Monthly Archives: September 2012

Finally…some string quartets by Harold Budd, out on Darla Records in November 2012. I wrote about them previously here.

Darla is pleased to offer a new record of string quartets by Harold Budd. Bandits of Stature is a first as it comprises 14 compact Budd composed string quartets played by the Formalist Quartet.

Harold Budd is a one-of-a-kind, modern neo-classical artist with a career spanning 40 years. Bandits of Stature has the characteristic Budd minimalism one may expect, yet in new, or classical, form. On Bandits of Stature, he has created 14 elegantly simple, avant-garde string quartets, each with his own unique and subtle tension and abstraction and sometimes-pastoral but as-often otherworldly mood shining through. This is also Budd’s most melancholic work ever. It is a work that can only come from an artist with such unique vision and maturity as he. Whether deep dark or bright light, the listener is as always transcended to an enlightened state within the balance of empty space and substance, presented at times with wistful nostalgia, often with great idealism and persistently with love and beauty.

From the classic Brian Eno and Robin Guthrie-produced Harold Budd records, lush with studio-as-instrument creativity and singular ethereal guitar work respectively, up to his most recent album In The Mist, Harold’s piano is always recognizable within the first three notes of any song. His style is just that unique. That same melancholic, thoughtful style is present as well in the Budd composed string quartets on Bandits of Stature. He effortlessly manifests more feeling in one album than most artists do over the course of a decade, gives at least as much attention to the negative space as to each phrase and as always exercises a sense of economy in which less is a great deal more.

All Music Guide calls Harold “an American ambient/neo-classical composer”. He is absolutely the World’s number one minimalist, ambient, modern classical composer. That said, he abhors the word ambient. “Ambient: Every time I read this word I cringe: I’ve been kidnapped by something I neither know of nor care about; it’s better by 1000 times than “New Age” from 2 decades ago, but still…” Although his work is often called ambient, minimal and classical, these labels do no justice to the quiet beauty and singularity of his work.


There’s a new ambient album from Brian Eno coming out in November 2012. LUX is his latest ambient album, first in years. I’m thrilled about this, not so much so with his song collaborations in recent years.

The play of light

LUX is Brian Eno’s first solo album on Warp Records and his first solo album since 2005’s Another Day On Earth. It finds him expanding upon the types of themes and sonic textures that were present on such classic albums as Music For Films, Music For Airports and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Eno sees it as a continuation of his ‘Music for Thinking’ project that includes Discreet Music (1975) and Neroli (1993).

LUX is one of Eno’s most ambitious works to date; it is a 75-minute composition in twelve sections that evolved from a work currently housed in the Great Gallery of the Palace of Venaria in Turin, Italy. The album is Eno’s third for Warp, following two collaborative albums Small Craft on a Milk Sea (with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams) and Drums Between The Bells (with Rick Holland).

LUX is released on November 12 2012 (13 in N. America) LUX is released on November 12 2012 (13 in N. America) on CD and Download, and December 10 2012 (11 in N. America) on LP on Warp Records.

Recent listening, no comments from me today.

Louis Sclavis/Dominque Pifarley – Acoustic Quartet (ECM)
Codona 3 (ECM)
Miles Davis – ESP (Columbia)
Eberhard Weber – Later That Evening (ECM)
Oregon – In Stride (CamJazz)
Oregon – Prime (CamJazz)
McCoy Tyner – Super Trios (Milestone)
Kenny Wheeler – Gnu High (ECM)
ZZ Top – La Futura
Jim Hall – Jazz Guitar
Electric Prunes – the Reprise Singles (Rhino)
Oregon – Crossing (ECM)
Oregon – 45th Parallel (Portrait)
Ralph Towner – Batik (ECM)
Craig Taborn – Light Made Lighter (Thirsty Ear)

Ralph Towner – Open Letter (ECM)
Ralph Towner & Paolo Fresu – Chairoscuro (ECM)

Open Letter is a now old favorite with classical guitar over Prophet synthesizer landscapes from 1991. Chairoscuro is Towner’s most recent on ECM, duets with trumpet player Paolo Fresu, sweet, pleasant enough, Towner doesn’t seem to play 12 string guitar anymore.

I heard his early set with Oregon at Birdland, NYC a few nights ago. I wish he played more guitar, he also plays keyboards. I enjoyed myself anyway, the band was great. It was first time I’d heard Towner live. If only he’d perform more solo gigs in the states!

Michael Galasso – High Lines (ECM)

Terje Rypdal, guest…Galasso loops up violin soundscapes…kind of disappointing.

Enrico Rava – the Pilgrim and the Stars (ECM)

Early session with John Abercrombie and the ECM house rhythm section of Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen . Abercrombie is into his post-McLaughlin bag here, light strings and guitar pedals. From June 1975, just two months after the insane debut of Gateway trio with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette.

McCoy Tyner – Sahara (Milestone)
McCoy Tyner – Enlightenment (Milestone)

I’m having my first encounters with ’70s McCoy Tyner now and it’s about time. I’ve been wanting to check out Sonny Fortune and Azar Lawrence on these albums for a while.

Lowell Davidson Trio (ESP)
The Giuseppi Logan Quartet (ESP)
Gary Burton – Lofty Fake Anagram (RCA)

Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous, Jack DeJohnette (ECM)

I read about Rypdal in Guitar Player and bought this one because he used a guitar synthesizer on one cut. He doesn’t need one. Still a favorite album after all these years. This was also my introduction to Miroslav Vitous and Jack DeJohnette (love that cymbal work!).

Terje Rypdal – Whenever I Seem to be Far Away (ECM)

Orchestra on one track, a beautiful setting for Rypdal. Even his small groups have a lush symphonic vision for his unique guitar voice.

Terje Rypdal – After the Rain (ECM)

Except for his wife’s singing, he plays everything on this album.

Terje Rypdal – If Mountains Could Sing (ECM)

A double trio – on some tracks, Terje’s trio is joined by a string trio. No synths!

Dan Wall – On The Inside Looking In (Double -Time Records)

Dan Wall play organs on a flock of John Abercrombie albums, but on this one he’s joined by the (under recorded) legendary harmony wiz Mick Goodrick.

John Abercrombie, featured guitarist on the following:

Contact One – Five On One (Pirouet)

All star cast with David Liebman, still digesting this one.

Kenny Wheeler – the Window in the Window (ECM)

Bruce Gertz – Blueprint (Freelance)
Bruce Gertz – Third Eye (RAM Records)

Two obscure albums featuring Abercrombie from the early ’90s, the RAM title is from Italy. Gertz on bass, Jerry Bergonzi – sax, Joey Calderazzo – piano and Adam Nussbaum – drums…these recordings must be documenting a working band, slick stuff.


Gamelan Semar Pegullingan: Gamelan of Love God (Nonesuch)
Pat Metheny Trio – Day Trip (Nonesuch)

A wee little trio that sounds huge. I like him in a small group, it seems so casual and relaxed, but Day Tip seems too perfect. I like the duos with Charlie Haden much more.

Last year he did a series of live dates with bassist Larry Grenadier. Will there ever be an album? I’d like to hear this, instead of some crappy bootleg.

Steve Howe – Turbulence (Relativity)

I had an advance copy of this one two years before it came out and it’s still a favorite. I wore that cassette out…at the time, this was his first solo album in years and a reunion album with drummer Bill Bruford. It rocks, this is Steve Howe at his best. Keyboard stylings by Bill Currie.

Keith Jarrett – Dark Intervals (ECM)

A solo piano album that I’ve had for years, so it’s familiar and I dig it.

Keith Jarrett – Sleeper (ECM)

Pretty darn good, I’m happy with my purchase.

Keith Jarrett – Spheres (ECM)

Only part of the original vinyl release, Hymns/Spheres. It probably wasn’t a great seller, this performance is missing piano and Keith’s grunting/moaning. If I love it, it probably didn’t sell many copies. Pipe organ sadly reminds me of my Father now, he’s loved that NPR program Pipe Dreams.

Gary Peacock – Tales of Another (ECM)

The beginnings of Keith Jarrett’s Standards trio with Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. I love Jacks ’70s sound, so this is a favorite.

Wayne Shorter – Night Dreamer (Blue Note)
Morton Feldman – Complete Music for Violin and Piano (Mode)


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