Glen Whitehead Trio: The Living Daylights (PFMCD125)

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[playlist ids="1553"]

Glen Whitehead Trio

The Living Daylights

Britton Ciampa Drums • Scott Walton Bass • Glen Whitehead Trumpet

Improvisational structures inspired by natural phenomena that play with our perceptions of space, time, and place

The Living Daylights Suite (1-3)
1. Living Daylights Suite 1—at Time’s Place 05:02
2. Living Daylights Suite 2—Zenosyne 08:23
3. Living Daylights Suite 3—Apophenia 08:30
4. Heliopause 04:01
5. 42 Degrees 04:31
6. Bow Shock 05:49
7. Shedding Vortices 03:38
8. Involution Engine 06:22
9. Fissure Syndrome 03:54
10. Pearl of Swirl 05:50
11. Punktuation 07:44

Recorded at the Banquet Studios February 6, 2016
and July 21, 2016, Guerneville, CA
Engineered by Darryl Webb
Mixed and Mastered by Wayne Peet at Killzone,
Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, February, 2018
Photo Credit—Glen Whitehead
Graphic Design—Ted Killian
© 2018 Glen Whitehead (ASCAP)
pfMENTUM
PFMCD125

The Living Daylights
Composition Notes

The Living Daylights is based on concepts extracted from natural phenomena (most chosen, some imagined) that play with our perceptions of space, time and place, and rendered with improvisational frameworks constructed to enable many possibilities within the natural restraints of a conscious system.

These ideas were generated from my experiences exploring a range of natural environments over the last several years through my engagement with ecoacoustics and other research pursuits in immersive acoustic explorations across many different environments. These experiences are part of a broad interdisciplinary leap (on my part) as an attempt to find more passage between creative music practices and fields of acoustic ecology and ecoacoustics.  I see these fields as intimately intertwined. There are a host of people and organizations building new canons and research areas such as the Deep Listening Institute, the EcoSono Institute, and other related movements and organizations.  As my time in the field clocked more hours and locations – including many sites across Colorado and the great southwest, Alaska, Cape Cod, the Pacific southwest, Mexico, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Korea and more, I have become increasingly aware of the similarities between immersive activities surrounding intensive environmental participation, usually involving field recording scenarios and improvised music-making. The more one invests energy, time and intention to such immersive experiences in the world– the more phenomenal events occur – the world opens up to you. As in improvisation in theatre – the world says “yes.”  Connections come alive, mysterious interactions occur.

These works, and the two incredible musicians whom I have been so honored to work with on this project reflect such phenomenological experiences.  Scott Walton (acoustic bass) has been a key collaborator in my musical life, as equal a pianist as a bassist, he is a long-time colleague and simply one of the best musicians – as an inventive improviser, listener and performer – that I have had the privilege to learn from. Britt, to me, represents a younger, up and coming generation of insanely informed musicians.  His skill as a drummer and knowledge as musician is well beyond his years.  He possesses an uncanny ability to connect obscure subjects and histories within a deep understanding of the creative music world.  The magic of his playing is his ability to wield musical and sonic information into its the fullest possible context.  He’s also an “ex-student” of mine from UCCS – one of our very best.
An ensemble is an ecosystem with each member defining the community. In this “conscious system” individuals are free to roam and explore, while also being responsible for the whole – empathy is essential to create both meaning and form.  Self-reflection between the rewards of individuality and seeking shared common good creates prime musical real estate.  The thoughts and intentions of one person are internalized (and externalized) by the other members.

I view the wide world of sonic and musical languages in this work as idiomatic – a respectful departure of what is usually commonly understood in contexts of free improvisation as “non-idiomatic” (from Derek Bailey’s definition).  To me, this is a resolvable contradiction.  Our language is saturated within the idioms of our instrumental backgrounds – acquired ear, technical and historic knowledge along with both innate and environmental influences.  How we wield our musical instruments is a fundamental part of our cultural “taskscapes,” a term used by Tim Ingold, originally “to bring the perspectives of archaeology and anthropology into unison” (The Temporality of the Landscape, 1993), “the constitutive tasks of the dwelling” that applies perfectly to instrumental and vocal play

 

Notes on the Tracks

The first three tracks make up a suite.  They were the first pieces recorded on this project, conceived and recorded as one unit, and in one take.  At Time’s Place is a play on words – we only ever really sense the presence.  In this open-ended tradition of improvised music, the phenomenological act of real-time musical creation gives us a unique way to access the past and the future, simultaneously.

Zenosyne, from the unique “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Greene pinpoints a fundamental experience that had no clear term (in English, anyway) – the sense that time keeps going faster.  Such an example is at the very core of improvisational experience, and I like to imagine would be part of a future established aspect of music theory for improvisation.  I am reminded of many times when an improvisation seemed to take ten minutes, and forty-five minutes had passed.

Apophenia, the perception of patterns, meanings, or connections where none exists, is also a relatively new word although the well explored phenomenon itself is not. Its first use is credited to the psychiatrist Klaus Conrad back in 1958 in his catchy-titled Die beginnende Schizophrenie: Versuch einer Gestaltanalyse des Wahns, which translates to the equally scintillating The origins of schizophrenia: A Gestalt analysis of paranoia.  It is fascinating that this word should appear to be so recent when the actual phenomenon is so old and important enough to have been a lynch-pin for philosophical study through the ages.  In Natural History of Religion (1757), philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) wrote the following:

There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious.  We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice and good will to everything that hurts or pleases us.

There is one major qualification and difference of how this idea is utilized in this work.  This is a play on the imagination – the “random” discoveries that appear to have no connections, actually uncover true, previously unseen connections and relationships.  I cannot think of a better context for the illusively connective experience of improvised music.

The Heliopause (with its syntactic musical resonance) is the boundary where the sun’s solar wind meets the faint radiation of interstellar space and is no longer strong enough to push back the stellar winds of the surrounding stars.  This is the boundary where the interstellar medium and solar wind pressures meet and balance – physics working on a grand scale. Imagine, even with this distance impossible for us to quantify in scale in our imagination, that this line is definitive and slender where the distant finger of our incubator solar cocoon touches the rest of the universe– what a musical thought.

42 degrees references the connection of people and light reflected in the observations of – rainbows.  When we see a rainbow and its band of colors we are looking at light refracted and reflected from different raindrops at an angle of between 40 and 42 degrees at all points of view – whether one person is high on a hilltop and another hundreds of feet below.  Light orients to our visual lenses, our lenses orient the angle of light.

Bow Shock, also called a detached shock or normal shock, is a curved, stationary shock wave that is found in a supersonic flow past a finite body.  Shedding vortices (vortex shedding) is an oscillating flow that takes place when a fluid such as air or water flows past a bluff (as opposed to streamlined) body at certain velocities, depending on the size and shape of the body. Both of these phenomena, for me, connect with the wind “shock” that occurs inside and across a fast material with wind and brass sound production, and illuminate the use of creating sound vortexes in so many different ways in improvised music.

Involution Engine is a function, transformation, or operator that is equal to its inverse, only applies to itself and is a function of its own inverse. for instance, in medicine, this applies to the shrinking of an organ (such as the uterus after pregnancy) or philosophy and psychology a “turning in” on one’s self.  Musical phenomena in time also have similar phenomena but have been limited in concept, I believe, because of the hard-cast association with printed, scored notation – retrograde inversion, for example. The idea of a sonic involution works exquisitely in an aural, perceived identity, much like a physically created moveable object and is far more complex and four dimensional that can be adequately represented on a typical score (mostly).

 I came up with Fissure Syndrome through pure free association upon listening to the results of this piece several times.  As it turns out, it is a kind of an Apophenia in of itself, as this term lives in the medical world as, superior orbital fissure syndrome (also known as Rochen-Duvigneaud syndrome) is a collection of symptoms caused by compression of structures just anterior to the orbital apex.

For Pearl of Swirl, am fascinated by the perception of sound as physical moving substance or phenomena. To me, this conceptual mega-world is in its infancy and a signification of the music theory and creative methodologies of the future of music.  Pearl of Swirl, here, references Pearl Swirl, a rheoscopic fluid created specifically to see the movement or currents in liquids. Its purpose is scientific in nature, yet, it carries commercial tendrils with trademark statuses and “secret ingredient” branding. It is at once a vital substance category for the science of fluid dynamics and other related fields in order to visualize currents, aerodynamics, turbulence, convection and other phenomena (a not so subtle nod to my father, an award winning physical oceanographer, fluid dynamicist and a very creative one, at that).  On the other side of the coin, pearl swirl is also a novel commercial ingredient added to shampoos and other liquids for the purpose of a non-functional aesthetical “swirl” effect. This duality embodies the inescapable, almost satirical relationship between science and commerce in our culture today.

Punktuation – ‘Nuff said and done

—Glen Whitehead

Building Blocks: New Recording from Ethan Sherman!

Building Blocks—guitarist Ethan Sherman’s first full-length recording as a bandleader—is a collection of original and traditional music featuring drummer Christian Euman and upright bassist Chris Rolontz. This recording is the culmination of Sherman’s education and experiences as a sideman, collaborator, and bandleader across jazz, American acoustic music, and free improvisation. Building Blocks delivers a thoughtful presentation of a finely tuned …

pfMENTUM and Angry Vegan: New recordings and more! 

Dedicated to creative music, and the musicians that make it! Included in this issue: A letter from Jeff A quiz with FREE CD giveaway… New Vlatkovich releases on pfMENTUM New Hipster Modular (Trevor Henthorn) release on Angry Vegan Upcoming events From Jeff:   This is a very exciting time for pfMENTUM and Angry Vegan!   As many of you know, I left Ventura …

Odeya Nini: Vougheauxyice (Voice) (PFMCD083)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="551"]
Vougheauxyice (Voice)

Odeya Nini: Voice

1. Mi See Ti 3:37
2. Dalai 6:16
3. Everyday Cantor 3:07
4. Idiomia 4:35
5. Tunnel 6:22
6. Tapestry of Synonyms 6:34
7. There Are So Many Things That I Have To Tell You 9:52
8. Cyclicality 6:36

1-4 were recorded in a private home in Joshua Tree, CA, September 25, 2012.
5 was recorded in an aqueduct in San Francisquito Canyon, CA, April 1, 2013.
7 was recorded at California Institute for the Arts, June 2012.

All tracks except 7 were recorded and mixed by Justin Asher
7 was recorded and mixed by Brian Saia
6 was edited by Odeya Nini
Mastered by Joe Panzner

Except for track 6, all of the pieces are in a single take, no editing. 1-5 are compositions with an open form. There is a compositional road map, but they are not performed the same way twice. 7 and 8 are improvised. Several microphones where set up in the space for 1-5, allowing for the voice to be recorded with movement and gesturing.

Photography – Adeline Newmann and Odeya Nini
Design and layout – Thea Lorentzen
Art – Saul Alpert Abrams

NOTES:

Vougheauxyice (Voice)

The voice is an instrument that both listens and reveals. It takes from all that is around us and all that is inside us as it communicates a free and composed response outward. In this work I explore the language of the voice like a dancer. I think of shape, form, gesture and the vast range of motion in the voice’s movement through space. The voice is often thought of as intangible, but in this work I try to mold its natural physical tendencies, sensing its vibrations, and feeling the touch of its waves on my skin and in my bones.

Mi See Ti

A simple melody alluding false solfege syllables that repeat themselves, diverging more and more. A play with forms of interpretation from contained and proper, to unruly swells.

In performance this piece incorporates theatrical elements, changes of facial expression and a collapsing of the body to the floor between each iteration. It questions ideas of beauty in the voice, presentation, intention, the relationship and cohesion (or negation) of the body’s expression simultaneous to the expression of the voice, and the role of the singer as an exhibitionist.

Dalai

Dalai was written while spending time in Mongolia in the summer of 2012. I learned that the meaning of the word Dalai, that we know so well from Dalai Lama, means ocean in Mongolian. Traveling in the Gobi desert, the power of the wind was omnipresent, and absolutely striking to me. It was possible to see the storms and changes of weather traversing the endlessly flat desert from miles away—often surprisingly quick—bringing gusts more powerful than I had ever experienced. Every turn of the head gave variation to the sound of the howling wind: so violent at times and peaceful in its aftermath. The obsession with wind was an easy to acquire, the more I listened, the more I realized the sound of crashing waves and the ocean’s movements were the sounds of wind. In a landlocked country such as Mongolia, I sensed the ocean all around me. Wind, ocean, breath.

Everyday Cantor

Everyday Cantor features voice and field recording. The sounds of sacred song in the everyday act of showering. Is there a difference between singing in a cathedral or singing under the shower head? The devotional voice reveals itself and then becomes drenched in everyday simplicity.

Idiomia

Inspired by random sequences of bird calls and the meaning that comes out of non verbal sonic communication. The answer is in the ear of the beholder. The voice has dynamic expression, calls, yells, gentle flutters, overtones, ingressive and egressive breathing. What is it saying? The mind wants to distill the voice, but allow it to migrate.

Tunnel

Tunnel is an improvisation on a traditional Yemenite Jewish folk song called Tzur Manoti. My Yemenite roots have always been strong in me, I see them on my face, and hear them in my voice. I often question how I fit along the continuum of my spiritually devoted ancestors, having arrived at this experimental art form. In this song I find a passageway between who I am today and the narrative of kindred souls. The result is a contemporary translation which keeps me present in my explorations (and realizations) of free form, allying me with my deep past.

Tapestry of Synonyms

We are what we hear. A collage of field recordings collected over the last four years including goats, monks, trains, plates, horses, helicopters, microwaves, wind storms, rain on tents, creaking cabinet doors, dragging chairs, tin foil crumbling, fire crackling, locks clacking, teeth brushing, family and friends from California, New York, Mexico, Mongolia Italy and Israel.

The collection of textures from our environment are juxtaposed with the voice, which we often do not consider as related. However, whether in texture or song, we do find part of our surroundings, mimicking, blending, connecting.

There is only reverb added to some of these field recordings. Besides being sliced and pasted, there are no other manipulation or altering effects.

The voice of Archie Carey, my grandmother Rachel Nini and my parents David and Tamar Nini are included.

There Are So Many Things that I Have To Tell You

Language can be tricky, slippery and twofold. This piece is a stream of consciousness improvisation with words, surfacing moods and thoughts otherwise submerged.

I sit in front of my loop pedal and amp, not knowing what stories will emerge, and allow them to flow. No story quite like the last, It is always a new and exciting journey.

Cyclicality

One voice layers on another, and another and another, shifting, morphing, coasting.

Beneath all these layers, I am still only one.

Thank you to all these wonderful people and places who created this album with their patient and skillful talents, generosity, inspiration and love. Endless gratitude.

Justin Asher, Joe Panzner, Brian Saia, Julie Tolentino + Feral Studios, CalArts, Adeline Newmann, Saul Alpert Abrams, Thea Lorentzen, Pieter Performance Space, Gerry Hemingway (for teaching me that music is sound in time), and ALL the incredible people who supported this album on Kickstarter.

Thank you to my dear family, Achinoam, Roy, Sharra, to my grandmother Rachel whose voice of many lives always plays in my ear, and especially to my parents David and Tamar Nini for their endless unquestioning love and support. My voice is your voice.

. . . and to Archie, for absolutely everything. This album is for you.

pfMENTUM CD083

PFMCD083

Michael Vlatkovich Quartet: You’re Too Dimensional (PFMCD077)

Jeff Kaiser Leave a Comment

[playlist ids="539"]
Michael Vlatkovich Quartet
You’re Too Dimensional.

Michael Vlatkovich: Compositions, Trombone
Jim Knodle: Trumpet
Phil Sparks: Bass
Greg Campbell: Drums, French Horn*

(05:05) 1. various manifestations of thwart & opine for curved bill thrasher & toy piano in 4 parts
(02:48) 2. no candy for the wagon full of devils
(08:15) 3. the curious intensity of a refrigerator defrosting *
(04:24) 4. wishing for 2 at 5/3
(06:26) 5. mOOn jOOiia
(10:04) 6. blue peepers
(06:25) 7. the static equilibrium of the values of savagery
(06:50) 8. i liberate monsters
(02:32) 9. balance out of life out of balance *
(06:32) 10. fools drunks & angels
total 59:37

Recorded in Seattle 2-2-13 Doug Hare – Engineer, Sonarchy Radio
Edited, Mixed & Mastered 5-01/02-13
Wayne Peet – Engineer, Newzone Studio, Los Angeles
Chuck Britt – Design

pfMENTUM CD077

PFMCD077

Paul Stapleton and Simon Rose: FAUNA (PFMCD074)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="533"]
Fauna

Paul Stapleton: bonsai sound sculpture (BoSS)

Simon Rose: baritone/alto saxophones

Borealis 6:35
Felt 7:36
Deep 10:25
Zwischenfall 2:30
Shift 8:36
Zeiteinheit 4:44
Set 4:23
Vertreiben 5:13

All music © 2013 Simon Rose and
Paul Stapleton (PRS)

Recorded and mixed by Elmar Susse
22 September 2011
Hoffnungskirche, Pankow, Berlin

Mastered by Paul Stapleton
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast

Photograph and cover design
Matilde Meireles

The Bonsai Sound Sculpture (BoSS)
is a portable modular musical instrument
(Paul Stapleton and Neil Fawcett, 2010)
combining a repurposed turntable,
DIY electronics, amplified metallic
percussion and strings.

…like some old, forgotten animal from the beginning of time,
silence towers above all the puny world of noise; but as a living
animal, not an extinct species, it lies in wait, and we can still see
its broad back sinking ever deeper among the briers and bushes
of the world of noise. It is as though this pre-historic creature
were gradually sinking into the depths of its own silence. And
yet sometimes all of the world today seems like the mere buzzing
of insects on the broad back of silence.

Max Picard (1989)

pfMENTUM CD074

PFMCD074