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Masada – “John Zorn 50TH Birthday Celebr ” – [Tzadik]

Masada is one of Zorn’s longest running and most popular
projects. For those who may be unfamilar with Masada,
the project represents Zorn’s attempt to create a new form
of Jewish music, one that celebrates and preserves Jewish
musical traditions while integrating elements of modern
music, as well. Elements of klezmer, Eastern and Middle
Eastern music, jazz, avant-garde, and classical are integrated
to create the unique Masada sound. On this disc, they are
captured live in September 2003 as part of Zorn’s incredible
month long series of concerts at Tonic (NYC) to celebrate
his 50th birthday. The quartet is in top form, with Zorn
and Douglas weaving complex lines around each other
(especially on tracks 4 and 7 – yow!) over the solid rhythm
section of Cohen and (the great) Joey Baron. Whether they’re
executing ensemble passages with cool precision or blowing freely ,
for the most part, this is improvisation at its finest. Inspiring! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on September 28, 2004 at 10:56 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Nadler, Marissa – “Ballads of Living and Dying ” – [Eclipse Records]

    NYC-based musician and artist, Marissa Nadler,
    throws her hat into the ring of the, currently hot,
    solo femme acid folk scene with her debut release,
    ‘Ballads of Living and Dying?. Nadler’s obviously
    been exposed to a diverse array of influences from
    old-timey americana folk to modern avant acoustic
    guitarists, such as Fahey, etc., to psychedelia and
    beyond. The tracks on this LP range from pretty
    straightforward solo folk to atmospheric, late night
    folk-psych. As the title suggests, the lyrical content
    explores dark themes (death/suicide, ill-fated loves, etc.),
    all delivered in Nadler’s sweet, ethereal vocal style.
    Nadler also appears to be a fairly accomplished musician
    and performs on a variety of stringed instruments (six
    and twelve string acoustic guitar, banjo, ukelele, and
    autopharp), as well as organ, to weave her tapesry
    of sound. Personal favorites include ‘Fifty Five Falls?,
    ‘Mayflower May?, and her haunting treatment of Poe’s
    ‘Annabelle Lee?. An interesting and excellent release
    from this promising new artist. Recommended! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on September 26, 2004 at 10:59 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Zdrastvootie “” 33 rpm [self]

    Hauling sprawl free-rock from four Santa Cruzers nourished on
    Beefhearts. A-side has a definite Lucas film on the fingers
    of the guitar. Songs sort of explore, bump in the dark. Like
    stairs built by hallucinating carpenters. A-side after its
    Lucas leap settles into a walking rhythm then drops through
    some trapdoor chords before striking the anthem ore for a
    few measures then drizzles out softly to black inner groove.
    B-side explodes out of the gate, drums alternating between
    pacemaker ticks and heart attack thwacks. Then song comes
    to a twang bar in the middle of the road, up the fretboard
    go fretting fingers things get chittery for awhile, then
    in comes the secret stair mantra. Whenever a rare chord is
    struck, it’s heavy with ninths, flats, sharps, and other
    accouterments. Quiet comes in (like a second track) and
    it’s a race up a mountain to the finish (where it almost
    sounds like a live gig). Flustery…in a good way. -Hunger
    PS name is hello in russian, “zzz-draw-stvee-cheh”

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on September 7, 2004 at 2:54 am
  • Filed as Format,7-inch,A Library
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  • Larry Stabbins “Monadic” [Emanem]

    Solo saxaphone from UK soprano and tenor-drizer Stabbins.
    For erudite enlightenment, seek the liner notes. I can tell
    you that this album starts off with a buzzy, windy blower
    that then tracks into a spiraling number. Not super cyclone
    circular breathing, but spin and hold style. #2 then tracks
    into a fuzzier, sputtering piece. About 1/2 way through #3
    we move to a drier, tighter dart-like sound. Not harsh in
    a Gustaffson style, but more bird like. The soprano takes
    over and we get a sort of splintered take on the theme to
    Close Encounters. Indeed, Stabbins often has encounters of
    his own that drift very near melody. This solo outing has
    many down-right hummable parts to go with the other more
    peculiar saxy pyrotechnics. But plenty of squiggliness
    and nasally wailing like on #5 half-way through. Back on
    the tenor train certainly by 12 minutes into #7. That
    piece starts with perhaps the most memorable melody on
    the album but it gets well and nicely frayed over its
    17 minutes. A surprisingly nasty almost R&B smoky start
    on the last track before a very abrupt end to the album.
    Word on the sleeve is that Stabbins has been a long-time
    collaborator on the UK free scene, but this shows he can
    stand alone just fine. Mind the tracking…

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on September 1, 2004 at 4:10 pm
  • Filed as Format,CD,Jazz
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  • Trio X 3 “New Jazz Meeting – Baden Baden 2002 ” [Hat Hut]

    Catchy like an abstract painting…dualing splatter platters
    of trios cubed. This New Jazz Meeting features a trick that
    is older than it sounds: splicing electronics w/ improv. On
    the fly and in situ sounds are sliced & diced by top-notch
    twiddlers: Philip Jeck, Bernhard Lang and Christof Kurzmann.
    The first disc is all live, while the second (my slight fave)
    was a studio effort. Electronics came in originally often
    via percussion, and here that is a primary tactic. But also
    treated textures hover at the edges of pieces, especially on
    the studio disk. The use of lighter horns: Philippe Racine’s
    flute, Marcus Weiss’s saxes and a very vital Steve Lacy are
    open enough that they never obliterate whatever more subtle
    programming is going on. NOTE : contrary to the “band-name”
    never do we catch the starting 9 on the field all at once.
    Tracks 1-2, 1-4, 1-6 have a few hectic (rewarding) moments,
    occasional chainsaw cut-up, wail-out. The rest is much more
    nuanced, deep but never engulfing. The liner notes deliver
    the recipe in greater detail, and emphasize the secret
    rhythms of Lang. 1-1 gets things started tunefully with
    a weird waft of brain-funk. 2-6 showcases Lang on “flute”
    (sampling Erik Dresher!). Great striking drones on 2-5. Of
    the two epics, 2-7 is a winding tunnel that sustains
    ominence. RIP Lacy, viva improv.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on September 1, 2004 at 2:40 am
  • Filed as Format,CD,Jazz
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  • Orinoka Crash Suite “Two” [Narnack]

    OCS is John Dwyer…or at least one of an army of John Dwyers
    as seen in the Coachwhips, Pink and Brown, Zeigenbock Kopf
    and grandma’s fave, “Dig That Body Up It’s Alive.” Prolific
    is too weak a word. On Sesame Street, this is the album that
    is not like the others…acoustic, subdued, tape-hissed,
    vocally-hushed numbers. “Killed Yourself” sounds like the
    singer drowned himself in a cute little aquarium, with one
    of those fancy tiny castles. Guided by Voices managed to
    get just the right type of poor recording on their earlier
    stuff, I’d venture that here Dwyer has done as good a job.
    The splotchy reverb and warble of the recordings just adds
    stacks of unassuming ambience to these strumbly numbers.
    The ending number drives home the point, it’s a true “home”
    recording, old-school style…a child recounting Goldylox
    and the three “beers?” “Intermission” serves up a fit of
    fury… Usually it is the sounds, voices, tweaky guitar
    on top of the acoustic underbelly that make these songlets
    compelling. I find this a lot more bluesy than the most
    recent Clarence Gatemouth Brown album. Half-cooked and
    home-cocked. Don’t miss the Bisbees.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on September 1, 2004 at 1:14 am
  • Filed as Format,A Library,CD
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