All posts by Kanju

John Coltrane – infinity


Here’s a fairly short & immensely intriguing four track CD made all the more distinguished amongst Coltrane’s considerable archives because it has a separately recorded (then spliced) classical orchestra coinciding through the bulk of the disk. Other sections of the original performances are also edited (certain instruments are at times muted in the mix or greatly reduced in volume allowing for elevated concentration on individual soloing) & I suspect some overdubs have made their way amongst the amalgamations. Coltrane really had three comportments – weltering Avant ferments of ecstatic smouldering free-flow intensity (for me Coltrane at his best, but I think his least popular amongst his majority fans), what I would refer to as his traditional mode & of course his “Spiritual Jazz”. Although I study Coltrane’s stuff extensively, I am completely fixated/biased to his mad uncompromising blow-out material, finding the traditional stuff too straight & his spiritual stuff too saccharine & quixotic. This of course is my own opinion & will contrast massively to the majority of his acolytes. Infinity is about my tenth Coltrane LP & is probably the most balanced I have heard pulling in all his versions/styles, not just between the trax but often within them.

The album opens with Peace On Earth. The Orchestra enter first with ginormous precipices of epic rise & fall, vast ascending & diving. some will have to forgive my levity but I find it quite pompous, especially when the saxophone eventually enjoins to disport amongst the clouds. With a title like Peace On Earth, y’ can imagine that this is immodestly idealistic stuff! & why the fuck not? It was 1966 & a laureate with a vision was on the cusp of revolutionary fervour. Spasming tambourines & inceptive homilies eventually give way to some jittering freeform from Coltrane & the orchestra before they reclaim their composure & continue with the spiritual basking. It then subsides to a rapid harp solo from Alice, I mean this is some Garden Of Eden panglossion overdrive. It’s a matter of personal taste, I’ll have to sit this one out because it’s too mawkish for me, but fascinating & obviously fantastically played. After a reprisal of the second theme, the strings go into what sounds like a North West African gait. This whole track almost feels like a costive primer, or inceptive ceremony to herald or prepare for the session/voyage ahead.

Living Space kicks in at track number two, beginning with grandiose themes not to dissimilar to the last but eventually falling into less conceptual/emotive & more musical/structured territory. It’s pretty traditional, but Coltrane shifts & flips in & out of extremities/approaches with his soling, threatening to go really berserk but never quite crossing states into his shredding hurricane prone offensive. The track ends with an undulating loop (played live).

Third up is Joy, which starts with more sparkling harp cascading & some pretty lachrymose string arrangements from the orchestra that once again nod towards Sudan or the horn of Africa region before Coltrane steams in with a jovial n’ jolly pattern over Elvin’s hard swing. I’m starting to think nothing on this album is going to crank the vaults before the tone entirely flips/drops & brilliantly the orchestra starts to play massive almost discordant lurches whilst Coltrane douses his soling with more urgency & threat. This is very cool indeed & has the momentum of Jones’s mid-tempo but hard swing. Unfortunately this is where to me one of the biggest mistakes of the album occur. Everything is on a fantastic trajectory, if it continues or better still escalates, brilliance is assured. Instead, it’s time for a bass solo, a massive bass solo. Nothing wrong with Haden’s playing, but nothing amazing here either, & for gods sakes not now, total coitus-interruptus. & I guess you can see the reasoning, a forced contrast & then a heightened reprisal of the initial excellence, but for me this is a grave mistake & although it does not ruin, completely disrupts a great track & diminishes it’s overall quality, especially regarding it’s replayability as wading through a standard solitary three minute bass solo every time I listen is not for me. The orchestra gets more & more agitated & noisy before eventually ending on a long drawn out note. Some very fine playing & arrangements here but the protracted bass soloing really deflates this one.

& finally it’s Leo! When you hear Leo & Coltrane in close vicinity you know you’re going to get your rump shredded. It’s pretty much straight in with the strangling & histrionics, the gloves are finally off, the spiritualists sated & the chaos can commence. It’s pretty fierce but extinguishes after just 3.30 minutes transgressing into an orchestral percussion section before Alice goes nuts on the Piano & then electric Organ in her own style. Her two solo’s beckon fast noisy communal free-fall from the Orchestra before Coltrane re-enters at full ferocity with Pharaoh Sander’s only just audible in the backdrop (a pity that). It’s a shame that everything could not just have been exploding together instead of things being constantly faded in & out. Too bad this is the only full-force kinetic track on the album.

Although to me clearly flawed, Infinity is a very interesting Coltrane disc. His three most distinct angles are displayed dynamically & the addition of the Orchestral wing is inventive & hugely intriguing. The album is very short but it’s duration feels satisfactory. His Spiritual stuff is an acquired taste, one that I as an intensity/kinetics fanatic don’t have any appetite for at all, but blatantly as a fantastic saxophonist & preponderate innovator Coltrane’s stuff is a source of ginormous interest & respect for me. I’m still figuring out which style is his prevailing motif (presuming there is one) but this album is an excellent elision of his 3 worlds.

Label: Impulse Records

Rekd: Jazz instrumentations: 1965-66 , Orchestral instrumentations: 1975


John Coltrane – Om


Mad & mettlesome master-class here. WHAT an album! It starts with a group recitation/orison/tenson, & sounds like it’s coming from unhinged/intoxicated monks/magus/inyanga accompanied by thumb-pianos & bells/chimes. After a noisy ignition/heraldry phase the song starts to form “solid structure” which is grounded in fairly straight-forward mid-tempo swing as an anchor for mystic theurgy. The whole things is very shamanic & arcane. A ceremony of sorcery & incantation, it feels almost occult (perhaps it is?). I think this is positive music but certainly something tenebrous & dark lurks within. the Coltrane traditionalists must hate this album, not just for it’s utter atonality but it’s dark ritualistic depictions. The theme of possession is exceedingly prevalent here. Coltrane’s colossal soloing spree which gets progressively less & less coherent/lucid & more & more cacophonic as the session elapses screams calenture & almost of a man/being that’s “seen too much” or no longer communicates on the “lower levels” or language based enchorial forms. OUT OF IT!!! As well as this unidentified menace is an irrationality, the enormously emotional fuming stridency scraped out of the sax’s aperture is of a being well beyond the threshold of reason or control (I think the REALLY nosy/harsh stuff on this album is courtesy of Sanders?!). Yeh, I bet the traditionalists & church-goers are shitting themselves in mass group encopresis at this! it must be horrifying for them to hear Coltrane deface, distort, distend <you decide> with such strength, intention & vociferation. Insanity, at it’s most beautiful, is all over this recording, it’s not just the sonics but the emotion that’s projected. coming back to the state of discordance & the nature of these beastly, trawled, stretched & rictus exceedingly exigent pressurized sounds, bending contorting monstrous misshapen melange. I just love this stuff, Roscoe Mitchell is another major master of forcing the oddest textures & malformed manifestations out of his reed. Those long, obscenely deformed sounds raking the universe, almost like hearing the impossible. Coltrane employs many methods & techniques, there’s nothing linear about his trajectory & expression here, and throughout the recording his morphology of sound/approach/ stream vary in volleys of vicissitudes with excellent support from Sanders & Garret. This is extreme & unsettling stuff in the umbra of something numinous (but I reiterate, I don’t think it’s negative or sinister, it’s more nuanced than that) & is a massive hybridization of ultra Avant-Garde oddity, traditional Jazz (McCoy Tyner & Elvin Jones are generally the most “reasonable” participants here with the clearest “Jazz” pedigree on display), archaic ethnic ritualism <African & Asian>, & hyper sensationalized profound improvisational extremity & noise. It’s without doubt, the best I have heard from Coltrane so far (about my 11th Coltrane CD), & one of the best CD’s I have acquired for some time full-stop. I’m hoping there is much more of this style/stuff of his available, but this mode seems to be his least popular/successful. Really quite incredible!

Label – Impulse!

Rekd – 1965

H.W.A. –livin’ in a hoe house


Hoez With Attitude were most probably the first ever female MC’s to officially pull a high-heel suppository LP on CD/cassette with their cult 1990 debut Livin’ In A Hoe House. Situated & or/affiliated in LA but with the central Rapper (Baby Girl) hailing from Chicago they spilt a viscous amalgam of hyper bitchiness, raunchy libidinous, side-splittingly improbable gangster fantasy & bordello/harlot trick exploitation bolstered by a bunch of competent producers & beat-smiths that you will probably never have heard of before.

The beats are often tacky but also proficient in design & other sectors. In fact, this hybrid of cheap/quality contrast creates an adorable quirkiness & “cult” advantage along with Baby Girl who at this stage of her career (she improved massively as a rapper on forthcoming albums) was somewhat challenged in her MC credentials, & yet I find her constant bitchiness & snide sneering hugely delightful. BG’s catty, arrogant, ceaselessly disdainful bitchiness & over-emphasised razor-tongue becomes almost comic in a pantomime villainess prosthetic contempt of exaggerated chide & pre-eminent elite bitch grandeur. It’s really quite a joy! BG definitely has the most sobriety when compared with the more abrasive Choice (Texas) & the berserk bitches in BWP (New York). The two other female members of HWA barely contribute, providing only skits & chorus components. Lyrically the quality content is mostly quite minimal, with occasional excellency, but once you stop taking the album seriously & start to revel in it’s tawdry glory it’s outrageous charms start to gratify. I’d almost say this is a kitsch-classic with areas of undeniable quality & reckon the mass majority of early 90’s Vagrant’s will be besotted with the vintage samples/song construct & the adorable 808 drum-prog. Members of NWA are constantly assaulted (with the significant exclusion of Ice Cube who is never mentioned) with near religious tenacity, appearing in the rifle scope on about seven songs. Baby-Girls disses are sometimes pathetic, but her self-assured insipid arrogance carries it off (imperfectly), it’s hilarious. Unconvincing gangster fantasy, lurid & louche sexploitation & faux prostitution enterprise & entrepreneurship. On 1-900 BITCHES Baby-Girl depicts getting a married man infatuated with her premium phone sex service, mercilessly goading him to insolvency & destitution with obsessive phone-sex. It’s utterly hilarious! Eat This is another rug-munching anthem with some brilliant & hysterical lines, whilst Gangstrology is one of my personal favourites & one of the rarer stints of ridiculously artificial Gangsta Rap (machine gun totting high-class prostitutes). another peak on the album is Trick Is A Trick, a truly classic tune with superb production & BG’s haughty high-capping beyond belief, even describing shooting a punter in the back after boning & the victim attempting to abscond without paying. It’s totally hilarious, totally brilliant & totally ridiculous! The final track perhaps surges the entire formula to it’s cardinal apotheosis with Little Dick, with nowhere near the class & verbal aptitude of Choice’s magnificent Mr Big Stuff, this track verging on inane (if not sinking directly into it’s boggy mass) still comes off as hugely enjoyable mirth conducing nonsense with insufficiently sized lovers getting ripped to shit. I can’t see how this album can’t be deemed a classic? almost all it’s faults become boons in some mad inadvertent metamorphosis. Even the cover has to be seen to be believed (including BG’s hair-style & shoulder-pads), with the girls hooking out-side of a Beverly Hills mansion complete with computer generated pink-pastel skyline.

HWA would return in 1994 for the EP Az Much Ass Az You Want with massively enhanced lyrical abilities & the rest of the girls rapping as frequent as BG. Baby Girl also returned in 1996 with a solo album Holla At Me with vastly escalated skills & some really killer cuts!

As far as I am aware, HWA are the first female MC’s to deliver a full length album in overtly explicit hard-core Rap (Choice also smashed it to shit with The Big Payback in the same year), & Livin’ In A Hoe House is an enchanting piece of smut-encrusted, expletive riddled gaudy matriarchal mayhem. Let’s not forget who did it first mothafuckers!!!

Rekd: 1990

Label: Drive-By-Records

Lost In Translation – drop of order 12”LP


Here’s a less impressive but still peculiar & intriguing LP from cult US weirdo Electro Experimental Noise Industrial Breakcore outfit Lost In Translation.

The A-side is an exceedingly meagre/minimalist affair of droning synth & dub-loops. perhaps at four in the morning with a skull full of helium in some disused plant-nursery with another bunch of freaks, but for me it’s too bare & soporose, although it’s undeniably got atmosphere & integrity.

The flip is much more rewarding. cast adrift with spooky synth loops, like a higher-pitched submarine or more aptly satellite floating through remote cosmos. An eerie vaguely human whimper or groan can be heard as a sub-melody. Slowly other analogue transistors are introduced & modified to a cumulation. It’s a tremendous passage, vast deep space & superbly atmospheric lofi junky alluvium.

This recedes to usher in more ultra analogue cacophonic scraping that’s probably voice generated, hissy rasping grate under distortion with sparse bass & occasional beats. like a drunk sprawled out in a public terminal with commuters scurrying around him, idolatry surrounded by swarming transitional currents.

Next comes 80’s robot electronics, 8bit computerized bird song. Pretty cool stuff. We then get an extended sample, not sure of the flick, but I have heard part of this dialogue sampled by Illusion Of Safety before. Eventually lofi Breakbeats & Jungle are infused, with the odd wandering dub loop. Scrappy, dishevelled, non-consistent, uncoordinated.

The last phase is another pendulous piece of mantic synth with minimal cross realm & jumbled apparitions randomly surfacing. Good stuff.

LIT are a great band & really quite special. I think they are one of the oddest most interesting & cult bands with a rare & stark originality, not at all residing in an allotted genre, but floating the fuckin’ outer realms in some old-school analogue rusting shuttle.

Label – History Of The Future

Rekd – ?

Lost In Translation/Substance P-premium crack split 12”LP


A very fine split here indeed. Substance P are fairly similar to LIT (perhaps the same artist?) but are generally more exuberant, direct, coherent, musical & straight-punching. Emerging from a well positioned Clockwork Orange sample, “Pure” serves excellent Breakcore/IDM, with the signature in eight but the angles & off-beats giving it a far more complex, kooked finish. The irate over excited synth (also running through some kind of distortion), that sounds like it was excavated from an Atari ST/Sega Master System slamming distorted Breaks & agitated 8-bit unrest. BRILLIANT! “Goodnight & God Bless” wonderfully tampers with a sample of some middle-America phone-in, crossing static, minatory bass-synth, distortion & pitch modulation into a dark little stinger of unsettling master class. Lastly, “0815d” kicks messy Jungle Breaks & lo-fi Techno with a slight Industrial edge for definitely the least memorable track from Substance P’s set. In all, very impressive stuff from Substance P indeed.

The enigmatic Lost In Translation dredge four tracks from the junk-yard, a jamboree of Breakcore, trashy-Jungle, Noise & Industrial-Experimental malform with scavenged, feculent, derelict analogue obsolescence & dust clouds of rust particles & tangent prone sample heavy lo-fi narcotic-noise. think two tinny tape machines trying to out blur & break each other with dislocated, expedited Breakbeats, retroflexology & pitched down D-beat, random samples & lo-fi distortion, feedback caked in a thick film of odd synth’s, hazardous bass & raw (quite tenuous) feedback/distortion noise & Industrial garbage. I’m sure to some ears it’s just lo-fi, jumbled erratic noisy Breakcore, but I think some serious expertise are at play amongst the condemned buildings & ruined Industrial murk.

A very’ very fine split from two richly personalized & individual groups.


Label – History Of The Future

Rekd – 1999


Marzette Watts-marzette watts & company CD


Here’s an exceptional album from a true Avant icon! Marzette Watts is an obscure artist who seems to have tragically suffered considerable misfortune & scoundrels luck with his career despite phenomenal creative qualities. This historic & brilliant album is a testament to his fantastical capacity & has marvellous contributions from it’s fellow participants, a line up to die for with Sonny Sharrock, Byrad Lancaster, Clifford Thornton, Henry Grimes, JC Moses & Karl Berger. Superb, seething, raucous & edgy politically charged & revolutionary soaked Free-Jazz/Avant-Garde with hugely pleasing sound production. As documented in the accompanying CD booklet, Marzette was a vehement radical & political activist, actually being expelled from his home state of Alabama for his formulation & membership of the black civil rights group Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee. He was also an oil based abstract expressionist painter & is famed by a notorious, tragic & drastic incident when he destroyed most of his paintings from frustration at not getting the recognition or opportunities he felt were warranted.

The album opens with “Ia”. after a slow overture “Ia” swiftly erupts into the kind of frantic sonic pejoration & super energetic pandemonium slathered freak-out, thick with urgency & committed rigour we would anticipate from the cast, with the musicians colliding, converging & soloing in a scrum of storm vapour & improvisational molten swell. Fantastic contributions from everybody, but Watts & Lancaster smoulder like rectorial mad-men in a brilliant depositional gambit of force. Fantastic playing, fast, intense, hyper-oscillating, spasticated & utterly unbidden, when the two eventually clash & get into a giant horn-fight with the auxiliary bolstering of the other musicians & the superb J.C. “mothafukkin” Moses’s hard driving swing hurtling the clangour forward into clearly classic testimony. Astonishing & magical, complete with whooping just to overdrive the ecstatic, unbridled barrage. The track relents about 6.20 slowing into an uncertain largo before J.C. comes in with a stomping sturdy pattern & Karl Bergers vibes take off….DOPE!!! what an opener, lets put everybody on their arse & have the entire junto show what it can do in no uncertain terms.

The second track Geno just dithers round. Uneventful, pensive wandering, it may hold something for some but this stuff is honestly boring & hesitant for me.

The superbly appellated Backdrop For Urban Revolution brings things to a close, hopefully after chasing the cops outta’ town & burning down the banks Ha! It starts slow, displeased citizens congregating exchanging sentiments of aggravation. This is loose Avant-Garde that then ignites into full confrontation at about the four minute mark before pulling back & allowing more concentric soloing & performance priority to Thornton on the trumpet! Again the flair up interlocks before ebbing & allowing Mr Sharrock (the absolute pioneer of Noisecore guitar-shred) to beguile with his agitated discordant scolopendric fret tremors. It’s not as intense & far-out as his pioneering fury that would come just two or three years later (Monkey Pockey Boo) but for goodness sakes this is only 1966! Listen to this guy! Berger follows with more soloing over group assistance. At 10.22 Sharrock returns with increased dissonance, strangling, spazzy, noisy, jangling amorphous roil that’s so far ahead of it’s time. The disorganized rising & falling running skirmishes continue with peaks of consummate flip-out that always deflate, regain composure then forfeit it again. Moments of utter brilliance abound in this inconsistent, miscellaneous emotionally disorderly stretch of unnerving Avant-Garde, rotating different formations of group participation & soloing. For me, a more direct free for all would have been better, especially with such a fantabulous cavage of musicians who clearly play so well together, but never the less this is evidently excellent material.

It’s very apparent that this is a cult album. Most of the music is also considerably awesome & amazingly still sounds fresh even though it’s goddamn 1966, a remarkable achievement. All musicians perform exceptionally & for me the inclusion of Sharrock, especially in a unit/agenda with such abandon is essential listening. Watts & Lancaster also deliver some of the most frenetic & divine sax-singe & JC Moses is a tremendous drummer with a lot of character/personalization & a great feel/vibe to his playing. I think he was one of the best actually & a lot of his stuff on this CD strays way out of the traditional sphere, successfully too. Classic shit!!!

Label: ESP-Disk

Rekd: 1966

Murray/Psychotic Suffering split 7”EP



Melanasetus Murray:

A fantastic sewage-stream of abrasive Torikowashi Noisecore spall. Housed in a super shabby appallingly xeroxed cheap b&w sleeve, this is basically a giant seething clod of gelatinous churning Noisegrynd User-Hostility, billowing along spraying tons of hazardous liquids & semi-solids of hard, barely remitting blast-beats, distorted bass-shred & lofi harsh noise acidity! It’s very satisfactory, consecutive, harsh & brimming with effort & fervency, lifting it beyond the 99% “old AxCx” repetition. The sense of free-fall stimulated by the faster than average practically non-stop blast-beats are also a majorly enhancing factor, nicely separating heads from shoulders as required. We essentially have one single seven minute track that’s clearly edited excerpts presumably from one session merged into one massive spree of barbarity egressing all over the listener. Pure roil, no amnesty. What’s also so damn good is the vocals, mad as shit, super passionate, throttled cawing choking & dyspeptic with a massive mantra of styles constantly seething amongst the effluvium. If you’re just looking for pure destructive force with high velocity, all Anti-Listener accredited, this is something to reach for when you need that unambiguous “to the point” jolt to scratch the gristle out your vertebrae. As a synoptic 7” piece it works so well. The recording job is lofi as shit but with just enough class to have everything audible & the instruments recognizable. Great stuff if you like having your head rived asunder with paving stones, this is proper fast anti-listener mayhem.

Psychotic Suffering:

Pretty terrible stuff really! Sounds like it’s been recorded on a very early mobile-phone, so you can barely make anything out & there is no strength or personality to the overall “noise” finish. If your into no-fi, unrecognizable trash it might bloat your glands, but this is completely useless to me.

Rekd: 2008

Label: self released with co-consortium

Rocoe Mitchell-sound


Mr. Mitchell is an absolute cleric of the sax, who took a credo of cacophony & spliced it with punctilious syncopation & compositional rigour. Mitchells innovation, intensity & ability are difficult to overstate as this very early album so irrefutably affirms. This man ejects some of the most histrionic extrusions i have ever’ ever witnessed. it’s zoic, less like an instrument & more like an animal cry…a very distressed or dangerously over-excited animal, some extraction not unlike a screaming chimp. in fact, i think this album also has the most shrill banshee like waling & uber tire-screeching, a fairly regular idiolect of Mitchell’s. for pure spacking off-road expostulations, Mitchell & some of the behavior within are going to be difficult to usurp. the guys just out of control! my only regret is that the major melting is all in stints & they are somewhat brusque. protracted ululations are not unfortunately the dish of the day, which is unfortunate because in this format with the tumble-weed drums & fumbling bass i could listen without end. again, i need to stress just how outlandish & OTT Mitchell’s solos are, i think that for pure expression & momentary theatrics, Mitchell is probably the don for Free-Jazz, yeah i think so, i don’t know anyone else that can divinate those kind of sounds out of a sax…it’s like his sax is biological responding to his breathing with it’s own unearthly screams…i love this guy!!!

As for the rest of the album & it’s performers, well this is a seminal & cult Free-Jazz/Avant-Garde record, so i could prolix for centuries, but in short, make sure you get this one & understand that it’s propelled to a real benchmark. the recording is excellent, especially for the wind instruments giving a really protrusive & ample effect/sound with decent grit. there are six other practitioners in the scrum, drums, bass, & two extras on horns. the signature accoutrements adorn through whistles chimes cowbells gongs etc. it’s a jubilant mad motley of labile rebounds & merging interference, self-sardonic with an almost toon like tinge…partially constructed, extensive improvisational-phasing along with a parenthesis of unity & synchronology the ACMM soloing appears in installments although on large always with at least one of the others sloshing in the back-ground.


who fucking cares, this albums dope & you need to get it rather than me scribing these explicandums. The drums come courtesy of Alvin Fielder, a drummer I have otherwise only experienced on Mitchells “Before There Was Sound” CD. on Sound, Alvin mostly plays disjointed tumble-weed & random percussionary patterns. There’s barely a steady beat/action, with drum cameos/actions mostly being lobbed, dropped & reamed in scattered pieces. it’ pretty variegated & supports the entire medley very well, but some sections have me craving more motion & activity. there’s no swing, from the drummer or anybody although there is a momentous effort & indeed success at keeping things multifarious & dynamic with incessant changes & shifts.


breaking down the track content, side one is by far my preference. Two stunning tracks Ornette 5.25 (with some of the most ridiculous sounds ever coaxed from the horns barrel) & The Little Suite 10.27 (a staggeringly facetious lampoon heavy floccule of Avant plurality with furors of obliterating fustian scorch) with plenty of seizures & theatrics as well as odd-ball flummox & endearingly peculiar hyper-eccentricity. the flip is somewhat subdued. “Sound”, an almost twenty minute Flot (vague, evasive non-direct Avant-Jazz), that meanders & gesticulates, brimming with experimentation & atmospherics but not much else. after about eight minutes in we get a wondrous bout of ineffable dramaticism from Mitchells horn only to ebb into more Flot. My impression is prolepsis, misdirection, incertitude (at least the sentiments stimulated in me from the material)… there’s some very interesting ideas, but I personally need more substance & action.


another very important notation to acknowledge is the albums name….”sound”…& what’s another term for sound? “noise” of course. & you better believe it because the demented deviations & cardinal ferocity displayed here are not’s to be fucked with. there’s even a passage on the second track “the little suite” where they play some kind of intentionally inane spoofish pasquinade of what sounds like caricatured European court music from a 70’s B-movie (it’s not even the 70’s yet), only to explode into abject off-road malfunction. this technique would be utilized profusely decades later by Noyzcore bands, with samples or musical passages covering a different style before dive-bombing into blasts & noise. Someone else was there a long’ long’ long time before. Classic’ classic head-wrecking & hugely futuristic/precocious indelibility.


Label: Delmark

Rekd: 1966

Sam Rivers-colours LP


Recently acquired this LP. It’s a one-off, conspicuously odd, very unorthodox number in the Rivers repository, entirely scripted/contrived by Sam (most of it scribed in 1973 but never previously recorded) with eleven participating reed players, yes, nothing but reeds (predominantly saxophones & flutes). I presume the exclusion of any other instruments, particularly bass & drums, was deliberate rather than budgetary? In some ways this album is a continuation from Crystals with some fairly recurrent themes/styles & written compositions for a large/big band assembly of reed players (Winds Of Manhattan, one member being a young Steve Coleman), but I definitely feel that they exist in distinctively disparate dualities. Much of the music on Colours is advanced academic circuitry without forgoing musicality (but definitely straying beyond that criteria also). As with sections of Crystals, Rivers incites differing demeanours of joyful roistering, hard-grooving & more than anything his umbagious, often stern elaborate & polyrhythmic pageantry (also combining/colligating counter emotionals, amicable &/whilst simultaneously threatening/serious). some of the compositions are teaming with changes & sprawling segmentations, there’s masses of content & numerous methodologies of considerable contrast. I think the exclusion of drums & bass certainly makes this less accessible, & perhaps even more Avant-Garde in some respects? Not that this material is incapable of engaging with less stringent/specialist listeners, but I think that this album is really designed for rigorous musos, technophiles & progressive complexity craving freaks (count me in). I definitely would not deem this easy listening & considerable attention is often required. It’s mostly very convoluted & regularly haughty, albeit with moments/inclusions of more mellifluent & traditional formulas, but for the committed listener – plenty of strenuously innovative & aberrant structuring, tonation & compositional complexities are available. Rivers is the only member that performs any solo’s which are brief & infrequent (& excellent obviously). It’s great that Black Saint were willing to invest in such a large scale & unorthodox recording. a difficult & demanding but hugely rewarding work from a sapient pioneer & visionary.

Label – Black Saint Records

Rekd – 1983

Art Ensemble Of Chicago-Tutankhamun LP


A very special one this! Recorded in Paris in 69, drummer Don Moye is absent here as is the presence of a full drum kit. Despite Moye’s unfortunate truancy, this brilliant record is amongst my favourite from Art Ensmble so far, featuring the sublime “The 9th Room”.

First up on the A-side is Tutankhamun, a track i don’t get on so well with. It starts brilliantly as Bowie fires up the coals “tawkin’ shit” if you will, dramaturgical rollicking deranged dune preacher (very convincing) moaning madness & gibbering jargon in that classic mischievous toon-clad manner of his whilst the rest a’ the crew intone/chant & bells drag over the sand banks on some eremite pilgrimage to a mythic oasis. It is a marvellous piece of sonic theatre.

Next comes Malachi’s famous Tutankhamun bass composition, that you may have heard on other Art Ensemble & AEOC affiliated recordings. It’s a very novel pattern that eschews the conventional time formula & the other musicians syncopate in tandem.

a long bowed passage proceeds, full of torpor, tragedy, claudication & rolling down inclines lolling all over the place dragging weighty impedimenta. It’s a bit lost for me, vague & rambling with an exaggerated mournfulness or even elegiac sentiment… mourning the recently demised Pharaoh, slow, low & weepy, uncertain, or something!? Feels a lot like grandiose film music for an epic trying to capture sorrow or loss.

More low level fooling & miscellaneous interjection & interplay with nothing really solid or substantial. In terms of Arts Ensemble standards i would say this is pretty bland. However, regarding structure & layout this track (when taken in it’s entirety) completely confounds compositional convention with it’s wonderfully random & seemingly unrelated arrangements & utter impropriety with succession/transition & conclusion (abrupt termination). It’s lawless & unabashedly flouting of just about every structural custom & seemingly uncaring about completion/definition. For me though, aside the mesmerising opening sequence (which I would of loved to have gone on longer), Tutankhamun, despite it’s obvious atmosphere & experimentation is not that memorable.

Side B, and The 9th Room” (composed by Roscoe) which may just actually be my favourite AEOC piece yet! Now that’s really saying sumthin’ , but this phenomenally endearing number may well take it. Malachi’s bass “walks” through the entire tune, a mid-tempo strut with lashings of panache in it’s stride. I have always particularly admired & revelled in Favours bass walking. There’s an energy or more accurately manner that’s critically dope/phat & is transposed by vibe rather than any technical volition. Pure character seeping through. This track has to be the delta of Favour’s bass-swagger, makes ya purse ya lips & squint it’s so damn good. The loop/arrangement essentially has four phases that keep encircling, but of course with constant modification within the framework. Funnily enough, after the track is finished I can quite literally put the needle straight back on the record & listen through again, it’s that good.

Over this, the rest of the boys just tear it up. Each is given a spotlight/priority on his instrument whilst the others careen through the ever alternating stash of “little instruments” & percussion plethora. Exceptional contributions from everybody, lapsing in & out of traditional/seriousness & raving astringent atonality & utter flippancy. Classic, spectacular, timeless!

I think there are three separate editions of this LP, a French, US & Japanese version, all with different sleeve designs. So it’s quite prevalent, plenty about & a CD version was definitely issued at some point. Don’t think a current/available edition is in circulus, some damn fool better do sumthin bout’ that!!!

Label – Freedom/Trio Records
Rekd – 1969