Gong Matrices - Gilli Smyth — Parade
(Voiceprint VP353CD, 2004, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
For many of us who attended the IPMF in San Francisco in 1999, the long wait in the lobby while Porcupine Tree had ‘technical difficulties’ was rewarded with the unique spectacle of Gilli Smyth jamming with a group of unknown musicians playing violin, tamboura, hand drums and other percussives – and when Gilli’s set was finished some additional musicians and a vocalist were brought in. Indeed this was our introduction to Azigza. From that point Azigza came unto its own, and has since released two full length discs (and hopefully more to come), but in 2004 bassist Pierce McDowell regrouped all the members of that 1999 jam session (including guitarist James Rotondi and two other members of Azigza) as a backing band for Gilli’s lyrical musings and space vocals, which is documented here on Parade. The backing tracks consist mainly of free droning spacy expanses, or rhythm-driven trance workouts with rock flourishes; in every case it’s appropriate support for whatever Gilli’s lyrics happen to be focusing on at the moment, be it space aliens, parallel universes, wars, virtual lovers, how to send an email to god, the poignant “Demon Barbie and the Super Computer Matrix,” and more. Gilli’s improvisational whisperings also provide outstanding support for the musicians whenever they drift off into instrumental flights, the end result being both introspective and captivating.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more