Every once in a while I’ll be succinctly listing records I’ve listened to with terrible delay, but still gave me pleasure. At least you will be able to look for them without having to endure the excesses of my purple prose. The four items in this batch date back to 2016.
RYAN CHOI – Whenmill (Off) – Choi is a virtuoso of the baritone ukulele (that’s right), but his virtuosity is appreciably modest, without gratuitous trickery. 27 minutes are enough to understand it. Appealingly honest music; I fantasized about the most alternative John Abercrombie attempting to transcribe his favorite solo piano album on a small string instrument.
CHRISTIANE BOPP / JEAN-LUC PETIT – L’Écorce Et La Salive (Fou) – Exquisite duets for trombone (Bopp) and contrabass clarinet / sopranino sax (Petit). Murmuring drones, incisive multiphonics, clashing partials, explorations of the acoustic space carried out with unperturbed wisdom. Still experimental enough to warrant repeated spins. In a word, gorgeous.
NATHAN HUBBARD’S SKELETON KEY ORCHESTRA – Furiously Dreaming (Orenda) – Two CDs of vamping, funky-ing, spreading, massively roaring pieces (with much improvisation) by a unit of 49 instrumentalists led by percussionist and composer Hubbard. 130-plus minutes of partially regulated multi-genre freedom may be tough to swallow for someone. Still, the overall inventiveness and the variety of the recipe yield several moments of rather exciting sensory overload. Try it when you’re lucid and relaxed; you won’t be disappointed.
DANIEL WYCHE – Our Severed Sleep (Eh?) – Even when I don’t write about them, I’m nearly always satisfied with the fruits of Bryan Day’s labels. This one is a blast, a guitar / drums duet (Wyche and Ryan Packard, respectively) that will appeal to fanatics of droning resonance, hyper-processing, twisted feedback and devastating drumming. Think of an angrier Phill Niblock joining a No Wave band wearing a Last Exit T-shirt. Your loudspeakers have been warned, in spite of (sinisterly) quiet spots here and there.