The best kind of music these days is music that defies convention. It’s music that is bold, fresh, and ultimately brave. This bravery can be displayed in numerous forms, but first and foremost the sound must be the focus. In my mind, the bravest music is that which is unable to be boxed into a single genre.
This music is exactly what I find when I listen to An Eclipse of Images. A cooperative project between Italian percussionist Massimo Discepoli and American experimental double-bassist/composer Daniel Barbiero, the record seeks to present musical “ hybrids meticulously built up of acoustic and electronic elements both composed and improvised.”
It does just that. The brilliant interaction between the double-bass, percussion, and electronic synth sounds create an experience that constantly leaves you in different musical worlds. You hear jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and so much more within this record that each listen brings a new perspective.
It is a truly wondrous thing.
An Eclipse of Images can be found at http://www.acustronica.com/an-eclipse-of-images.html
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/
Free jazz is easily one of my favorite styles of the massive jazz genre. There is something about the element of expression within it–rhythmically and melodically–that makes it so special.
Following in this style is musician and visual artist Charles Chace who performs under the project name The Paul Swest. In his newest album Wizard Talk improvisation is the key component to every track. Each instrument has its own soul and when combined there is a collision of atonality and malleable rhythm. Rather than relying on particular motifs or outlined note patterns, each track allows the listener to engage actively in the process of a song being born.
The frequent chromaticism and experimentation found in Wizard Talk may turn off the casual “jazz lounge” listener. That’s fine by me. As a composer and musician who understands the value of music without a tonal center; this kind of sound jives with me. This jazz record is for the already indoctrinated listener of the avant-garde and serialism in music composition.
If you like music that attempts to bend your ear and mind; you should give Wizard Talk a chance.
Wizard Talk by The Paul Swest can be found at:
Lots of cool things in the works for 2015 already. I’m doing new interviews soon with various musicians, working on some new music and, of course, going to continue to spill my thoughts out onto the cyberpages for you guys. Now back to the music, here’s a dude I consider a massive influence on my own artistic creations. Ornette Coleman is pretty much unmatched in musicality and pure artistry. I leave you with some of his words:
“In music you have something called sound, you have speed, you have timbre, you have harmonics, and you have, more or less, the resolutions. In most music, people that play what I call mostly standard music, they only use one dimension, which means the note and the time. Whereas like say I’m having this conversation with you now. I’m talking, but I’m thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I’m concentrating on what you’re saying. So that means there’s more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person’s got you doing. Like you’re interviewing me, although I’m doing more than just talking to you. And the same with you.
To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say. Those things are the results of what people see and hear that you do. But the human beings themselves are living on a multiple level. That’s how I have always wanted musicians to play with me: on a multiple level. I don’t want them to follow me. I want them to follow themself, but to be with me.”
Steve Coleman is a genius, an artist, and a master of his instrument. He’s on a whole ‘nother wavelength of jazz expression (though he refers to it as M-Base).
I was recently contacted by a guy named Joseph Brown from Encore Music Lessons who identified himself as a person passionate for music education. His particular area of focus relates to jazz and he showed me a cool resource he published on various components to jazz. The resource (called the “Videoverse”) is in essence a video compendium of performances, interviews, and other videos (as well as written analyses) pertaining to numerous performers and influencers of jazz. As a lover of jazz (as both musician and academic), I found the Videoverse to be highly thorough and well-organized. The large (and I mean LARGE) amount of videos will keep you busy for a while, but I think anyone who loves jazz or might be looking to understand the genius of jazz masters better will be encouraged by what they find. It is clear that Joseph put a great deal of effort into making this catalogue of jazz masters and it shows.
The link for the main page is:
Notable entries for the Videoverse include:
I hope you enjoy perusing the vast amount of resources available in this compendium. I think you will benefit from it.
So…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I did, after all, recently close the chapter on my academic training at UCLA (which in all respects was a major milestone). I think a lot now, probably more than ever, about the trajectory I want my life to go in. I have for many years seen my dreams develop and evolve, something that I doubt will cease anytime soon.
The funny thing is, in many ways, what I desire I already do.
And yet I don’t.
(Let me explain).
What I want to do with my life is what I am already doing now: making music, writing about music, interviewing bands and the like. The problem is, I am never satisfied. I always want my art to expand, my writing to reach greater heights, and much more. I take pride in what I have done, revisit it often, but then think of what I can do to better such creations and accomplishments.
I am not complaining here, it is simply that I am restless. I am seeking a higher artistic purpose/vision/inspiration (at least that is what I keep telling myself). I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also want success as well. I have selfish interests that I think will validate me as a human being (trust me; any artist that says they don’t have this is lying to you).
But what is success measured by? Wealth? Fame? Awards? What I seek is, inevitably, unknown. I know people that are totally content in their lives, but I am not one of those people. In this time after college in which I am truly seeking my destiny, I find a lot of roadblocks. Pursuing what you love is painful, but life is indeed made up of a great deal of pain…is it not? Any worthy pursuit is filled with treacherous battles that test your will to survive, and indeed I know that while I have faced my fair share of obstacles, many more await me.
I used to be an individual that believed he could control circumstances with various actions. It was only with my acceptance that the future is totally uncertain that I was, to a degree, set free from my own hang-ups about life (there are plenty more to be found however). What I have to understand as I continue to plunge into the rest of my life is that I will always be in a state of artistic satisfaction and dissatisfaction. My life is my art, my music, my writing and there is nothing that can change that. But whether I wake up one day nominated for a GRAMMY or wake up 10 years from now in the same place that I started…I will never stop trying to create. That, my friends, is what makes me an artist.
So I look with great apprehension to my future, but nevertheless continue to strive for only the very best from myself. I will crash and burn more times than I will succeed, but that is alright with me. I know who I am, and yet I am still discovering more.
Thanks for reading this, come along for my voyage and let us see where I land. Cheers.
“One recognizes one’s course by discovering the paths that stray from it.”-Albert Camus