Monthly Archives: December 2013

I’ve been listening to R. Andrew Lee’s version of Dennis Johnson’s November over the holidays. Kinda surprised to find another version by Nicolas Horvath on uTube today.

Denis Johnson : November (1st hour, composed in 1959) for piano.
It was performed live during the Night of Piano Minimal Music in Collioure by Nicolas Horvath the 28th of June 2013
it was a national premiere



This is all I can think of, of course this list doesn’t cover the old music I’ve discovered.

…in no particular order.

Peter Brendler and John Abercrombie – The Angle Below (SteepleChase Records)

Abercrombie also has a new quartet release on ECM, the 39 Steps, but this excellent guitar and bass duet shouldn’t be ignored.

Matt Mitchell – Fiction (Pi Recordings)

Much anticipated first solo album by the Snakeoil pianist does not disappoint. Mitchell is joined by percussionist Chas Smith for a set of knotty improvisations based on his Etudes. Kicks ass too.

Harold Budd – Perhaps (Root Strata)

This is the solo piano album that launched my current interest in Harold Budd. Finally out on CD, this was originally a download only. Soft, quiet minimal piano.

This has been a year of reissues for Budd. All Saints Records came out with Buddbox, seven classics from their catalog and also a fine comp, Wind in Lonely Fences.

Dennis Johnson – November (Irritable Hedgehog)

Pianist R. Andrew Lee performs this formerly obscure minimalist classic, clocking in at almost five hours. Many thanks also go to Kyle Gann for transcribing the piece from an old performance…much has been written by others about this, look it up. Brilliant.

The Orb with Lee Scratch Perry – More Tales from the Orbservatory (The End Records)

Follow up to last years The Orbserver in the Star House, I’d lost track of the Orb for years when I found this. Party time!

Jon Kimura Parker – Rite (CD Baby)

I just had to check out Parkers solo piano transcriptions of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrouchka…I’ve been a fan of those pieces since I was a teenager and his performance is stunning.

Quest – Circular Dreaming (enja)

Burning set of tunes from Shorter era Miles by saxophonist David Liebman and Quest. As exciting as the original performances.

Adam Rudolph & Go: Organic Orchestra (meta records)
Wayne Shorter – Without a Net (Blue Note)
Don Cherry – Live in Stockholm (Caprice Records)
Snakeoil – Shadow Man (ECM)
Craig Taborn – Chants (ECM)
Eberhard Weber – Résumé (ECM)
Chris Potter – The Sirens (ECM)
Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri – Transylvanian Concert (ECM)
Barry Altschul – The 3dom Factor (TUM Records)
John Coltrane – Sun Ship: Complete Sessions (Impulse)
Miles Davis – Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol 2 (Sony Legacy)

Soon to purchase:

Ralph Towner – Travel Guide (ECM)
Angelica Sanchez and Wadada Leo Smith – Twine Forest (Clean Feed)
John Stowell & Dave Liebman – Blue Rose (Origin)
Morton Feldman: Violin & Orchestra (ECM)
Mathew Rosenblum – Mobius Loop / Rascher Saxophone Quartet (Bmop/Sound)
The Art Of David Tudor 1963–1992 (New World Records)
Jon Gibson – The Dance (Orange Mountain Music)


Black Sabbath – 13
Black Sabbath – Live… Gathered in Their Masses
Deep Purple – Now What?!
Rainbow – Black Masquerade – Rockpalast ’95
King Crimson – Road to Red
Yes – Close To The Edge (Steven Wilson remix)

I’ll add things later with an edit, if I think of anything.

edit: here’s one…

Bern Nix – Negative Capability (56Kitchen Records)

edit: 1/1/2014 here’s another one.

Brian Chase – Drums & Drones (Pogus)

Terry Jennings (19 July 1940–11 December 1981) was an American minimalist composer and performer. He died at a young age, 41 and his reputation has suffered, performances are few and far between.

He was a member of La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music. This is how I heard of him, the legend of La Monte Young. Listening to the pieces below, particularly For Christine Jennings 1960,  Winter Trees (1965) and Short & Sweet, I can hear his influence on Harold Budd.

The New Grove Dictionary of American Music states: “With Young and Terry Riley, Jennings was involved in the earliest developments of drone-inspired, modal, repetitive music. He is best known for two piano works of 1965, Winter Trees and Winter Sun, both of which exemplify the repetitive, nonvirtuoso keyboard style he was among the first to employ; sets of phrases are played quietly in a specified order but repeated at will, in relatively free rhythm, and with liberal use of the sustaining pedal, creating a meditative mood and an understated lyricism. Jennings had a decisive influence on such composers as Harold Budd, Peter Garland, and Howard Skempton, who in the early 1970s created a body of so-called ‘minimalist’ keyboard music and were among the few musicians to perform his works. In later years Jennings composed works in a neo-romantic style, including the song cycle The Seasons (1975).”

Hollywood bowl bio.

Short & Sweet

For Christine Jennings 1960

Gumi Shibata: Winter Trees (1965) Japan Premiere! Winter Sun (1966) by Terry Jennings

Terry’s G Dorian 12-Bar Blues (9×5)

Yes, here’s yet another Harold Budd post…Kyle Gann wrote about this recording a few years ago on his blog Post Classic. This recording needs a legitimate CD release, it’s a historically important recording!

Reconstructing Harold
March 25, 2009 by Kyle Gann

Here’s a brief audio sample from Harold Budd’s Children on the Hill, the improvisatory piece I’m transcribing from a 1982 perfomance for reconstruction on our upcoming Minimalism conference.


This Budd’s for You
August 19, 2009 by Kyle Gann

OK. The night was Friday, July 9, 1982. I was administrative assistant for the New Music America festival in Chicago. I had a big argument with my then-girlfriend (whom I later married nevertheless) which turned out, surprisingly enough, to be all my fault. In a huff brought on by my inability to invent a benign rationale for my behavior convincing enough to satisfy even myself, I sulked out and vowed to walk from our apartment to the festival. As the distance was something under three miles, I had an hour to make it in, and it was a mild summer day, this was a less self-punishing exercise than it may sound. As I trudged up to Navy Pier, Harold Budd had just started playing the performance of his piece Children on the Hill that you can hear here. I stood in one of Navy Pier’s huge doorways simply transfixed. Rarely in my life have I heard another performance so lovely from beginning to end. Navy Pier is enormous, the crowd was huge and casual, and I have always been chagrined about the baby who wails like a banshee at many points during the recording.


This cassette was issued in 83 by the Les Disques Du Crépuscule label on a cassette called Chicago ’82, a Dip in the Lake.

feature_making-space_frontBrian Eno ‎– Making Space

Released in 2006 in collaboration with the Lumen London Gallery exhibit of 77 Million paintings, this is a compilation of previously recorded but unreleased tracks, some co-written by Leo Abrahams.

Nine unreleased tracks from Brian Eno available only at the “77 Million Paintings” and at – published by Opal Records.

There’s a string of Brian Eno albums that only came out in limited editions and here’s one – Making Space – I never heard of. What we need here is a box set of CDs with a book of essays for the rest of us folks who missed out on these things or at least some individual titles. Streaming uTube quality is sub-par and I’d feel better about buying a reasonably priced copy instead of downloading a boot from the net.

Here’s suggestions for the box:

* edit: added Headcandy & Neroli to the list.

David Cunningham - Ext. NightI’ve been picking through my collection, looking for ambient and electronic music that I haven’t heard in years. I was thrilled to stumble on this one by David Cunningham, best known in the states as a member of the Flying Lizards.

Beautiful clean guitar ambiance for an hour, there’s a lot in common here with Brian Eno’s classic ambient albums.

Here’s what the composer had to say:

ext.night is a sixty minute ambience derived from a few fragments of guitar playing treated by looping, overlaying, permutating and playback at different tape speeds.

this CD seems to work best when played very quietly. reports indicate that it is also an effective relief from migrane headaches.

one morning in july 1992 I decided to make a ‘barbeque ambience’ for playback later in that same day on a system of small speakers distributed around the yard outside my old studio in brixton. the small community of artists from the surrounding studios used this yard for barbeques in the summer. my studio, being the nearest source of noise would become, by default, a very minimal discotheque for the evening.

my self-imposed discipline was to try and make a continuous background atmosphere entirely derived from about one minute of guitar recorded that morning and finish it before the barbeque was lit. this music is the result.

as that evening continued I noticed that if the tape played back very quietly, below the level of peoples’ voices, their conversation became quieter. subjectively I felt that the quality and intensity of that conversation improved.

this hypothesis was tested again a month later when the tape became the music for a bar I used to frequent and where I was becoming interested in lowering the overall level of noise in order to have a sensible conversation. background music in bars in england is becoming the loudest in the world and I don’t appreciate having to lip read and shout all evening.

david cunningham 1997


Hans-Joachim Roedelius

I was listening to a bit of Cluster while sifting through a collection of old Option magazines, I thought I might share an interview with Hans-Joachim Roedelius I found.

Rodelius Option 32 May June 1990

Option was a great music magazine that covered a broad spectrum of music and really kept me informed. Cluster was an odd little German band that helped show some new possibilities for the synthesizer. Quirky beats, goofy riffs. Back in those days, a drum machine was more of a novelty than a synthesizer.

Gee wiz…I’d really like these for Xmas. I have a birthday coming up in January too.

Avant Music News

From Wergo:

The extraordinary world of contemporary and avant-garde music that Earle Brown published on 18 LPs in the 1960s and 1970s – carefully digitized by the Earle Brown Music Foundation and reissued by WERGO.

VOL. 1
CD 1 Concert Percussion for Orchestra
CD 2 Stockhausen – Kagel
CD 3 Live Electronic Music Improvised

VOL. 2
CD 1 Works for Chamber Orchestra
CD 2 New Music from London
CD 3 Feldman – Brown

VOL. 3
CD 1 The Voice of Cathy Berberian
CD 2 Toshiro Mayuzumi
CD 3 New Music for Piano(s)

VOL. 4
CD 1 New Music for String Quartet
CD 2 New Music for Chamber Orchestra
CD 3 The Hamburger Kammersolisten

VOL. 5
CD 1 Sonic Arts Union: Electric Sound
CD 2 “Concord” Sonata
CD 3 Music for Flute and Piano

VOL. 6
CD 1 Cage – Wolff
CD 2 New Music for Violin and Piano

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