Thursday, 14 September 2023
Friday, 1 September 2023
Tuesday, 1 August 2023
Unbounded Horizons: An Interview with Bill Laswell on Decades of Collaborations with John Zorn
Can you share with us how your friendship with John Zorn began and how it evolved over the years?
My friendship with John Zorn began many years ago, and it has been a continuous connection ever since. We first crossed paths through the vibrant New York music scene in the late '70s, where our shared interests and creative inclinations quickly brought us together. Over time, we've developed a simple and easy-going relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. As musicians and artists, our paths have intertwined on numerous occasions, resulting in a multitude of collaborations that have left a profound mark on both of us. Our shared passion for pushing the boundaries of music and exploring unconventional sonic territories has fostered a strong bond between us. We've always believed in the power of creative expression as a means of transcending genres and conventions.
What are some of your earliest memories of collaborating with John Zorn? How did those experiences shape your musical journey?
I collaborated with John Zorn on a couple of projects, like the Cobra pieces and the I Ching pieces. They were early experiences that influenced my musical journey. John's innovative game-like structure challenged traditional notions of composition and performance. It was an entirely new way of approaching music, where the musicians' interactions shaped the direction of the piece in real time. This experience opened my eyes to the potential of collective improvisation as a powerful means of creative expression. That started everything, and later we formed bands together, most notably PainKiller and Bladerunner.
John Zorn is known for his eclectic and experimental style. How has his unique approach to music influenced your own artistic development?
John Zorn's eclectic and experimental style has definitely influenced me. We have different approaches, but knowing each other for so long has shaped our tastes. While we may have different approaches to music, there is no denying the significant impact of John's work on my tastes and creative outlook. On the other hand, you can say he didn’t influence me at all. We just have a great relationship. Our collaborations have been characterized by a sense of mutual respect and a shared commitment to artistic integrity. We understand that the strength of our partnership lies in our differences, and we cherish the creative energy that emerges from our diverse perspectives.
Could you describe the dynamics of your creative process when working with John Zorn? How do you navigate the balance between structure and improvisation in your collaborations?
Our creative process is open-minded and without a specific plan. We don't have much structure, but it works well because we get along and respect each other. Our creative process when working together is a unique and fluid journey that thrives on openness and spontaneity. One of the defining characteristics of our collaborations is the absence of a rigid plan or preconceived structure. Instead, we embrace the freedom to explore and experiment, allowing the music to evolve naturally in the moment.
Tuesday, 11 July 2023
Saturday, 24 June 2023
Browsing in the aptly named Cheapo cheapo Records in the soundtrack section (I'm not really a soundtrack fan). This intriguing cover, with what looks like a still from the thirties film, begged further investigation. I thought the music Gods were guiding me when I found Anton Fier & Stina Nordenstam as the main performers and Laswell was on bass duties too.
I've read of a personal falling out between Fier & Nordenstam on this project, which probably amounts to there only being three tracks in existence. A planned Golden Palominos album, I'm guessing may have been in the works. Another strange thing about these three tracks is that they are credited as remixes, the original tracks have never been released in fact the film itself was never released. An imdb search shows an unrelated film with the same title and to confuse matters more, on the Stina Nordenstam website the "The Things You Said" maybe miss titled [?] "The Photographer's Wife" or there are two versions of this release, but more likely part of the Fier & Nordenstam spat (eventhough a rogue fourth track would be nice).
The only film credits on the cover are of Director of Photography Eric Rondepierre and Art Direction by Ricky/F+.
The music sounds like later Golden Palominos releases, ambient electronica,
Stina Nordenstam's fragile fractured vocal sits perfectly. I also like Knox Chandler's minimalist guitar parts too.
1. I Could Still (Be An Actor)
2. Now When I See You
3. The Things You Said
Stina Nordenstam • Vocals
Knox Chandler • Guitars
Bill Laswell • Bass
Anton Fier • Drums
Recorded September 1995 at Greenpoint Studio / Brooklyn N.Y.
and Stina Nordenstam
Style: Ambient, PW_stylo350s,Downtempo
Tuesday, 20 June 2023
In this dreamy aural movie set in an ficticious African country, imaginative French composer Hector Zazou has confronted three prominent singers/musicians from Congo (Bony Bikaye, Kanda Bongo Man and Ray Lema) with fifteen classical musicians & vocalists as well as his own electronic textures. A blueprint for Zazou’s later masterpieces such as ‘Sahara Blue’ (which featured the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gérard Depardieu, John Cale, Khaled etc) and ‘Songs From The Cold Seas’ (with Björk & Suzanne Vega). “Reivax” is supposed to be the soundtrack for a photo-novel by Zazou and renowned photographer Xavier Lambours, who plays the title role. ~ Crammed Discs
2. Chez Le Commandeur
3. Le Passage De La Frontière
4. Le Village Du Chef Bingo
5. Reivax Broie Du Noir
7. Chanson Bongolaise
8. Reivax Et Son Cheval Pepito
9. Que Le Bongo Et Beau
10. Un Héros
11. La Poursuite
12. Reivax (Theme)
13. Devant La Mer
15. Le Bain Royal
Bony Bikaye • Vocals
Catherine Renoult • Mezzo-soprano Vocals (9 to 13)
Marlini Battola • Violin
Martine Schouman • Violin
Jean-Michel Guelpa • Cello
Laurent Gardeux • Cello
Yseux Choix • Cello
Youen Leberre • Bassoon
Nano Peylet • Clarinet
Bruno Marq • Flute
Fred Wallich • Saxophone
Joaquim Vidal • Saxophone
Philippe Herpin • Saxophone, Bass Clarinet (9 to 13)
Fred De Fred • Guitar
Medor Mader • Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer
François Verly • Vibraphone, Marimba
Olivier Cole • Vibraphone, Marimba
Lambert Boudier • Percussion
Ray Lema • Percussion
Hector Zazou • Piano, Synthesizer, Electronics (9 to 13)
Recorded at Anagramme Studios, Paris, and Daylight Studios, Brussels. Mixed at Daylight Studios.
Mixed By Gilles Martin and Hector Zazou
Arranged and Produced by Hector Zazou
Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Style: Abstract, PW:stylo350s,Modern Classical, Tribal
Friday, 16 June 2023
|Made To Measure, Vol.1|
Released in 1984, the inaugural volume of Crammed's Made To Measure composers' series included works commissioned as soundtracks for dance & theatre performances, films, and a fashion show. The album offers both a glimpse into unusual aspects of these four artists’ work, and a testimony of the buzzing activity in what was becoming a close-knit community of musicians revolving around Crammed Discs’ Brussels headquarters, which spawned many collaborations.
02. Minimal Compact • Too Many Of Them
03. Minimal Compact • Immer Vorbei
04. Minimal Compact • Animal Killers
05. Benjamin Lew • A La Recherche De B.
06. Aksak Maboul • Scratch Holiday
07. Aksak Maboul • Odessa
08. Aksak Maboul • Chez Les Futuristes Russes
09. Aksak Maboul • Ossip & Lili
10. Aksak Maboul • Lili Danse
11. Aksak Maboul • Retour Chez Les Futuristes
12. Aksak Maboul • Mort De Velimir
13. Tuxedomoon • Fanfare
14. Tuxedomoon • No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition
15. Tuxedomoon • Driving To Verdun
Monday, 12 June 2023
Sun Ra’s ‘Nuclear War’ might be the Jupiter-born free-jazz maniac’s most malleable tune. Starting life in 1984 as the opening track on his album of the same name, there brimming with fucked-up be-bop modal slink, it was then reimagined four times over a single 40-minute EP by Yo La Tengo at the turn of the millennium, re-emerging as everything from one-chord krautrock mantra to loose-limbed electronica deconstruction.
Now, twenty more years on, New York’s Red Hot Organisation, famous for producing star-studded leftfield compilation albums to raise AIDS awareness (1993’s No Alternative, 2009’s Dark Was the Night, etc), have commissioned a parade of contemporary American jazzers to have their own pop at Ra’s mushroom-cloud-laying masterwork, with the likes of Georgia Anne Muldrow and Angel Bat Dawid each taking turns over a mesmerising hour.
If the prospect of 60 minutes of the same tune seems a bit much on paper, however, fear not: this is some of the most engaging, startling and imaginative jazz playing you’ll hear all year, full of exactly the sort of chaotic structure, mind-warping improvisation, eye-popping variety and inescapable groove worthy of the tune’s author. Muldrow first moulds the song into a sort of mournful G-funk elegy, then Bat Dawid goes full cosmic squawk for a three-movement, half-hour version that frequently gazes over the edge of madness. Philadelphia quintet Irreversible Entanglements (who feature Moor Mother among their number) steal the show, though, with a wild trip through free skronk, sarcastic marching band pageantry, and eventually a glorious post-hip-hop stride that feels, simultaneously, as strong as an ox and like it could collapse at any minute.
Collectively, the four interpretations here serve as a brilliant barometer of the vanguard of American jazz in 2023 – urgent, visionary, and (despite/because of the apocalyptic subject – delete as applicable) bursting with life.
A great resource for out of print Sun Ra albums and resource is no other than Yotte's