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

Zen Widow: Screaming in Daytime (Makes Men Forget) (PFMCD069)

Jeff Kaiser Leave a Comment

[playlist ids="522"]
Zen Widow
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

pfMENTUM CD069

PFMCD069