Lard Free — Gilbert Artman's Lard Free
(Spalax 14225, 1973/1994, CD)
Lard Free — I'm Around About Midnight
(Spalax 14221, 1975/1993, CD)
Lard Free — Lard Free (III)
(Spalax 14224, 1977/1993, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1994-10-01
Artman's Lard Free project has received considerable amount of documentation in progressive periodicals, so I won't bore you with the details. Here's a quick overview; all are essential listens — innovative and groundbreaking. The debut from 1973 is a hybrid of styles finding its base in the more experimental fusion of Miles Davis (Agharta etc.) Of course that’s only the very base; the addition of electronics make this album much more unique. The Moog sounds are bizarre, disjointed, and wonderful with an overwhelming resemblance to Pinhas and Heldon. The music varies from cool jazz to more raucous fusion with Hendrix/McLaughlin like guitar soloing from Francois Mativet. In fact, its his guitar playing — from over the top Ax Genrich like psychedelia to laid back blues rock riffing that stands out. This album is an innovative and unusual blending of musics — a veritable 20th century exploration of jazz fusion.
Four years later, with Artman's second Lard Free attempt — you have Pinhas aboard and his influence is strong. I'm Around About Midnight exerts a much more industrial and electronic sound, yet remains diverse from the tribal like beginning (remarkably similar to the "techno tribal" artists now) through soft and sinister sequences of bleak and minimalist buzzing electronics to the stormy piano that end the album on a somber note. Certainly innovative, yet less of an immediate impact, due to its laid back gentle nature.
The final Lard Free album is very different from both of the above and was recorded after Artman had started his Urban Sax project. The sound here is harsher and more industrial — the side long "Spirale Malax" is a heavily effected track of Pinhas like guitar (although Pinhas was not on this one) and moaning mechanical metallic like synths. The second side is less intense although no less urban and bleak. I hear Heldon, a little early Tangerine Dream (Zeit) and other industrial musics. This is adventurous and intellectual music for the cerebral mood — its definitely not for tea-time. Honestly, this music probably won't appeal too much to the average sympho-prog fan. These albums are of a highly experimental nature, and while sonically brilliant, they are often emotionally void with a dehumanized and robotic sound. In summary, though, these albums truly define the word "progressive" and are highly recommended to musical explorers.
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