Sunday, May 06, 2018

Bring the Noise

Does my ability to withstand all 55 minutes of the recent reissue of Iannis Xenakis’ hellish cacophony Persepolis make me some kind of superhero?  Nah.  I just dig noise. 

A varied set of additional new releases of difficult music have helped me maintain equilibrium during choppy times.  While it’s not particularly loud or even conventionally disagreeable, Matthew Shipp’s solo piano release Zero is capable of unnerving fans of the thrash band Slayer.  Neither a free jazz freakout nor an avant-garde classical recital, Zero is a confrontational display of next-level genius.

Sonic Fiction places the prolific Shipp with the skronky reed player Mat Walerian, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey.  The quartet balances serene beauty with unspeakable ugliness.

On the prog-rock end of the spectrum, Vortex documents a collaboration between the Swiss band Sonar and the experimental American guitarist David Torn.  Vortex is tailor-made for listeners who appreciate the discordant aspects of King Crimson and Weather Report.

I’m unable to determine if Anteloper’s Kudu is the best or worst album in this survey.  The accomplished jazz-oriented trumpeter Jaimie Branch teams up with percussionist Jason Nazary on the abrasive effort.  The addition of synthesizers and sound manipulation makes Kudo occasionally sound as if art school punks are paying homage to Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

I reviewed the Flyover festival for The Kansas City Star.  My three favorite performances were by the Flatbush Zombies, Snow Tha Product and Post Malone.

I examine the Uriel Herman Quartet’s appearance at Black Dolphin for Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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