Friday, May 20, 2016

Beyond Jazz- Plink, Plonk & Scratch- The Golden Age of Free Music in London 1966-1972 by Trevor Barre

I guess the first thing you ask is, what is Free Music??  As the title suggests, Free Music is the step people took after folks like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and others established the Free Jazz scene… This book focus mainly on the creative core of AMM and SME (Spontaneous Music Ensemble) and the main players from this era like John Stevens (Drums), Derek Bailey (guitar), Evan Parker (sax), and others.. They had this place called the Little Theatre club on the 3rd floor at 23 Garrett Street in London, where they could gather and play experimental music. The book describes this time very well and you get a real feel for how much of a struggle it was for these artists to do their thing for nearly zero people but they still did it, they still pushed the boundary of music forward in their own unique way. They actually did not care if people showed up but it was hard to make a living.

The introduction chapters (about 100 pages) take quite a long and winding road before the author really gets into the true focus of the book but it is worth reading as there is a lot of information you really need to know in order to understand the importance of what was happening in this very small music scene. IT is rare in the world of music to come out and be doing something no one had done before. These guys mentioned above really were true music pioneers. Some might still argue whether this is really music or not but these were highly trained musicians that were opening themselves up and setting themselves free of the chains that their formal training had set upon them to go sailing where no man had gone before…. Most people today would probably still not appreciate this music and might call it noise. You have to learn to listen in order to appreciate this kind of music. It does not come naturally to many people.

I really enjoyed the book and it has made me go back and take a listen to these old AMM tapes (London 3/23/66 and 12/16/69) that I got from my friend Doug Walker (Alien Planetscapes), who I consider a musical pioneer as well with his work with the Yeti Band in the 70s and Alien Planetscapes in the 80s til his death in 2005.  I will for sure have to look up some of the AMM and SBE records that are available.  My band, Øresund Space Collective, we play totally improvised music but we never have dared to explore the sonic landscape of these pioneers. Check out this cool book at the link below..   The other link is for the European Improviser’s web site.

Sulfur City- Talking Loud (Alive Naturalsound 0181-2)

Sulfur City is a totally new band for me from Canada. They are lead by female vocalist/washboard player Lori Paradis. Four guys will out the rest of the band. I have been spinning this one a lot lately. I really like this high energy blues rock and Lori has a cool voice. The CD features 11 tracks of rocking stuff. Whispers starts things off with a great groove. War Going On has awesome lyrics and some nice organ playing, wah guitar and a great flowing bass line and drums. Pockets is another rocking track with a nice Patty Smith like political rant in the middle! Ride with Me slows things down to a more funky smokey feeling. Pity this one fades out just as he starts a guitar solo. Tie my hands to the Floor has a slower pace as well but a good footstomping rhythm later. Sold has a more country blues shuffle but cool stuff with some slide guitar. Kings Highway (not the classic) is another blues shuffle track with a dark theme. Johnny starts with a good rocking guitar and later some more soloing, the most on any of the songs. Tells a hell of a story as well. One day in June slows things down a lot and features some more slide guitar and piano and has a great build and is the longest track on the CD at 6mins. Raise the Hammer brings back a footstomping groove and sing a long. This track features the accordion. You don’t know me ends this blues rocking CD.. All the songs have a lot of singing and not that many solos but I still dug the record. I hope they would jam it out more live.. I wonder if they are one of these hard working and drinking bands that play 200 shows a year and are playing every bar and dive in Canada or just a group that plays every now and then…??

Friday, May 13, 2016

New Candy & Nicklas Sørensen- Drone Bar, CPH May 12th,2016

This was Nicklas’s 2nd solo show and although I did not want to go out to one of my least favorite clubs, I will to see my friend play guitar! I arrived at 21. There were a few people about and the entire Italian band were in one corner on their mobile phones….  We chatted a bit with Nicklas’s girlfriend and then at 21:45 it was time to go down into the basement. At first I thought I it might just be us two but within a few minutes there were 10, almost all women, and 20 or so people. Nicklas played 4 pieces.  I filmed the first one. Great melodic themes and cool looped parts. Sometimes he would have three different guitar parts looped and intertwined. Very creative. It was not that loud and hard to hold the attention of the people who were smoking like crazy by now and talking. I enjoyed it but was a bit surprised by the abrupt ending to the pieces.  Nice..

New Candy are an Italian band. Four guys with this 80s brit pop-psych look with the long bangs and sort of shoulder length hair. I only managed to see about 6 songs and then it was just too much smoke for me in the ashtray basement. Anyway, they had cool gear and a nice sound but it was all a bit too slick, UK 80s pop-psych inspired with delays on the vocals and despite having two guitars, they just messed about with their effects pedals to change their tones a bit but no guitar solos. All the songs were about 3 mins long or so, at least what I saw. Maybe they freaked out later. It did not really catch me. Interesting, that about 70% of the crowd was women… Unusual… About 35 people total, I guess.

Set List: Dry Air, Wolf Hear, Surf 2, Meltdown, Endless, Black Beat, Mutant, Dark ?, Overall, Thriller, Run

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stone Machine Electric- Sollicitus es Veritatem (Self Released)

One of the guys from this band was on the tour with Wo Fat selling merch and Ken was saying how cool his band was so they gave me a CD. Thanks guys. This is another one of those duo (guitar and drums) that I always criticize as I always think it would be so much better with a great bass player and with two, the guitar players often don’t ever do any solos and then I get bored in the end. These guys are doing it right… 5 songs over 50 mins.. The CD starts slowly with I am Fire. Dreaming is like a slow version of Wo Fat, with those amazing fat guitar riffs and sounds and that husky voice (a bit like Church of Misery at times). Cool vocals. After about 3 mins Dub has a short spacey solo and a much longer one with some nice delays later in the track and then some double tracked guitars as it really builds up. Fucking cool stuff. He must do some looping to be able to do this live.. PorR starts slowly like the opening track and a slow spacey heavy builder of a track. IT has some nice spacey effects on the vocal in the later half and then a long spacey solo with a nice bluesy feel and cool use of effects. Demons is a lot like what has come previously, a slow growing track with some cool vocals and guitars. Kitchen, the name of the drummer, is a very solid player and they have a great chemisty.. The CD ends with another version of I am Fire (Slightly Burned). This is a much more spaced out version of the song. I really dug it.. Damn cool CD…. Great work guys…  Would be a cool band for Roadburn!

The Golden Grass- Banquet- Wild Eyes- Killer Boogie (Heavy Psych Sounds HPS038)

Heavy Psych sounds is back with their 2nd 4 way double LP (single CD) release. In this case, each band has 3 shortish songs. The album starts off with the Golden Grass (from Brooklyn, NY). I am guessing these three tracks were laid down when the band recorded their amazing new record, Comin’ round Again. The opening track, which the band is playing live is called Livin’ ain’t easy. It starts with probably the heaviest guitar riff the band has on any tracks. It also has some great psychedelic guitar work. Catchy stuff. Flashing out of Sight is my fave of these three tracks with its more psychedelic nature. Their last song is a cover for the Texas band Bubble Puppy. They do a very cool version of Hot Smoke and Sasafrass. Killer Boogie is next. Gabrielle, the leader of Black Rainbows fronts this band, playing guitar and singing lead vocals.  Three kick ass rock songs that sound a lot like Black Rainbows without the spacey aspect. You will be Mine is a bit Blue Cheer inspired.  Make another Ride starts with a couple of mins of instrumental stuff and then the bass line takes over and Gabrielle rips it up and into the short vocal section. Rocking stuff and great guitar soloing on this one.  The Thunder keeps the pace high. Wild Eyes are a great SF Bay area band featuring Carson (Ex-Djenghis Khan) on bass. Intense female vocal driven rock is what you get with Wild Eyes. I loved their album a lot more than these tracks.. They seemed a bit too straight up and normal for me. Gator Shaker has a really nasty feel and fuzzed out bass. It has a strange fade down at the end of the song and then back up but only for a few seconds. Hot Sand is a pretty normal straight rock and roll number. Another SF bay area band, Banquet close out the 4th side. They have two originals and a cover by Baby Huey. Seven Sisters starts things off with a rocking dual harmony guitar thing and some intense changes before they hit the groove. Starmaker starts with some super intense guitar soloing on the left channel as the rest of the group waits for him to come down to earth and then the bass line kicks in and the band takes off. Great stuff. Runnin’ (by Baby Huey) ends this 4th side. IT is a fun cover but probably my least fave of their three songs. A great CD/double LP.. All the bands deliver…. Enjoy..