Jasun Martz — Solo Exhibition: Non-Finito
(Music Brut MB6181953-1, 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-03-06
This career-spanning retrospective collection presents a dizzying variety of sounds from composer Jasun Martz. It serves as a sampler from his box set Solo Exhibition, which contains eight CDs of material spanning his entire career, back to the 60s with We the People and American Zoo. The sampler doesn’t go back quite that far, however, and starts with his experimental 1978 album The Pillory (which we’ve covered on its own). Non-Finito is organized thematically rather than chronologically, starting with “Orchestra” works, then moving through “Keyboard,” “Symphonic,” “Live,” and “Noise/Soundscapes/Cacophony.” The Orchestra section starts out with a slow-moving, moody piece called “Light,” featuring orchestra and choir. It’s decidedly in a modernist style, with ambiguous tonality, dissonance, and unpredictable melodies. “The Victory Fanfare (All Hail Victory)” is, as you might expect, heavy on the brass and percussion, and would work admirably on the soundtrack to an epic movie. “Knives” and “The Beginning” are in a similar vein. The Keyboard section is more intimate, and features Eddie Jobson on violin along with John Luttrell on clarinet and the composer himself on piano for a track called “In Light.” It’s a spirited piece of modern chamber music, full of dissonance and spritely flights of melodic fancy. The other Keyboard pieces are built around what sounds like a harmonium (“Lost & Found”) or pipe organ (“Dark,” which also features a choir). The Symphonic section contains excerpts from his three symphonies: 1, “The Pillory”; 2, “The Battle”; and 3, “Disintegration.” These excerpts range from 10 to 14 minutes, so you really do get a feel for what they’re like. They’re realized on a combination of keyboards, percussion, live instruments, and choir. The compositions are engaging and sophisticated, and I definitely find myself wishing to hear the complete works from which they’re excerpted. The final sections of the CD are where things get really interesting. The Live track is called “Amalgamation,” and it is assembled from three solo performances (St. Petersburg, Seoul, and Buenos Aires), and rather than editing them together sequentially, they are presented simultaneously, spread across the stereo spectrum. Given that the content of the music is essentially sound collages, the result is a sort of meta-collage, with musical and non-musical sounds coming out in a vast impressionistic cloud of varying density. “Erosion” finishes off the collection with another collage-like work, this one assembled from elements of “The Pillory” and “The Battle.” It comes off rather like a free-jazz orchestra augmented by electronics. Non-Finito presents a glimpse into Martz’s body of work, which is a vast and varied territory, and while it functions pretty well on its own, it also whets the appetite for the whole banquet (to mix metaphors) of the box set.
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