25 marzo 2017

Mike Hobart (Financial Times) e Jane 'Paintbox Jane' Mann (LondonJazz) esaltano entrambi il virtuoso ritrovo di Mike Westbrook e Jonathan Gee allo Steinway 2 Piano Festival la settimana scorsa, presso il londinese Pizza Express: "The annual two-piano Steinway Festival combines strong-character stylists with minimal preparation and high hopes that a spark will ignite. Contrasts are highlighted, songbooks shared and both players tend to raise their game. There was no coasting in this performance, but for the most part Mike Westbrook and Jonathan Gee performed singly and, when they did join forces, the balance of the repertoire was tilted firmly in Westbrook’s direction. Even one of Gee’s solo spots drew on his counterpart’s back catalogue. Westbrook’s intensely personal vision is usually articulated through orchestral arrangement, and at this gig he almost seemed to play every part that an orchestra might play. His pared-down piano style fuses the percussive resonance of Duke Ellington with elements of the blues, dissonant modernism and vaudeville into intense narratives in which every chord has character and even silence has a role to play."


24 marzo 2017

Dopo The Original Peter Tony Staveacre estrae dagli archivi delle sue antiche produzioni per la BBC - qui una coproduzione con Helen Fraser - un altro prezioso documentario westbrookiano, stavolta dedicato a uno dei lavori più celebri del compositore, The Cortège, ripreso all'epoca di alcune sue presentazioni in concerto nel Regno Unito pochi giorni prima delle sessioni di registrazione in studio. Il filmato, diretto da Jonathan Fulford, venne presentato in Omnibus (BBC One) nel febbraio 1982. Della Mike Westbrook Orchestra facevano parte allora Phil Minton, Dave Plews, Guy Barker, Dick Pearce, Malcolm Griffiths, Alan Sinclair, Dave Powell, Chris Hunter, Phil Todd, Chris Biscoe, Lindsay Cooper, Brian Godding, Georgie Born, Steve Cook e Dave Barry, oltre naturalmente a Kate e Mike.

Quando l'album venne ristampato da Enja nel 2011 in versione rimasterizzata - in precedenza Enja (2CD, 1993) e prima ancora Original Records (3LP, 1982) - scrisse Duncan Heining: "The Westbrooks have made many beautiful and profound records but this is my favourite. That I can say that without forgetting Metropolis, Citadel/Room 315, Marching Song, The Westbrook Blake, Chanson Irresponsable, Mama Chicago, London Bridge, Art Wolf, The Westbrook Rossini or On Duke’s Birthday is a measure of the man’s music. How many jazz composers could point to a career as rich in masterpieces as that? One always feels with a Westbrook & Westbrook project that every detail has been addressed in order to make the most complete artistic statement. The first emphasis is on the music, the second to ensure it allows the expression of something beyond itself. Here the idea of a New Orleans funeral procession is a metaphor for life’s journey. Shame then that Enja have truncated the original explanatory sleevenotes to their detriment. No matter, you can still revel in the righteousness of Cordoba, Westbrook’s magnificent setting of Lorca, or the glorious Santarcangelo with Hubert Parry’s arrangement of Jerusalem at its heart. There are splendours too in Democratie and July ’79, an affirmation of the natural world in Erme Estuary and so much, more beauty in this CD. Should there be a heaven and should I get an invite, may this be the music to carry me there."


23 marzo 2017

Tutto in una notte. Lo scorso 4 marzo, a Londra, mentre al Barbican si celebrava il fragoroso incanto collettivo di This Is Not This Heat, al Cafe Oto si faceva più o meno altrettanto nei confronti di Peter Hammill, a compimento di una residenza artistica di tre giorni intensa e istruttiva, forte di cinquantadue diverse canzoni di cui almeno sei nuovissime. "And so what have we learned?", si chiede uno dei massimi conoscitori hammilliani, Richard Rees Jones. "That Hammill’s lifelong preoccupations – reason, memory, the unravelling of time and the choices we make – are deep, troubling ones. That there is something primal and atavistic about the way he confronts them in song. And that fifty years after he began, his music remains as visionary and essential as ever."


22 marzo 2017

Lottie Brazier (The Quietus) e Fiona Talkington (Late Junction) parlano con Annette Peacock in occasione della Giornata internazionale della donna: "My destiny is not to serve. I'm a woman, my destiny is to create."


21 marzo 2017

Frank J. Oteri di New Music USA riporta una bella conversazione tenuta di recente con Mike Johnson, offrendo ai lettori un pezzo ampio e articolato che ripercorre le molte vicende del musicista e le tappe dell'evoluzione del gruppo Thinking Plague, di cui han fatto a lungo parte Bob Drake e Dave Kerman. Circa il senso di diffidenza e critico sconforto generato fin dai titoli dagli album più recenti - A History of Madness, Decline and Fall, l'ultimo Hoping Against Hope - Mike spiega: "I’ve never been able to go with a direction that’s just celebrating or joy and I have felt for a long time that it is important for my artistic activity to make some commentary about what’s going on in the world. Part of that is my work background. Since the '80s, I have been working in human services programs, like working with the homeless, helping people to get shelter, helping people to get jobs. Then I worked with poor students to help them deal with all the issues that were keeping them from being able to be successful.  I had a day career out of this, and I was good at it. That informed my music, because when I went back to college after the music stuff, I took a lot of social science classes - politics and sociology and all this kind of stuff. My perspective definitely moved left, and I’ve been there ever since. The cliché is that as men get older, they get more conservative. Me, I’m moving left. I’m left of left now. I don’t even know where I am."

20 marzo 2017

Contiene fino a cinque dei suoi album precedenti - Little Black Train, The Skull Mailbox, 13 Songs and a Thing, The Shunned Country e Bob’s Drive-In, a scelta - più un sesto cd zeppo di materiali d'archivio, inediti e rarità. E' il box antologico a composizione variabile ideato da Bob Drake per i suoi fan (specialmente in America): Antiquities.


19 marzo 2017

Denis Tagu (Tagubu) chiede aiuto a Christophe Petchanatz (Klimperei) per dar forma musicale a un suo precario carnet di testi scritti in viaggio, senza molte pretese, in un inglese spontaneo e minimale. Ne esce un quadernetto di tenera poesia aperto alle incursioni del meraviglioso nel quotidiano più di quanto lo stesso autore non ammetta: I Don't Remember The First Time, su InPolySons ('label inattendu, sempiternellement pataphysique').

«Je voyageais souvent en train, entre deux eaux. J'ai eu envie d'écrire des petits textes de chansons, qui me sont venus en anglais. Il est vrai que j'écoutais beaucoup Tom Waits. Des textes imprécis d'une simplicité commandée par mon niveau d'anglais. Des textes nostalgiques sur nos vies, nos quotidiens, nos valeurs, nos amours. Puis que faire de ce matériel? Je n'avais aucune idée pour une mise en musique. Christophe Petchanatz - à qui j'ai demandé - a tout de suite répondu positivement à l'appel et Klimperei m'a envoyé des musiques sur ces 10 textes. J'y ai composé en enregistré le chant (après hésitations) puis ajouté la batterie (avec l'aide amicale de Dominique Grimaud et Véronique Vilhet). Nous avons ajouté deux reprises montrant l'impossibilité de l'amour (Daniel Johnston) et la simplicité d'un baiser (Lio). Le visuel original est dû au travail des Ateliers McClane, d'une simplicité collant aux chansons, et d'un imprévu apporté par la sérigraphie en noir et blanc.»


18 marzo 2017

Danze processionali di efebi nudi con effetto di progressiva desincronizzazione. Wow?


17 marzo 2017

Appuntamento questa sera al Kings Place di Londra con il sublime programma del Westbrook Blake, con le musiche di Mike e i testi poetici di William Blake adattati da Adrian Mitchell e Kate Westbrook. La formula ormai classica - da una decina d'anni almeno - del sestetto di base accompagnato da un coro di volta in volta diverso vedrà stavolta la partecipazione del London College of Music Chorus diretto da Paul Ayres, e la presenza di Chris Biscoe anziché di Karen Street. Una seconda esibizione è in programma tra non molto, a maggio, per il Bury St Edmunds Festival, ma in quell'occasione al posto di Phil Minton ci sarà John Winfield.

Described in the Independent on Sunday as ‘perhaps the greatest work in all British jazz’, Mike Westbrook’s settings of William Blake’s powerful poetry were originally commissioned in 1971 for the National Theatre production of Adrian Mitchell’s Tyger. The Westbrook Blake, with vocalists Phil Minton and Kate Westbrook, has been performed many times over the years in Blake’s city, London, as well as in Festivals throughout Europe, in New York and Australia. The current choral version is featured on the DVD/CD Glad Day Live, released on Westbrook Records.


16 marzo 2017

Uno straordinario documento d'epoca restituisce, almeno in parte, la caotica ed elettrizzante euforia circense e multimediale di un'esibizione della Concert Band di Mike Westbrook di inizio anni Settanta, più o meno al tempo di Love Songs e del ciclo di concerti dal vivo denominato Earthrise TourThe Original Peter, concepito da Mike assieme a John Fox, ripreso e diretto da Tony Staveacre per il programma televisivo Review della BBC2. Favoloso.

During the March to April 1970 sessions for Mike Westbrook's Love Songs, The Mike Westbrook Concert Band, The Welfare State, Original Peter and a whole host of other long-forgotten performers and speciality acts including the esoterically named likes of The Amazing Mas-Kar, The Edmund Campion Gymnasts and, erm, 'Cherokee Indian Joe The Great Leaping Bison' (we can probably safely assume that he wasn't) took part in an ambitious small screen extravaganza somewhere between a progressive rock concert and a down-at-heel carnival, which was captured by the Review cameras in all of its chaotic glory. The film was first broadcast on Saturday 25th April 1970, as part of an edition that also featured a report on the Hayward Gallery's major retrospective on reclusive photographer Bill Brandt, and was subsequently selected for the highlights special Summer Review on 22nd August, where it appeared alongside a lively interview with William Hobbs, 'Fight Director' at the National Theatre. Shortly afterwards, the ensemble took the entire spectacle on the road as the centrepiece of their lengthy 'Earthrise Tour', which must have caused no little alarm for audiences in search of rock posturing, lengthy soloing and the usual hard and heavy 'serious' early seventies clichés.


15 marzo 2017

Mike Westbrook è ospite questa sera dello Steinway Festival 2017 a Londra, presso il PizzaExpress Jazz Club di Soho. C'è anche il pianista Jonathan Gee, e i due suoneranno insieme dopo i rispettivi set in solo.


14 marzo 2017

L'audace gruppo vocale guidato da Jane Alden Vocal Constructivists - noto per esser stato il primo a offrire una lettura del Treatise di Cardew per sole voci - si riunisce questa sera al Cafe Oto londinese per uno speciale omaggio alla compianta Pauline Oliveros: Lullaby for Pauline.

The Vocal Constructivists worked closely with American composer, philosopher, writer, activist, and visionary Pauline Oliveros, who passed away in November 2016. The group pays tribute to her life and work in a wide-ranging programme that draws from over six decades of her career. Featured works will include her 1961 Sound Patterns, awarded the Gaudeamus International Composers Award in 1962, text scores from Sonic Meditations (1971), Wind Horse (1989), and the participatory A New Indigo Peace (2008). As well as works by Oliveros, the ensemble will perform Robert Ashley’s She Was a Visitor (1967), and new commissions – all receiving their world premiere – by composers who knew and worked with her.


13 marzo 2017

Due anni fa il saluto a Daevid Allen (e a Divided Alien, Bert Camembert, Dingo Virgin...)

12 marzo 2017

Compie dieci anni di attività in questi giorni il benamato blog Inconstant Sol, che pensa bene di ringraziare e salutare i propri lettori ripubblicando un bel concerto di Hugh Hopper ed Elton Dean con Keith Tippett e Joe Gallivan - disponibile in video presso Vimeo - registrato quarant'anni fa poco dopo le sessioni di Mercy Dash, nel giugno 1977. Auguri!

"Bundles of people have contributed over the years, some gone, others holding on and yet others joining and putting their distinctive mark on the contents and direction of the blog. Currently we have about half a dozen active posters and some very generous followers, judging from inputs to our contributions section, but we're always willing to recruit more. Potential authors can get in touch with us c/o our Blogger email addresses. We've had contributors from three continents, with a preponderance of Europeans overall. The emphasis has been on the free/improv/experimental side of jazz, but with excursions into contemporary and classical music, from Europe and beyond. There are no rules, however; the blog is whatever the posters make of it, and we'd like to keep it that way. We focus on posting out of print material with the objective of drawing attention to music which otherwise might have remained out of sight and out of mind."


11 marzo 2017

C'erano Charles Hayward e Charles Bullen, dapprima con un set individuale ciascuno - più la proiezione del film di John Smith The Black Tower tra i due momenti - e poi insieme in gran forza con Alexis Taylor, Chris Cutler, Merlin Nova, John Edwards, Daniel O’Sullivan, James Sedwards, Frank Byng, Alex Ward, Thurston Moore e le cantanti Luisa Gerstein, Laura GrovesJenny Moore. Il concerto è stato filmato professionalmente e prima o poi le riprese vedranno la luce, magari solo a scopo promozionale. Per il momento, oltre a qualche breve estratto postato su YT, a descrivere l'esplosione di emozioni e riflessioni suscitate dalla fulminante esibizione di This is not This Heat al Barbican di Londra la scorsa settimana ci provano Sean Worrall (The Organ), Ed Pinsent (The Sound Projector) e Matthew Shaw (Louder than War).

Scrive Pinsent: "The team effort says something about how, through music, we can build on stage a working model of how human relations could change, how society could work better. Even if it’s just for two hours on stage, we can learn from it. John Stevens, the UK improviser, believed strongly in this possibility, and manifested it in all of his directed team efforts, harnessing the energy of great musicians to show a way of living, working and doing that was a model of how a co-operative society could work. I’ve always thought This Heat believed in that too; at the Barbican, they proved it. Some media write-ups and appraisals have pointed out the gap between the original This Heat and this event; for instance, the concert handout tells us it’s been 40 years since the band’s first gig in 1976. Well, maybe this isn’t really a gap; I would argue that it has in fact been a necessary waiting process, a maturation. The band This Heat had to exist in the 1970s and 1980s, in order to influence musicians Thurston Moore and many others (becoming a “cult” band, I suppose, much as I hate that term), and the impact of their work sunk into the culture in a gradual way. Think of it as a slow release of benign energy, a healing and changing power. The time is now right for that cycle to complete; by bringing their own history, with This Heat DNA mixed into it, the 14 musicians were able to realise the “perfect” version of This Heat we saw in March 2017. If I am right in these fervoured ravings, maybe the event says something about the way culture ought to happen; it’s not instant, it’s slow, and mysterious, but when it works – it’s a glorious and unstoppable force for good."


10 marzo 2017

Momenti salienti della bella e partecipata serata Voices in the Night curata da Alison Blunt la settimana scorsa presso l'Iklectik londinese sono documentati al canale YT di Gus Youvid. Convocati dalla violinista c'erano Michael de Souza, John Edwards, Kay Grant, Phil Minton, Maggie Nicols, John Russell, Mark Sanders, Luisa Tucciariello, Alex Ward, Ute Wassermann e Neil Metcalfe, impegnati a turno in intensi episodi in trio e quartetto e poi tutti assieme per uno strepitoso finale.


09 marzo 2017

Saldamente alla testa della Distribution Ambiances Magnétiques Etcetera di Montréal (Québec) da più di venticinque anni, Joane Hétu guida anche diversi progetti - Joker, Nous perçons les oreilles, Ensemble SuperMusique, le serie settimanali di Mercredimusics - i cui ultimi capitoli sono presenti tra le pubblicazioni discografiche più recenti dell'etichetta. Mathilde Recly l'ha intervistata per atuvu.ca: "Je ne travaille pas dans l’idée que je cherche un talent, non, je travaille avec des artistes que je rencontre, à travers les affinités qui s’opèrent dans la communauté. C’est 25 ans d’histoire, c’est plus d’une centaine de musiciens qui ont produit chez DAME. Ce ne sont pas des musiciens nécessairement très connus, mais ils sont tellement intéressants, pour en nommer quelques-uns: Jean Derome, Pierre-Yves Martel, Tim Brady, Danielle Palardy Roger, Martin Tétreault, Pierre Tanguay, Diane Labrosse, Lori Freedman. C’est une grande famille dans un monde parallèle. DAME documente ce patrimoine musical précieux et fait en sorte que ces musiques soient représentées, soutenues, disponibles et que cette histoire artistique soit accessible d’une certaine façon. Au final, ce sont les affiliations, l’intelligence de la musique et des relations humaines qui ont guidé DAME."

It has been more than 30 years now since self-taught composer, vocalist and saxophonist Joane Hétu has been following her own highly distinctive path through the vast territory of creative, contemporary music. From her beginnings with song-based new-rock bands such as Wondeur Brass, Justine and Les Poules, Hétu turned to composition (the evocative triptych comprising Musique d’hiver, Filature and La femme territoire ou 21 fragments d’humus) and improvisation, more often than not combining both within her general approach to music. She has co-directed the Ensemble SuperMusique since its founding in 1998, as well as the weekly series Mercredimusics since 2002. More recently she gave birth to La chorale bruitiste Joker (2012). Joane Hétu was awarded the prestigious Freddie Stone Award in 2006.


08 marzo 2017

E' ora pronto l'album di Mônica Vasconcelos dedicato alle canzoni della resistenza brasiliana scritte negli anni della dittatura militare seguiti al colpo di stato del 1964, autori tra gli altri João Bosco, Chico Buarque, Aldir Blanc, Taiguara e Caetano Veloso. Si chiama The São Paulo Tapes, lo ha prodotto Robert Wyatt ed è giunto a compimento anche grazie a una campagna di finanziamento attivata tramite IndieGoGo. A fianco della cantante sono impegnati Ife Tolentino, Liam Noble, Andrés Lafone, Yaron Stavi e Marius Rodrigues, con un intervento di Silvia Cueva e il cospicuo apporto di Dean Brodrick per gli arrangiamenti strumentali e vocali. Nel presentare il progetto scrisse Mônica: "These are not sad songs. Yes, born out of anger and pain, but life affirming, they soothe you and move you. Like art can do. I feel right now these songs are desperately needed. Maybe they cannot change the wrongs around us... But they can make us a little stronger perhaps? Give us courage to do the right thing. Remind us of our humanity."


07 marzo 2017

(Misha Mengelberg, 1935-2017)

06 marzo 2017

Ricorre in questi giorni il secondo anniversario della scomparsa di Mike King. Un modo per ricordarlo è rileggere l'intervista che qualche anno fa gli fece Jeff Melton per Exposé: http://expose.org/index.php/articles/display/tape-head-redux-the-mike-king-interview-4

05 marzo 2017

Lottie Bowater invita tutti al suo compleanno in un giorno di suo non-compleanno, e rilancia l'astuto Depresstival ogni prima domenica del mese presso il club londinese The Others. Tra gli invitati oggi ci saranno Bob Drake, Bing Selfish, Consignia, Sanshin Sisters, Lonesome Cowboys from Hell e molte molte altre cose: "Music! Comedy! DIY! Antifolk! Noise! Active Nihilism! Free Improv! Word Cloud! Live Physics (no one can deny that physics is happening)! Fanzines! Cake! 20thC Russian piano music!..."

The Others Bar
6-8 Manor Road
Stoke Newington
London N16 5SA


04 marzo 2017

This doesn’t feel like nostalgia, but a new beginning... In effetti ci sarà più di un seguito, privo però della mirabolante girandola di ospiti della serata londinese: presto ancora in Regno Unito, poi in Olanda, Belgio, Austria, Danimarca, Spagna...


03 marzo 2017

Quella volta a Schiphorst non erano gli Henry Cow. Questa volta al Barbican non sono i This Heat. Ma sarà bene controllare. Domani, quasi un anno dopo di quando li si aspettava.


02 marzo 2017

Si estendono al campo librario e discografico le produzioni in proprio del gruppo di attivisti facente capo all'Iklectik londinese, atte a integrare e documentare alcune delle molteplici iniziative intraprese sui fronti della musica, delle arti grafiche e delle performance artistiche. Alcuni materiali sono disponibili anche oltre i confini fisici del piccolo centro culturale con sede a Lambeth - per ora tramite Bandcamp - ma la loro diffusione viene promossa principalmente in occasione dei concerti e dei vari altri eventi dal vivo. Un appuntamento da non perdere ad esempio è domani sera, quando sotto il titolo Voices in the Night si radunano numerose glorie vecchie e nuove dell'improvvisazione londinese più fertile e tenace. Informazioni: http://iklectikartlab.com

Bringing together inspirational musicians is always an exciting prospect. Voices in the Night is a one-off, unique event featuring some of the finest, internationally acclaimed free improvisers with the only composed element being the pre-determined small groupings of duos, trios and quartets. Naturally, 'voices' relates to the instrumentalists as much as to the vocalists - each artist is distinctive in expression, however each performance this evening will also include a human voice. Maggie Nicols, Ute Wassermann, Phil Minton, Kay Grant and Luisa Tucciariello are the extraordinary vocalists in the 'Voices in the Night' cast, and they'll perform non-hierarchically in small ensembles alongside their equally distinguished instrumentalist colleagues John Edwards (double bass), John Russell (guitar), Mark Sanders (drums/percussion), Alex Ward (clarinet), Neil Metcalfe (flute), Michael de Souza (guitar) and Alison Blunt (violin).
Whether you're just starting to listen to music that wouldn't get mainstream airplay or whether you're a regular listener to adventurous music, the 'live' experience offers the full-colour version of listening - and this line-up is full of magic. Quoting guitarist Derek Bailey: "Undeniably, the audience for improvisation has a power that no other audience has. It can affect the creation of that which is being witnessed. And perhaps because of that possibility the audience for improvisation has a degree of intimacy with the music that is not achieved in any other situation." Come and be part of the evening in the congenial acoustic and charming setting that is Iklectik.


01 marzo 2017

L'associazione culturale Kuda.org mette in rete alcuni importanti documenti prodotti nel corso del Festival in Opposition-Art and Politics of Improvisation, tenuto dal 26 al 29 ottobre dello scorso anno presso il CK13 di Novi Sad (Serbia). Ci sono tra gli altri gli interventi di Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer a proposito di Ernö Királya, Howard Slater sulla Scratch Orchestra, e Chris Cutler con una conferenza sul tema dello studio di registrazione come strumento di composizione - analizzando in particolare il lavoro di Art Bears per Winter Songs - e con una rivisitazione del suo testo File Under Popular (1984) in occasione della sua recente traduzione in serbo-croato (Pod oznakom popularno) a cura della stessa Kuda.org.

Kuda.org is an independent cultural organization which since 2001 brings together artists, theoreticians, media activists, researchers and the wider public in the research of contemporary art theory and practice, cultural policies, activism and politics. kuda.org tends to make an intervention in the sphere of research and artistic and social experimentation within the field of art and cultural production, from the position of institutional critique and critique of cultural policies. Facing processes of cultural industries and culturalization of politics and art, the collective attempts to map and encourage acts of critique and resistance to comodification of results of art production including attempts of transformation and critique of relations of production which are in the field of art production and outer-art social processes being reproduced through shifts of ideological and „political“ matrixes, which are in the last instance consequence of recuperation of people. kuda.org creates platform for an open dialogue, experimental education, collaboration and research, and open access to different knowledge resources. Within kuda.org, there have been organized several hundreds public events: lectures and presentations of visiting artists and theorists, workshops, exhibitions, conferences and international publishing project.