The Visibility of Thought
Muhal Richard Abrams
Duet for Contrabass and Piano, Duet for Violin and Piano, Baritone Voice and String Quartet, Piano Duet #1, The Visibility of Thought, Piano Improvisation Muhal Richard Abrams, Thomas Buckner, Philip Bush, Jon Deak, Mark Feldman, Joseph Kubera, ETHEL: Ralph Farris, Dorothy Lawson, Todd Reynolds, Mary Rowell
IRIS, the second CD release from the duo Evidence (Stephan Moore and Scott Smallwood) on the Deep Listening label, is also their first video release. The DVD has the same sonic material as the music on the CD, but it features video pieces by the duo's favorite live-video performers, including Benton-C Bainbridge, Betsey Biggs, Fi$h2000, Madeleine Gallagher, Dawn Haleta, David Lublin, Jonathan Lee Marcus, Olivia Robinson, skfl, Diana Reed Slattery, Jack Turner and Walter Wright. These pieces emphasize the spontaneity of the artists' live performances, the practice of using "found" materials, and suggest the emergence of a regional aesthetic stemming from the recent hotbed of media performance centered around Troy, New York.
Stephan Moore is a composer, improviser, audio artist, sound designer and software programmer from Marquette, Michigan, currently based in New York City. His work is grounded in the collection and investigation of environmental sound recordings and a fascination with the perception and properties of acoustic environments. Performances and installation artworks make use of multi-channel arrays of his Hemisphere speakers. He maintains several ongoing collaborations with diverse musicians, live-video artists and choreographers. He is currently the Sound Supervisor of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Scott Smallwood was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up at 10,000 feet in elevation in the Colorado Rockies. When Smallwood was 10 years old, his father gave him a cassette tape recorder, and ever since he has been fascinated by the possibilities of recorded sound. His work deals with real and abstracted soundscapes based on a practice of listening, improvisation, and phonography. Ranging from sonic photographs, studio compositions, instrumental pieces, and improvisations, the resulting pieces are often textural, always mindful of space and subtlety.
This release contains both a CD and DVD.
Live-electronic music for four musicians and tape, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation for performance with the dance work and film, Coast Zone. Choreographed by Merce Cunningham and first performed by John Cage, voice; Martin Kalve, koto; Takehisa Kosugi, violin; and David Tudor, electronics.
Score and 6 performance audio cassettes
KA-GU-LA: Ritual of the Wind
Akao observes that "performing artists blow a new wind through closed societies. They are the modern-day shamans who use their bodies as the medium to link people to the natural world." Yokobue (transverse bamboo flutes) master, Michiko Akao, and percussionist, Midori Takada, perform music evocative of ancient Japanese traditions - from folk songs to the kagura, the rites of music and dance used to invoke the presence of deities and from which form emerges the very basis of Japan's performing arts. Distributed by Deep Listening® Publications.
HI-KA-LI: wind reflections
Continued explorations into the mythic origins of the sound of the yokobue, the family of Japanese transverse bamboo flutes. Five commissions (and premieres) of music from 1982 to 1991 with Akao on flutes, Nachiko Maekane, percussion, Carl Stone, electronics, and Kodo on Japanese drums. Featured composers are Masanori Fujita, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Isao Matsushita, Carl Stone and Maki Ishii. Distributed by Deep Listening® Publications.
KI-NO-KOE: voice of tree
Akao's most recent recording includes works by Michiko Akao, Somei Satoh, Akira Nishimura, Haruna Miyake and Teizo Matsumura. An exceptional release featuring compositions still very new and relatively obscure to listeners outside of Japan. Distributed by Deep Listening® Publications.
This CD has pieces with an auctioneer, a Kentucky farm with birds & clover, a jazz dancer, a quivering, vibrating, sexually tinged piece full of women saying supplication, a saint dying in flames, a drum piece about frustration, mother/daughter miscommunication, a pipe organ, and punk rap with overtones of yoga. Many of Anderson's compositions from 1973-1979 use words or parts of words to make either all or part of the music. Sometimes the music is derived from the words. Some of it is considered to be part of the genre known as text-sound.
Savage Songs (Works from 1961-1970)
"Pequena Peça para Mi bequadro e Harmônicos" (1961); "Valsa Sideral" (1962); "Música para Varreduras de Freqüências" (1963); "Fluxo Luminoso para Sons Brancos I" (1964); "Contrapunctus contra Contrapunctus" (1965); "Três Estudos Cromofônicos" (1966); "Canto Selvagem" (1967); "Movimento Browniano" (1968); "Canto do Pedreiro" (1968); "Cinta Cita" (1969); "Auto-Retrato sobre Paisaje Porteño" (1969/1970); "Historia de um Pueblo por Nacer or Carta Abierta a Vassili Vasilikos y a todos los Pesimistas" (1970)
Although David Arner’s SOLO PIANO, on Dogstar Records, has been released for awhile, it has recently come to my attention. Arner is a member of the audience at many of the concerts of improvised music which I attend. Based on this fact, I thought to find his music to listen to and see if the correlation in our tastes translated to his own musical invention. It was no surprise that it did.
The origins of Arner’s pianistic vocabulary is unquestionably clear in the first phrases that he plays. I was going to use the word “measures” instead of phrases to describe what he plays but this would put his improvisation into a false context. The idea of meter and classical composition comes forth starkly in this recording and he alludes to the music of specific classical composers, yet when comparing Arner’s phraseology to that of composed music, I can hear the difference. Arner’s music, though incredibly detailed and formal, is free. It is music that is created as a result of the assimilation of a vast body of knowledge about the classical music of the era that changed the way music composition was approached in some cases and how music changed as a result of cultural milieu, particularly in the mid 20th century.
This music is not angry; it is direct. This music is sometimes playful, not messy. This music touches on an entire body of methodologies, extending, for example, to that of early piano jazz and songbook jazz. This music demonstrates how Arner casts a huge net of thoughtful expressionism over an intelligent group of statements to be collected and placed into a recording that has great continuity within absolute contrast, one cut to the other. Arner knows internally the vastness of the task of honing in on appropriate means of assembling within one recording a balance of experience with innovation.
With Glenn Gould perseverance, Arner has planted a valuable seed in the improvised piano field of dreams. What is extremely tantalizing is his ability to go through the entire recording pulling, and tugging, and springing off the keyboard to burst out at times with a powerfully rhythmic hammering of the keys, glissandos, studious mid-register repetitions, or simply, a mild scattering of notes & chords counteracted with carefully chosen nearly twelve tone pitch arrays that travel to a just end.
Arner’s fingers speak with a soft gentle intention. He is dedicated to the service of the mastery of the acoustic piano keyboard. A reverence to it is so blatantly indicated that his music can inspire graciously and thankfully a deep emotional response to its sincere seriousness.
Reviewed by: Lyn Horton
Live From the Center
Exercising both the inside and outside of the piano means that you are dealing with the entire instrument. It means that you are dealing with all of the piano’s dynamics. And discovering what is possible within the realm of possibilities which you know, as a musician, you cannot possibly exhaust.
David Arner’s piano vocabulary in his new solo recording is extraordinarily rich. He has augmented his musical vocabulary with this one instrument volumetrically.
His sense of the piano is extremely acute. He knows the piano’s relationship to how the sound will rise out of it. The key to the relationship is the attack he will choose: planting his fingers on the keys, using his fingers to pluck the strings on the sounding board, holding a mallet to bounce on the strings… Then, comes the music. How the notes are put together, how the phases become sensible, and how pushing the envelope on repetitions of phrases imbues great power in a sonorous atmosphere to build its omnipresence and incessant tempo. This atmosphere is juxtaposed to quietude, and equally present are runs and trills, silence and deeply felt and internally driven accents and sustenutos and dampening resonance. The music is in a perfect balance.
Arner’s playing has characteristics that qualify as signature. There are times when he executes his music as if it were played on a piano roll. It is really quite amazing. He can manufacture brilliant continuity with the left hand which simultaneously is countered by a right-handed series of separated single, double, triple notes. Then the two hands switch roles and the continuity evolves in another way. Just as intense as the multiplicitous ranges of note and phrase series could be a repeated, very evenly timed single note cadenza. Arner’s choice of how to combine the tonal with the percussive gives substance to the origin of both, which is the same.
Arner approaches his improvisations with exquisite conception. The rapidity and clarity with which his pieces precisely unfold are remarkable. It is with certainty that I feel that his idea of time corresponds with its passage. It is as if he doesn’t want to let one increment of time pass unnoticed, undocumented, unused. In this way, he is bearing witness to time in its penultimate form. For the process of improvisation is, in itself, a means to document time. It is a means for the mind, emotion and universal view to blend into an unfettered, irrevocable, inimitable sound force. The ramifications of that marriage are completely absorbing and a lesson in how vast is the capacity of this pianist to create exciting, energized and unforgettable music.
Arner steps beyond the academic. It is that step which takes him into musical zones that not only require rapt attention but also render rapt attention an automatic response to the music.
Reviewed by: Lyn Horton, Jazzreview