avant-garde Archive

Allen Ravenstine’s “Terminal Drive”

Note: An edited version of this feature appeared previously in Keyboard Magazine. Allen Ravenstine is best known as the synthesist for Cleveland’s underground experimental rockers Pere Ubu; his work is featured on all of the albums that band made through 1991, and a number of live and compilation releases. But around the time of recording

The Magma Mega-interview, Part Four

Continued from Part Three… Who developed the Magma logo? I made a drawing of the kind of necklace I wanted to have around my neck, and from that I worked with Laurent Thibault’s sister, who was a graphic designer. It changed from the original design. We worked together and we came to that logo, and

The Magma Mega-interview, Part Three

Continued from Part Two… Do you think of live performance as an extension of that which you create in the studio, or is studio work an attempt to capture the essence of live performance? Well, this could be both ways because usually Magma always plays on stage before recording. Almost all Magma albums were recorded

The Magma Mega-interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One… What do you seek to communicate in the Kobaïan lyrics of Magma’s music? The main purpose of the lyrics is to allow the music to be as expressive as possible. I’m always giving the example of John Coltrane who was playing an instrument; any people who are playing an instrument are

The Magma Mega-interview, Part One

There is almost no useful frame of reference to describe the music of Magma. Founded in 1969 by French pianist/drummer Christian Vander, Magma has never conformed to conventional ideas about genre, or much else for that matter. A constantly rotating lineup of musicians has passed through Magma’s ranks; the band has released more than a

Evil Note Lab: Pushing the Boundaries of Live Musical Improvisation

Ableton Live is computer software that allows musicians real-time interactivity with sequences of notes, sounds and textures. While the software is often used as a creative studio tool, in the hands of Asheville musical collective Evil Note Lab, Ableton Live realizes its potential as a performance instrument. Evil Note Lab puts its groundbreaking musical experiment

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part Two

The Lancashire Hustlers – Adventures (Steep Hill Music) This London duo – Brent Thorley and Ian Pakes – has clearly come of age on a steady diet of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Arthur-era Kinks, Small Faces circa Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and other fine influences. But there’s a pleasing DIY sensibility that

A Few Moments with Hans-Joachim Roedelius

German composer Hans-Joachim Roedelius is a synthesizer pioneer, and a leading light of ambient music. Yet acoustic piano is his instrument of choice, and he has little use for the term “ambient.” Roedelius made a rare North American appearance at the Mothlight on March 18 before heading to Knoxville for this year’s Big Ears Festival.

Sxip Shirey’s Avant Groove

Note: An edited version of this feature appeared previously in Brooklyn Paper. — bk Described as an “electro-acoustic” artist, Brooklyn-based Sxip Shirey is tough to pin down musically. Read about him most places and you’re likely to come away thinking his music is cerebral, experimental and more than a little avant-garde. Actually listen to the

Project/Object: Frank Zappa Fantasy Camp

“I started Project/Object around 1989 or ’90,” says guitarist André Cholmondeley, leader of the popular Frank Zappa tribute group. “I thought, ‘Yeah, we’ll do this for fun. We’ll do it once a year on Frank’s birthday.’ But I never had the concept that it would be a group involving musicians who had played in Frank