Milford Graves / Bill Laswell — Space / Time Redemption
(M.O.D. Technologies TUM040, 2015, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-08-26
In this meeting of the avant-garde generations, one of the pioneers for free percussion, Milford Graves, joins up with a bassist who has nearly every genre imaginable on his resume – free improv, heavy metal, electronics, world music, you name it, Bill Laswell has probably done it. As far as bass-and-drums duos go, this is nowhere near the Ruins end of the spectrum, being a far-roaming, essentially beatless journey through possible musics. Graves utilizes a wide variety of percussive objects, from a conventional kit (or at least parts of it) to drums, shakers, metallophones, and whatever strikes his fancy. His playing rolls and tumbles, cascading in waves, and forces the listener to abandon expectations of timekeeping. This is something he’s been doing for decades, but still falls so far outside the norm that it’s worth noting. These are timbres, some bright and shimmering, some dull and indistinct, not mere parts in repeating patterns. Laswell gives us a range of different bass sounds, using effects to expand his possibilities, sometimes fluid and melodic, other times pointillistic and atonal. His parts have elements of planning to them, with repeating themes, but are very loosely interpreted. For those who have grown accustomed to Laswell as a purveyor of deep grooves more akin to Funkadelic than free jazz, this might come as a surprise, but he’s always had a streak of the outside in him. The overall mood is more on the meditative side than any kind of aggression, and, oddly enough, conveys a sense of calm. Space / Time Redemption has a lot to offer, though it may take repeated listens and the right attitude to soak in its message.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
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