Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nathan Hubbard/Skeleton Key Orchestra-Furiously Dreaming; Orenda Records, 2016

A few years ago, while dining with a pal in Long Beach and listening to two amazing local Jazz musicians play lovely versions of several Standards, said pal said something like "...the great thing about L.A. is the fact that everywhere you turn, real TALENT abounds..." Disaster Amnesiac, after listening to Furiously Dreaming, will just go on and add San Diego to that statement.
Across two CD's containing eight tracks in all, S.D.-based Nathan Hubbard/Skeleton Key Orchestra puts in an absolutely stunning performance of Post-Bop Big Band music that will surely please just about any fan of any number of strains within 20th Century and beyond music.
I figure it can be somewhat of a cliche to brand music with the broadness of scope evinced within Dreaming as visionary, but, damned if that's not exactly the way the Hubbard comes across as one listens. Elements of Jazz, Serialism, Electronic Music, Beat Poetry, Medieval European composition, Turntablism: all are blended within this group's book. As Disaster Amnesiac has listened, I've found myself comparing it with similar offerings from the likes of Mingus, Braxton, Evans et al. Seriously, Nathan Hubbard's scope is that vast, and long, seemingly through-composed pieces such as Crows On The Roof and Other Ideas offer ample proof of that.
This kind of vision can suffer for lack of musicianship or preparation. It sounds as if every player/singer/writer within Skeleton Key Orchestra is very much up to the task of delivering upon the promise of Hubbard's ideas. All the solos are creatively fiery, the group passages are tight...it all sounds just so sublimely together and fused.
The liner note of the disc shows that many years' time was spent on the preparation of Furiously Dreaming, and Disaster Amnesiac must tip the cap to Nathan: it must have been trying to have to wait to get this vision out into the world, but holy smokes how that patience has paid off in aesthetic dividends. The tones are clear, and the instrumental mix is beautifully wet and alive.
Jazz and Orchestral music are, ideally, all about personal vision and the execution thereof. With Furiously Dreaming, Nathan Hubbard has utilized Skeleton Key Orchestra to show his own. Many years ago, Disaster Amnesiac read a liner note for one of Gerry Hemingway's Hat Hut discs, in which a writer said that Hemingway has "...written his way into the Big Book..." In my opinion, a new edition of said book must be published, and it must include a chapter for Furiously Dreaming. I'm floored by this CD. Find it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Eloine-Bizarre Flight; Gertrude Tapes #019, 2016

In conversation, Bryan Day never seems to try to dominate. The times that Disaster Amnesiac has spoken with him, I've gotten a sense that there's a lot going on within his thoughts, but he always listens; his responses are often fascinating. 
Bizarre Flight, his most recent release, under the moniker Eloine, is as good a reflection of that personal style as one can find. Across six tracks, all coaxed from Bryan's self-made instruments, he presents sounds that, underneath their somewhat placid surfaces, are exploding with any and all manner of percussive popping on a track called Hammer Cipher, metallic drones on Gravity Harbor, and a generally mysterious atmosphere for the entire duration.  
Flight, recorded as part of a music series in which sound artists play within unique, non-gallery spaces, has a full, echo-ey feel; this feel gives the listener a very intimate vibe within which to immerse. Pieces such as Wellwater Construct and Cupola do not so much attack as they do envelop the mind with their patient pacing and broad strokes. Corner Sources features a bit more heat, at times sounding like a factory at war with itself, if the battles of that war were all staged within its machine brain as philosophical dialogue.
It's tapes such as Bizarre Flight that make the underground experimental music scene such a cool part of the world in which to do research and discovery. Anyone that's inclined to dig into this type of musical output is advised to book a ticket with Eloine for continuing journeys therein.