Gurguburek — Old Postcards
(DOF, 2015, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-01-17
There seems to be a burgeoning international boom in improvisational music augmented by electronics, either live processing or after the fact. It ranges from the noisy like Premature Burial to more sparse like Bocci and Barbiero, and Gurguburek is another entry towards the sparse end of the scale, also featuring Cristiano Bocci, this time with woodwind player Tobia Bondesan. Much of the time, the source instruments are discernable in the sound: guitar, saxophone, wood flute. The music is not completely improvised, though it’s never thoroughly composed either. “God Save the Sax” is a simple composition consisting of a gospel-like melody repeated over and over loosely by a chorus of saxes and acoustic slide guitar, used as backing for improvisations and sampled voices. It’s a technique that has been used in jazz for decades as an alternative to standard chords and bass lines. Other tracks feature long passages of environmental sound mixed up with effects and voices, the conventional instruments providing only minimal input. The music does occasionally develop a beat, though never really involving normal drums or percussion, just a variety of odd electronic tones. “Across the Deserts of Persia” is the closest the duo comes to a conventional composition, with a loping groove and what sounds like a real hand drum backing layers of saxophones; near-static keyboards fill out the background, along with a multitude of odd noises. In spite of the weirdness of the processed sounds, the overall mood is often near meditative, with the skritches, echoes, and whatnot functioning almost as a drone. Old Postcards isn’t the kind of thing you’d want to listen to every day, but it strikes a good balance between order and chaos that works well when you’re in the right mood for it.
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more