February 7, 2016

Playlist Week of 2016-02-06


* Bartók, et al.: The Wooden Prince, etc. (NY Phil, et al./Boulez) (Sony Classical 2CD)
* Bartók, et al.: Concerto for Viola, etc. (Kashkashian/Eotvos) (ECM CD)
* Eric Dolphy: The Berlin Concerts (Inner City 2LP)
* Eric Dolphy: Copenhagen Concert (Prestige 2LP)
* Don Cherry: Modern Art: Stockholm 1977 (Mellotronen LP)
* Don Cherry: Hear & Now (Atlantic LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Total Eclipse (Blue Note CD)
* Jack DeJohnette: Made In Chicago (ECM CD)
* Gateway: Homecoming (ECM CD)
* Bobbi Humphrey: Blacks And Blues (Blue Note LP)
* DJ Spooky: Optometry (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Heeltop Home Studio, December 28-29, 2015 (FLAC)
* Love’s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa (Luaka Bop 2LP)
* Tim Maia: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop 2LP)
* Earth Wind & Fire: Gratitude (Columbia 2LP)
* Earth Wind & Fire: All ’n’ All (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* A Taste of Honey: A Taste of Honey (Capitol LP)
* Eric Siday: Ultra Sonic Perception (Dual Planet LP)
* Eric Siday: Sounds of Now (Dual Planet LP)
* Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (Philips LP)
* Blue Cheer: Outsideinside (Philips LP)
* Joni Mitchell: Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter (Asylum HDCD)
* Tangerine Dream: Rubycon (Virgin LP)
* Cluster: Cluster 71 (Philips/Bureau B LP)
* Heldon: Live in Paris 1975 (SouffleContinuum LP)
* Heldon: Live in Paris 1976 (SouffleContinuum EP)
* Harald Grosskopf: Synthesist (Sky/Bureau B LP)
* Savant: Artificial Dance (RVNG International 2LP)
* Craig Leon: Nommos/Visiting (RVNG International 2LP)
* Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase. (KScope Blu-Ray)
* Steven Wilson: 4 ½ (KScope Blu-Ray)
* Ensemble Pearl: [ensemble pearl] (Drag City 2LP)
* Minsk: With Echoes In The Movement Of Stones (Relapse/Exalt 2LP)
* Minsk: The Crash & The Draw (Relapse 2LP)
* Windhand: Windhand (Force Field LP)
* Windhand: Soma (Relapse 2LP)
* Windhand: Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse 2LP)

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Commentary:

I have wanted an analog synthesizer ever since I was a little kid back in the late-70s, hanging out in Don Elliott's studio in Connecticut. As I recall, he had (amongst other keyboards) an Arp Odyssey, an Arp String Ensemble, a Yamaha CS-60 and weird old polyphonic Casio, with little plastic tabs like organ stops. I was in heaven.

That sort of gear was ridiculously expensive back then, especially for a kid. Moreover, the digital revolution was right around the corner.  I can totally understand why everyone went whole-hog down the digital pathway in the 1980s: those old analog oscillators were inherently unstable and would wander out of tune worse than a cheap ukelele. With the advent of MIDI those classic synths were immediately made obsolete.

But what goes around comes around, apparently, and analog synthesizers are back big time, with the choices proliferating every year. After messing around with the Arturia soft-synths for so long, I increasingly longed for real knobs and switches rather than clumsily clicking the mouse on a screen. While Arturia's own MiniBrute was mighty tempting at less than $500, reports of shoddy construction combined with its inherent limitations made it less appealing. Then Korg came out with an 86%-sized Arp Odyssey at around a grand, which looks to be mighty cool -- but the miniature keys and plastic-y construction ultimately put me off.

Then there is the mighty Moog. At only $900, the venerable Sub Phatty is highly regarded for its killer sound -- but its minimalist layout means lots of menu-diving to get the most out of it. So the more I looked the latest Sub 37 Tribute Edition, the more I realized this is what I really, really wanted. Not only is it an honest-to-God, made in America, all-analog synth, but with its 72 knobs and switches you get an intuitive, MiniMoog-like interface along with other incredibly useful features like duo-phonic splitting of the oscillators, a full-sized  three-octave keyboard with aftertouch, a built-in arpeggiator/64-step sequencer, plus the ability to save and edit patches on the fly. Considering its sturdy metal construction and handsome wooden end-caps, the Sub 37 seemed to me like a bargain at a mere fifteen-hundred bucks.

Of course, to bring it in at that price point, there some minor compromises. While there are control voltage inputs for expression pedals (which is incredibly useful) there are no CV or gate outputs, which limits its integration into a fully modular system. And purists might quibble at the absence of a true sinewave output from the oscillators, opting instead for continuously variable triangle/square/random/PCM waveforms. I am certainly not complaining, though. The deeply expressive possibilities of the Sub 37 make it a fine musical instrument that will surely go down as a classic Moog synthesizer. I couldn't be happier.

Space is the place!

January 31, 2016

Playlist Week of 2016-01-30


* Musica Baltica (Musica Antiqua Köln/Goebel) (Archive CD)
* Stravinsky: Music for Piano (1911-42) (Karis) (Bridge CD)
* Miles Davis: The Bootleg Series Vol.2: Live in Europe 1969 (d.1) (Sony/Legacy 3CD/DVD)
* Miles Davis: A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Columbia/Mobile Fidelity LP)
* Sun Ra: Strange Strings (Saturn/Universal LP)
* Sun Ra: Other Strange Worlds (Roaratorio LP)
* McCoy Tyner: Together (Milestone LP)
* Eric Dolphy: The Berlin Concerts (Inner City 2LP)
* Jaki Byard: There’ll Be Some Changes Made (Muse LP)
* Cecil Taylor: Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come (Arista/Freedom 2LP)
* Oliver Lake: Heavy Spirits (Arista/Freedom LP)
* Arthur Blythe: In The Tradition (Columbia LP)
* Arthur Blythe: Illusions (Columbia LP)
* Billy Cobham: Crosswinds (Atlantic LP)
* Billy Cobham: Simplicity of Expression/Depth of Thought (Columbia LP)
* Alphonso Johnson: Spellbound (Epic LP)
* Annette Peacock: X-Dreams (Tomato LP)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Perihelion (NuVoid Jazz/Bandcamp M4A) †
* Constance Denby: Sacred Space Music (Hearts of Space CD)
* Peter Davison: Winds of Space (Higher Octave CD)
* David Arkenstone: Valley in the Clouds (Narada CD)
* Steve Roach: Midnight Moon (Projekt CD)
* Kevin Braheny: The Way Home (Hearts of Space CD)
* John Serrie: Midsummer Century (Miramar CD)
* Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship: Blows Against The Empire (RCA LP)
* Paul Kantner/Grace Slick: Sunfighter (Grunt LP)
* Paul Kantner/Grace Slick: Baron Von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun (Grunt LP)
* The Red Krayola: Coconut Hotel (Drag City LP)
* Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (Polydor/Universal LP)
* Beck: Mellow Gold (Geffen CD)
* Rachel’s: The Sea and the Bells (Quarterstick 2LP)
* Dirty Three: Ocean Songs (Touch & Go 2LP)
* Porcupine Tree: Lightbulb Sun (KScope CD/DVD)
* Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase. (KScope Blu-Ray)
* Steven Wilson: 4 ½ (KScope EP)
* Tortoise: The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey LP)
* Expo 70: Kinetic Tones (Oaken Palace LP)
* Expo 70: Where Does Your Mind Go? (Immune 2LP)
* Wild Nothing: Nocturne (Captured Tracks LP)

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Commentary:

I'm pleased to announce the release of Perihelion, the new digital-only album available now for free (pay what you want) over at Bandcamp.

The companion piece to last year's Aphelion, it was recorded with long-time collaborator Sam Byrd back in December 2014 and originally set aside for a potential 2-LP vinyl project. While I am hoping to put some newer recordings out on vinyl later this year, these tracks are just too good to leave "in the can."

We are quite proud of this music and hope you dig it as well!

January 24, 2016

Playlist Week of 2016-01-23


* Boulez: Répons, etc. (Enemble InterContemporain/Boulez) (DG CD)
* Sonny Clark Trio: The 45 Sessions (Blue Note CD)
* John Abercrombie: Timeless (ECM LP)
* John Abercrombie/Dave Holland/Jack DeJohnette: Gateway (ECM LP)
* Terje Rypdal/Miroslav Vitous/Jack DeJohnette (ECM LP)
* Mary Halvorson Octet: I-Beam, Brooklyn, NY 2015-12-14 (AUD WAV)
* Kris Davis: Massive Threads (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Perihelion (master) (WAV)
* Rodger Coleman: Portland Brew 12 South, Nashville, TN 2016-01-20 (AUD WAV)
* Tangerine Dream: Alpha Centauri/Atem (Brain 2LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Tangents 1973-1983 (d.4-5) (Virgin 5CD)
* Klaus Schulze: Live (Brain 2LP)
* Soft Machine: Triple Echo (Harvest 3LP)
* Steve Roach: Structures from Silence (Fortuna CD)
* Steve Roach & Robert Rich: Soma (Hearts of Space CD)
* Robert Rich: Seven Veils (Hearts of Space CD)
* David Sylvian: Gone To Earth (Virgin 2LP)
* Porcupine Tree: Stars Die: The Delirium Years 1991-1997 (KScope 2CD)
* Earth: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Head (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Sunn O))) & Ulver: Terrestrials (Southern Lord LP)
* Ryley Walker: All Kinds of You (Tompkins Square LP)

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Commentary:

Although the day started out snowy and awful, the weather cleared up enough to make it downtown for the gig on Wednesday night. I was more than a little anxious about whether or not I could pull off a solo guitar set -- but it went even better than I could have possibly expected.

Aside from a minor technical glitch which forced me to re-start the second piece, things went smoothly and  I found myself "in the zone" (or "that other, better world") and was amazed at the end to discover that I had easily filled up my allotted time. And, by the time my set was over, the place was pretty well packed with attentive and appreciative listeners, with some folks even coming up to me to compliment my performance. One dude told me, "Man, that's the most creative music I've ever heard played on a Paul Reed Smith guitar!" Haha. I will take that as a compliment here in Guitar Town!

It was delightful to see Susan Alcorn again and her set was, of course, utterly sublime, including an impromptu tribute to the late Paul Bley.  I was truly honored to be sharing the stage with such an amazing musician and her kind, effusive words regarding my music were sincere and deeply inspiring. I do not pretend to be at her level -- but I am encouraged to just keep doing my thing.

Then, to top it all off, Carissa Stolting posted photographs and wrote a fantastically poetical review at the Left Bank blog which, honestly, took my breath away. It is so unbelievably gratifying to know that my music had an effect on someone. Go read the whole thing; it's wonderful! But this line made me laugh out loud: "Coleman for sonic president: let no sound go unemployed!" Right on.

Thanks again to FMRL and Portland Brew 12 South for making this (and so many other wonderful events) happen.

You can hear an audience recording of my set on SoundCloud. Please let me know what you think!

January 18, 2016

Playlist Week of 2016-01-16 (+ A Gig!)


* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op.5 (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Miles Davis: The Bootleg Series Vol.4: At Newport 1955-1975 (d.4) (Sony/Legacy 4CD)
* Ornette Coleman: Chappaqua Suite (CBS 2LP)
* Eric Dolphy: This Is Eric Dolphy (Fuel 2000 2CD)
* Wayne Shorter Quartet: Without A Net (Blue Note CD)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Cirrus (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Natural Illusions (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Linger Lane (Blue Note LP)
* David Murray Octet: Ming (Black Saint LP)
* David Murray Quartet: Morning Song (Black Saint LP)
* Tony Scott: Music For Zen Meditation (Verve LP)
* Sam McClellan: Music of the Five Elements (Sprit LP)
* Deuter: Call of the Unknown: Selected Pieces 1972-1986 (Kuckuck 2LP)
* David Torn: Only Sky (ECM CD)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Perihelion (mixdown) (WAV)
* Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life (Tamla/Universal Blu-Ray)
* Sidney Miller: Linguas de Foyo (Som Livre/Sol Re Sol LP)
* Soft Machine: Six (Columbia 2LP)
* Soft Machine: 7 (Columbia LP)
* Harald Grosskopf: Synthesist (Sky/Bureau B LP)
* Opeth: Deliverance & Damnation (Music For Nations/Sony 2CD/2DVD)
* Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Elektra/1972 2LP)

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Commentary:

I am excited to announce an upcoming gig, opening for the amazing pedal-steel guitarist, Susan Alcorn, on Wednesday, January 20 at Portland Brew 12 South.

This will be my first ever solo electric guitar set so I uploaded a recent studio recording to my SoundCloud page to give people an idea of what to expect. Much to my surprise, The Nashville Scene picked up on it and put it up as a featured track on "Nashville Cream."  Stephen Trageser describes me as "an experimental musician with an affinity for punk" and says, "This prepared guitar piece is altogether different from the heaviness I associate with drones." Cool.



If you like what you hear, I hope to see you on Wednesday. Portland Brew is located at 2605 12th Avenue South, Nashville 37204. Doors open at 8:30, music starts at 9:00. Huge thank you to the fine folks at FMRL for making this happen!