azd07-LP: Alan Courtis / Bruce Russell / Eddie Prevost / Mattin: The Sakada Sessions (2009)
Now that we've wrapped up our inaugural six-volume CD series, Azul Discografica continues in earnest with our first vinyl release, The Sakada Sessions. Sakada is the duo of Eddie Prevost (AMM) and experimental noise agitator Mattin (Billy Bao, Josetxo Grieta, and countless other projects). Since Sakada's 2001 inception, the pair has performed with a host of radical improvisers of the highest order. This record documents two such sessions: the first, a spare, inverted dronework featuring Alan Courtis on guitar and electronics, Prevost on bowed cymbals, snare, and miscellaneous percussion, and Mattin beaming grainy laptop feedback through the mist; the second, an intense, uneasy scrape session with The Dead C's Bruce Russell, whose synth drones provide an insistent counterpoint to Mattin's roaring computer noise and Prevost's mechanized tam-tam drills and cymballic violence. At times, the musicians sound uncannily like one another, Mattin teasing Russellesque squalor out of his circuitry, Eddie's perverse timekeeping recalling Alan's degree-zero pulsations on that early Billy Bao CD... It's an extraordinary set: two sidelong improvisations by three generations of uncompromising improvisers. As usual, the performances are of a very high calibre. By necessity, this is an extremely limited edition. Silkscreened covers, exquisite sound, an impeccable piece of work in every respect.
azd06 Talibam! : Ordination of the Globetrotting Conscripts (2007; second press: 2008)
The NYC group's first-ever studio record is the result of one non-stop, three-day session of furious improv. The duo of Matt Mottel (keys) and Kevin Shea (drums), collaborating with former member Ed Bear (baritone sax, electronics), recruited an ensemble that includes some of New York's most advanced improvisers: Peter Evans, Cooper-Moore, Michael Evans, Anders Nilsen, Moppa Elliott, Jeremy Wilms, Jon Irabagon, and Robbie Lee. They emerged from the studio with this luminous, unexpected masterpiece of cracked, American noise. The sonic malestrom they work up in the course of these eight songs and forty-five minutes highjacks the vocabularies of free-jazz, Appalachia, Afropop, psychedelia, electro-acoustic composition, and noise and spins them out in vivid constellations of sound. Its antecedents include Bat-Chain Puller, Astro-Black, Machine Gun, Rock In Opposition, Moon in June, Keith Moon, Ground Zero, Dancing in Your Head.
azd05 Capece / Dörner / Hayward : Kammerlärm (2007)
Berlin improvisers Dörner (trumpet) and Hawyard (tuba) are joined by Argentinian reedsman Lucio Capece in 2004 to form the trio known as Kammerlärm (chambernoise). Together they create a non-narrative music that evinces a strict reserve with respect to 'self-expression,' an acute awareness of the materiality of their instruments, a sustained exploration of the possibilities of instrumental playing. Their first full-length release as a trio is culled from two recording sessions at Dörner's home in 2005. An intensely disciplined music, within whose spaces, gestures, and silences, unfolds a finely textured sound-world that rewards deep, repeat listening.
azd04 Howlin' Magic : Howlin' Magic (2006)
Jesse Rakusin (guitar, drums, electronics) is a kid from Santa Cruz who grew up listening to his dad's Cream, Muddy Waters, and Stevie Ray records, then blew his mind on Fushitsusha and The Dead C. He records at a furious clip, entirely alone, on cassette four-track. This is the "official" reissue of his first CD-R, a devastating set of white-hot, home-recorded splatter-blues, at once formally way-out and ultra-primitive in its execution. Pink is to Howlin' as Floyd is to Magic - get it?
azd03 Starving Weirdos : Father Guru (2006)
In 1998, Starving Weirdos began crafting a body of staggeringly beautiful, unsettling freeform soundscapes, unbeknownst to all but a tiny circle of friends and neighbors in their native Humboldt County, California. At the core of Starving Weirdos is the duo of Brian Pyle and Merrick McKinlay. The pair weave intricate tapestries of sound from strands of electroacoustic improvisation, ambient noise, free-folk, and musique concréte. The density of these works is matched only by their clarity of purpose and execution -- each piece brings into existence a distinct sound-world, rendered with a pointillistic attention to sonic detail that belies the duo's economy of means. The result is a profoundly disorienting music that thrives on the tension between artificiality and organicity, stillness and constant mutation. SW's expansive, understated approach to improvisation and recording more closely resembles an amalgam of early AMM, Taj Mahal Travellers, Trad Gras och Stenar, and Pauline Oliveros's deep listening experiments, as filtered through the crisp night air of California's redwood forest.
azd02 Mattin : Songbook Vol. 4 (2006)
Mattin once described his approach to music-making as a matter of 'trying to contradict the preconceptions that people might have, to put a different perspective on what can be done in a performance situation." The Basque laptop artist is known variously for his laptop collaborations with Radu Malfatti, Eddie Prévost, Campbell Kneale, and Axel Dörner; his polemical writings on noise, improvisation, and anti-copyright; and the deformed, impossibly strange 'rock & roll' he makes in Billy Bao and Josetxo Grieta. This fourth volume is far and away the best and quite possibly the strangest in his Songbook series, wherein the musicians must make up songs on the spot which include a verse, chorus, and ending. Whereas earlier volumes found Mattin ripping away at an acoustic guitar and doing his grating Lou Reed imitation, Vol. 4, recorded live in Tokyo, is a concise, electric ensemble set featuring Anthony Guerra on second guitar, Tomoya Izumi shouting as Jean-Luc Guionnet plays sax 'in the toilet' and Taku Unami punctuates Mattin's anguished vocals with popping bass licks and brief piano phrases. Somehow, the resulting 'songs' suggest a particularly fucked-up, drummerless outing by Fushitsusha. Whatever else it might be, Songbook Vol. 4 is next-of-kin to Suicide's famously confrontational live shows of the mid-'70s, The Electric Eels at the point of disintegration, and Reed's 'banter' on Take No Prisoners reimagined as a score for five improvisers -- in other words, it's one of the greatest live records ever made.
azd01 Loy Fankbonner : El Pabellón (2006)
Fankbonner has performed and recorded with numerous, obscure psych, noise, and improv units since 1993. El pabellón ('the pavilion') is his first release under his own name, and the first document of his electroacoustic collages and soundscapes. The album was recorded over three months in a small room in the noisy Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan. Assembled entirely from the sounds filtering through the windows of the apartment, from amplified room tone and tape hiss, and heavily treated samples of very small "ordinary" sounds, the record comprises eight sonic tableaux in which discreet microtextures emerge from what appear to be ambient sounds, often at the threshold of audibility. El pabellón represents a dialectical zooming-in and-out between the controlled sonic environment of the composer's workspace and the noise of the environment beyond its walls. How much of it is "real" is anyone's guess: the layers of ambient sound at the heart of El pabellón enter into a dialogue with an "intentional" music-making process, calling attention to the mediations between the composer, his sonic environment, and the barebones recording equipment at his disposal (four-track tape recorder, sampler, one microphone).
2009 azul discográfica
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