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.
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more