From now to 2019 . . . our output falls into the Jazz/Ether Jazz category 41.2% of the mixological time.
And, in the beginning . . . (cover from “the interview”) – grab your copy before they’re gone!
From now to 2019 . . . our output falls into the Jazz/Ether Jazz category 41.2% of the mixological time.
And, in the beginning . . . (cover from “the interview”) – grab your copy before they’re gone!
Music can transport us, via motionless transportation, to places heretofore unknown.
And thus began this mix project & elements edition – a meandering blended mixture of Ether & Jazz.
Cover image painstakingly commissioned by “the artiste” via Paper by Fifty-Three.
01 Graham Dunning & Dirk Serries – Live at De Singer (excerpt)
02 Marconi Union – Abandoned remix (excerpt)
03 Hely – Josyne
04 Charlie Watts, Jim Keltner & Mick Jagger – Tony Williams
05 Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison & Ravi Coltrane – Lydia
06 Colin Vallon – Goodbye
07 Charles Mingus – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
08 Wolfert Brederode Trio – Terminal
09 Dominique Pifarély Quartet – Le peuple effacé (pt. 1)
10 Trio 3 – Suite for T; I (Slimm)
11 Triosk – I am a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake
12 David Virelles – Aberisún y Aberiñán
13 David Fiuczynski & Rufus Cappadocia – Gaida
14 Dominique Vantomme feat. Tony Levin – Odin’s Wig
Who’s to say that music has to be the most important thing in your life? Who says that? For our generation, music was important; for me, most certainly. But maybe music is not supposed to be the most important thing.
More than any other person, Leonardo Pavkovic has made me write some crazy shit.
Pavkovic is the primal force behind the joyously eclectic MoonJune Records, which he established in 2001. “Established” may not be the right word: “I am truly an unusual and rules breaking call-it-record-company with a ‘label’ identity despite the fact that as a person and as a ‘label’ I go out of any categorization and labeling of what I do,” he confided before our interview. “I am a stubborn Don Quixotesque romantic warrior and one-man-band army wearing many hats.”
MoonJune’s mission statement: The ongoing goal of MoonJune is to support music that transcends stylistic pigeon-holing, but operates within an evolutionary progressive musical continuum that explores boundaries of jazz, rock, avant, ethno, the unknown and anything in between.
Pavkovic was born in Bosnia in the former Yugoslavia in 1962. He was raised in southern Italy and studied Portuguese and Brazilian literature at the University of Bari (Italy) and Afro-Portuguese History and Literature at the University of Luanda (Angola, Africa) en route to becoming fluent in six languages. Before MoonJune, he translated artistic and scientific literature from/to Italian, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian, and published two volumes of original poetry. Pavkovic established MoonJune Management and Booking, now MoonJune Music, in 2000, copping its name from “Moon in June,” a Robert Wyatt tune on the third album by Soft Machine, one of his numerous prog-rock-jazz-fusion inspirations.
MoonJune Records is only part of Pavkovic’s impressive music business reach. As a booking agent, he has coordinated more than 2,000 concerts in more than 50 countries worldwide. Even though MoonJune Records consumes a great deal of his energy and time, he still does not consider it his “main business”; instead, it’s just one more chapter in his lifelong diary of musical surprises.
MoonJune Music is the musical equivalent of Forrest Gump’s proverbial box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get: An improvisational jazz-rock quintet built around guitar, trumpet, and bass clarinet, named for a North Korean dictator and the martial arts style instructed by Grandmaster “Iron” Kim (Iron Kim Style, 2010); jazz-rock ensemble fusion led by Israel’s version of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (Breaking the Cycle, Marbin, 2011); or ancient Indonesian temple ritual music and traditional gamelan percussion employed as rhythmic loops upon which jazz players can solo almost forever (Demi Masa, simakDialog, 2009), to name just a few of its far-reaching flavors.
Consequently, MoonJune Record reviews seriously stretch a writer’s analytic and descriptive faculties, not to mention ears—this writer’s, at least.
In late 2017, Pavkovic assembled the twenty-five track compilation It Must Be Jazz to celebrate the label’s fourth-place finish in DownBeat‘s annual “Best Jazz Label” poll (up from seventh place in 2016) and released it as a free digital download to thank the label’s fans. Its title track was jointly composed by guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist Alan Pasqua, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Chad Wackerman for Blues for Tony, their 2010 ensemble tribute to powerhouse jazz-rock drummer Tony Williams who passed away in 1997. This high-voltage piece of electric jazz-rock fusion was born from sentiment and experience: Holdsworth replaced John McLaughlin for a year as the Tony Williams Lifetime guitarist, and both Holdsworth and Pasqua were members of The New Tony Williams Lifetime.
This Might Be Jazz opens just as majestically, with the title track to Indonesian pianist Dwiki Dharmawan’s landmark Pasar Klewer, regarded one of the top jazz albums of 2016. Dharmawan’s playing, especially when accompanied by just bass and drums, sounds absolutely ferocious as it splatters chords and rhythms all over the ivories, mixing up mainstream, free and avant-garde jazz piano. “Indonesia is the place of ‘ultimate diversity,'” the pianist explained upon Pasar Klewer‘s release. “Here, the urban cultures accelerate the ‘acculturation’ process, which generates changes in cultural patterns and creates new forms of musical expression. Pasar Klewer is the answer to my search for ‘the difference,’ and also a valuable answer to our modern crises and urban uprooting. The album’s distinctive sound originates from an ancient Gamelan tonal system called Salendro, known in the Karawitan traditional music of the Sundanese, Javanese and Balinese.”
Pavkovic’s uncompromising and knowledgeable devotion to music has earned in return the same affection from MoonJune’s musicians. “Leonardo’s perspective on music has served to encourage and inspire musicians throughout Indonesia to create the music on a higher level,” explains Ligro guitarist Agam Hamzah. “MoonJune Records has been great in its impact, helping to orchestrate so many positive changes for the benefit of the Indonesian music scene and its artists. Being associated with Leonardo and MoonJune Records as a musician and as a friend is an honor and a privilege.”
“Like its namesake orb, MoonJune steadily casts its light across a commercially ravaged musical landscape without ever capitulating to the market, a rare paragon of musical virtue in ever more culturally bankrupt times,” suggests guitarist Dennis Rea (Moraine, Iron Kim Style, Zhongyu).
“Because his vision and erudition know no physical or mental boundaries, MoonJune might seem an oddity founded by a starry-eyed idealist, a rather utopian proposition in our increasingly prefab musical world,” muses guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object, Machine Mass, DouBt). “But, to me, MoonJune is not just a record label pushing out alternative music. It feels more like a family of like-minded musicians keen to explore new grounds while collaborating with each other and engaging in a dialogue between the past and the present.”
How enthusiastic is Pavkovic about music and MoonJune? After we finalized the following 12,000 word interview, he mused, “It’s a bit LONG, but I have so much to say and what I said is only 1.75% of what I would be able to say.” Leonardo Pavkovic exemplifies a profoundly personal yet widely public relationship with music. It’s hard to imagine how the future of this music could be in more caring, capable hands than his.
All About Jazz: Where’s the best place to begin the MoonJune story?
Leonardo Pavkovic: When I first started the label, I had no background in the music business whatsoever. After I moved from Italy to New York City in August 1990, I met the renowned Brazilian graphic artist and photographer Fernando Natalici, who created the legendary “Studio T” graphic design studio in the mid ’70s. Studio T was almost a cult phenomenon in downtown Manhattan. Fernando himself was a living encyclopedia of virtually everything that happened in the New York music scene during the 1970’s and ’80’s, and soon we became inseparable friends. (Later, I became his business partner). Studio T was known for its large clientele in the city’s music business community, so I was always in the company of great musicians, concert promoters, and record labels owners and executives, from majors and from independents.
In the early 2000s, I was briefly involved with the NYC-based label Jazz Magnet Records through a jazz publicist and music industry veteran, the legendary Jim Eigo. This experience was both inspiring and beneficial. Motivated by that experience, I decided to start my own record label and released my first album, a live recording of the legendary saxophonist Elton Dean, who I’d known since the mid ’80’s, while I was living in Italy. Two other live albums of young Italian progressive rock bands quickly followed: Finisterre’s Storybook and D.F.A.’s Work In Progress Live.
25 Jazz & Beyond Jazz tunes from 25 artists from 25 different albums released on MoonJune Records between 2011-2017.
Featuring 86 international musicians from different parts of the world:
Abel Pabon, Alan Pasqua, Alex Maguire,Allan Holdsworth, Amy Tata, Aris Daryono, Asaf Sirkis, Beledo, Bill Jones, Bob Mintzer, Bojan Ivkovic, Boris Savoldelli, Branko Trijic, Chad Wackerman, Charles Hayward, Ciro Riccardi,Damien Polard,Dave Carpenter, David Binney, Dave Liebman, Demas Narawangsa, Dennis Rea, Derek Di Peri, Desal Sembada, Dewa Budjana, Diki Suwarjiki, Domenico Angarano, Dusan Jevtovic, Dwiki Dharmawan, Elton Dean, Endang Ramdan, Frank Harrison, Fred Baker, Fred Delplancq, Gary Husband, Gilad Atzmon, Hugh Hopper, Hul Hul, Indro Hardjodikoro, Izaak Mills, Jason Smith, Jay Jaskot, Jean-Paul Estievenart, Jenny Bliss, Jimmy Haslip, Jimmy Johnson, John Etheridge, John Marshall, Jonathan Joseph, Larry Goldings, Laurent Delchambre, Lincoln Goines, Marcello Giannini, Marco Bardoscia, Mark Fletcher, Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Michel Delville, Miroslav Tovirac, Othello Molineaux, Pedja Milutinovic, Pete Lemer, Peter Erskine, Peter Sebastian, Phil Miller, Pietro Santangelo, Raffaele Casarano, Riccardo Villari, Riza Arshad, Robert Thomas, Jr., Roy Babbington, Rudy Zulkarnaen, Ryan Berg, Salvatore Rainone, Simon Fintch, Simon Picard, Steve Franklin, Tali Atzmonn, Tesla Manaf, Thaddaeus Brophy, Theo Travis, Tohpati, Tony Bianco, Vasil Hadzimanov, Xavi Reija, Yaron Stavi.
MoonJune Records is the universal “go to” label for the exploring curious listener of progressive music with a heavy accent to Jazz and beyond Jazz. The alchemy of jazz, rock,avant-garde, fusion and world ethno future mixed here music knows no bounds. Take a sonic test drive and sample the music. Journey worldwide hearing the compositions,virtuosity, passions, excitements, and subtlety of the music of the legends and newer musicians back from London and Canterbury then jump to Belgium, Italy, Indonesia, Serbia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, and more. There is an implicit trust in the MoonJune brand that has created an alternative soundtrack for the listeners as well as the musicians themselves that continually cross pollinate and collaborate. Listen and come into the MoonJune Universe.
– Mark Redlefsen, music journalist.
Released December 4, 2017
Dedicated to Allan Holdsworth, Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, Riza Arshad, Dave Carpenter. (R.I.P.)
On the LP Selected Ambient, Martina Lussi brings together a collection of sound material from her practice to date. The material oscillates between electroacoustic composition, sound art, and live performance. The pieces are named after precious gemstones, all of which are traditionally ascribed with special powers. In using these names, the artist seems to refer to the esoteric roots of the genre invoked by the LP’s title. The compositions, however, resist the genre’s characteristically naïve re-enchantment of the world and distrust holistic esotericism’s promise of healing and restoration. Instead, they are defined much more by an interest in affective uncertainties. The gemstones don’t speak, and they don’t convey the mythical forces ascribed to them—rather, they rest in their own materiality. They don’t want to affect or influence—they simply want to exist as witnesses of/to the ultimately incommensurable reality that lives beyond our own horizon.
“Sodalith” is characterized by a melancholy sensibility; the piece is carried by a boundless synthetic surface over which a guitar melody swirls. At first, “Citrin” seems to want to unravel into orbiting, meditative qualities, but in the second part, the mood collects in the peculiarity somewhere between sustained calm and frequently disrupted rave euphoria. “Achat,” which borrows most clearly from the electroacoustic tradition, develops relatively late and unexpectedly into a subtle techno track that then repeatedly interrupts the very momentum it has engendered. Lastly, “Opal,” which was originally written for Lussi’s installation “Composition for a Circle,” writhes in seemingly stochastic contortions that lightly shake the centripetal dynamic of the piece.
In these four compositions as in other works, Lussi creates a sound world in which circling correlations raise more questions than they answer—in contrast to esotericism, which insists on imbuing its material with meaning. Lussi therefore facilitates a listening experience that refers to ambient at its best and most radical: her music represents neither a dissolution of the self in complete uncertainty nor a contemplative internal landscape, but rather a tremulous hovering over the border between the two.
Martina Lussi lives and works in Lucerne. She holds a Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice. In 2014, Lussi’s debut EP, “Komposition O08”, was released on Präsens Editionen. Lussi has performed work between the disciplines of sound art and music performance at places like LUFF (Lausanne Underground Filmfestival) or the festival Oto Nove Swiss at London’s Cafe Oto.
Looking forward to the 5.04.18 release of this . . .
‘Awase‘, a term from martial arts, means “moving together” in the sense of matching energies, a fitting metaphor for the dynamic precision, tessellated grooves and balletic minimalism of Nik Bartsch’s Ronin.
Six years have passed since the last release from the Swiss group (though Nik Bartsch did release ‘Continuum’ with his group Mobile on ECM in 2016). In the interim, trimmed from quintet to quartet size and with new bassist Thomy Jordi fully integrated, Ronin has become a subtly different band.
The pianist/composer speaks of a new-found freedom and flexibility in the approach to the material, with “greater transparency, more interaction, more joy in every performance”. The freedom here extends to revisiting early Bartsch modules alongside new compositions including, for the first time on a Ronin record, a piece by reedman Sha.
After “Modul 60,” the reflective and tranquil opener to Awase, from pianist Nik Bärtsch’s groove-metric quartet Ronin, “Modul 58” comes at you with such an insistence and power that it leaves you, after its persistent eighteen minutes, catching your breath, marveling at how you went from zero to mach 10 in the blink of an eye.
Bärtsch describes the music of Ronin as “Zen Funk” or “Ritual Groove Music” and, as evidenced on previous thrillers including 2002’s Randori (Ronin Rhythm Records), ’08’s Holon (ECM Records), and ’12’s Ronin Live (ECM), the keyboardist’s in no way pulling our legs or playing with our heads.
Play with our heads the music does, though, in a dizzying, grand way, employing simple patterns unconcerned with downbeats or expectations and mantra-like modules (or “Moduls,” as Bärtsch chooses to title his works) of sheer minimalist groove that expand, contract and expand again at the whim and will of both composer and players.
Positioned, as it is, after the maelstrom of “Modul 58, Sha’s “A,” is a languid, darkly hypnotic work, its theme offered up repetitively as the band interprets each go ’round in shifting, intrinsic ways. “A” also serves as an oasis from the growing dance of “Modul 36,” a flowing, firing-on-all-cylinders rave that, if you weren’t familiar with the vision of Ronin, you might suspect was out of reach for this brainy quartet.
Ditto “Modul 34,” with Rast holding a hard rock ‘n’ roll center as Bärtsch goes unhinged. It is a tune that blends rock and jazz with a stunning ease seldom found since the fusion heyday of the mid-’70s. “Modul 59,” after the fashion of the opener, takes us out quietly, with Bärtsch and company knowing full well that we need the time to recover from the rush.
~All About Jazz
Awase was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the south of France in October 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher. It is released on CD and on a double LP (180g vinyl) with a free download code.
Nik Bartsch (piano)
Sha (bass clarinet, alto saxophone)
Thomy Jordi (bass)
Kaspar Rast (drums)
Jon Hassell has announced his first new album in nine years, Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One).
Out June 8, the LP marks the Fourth World pioneer’s first release for his new label Ndeya (pronounced “in-day-ya”), which will also be home to selected archival releases, including unreleased music.
The eight-track LP is inspired by the concept of vertical listening, or “listening to yourself listening,” as Hassell says in the press release.
“Letting your inner ears scan up and down the sonic spectrum, asking what kind of ‘shapes’ you’re seeing, then noticing how that picture morphs as the music moves through time,” he explains.
Listening To Pictures follow’s 2009’s Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street. See the tracklist and artwork below.
04. ‘Al Kongo Udu’
05. ‘Pastorale Vassant’
06. ‘Manga Scene’
07. ‘Her First Rain’
This album will be released on
Real Jazz Right Now!
A return to the jazzier side of the ‘elements‘ franchise – beginning with some light-fingered piano styling from Mr. Lightsey & winding down a Jazz & Ether pathway that finishes with a Monk/Train chestnut . . . as they light up your way.
01 Kirk Lightsey – Wild Flower
02 Dave Holland Quartet – 101° Fahrenheit (Slow Meltdown)
03 Adriano Orru – A Sa Muda
04 Otto Lindholm – Fauve
05 Triosk Meets Jan Jelinek – Munmorah
06 Jan Garbarek – The Path
07 Jeff Beck – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
08 Hal Wilner & the 858 Strings – D. Sharpe
09 Tim Berne & Bill Frisell – M
10 Eberhard Weber – Nuit Blanche
11 Black Swan Quartet – Justification
12 Bill Frisell – Stringbean
13 Satoko Fujii Quartet – Caught in a Web
14 Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane – Epistrophy
Nik Bärtsch has been busy on the production side of things as of late (with Kali’s Riot) & now Hely – great ritualistic groove jazz (primarily piano & drums). I grabbed both these releases on the day they became available.
Nice work, fellas!
Imagine a Rothko, from the Color Field Painting era: luminous, full of contrasts; layered, extremely saturated, yet all the while, deliberately restrained. An object which was designed to elicit a type of internal, compositional tension that is not only capable of triggering your latent emotions, but that can also invoke that, which can only be described as an expression of the sublime. Now, imagine this in musical form!
Borderland, the sophomore release from the Swiss piano and drums duo (with Lucca Fries, also known from the band Ikarus and Jonas Ruther) called HELY, is a collection of emotionally spiked compositions that sound like a series of intense, vivid, pictographic abstractions. A true feast for synaesthetics! It’s a record that reimagines the relationship between the piano and a set of drums and proposes a unique musical vernacular, one that fuses these two distinctly percussive instruments into an expansive, droning, polyrhythmic tapestry. The sound presented here could just as well be the bastard child of trance-inducing West African drumming traditions and the minimalistic, contemporary, European, post-classical and experimental sensibilities –if the two were to ever cross-pollinate and were presented in the form of an immersive soundtrack.
All the songs found on this album were recorded in just two days, as a series of single and double takes. The session took place under the auspices of producer Nik Bärtsch and sound engineer Willy Strehler, at HELY’s rehearsal space, in a Cold War fallout shelter. The key objective for the duo was to get an honest, context-specific sound, and not worry about anything but the actual performance. Plus, the fellas knew that no concert grand would ever be able to reproduce the magic of their beaten up 1920s Welmar short, with its beautifully uneven reverb and idiosyncratic resonances and overtones. Here, it’s important to note that all of the sound-design-like “special effects” that are scattered about Borderland (if you listen to this record on headphones you will find plenty) were made with the actual instruments.
Borderland is the product of a decade spent honing a singular sound and defining an operational modus which can sustain it in the long term. Novel contingencies between the piano and the drums were thoroughly explored. In the two years leading up to this recording session, sketches of songs were not only collected, but also repeatedly tested, both in a live context and during rehearsals. These thematic blueprints eventually became the core material for this record and were recorded as a serious of live improvisations. This should explain the extremely dynamic performances and raw emotional affect of this body of work.
Thematically, Borderland is a polychromatic sprawl, with each composition presented as a complete universe in its own right. The hidden architecture of every song is wholly an outcome of an emotional tension and the result of two extremely seasoned musicians mining the present moment for it. Hyoga and Opio, for example, explore the hypnotic affects of the drone, with each going about it in its own, singular way. Hyoga relies on a sequence of overlapping, intensifying currents of staccato piano, interspersed with glistening shards of percussion; which eventually explodes into a cinematic crescendo. Opio, by contrast, abandons all of these shimmering, icy qualities and crafts a taut, insular space out of seemingly repetitive combinations of dampened percussion and muted piano strings. Cluster cyclically revisits a cluster of notes, relying on a 10/4 time signature, making it sound completely new and simultaneously familiar with every returning cycle. Chopin SpaceStation revels in a melodic type of poetry, and despite what its title infers, was actually inspired by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Trance, on the other hand opens a field of limitless possibilities around a single note and a pulsating, shuffling breakbeat. It’s one of those songs that feels like it could play on forever. Borderland, the title track of the LP, is what the fellas half jokingly sometimes refer to as “the hit.” The reason for this is not only its simple harmonic backbone, but that it had connected with the audience every single time they played it out. Perhaps the fact that it was born out of personal turmoil is also not coincidental here. And it’s just a ravishing moment on the record. In sum total, all of these songs add up to one rich, highly gratifying, yet unpredictable soundtrack of a journey, through an imaginary space called Borderland.
I am enjoying the hell out of this one . . .with my sites set for a future avant garde elements edition.
A great lineup . . . with some weighty names, behind the scenes!
Kali represents the fresh and deep spirit of a new post-genre generation of musicians. Nicolas Stocker on drums (also known from Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile and Marena Whicher), Urs Müller on guitar (also known from Sha’s Feckel) and Raphael Loher on prepared piano (also known from Sekhmet) are natives of a contemporary musical world in which prog groove, noise, new minimal, ambient and new classical chamber music are just dialects of a common language. They feel at home in a composed and simultaneously in a free improvised musical context and follow their musical intuition with a wide and non-ideological understanding of music history.
With this background Kali creates beautiful dark pattern spaces, hard minimal grooves and abstract mystical journeys with sound sensibility and progressive power. The band’s creative range varies from epic mystic dramaturgies to minimalistic miniatures of twinkling beauty.
Kali is a genuine working band, which invests time, passion and patience into the idea of being a true musical and social organism with weekly sessions and rehearsals over years. With this consequent band spirit and with their enormous groove know-how, the three Kali members create an evolving new world of sounds and rhythmic interactions. As exemplary pieces for Kali’s musical variety embedded in a characteristic aesthetics are the pieces Riot and Um:
The longest track, Riot, develops carefully into a wild dramatic groove trip flowing into a rough and empty area of sound and glowing notes, leading into a furious finale.
In Um it seems as if a female Morton Feldman would sing a beautiful-strange song dedicated to Anton Webern.
“A cataclysmic blast of stunning and emotionally cathartic driving energy.” Londonjazznews.com
In pursuit of excellence
Digressions & musings on Ambient, Electronica, Mixing & the Ether
Jazz is the Teacher - Funk is the Preacher
lead from the front
Finding Out the Truth of Things
Christian inspiration and encouragement to give a jolt of caffeine to your soul.
We started and we will finish