December 12, 2009

Playlist 12-12-09

* Dowland: Complete Lute Works, Vols.3-5 (O’Dette) (Harmonia Mundi 5CD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Vivaldi: Violin Concertos, RV331, etc. (VBO/Marcon/Carmignola) (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Venice Baroque Orchestra (Marcon/Carmignola): Concerto Veneziano (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Feldman: String Quartet (The Group for Contemporary Music) (Koch CD)
* Feldman: Triadic Memories (Liebner) (Oehms Classics 2CD)
* Feldman: Piano and Orchestra (New World Symphony Orchestra/Tilson Thomas (Argo CD)
* Cage: Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared Piano (Tilbury) (Milan 10-21-07) (FM CDR)
* Cage: Music of Changes (Tudor) (hat[now]ART CD)
* John Coltrane: The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (d.1-2) (Impulse! 4CD)
* Sun Ra: Jazz in Silhouette (Saturn/Evidence CD)
* Sun Ra: Black Myth/Out in Space (d.1) (MPS/Motor Music 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Paradiso, Amsterdam 10-18-70 (FM 2CDR)
* Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment’s Energy (ECM CD)
* Henry Threadgill’s Zooid: This Brings Us To, Vol.1 (Pi CD)
* Jean-Luc Ponty: Royce Hall, U.C.L.A. 12-4-76 (Pre-FM CDR)
* The Beatles: “Baby It’s You” (Apple/EMI CDEP)
* The Beatles: “Free As a Bird” (Apple/EMI CDEP)
* The Beatles: “Real Love” (Apple/EMI CDEP)
* John Lennon: Anthology (d.3) (Capitol 4CD)
* Big Star: #1 Record (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Big Star: Radio City (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Big Star: 3rd (Ardent/4 Men With Beards LP)
* Grateful Dead: Auditorium Theatre, Chicago 5-12-77(x) (GD/Rhino “bonus” CD)
* Grateful Dead: Boston Garden 9-26-91 (SBD 2CDR)
* The Jam: All Mod Cons/Sound Effects (MFSL CD)
* Cocteau Twins: Echoes in a Shallow Bay (4AD/Capitol CDEP)
* Cocteau Twins: Tiny Dynamine (4AD/Capitol CDEP)
* Cocteau Twins: Sunburst and Snowblind (4AD/Capitol CDEP)
* Cocteau Twins: Iceblink Luck (4AD/Capitol CDEP)
* Sonic Youth: Sister (SST LP)
* Guided By Voices: Fast Japanese Spin Cycle (Engine 7”EP)
* Guided By Voices: Wish In One Hand (Jass 7”EP)
* Robert Pollard: Not In My Airforce (Matador LP)
* Wilco: Wilco (the album) (Nonesuch CD)
* The Flaming Lips: “Fight Test” (Warner Bros. CDEP)
* The Flaming Lips: “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” (Warner Bros. CDEP)
* The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warner Bros. DVD-A)


I love Morton Feldman’s music, but it is difficult to find the time required. In his late period, Feldman’s extraordinarily subtle, extremely quiet music works with vast expanses of time: the first String Quartet (1979) lasts over an hour and Sabine Liebner’s performance of Triadic Memories (1981) stretches to over two. (String Quartet No.2 (1983) is perhaps the most extreme example of all at more than four hours in a single movement!) One must submit to Feldman’s singular soundworld: pitches float in an infinite space, not quite atonal but not quite tonal either, rhythms are not quite regular, repetitions not quite exactly alike. Uniquely beautiful but not exactly pretty, it is not quite minimalist, but well apart from the maximalist, total-serialism mainstream of the time (and very different from fellow-New York School luminary, John Cage, for that matter). Feldman’s music reminds me of Mark Rothko’s mature paintings: they lack all the bravura and extroverted machismo of the other so-called Abstract Expressionists and appear almost minimalist by comparison. But a closer look reveals the same concern for the painterly expression of transcendence rather than mere optical effects. Feldman’s music hovers in space, darkly shimmering like a Rothko painting, inviting contemplation but eternally resisting interpretation. There is the sense with Feldman’s longer pieces that there is neither beginning nor ending, only this (perhaps very large) fragment; the music is time, which is infinite and our experience of it is arbitrary and limited, like a painting that forever hangs on the wall, to be experienced – or not.


Sam said...

Rodger, that's an excellent description of Feldman's music! I have not had the luxury of hearing the super-long pieces you mention, but from the compositions I have heard, what you say rings true. Interestingly, what you say at the end (about our experience of it being arbitrary and limited)could also apply, for me, to Derek Bailey's solo work.

No overlap in our lists again, except for Ra. Looking at your list is always full of surprises, but this time....Jean-Luc Ponty? That may be where I draw the fusion line :) --I actually used to be a fan, and listened to a fair amount, well, 2 or 3 of his albums, plus "King Kong" (which is really a Zappa album, consequently holding up well)--wasn't Allan Holdsworth on one of 'em? Anyway, I also saw him live, around the same time as the concert you listened to. He's got this annoying thing he does in every solo, a tic (kinda like Micheal Ray's fake echo) that I could sing for you but is hard to describe. At any rate, the last time I tried, I found him unlistenable. What are your thoughts?

The thing that blew me away the most this past week was Braxton's Comp. 356 with the Sextet from Chiasso, an amazingly aggressive and supple performance. At some point I'll do a comparison with the 12tet+1 version from the box set. I also enjoyed plowing through the Phil Spector box again--Darlene Love is a knockout!

Here's my list for the past week:

Playlist 2009-12-14

*Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Complete Recordings, disc 7
*Anthony Braxton: 2007-09-23 Music for Brass, St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, NYC (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton Sextet: 2008-01-26 Chiasso (CDR)
*Circle: 1971-03-04 Hamburg, Germany (CDR)
*Circle: Gathering
*John Coltrane: My Favorite Things: Coltrane at Newport
*Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch
*Gunter Hampel: The 8th of July 1969
*Billie Holiday: The Commodore Master Takes
*Billie Holiday: Lady in Satin
*Charles Mingus: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
*Thelonious Monk: Monk Alone: the Complete Columbia Solo Recordings 1962-1968, disc 2
*New Loft: 2009-11-11 Nobody Can Hear You See (wav)
*New Loft: 2009-11-18 The Tents of Today (wav)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2007-12-29
*Archie Shepp: Mariamar (LP, side 1)
*Sun Ra: Black Myth/Out in Space, disc 1
*Sun Ra: 1971-10-14 Helsinki (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: Student Studies
*Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus 1990-08-30 Festsaal, Willisau, Switzerland (CDR)
*Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
*Beatles: Sgt. Pepper (2009 mono remaster) side 1
*Beatles: Let It Be... Naked, disc 2 (Fly on the Wall)
*Booker T. & the MGs: The Booker T. Set (LP, side 1)
*Cornelius: Fantasma ReMixes
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Get Happy (2003 reissue, disc 1)
*Aretha Franklin: Soul Sister
*Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste
*Grateful Dead: 1969-06-21 Fillmore East (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: 1969-07-05 Electric Theater, Chicago (CDR)
*Henry Cow: Leg End
*High Llamas: Buzzle Bee
*Phil Spector: Back to Mono, disc 1, 2, 3
*Joe Tex: I Gotcha (LP, side 1)
*Them Dirty Blues (compilation) disc 1
*Frank Zappa: Lumpy Gravy

Reading log 2009-12-14

*King, Stephen. Under the Dome (started)
*Smith, Chris. 101 Albums That Changed Popular Music (started)
*Baker, Nicholson. Room Temperature (finished)
*Irwin, Robert. Arabian Nights: A Companion (finished)
*Johnson, Denis. Nobody Move (started/finished)
*Thompson, Dave. Wall of Pain : The Biography of Phil Spector (started/finished)

Rodger Coleman said...

Re: Jean-Luc Ponty...well, what can I say, these FM broadcasts pop up and I can't resist. But at the same time I'm always disappointed. That music was really meaningful to me at one time a long time ago, but it sounds pretty flaccid today.

Am I right in assuming you're doing a chronological listen to your Dead stuff? I've contemplated taken on a project of surveying the official releases in chronological order and blogging about it, but oy, I really don't want to listen to much pre-1972 and it would be a something of a chore. I should just make myself do it just for the sake of noble hack work. Ulp!

Sam said...

Yes, do it! You did an excellent job with the Dick's Picks and archival releases. And good grief--there's hours of killer, and I mean killer/out/exciting/intense, Garcia pre-1972!! Come on! "Live/Dead" alone...what's the prob?! "Feedback"? Yes!!! Not a chore--a pleasure!! :)