Tuesday, December 18, 2012

(reawakened) just in time for the end of the world

so... guess who didn't even make it till then ;-)

no, in the end i came to the conclusion that this total abstinence lark just isn't for me either, at least not quite yet, anyway...

... and treated myself to a day with considerably less internal stress. and during the day, or rather the afternoon and evening, i was still listening to "rock" music (*). but in this state, again, i finally found i was not satisfied with that and needed sound-materials of considerably greater density (*) - so, after weeks and weeks spent listening almost exclusively to extreme metal and punk, with the odd bit of lighter-but-still-fringe "actual rock" thrown in for good measure, i ended up tonight with something which i haven't really heard properly for quite a while, but which impressed the shit out of me when i fist heard it, and that was this, still a definite high-water mark in free improv for me. i wrote about it when i posted my own (dropout-corrected) edit of the longer first piece; until this year i wasn't even aware that there was a second and, although i had heard that piece when the concert emerged as an official boot, this was the first time i really gave it my proper attention, at least for some of it - ! 'cos there was quite a lot of catching up to do tonight, and i couldn't give sustained attention to any one thing-

- nevertheless, if i've taken one thing away from the last hour or so, it is that this recording truly does capture some FUCKING INCREDIBLE MUSIC. if i'm not mistaken, i said something suitably and similarly hyperbolic when i first heard it, but well, it's that kind of music. actually, that first time, like many listeners typically do, i wasn't fully paying attention when the music began and therefore didn;t really engage with it until it first hit a peak of focussed intensity; from then on, it rarely drops for a second and as a result i remembered the whole thing almost as if it entices from the word go; but this is not necessarily the case, and that is fine: this sort of music is above all a process, not a product. tonight it took almost seven minutes before i realised i was fully under the spell. the opening entries - from bailey, starting then stopping then re-starting all on his own, then lewis then braxton practically on top of each other - were fascinating, hearing the sound being worked up literally from nothing and the players feel their way around each other; but i lost the thread within the first minute, in all probability, picking it up only for scattered seconds after that until around the 7.00 min mark like i say, when b. is stripping layers off the inside of his saxophone and the three of them are suddenly really really cooking.

it came up out of them organically, as if from nowhere - but inevitably.

- and it's true, once that peak is reached, there is scarcely a breath of let-up because the creative invention continues to be of a spectacularly high degree of skill and focus, and the discourse is conducted at a ludicrously advanced level. if we were to attempt the sanity-shredding task of mapping it, or rather the territory covered by it, it would spool out into something vastly more time-consuming than the second-munching clock trciks us into believing: with the ear-miscroscope attuned, the true pace of this music, in terms of actual distance covered (or conceptual discourse achieved) versus time elapsed, is very fast indeed. [and yeah... well, whether or not i am yet capable of hearing this properly without recourse to paregoric, i lack at least the inclination to fill my head with it - or have done, of late. that's all i can conclude about it, really, for the time being.]

tonight is not the time to ramble on at great length though - not tonight. cannot be up half the night... just can't be done... but at the same time, it seemed vitally important to post at last. (haha, rarely a day gors by that i don't beat myself up about not posting, especially when i have stated the intention to write about something, or several things...) no, i still haven't found the right set of circumstance to write about the italian concert video - not yet; though that'll definitely come, don't worry about that at least. but, yet again, the imperative to write tonight came from the repeated rediscovery that although b's voice may (betimes) be too intense for the uncommitted to approach, it justifies its own intensity many times over with the vital, wonderful, worthy-of-hearing wisdom which spills from that committed mouth. and on this occasion, at least, there was never any question that he shared the stage with two men who were fully operating at precisely the same level throughout. (*)

there was one more thing: i've failed yet again to write about james fei's album in time. this is as mucxh as anything else an acknowledgement of the fact that, with the best will in the world, it's pretty esoteric stuff and probably only really appreciable by serious reed-players. i haven't found time to re-listen to it, but then i never properly penetrated it, or was deeply moved by it, on the occasions when i've played it previously and i think (even) i would find it terribly difficult to write about. i kept the desire to do so for all this time because, in truth, mr fei is one of the experts as far as i'm concerned, and this blog is concerned; what he might be besides that, i'm really not sure but i daresay it'll all become clear eventually. meanwhile, there is yet a smidgen of time before the world's scheduled end, and the end of the final sale, therefore... the album can be found for a song, practically, in there.

* first comment
* second comment


centrifuge said...

1. well, you know, technically - some extreme metal (etc) is still identifiable as rock(-related/-descended) music. (current eg on my ipod: kvelertak, converge.) otherwise, it's long snce got to the point when death metal, in particular, is often considered to be just "metal" and (very specifically) not "rock". some of the stuff i've been giving heavy ear-rotation - coalesce, burnt by the sun, daughters, fuck the facts, havohej - really shares only the accident of instrumentation with rock music, as the older listeners remember it (... as having ceased to move forward soon after jimi died). same axes involved, 's about it. structure, tonality, dynamics... everything else is way off the limits of anything blues-based or even diatonic.

naturally the severity of the attack is more than most care to sample, and the whole is designed both for and by people with social-anger issues, hence (inevitably) its enduirng appealfor me, ahem. nevertheless... like with gore flix, you come for the wrong" reasons but ened up hanging out way longer than anywone would think desirable for all the *right* ones, i.e. the material is actually really really interesting, and (widely and/or deeply) explores ideas you just don't find elsewhere. the performances, inevitably, are typically extremely committed 'cos there ain't no other reason for doing it... absolutely no money in it for the most part, even in this day and age.

mini-lecture (pt 1) over. pt 2: ... for those of you who don't know, clutch are a cult rock band now associated with stoner/groove rock or metal, take yr pick... they have a late/current period, a mid-period where they were stoner but aggressive with it (at times), and an early period which is somewhat misunderstood, often classified by bloggers as hardcore punk but actually art-rock, being flagrantly (and definitively) influenced by helmet (wiki that one if you don't know who page hamilton is) - and thereby next-most-importantly foreshadowed by killing joke. so, yeah - true punk, not so very far removed from art school admittedly, but heart-and-soul punk, still not hardcore as such though... anyway, clutch not punk at all really, arty intellectual metal at that stage, contemptuous and very clever lyrics. (remain clever later - much more mellow with it, on the whole)- i love the early stuff too, more than the later in my case, not that i'm saying it was necessarily *better*.

the last thing to say about all this is that generally, the "rock" i listen to is consdierably more dense and complex than what most listeners are used to, and by a factor which is hard to estimate. and yet... it still works out over time to be an awful lot less dense than braxton's composition, or than high-end free improv... just a fact. there is still a big, big difference when it comes down to it.

centrifuge said...

there will have been other examples of this, obviously. readily springing to mind, the duos with parker and the trio with parker and rutherford - ah, fuck, look - there are plenty of examples. mr b and c.t. have, let's face it, played with justa-bout everybody. still... not every time will he have felt sure up front that the other two in a trio were fully on his level. shit, george lewis barely makes any sound that's clearly identifiable as trombone throughout and yet he (effortlessly, it seems) keeps his utterance both fabulously rich and utterly enthralling. of course, by 1982... mr lewis is aware by this point, more than ever i am guessing, that his instrument has seen a rebirth at the hands of no few masters... and just about every base has been covered by all of them. ok, so what does that leave? and much of it just comes doewn to *breath*. can safely assume that there's a more than a hint of bill dixon influence in there too, then..? very important influence for the free brass, mr dixon...

... lewis and bailey can of course also be heard on *yankees* with john zorn, that's a fucking blinder too - now, i remember when i first bought it, i didn't yet "get" improv at all and had seen bailey for the first and only time already by this point, but loved xzorn and lewis on it, found bailey just a constant irritant. so i do remember what it feels like... but christ, if you make a living out of writing about music, at least have the decency to ask around the scene itself and find out how people are regarded within it before forging ahead with your own hastily-assembled schematics of category and calibre... {tt} - in bailey's case, recall joelle leandre, who became a favourite of john cage of course, saying that meeting bailey for the first time was almost as overwhelming for her as meeting cage - d.b. had set the strings free.

that took long enough didn't it... night night ;-)

centrifuge said...

... took long enough, and forgot to mention completely the (trivial-crucial) detail that on the day i fell off the wagon, prior to my late-night "improvtacular" i had been listening to the new converge album, again (again), and mid-late period clutch. crucial, as in why the hell else would i be telling you all about clutch in pt2 of my latest self-important spoutings (s-is) above ;-)