Tuesday, April 30, 2019

APR-The Furies Inside Me (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack); eh? Records cassette, 2019

Pivoting away from Jaap Blonk's Dada moves now, Disaster Amnesiac finds myself immersed in the heavy as hell instrumental power trio dynamics of APR. Across nine tracks of guitar/bass/drums storming, The Furies Inside Me has drummer Bobby Previte leading the way with some of the fiercest playing that I recall hearing from him. He drives guitarist Peter Aaron and bass player John Rosenthal with a combination of Free Jazz stamina and Heavy Metal (just pick your subset of it, he's got 'em all down) precision. Disaster Amnesiac realizes that people have been doing this for decades now, but holy smokes does Previte have it down.
The string players answer fantastically with their scorching tones that blast from amps which sound seriously turned the fuck up. Aaron and Roshenthal are not holding back in the wake of Previte's pummel.
The Furies Inside Me contains the kind of instrumental music that demands and holds the attention of a listener with its metallic squalling and head over heels ensemble gallops: they're here for the delight of any fan of this kind of fused music.
I've not seen this film, but the playing from APR has me wondering how its images can compete with the fire that it its soundtrack; just like all great soundtracks, The Furies Inside Me stands up as an individual statement. Disaster Amnesiac is sitting here dreaming of APR doing a live gig with the film playing simultaneously. I guess it'd ruin any dialogue that the film might have, but this tape and its great sounds have convinced me to seek out some kind of home copy of it, anyway. How could it not rock as hard as this tape from eh?

Monday, April 22, 2019

Jaap Blonk-Joyous Junctures; eh? Records #107, cassette; 2019

Recently at the high school were Disaster Amnesiac works, our World History class has been delving deeply into World War I. Along with marveling at just how much of a waste of people and resources that debacle was, I've also been thinking about how dada was really the only sane response to such an absolutely insane pursuit.
If you're thinking that Joyous Junctures, the recent cassette from Jaap Blonk on eh? Records, also has Disaster Amnesiac thinking about dada, you'd be right. The playful, willfully skewed nature of the music on this release is certainly worthy of the moniker. The ways with which Blonk bends computer sounds, voices, and tones from other sources has my mind pinned to the existential floor as
I imagine those that experienced the ontology emanating from Cabaret Voltaire must also have felt. Approached for a more linear vantage, Joyous Junctures may not do much for a listener, but if heard with a bit more of cyclic one, the songs on this cassette having the kind of surreal atmospheres and modes that really are delightful. Electronic squiggles merge with whirring and burbling tones. Metallic sounds scrape and trill. These then find themselves serving as the backdrop for vocal experimentation from both human and AI. Glossalalia and written texts are both found and explored by Blonk and his robots, sometimes within the same piece. It all adds up to an hour of delightfully odd, fun and often quite funny sounds.
If you're in need of escape from the every day mundane, Joyous Junctures will surely do the trick. Its dada will likely have you laughing and marveling simultaneously. It's art for the living, so spend some time living with it, human!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Patrick Shiroishi/Arturo Ibarra-LA Blues; eh? Records #105; 2018

Hey there! It's been FAR too long since Disaster Amnesiac has posted anything. Suffice it to say, I've been very busy with other aspects of my life. That said, when Bryan Day comes a callin' with promo packages delivered to chez Amnesiac, I just have to get off of my butt and get to describing and enthusing.
This brings me to 2018's LA Blues, a righteous duo set of Free Improvisation from Patrick Shiroishi and Arturro Ibarra. Keying off of lessons learned from Japanese guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Shiroishi and Ibarra set down some seriously locked in interplay for alto sax and electric guitar.
Projection 8 sets the tone for the tape as the two wail and scream at all surrounding entities. It's very heavy, the way that their blasting tones leap right out of the gate, with zero letup for the duration. Upon first listen, Disaster Amnesiac was sure that the sax was a tenor, and this should show the raw power of Patrick's lungs! Arturo's guitar sounds wonderfully free of effects as he draws these giant chords from the strings.
Side A's second track, Projection 14, starts off with a bit more space being given between the players as they chatter together. Eventually the conversation picks up steam as Ibarra and Shiroishi ramp up the energy. This one is based upon Takayanagi's concept of "gradual projection", and its somewhat more stated minimalist elements definitely show. When they start throwing the tones around, though....worth the wait for any Free Jazz fan.
On the flip side, we get Projection 3, another gradual one on which Ibarra starts off with a cool line, over which Shiroishi floats some more of those lower notes on the alto. It's not long before the lines get more intertwined and the listener finds their ears following the fast ideas streaming forth, albeit in a slightly more restrained manner. Still, there's much sound to be digested as this duo gets down to the action of playing. A real sweet ending statement from Shiroisi, too.
Last up is another "mass projection", much like LA Blues' opening track, Projection 58. As the liner note describes it, it's "...marked by bombast, [and] intensity...." Ibarra and Shiroishi slam and tear at the air on this one, with the former sounding especially keyed in to some higher directive. The latter responds accordingly, and the result is a feast of energetic, storming Free Jazz that splatters and coats the brain with delicious sonic colors.
Let's face it, it takes some balls to call your release LA Blues. Putting your stuff on the level with the fabled Stooges skronk masterpiece should not be done lightly. Patrick Shiroishi and Artuo Ibarra rise to the challenge in ways that would surely put smiles on the faces of Steve Mackay and Ron Ashton. LA Blues delivers in much the same way as the song that it takes its name from did. Powerful stuff here.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

VOL.-1; self released, 2018

Continuing here with the recent submissions from the ever active Max Nordile, Disaster Amnesiac has been digging into VOL.'s first release, 1. Max is joined by guitarist Marissa Magic for a couple of documented live shows from this year. The duo wrap alto saxophone from Max and guitar/sax from Marissa into two extended pieces of personal language exploration of a very liberated nature.
A side Active Music Series benefits from a very clear recording by Jacob Felix Heule, on which he captures the intimacy of VOL.'s approach. Nordile gurgles, screams, sighs and moans over and atop Magic's rubbery rhythmic six string focus. This tune moves up and down the energetic slide as the two speak to each other, ever aware of the need to keep things gritty. Disaster Amnesiac definitely appreciates the funkiness of VOL. Somehow a bit later on the track a bit of cool metallic percussion emerges from the mix as things get out of hand in the best, most confusingly thrilling kind of ways. How do they get all of this sound with only four hands? VOL. stops, Max utters a quick laugh and a "thanks", and a roomful of people applauds. This is real.
The wonderfully named Tunnel Jam keeps the sounds going on side B, wherein VOL. utilize the big echo of said tunnel for more of their intimate back and forth. The guitar is dropped for another saxophone as both reeds are rattled for a conversation moans and vibes with more great Free energy. There's a slightly eavesdropping dynamic to this one, as if the listener has stumbled upon some kind of ritual enactment being held late in the night in some lonely part of town. Really beautiful, intimate stuff going here as one can feel the glowing energy of inspiration coming down from a very sublime place. Despite the lo-fi nature of Tunnel Jam, should you listen, you'll surely bask in its glow.
Nordile will undoubtedly keep up the pace. The question is, will you be there to listen? Disaster Amnesiac would advise you to do so. VOL.'s sounds have certainly turned me on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nothing Band-Descension/Digestion; Decoherence Records 2018

If you've to it, flaunt it, and if by "it" you mean a determinedly d.i.y. ethic paired with personalized aesthetic prowess, then Oakland California based musician and artist Max Nordile certainly does. Over the past three or four years, Disaster Amnesiac has watched, amazed, as Max has put on shows, put out product, hit the road, and just generally been a driving force, pushed along by his own clear energies. Nordile seems to always have something cooking.  
Descension/Digestion, from Nothing Band, is one of a few such works that he has thrown my way for listening to.
Described as a two part concept album, this recording by what sounds to me like a trio features a group sound that is made up of short, sharp blasts of primal Blues-inflected Garage Punk Rock. The group swings together with the kind of unique vision that, to my mind, shows them as having put in a lot of effort at some type of rehearsal pad. Nothing Band feature rattling guitar riffs paired with clipped bass notes, both pushed by clattered drums and and occasional alto sax honk, all evincing the kind of "fuck everybody" singularity, in terms of their sounds, that all bands should aspire to. The bio blurb on the Bandcamp page for Digestion mentions No Wave, and, indeed, Nothing Band do achieve that coveted effect of, to paraphrase Lydia Lunch, an urban laundry mat in full motion. Atop the racket, Max recites his personal stories in scraggedly way that suggests off-handed insights and perhaps a fair amount of frustration with....something. It's to his credit that these lines remain somewhat obscure; they leave a lot to the imagination, entirely a good thing. Disaster Amnesiac feels very certain that Policy Wonks, however, is the best dis song that I've heard in a minute.
Fourteen songs clocking in at a concise twenty minutes or so, this one's perfect for post-work day's end head cleaning. Stay tuned for more observations of music generously shared by Max Nordile, but Disaster Amnesiac will likely be spending the next couple of days letting Descension/Digestion scrape off the lower regions of my cranium.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

SF Bay Area New Releases Roundup!

The San Francisco Bay Area continues to go through myriad changes these days. Disaster Amnesiac has noticed towns such as Palo Alto and Walnut Creek morph into strange little Beverly Hills imitations. San Francisco proper? Forget about it! Even gritty old Oakland is turning into a bit of tourist showcase. The list goes on and on, as do the observations and commiserations of long time residents. That said, the music somehow remains, thankfully. Of late, I've received some sweet musical libations from a handful of local creative musicians. Here are my thoughts!

Voicehandler-light from another light; Humbler Records, 2018
It's been a few years since Disaster Amnesiac has heard from Voicehandler, and I'm glad to hear them back on record. light from another light features a few changes, with Jacob Felix Heule switching to a full drum kit and Danishta Rivero seemingly putting away the text-based vocals from their 2015 release for a looser style. The former's performance is damn great. Jacob explores the kit with an ear towards the vocal sounds, always sounding focused on and in sync with Danishta's voice. This voice is, as stated, much looser, pushed a bit further back into the mix. This production pairs really well with her glitch-ey, pinpoint electronics; it's almost as if they are intended to sound like one fused instrument. The engineering on the three tracks of light from another light must also be mentioned for its sumptuous treatment of Heule's kit. A top notch recording in both performance and sound capture. Will we really have to wait another three years for new recordings from this great duo and their active, elevated Experimental Music visions?

Nathan Corder-Hardcore Boring Electronic Music; self-released via Bandcamp, 2018
The vibe that Disaster Amnesiac gets from Nathan Corder's Hardcore Boring Electronic Music is one of hardened Minimalism. It's nowhere listed from what sound sources these tones spring, but they certainly are allowed to ring out unimpeded and seemingly unprocessed. Tones emerge and float into the ears before they morph, at their own paces, into new ones. Opener I could go to the movies has eerie notes that wrap around a beautiful high note drone. Centerpiece What comes through the door brings the Hardcore element. Its squealing high tones get pretty piercing at times. Give yourself some space from the speakers as you listen, though, and they become lovely bolts of lightning within a room. This one builds into a heavy crescendo before slipping away a bit more quietly. Strata brings back the contemplative drone for a few minutes before launching into some mysterious chords that bring about lovely overtones and foggy visions. Nathan Corder does SF Bay Area Minimalism right, by Riley!

Sheldon Brown Group-Blood of the Air; Edgetone Records 2018
Here we have long time Bay Area woodwinds player Sheldon Brown and a cracking great group paying tribute to the words and voice of poet Philip Lamantia. Blood of the Air features Brown's incredibly astute writing; seriously, following these charts' sounds is a thrilling instrumental experience. Paired with the great vocal interpretations of Lamantia's written words by singer Lorin Benedict, the sounds on this disc swing, shout, rock and just really kick ass. The rest of the group, trumpeter Darren Johnston, guitarists Dave McNab and John Finkbeiner, pianist Jonathan Alford, bassist Mike Wilcox, drummers Vijay Anderson and Alan Hall, and theremin player Andrew Joron provide ample talents to make the music on Air fly out in very effective ways. This here is whip smart music played by top flight musicians, and if the international Jazz Community ignores it, it really is neither. Seek out Philip Lamantia's richly Surrealist poetry as a add on for this shining star of a record.

Spirit/Joshua Allen/Henry Kaiser/Joshua Marshall-In The Realm Of; Fractal Music 2018
Last up we have a disc of sublime quartet music from more SF Bay Area heavy hitters. In The Realm Of features tenor saxophone players Joshua Allen and Joshua Marshall mixing it up with the rhythm section of Spirit and Henry Kaiser. Over multiple listens, Disaster Amnesiac has imagined myself watching sublime hieroglyphics or subtle zen brush artwork being done. The music on this CD is downright delicate at times. It's as if the four of them are in a room, passing conversations around and around, with each member adding or commenting upon what's being said. For a strong dose of the sounds of everything right and good about current improvisational music techniques and aesthetics, one will want to find a copy of In The Realm Of. This group's sound is one of listening and playing together in the deepest of ways.

The San Francisco Bay Area is filled to the brim with music and music scenes, way more than one person could ever really find and take note of. The above four recordings represent some of the best that Disaster Amnesiac has been able to find this year. What's going on in your region?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Hamelmal Abate-Yenie New b/w Zelesegna digital single; self released 2018

Along with Youth Chairs, Los Angeles drummer David Winogrond is a member of Hamelmal Abate's group.This latter has released a very dynamic digital single, Yenie New b/w Zelesgna, and, thankfully, shared it with Disaster Amnesiac.
The A side features a sharp, horn-driven arrangement and Winogrond's characteristic tight ride-cymbal lead playing. Flying atop the music is Abate's great alto singing, full of Ethiopian trills and sweet melodic effect. Yenie New is an energetic and driving rocker of a tune that brings to mind the Los Angeles Punk Rock of the late 1970's and early 1980's for Disaster Amnesiac. It has that same pairing of concision and frantic drive.
B side Zelesegna features a more traditional Ethiopian sound, possibly familiar to listeners of any of the Ethiopiques series. The vocals feel a lot more introspective within the slower waltzing pace of the song as violin and keyboard sounds frame Hamelmal's vocal. As I'm writing this, the sun is rising outside my window, and it fits perfectly with the tone of Zelesegna. That said, the track could probably work for the day's end, too. It has that kind of pensive drama.
If she hasn't brought David and her band north of Los Angeles already, it's my hope that Hamelmal Abate does so soon. Disaster Amnesiac would love to see and hear them at Ashkenaz in Berkeley or some similar venue! Get 'em in the van, David!