William Parker – Double Sunrise Over Neptune

parker-dbl-sunrise-book-1William Parker was my gateway into jazz. The first album I heard by him was Long Hidden – The Olmec Series which piqued my interest, particularly the 11-minute Pok-A-Tok at a time when I was beginning to enjoy longer pieces on a regular basis. But Double Sunrise Over Neptune was something else again. Technically, it’s a four track album, but seeing as one of those tracks is less than a minute and is essentially banter, I think we can safely say that this is a three track album, the shortest of which is fifteen minutes long.

The reason I like this so much is because it wasn’t even remotely close to my pre-conceptions of jazz. For a start, Parker keeps repeating the same bassline in each piece. They are amongst the most hypnotic basslines ever, circular, weaving, did someone say Ouroboros (the cosmic serpent, not the various metal-ish acts that have used the name over the years)? They are islands of simplicity amongst the whirling maelstrom of ecstatic expression happening around him.

The secret to enjoying this music, for me, was exactly the same as the secret to enjoying Les Rallizes Denudes, bizarrely enough. Use the bassline to anchor your perceptions and let your attention drift in and out to the various expressions being performed by the other voices and instruments. They are many and rapturous, but there is always the bassline to return to. There are ebbs and flows, crescendos and lulls, but always the bassline. (Has anyone noticed I’ve got a thing about bass?)

From here I was able to understand more and more of the jazz approach to musical expression, although my favourite incarnations have always been the long and hypnotic – I think it’s fair to say that that’s largely true of most genres for me these days.

So, I don’t have a handy way of embedding the album or demonstrating the whole thing apart from the opening – and shortest – track. You’ll have to take my word for it, though, that this is a wonderful example of transcendent music across the entire album.

And, whilst finding the things I’ve linked for this post, I let the embedded tune play to it’s end as I wrote the main body of the text. And you know how Youtube automatically selects a next piece for you if you don’t take an active role? Well, I’d never even heard of Ronnie Boykins, but damn…

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Lamagaia

lamagaiaI mentioned of late that new/contemporary music is teasingly unlikely to make its way into my collection in the near future, but fortunately I’ve been sent 3 promos of late and they’re all good, damn good.

Lamagaia do this kind of repetition thing unto epic proportions, and the two tracks on here are feasts of sonic content, destined to unfold further upon each listen. The opening ‘Aurora’ is easily the heaviest thing I’ve heard them do, but they then go and do one of their more mellow moments on what I assume will be side 2 if you buy the vinyl.

Although they don’t sound like them particularly, they remind me of Oneida before their improv inflections began to dominate, what with their incredibly disciplined yet loose repetition, repetition, repetition. This is excellent music; perfect for our interesting times.

Zement – Werk

zement So, my way around using that descriptor of music that I really don’t like* is to use a different one – or two, or three, or many – instead, because I just love when genres get divided and subdivided and so on. But stay with me on this.

“Krautrock” (the last time I will ever type that word) can arguably be said to comprise of (at least) two elements – motorik and kosmiche. So, without further ado, I hereby tag this particular music motorik, because it has that driving rhythmical quality to it so prevalent within the field. I would argue that it isn’t particularly kosmiche – I personally am more likely to ascribe that quality to the output of Ash Ra Tempel, Gunter Schickert, etc. But that doesn’t mean this music can’t transport you, it is heavy on repetition after all, and repetition rocks. When done well, anyway. Though I suppose an argument can be made to call it something like industrial drone. But I’m not going to do that.

Other reference points for this include but are not limited to Minami Deutsch, Follakzoid, a more up-tempo Appliance and there’s also a riff they use quite often that can be found on Hey Colossus‘ magnificent Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo (those of you familiar will know what I mean, it’s on the track English Flesh).

*just to clarify, because the sentence is not all that clear, it’s the descriptor I don’t like, not the music. If I didn’t like the music it wouldn’t be here.

Horseback – Dead Ringers

hbdrJenks Miller brings us the first Horseback release since the really rather good ‘Piedmont Apocrypha.’ Dead Ringers sees a natural evlution in the Horseback sound, which is to say, he’s carrying on down the road that he was going down.

What this means in practical terms is that the rifftastic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup that is Horseback continues to be a rifftatstic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup. He’s kept his vocals exclusively clean this time out, which I think works for the better. There’s also quite the sonic crossover with one of his other projects, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, lending proceedings an alt-country air.

Listening to it last night again I was reminded mainly of the wonderful Appliance, who probably fitted few of the descriptors I used previously – it may have been partly the crystal clean production (a feature of all Horseback recordings), partly the drum machines which feature on the early parts of the album. The night before I found myself thinking of Julian Cope, particularly on the tune most likely to have slotted onto his earliest releases, In Another Time, In and Out of Form. Before that it was the HP Lovecraft band from the late ’60s. It is entirely possible that this album will remind me of a different artist every time.

There is a minor imperfection in that the last tune is about 6 minutes too long for my money; he could have kept the post-dubstep experimentation down to a mere 10 minutes and it would have been fine! But this is an otherwise minor quibble, as this is otherwise my favourite Horseback album.

Our Solar System – In Time

our_solar_system-in_time_150I meant to post about this when it came out since I eagerly anticipated its release after they did the pre-announcement thing and I listened to the first track, a marketing ploy I otherwise despise as being irrelevant to the digital age. But Other Things were Very Very Good and caught hold of my easily distracted attention span, so there you go, Beyond Beyond is Beyond records – you’d have had a proper on the moment big-up if you’d have just stuck it out when it was ready. Let that be a lesson to you.

Our Solar System are a collective from Sweden. This release contains two tracks, and so is definitely Music My Brother Would Not Like (I will explain that epithet in an upcoming post). Opener ‘In the beginning of time’ comes on like Pharoah Sanders chilling with a quite propulsive Parson Sound. ‘At the edge of time’ dispenses with the sax and brings the vox, largely wordless and ecstatic to start with but introducing actual words later on.

My own personal nearest reference point to this is actually Sungod – I could quite easily imagine these jams turning up on one of their albums. Both tunes exceed twenty minutes, and both tunes could keep going as far as I’m concerned. There’s a lot of repetition but also gradual evolution of the music too – not in a linear way, however. The music demonstrates an impressive understanding of the cyclical nature of the macrocosm. There, I said it (well, typed).

Like my most recent post, I’m going to put the many other projects so far associated with this amongst the tags to save me typing it all twice!

Lamagaia

After I last hat-tipped Backseat Mafia, I wandered around their psych section again and came up with this little beauty. Totally a band after my own heart.

As far as I can tell, we’re talking about some friends in Sweden who get together and jam out some music. I think they do it quite regularly, and they make alot of it available on their website to simply download. They’ve made a few available on youtube too. Finally, you also are able to actually buy one of their songs on vinyl, which would probably be dead good for those of you who can play vinyl.

brudarebacken (3)They’re not afraid of the long form jam, hence why I love ’em so much! The grooves are compelling. They remind me somewhat of Inutuli although not as abrasive, and what I especially like about them is the fact that almost all of their tunes seem to have vocals, which can be quite a rarity within the ‘jam-band’ genre (the wonderful Electric Moon are another example).
I’ve only explored about a third of the downloads available so far, and am totally looking forward to the rest. There are some ace pics, though. A band I would love to be jamming in, and no mistake (actually, when I was in Sons of Itto and we had our own rehearsal room, we very often created similar vibes to some of the pics with minimal lighting, lavalamps and stuff. good times).

Minami Deutsch

I am going to do a best of 2015 round up, for what it’s worth, although my trawling through other people’s round ups is giving me a feast of new stuff to try, which is coinciding with me getting back into recording new stuff so I consequently have less time to check stuff out… in many ways, this is a great problem to have.

md

So anyway, Minami Deutsch. They first came to my attention via the venerable bandcamp hunter, and have been sat in my wishlist for several months since then. Their appearance in at least 3 end of year lists reminded me to go listen again, and listen again I did, and buying the album I did too, subsequently.

If I say ‘krautrock’ then that will basically tell you everything you need to know. But as I despise the term ‘krautrock’ nearly as much as I despise the term ‘world music’ I’m instead going to say ‘repetition, repetition, repetition.’ You like Can? Harmonia? Follakzoid? You like these.