The Science Group — A Mere Coincidence
(ReR Megacorp SCIENCE1, 1999, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01Yugoslavian composer Stevan Tickmayer has worked extensively in the fields of 20th Century music (both composed and improvised) and jazz. For this project, he takes a collection of texts by Chris Cutler on various subjects relating to science, and sets them to music, which is performed by Tickmayer himself (piano, keyboards, zither, violin, guitar, samples), Cutler (drums, electronics), Amy Denio (vocals), Bob Drake (bass, vocals, guitar, drums), Fred Frith (guitars), and Claudio Puntin (clarinet, bass clarinet). Bob Drake produces and contributes one composition. The music is marvelously disjointed and complex, full of abrupt shifts in tempo and mood, ranging from delicate acoustic passages to throbbing electric dissonance. Amy Denio provides serene interpretations of Cutler’s rather unusual words, sounding surprisingly like a choirboy. This collection provides another viewpoint on the style originated many years ago by Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, lately advocated by 5uu’s and related groups. It also shows just how close complex rock (or “pop” as Tickmayer prefers to call it) can come to “serious” 20th Century music of the academic (or even snobby) sort. The prime difference is one of instrumentation. Take these compositions and arrange them for strings and winds instead of guitars and keyboards, and perform them in a symphony hall on a bill with Cage or some other modern master, and no one would think anything is amiss. But use – gasp! – a drum kit and an electric guitar, and you’ll be quietly escorted to the stage door. Ranting aside, this is a fascinating collection of unique sounds, truly a great addition to the careers of all involved.
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