Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kyle Gann/Sarah Cahill – Long Night (Cold Blue)

Featuring Sarah Cahill on three unsynchronized pianos, Long Night was written in 1980 when the composer was only 24.

The piece has rippling quality, like soft light illuminating a quiet room off an antique mirror, on a cloudy afternoon just before Easter, on the way down stream to later. Ambient without being minimal, classical without the powdered wig and contemporary without being electronic.

David Beardsley

Originally published in the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter.



I became aware of Art Jarvinen aka While You Were Art a few years ago.

From The Real Frank Zappa Book:

Art Jarvinen…asked me to write an arrangement of “While You Were Out,” a solo from the Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar album, for his ensemble to play at one of the Monday Evening Concerts (remember the postcard with “We will be unable to play your piece because it requires a left-handed piano”? — those guys — they’re still in business). I created the arrangement on the Synclavier, and, using another of the machine’s features, printed out the parts. When he saw them, he realized that it was a difficult piece, and worried that his ensemble wouldn’t have enough time to rehearse it, as the concert was imminent. “You’re in luck,” I told him, “because you won’t even have to play it. All you have to do is learn to pretend to play it, and I’ll have the Synclavier take care of the rest. Just go out there and do what all the ‘Big Rock Groups’ have done for years — lip-sync it and make sure you look good on stage.” I made them a tape copy of the Synclavier performance and told him, “The way to pull this off is to have wires hanging out of your instruments leading into amplifiers and effects boxes on the floor. Any sound the audience hears that might be deemed ‘synthesized’ will be overlooked because there’s a wire coming out of your instrument.” Final result? The man who ran the concert series didn’t know the difference. The two classical reviewers from the major Los Angeles newspapers didn’t notice anything either. Nobody in the audience knew, except for David Ocker, my computer assistant, who had helped prepare the materials. Nobody knew that the musicians never played a note. It produced quite a scandal in ‘modern music circles.’ Several members of the ensemble, mortified by all the hoo-ha, swore they would never “do it again.” (Do what again? Prove to the world that nobody really knows what the fuck is going on at a contemporary music concert?)


Art died in late 2010. Here’s a blog post/obit by Kyle Gann and Art’s web pages.
Edit: David Ocker on his friend Art.

His music is obscure, not widely heard. Here’s a rare performance of his string quartet that showed up on utube recently, performed at Beyond Music at Beyond Baroque, by the Formalist  Quartet.

Art Jarvinen: 100 cadences with four melodies, a chorale, and a coda (with bells on!). Formalist Quartet performing for the “Art Jarvinen birthday concert” at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.

Conspiracy of Crows (Kathy Pisaro at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.)

Strangely enough, I just discovered some video of these folks playing this music a few days ago. It has to be a coincidence.

May 25, 2012

Engaged in an exploration between recorded electronic and live acoustic sound, the innovative 12-piece ensemble Icebreaker and renowned pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole present their “moving and sublime” performance of Brian Eno’s Apollo in a definitive and invigorating recording.

Widely regarded as Brian Eno’s best and most influential ambient album, Apollo was composed by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois for Al Reinert’s 1983 documentary on the Apollo space missions, For All Mankind.

With support from Brian Eno, the recording of Apollo by Icebreaker with BJ Cole was completed following a series of sold out and highly acclaimed live performances of the piece, including the IMAX cinema at the Science Museum on July 20th and 21st 2009.

Apollo delivers 52 minutes of transcendently lovely music, mysterious soundscapes, eerie electronics and the sweet lilt of pedal steel guitar, a combination that feels almost as if it were the very sound of the cosmos itself.

Available exclusively on iTunes JUNE 5. Available worldwide JUNE 26.

Press release: Cantaloupe News.

Brian Eno Discrete MusicHere’s a great find, streaming audio of Brian Eno’s Obscure Records. There’s some titles from this series that have never been issued on CD or only in limited edition. I’m thrilled to finally be able to hear  Machine Music and Irma. I have a scratchy copy of Voices and Instruments, but I’m afraid to play it. Back in the day, I purchased a copy of Ensemble Pieces – Christopher Hobbs, John Adams, Gavin Bryars and I’m glad I did.

These titles need a box set reissue or at least all the titles should be in print.

enjoy the sonic adventure: Obscure Records (1975-78) 

Obscure No. 1: The Sinking of the Titanic – Gavin Bryars (1975)
Obscure No. 2: Ensemble Pieces – Christopher Hobbs, John Adams, Gavin Bryars (1975)
Obscure No. 3: Discreet Music – Brian Eno (1975)
Obscure No. 4: New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments – Max Eastley, David Toop (1975)
Obscure No. 5: Voices and Instruments – Jan Steele, John Cage (1976)
Obscure No. 6: Decay Music – Michael Nyman (1976)
Obscure No. 7: Music from the Penguin Café – Members of the Penguin Café Orchestra (1976)
Obscure No. 8: Machine Music – John White, Gavin Bryars (1978)
Obscure No. 9: Irma – an opera by Tom Phillips, music by Gavin Bryars, libretto by Fred Orton (1978)
Obscure No. 10: The Pavilion of Dreams – Harold Budd (1978)

more: “The way Brian Eno’s Obscure label rescued modern music from the dead hand of academia was a mind-altering experience for Tom Recchion.”

Robert Fripp – the Wine of Silence

“Music is the cup that holds the wine of silence;
sound is that cup, but empty;
noise is that cup, but broken.”
-Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp – the Wine of Silence

Pleasant orchestrations of Fripp Soundscapes. Orchestrations of Frippertronics would be amazing, but this isn’t it.

I love that quote, it’s been on the back of my front door for 19 years.

Herbie Hancock – Sextant

The first track is the twisted sister of Kraftwork and Pete Namlook…Pete wishes his electro jazz was this cool. The other two tracks are slamming post-Bitches Brew funk jazz from the early ’70s.

Ahmad Jamal – A Chamber Music

My, my…what a hip little trio, I think this is out of print and it shouldn’t be. Some of this piano music Gil Evans orchestrated for Miles Ahead by Miles Davis.

Chick Corea – My Spanish Heart
Chick Corea – Return to Forever
Joe Farell – Moon Germs

Stanley Clarke is on all three albums. He’s a phenomenal upright bass player, but in retrospect, a bit of a novelty on electric bass guitar. Herbie Hancock and Jack DeJohnette are the bees knees on Moon Germs.

Chick Corea – Friends
Jimmy Lyons & Sunny Murray – Jump Up
Cecil Taylor – Conquistador
the Microscopic Quartet – Friday the 13th
Paul Motian – Monk and Powell
World Saxophone Quartet – Moving Right Along

For years I’ve posted what I’ve listened to during the day. I’ve been doing this on Facebook since Fall 2008, now I’ve decided to start doing this on the blog.

Some thoughts: I first heard Masabumi Kikuchi on Paul Motian’s Live at the Village Vanguard last year. Caught my ear like no other pianist in recent memory. Why have I never heard of this guy? A little research found some mp3 files of a 1972 album Hollow Out with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Gene Perla. WTF? Why isn’t this in print? Anything with Elvin should be in print!

A New York Times article got me even more excited about the new Kikuchi release on ECM with Motians last recording session. Now that I’ve had a few listens, I don’t know what to think. This is a real low key affair.

Good to hear the Motian Trio again, I’d kinda burned myself out on this group, especially after his death last Fall. Too much of a good thing, including the Memorial broadcasts on WKCR. This group has my favorite playing by guitarist Bill Frisell. This is one of the leading Jazz trios of the last 25 years, I was shocked to hear Motian saying that it had run it’s course, only for him to pass a few months later. It wasn’t the group, he knew he wouldn’t be around much longer. RIP.

When I first started listening to Miles Davis many years ago, I fell in love with the sound of his horn. The man really knew how to deliver a note that says so much. I’m getting that old feeling again.

Masabumi Kikuchi –  Hollow Out (Philips Japan)
Masabumi Kikuchi –  Sunrise (ECM)
Cecil Taylor Unit – Dark To Themselves (Enja)
Miles Davis – Seven Steps to Heaven (Columbia)
Miles Davis – ’58 Sessions (Columbia)
Miles Davis – Big Fun (Columbia)
Lee Morgan – Search for a New Land (Blue Note)
Paul Motian Trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano – Bill Evans (Winter & Winter)
Paul Motian – Live at the Village Vanguard Vol. II (Winter & Winter)

For years I’ve posted what I’ve listened to during the day. I’ve been doing this on Facebook since Fall 2008, now I’ve decided to start doing this on the blog.


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