Jan Bang — ...And Poppies from Kandahar
(Samadhisound sound cd ss018, 2010, CD)
Sonic sculptor Jan Bang brings his formidable sampling skills to bear on this internationally star-studded disk. His large palette of extracted sounds varies dramatically from solo vocals to guitars and even orchestral samples; it just about includes anything from trumpet player Arve Henriksen’s pastel tone on “Self Inquiry” to Sidsel Andresen’s unique phrasing. David Sylvian’s credit for providing song titles indicates his presence on the recording; tone and mood are everything. The pieces hover between songs and loose ambient backdrop attributed to the composer’s delicate hand. Loops and experiments are represented well on tracks like “The Midwife’s Dilemma,” which carries an unsettling sampled vocal. It also features a precious rhythm track, sounding a bit like classic Eno using some of John Oswald’s Plunderphonics approach. Moods can shift imperceptibly, as heard on the Arabic-tinged “Passport Control,” with both trumpeters Jon Hassell and Henriksen as well as guitarist Eivind Aarset. The ambient textures spread across the disk impart smoky atmospherics, slight tension and mystery. This is apparent on songs such as “Heidegger's Silence” and on “Abdication and Coronation,” where trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær renders a serene melody line in front of a waltz-like bass line. Clearly this is high order improvisation and composition where the boundary between both is purposefully blurred. Highly recommended for fans of David Sylvian, ambient Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel’s Passion soundtrack, Jon Hassell’s last ECM recording, and the burgeoning Norwegian jazz scene.
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more