Dedicated to creative music, and the musicians that make it! Included in this issue: A letter from Jeff A quiz with FREE CD giveawayâ€¦ 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: 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
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
Paul Stapleton: bonsai sound sculpture (BoSS)
Simon Rose: baritone/alto saxophones
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
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)
Featuring Wadada Leo Smith
Zen Widow is:
Gianni Gebbia (alto saxophone)
Matthew Goodheart (grand piano, electro-acoustic gongs and cymbals)
Garth Powell (drums and percussion)
Special guest artist—Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet)
1. Gifts We Have Forgotten 13:05
2. Notated Memory 12:05
3. Black On White Paper 7:05
4. This Seeming Dream 7:36
5. Musa Physics 15:42
Total Time: 55:41
“Screaming in Daytime (makes men forget)” is Zen Widow’s third album, our first collaboration with Wadada Leo Smith, and it is in large part homage to tenor firebrand: Glenn Spearman.
Many of the melodies are constructed from fragments of his compositions. We inverted, rearranged, and modified what wasn’t completely new or created on the spot. Wishing to maintain the essence of Glenn’s rich compositional style was the priority, without resorting to a typical “tribute” collection of an artist’s past works.
All four of us worked with and deeply respected Glenn. I was a young artist right out of music school when I first worked with him. Already a master of the free jazz idiom, he was both thoughtful and generous to treat me as an equal given his age and experience. Although I frequently find myself thinking about the music we shared, this disc represents where the four of us are today—looking up and outward towards our friend.
The San Francisco Bay Area has been the home of a multitude of great artists as it continues to be. Yet, the fire and passion that was stoked throughout our community left a vacuum with Glenn’s passing. That loss is felt to this day. Glenn’s work with Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, The Glenn Spearman Double Trio with Larry Ochs, The Creative Music Orchestra with Marco Eneidi, and numerous other projects were all testaments to Glenn’s spirit and incredible power.
As improvisers we try to be in the moment, but it’s still hard not to gaze back and think of Glenn.
—Garth Powell 2012
I am very honored to dedicate this recording to Glenn Spearman, I worked with him only once at the Beanbenders concert series in Berkeley. I was very impressed by his solid sound, his gentleness and kindness of spirit. This recording is a double honor for me because of the great sounds of Wadada. He was the original soloist in the trio where I started my musical career with Peter Kowald and Gunther Baby Sommer. Wadada’s trumpet voice is the ideal to show our gratitude to Glenn.
Drops of Gold are falling forever in the long and everlasting dharma of the Great Black Music.
—Jòraku Gianni Gebbia 2012
In February of 1998, my group “Trio and. . .” played at the closing night of Radio Valencia in San Francisco. Performing was my regular line up of Glenn Spearman on tenor and Donald Robinson on drums, with Wadada Leo Smith as guest. The night was intense, beautiful, a fulfillment, these great artists sounding above those simple musical structures of my own making. A few weeks before I had been asked “If you could play with any musicians you wanted, who would it be?” My answer was: this group.
I did not know it at the time, but it was the beginning of an end of an era in Bay Area improvised music. Whatever forces drive certain moments in musicking, they had secretly begun to diverge. The group of artists centered around Radio Valencia moved to other venues. Glenn, in his own words, “went to join the ancestors” some nine months later. The scene slowly evolved into something else. The movement of that night, the deep interaction between Glenn and Wadada over the flux of the rhythm section, remains a personal embodiment of that time. All of these musicians had a profound impact on me, so generous in their time and artistry in support of a younger man struggling to find his formation. Glenn was my mentor; he brought me inside of his world, working closely, hours playing, absorbed in the details of his and our music. He taught me focus and intensity, maturity of vision. From Wadada I learned the concentrated, delicate, sensuous detail of shape and sculpture in each utterance. From Donald: flow, patience, attention, integrity.
To revisit Glenn’s music, over a decade after his death, with the collaborative Zen Widow and (once again) the generous addition of Wadada Leo Smith, moves into sound that complex network of events that exist as cadences in our lives. Glenn’s unending musicality calls back from the ancestors to play among the living.
I still learn from these artists, all of them. If asked again, if I could again play with any musicians I wanted, the answer again would be: this group.
—Matthew Goodheart 2012
Recorded Live to two-track analog at Ocean Way Recording—Studio A—Hollywood, California by Mike Ross (second engineer Patrick Spain)
Production and generous implementation of Audioquest microphone cables with DBS technology by Joe Harley
Mastered by Bernie Grundman—Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, California
Disc Manufacturing and 1:1 glass mastering—Groove House, Woodland Hills, California
Graphic Layout and Design—John Benz, Petaluma, California
Photography: Front Cover: Heike Neubauer–Antoci, Mettanest Studio, Dresden, Germany
Back Cover Group Photo: David Swann Photography
Inside Face Group Photo: David Goggin
Special thanks to Shantee Maggie Baker, John Benz, Michael Ehlers, Marco Eniedi, David Goggin, Bernie Grundman, Joe Harley, Jeff Kaiser, Wayne Powell, Mike Ross, David and Susan Thompson, everyone at Ocean Way Recording Hollywood, and all of our friends across the world who tirelessly create and support improvised music.
All compositions by Gebbia, Goodheart, Powell, and Smith. Evolving Door Music BMI 2012, SIAE 2012
© 2012 All Rights Reserved
Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet
Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Dan Clucas: cornet
Scot Ray: dobro
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitar
wrong how long 4:00
clean, shaved and sober 3:52
cooked and chopped 3:15
mercy kitchen 7:26
sunshine candy 4:24
barrelfoot grind 4:26
© 2008 steuart liebig/
sisong music (ascap)
artwork and layout by Steuart Liebig
cover photos by Scot Ray
band photos by Tee-Tot Quartet
recorded by Wayne Peet, assisted by Aaron Druckman, at Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, 19–20 May 2007
mixed by Wayne Peet and Steuart Liebig, July–August 2007
Steuart Liebig uses Fodera basses and Fodera roundwound strings, the Raven Labs PMB-1 and pickups by Rick Turner
Joe Berardi uses Paiste cymbals and attack drums heads
big thanks to Tee-Tot, Wayne Peet, Jeff Kaiser, and Leslie Rosdol, Anya Liebig and Aron Liebig
. . . is an unholy transfiguration of the jazz and blues canon—a perverted translation of the sacred 78s of Chicago jazz and blues circa 1920–1950 into a more sinister modern dialect. On the opening track, 07-04-00, you can hear some noxious sonic concoction brewing, an aural hormetic designed to make you stronger if you can survive the cocktail.
Tee-Tot are expatriate pioneers that flew a few light-years past Europe and landed in a neighboring multiverse with fewer happy endings. These four veterans of the Los Angeles new music scene bring something completely different to each tune, different from the last tune and different from anything you normally hear on their respective instruments.
Joe Berardi is a medium for myriad gods of groove. He’s a maniacal Baby Dodds wielding his contraption for the dark side on Sunshine Candy, an angry Fred Below demonstrating primal scream therapy through the art of the shuffle on Chucktown and on Serenade he’s a fallen military snare player tapping ‘help me die’ in Morse code in vain.
Steuart Liebig constructs wide melodic avenues through the hostile landscapes of convoluted tunes like Wrong How Long. As heard on Cooked and Chopped he uses compelling melodies to drive the band from beneath instead of walking the well-worn footpaths of predictable chord progressions. He reinvents the bass role as an interactive melodic instrument in contrast to the bebop obsession of “chasing a melodic rat around a harmonic maze.” He’s also comfortable playing little or nothing at all for large patches, as on Fearless, an oblique tribute to Mingus—a “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” for a lost and dispirited Lester Young.
Dan Clucas channels a deranged Cootie Williams, commands a gaggle of nuclear geese and employs various subsonic pitches possibly responsible for climate change. He employs all manner of ornamentation and virtual pedals from a very ill-mannered velar growl to a vibrato that would have made Clara Rockmore nervous. On Clean, Shaved and Sober, he celebrates the decline of a late-stage Bix Beiderbecke suffering from years of poor-grade Prohibition-era alcohol.
Scot Ray possesses a wide arsenal of portamento that would make any carnatic pandit blush. A seemingly infinite variety of sounds come out of his dobro’s resonator, from distressed ermine lamentations to the wailing of the damned. Considering today’s totalitarian atmosphere, Scot’s frenetic picking, rubbery phrasing and anxiety-provoking note choices on Stutterstep alone should earn him a place on a government list. Somewhere in hell an unfortunate freshman soul attempts to decipher his solo on Barrelfoot Grind.
Contemporary jazz and blues music lies wasting in a gurney of predictable mimicry, its circulation gone sluggish, its pulse nearly arrested as it grows more necrotic by the year. Tee-Tot debrides the bed sores of the sedentary modern roots scene.
Steuart has more than a few bands. They are all distinct from one another, draw from disparate sources and are all degenerate—in the best sense of the word. The dozen or so albums from these groups have explored everything from Muddy Waters to Anton Webern. There’s never a shortage of great melodies or superb improvisation, and this disc is no exception.
–Bill Barrett, Los Ageles, January 2008
The Desert Fathers
Jeff Kaiser: Quartertone Trumpet, Laptop
Gregory Taylor: Laptop
ONLY AVAILABLE DIGITALLY
1. Visions (Saint Anthony) 31:14
2. The White Monastery (Saint Shenouda) 26:02
Recorded direct-to-disc 4.27 and 4.28.07 at the Boise Experimental Music Festival
CD art, mix and mastering by Jeff Kaiser
© 2007, Gregory Taylor, BMI and Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP
For more information:
www.pfMENTUM.com • PFMCD050
The Desert fathers—a collection of ascetics, monks, and hermits—fled the persecutions and chaos of the Roman Empire in the third century AD and settled in the deserts of Egypt, seeking safety and solace in loose-knit refugee communities at the margins of civilization. When the persecutions stopped, they remained-drawn as individuals by the solitude, privation, and self-discipline borne of desert life.
Born the son of wealthy landowners, orphaned, and later disciple of a local ascetic, St. Anthony the Great is noteworthy as the first to actually pursue an isolated (anchoritic) life in the desert itself. His biographies describe in vivid detail the afflictions and visions of his isolation—torments from which he emerged enlightened, serene, and healthy. After this, he moved further into the wilderness even as his fame grew, founding his own monastery where he dedicated himself and his disciples to prayer and the discipline of manual labor.
Shenouda the Archimandrite first visited the White Monastery (so named for the color of limestone of its outer walls) located near the Upper Egyptian city of Souhag as a boy. He remained there as a result of a vision granted to the monastery’s abbot, and eventually served as its abbot during its heyday as a thriving ascetic community.
Anthony and Shenouda were both canonized after their deaths as saints in the Coptic Orthodox Church. As monks, they combined their own individualized practices with regimens attuned to their lives in a desert environment and introduced elements of shared communal practice (the sharing of meals and liturgical practice) into their communities that laid the foundations for what we now think of as Christian monasticism.
Sally Barr: Violin
Laura Hackstein: Violin
Kirsten Monke: Viola
Jim Connolly: Contrabass
1 – Even Dust Sparkles on the Moon – 4:11
2 – Pinocchio – 4:25
3 – Forgetting the Names of Trees in the Polish Woods – 5:13
4 – On Rue Clark – 4:22
5 – Patience Makes the Ocean Blue – 6:30
6 – Noodling for Flatheads – 2:51
7 – Hymn for John – 5:42
8 – Peter and Amy – 3:02
9 – Crows would steal the Stars if they could fly that high – 5:34
10 – Time Rides the Ferris Wheel – 3:46
11 – Once, For the Last Time – 4:00
All Music © 2007 James Connolly Music (ASCAP)
except “Across the Universe” as Lennon / McCartney
© ATV (Northern Songs Catalog) / EMI Blackwood Music
Recorded at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, CA
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Jeff Kaiser
Cover Painting “Circus” By Yevgenia Nayberg
Graphic Assistance Provided By Ted Killian
Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes
Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion
Ivan Johnson: contrabass
Disc 1: First Set (24:20 / 21:17)
1. Attack of the Eye People (Mears)
Who Are They If We Are Them? (Mears)
The Mactavish Rag (Tiner)
2. And Who Is Not Small (Tiner)
Disc 2: Second Set (42:57)
1. Swan-Neck Deformity (Kikuchi)
The Empty Cage (Mears)
Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat (Mears)
Recorded live at Café Metropol in Los Angeles, California on Friday, December 30, 2005
Recorded live to two track by Paul Kikuchi
Mastered by David Christensen and Paul Kikuchi
Cover photo and album design: Kio Griffith
Band photos: Allen D. Glass II
Thank you to Kio Griffith, Misato Nagare, Dottie Grossman, David Christensen, Rocco Somazzi, Allen D. Glass II, Jeff Kaiser and Vinny Golia
© 2006 Jason Mears Music, ASCAP and Kris Tiner Music, ASCAP
For more information: www.mtkjquartet.com
When the camera pulls back
on people you care about
because you have followed
their story all season
and you know
what makes them happy
and what hurts them
and you love them
and want to protect them,
that’s your cue to sit back,
let the music take care of them now.
When I wrote that, I wasn’t thinking about The Empty Cage Quartet, but I see a connection. They share a common view, something about expansiveness or maybe a sense of what I can only call “mission.” These guys actually care about us, and want to make us better through their musical example, God help them. It’s a tall order, admittedly, but saxophonist Jason Mears and trumpeter Kris Tiner talk seriously about the band as a positive model for social change, incorporating and expanding upon what they learned under the tutelage of people like Wadada Leo Smith and Vinny Golia.
Mears, Tiner, Kikuchi and Johnson (“The MTKJ;” now “The Empty Cage Quartet”) came together at The California Institute of the Arts, in Southern California, circa 2002. They began playing music that was admittedly “horrible” (Kris Tiner’s word), at first, but which has evolved to a very telepathic kind of communication that transcends historical models of creative new music and almost doesn’t require language in its usual sense. They’re bent on transcending the clichés of “free jazz,” with its historically associated bias toward self-expression at the expense of everything else. They all contribute tunes and are dedicated to finding ways of getting around traditional improvisation and composition, to create music that is “continuous” and spontaneous. At the same time, in their musical explorations, they incorporate and honor the earlier forms they want to transcend. There is, for example, homage to without imitation of the Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman quartets.
So they use a system which in effect means that, in performance, any player can cue a composition at any time. For that to work on a level that approaches art requires the ability to almost literally read each other’s minds. Forget about not paying attention. Forget about playing on chord changes. It’s very akin to linking arms and jumping off the proverbial edge-of-the-cliff. It takes enormous mutual trust, acquired through the time-honored method of playing and touring. It is a truism that there’s no substitute for playing together a lot over a period of time in different settings and circumstances. The bonding that emerges from this kind of intensity has created, for these four, a unity that is probably more rock-solid than that of most “real” families.
And that makes them happy. They like it when audiences are touched and even inspired by the music they make together. Drummer Kikuchi tells about a gig in Olympia, WA, when the audience behaved as if they were at a rock show, yelling and “getting into” the show, letting the music take them to new places.
A word about the title of this CD: “Hello the Damage” was the all-too-literal English translation of part of a French review damning the group’s last CD. Anyone familiar with the often hilarious nonsense masquerading as “translation” on the Babelfish web site will sympathize.
This is a band whose musical growth rate has been amazing. They’re dedicated to doing something new, and the strength of their musicianship and vision are collectively and individually impressive enough to make that happen.
I’m going to leave the last word (well, almost) here to Kris Tiner, who, talking about how much he appreciates the work of Thelonious Monk, Charles Ives and Morton Feldman, says, “You can tell they love music.” Amen.
Los Angeles, CA
[Ed. from a reviewer friend: This expression (in french “bonjour les dégâts…”, “damage” is a plural in french, it makes it more spectacular) became famous after is was used in an advertisement against alcohol when driving : “Un verre ça va, trois verres bonjour les dégâts” “One drink is alright, three drinks, hello the damage” : nobody speaks about 2 drinks, the case becomes a hole where reason gets drowned).]