Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen — Two Rainbows Daily
(Cuneiform Rune 77, 1978/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01
Another example of re-issue heaven? This album is (to my knowledge) the only bass / keyboard duet album made from a Canterbury link (Gilgamesh / Soft Machine). Originally released in the UK/USA in 1978, it found its way into semi-obscurity almost immediately upon release. Another fine album of jazz improvisation which showcases harmonic and compositional sensitivity (probably the trademark of all Canterbury releases). Rhythm on the original eight songs is primarily held down by a slow, calculated interaction between keyboards and fuzz bass lines: no busy flash playing here. "Morning Order" has a very subtle synth intro alternating with crisp, restrained bass playing, two layers of keyboards building a slow, sedate atmosphere — Gowen's stamp on nearly all his work. The title track is probably the only truly bright, optimistic moment on the disc; featured is Gowen's acoustic piano, underpinned by drone-like Moog tones, and a nice wandering bass chart. "Elibom" is also a standout counterpoint piece, one of my favorite of all Hopper compositions. An additional five bonus tracks have been added onto the disc which comprise live performances from September 1980 made with Nigel Morris, drums (ex-Isotope, along with Hopper). These pieces are live tracks that show how well this trio could interplay off each other without getting too free. Also included are brand new liner notes by Hopper that help shed some more light on the workings of Gowen and cohorts at the this time. A closing note: according the Stewart / Gaskin website, this is disc was re-released almost exactly at the same time as another select Gowen project: Before a Word Is Said (also reviewed in this issue). Enjoy!
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more