Browsing All posts tagged under »avant-jazz«

Darts & Arrows – Altamira (avant-jazz)

June 28, 2016

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Avant-garde music (and other art) is animated by a narrative of self-definition - it is the privileged marginal, the self-marking other, whose exteriority to the mainstream is established by virtue of the trailblazer’s enhanced legitimacy, rather than its exclusion from the established sites of legitimacy. But one person’s avant-garde, obviously, is another person’s outsider art, and it is only in the writing of history (from within the established sites of legitimacy) that any such status is assigned with durable authority. This is not to say that ‘the’ avant-garde’s internal claims and narratives render it immune to the operations of power…

Various Artists – Album Roundup

March 1, 2016

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Abject and lonesome mid-fi folk, that drifts across the field of consciousness like a progession of washed-out, dusty photographs, before it becomes quite heavy and ominous towards the end of the album, and finishes with an unlikely cover of ‘Twerk’. One of Uhlich’s Bandcamp tags is ‘devotional’, and there is a sense of outsider ritual about this music, as though a set of the personal habits that make an individual were reified as doctrine: the songs are about something, certainly, but it feels like Uhlich is singing meaning to himself as much as he is singing meanings to us. Songs unfold at a steady pace, with static or slow …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

October 23, 2015

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‘Let it be known’, begins the declamation with which Damon Locks opens the first of these two live sets: the immense complexity of the knowing we are invited to share soon becomes apparent. I come across a huge variety of music, much of it extremely creative, inventive, accomplished and unconventional, but rarely do I encounter anything on the sheer scale of Galactic Parables: Volume 1, or anything remotely as ambitious. The performing forces at each of the concerts from which the album was recorded are large but not vast, at ten and eight players respectively, but the creative scope of the music …

Prescott – One Did (avant-rock)

February 1, 2015

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There’s an openness, and a sense of ensemble solidarity, to Prescott, that puts me in mind of jazz as much as it does of the art-rock influences they own up to in their press release; much of the music is clearly arranged in detail, but it feels improvisational, and its musical meanings seem to stem from this group of musicians, making this sound, on this occasion, with that devotion to the present moment so characteristic of the most committed jazz. In stylistic terms there is little to tie this music unequivocally to jazz, rock or anything else. Frank Byng’s drumming is expressive and propulsive …

Monkey Puzzle Trio – The Pattern Familiar (avant-jazz)

January 25, 2015

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The musicians that make up Monkey Puzzle Trio are all confirmed experimentalists, all situated on the peripheries of, or the boundaries between, socially validated zones of practice, where the population is sparse and the musical meanings hard-won. The press release for this album situates the ensemble’s work on ‘a tightrope between song, improvisation and sound-as-sound’; while that helps to give us the general picture, it’s inevitably a simplification. Starting with the idea of song (the album is also described as a ‘song cycle’), it should be noted that while the music …

Review Of The Year 2014: 20 Albums

December 20, 2014

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My views on end-of-year roundups in general are quite aggressive, and can be read at greater length in the introduction to last year’s selection, here. Suffice it to say that I think anyone claiming to know which are the best few albums released in any given year is seriously delusional; my selection is simply some of the records I liked the most out of those I happened to come across. These records are all seriously good, but there were over a hundred other albums that could equally well have made it onto my list; my advice is, yes, investigate these records, but more importantly, go hunting for …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

March 26, 2014

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In the best tradition of underground music, it’s not entirely clear what Milktoast Music is; probably not a label in the traditional sense. More likely a collective of closely related musical projects, I would imagine. This album includes tracks from four of the six acts listed on their website, with those by Richard Pickman in preponderance, and several credited to the label, which are presumably collaborative efforts. The music is humorous and wantonly bizarre, although also quite accessible, and peppered with science-fiction samples. In style, it echoes the timbres of chiptune, with retro digital synths and …