes, the resonating drone strings so key to getting to that zone of being/listening/playing. 

riffing on the beveridge film, there were three others he made: on pt. jasraj, bhimsen joshi and vijay raghav rao. all worth seeking out. 

rotational: so there's the sarangi, which seems like a lesser used or lesser known instrument. i'm thinking about ram narayan, but i'm drawing a blank on some of the other greats. why is it less known? and what are some of the other bowed instruments? 

pt: yeah, for most of us, ram narayan is basically the one sarangi soloist master. he has gotten the most exposure and deservedly so. but there are definitely other greats such as gopal mishra, sultan khan, sabri khan (who recently passed) and in earlier times, maybe the greatest of them all, bundu khan ... there's a really good sarangi portal, sangi rangi
that's a must check. there are deep write-ups on histories and players and playlists.

sadly, since the last century, the sarangi has gradually been displaced by the harmonium. there are social and musical reasons for this. there was this stigma of the sarangi being connected to tawaif culture which was strongly marginalized under british india... and obviously the sarangi (having up to 40 strings) is much more difficult to tune/maintain, and to master. the harmonium, having fixed notes and not the sarangi's sliding action, doesn't dig as deeply.... for many raga heads, the sarangi is still the instrument closest to the voice. apparently there are vocalists who choose harmonium accompaniment over sarangi as they don't want to compete with its voicing.

there are other bowed instruments such as dilruba and esraj, but performances and recordings are pretty rare. 

rotational: i couldn't wait to ask you about bismillah khan and his absolutely otherworldly shehnai. what's the background on this instrument and how would a fellow like this fall into it/discover it? is this a family passed-down type traditional torch too like the other more popular instruments? are there shehnai schools?  the first time i heard him, i was floored. i'm hearing moondog and modern classical tone/drone marching, i'm hearing minimalist bagpipes, i'm hearing so much life within it. and is it usually played in concert with other horns? that panning, stereo effect, the call and response type passaging, it's so amazing and seems completely magical. they couldn't have known it would have this much of a visceral effect, could they?  

pt: bismillah khan, what a giant. there is no one else who comes close. his shehnai has this incredible joyous quality. and when the other shehnai players in the party/group join in, there's this huge multiple double-reed resonance... and yeah, this is a passed-down family thing. probably more so than for other instruments. it being played more in the social ritual context, rarely as a concert performance, other than by khansaheb. there are a few other shehnai players, but none on his level... i've had this recurring daydream of khansaheb's shehnai jamming with john coltrane's soprano. now imagine all those split tones layered on top of each other.  

another reason why khansaheb is huge for me is because of benares, his home city. my first extended experience of india was being there. the intoxication was so intense i didn't want to leave. the life/death continuum overbearing sometimes but crazy uplifting too... i gotta mention a great documentary by goutam ghose, 'sange meel se mulaqat' (1989), of which i had the privilege of writing some words on for alexander keefe's sarkari shorts blog project. i guest-posted a few others too on alex's blog. it was a lot of fun to really dig in on those wonderful documentaries. 

rotational: i know yr a huge fan of the dagar family sound, in the dhrupad tradition. can you fill me and us into what that history and style (hindustani classical vocal) was all about and what attracts you to it? when was the first time, if you can remember, hearing this particular genre? would it have been the vocal music that you heard first or something on the rudra veena? (i can't believe how amazing the rudra veena sounds: so rich and full and cutting.) ...speaking of the rudra veena, and this is a small tangent first, i feel like a lot of the indian classical music can be intimidating or over-whelming at first as it's tricky trying to put the differing styles and players in the right part of the library brain, but i feel like once you get a better understanding on some of the instruments and ensemble groupings it can help define or make the picture a little less foggy/cluttered. i say this because the rudra veena and a particular tape by bahauddin dagar specifically just floored me and magically helped open up my receptors that were very busy confusing everything. the rudra veena can be so slow and thick and lava-like in its outpouring. are you a fan of this instrument? are there any others that get this deep and inside?  

pt: dhrupad is the deepest. it's a very old form, a kinda mother music. dhrupad is more introspective/meditative, much more deliberate in its approach to developing a raga. eventually it makes a more lasting impression... but of course, the durational thing can be off-putting/boring to some listeners... the alap in dhrupad can take up to an hour or longer before the pakhawaj kicks in... it takes a surrender, a devotion, an abandonment of the senses in the absorption of the raga to get inside it... there was one experience of catching dhrupad all night on maha shivaratri at benares, the ultimate place to experience it. benares being shiva's city. the festival ended at dawn. i remember just lingering on the ghats afterward. a total morning dew moment. 

i was turned on to rudra veena first, and of course by z.m. dagar. whenever i listen to his veena, it's like being dissolved onto this other level of liquid melting tonal colors. yeah, the lava thing as you said, that's a perfect description... the other great rudra veena master to check out is asad ali khan... on the vocal side, obviously the dagar tradition is huge. so many greats through the centuries. there's a photo where there are 7 dagars sitting together with their tanpuras and z.m. with his veena. so awesome... among the dagars' students, the gundecha brothers are carrying on the torch. one of the musical highlights from 2014 for me was catching them again here in dc. so great, their voices dovetailing each other, this phasing effect with the drone so strong. i felt so transformed afterward... dhrupad for me, transcends time like no other form... one time i really zoned out listening to a z.m. tape at half speed. now try that. like huge whale song washing over you... and i gotta say hearing dhrupad blasting out on the hills on a huge sound system on a sunday morning at voice of the valley noise rally vi was pretty amazing too.      

on a related note, i gotta mention here lalmani misra who was a great master of the vichitra veena, which is played with a slide. his action on that instrument is unbelievable. 

rotational: to go back and reference a question from earlier, there are many wonderful records and performances from women, the sarod mentioned above, as well as many vocalists (like the mississippi/change records lp by kesarbai kerkar) totally holding down their territory throughout the differing styles and traditions, why do you think that openness was so nurtured throughout the generations? is it simply a matter of expression always rising, and if a voice or talent is sharing and developing there is a system of support and structure to let that flower and to catch flight? even considering the devotional aspects and how that could be seen as a barrier or blockage (as history has shown us before)? 

pt: unfortunately women were and still are under-represented, especially instrumentally-speaking. the reasons for this stem from societal biases and restrictions, etc. which somehow still exist.. but the more you dig, the more you'll find luminaries such as sharan rani who ruled on the sarod. and then there's the legendary annapurna devi's surbahar. sadly she was never officially recorded and became a recluse early on, only rarely taking on students. there's a live recording from 1953 plus another with ravi shankar. amazing gems but that's about all you will find of hers. 

among vocalists, kesarbai was huge, i always get blissed out listening to her. her voice has this amazing haunting quality... there's mogubai kurdikar and her daughter kishori amonkar. and of course, the mighty gangubai hangal, just wondrous... begum akhtar is huge for me too. i'm flashing back to the year i spent in pakistan 1993-4 studying urdu. one of my assignments was transcribing and translating the ghazals she sang. so heart-rending. this was another gateway: into the urdu/persian poetic tradition and then abida parveen and others.  


rotational: i have this record of mahapurush misra - the transcendental tal, where he showcases his incredible and explosive tabla chops, and the great maestro ali akbar khan is the accompanied background drone - much like how the tanpura or even the tablas are usually represented, and it's obviously a huge push to show how the tablas can be the main instrument too (and amazing for khan to lay back and add that bed so effortlessly), but is there any other records that you know about where one of the more 'background' instruments gets its glory like this? and do you have a particular tabla go-to? and have you ever played them? 

pt: yeah the great mahapurush / khansaheb combo, so potent. i know some other recordings of theirs but haven't heard that one. the whole tabla thing is amazingly deep with its own lineages... start with ahmed jan thirakwa, chatur lal, kishan maharaja, allah rakha, zakir hussain and you'll be flying high for a long time... i gotta mention a personal favorite, swapan chaudhuri, as i caught his mastery several times with ali akbar khan... it's almost obligatory to learn tabla within this tradition, rhythm being a primal ingredient. i took a few lessons. but realized soon that i could absorb only so much of the music, and so focused on sitar. 

rotational: three parter: 

i know that yr a massive la monte young fan, and he was the direct disciple of pandit pran nath, carrying his legacy and heart, what made that situation so unique? are there other similar stories of western musicians embracing a mentor in this way? what was it about nath's music that changed him forever? we talked a bit about vocal music with the dagar family, but how would you characterize nath's vocal delivery and technique against other styles or traditions? would they be singing about/living specific rituals in differing ways?  

do you think being a fan of experimental drone and minimal and modern classical that hits at the longer, more drawn out nature, is a bit of a gateway into indian classical music? is being a fan of young and the minimalists come first for the most part? they were clearly inspired by the music of india (and around the world for sure), which composers or artists or players most remind you of the beauty and progressions found within a raga, intended or not? 

and to tie it all up, nath (and young, famously with the well-tuned piano) were deep, deep into longest form drone and raga performance. and we know that other ragas are regularly hours-long, morning/afternoon/evening/late-night, do you think the meditation and endurance and stillness and patience is a selling point to someone new to this? or do you have to learn how to engage the longer works?  

pt: la monte, don cherry, charlemagne palestine, jon hassell, henry flynt, c.c. hennix,  yoshi wada... these are some of the heavies who gathered around pran nath. that is some deep list... i think what attracted them was that otherworldly thing, starting with the drone, and the slow building up of the raga for hours on end. the emphasis on tone, and toning. the kirana tradition really developed extreme slowness into vocal music, which is close to dhrupad in feeling. pran nath's teacher abdul wahid khan especially was the source of this deliberateness. his influence resonated in amir khan, maybe my favorite vocalist... and yeah, there's definitely a ritual element to it too. it's about that transcendence of time/temporality. whatever it takes to get there. which could be a meditation practice, taking certain drugs, practicing for hours, etc. it could mean being a hermit and living in a cave, being totally devoted to the music, as pran nath did for years. on that deep level, this music is not about entertainment, it's a spirit thing. 

for me, a huge gateway into ragas was coltrane's music and the fire/spiritual jazz music of the 60s/70s. the modal into the ecstatic durational aspect. different moves/techniques, but the same shared goals. i've experienced similar states deep into a trane or albert ayler piece as i have into ragas. also with certain guitarists such as sonny sharrock, john mclaughlin, and pete cosey, that acid groove running in parallel... and then there's the american primitive guitar school starting with john fahey and robbie basho down the line onto jack rose and so many others. it's obvious their stylistic and tonal affinities with raga. all those open tunings with the drone so dominant. 

rotational: i wanted to mention some of the western instruments that have been either adapted or played straight up that are found within the archives, and continue to this day. my brother-in-law plays a modded guitar/sitar combo called a mohan veena lap slide guitar i think, i think that's what he has (but he started on a weissenborn that i've played and i'm trying to get him to sell it to me now that he's upgraded but he's no-dice), but he has a teacher and they do this performance/recital/showcase once a year to show how far the students have come and to show their chops, and this is totally a tangent, but the teacher doesn't perform. i was blown away by that. that's probably the main reason why i'd want to check it all out, you know, to see the master rip it a bit. but some start on guitar is my long point. so... there's slide guitar (debashish bhattacharya) and violin (vg jog), and ravi padmanabha plays the bulbul tarang (a sort of cross between keyboards/autoharp/banjo maybe) can you name some others or expound on some of the cooler qualities of the mixing of these elements? any combinations that stand out to you? any records or artists we should check out? 

pt: for guitar, brij bhushan kabra was the first to open it up for ragas. a great musician and innovator. his trio album call of the valley with heavies shiv kumar sharma and hariprasad chaurasia is a perennial classic. thereafter, vishwa mohan bhatt opened up the guitar even more. and debashishda, as you mention... and i love mick flower's jams on the shahi baaja, for example... when i was really deep into studying sitar, i appreciated but kinda sidestepped western or mixed instruments for ragas. i was kind of a purist in terms of instrumentation: the older and more ascetic/esoteric the better and so forth... i've come around to appreciating any and all instruments that takes one to that zone. it does not matter as long as you get there.   

rotational: phong, thanks. thank you so much for me letting me get inside that fantastic brain of yrs, and thanks for opening up about this wonderful music and helping give it all context and the proper ceremony. take care man!  

pt: thanks right back at you for this opportunity! nice to remind myself of how much this music means to me. hoping it helps you and others to dig more. cheers! 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

lionel marchetti - the coast opposite... / 2016 - composition de musique concrète (digital, self released)

the crawlingest gamelan making stars of tin, or from din, falling and repeating, glistening and fading, in space and around/within it, in rooted atmosphere note, center of all the pull, all energy sourced dynamic through pressure-pointed interval. stereo play of keys and the tiniest fragmented guitar cough in silence breaking repeal. quieting the growing appeal of larger equipment into insect-stirring maddening make-work played (what feels like) kilometres apart.

the ship passes in the slowest of motions, the waves curl and respond from the moving disturbances, activity on the deck but impossibly mute underneath, but stirring. all of the work is producing out of sight, as the natural fluidity shapes what we're seeing and what can be heard. our brains attach song-form to the ripples and their disappearances. 

the underlying hum sleep-beautiful in its stoicism, fainting into the background, or the ears hear it that way, as it sits cold-pure but warming up in the center of the thought, retracting with each string-abled decision. electric guitar vocalizing the look of distant rock in spiked graph-like jetting cones, like eyes drawn to the top of the painting before closing on the new tone.

these same guitars ant and putter and are manipulated through the softening hysteria, higher than the horizon's position, seemingly aimless but filled with looping/rotating baoding ball action, dexterous and a hand faster. their speed, though clipped, acting in the interest of the double, to draw attention away from and back to the meditating axis. 

long-apart points, an even straighter plane, the equal distances, all ruminating flush.

gary rouzer & anne-f jacques - déplacement rendez-vous (tape, crustacés tapes)

what are the sounds if not generated by the mind, controlled by the built, intuitive and culled from the tactile, negotiated (by long distance collaboration). completely new-sound specific, elegantly never the same piece again.

room throbs of gear settling in to open space and machines cutting out, bowed and semi-scratched lightness hit speaker as a pen would hit heavier-handed paper, the truest amplification of microphone contact, in the red, to bring life to the stories living around us. in the next room, or down the street, or inside material maker-electronics, or on the upright's strings when touched closest with nail or object, time passage as a way of bringing the disparate together, and a tweak to redefine the collection, and to pick out the meaningful from the mundane. 

bugging a room, bug in a room, all of the knocks and taps and fan-turns (or their inverse) are specimen-collected in ramping-up concrete middle-loudness, could be middle of the night even, but whenever it is, time and invention are subverted under the duo's individualizing headlamp, separately, but intricately and expertly collaged now that they intersect.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

sapropelic pycnic - a love supreme (tape/digital, no index)

ode, poem, everything you have for the master, all of it in kind gift-giving correspondence with the leader, to have it sung and played in a shared bow, thought unclasping the soul-life we fiddle with too much, let it all flow out the bottom of the horn/mind and up and out to wherever you want it to go. we get to choose, the moveable being flows through us and is most harmonious when we're open to everything. and this isn't easy. living reincarnated lives to get easier with this. this: a complete letting go to get deeper inside our study. 

so inside it it turns the colour of acknowledgement, selfless and clear-water adorned, the boldness has to meet half-way the sheer feeling, the pilgrimage to the bettering part of self, outside and inside all rhythmic curvature. remote inside-acceptance and open-ended sharing/searching.

voice, when used as leveller, but only functioning when ego-erased, beyond heavy, saxophone-enriched, piano-etude, purely driven, landing everywhere it needs. 

a helluva material-tackle, and the pretense is unseated once transported in this kind of undecorated reverent honesty. 

the pieces modally comb around the momentous, aware of and in the shadow, and steer away from cover, a looking up to, a longing for our elders (the leader) to teach us more and wanting to jump in while the history is live, as it never goes away, and can't be forgotten when it's this purely energized. 

a lasting outpouring of dedication and newness-adopted, knowing that's how the receiver would pursue and respond in kind.

abramson / sack duo - aluminuum (digital, self-released)

basics of the geet-drum duel, some extra bits thrown-in for good sound-push measure, but main bulky focus is the primary plot, sparking the fire before the rain sets in. 

"spontaneous compositions" (their words) more than does the summation, but the active participation for listening ear causality can show combustions working as well. low-flame reds soaking out in desperate annihilation. rinsing blue-flame like a colder spillage. 

guitar splashes out and climbs over in slow-death treble-strangulation. drums omni-there, catching the remaining splatter as it spazzes and relaxes in the same inhalating second. 

an array of modified/prepared finger/hand pulling tangents come up to and pass over the matched momentum, toms and snare in loose concentration, busily waxing and waning in steady propulsion, snaking away from handler, but under the brain-thing where it snakes its way back. call it control. 

reading the terrain and cutting corners to get there first, the same-timing wiggles and wipes clean all identifying trails. never the same path twice with no time to waste: where repetition can lose focus, discard the song-feature, it's more paint-removal and electric ice, a million clouds carrying surging charge, striking and needling toward lead-heavy avalanche in storming-eye precision. 

stealth duo rapport thing, liberal with time and contracted, rope-like and constricted. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

daniel thomas - broadcast (cdr/digital, cherry row recordings)

heavy words from the radio’s opener, pulling the carpet and floor out as the voice hits distorted waves of lapping pulse. ashore, getting hit, getting wet, white noise or white caps bringing another part of the world’s foaming lost with it, all long-gone and running away in equal weight/freight.

tracks buried at sea and geared out of murky and discoloured non-pretty patched effect.

submarine soundtracking: constructed sub-clicks prose-drawn in security lighthouse-reach, we’re stranded on this night-beam fuck-of-a-raft while the waterproofing holds. there’s quiet in here somewhere.

and it holds, tight as the last bolt shoring the incline strong.

if these were broadcast, truly, out over the collective paths, and with the natural non-sequence of one continuous hissing concerto, swallowing background/furniture into the forefront of degraded removal-think, we’d be in trouble. good trouble, where the challenge is the tension/drama shapeless all-and-no speaker-crumpling, hipping us to the recesses of the blown-out mind. not saying it’d be easy, but can’t think of a more mucky train-song-centric satire of our ideal sunset. and that always needs a shaking.

when the tools can carve up this kind of spanning/streaming coverage and you have no clue how it all comes together, be it on the fly quasi-improvisation or cut and treated programmatic layering (though i’m feeling the former on this), that careful technique transcends what empties and surpasses the a-to-b sound-creating simplicity. the handiwork champs and is the ultimate order to the proceedings, the manner in which each domino-falling nuance finds, and hones in on, panoramic treasure.

brannten schnüre - sommer im pfirsichhain (lp/digital, aguirre)

a magickal forest is far too easy a descriptor fairy-tale book for the kiddies/adults, but the elicited growth and birch-opening bark and rooted limbs in groug-hug softness scoot you out of this world into just that. but all hints of thematic notice are pushed through the timeless envelope in effortless pluck.

folk music in medieval secret, the oral tradition passed on through messenger-winds and emotional touches impossible to bring forth into new millennia. have to find it in the instrumentation and pairings, and the ability to lose yrself into potion.

segmented acoustical harmonies of source and findings stitch together with patchwork care, a through-the-walls voice reaches the ears and burrows inside the dreaming nest and scatters like steam. once settled/readymade for stained glass, the poem is sung and joins back together with the abstractions when the farthest-out points find dew. the ghostly consciousness of early morning nothingness mixes well with ideas of co-habitation, where places can be ripped from time and age, used as frantic flower-beds for every sharp re-tooling.

a monster-under-the-bed fanciful music that coos along with the earliest-up (or last to bed) surreality that comes with rebelling against the usual and surviving outside it. delirious and off in dreamt real moments, slipping in superimpositional cradle song syllable. trying to stay awake.

this is part two of what’s turning into a larger book of alchemical collection, with goal to total four, and the unknown well of riddle and success is one chapter closer, tuning to that reveal.

Friday, January 15, 2016

hokkei quartet - self-titled (digital, self-released)

a right messy stew, but interestingly levitational in the conjure game. a quiet under-breath foursome unique, wading in low volume hunting with an elixir of intrusionary ballast. anchored to a street-market performance style, nutso enough to put off the keeps, but wilder for the fuck-is-this? crowd. 

the longer the squabbles are held and drums are flurried, the more-purely it points at not-just-carnivalesque musicianship.  

horns and what sound like rubber band technologies go toe to toe, drums sit nice in the pocket (great drum-work throughout) behind growing mouth-sound breathing broken-circle gloop. this maintains.

goose horn squealing/powerful tip-top building max-out, fried and peaking. and once in full swing holy-shit this gets bombing. and without having to ask, they decidedly square up to a thunderous and racket-inducing squall.

a voice jumps out, an engine-like guitar rumbles along keeping good time (just keep going), a plunger-bell sits one level higher than the scratchy score, and the group-play in nice recorded stereo severs the freer jazz has-to-be-fire rulebook. they know how to get hot, they just don't throw all the wood in the fire at once. they've spent too much time chopping it specifically. 


foldhead - guernica nights (digital, zanntone)

really short and very sweet trial experiments for the freak week's collapse. where each glassed result changes the parameters or furthers the what'll-happen, an opportunity arises in parallel running form nudging our lofted practitioner to please stretch these motherfuckers out/pull at that thread:

monday: hacksaw sped up through the channel strainer in skipping silence.

tuesday: ancient floor tom/kick machine-pulse rhythm panned then centered dead.
wednesday: screeching signal finds purer hertz once let out of the bag.
thursday: best overall sound manipulation and bee-buzz ender.
friday: going for the higher pitch glass-edge ring/ridge bother.
saturday: chopping/staccato termite-chew in a microtone accident.
sunday: sub/bass deep wall-rattler nighty-night enjoy the week...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

simon mccorry - ‘when we walk side by side what chance will we meet?’ (postcard/digital, arell)

too great cello interrogational look-within and subtlety. masterful bowing and patience, wood and fingers in lock, in expert tone gather. 

loop pedal starting points of willowed simplicity, the add-on's ready for more adventurous and toying sawing. the beauty of the small rig. any place can be animated by long friction's brushed ribbon detail. 

led out through the f-shaped sound holes, in cut-out and fit-just-right movement, the chords quickly squeezing (to exact shape) from inside the luthier'd jewel-box, opening its richness in oozing repeat/lead-over. and when sampled the escaped chords crawl back inside and do it all over again. 

passages, expansive and full, filled by curled/coiling and beginning/ending oneless riffs shoot out and catch stride and swing back around in whirlpooled cyclical easing-down. strung mellow and it's a warm chair pensive in intensity and it's rocking you out through the windows in the attention-catching everyday symbolically floating/flowering by. or take the bowed relief weighing you further into the chair's own hermitage and ignore it all. 

things to get you through the day: the independent self in discovery mode. 

and i'll add: truly beautiful playing.

téléplasmiste / aas split (tape/digital, holectics research recordings)

téléplasmiste, side a, radioclast e.r.a. (112 hz): 

doubled prospects, matched in chords, pulsating the dense minimalism served up on the fault-line platter/patter. not quite the climax scene, nor the introductory lesson, more the long drive/bus ride to the middle of nowhere. stepping through the forest floor, looking down and studying it, reading the bends and soil lineages burrowing into twig stream beds, following the little drips of water out and downhill and under semi-weathered boardwalks leading to greener half-step partiality. if birds could hold the song of their root: emulating breath and pumping wave. not broken from silent cutting, recurrent, reviving current, completely current in fixed grass cartography. pinpoint landmarks, one getting to the other, by two, linking twin module modification under a footpath’s clear geography.

aas, side b, the cult of sonic affect: 

neolithic fountain-makers, sun and sky sourced for polished original arching scoper. happening. of/in the moment. overfull. overing anything that can stand up and take care of its own shape, blasting it out into churn-heavy dulling crescendo. and quick. greater chance the parts spurn out psych in muddy tactile creation, greater chance it acts as one beast, one singular monster crytpic mind catching out. group-bash but less hit-hard rock-thing. dangerous if improperly communed. tight to the path though, rocks more in line with a hammer drill connected equally. connective tissue keeping the rot out. devil-at-bay, or right inside it all, that’s their call to call it. that they let us into this church-of-something corner at all: mighty nice of them.