Paolo Angeli — Plays Frith & Björk - Tessuti
(ReR Megacorp PA3, 2007, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01To paraphrase Shakespeare, there are more musics in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your CD collection. Unless you have one of his previous releases, Paolo Angeli is probably an example of the undreamt-of. First he took a little known instrument, the Sardinian folk guitar, and then he modified it almost beyond recognition, turning it into a kind of bizarre hybrid of a guitar and a cello plus electronics. He has developed playing techniques to go along with it, and the result is basically just mind-boggling. He somehow manages to sound like a duet between an acoustic guitar and a cello all at once without resorting (except in a few scrupulously noted cases) to loops, samples, or overdubs – this is a live recording by a solo performer. Sometimes you would swear it’s actually a trio of bass, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. The subtitle of this recording is “Paolo Angeli Plays Frith & Björk” but there are actually a few Angeli originals tossed in for good measure. The Björk selections avoid her big hits with the exception of the bonus track, “Hyperballad,” and I’m not even sure what would constitute a “hit” from Fred Frith. Listening to this, it’s really hard to imagine how he manages to accomplish it. All of which would be pointless it the result wasn’t listenable, but luckily it’s quite enjoyable, somehow accessible and avant-garde at the same time. But doing more than one thing at a time is what Angeli is all about.
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