30 novembre 2006

The Stone - il locale newyorchese diretto da John Zorn interamente dedicato a sperimentazione e avanguardia - ospita per il mese di dicembre 2006 la programmazione voluta da Bruce Lee Gallanter e Manny "Lunch" Maris, gli infaticabili promotori di Downtown Music Gallery, negozio di dischi nuovi e usati noto anche per l'efficiente servizio di vendita per corrispondenza in tutto il mondo. E' la prima volta nella storia del locale che a gestire il calendario dei concerti vien chiamato qualcuno che non è musicista, ma l'eccezione ha fondate motivazioni, come si legge nel comunicato recentemente diffuso da Gallanter:

More than a year ago, my partner, Manny Maris, was having a conversation our good friend John Zorn, artistic director of The Stone performance space, and asked if it was possible for Manny to celebrate his birthday next year (2006) with a special concert at The Stone. Since each month at The Stone is curated by a different musician, Zorn suggested that Manny & I curate the month of December ourselves. We are the only non-musicians to be asked to do this and we are truly honored. Our store, Downtown Music Gallery, is a big supporter of The Stone as well as selling The Stone benefit CD, and yours truly plays a direct role in its operations
Our initial dream was to open our fest with Keith Tippett's Mujician, since Keith is our favorite pianist and Mujician would've played on Manny's birthday, December 2nd. But alas, we couldn't afford the guarantee that Keith desired. Perhaps next year. What we do have is the rest of Mujician, Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin as a trio and with guests for December 1st-3rd, as well as collaborating with trumpet ace Dennis Gonzalez on December 9th. For the rest of the month, Manny and I sat down and put together our dream list of musicians who have inspired us for many years, most of whom are coming from faraway places like England, Amsterdam, France, San Francisco and L.A. None of whom, have ever played at The Stone before as a leader, except for Fred Frith.
This festival is dedicated to the great musicians, including Derek Bailey, Elton Dean, Pip Pyle, Dewey Redman, Lance Carter... and sadly, many others, who have passed on from this world in the past year.
This will be a truly historic month, a once-in-a-lifetime month-long festival. We will be filming (on DAT) and recording each set, with hopes of releasing some/many of these sets in the future on the DMG/ARC label. Remember that the Stone has only 65 seats plus a small standing room section, so please book those vacations now! We are selling advance tickets for the three-day Frith/Hodgkinson/Cutler reunion/celebration, December 15th-17th. We hope that our friends at various enlightened publications help to spread the word, as well as those of you who read our weekly newsletters.
Il programma completo si legge in http://tinyurl.com/7z36k ed è a dir poco mozzafiato.

28 novembre 2006

Concertzender trasmette stasera, a partire dalle 23.00, uno speciale su Pip Pyle all'interno del programma The Art of the Improvisers. Ottima la scaletta - la si legge in http://tinyurl.com/y7fya6 - con brani da CD e vecchi vinili di Delivery, Coxhill/Miller, Hatfield & the North, National Health, Equipe Out e Bash!. Il programma sarà replicato il prossimo 5 dicembre a partire dalle 16.00.

26 novembre 2006

Tim Hodgkinson è in Italia per concerti questa settimana, e il 2 dicembre sarà a Ravaldino in Monte (FC) in duo con Elio Martusciello. Il suo ultimo lavoro, Sketch of Now, è recensito assai positivamente su The Wire di dicembre, dove si legge anche una recensione di Henry Cow - Concerts Remastered.

22 novembre 2006

Una bella galleria fotografica dal festival Unlimited XX tenuto a Wels (Austria) pochi giorni fa si vede in http://tinyurl.com/yzjus8, con gli scatti di Matteo Peterlini. Ovviamente anche il sito dell'Alter Schlachtof, sede del festival, offre molte immagini: http://tinyurl.com/yan53u

21 novembre 2006

Nella seconda metà degli anni ottanta Recommended lanciò l'etichetta Points East, deputata a documentare almeno in parte quanto di buono e interessante veniva prodotto - ma assai poco o per nulla divulgato - nei paesi dell'est europeo in fatto di musiche sperimentali ed eterodosse. Vennero prodotti otto album, tra il 1989 e il 1991, che Chris Cutler annuncia di voler riproporre integralmente nel 2007 in una speciale edizione cumulativa rispettosa del disegno originale ma ulteriormente arricchita di saggi, testimonianze, libro fotografico e altri 3-4 cd con brani pertinenti sia dell'epoca sia attuali. Il tutto è già ora in sottoscrizione presso ReR, con l'avvertenza che il progetto andrà in porto solo se ci saranno richieste sufficienti a coprirne i costi di produzione.

Historic numbered art edition
12 CDs, book and box

The Rock experiments of Eastern Europe were no less interesting (though they were somewhat rarer) than those in the West, but they went undocumented for years - they made no commercial or official CDs and could not tour. Concerts were rare even in their own countries. Outside, to all intents and purposes, they didn't exist. To begin to redress this lack, in the late '80s, Recommended launched Points East, a label dedicated only to this music. Because of its historical importance - and musical excellence - we plan to manufacture a very limited edition of the 8 PE LPs (re-mastered on CD), plus 3 or 4 extra CDs filling in further details of the music of the various territories in that time, mostly taken from other Recommended releases as yet not reissued - including the extraordinary 'Raab' and Zygmunt Krauze's luminous 'Folk Music'- plus a couple of CDs with samples of other groups from the time and new materials by the original artists. All the CDs will be in facsimile edition, fully re-mastered, in a box with a fat book outlining the way it was in the old East and the way it is now, as well as a more general overview of experimental music in each of the territories. In other words this will be an historic documentation of a missing part of the history of progressive and experimental music, a documentation much needed. It will be made to our usual standards and very thoroughly documented, but we want to make it as cheap as possible - since this for art's sake; it's certainly not a commercial proposition. So we will try to keep the 12 CDs, box and book down to £ 58 - close to cost. However, origination, manufacturing and production costs will be huge, and we will only be able to make it if there is sufficient interest and enough pledged advance orders. To that end, if you are interested in this project, please subscribe - just write in and say you want your name put down, we will not take any money until and unless the box is actually realised. If and when we reach a viable number, we will announce the issue, confirm your subscriptions and go ahead.

The original PE series was:
BORIS KOVACS. Ritual Nova 2 (YU)
ZGA. Zga (Riga)
STRANGE GAMES, Strange Games (Russia)
BORUT KRZISNIK Currents of Time (Slovenia)
KAMPEC DOLORES Levitation (Hungary)
REPORTAZ. Reportaz (Poland)
PULNOC. Midnight Mouse (Czechoslovakia)

Dettagli e sottoscrizioni in http://www.rermegacorp.com

20 novembre 2006

Recensioni di Middle Earth Masters - Soft Machine, su Cuneiform - si leggono questi giorni su All About Jazz, a firma di John Kelman, e su Dusted Magazine a firma di Marc Medwin.

19 novembre 2006

Sotto nome News from Babel passarono, tra il 1983 e il 1986, alcune delle più belle invenzioni musicali e poetiche degli ex-Henry Cow Lindsay Cooper e Chris Cutler, riprendendo e in parte trascendendo lo splendido lavoro sulla forma-canzone compiuto da Art Bears. Belli, personali e curatissimi in tutto - musiche, testi, grafica e resa sonora su vinile - i loro dischi lanciarono non pochi sassi nello stagno (o bottiglie nell'oceano) in tempi di un qualche disorientamento dopo l'esaurirsi della fase 'storica' di Rock in Opposition. I due lavori maggiori - Sirens & Silences/Work Resumed on the Tower e Letters Home) han già visto la luce su cd in passato, su ReR; ora c'è per entrambi una nuova ristampa sia individuale, sia in piccolo cofanetto (dove vi si aggiunge il singolo Contraries, a suo tempo disponibile in sottoscrizione e in quantità assai limitate). Oltre a Cooper e Cutler ci sono Dagmar Krause, Zeena Parkins (Sirens & Silences/Work Resumed on the Tower fu il suo debutto discografico all'arpa), Phil Minton, Georgie Born, Bill Gilonis, Sally Potter e un grandissimo Robert Wyatt in ben cinque brani di Letters Home.

Questo il comunicato che ne accompagna l'uscita, scritto da Dave Kerman su ReR Usa:
This slipcase boxset contains both classic News From Babel albums, plus a CD single of the very rare 7" "CONTRARIES". After Art Bears called it a day, Chris Cutler and Dagmar Krause teamed up with former Henry Cow confed, Lindsay Cooper, and the American harpist/pianist, Zeena Parkins. Lindsay set some of Chris' most passionate texts to music, and the outcome, whilst somewhat in the vein of Art Bears, materialized as something quite different (but just as good, truthfully). These are many of Lindsay's best compositions and, to boot, they offer some of Chris' weirdest and strangest sounding drumming on disk. Dagmar's vocals are of her usual EXCELLENCE, and we are treated to some fine vocal performances by Robert Wyatt (lead vocals on 4 songs, including the gorgeous, "Moss"), Sally Potter (on "Banknote" and "Fast Food") and Phil Minton on "Dragon At The Core" and "The Year Of Miracles". PLUS , on "Letters Home", the band is augmented by the "unsung hero" of 80's Brit Art-Rock, Mr. Bill Gilonis (The Work, The Lowest Notes) on guitars and bass. The arrangements were brought about collectively, and at the forefront was the penchant (as it was with Art Bears) for the music to sonically elucidate the lyrics. Some extreme instances would be Zeena's harp emulating "steel mosquitos" (oil derricks) in "Black Gold". Or her backwards/forwards accordion on "Klein Bottle", which sonically mimics "a trick of drawing whose outside is its inside". Or the Vari-speed tape work on "Dark Matter", which brings to mind the way a black hole might bend light. Those that enjoy Henry Cow, and especially Art Bears, will find this indispensable, as well.
Altri titoli del catalogo ReR - tra cui nuovi lavori di Cutler, Frith, Hail, ristampe Camberwell Now, The Work, Blitzoids e Picchio dal Pozzo - si trovano nell'aggiornamento di novembre 2006 in http://tinyurl.com/9d743

18 novembre 2006

Magma e Seventh Records annunciano - un pochino in chiave di strenna natalizia - la pubblicazione del secondo dei 4 DVD della serie MAGMA: MYTHES ET LÉGENDES voluti per documentare le celebrazioni del 35esimo anniversario condotte in quattro settimane di concerti presso il parigino Le Triton l'anno scorso. Il concerto qui ripreso, quello del 21 maggio 2005, vide il 'ritorno' di Jannick Top.

Recorded on the 21st May 2005. Remember that incredible month where MAGMA booked out this Paris club, changed its program each week, and brought in luminaries from its history to play with the band again? This is it - part two. This second week was The Maximum Event, re-uniting the two great juggernauts Christian Vander and Jannick Top. Thus a complete new generation, too young to hear these mythical masters first time round, was able to get to know them, to experience the magic they make, and to taste the pleasure they had in playing together again.

Un breve estratto dal primo DVD della serie, con Klaus Blasquiz tra gli altri, dovrebbe essere visibile - salvo problemi di caricamento, non infrequenti - in http://myspace.com/magmaofficial

15 novembre 2006

La prima parte dell'autobiografia di Daevid Allen, Gong Dreaming 1, uscì nel 1994 su sottoscrizione e grazie al finanziamento anticipato di un certo numero di sostenitori; il volume ebbe allora tiratura e diffusione piuttosto limitata, nonostante l'originalità e la qualità dei documenti presentati e raccolti. Oggi il volume viene ristampato con nuova copertina e diversa rilegatura e prontamente distribuito - anche in concomitanza con l'evento gonghista di Amsterdam - da S.A.F. Publishing. La seconda parte dell'autobiografia è anch'essa pronta, ma in attesa di essere completata nell'apparato iconografico.

Gong Dreaming 1
Daevid Allen
Publication date: November 2006
A Deluxe Hardback original
248 x 174mm, 144 pp
100 B&W photographs & illustrations

Part one of Daevid Allen’s amazing autobiography: from Soft Machine to the birth of Gong
For forty years Gong, and their enigmatic leader Daevid Allen, have been at the forefront of psychedelic music, with seminal albums such as Camembert Electrique, Angel’s Egg and Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt1: Flying Teapot.
Originally published as a very limited subscription edition in 1994, Gong Dreaming 1 depicts the early years of Daevid Allen’s path to England in the Sixties, through the formation of the legendary Soft Machine and on to the conception of what was to become his life’s work: Gong. Covering his years in playing at the legendary UFO club, the first US tour with the then almost unknown Jimi Hendrix, the Paris student riots and much more, the book offers a rare insight into the hippie dream.The original edition sold out before it was published, and copies are now highly sought after collector’s items.

12 novembre 2006

Presso Burning Shed si può già prenotare una copia del secondo volume antologico per Hatfield and the North: si intitola Hattitude, sarà ufficialmente disponibile tra un mesetto circa e intanto viene così annunciato:

"Following the success of Hatwise Choice, the Hatfield musicians continue their archive CD series with a second volume of rare '70s recordings. The series was given extra momentum by the discovery of a large collection of previously unheard live tapes, the highlights of which have been personally compiled by the band members themselves. As on Hatwise Choice (released in January 2005), the new CD contains a mixture of live and studio tracks (including extracts from the band's radio sessions) and features some hitherto unrecorded compositions. Hattitude gives a rare insight into the band's live performances at a time of rapid musical development, charting their evolution from early gigs (including one recorded in the swirly psychedelic acoustics of Amsterdam's Paradiso club) through to the more sophisticated arrangements of 1975. En route there are moments of surreal humour and instrumental virtuosity, coupled with instances of sheer sonic savagery which reveal the extent of the madness in the group's method. Virtually all the material is from first generation audio sources which have been digitally restored, ensuring good sound quality throughout. The CD comes in a full colour Digipak with a 20-page booklet containing archive photos and period artwork. The band history initiated in Hatwise Choice continues with the four musicians recounting behind-the-scenes events, road stories, musical reflections and descriptions of recording their debut album in Oxfordshire's Manor Studios. These personal memoirs provide a detailed chronicle of the events of 1973, a 'year in the life' of a young, talented and exciting British band. Hattitude is performed by the classic Hatfield line-up of Phil Miller (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums), Richard Sinclair (bass / vocals) and Dave Stewart (keyboards / tone generators)."

11 novembre 2006

Centinaia di immagini da Gong Unconvention 2006 - belle anche per come documentano l'ambientazione degli eventi nei tre giorni al Melkweg di Amsterdam - sono ora visibili in:

Da Gong Unconvention 2006, un filmatino ora su YouTube riporta un omaggio a Pip Pyle, la sua The Eyes / Isle of Yeux eseguita al flauto da Didier Malherbe, mentre Daevid Allen sul palco compie un breve esercizio di meditazione.

09 novembre 2006

Prende il via domani il bel festival Unlimited a Wels, Austria, con tre giorni al solito fitti fitti di concerti incontri e installazioni artistiche e musicali, e ulteriore spazio per sorprese e festeggiamenti. In occasione del ventennale fanno ritorno amici musicisti e sostenitori del festival fin dal suo esordio, e tra questi Fred Frith con cui si inaugurarono le speciali edizioni - a cadenza biennale - curate assieme a un musicista di riferimento.
In http://tinyurl.com/y44szp si trovano il programma completo attuale (anche in .pdf) e le ricche gallerie fotografiche delle edizioni precedenti.

2006, Fr. Nov. 10
Queen Mab Trio (Can, Nl): Ig Henneman, Lori Freedman, Marilyn Lerner
Six String Singers (Usa, Gb, I, F): Fred Frith, Camel Zekri, Paolo Angeli, Janet Feder
Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone (Usa)
Mohammed Jimmy Mohammed "Takkabel!" (Eth): Feat. Mesele Asmamaw, Asnake Gebreyes

2006, Sa. Nov. 11
Conny Bauer "Der Gelbe Klang"
Wolfgang Mitterer "Mixture 5"
Irène Schweizer & Hamid Drake (Ch, Usa)
Here Comes The Sun (Ö, D): Gunter Schneider, Barbara Romen, Kai Fagaschinski
Charming Hostess (Usa): Jewlia Eisenberg, Marika Hughes, Cynthia Taylor
Compass, Log & Lead (Aus, Usa, Gb): Carla Kihlstedt & Stevie Wishart & Fred Frith
Iswhat?! (Usa): Napoleon Maddox, Jack Walker, Claire Daily, Joe Fonda, Hamid Drake
The Ex (Nl): G.W. Sok, Terrie, Andy, Katherina

2006, So. Nov. 12
Carla Kihlstedt "Kafka Songs"
De-Escalation: Cordula Bösze, Hermann Stangassinger, Hannes Schweiger
Wolke Is Immer 5 (D, A, I): Margareth Kammerer, Christof Kurzmann, Michael Thieke, Kai Fagaschinski
Zeena Parkins "Kitsu-Ne" (Usa)
Thermal (Gb, D): John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, Andy Ex
Attwenger Feat. Fred Frith & I-Wolf (A, Usa): Markus Binder, Hans-Peter Falkner, Fred Frith, I-Wolf

08 novembre 2006

Non una ma cinque o sei occasioni, per chi è a Londra nel weekend, per sentire e incontrare Mike e Kate Westbrook, protagonisti con il loro Village Band Project di diversi concerti in vari luoghi - principalmente in occasione del London Jazz Festival 2006 - e a quanto pare anche di una ripresa radiofonica per il programma della BBC Jazz on 3.

Kate Westbrook voice/tenor horn, Mike Westbrook piano/euphonium, Pete Whyman saxophone, Chris Biscoe saxophone
Thursday 9th Nov. 2006
Pizza Express Jazz Club 10 Dean Street, Soho, London
MIKE BREWER trumpet, KATE WESTBROOK tenor horn/voice, STAN WILLIS alto saxophone, GARY BAYLEY tenor saxophone, SAM SMITH trombone, MIKE WESTBROOK euphonium

Friday 10th Nov 2006 -- at the London Jazz Festival
5.45 to 7.15pm Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Front Room opening of the LJF Royal Festival Hall
10.15pm to 1.00am Pizza Express Jazz Club,10 Dean Street, Soho
to be broadcast 'live' by BBC Radio 'Jazz on 3'

Saturday 11th November 2006 -- at the London Jazz Festival
'Meet the Village Band' session 4.00pm Ray's Jazz at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

Sunday 12th November 2006 -- at the London Jazz Festival
lunchtime 1.00pm to 4.00pm 'Spice of Life' 6 Moor Street, Soho London W1
evening - 8.30pm The Bulls Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes London SW13

07 novembre 2006

Per celebrare il quarantesimo anniversario dell'impareggiabile Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - dopo il bel dvd ricavato dalla 'reunion' londinese di inizio anno - sono in corso concerti in Regno Unito fino al prossimo 18 novembre, con ottimo riscontro di pubblico e critica. Phill Jupitus, noto curatore di programmi per la BBC e uno degli ospiti regolari del tour, tiene un divertente diario degli eventi che pubblica in http://tinyurl.com/ydx4r3.

06 novembre 2006

Dalla tre-giorni Gong Unconvention 2006 appena tenutasi ad Amsterdam, un primo resoconto da parte di un appassionato testimone, Age Rotshuizen, diffuso poco fa su What's Rattlin'?:

The flying teapot came down from Planet Gong and decided to take residency in the Melkweg (milky way) which happened to be in the same town I live in, Amsterdam. What an incredibly stroke of luck! Three nights of Gong and Gong related music floating in. Ah well, I'll make an attempt to write a review of the bands and musicians I saw.
I came late to the venue on Friday and unfortunately missed the acoustic Daevid Allen set but picked up half an hour of the Hadouk Trio led by Didier Malherbe. Although I admire Didier I cannot say I was too impressed. The trio plays some kind of "etno-folk" (for lack of a better description) and it didn't do much for me. I also saw the last few minutes of Cyndee Lee Rule on violin playing in the old hall together with a handful of other visitors. Next up in the Max was Mother Gong. I wasn't expecting too much. I have several Mother Gong albums in my collection and they always failed to impress me. How different they were live: Gilli Smyth was speaking to the audience as a high priestess backed by an enthousiastic band including the omnipresent Graham Clark on violin and Didier Malherbe on various reeds and flutes. Not every musician in the band seems to be a professional (the bass player was average) but the lack of musicianship was fully compensated by the enormous energy and they turned out to be one of the many highlights of the weekend. Next up, the Glissando Orchestra, advertised on the Planet Gong website as six glissando guitarplayers, there turned out to be ten of them. They included Daevid Allen, Steve Hillage, Steffi Sharpstrings, Fabio Golfetti, Steve Higgins, Brian Abbott, Josh Pollock, Kawabata Makoto, Harry Williamson and one other I don't remember. They played the Seven Drones and managed to make an awful lot of noise. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity but an interesting experience but I can't say it was my cup of tea. Their set was short though (as long as the seven drones apparently). Next act was Here and Now who I have never heard or seen and played a kind of combination of punk and psychedelica. The psychedelic part was ok but the songs were weak and we took the time to retreat to the café and check out the CDs on sale at the Gong Kazbah in the entry hall. Last band of the night was Acid Mothers Gong starting at 1.30 and playing for 1.5 hours untill three o'clock in the morning. They started off with the drummer playing what appeared to be a tribute to Pip Pyle, then the rest of the band joined. Four Japanese AMT members, Josh Pollock and Gilli and Daevid played an intense, loud and very rewarding set which included the glorious OM riff a.o. Thus ended the first day. My highlights: Mother Gong, Acid Mother's Gong.
I expected the second day to be a bit weak in the line-ups. The Max hall was used for several house acts including System 7, the old hall for ambient acts. We came in around 16.30 in time for the impromptu wedding led by Gilli Smyth and very touching. Musically Didier and Graham Clarke filled in the background with some ambient leanings. Meanwhile in the Max a DJ called Slackbaba was playing an empty house, most guests were probably still recovering from the large amounts of beer and weed consumed on Friday night. The Pierre & Pip tribute (again in the old hall) was done by Daevid Allen and had its moments, although I failed to get the connection between Pierre Moerlen and a bagpipe. Some funny stories about Pip Pyle were told by old friends and the like. It mostly included broken down bathrooms in hotels and other ravaging rockstar behaviour. Before the end we went out the door to get some decent food and came back in time for the start of Sacred Geometry (old hall again) which comprised of Mikey Cosmic and Daevid with guests Gilli, Graham Clark (did I mentioned his omnipresence already?), Didier Malherbe, Theo Travis, Mike Howlett, an unknown female theremin player (and a very good one!) and a blind guy who turned out to be Jean-Philippe Rykiel playing an instrument that included a keyboard and a mouthpiece. The music was drone-like with lots of glissando guitar and very good if not a bit too relaxing. This was also one of the few times during the weekend that problems with the equipment provided some unwanted feedback and distortion. After SG was finished we took the time to check out System 7. Although the music is essentially a mix of techno and trance it was surprising to see that Steve was still using his guitar to add texture and some melodies. I saw about 15-20 minutes before we went off back to the other hall to see Stroking the Tail of the Bird featuring Gilli and Daevid with Harry Williamson on keyboards and mostly the same guests as during Sacred Geometry. At midnight the regular Melkweg dance night took over and we welcomed the early ending and took off home. Thus ended the second day. My highlights: Sacred Geometry and Stroking the Tail of the Bird.
The last day started with the book launch of Gong Dreaming part 1 by Daevid Allen. We were late and missed it except for the big line of people waiting to get the book signed by Daevid. The book has been beautifully re-released by SAF Publishing, the same company that published Wrong Movements and Out-Bloody-Rageous. We went to see House of Thandoy, the new band of Mike Howlett in the Max. They didn't impress and sounded as a very good jazz-rock combo but with little originality. Too bad. Meanwhile the old hall was used for a.o. a belly dancer, some videos (I've seen part of a University of Errors video) and deejaying by Steffe). Live music was now solely in the Max hall. The next band there was Kangaroo Moon. I'm not sure what their connection is to Gong, and they couldn't interest me, although they appeared to be well-skilled musicians including a guy who could play didgeridoo and keyboard at the same time. At approximately 8.15 I walked back in the Max and basically stayed there until 3.00 o'clock. First up was University of Errors who played an amazing set mostly filled with songs from the Jet-Propelled Photographs album with Stoned Innocent Frankenstein and Fohat Digs Holes in Space put in for good measure. Their set was rock-solid and Josh Pollock turned out to be an excellent guitarist both for straight rock music as for more experimental passages. Daevid was fronting the band with lots of gutso and didn't look to be 68 for a moment. They were followed by Tim Blake's Crystal Machine which included Jean-Philippe Rykiel and a short guestspot for Didier Malherbe. Tim Blake turned out to be a fascinating person, he looks like an old hippie, long hair and very thin. He played some tunes from his albums (apparently as I saw people singing along) but overall, besides the musicianship shown and the fact they could get any sound out of their synthesizers, the music wasn’t very challenging. Next up, the first appearance of the Steve Hillage Band in over 25 years. Certainly this was one of the main reasons for people to attend the Unconvention from Japan, the US and other remote locations. The hall was almost full for the first time this weekend. Steve played together with Miquette Giraudy, Mike Howlett and Chris Taylor, playing mostly songs of Fish Rising and It's All Too Much a.o. This was also one of the reasons I got a ticket and it was a very good although rather short set played with hard work by all the musicians and Steve obviously enjoying both playing in a band again and the enthousiastic response of the audience. It was great, it was amazing, to quote one of the audience members: "Fucking Steve Hillage, Man!" It turned out (I should've known) that the Hillage band was actually half of Gong as at the end of the Hillage set Daevid, Gilli, Tim and Didier came on the stage and they continued without interuption as Gong. This was also a unique concert as Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy and Tim Blake played with Gong again after a long absence (I assume since 1975?). Gong played most of their well-known songs including You Can't Kill Me, Dynamite, I'm Your Animal, Tropical Fish, Selene, Magdalena, I Am Your Pussy, Oily Way and You Never Blow Your Trip Forever to name a few. Of course they played the glorious OM riff, aka Master Builder and I can honestly say that after seeing Steve Hillage with Gong playing Master Builder I can die and go to heaven. Gong played for I assume almost two and a half hours after which the announced Gong Jam only had 10 minutes left and was performed by Gong with Graham Clarke and Gwyo Zepix. Thus ended the third and last day. My highlights: University of Errors, Hillage Band, Gong.
A last note: most of the concerts were professionally recorded on video by four cameras so I assume the best parts will eventually surface on DVD or CD. All in all a great weekend and thumbs up to the people who organized this.
Gong Unconvention 2006 - Il commento di Aymeric Leroy:

First of all, I thought the venue was perfect. I'd only been at the Melkweg once before (to see Allan Holdsworth in 2000) and had vague memories, but it turned out to be ideal for the event - or you could say the best possible use was made of the premises. My only complaint was that on the Saturday, the large hall seemed to turn into a giant disco while all the "real" music had to fit into the smaller room. But the "techno/rave party", evidently designed to attract a younger crowd, was apparently a success which no doubt helped the festival's finances, so... The sound, lights and projections were all superb, and that everything went so smoothly and according to schedule is evidence of how competent the whole crew was. Now, to the music. Things kicked off gently on the Friday afternoon, beginning with a set by what was basically an augmented version of the Magick Brothers (Daevid, Graham Clark and Mark Robson), aided by various members of Kangaroo Moon and other guests. The material was drawn from various Daevid Allen solo albums - I must confess I'm not familiar with all of them and won't attempt a setlist, but among the songs was "Thoughts For Naught", the opening song from Gong's "You" and, most memorably, a superb version of "Wise Man In Your Heart" with Mike Howlett on bass, Orlando Allen on drums and Theo Travis on soprano sax. Hadouk Trio followed and played superbly as usual. I see this band play regularly in and around Paris so I'm quite familiar with their music, but evidently not everyone was and surely they made a big impact. The trio is the perfect context for Didier to demonstrate the extent of his instrumental mastery and lyricism, and in Steve Shehan they have a world-class percussionist. Mother Gong presented itself in a new and very promising line-up which toured the UK last month, consisting of Gwyo Ze Pix on keyboards, Tim Hall on bass, Orlando Allen on drums, plus Graham Clark and/or Didier Malherbe. I didn't really know what to expect, and thought their set was very strong. The music was very Gong-ish at times, and Gilli did her usual "space whisper" thing with commanding presence, delivering heavily political lyrics/texts. It all sounded very nice indeed. The Glissando Orchestra was more a "conceptual" interlude, in a "how long can you hold this note" way. It was nice to see all these players together on stage, and I like the sound of glissando guitar, but the "Seven Drones" concept is musically a bit beyond me. Intriguing... I share what's been said about Here & Now's gig. To be honest, I'm rather unfamiliar with this band and can't say how they compared to their albums, but I didn't really care for most of what I heard. The opening instrumental was fine, but the vocal-based material sounded dull to my ears, and Steffi Sharpstrings' solo work failed to impress me the way it had on Gong's 1990s tours. Closing the first evening was Acid Mothers Gong. To be honest, I'd been a bit nonplussed by what I'd heard them play before. I attended their first gig in London in October 2003 and to me it was just an almost unbearable wall of noise (admittedly it sounded better when I listened back to my recording of the gig - on the night I was probably too busy trying to protect my ears to really listen properly) - and I won't say anything about the Guru & Zero gig I'd seen in Paris a few months before. Friday's gig was a revelation. What I heard was no less intense sonically, but with much more nuance and a lot of panache. The set kicked off impressively with a solo spot by drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, who performed to a backing tape of extremely complex instrumental music, full of time signature changes, and then the rest of the band joined in for a performance that mixed some of Gong's trademark characteristics with the Acid Mothers' own extreme universe. I don't know if Steve Lake was in attendance - if he did, we regrettably failed to make contact - but I'd be curious to know if the gig reaffirmed his enthousiasm for AMG. I'm certainly beginning to understand why he was so complimentary about them. As I said, Saturday was a little less eventful, musically speaking. I arrived late and sadly missed Rick Chafen's wedding, celebrated by Gilli, but I did see part of the tribute to Pierre and all of the tribute to Pip, which has been described here. Subsequently I drifted from one room to the other, and as the evening progressed found more and more to enjoy... I saw some of Zorch's set, most of the Sacred Geometry set, which featured most of the Gong members at various times (and Daevid throughout, iirc), and the very sweet "Stroking TheTail Of The Bird" set with Harry Williamson on keyboards backing Daevid and Gilli. I caught a glimpse of System 7, a "chill-out" sequence with some nice guitar playing from Steve, but when the drum machine resumed I was reminded of why I could never warm up to this project - lack of nuance between the "new-age" and techno sections - I find the latter too robotic for my taste. I prefer real bass and real drums ! Finally, Sunday... House Of Thandoy opened. The band is led by guitarist Steve Higgins, joined by the rhythm section of Mike Howlett on bass and Steve Cassidy (Here & Now) on drums, and for most of the set by Theo Travis on flute. Actually Theo also had his tenor sax handy but didn't use it, which is probably evidence of the spontaneous/jamming nature of this project. Frankly, as with Here & Now I found their set pleasant and solid but somewhat dull. Little stood out compositionally, the musical concept seemed too shallow to sustain my interest. University Of Errors were something else. Ever since the first time I saw themin Seattle in 2002 I've really become a fan of this band, and their lead guitarist Josh Pollock in particular. I don't think anyone who's seen them live will disagree with me. I'd been to both of their Paris gigs in late October and was blown away - especially the second night when, particularly during the closing "Stoned Innocent Frankenstein"/"Fohat" medley, they reached some truly hypnotic heights. The rest of the set consisted exclusively of early Soft Machine songs. This was a reduced version of their set, but nothing really important was missing (although I'd have substituted "Feelin Reelin Squealin" for "Love Makes Sweet Music" as the final song), and they were superb. There's been nothing in the Canterbury scene and beyond in the last two or three decades at least closer to the intensity and radicality of early Mike Ratledge fuzz organ than what Josh Pollock does with his guitar. Daevid played some fine guitar himself, and the rhythm section of Michael Clare and Warren Huegel provided clean and solid backing. A high point of the week-end. After this, I must admit I skipped most of Kangaroo Moon's set. I guess I didn't want to overdose on music with so much more to come, and being the only band not to have any Gong alumnus in their ranks (they're led by Mark Robson of the Magick Brothers) it fell on them... What little I heard sounded nice enough but... there you go. I was back for Crystal Machine's set, which left me with the same impression as Tim Blake's albums - some very nice instrumental synthetic landscapes, and songs I don't really care for as I'm not too keen on his singing. The whole presentation was convincing, with Blake firmly in control of the harmonic and rhythm settings and Jean-Philippe Rykiel playing a few impressive solos. You could feel the high level of anticipation as the Steve Hillage Band took the stage. Indeed this was Steve's first performance as singer-guitarist since 1979, and reason enough for some of us to attend the event at all. The quartet consisted of Steve, his wife Miquette Giraudy on synths, computer and occasional backing vocals, and the Gong rhythm section of Mike Howlett and Chris Taylor - a similar configuration to his late 1970s bands. To be honest, I've always preferred Steve's very first band, which had a "real" keyboard player in addition to Miquette and Basil Brooks (who made a couple of appearances during the set), plus a second guitarist (the late Christian Boule). Apart from the block chords on "It's All Too Much", Miquette didn't seem to "play" much in the conventional sense, and what lead lines were heard she seemed to trigger by pressing a key. Sometimes this left the remaining trio lacking in sonic density. Steve himself was in fine form as a guitarist (certainly he got better and better as the performance progressed), but vocally he seemed to struggle a bit in the upper register at times. The setlist was largely drawn from "Fish Rising", with condensed versions of "Solar Musick Suite" and "Aftaglid" being the highlights, closing with the opening piece from "For To Next", "These Uncharted Lands" which Steve said they'd never performed live before, adding that it would indeed lead us into unpredictable directions... I'd been wondering why all these additional mikes had been set up on the left side of the stage yet remained unused. I thought Didier Malherbe might sit in on "Solar Musick Suite" (although he no longer plays tenor so reproducing his parts on the album would have been impossible) but the only guest appearance apart from Basil Brooks' brief contributions happened when Tim Blake came onstage towards the very end. Within seconds, the rest of Gong followed him, taking the audience completely by surprise, while the usual introductory tape college was heard. Before we'd realised what was going on "You Can't Kill Me" had begun, and off we went for a performance that lasted over two and a half hours. The setlist was very similar to the 1994 reunion concert - "Pot Head Pixies" being replaced by "Zero The Hero & The Witch's Spell", and with the addition of "Magdalene" from "Zero To Infinity" - covering all the classic albums from "Camembert Electrique" (better represented this time, with "Tropical Fish/Selene" and a "Fohat" jam as encore) to "You" with few important omissions. I don't even need to elaborate much on the music itself - this was just pure, classic Gong, easily as good as the old days. As my good friend Udi Koomran told me after the gig, "you could close your eyes and it all sounded exactly right". The band was very well rehearsed, everyone played brilliantly, and Chris Taylor did a great job of filling in for the departed Pip and Pierre. Miquette was present throughout the performance, Theo Travis joined Didier on tenor and flute for the second half, and Graham Clark for the closing "Fohat" jam. Pure magic !

03 novembre 2006

Venerdì 10 novembre Radio3 Suite trasmette in diretta da Reggio Emilia, a partire dalle ore 21.00, il concerto di Otomo Yoshihide con il suo New Jazz Ensemble.

Alfred Harth (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
Kenta Tsugami (alto sax, soprano sax)
Hiroaki Mizutani (contrabass)
Yasuhiro Yoshigaki (drums, trumpet)
Kumiko Takara (vibraphone)
Sachiko M (sinewaves)
Kahimi Karie (vocal)
Otomo Yoshihide (conductor, guitar, electronics)

In 1999 the recording of Otomo Yoshihide Plays the Music of Takeo Yamashita gave Otomo the opportunity to form a group with four leading figures in the Japanese jazz world--Naruyoshi Kikuchi, Kenta Tsugami, Hiroaki Mizutani, and Yasuhiro Yoshigaki--as a way of coming face to face with jazz, which is one of his musical roots. Along with projects like Filament and Anode, the quintet became one of Otomo's main projects and an essential aspect of his work. In a major departure from his earlier image, he plays the guitar almost exclusively in ONJQ. In 2001, after recording several tracks that were included in the soundtrack album of the film Shabondama Elegy, the band released their first solo album, Flutter, on the American label Tzadik. Since that time, they've done numerous tours in Japan, America, Europe, and China, and put out five full-length albums. On the discs Live (2002) and ONJQ + OE (2003)--their collaboration with DJ OE--they established a style that might be called onkyo jazz. Since Kikuchi left the group in February of 2004, Otomo has brought in new members--multi-reed player Alfred Harth, who currently lives in South Korea, Kumiko Takara, and Sachiko M. Vocalist Kahimi Karie became a member in 2005. In addition, Otomo has invited artists like Ko Ishikawa, Taisei Aoki, Masahiko Okura, Taku Unami, Mats Gustafsson, Axel Doerner, and Cor Fuhler as irregular members; and Mariko Hamada, Phew, and Jun Togawa, among others, as guest vocalists. Moving back and forth between the septet and orchestra formats, he is exploring the possibilities of the post-onkyo improvisational ensemble. Since mid-2005 the band, cosisting of about ten musicians, has been active under the name New Jazz Orchestra (ONJO). In 2005 ONJO released two albums: ONJO featuring vocalists Kahimi Karie and Mariko Hamada, and Out to Lunch, which includes covers of all of the tunes recorded on Eric Dolphy's free jazz classic Out to Lunch.

02 novembre 2006

Inizia stasera, per proseguire fino a domenica, un'edizione particolarmente ricca del Total Music Festival berlinese, con concerti pomeridiani e serali, laboratori musicali, proiezioni di film ed esposizioni d'arte. Sul poster del festival campeggia il celebre daxophone di Hans Reichel, protagonista di uno dei concerti in programma e da sempre animatore del collettivo che negli anni ha sostenuto le iniziative e le edizioni della FMP.

Thursday, November 2, 2006, 7.30 pm
Sainkho Namtchylak voice
William Parker bass
Hamid Drake dr, perc
DUO DEMIERRE / DUTHOIT (Switzerland / France)
Jacques Demierre p
Isabelle Duthoit cl, voc
PIANO SOLO (Germany)Michael Wilhelmi p
KING PAWNS (Germany / Japan)
Hans Reichel guitar, daxophone
Kazuhisa Uchihashi e-guitar, daxophone

Friday, November 3, 2006, 8pm
Michiko Hirayama voice
Luca Miti p, voice, acoustic & electro-acoustic sound objects
Mauro Orselli selected drums and cymbals, radio, voice, sound objects
Magda Mayas p
Alex Nowitz voice
RUTHERFORD-QUARTET (England / Belgium)
Fred Van Hove, p, acc
Paul Rutherford tb
Paul Rogers b
Paul Lytton dr, perc

Saturday, November 4, 2006, 8 pm
Armand Angster
Jean-Marc Foltz
Sylvain Kassap
GEORG GRAEWE SONIC FICTION (Germany / England / Netherlands / USA / Austria)
Almut Kühne, Phil Minton voices
Carrie Shull, Frank Gratkowski, Peter van Bergen reeds
Joanna Lewis violin
Amora de Swardt violin
Elaine Koene viola
Melissa Coleman cello
Anne LeBaron harp
Kent Kessler b
DD Kern dr, perc
Georg Graewe dr, perc

Sunday, November 5, 2006, 11 am
German premiere
The Netherlands 2005
Documentary film, 77 minutes, colour
Edited and directed by Jellie Dekker
Documentary film by Jellie Dekker portraying composer, pianist and bandleader Misha Mengelberg.
The director Jellie Dekker and sound engineer Dick Lucas will be present for Q/A.

Sunday, November 5, 2006, 2.30 pm
Workshop concert with guests
Ld: Wolfgang Fuchs
The participants of the workshop ´orchestral improvisation´ join with guests for the final concert of TMM.
Orchestral Improvisation
Ld: Wolfgang Fuchs (ss, bcl, cbcl)

01 novembre 2006

RadioTre trasmette domenica prossima "Celestial Excursions" di Robert Ashley, registrata in occasione dell'allestimento per la Biennale lo scorso 30 settembre. Voci recitanti, oltre all'autore, erano in quell'occasione Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert e Joan La Barbara, e al pianoforte "Blue" Gene Tyranny.