Tag Archives: Daevid Allen

July 2016 – upcoming London gigs – Douglas Dare, Left With Pictures, Stranger Stranger and Joel Clayton at Daylight Music (2nd), Georgina Brett’s ‘Eclipse Collaborations’ (3rd); Yuki Kaneko, Naomi Motomura, Yumi Hara and Poulomi Desai work together at IKLECTIK (6th)

30 Jun

Three more upcoming shows in the Smoke, with various degrees of artiness…

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Daylight Music 230
Arctic Circle presents:
Daylight Music 230: Douglas Dare + Left With Pictures + Stranger Stranger + Joel Clayton
Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN, England
Saturday 2nd July 2016, 12.00pm
– free event (suggested donation: £5.00) – information

Erased Tapes piano balladeer Douglas Dare has been labelled as “one to watch” by Mary Anne Hobbs. His Daylight Music debut appearance gives those of us who’ve missed out on his music over the last three years an opportunity to judge for ourselves. See below is a song from his 2013 debut EP ‘Seven Hours’, followed by a sixteen-minute small-room performance from Paris, showcasing a live blend of shimmer-rolling neo-classical keyboard work, jazz-weather cymbals and occasional threads of electronica. His delivery (full of emotional focus and rising intensity) involves heartbreaking folk swoops, edgings of Celtic soul and what at first sounds like a stream of post-Radiohead angst: it ultimately reveals itself as being more akin to a Schubert lieder with a window on both James Blake and ‘Astral Weeks’.



 
A classically-trained trio of Stuart Barter, Rob Wicks and Toby Knowles, London pop ensemble Left With Pictures operate in a similar area, offer a rippling chamber pop with solemn, cavernous grand piano, strands of ecstatic electronic dance and folk instrumentation. Along the way, they manoeuvre along a line which divides the crowd-pleasing piano-pop of Keane, the weightless swoon of a momentary Morrissey and the compelling ancient-futurist folk of Eyeless In Gaza (Stuart’s lovely edge-of-the-ritual vocal often coming across like a gentler, more pop-polished take on of EIG’s Martyn Bates). I’m not absolutely sure what to make of them, and sometimes feel that they’re a little too polite for their own good – but, if so, they also sound like politeness briefly overwhelmed and catching its breath, revelling in the moment of freefall.



 
What’s known (or spun) about Stranger Stranger is that they’re the husband-and-wife duo of Philip Solari and Marinda Lavut, that they’re Canadian, that “they have bossa, they have jazz”, and that they were plucked from a life of pavement busking after being discovered outside the Montreal Jazz Festival by two of its owners. They immediately won a place at the following year’s festival on the strength of their musical skills. It’s like a reality TV rags-to-fame fairytale, done right. This year, they’ve been resident in London while recording their debut album with Laura Mvula’s producer Steve Brown, and it looks as if they’re going to be playing a whirl of low-key-but-hot-ticket gigs around the capital, for which this is an early taste.

Stranger Stranger also seem to be one of those increasingly rare entities – a growing word-of-mouth sensation, eschewing multimedia methods. They seem to have entirely avoided the latterday rash of Youtube cellphone footage; they’ve not engaged in teaser campaigns of embedding tracks in superblogs: they don’t even seem to have any kind of a homepage. I’ve got no clips, I’ve got no video, so I’ve got little choice other than to simply add to the growing wordpile. The buzz around them seems to be entirely made up of speech and text, as if we’d all headed back to the ’60s or the days of print’n’paste fanzines… and it’s strangely refreshing.

As ever, there’s a Daylight interval act as well – this time, it’s the return of Sunday Driver’s Joel Clayton on sitar, providing “Eastern sounds with a grungy twang.”

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Georgina Brett etc @ Tuesday's Post, 3rd July 2016

Tuesday’s Post presents:
Georgina Brett:”The Eclipse Collaborations” launch party
New River Studios, Ground Floor Unit E, 199 Eade Road, Manor House, London, N4 1DN, England
Sunday 3rd July 2016, 6.00pm
information

‘The Eclipse Collaborations’ is a thirty-minute video accompanying voice-looper Georgina Brett‘s new album. Although the video made its formal debut when it was played online and transnationally back in June (as part of the 2016 Solstice event) the formal launch party is taking place at New River Studios (the new home for Georgina’s ambient/progressive Tuesday’s Post night). It includes a full screening of the video, a bar and DJs, interactive visuals provided by Tuesday’s Post regulars Hanzo and Rucksack Cinema, and an appearance by speculative writer Greg Sams (who amongst other things has presented the idea that our sun is a “conscious, providing entity…”).


There will also be a set of improvised music performances making full use of a 7.1 surround sound system. The impressive lineup includes Georgina herself, Martin “Youth” Glover (Killing Joke), guitar/electronics/clarinet cosmaximalists Darkroom, multimedia composer Hems, Steve Finnerty of Alabama 3 and Junk Deluxe, Andy Bole of Bonfire Radicals and Daevid Allen’s Glissando Guitar Orchestra, Jono Podmore of Kumo and “analogue electronic cabal” Metamono, and French experimental/electronic/progressive/jazz looper The Lucid Brain Integrative Project.





 

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Yuki Kaneko + Naomi Motomura + Yumi Hara + Poulomi Desai @Club Integral, 6th July 2016

Club Integral presents:
Yuki Kaneko + Naomi Motomura + Yumi Hara + Poulomi Desai
IKLECTIK, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, Waterloo, London, SE1 7LG, England
Wednesday 6th July 2016, 8.00pm
information

Descriptions taken from the Club Integral press release, with additions and augmentations from me…

“A one-off Club Integral event featuring four of the finest women contemporary improvisers working today.

“In the late 1990s, Nagoya musican Yuki Kaneko was a psychedelic rock guitarist working with Acid Mothers Temple associates Floating Flower. A decade-and-a-half ago, she changed tack to retrain as a violinist and now plays both acoustic and electric instruments in a mixture of styles. Initially training and working in Indian Hindustani and Carnatic violin styles, Yuki has since incorporated synthesizer and laptop into her musical resources: she’s also reincorporated her psychedelic roots in order to explore ambient music, electronica and improvisation. Yuki’s recent projects have included a duo with fellow experimental violinist Yuji Katsui and recurring work with an ensemble led by former Taj Mahal Travellers vocalist Tokio Hasegawa.


“At around the same time that Yuki was becoming involved with Floating Flower, Naomi Motomura was playing guitar with the final 1990s lineup of the long-lived Japanese band Zelda, an all-female new wave/multi-genre group which drew on multiple approaches (including punk, funk, reggae, roots and experimentalism) to form their particular brand of pop. During the twenty years since the end of Zelda, Naomi absorbed various other musics. She resurfaced in 2013 with a solo album, ‘Whole’, which displayed her undiminished guitar skills, her mastery of looping pedals and her knack for a melodic and experimental reshaping of her earlier rock ideas.

“Tokyo-born but a longtime London resident, singer and multi-instrumentalist Yumi Hara has been performing improvised jazz based/prog-tinged/eclectic-experimental music for many years, with her work drawing on everything from Terry Riley and Rock In Opposition to funk and Japanese lullabies. Once a member of cult-pop favourites Frank Chickens, she established herself in the mid-’90s as a determined art-music curator by helming the Bonobo’s Ark music evenings (which drew in contributors including Charles Hayward, Roger Cawkwell, Clive Bell, Kazuko Hohki and many others.).

Yumi has since gone on to work in a variety of situations with a variety of musicians. Her collaborators have included Canterbury/Henry Cow/Faust veterans such as Hugh Hopper, Daevid Allen, Jean-Herve Peron, Geoff Leigh, Chris Cutler, John Greaves, Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson; bands and projects which have sprung out of these associations have included the trio you me & us, post-Cow quartet The Artaud Beats, Faust/Cow hybrid Jump For Joy! and the Lindsay Cooper repertoire band Half The Sky. Yumi is also active in plenty of other projects – both solo and in collaborative duos and ensembles – and is an established experimental composer in her own right.

“A self-taught outsider/multi-media artist since 1980, Poulomi Desai has spent nearly four decades exploring different kinds of work from her London hometown, Born in Hackney and an early practitioner of street theatre, she’d set up the Hounslow Arts Co-op before she’d turned fifteen and has gone on to divide her time between graphic design, curation (she’s run Usurp Art in Harrow since 2010) and multimedia performance art. The latter incorporates text, photography, live electronics and a sitar played with bows, kitchen knives, axes and massage tools, augmented by distortion pedals, modified cassette decks playing field recordings, circuit bent toys, optikinetic instruments, slide projectors and broken banjos.

Poulomi’s live work embraces elements of noise and industrial sounds as well as complex explorations of chance, challenge and subversion; with the sitar playing in particular being a conscious response and reaction to the idea of ‘authenticity’ (seeking to break the rules and expectations of how a ‘sacred’ instrument should be played, including the strictures and assumptions put upon the player and her identity).

“The evening will feature performances by two duos (a violin-and-electric guitar performance by Yuki and Naomi; a set combining Yumi on piano/harp/vocals and Poulomi on sitar and electronics) followed by a quartet performance of all four musicians together.”

REVIEW – Theo Travis: ‘Heart Of The Sun’ album, 2001 (“one of Britain’s finest yet least precious saxophonists”)

12 Aug

Theo Travis: 'Heart Of The Sun'

Theo Travis: ‘Heart Of The Sun’

Having followed a series of assured, wide-spanning loops passing through jazz, art-rock, prog, ambient electronics and Gong’s fertile psychedelic universe, perhaps it’s time for Theo Travis to come home. Or, perhaps, to build a home.

One of Britain’s finest (yet least precious) saxophonists, Travis has paid tribute to the post-bop traditions of Coltrane and Tyner, blown full improv and racing fusion, played balladeer and pop romanticist, and breathed frost over ambient darkness. ‘Heart Of The Sun’ summarises this breadth on a single album, unifying itself around his compositional variety and the flexible determination of his playing voice. It’s remarkable for the humility and warmth of its approach – partly from Steven Wilson’s beautifully atmospheric mixing (an object lesson in letting jazz studio performances breathe as naturally as live gigs), but more significantly from Travis’ uncomplicated attitude towards allowing music to happen.

A sometimes-unguarded, sometimes-studious musician – who gives his all either way – Travis is also someone who doesn’t need to throw a leader’s weight around. Subtly poised and authoritative, he stands back from the obvious limelight throughout ‘Heart Of The Sun’, allowing his guests (in particular, pearly-toned trumpet veteran Palle Mikkelborg) to illuminate the music, and then gracefully reflecting that light back himself. Grinding no axes, ‘Heart Of The Sun’ sits itself down at the accessible end of jazz, with Travis discreetly polishing his musical breadth to a smooth evanescent ‘Kind Of Blue’ consistency.

His standard quartet members – David Gordon on piano and organ, Andy Hamill on double bass and Marc Parnell on drums – are the album’s backbone (with occasional rhythm section substitutions from Stefan Weeke and Björn Lücker). Theo’s partnerships with these players allow him to exercise some more straightahead jazz moves, via a tenor sax tone blending the polished New York bite of Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman with the earthier strengths of British bluesman Dick Heckstall-Smith: as demonstrated on the velvet-smokey blues of All I Know. On the other hand, the standard crew also raise the stakes on Fast Life, in which Andy Hammill makes the most of his experiences backing contemporary drum’n’bass luminaries like 4 Hero and LTJ Bukem. It’s a nimble, daring demonstration of how clubland’s drum’n’bass beatscapes are both nourished by jazz and able to feed back into it. Hammill, Parnell and Gordon slip and slide through a succession of sleek, exciting, ever-morphing junglist pulses, like Red Snapper in black ties. Travis and Mikkelborg travel cheek to cheek over these flexing surges, quoting mischievously from mariachi and Mission Impossible, Mikkelborg occasionally rinsing the beats in a wash of wah-wah’ed electric trumpet.

It’s also the standard quartet who are behind the very different approach of Northern Lights – texturally, a close cousin to Travis’ dark-ambient work as half of the electronica duo Cipher. His soprano sax (making its only appearance) stands poised in a lonely, bowed-head intro, redolent with melancholia, over Eno-esque dark-water atmospherics. Mikkelborg responds with a silvery, fantastically tender muted melody – comforting and passionate – that comes and goes like caught breaths and compassionate advice above the carpet of Gordon’s Hammond organ, slowly warming and soothing that initial exposed chill.

The quartet – this time augmented by Mystics guitarist Mark Wood, a companion from Travis’ nights in the improv lab – turn in a relaxed yet magnificent performance on Barking Dogs And Caravans. A musical picture of childhood holidays and British holiday camps, it provides Travis’ best melodic solo of the album. But with its friendly air of disarmed tongue-in-cheek pomp, the barrel-organ Hammond figures and Wood’s Frisell-ish lacing of bell-like guitar, it’s also an opportunity for Travis to explore the more unselfconsciously affectionate corners of the British jazz impulse. Here, you can hear the same mingling of warm, pubby matey-ness and superbly expressive playing as found in the Loose Tubes school of Django Bates and Iain Ballamy: particularly when Travis cuts loose with some celebratory, laughing tenor wails.

Elsewhere, British improv-scene tendencies get a look in on That Old Smile: initially a deceptive, straight sounding blues strut driven by Parnell’s haughty cymbal. Wood – using a solid-yet-limber blowtorching tone – moves outward from a supporting position via a series of iridescent bubbles of sound, allying themselves with Gordon’s increasingly shardlike organ, The piece’s impatiently accelerating choruses (and its nods to the excitability of prog) moves to a point where the playing melts, with a dropping silence, into a heated atonal Bitches Brew jam. Inflamed by hissing cymbal work, Wood’s Sonny Sharrock-ish car-crusher guitar explorations utterly displace the saxophone as the heart of an aggressive whirl of mutinous invention.

More extra-curricular activities are represented by Gong guru Daevid Allen. His infamous glissando guitar (a gentle, thrilling shiver of sound, like sheets of luminous rain stroked by fingers of wind) adds an unearthly, spine-prickling element to offset the familiarity in the album’s lone cover – Van Heusen and Burke’s Here’s That Rainy Day. The returning Mikkelborg (on serenely confident flugelhorn) and Travis (in luxuriant, purring ballad mode) handle the traditional melodics, while the subtle icicle colorations of Gordon’s piano and Björn Lücker’s steady click of rimshot mingle with Allen’s eerie distortions of the atmosphere.

More outright subversion of tradition comes with the surreal Last Flight From Twinwood – an impressionistic, pulse-free, last-days-of-Glenn-Miller tribute in which a spectral big-band sound is provided care of multi-tracked Travis flutes and the one-man clarinet ensemble of Stewart Curtis (moonlighting from Kletzmer Groove). Mikkelborg’s delicately wah-ed electric trumpet haunts the music’s open spaces; Travis’ sometimes anguished tenor cuts across them. But the trump card comes in the unrepentant, disincorporated screech and spring-noise of Mark Wood’s distant guitar, a harbinger of failing aircraft machinery…

The sixteen-minute trail of Bass Rock is a final piece of Travis landscape portraiture, tracing a fluent and understated post-bop slide. Its freedom is defined by Stefan Weeke’s beautifully-timed, gliding elisions on double bass and the casually intent whisper of Lücker’s brush-drumming. And also by its cessations into near-silence but for oscillating ambient loops. Here, Gordon’s flickering touches of piano are sometimes the only foil to Travis’ sax – liberated now from discretion or restraint, to cry with a kind of baffled joy into the night. An open-ended homecoming.

Theo Travis: ‘Heart Of The Sun’
33 Jazz Records,  33JAZZ063 (5020883330631)
CD/download album
Released: 2001

Buy it from:
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Theo Travis online:
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