Thursday, 27 October 2011

reviewing @ london_resonance [part 2]

words _ gian paolo galasi

I discovered Mauro Sambo recently, thanks to the profile I wrote for the Istanbul-based label re:konstruKt. Versatile and many-sided, carrying since many years a personal artistic expression at the convergence of sculpture, performance, videoart and music, even if not still widely recognized as he deserves, Sambo is also a multi-instrumentalist: alto sax, tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, double bass, electronics, iPad, iPhone, percussions. His last effort "Presto (dicono) giungerà la neve" [in English "Soon, they say, the snow will come"] takes his title from a Jorge Louis Borges novel. 

In the past, Michel Foucault dedicated his "The Order of Things" to the writer, underlining a concept of 'other space' (heterotopia) that lies in between the things and the words, a space neither here nor there. Improv fans familiar with Sun Ra probably will be able to connect with the concept, but the music here is really somewhere in between improvisation and soundart, electronic and acoustic, analogic and digital, music and space, while his previous "... di Origine Oscura" was a little bit shifted towards sculpture. 

05 - 06 09 2011

The Spontaneous River Ensemble was assembled in 2007 by Jason Kao Hwang and Patricia Nicholson Parker for a tribute to Leroy Jenkins, that died that year. Their first performance took place at the Vision Festival XII. Billy Bang was the conductor of the first version of Hwang's Symphony of Soul (Mulatta Records/Flying Panda Music, 2011) that reached his definitive version in 2008 where it was performed at the NY's Living Theatre. 

The ensemble is composed by Hwang's regular partners (Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Andrew Drury on drums and Ken Filiano on bass) in the Edge quartet, 14 violins, 5 violas, 7 guitars (featuring Dom Minasi), 5 cellos and 6 string basses (amongst them Michael Bisio, since about one year regular partner of pianist Matthew Shipp).

Partly inspired in his conduction by his past collaborations with Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris and Henry Threadgill, the music contained in this record is related by Jason Hwang himself to the jiwa, the individual embodied soul of every human being. The orchestral arrangements are conceived as a dialogue of souls and an exploration of the kinetic energies of the music itself through the layering of his particles.

Ilia Belorukov's Intonema released at the same time with Wozzek also Bewitched Concert, a 40 minutes improvisation reminiscent of contemporary music by a 'spontaneous' and international quintet composed by singer Thomas Buckner, flutist and composer Edyta Fil, pianist, composer and sound engineer Alexey Lapin, cellist Juho Laitinen and Belorukov himself on alto saxophone and objects.

While Dmitry Ukhov in the liner notes mentions Pauline Oliveros and her Deep Listening music, and also Witold Lutoslawski's Hesitant second symphony, we can take note of a work perfectly balanced between contemporary music and improvisation, in which the backgrounds of every musician are perfectly recognizable. It's not that common today listening to young performers (Thomas Buckner is the only one to have more than 40 years of career on his shoulders), coming from different backgrounds even if with a slight balance on contemporary music, still using as means of expressions devices related to recognizable , while stirred, idioms and looking for a coherent structure. So the record - as the other two in this article - can be also taken as an important clue in order to avoid for free improvisation the risk of involution as, apart from single musicians, happened to sound art at least in the last ten years. 

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