Spring Heel Jack / The Blue Series Continuum — Masses
(Thirsty Ear THI57103.2, 2001, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-12-01
John Coxon and Ashley Wales take advantage of their Thirsty Ear jazzy label mates by diving head first into a maze of grooves, pulse and mood. But don’t expect a clever ambient dub from these blokes, instead there’s a maelstrom in their test-tube like minds on this expedition. The core of the improvisation surrounds Mathew Shipp’s unlikely set of players including William Parker and trumpet player Roy Campbell. But added to the mix are also a few notables from the UK (especially Evan Parker). The album’s opener, “Chorale,” is simply that, a slow-building layering of sound with Shipp providing base for industrial noise to superimpose itself. The most impressive piece out of the ten tracks is “Chiaroscuro,” on which saxophonist Daniel Carter solos over a throbbing bass pulse until complete cacophony descends. The title track is a random conversation between horn and percussion, which deposits the listener into a planned confusion that is both amusing and annoying. “Cross” picks up the tempo, pushed by Guillermo Brown’s driving kit and a blazing passage from violist Mat Maneri; Tim Berne even gets a turn on “Medusa’s Head,” shouldered against Evan Parker’s sonic barrage. In summary, it’s uncommon to hear a marriage between two disparate music scenes trying to find a common pathway. While it may not be as genre-breaking as fusion was in the 70s, hopefully this project has opened a Pandora’s box to potentially create a vague roadmap for further experimental endeavors.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more