David Bedford — The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
(Virgin CDOVD 443, 1976/1994, CD)
by Roel Steverink, Published 2004-09-01I never had the pleasure to hear this album when it was still only available on LP. The transfer to CD is fine, the noise is not disturbing this time. The subject of the album is the famous poem from the 19th century romantic poet Samuel Coleridge. Bedford could have gone for only a musical impression of the poem, but he wanted more. So the whole poem is being recited by the excellent intonating voice of Robert Powell, and that voice and music proves to be a winning combination. Bedford has created just the right melodies, themes and atmospheres to float along the great poem Coleridge created a century and a half ago. Like the poem, the music is also a masterpiece. We hear that typical unruly minimalistic building of suspense and unevenness in a way only Bedford can do. Although minimalistic in character, the outcome is more of a complex brew of piano, organ, bells, guitar and synth which culminates in a grotesque, sometimes medieval, but ever fascinating soundscape. Even within that framework Bedford does leave room for improvisation. Oh yes, there's even a children's choir aboard. It's deadly horrific in the uprising of dissonant harmony and strangely beautiful in the ultra soft passages. What more do you want from adventurous music?
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more