Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spun #5

Gruppe Nuova Consonanza
Deutsche Grammaphon 137 007, 1969

An early exploration into the world of electro-acoustic improvisation, with Ennio Morricone playing some trumpet. This is mostly quiet, edge-of-perception sort of music, what my friend Franke might call "scratch and sniff," but still with a few spikes of surprise here and there. The generous space (time-wise and depth-wise) around individual sounds allows the listener to concentrate and almost visualize each specific event. It's music that breathes and lets you approach it in your own way, instead of constantly beating you over the head and telling you what you're supposed to hear. Rather refreshing, if you ask me.

From the liner notes: "To unite composition and interpretation, which have hitherto always been separate functions in traditional European musical practice, in a simultaneous creative act-- that is the declared aim of the "Nuova Consonanza" improvisation group. The only ensemble of its kind in Europe, it was founded in Rome in 1964/65 by Franco Evangelisti (who had formulated his theories as a result of aleatory already in 1959)-- following the example of the "New Music Ensemble" which has been working in California since 1963, with the same terms of reference and similar aims but without regard to electroacoustic music. The ensemble also receives important stimulus from jazz and from Indian music, both of which-- though each within an entirely different context of aesthetics and tradition-- have developed somewhat similar principles of collective, improvised composition. All the members of the "Nuova Consonanza" group are composers, who also have a virtuoso command of one or more instruments."

Retrieve it here.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Spun #4

Ken Nordine
"Stare With Your Ears"
Snail Records SR 1001, 1979

For those already familiar with Ken Nordine from his other more widely available recordings, you'll be surprised at how much sort-of singing he does here. His vocals are still warm and up-front as always, but more rhythmically tight and melodic. And the musical arrangements are not his typical jazz backdrops, but instead dark and atmospheric, sometimes bordering on the more minimal territory of The Residents or even Bohren & Der Club of Gore (I'm thinking mostly of my favorite track here, "Cracks in the Ceiling"). There's also some lighter country pop or blues sounding stuff, but the feeling overall is one of foreboding.

From the back, in his own words:

"Silly sill silly me
writing songs
your ears can see,
songs they are
more said than sung,
talking songs
for solo tongue.
Some are sad and
some are not,
some could make you
laugh a lot,
all were written
by my pen,
call me Nordine
comma Ken."

Find it here.