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Hemroid The Leader

Xenakis Ensemble – “Waakvlam” – [BVHaast]

Hemroid The Leader   4/19/2017   A Library, CD

The Xenakis Ensemble is a Dutch ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music. Based in Middelburg, it is known as one of the few ensembles specializing in the works of the composer Iannis Xenakis (YAWN-iss zen-KNOCK-kiss). Many Xenakis titles in A library. 3 long (20mins) and 1 short (3:30).

Opens with a Xenakis composition featuring the signature sound of percussionn and horn blasts alternating with horror string glissandos.
Track 2 William Breuker – harpsichord and chamber orchestra with lots of percussion.
Track 3 David Del Puerto exploratory marimba concerto, a real treat for marimbologists.
Track 4 Xenakis – shorter Xenakis piece, not so terrifying. Enjoyable, maybe.

Eide, Khalifa Ould & Abba, Dimi Mint – “Moorish Music From Mauritania” – [World Circuit]

Hemroid The Leader   4/12/2017   CD, International

Dimi Mint Abba was born in 1958 to a low-caste Mauritanian family specializing in the griot tradition. She is accompanied here by her husband Khalifa Ould Eide and her two daughters. Moorish music is highly structured improvised music, with intricate vocal and rhythmic interplay. Handclaps, rattle, hand drums, hammer-ons. She died in June, 2011 in Casablanca, Morocco. Her fans included Youssou N’Dour and Ali Farka Toure.

Tracks 1-6 feature tidinit/lute, 7-11 feature electric guitar. Fans of Gnawa and Saharan blues music will find much to enjoy.

She began her career in 1976 when she won the Umm Kulthum Contest in Tunis. Her winning song “Sawt Elfan” (“Art’s Plume” – Track 7) has the refrain “Art’s Plume is a balsam, a weapon and a guide enlightening the spirit of men”, which can be interpreted to mean that artists play a more important role than warriors in society.

Brahms – “Complete Quartets For Piano & Strings Vol. 2” – [Capitol Records]

Hemroid The Leader   4/6/2017   12-inch, Classical

The Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 26 by Johannes Brahms, for piano, violin, viola and cello. It was completed in 1861 and received its premiere in November 1863 by the Hellmesberger Quartet with the composer playing the piano part.
This quartet is long and shows the influence of Schubert. When performed badly it is quite interminable. None of that here, Victor Allen at the piano with members of the Hollywood String Quartet, Felix Slatkin- violin, Alvin Dinkin- viola, Eleanor Allen- cello.

Vakoka – “Introducing Vakoka” – [World Music Network]

Hemroid The Leader   3/29/2017   CD, International

Vakoka means “something precious given from the ancestors”. Madagascar is an island off of the SE coast of Africa settled 1500 years ago by Polynesians. Wood flutes, violin, accordion, snaredrum, call and response, hand drums. Diverse ensembles give contrasting sounds from track-to-track, deeper tracks reward. Mississippi Records’ “Fanajana” & “Fanafody” Madagascar comps provide contrast.

Monochromie – “Colors In The Dark” – [Time Released Sound]

Hemroid The Leader   3/15/2017   A Library, CD

French composer Wilson Trouve and Alameda’s Time Released Sound bring us 11 tracks of ambient piano, field recordings, guitar, and synthesizer swells, all processed and encased in layers of shellac. Romantic and pastoral impulses dominate. The piano work is tonally related to minimalism, but uncharacteristically, it brings a romantic sentiment to the proceedings

Necks, The – “Silent Night” – [Fish of Milk]

Hemroid The Leader   3/15/2017   A Library, CD

2 CD’s, 2 long slow-moving tunes, 63 & 53 mins from Australia’s The Necks. CDs mix together nicely. Repetitive piano and sidewinding bass phrases, some electroacoustic and film sample sounds. Drum machines. 88 BPM. Made me want to go out at night and repossess some vehicles. 6 minutes in, “Can I get a beer?” You’ll need one. 15 minutes, a guy gets roughed up. 37 minutes in, this lady gets thrown out a window. Ambulances wail, the crime scene photographers do their job. Let’s go on a stakeout.

Cutler, Grant – “Self Portrait” – [Innova Recordings]

Hemroid The Leader   3/15/2017   A Library, CD

Brooklyn’s Grant Cutler recorded musicians improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, building odd warm drones. The compositional process is guided by the dumb logic of delay, and the results are anything but. Klangfarbenmelodie colors, shifting terrain, structures constructing and desconstructing simultaneously. 8 short tunes 3-7 minutes each. We have another Cutler 12″ in the library.

Beethoven – “String Quartet No. 15 In a Minor, Op. 132” – [Philips]

Hemroid The Leader   3/15/2017   12-inch, Classical

Beethoven’s late quartets were written in failing health in April 1825. Considered among the greatest works of all time, Beethoven composed these in almost total deafness. In his words, B2 is his “Holy song of thanks (‘Heiliger Dankgesang’) to the divinity, from one made well.”
TS Eliot wrote the Four Quartets with a copy on the turntable, saying:

I find it quite inexhaustible to study. There is a sort of heavenly or at least more than human gaiety about some of his later things which one imagines might come to oneself as the fruit of reconciliation and relief after immense suffering; I should like to get something of that into verse before I die.

Masaoka, Miya – “Compositions Improvisations” – [Asian Improv Records]

Hemroid The Leader   3/1/2017   A Library, CD

Miya Masaoka was a pianist who took up the koto – a 21-string Japanese harp. The principal is jo ha kyu – prelude/breaking away/hurried. It essentially means that all actions or efforts should begin slowly, speed up, and then end swiftly. The great Noh playwright Zeami viewed it as a universal concept applying to the patterns of movement of all things. Like shakuhachi, this is meditative improvisation.

In 1993 Francis Wong was director of Asian Improv Records. He said at the time, “there has never been an Asian American exclusive form.” Hopefully we will get more from AIR, a scene that probably best correlates to AACM. Masaoka was in the process of obtaining a Master’s degree from Mills College. In her words, it was “an exciting time for the Asian American music scene. It was small, fragile, underground, and we had a mission and our bonds were strong.”

Track 7 is an Ellington tune. Track 8 features wood flute.

Eckemoff, Yelena Quintet – “Blooming Tall Phlox” – [L & H Production]

Hemroid The Leader   2/18/2017   CD, Jazz

CD1: Summer smells / CD2: Winter smells
Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff recruited Finnish jazz players to record this homage to the scents of her childhood in Russia. The band is comprised of trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, drummer Olavi Louhivuori, vibraphonist Panu Savolainen and bassist Antti Lotjonen. They are a younger band, very investigative, stimulating. More IN than OUT. Eckemoff is new to our library. She gives the band a lot of room within the compositions, but they retain a strong structure.

Mimmo, Gianni & Sjostrom, Harri – “Live At Bauchhund Berlin 2010” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

Hemroid The Leader   2/18/2017   CD, Jazz

Out on Mimmo’s own label Amirani Contemporary, a duo of soprano sax natives Gianni Mimmo and Harri Sjostrom (ho-STROAM) performing live at Bauchhund Salonlabor in Berlin, June 4, 2010. Track 1 is a spoken intro. It was recorded on the anniversary of Steve Lacy’s passing, a fact mentioned in the intro. Lots of mouthpiece sounds. They get very into the instrument. Almost private. Track 9 features Sjostrom playing a special plastic cup.

Ades, Thomas – “Living Toys” – [Angel/Emi Classics]

Hemroid The Leader   2/8/2017   A Library, CD

Thomas Ades (rhymes/w Jon Faddis) b. 1971, London. 45 Year old British composer. Recorded 95&97, released 98. 5 pieces over 24 tracks. Track singly, grouped by piece, continuous- all good.

1-8 Living Toys ’93- Chamber orchestra London Sinfonettia. Extended technique, performers slap their instruments from behind. Giant extinct bull- death of HAL- lifeless gongs- Juanito’s dream of a heroic life.

9-15 Arcadiana ’94- Endellion string quartet. 7 movements. Free. Track 12- Tango mortale. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

16-19 Sonata da Caccia ’93- Hunting Sonata – Oboe, horn, and Ades on harpsichord. Baroque sound turns modern in the final 2 movements.

20-23 The origin Of The Harp ’94- Chamber ensemble work for 10 players, commissioned by the Halle Orchestra. It premiered in 1994 at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester under the baton of the composer himself.

24 Gefriolsae Me ’90 (at 19 years old) – Haunting penitent chorus.
Gefriolsae me of blodum, God haelu mine.
(“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God my saviour.”) Psalm 51

Natural Artefacts – “California Connection” – [LJ Records]

Hemroid The Leader   2/8/2017   CD, Jazz

Recorded February 17th, 2014 at Cal’s Center for New Music & Audio Technologies.
Natural Artefacts cultivates a mix of live electronics, jazz, improvised, and new music. Piano, tenor sax, percussion, electronics. Never too rough.

Natural Artefacts
Susanna Lindeborg-piano, electronics
Ove Johansson- tenor sax, EWI, electronics
Pers Anders Nilsson- exPressurePad, electronics

guests
Gino Robair- percussion, electronics
Tim Perkis.- electronics (12, 13)

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