Here’s the actual size for texting:
Here’s the actual size for texting:
Here’s the actual size for texting:
Beautiful! A study in Ether-Jazz.
Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, now trimmed to quintet size, and with a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light.
As on the group’s eponymously-titled and critically-lauded debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players – the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio – and Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously-responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Lucus, the second recording from Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen’s Time Is A Blind Guide, marks a bold step forward from the critically acclaimed debut (described by All About Jazz as “a stunning record that stands out as one of Stronen’s most expansive, cinematic and flat-out lyrical albums”). With the group currently trimmed to quintet size, and a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka, there is a heightened emphasis on improvisation.
“We’ve played much more,” says Strønen, “and built up a trust in the ensemble. All the players have more confidence in the shared expression of the group and, in a positive sense, less dependency on the compositions, which are offered, really, as guidelines. To me it’s important that the players should feel connected to the music and play what’s right for them.
When I wrote the music for the first album the sound of the group existed only in my imagination at that point, and there were a lot more notes on paper. But with the repertoire of Lucus, things are opened up. And there is more than one way to interpret these pieces: in concert, something played as a ballad one night might be a piece that simply explodes on the next night.”
The music Strønen has written for the ensemble is more space-conscious than last time around, letting in more light, in line with the connotations of the album title, “Lucus” signifying a sacred grove, or a clearing in the forest. The radiant strings seem particularly to bring out this idea. (As it happens, the music was composed in view of the forest, too – Thomas lives out in the Norwegian woodlands).
Strønen first heard Ayumi Tanaka a few years ago while teaching at Oslo’s Royal Academy, where he also organised a concert series. “I liked to set challenges for the students and I asked Ayumi to give a solo concert, something she’d never done before. Her performance was just amazing, and I thought immediately that I have to play with her in some setting.” Tanaka substituted for Kit Downes at few concerts with the first edition of Time Is a Blind Guide. “When she arrived for the first rehearsal she already knew all the material, having learned a dozen complex pieces with tricky time changes and so on by ear, and didn’t need any scores at all.” She was clearly a logical choice to take over the piano chair in the ensemble. Strønen: “I feel a connection between European contemporary music and jazz and Japanese music in the way that she manoeuvres inside the group sound… She can be very abstract in her playing, with a sparse quality I like a lot, and then the next moment full of temperament.” One can perhaps also sense a connection to early Paul Bley in some of Ayumi’s phrases, paraphrases and ellipses. And a further connection to the dawn of new jazz might also be felt in Ole Morten Vågan’s Haden-like bass intro to the piece called “Tension”.
But Time Is A Blind Guided is a flexible, mutating ensemble and the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio. With Lucus a further dynamic adjustment has taken place, in which cellist Lucy Railton, bassist Ole Morten Vågan and the drummer-leader have drawn closer in the engine room of the ensemble while Tanaka and violinist Håkon Aase, says Strønen, “are fulfilling more of a soloist’s function, on top of what we are doing – at least some of the time.”
As on the group’s debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players. The group name Time Is A Blind Guide is taken from Anne Michael’s novel Fugitive Pieces, a connection Strønen underlines with the track of the same title here. The strings here seem to reference both folk music and baroque playing before the piano enters to gently lead the music elsewhere. Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously-responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Ole Morten Vågan and Håkon Aase have appeared on other ECM recordings recently. Bassist Vågan has been a member of Maciej Obara’s quartet for five years and can be heard on the Polish saxophonist’s ECM debut Unloved. Violinist Håkon Aase plays regularly with trumpeter Mathias Eick’s touring band and is featured on Eick’s new album Ravensburg (release date: March 2018).
Thomas Strønen has been an ECM recording artist since 2005 when the label released his album Parish, with Bobo Stenson, Fredrik Ljungkvist and Mats Eilertsen. It was followed by recordings with Food, Strønen’s duo-plus-guests project with Iain Ballamy. Food’s discs include Quiet Inlet, Mercurial Balm and This Is Not A Miracle.
Very nice – just used a track for an upcoming mix.
Alter is the new album from Belgium-based double bass player and electronic producer Otto Lindholm.
Divided into four colour-inspired, long-form movements, Alter takes off from Lindholm’s previous work – a self-titled album released in 2015 on Icarus Records, and pushes the already abundant palette of sounds even further. This new work is more brooding and hypnotic. A deep, resonating bass is present – hinting at the likes of Greek, chamber-doom merchants Mohammad but perhaps with more attention placed upon textures and melody.
The record moves at a funereal pace and opener Fauve hits abyssal depths from the outset. A bowed melody is coaxed through the throbbing bass with dissonant harmonics drawing you in and holding you close. The ghostly beginnings of Alyscamps create an overwhelmingly tense atmosphere where acoustic and electronic elements collide and evolve into a heaving, ceremonious drone. Shafts of light emerge through the fog but the tone remains a haunted one. Closer, Heliotrope, strikes a more hopeful note. A lighter, more open feel emerges – bringing to mind early work of The Rachels or perhaps Deaf Center.
Alter is a triumphant record in its entirety. Seamlessly moving from light to shade and back again, experimenting in heavy atmosphere and ultimately drawing you into its deep and mysterious world.
It’s rare that an album emerges as something entirely new; so different that there aren’t any genre or sub-genre categories into which it comfortably fits. Like its critically acclaimed, similarly forward-reaching and all-improvised sister The Stone House – released first but actually recorded second during a marathon six-day 2016 series of sessions that will ultimately yield more than the three albums initially planned – Lighthouse is an even more tumultuous, texture-driven and, perhaps, overtly daring ride than the undeniably audacious The Stone House.
Lighthouse, featuring guitarist Mark Wingfield, touch guitarist Markus Reuter and drummer Asaf Sirkis, represents a true paradigm shift in what improvised music can be. This isn’t jazz, though its improvisational spontaneity suggests at least a tenuous link. It isn’t rock – or, more appropriately, progressive rock – though it certainly is, by definition, progressive in its futuristic stance. Nor is it free improv, despite its overall lack of planning. Instead, the bold and utterly fresh Lighthouse represents nothing less than a brand new methodology and a completely unheard-of way of doing things, its sense of progression and imagination miraculously drawn from the ether, with no clear precedent or preconception.
Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs and minimal editing. The music on this album was composed at the moment of playing with no music written down or rehearsed.
Recorded by Jesus Rovira at La Casa Murada Studios, Banyeres del Penedés, Catalunya, Spain, on February 18, 2016.
Mixed by Mark Wingfield & Markus Reuter at Heron Island Studio, Cambridgeshire, England, in March 2017, and mastered by Mark Wingfield in May 2017.
If you follow, visit, peruse or otherwise…”pop” in to this blog…then you know we strive to “rock it” in the ambient mixological world. : )
And now, 2017 is finito…and 2018 looms large upon us. We’ll not disappoint you in the new year’s ambient realm…& that’s a promise!
Happy New Year!!!
For a decade he was a member of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, in which his bass guitar was frequently the lead instrument. His solo work is concerned with the experience of sound in acoustic spaces: “Even though the instrument is technically non-acoustic, the music is deeply influenced by the properties of the space where it is played. The many different ways in which acoustics affect my compositions and improvisations have always been sources of surprise and inspiration.
There is definitely a second member in this solo project – the room!” The participating room on Provenance is the highly responsive Auditorio Stello Molo RSI in Lugano, its rich acoustics helping to bring out all the fine detail in Meyer’s subtle playing.
A slightly caustic & predominantly minimalistic Jazz/Ether Jazz (incorporating ECM piano stylists) mix inspired by a recent release from the Daelman/Serries/Troch trio & online buddy Thomas Park’s minimal techno field composition (which leads off); and serendipitously comprised [75%] of other trios!
The title describes the sparse opening moments of this project as well as the fact that it was recorded @ 3:13AM – dead air space.
01 Thomas Park – North Side Three Thirteen AM (excerpt)
02 Jan Daelman, Dirk Serries & Thijs Troch – C (excerpt)
03 Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison & Ravi Coltrane – Blue in Green
04 Kronos Quartet – Sofia Gubaidulina Quartet No 2
05 Jan Daelman, Dirk Serries & Thijs Troch – D (excerpt)
06 Ginger Baker Trio – Skeleton
07 Wolfert Brederode Trio – Fall
08 Nels Cline, Tim Berne & Jim Black – Momento
09 Vijay Iyer Trio – Wrens
10 Colin Vallon Trio – Tinguely
11 Henry Butler – Reflections
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.
When women enter the game, the game rises