avant-garde Archive

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

Best Music of 2016: Reissue/archival Releases

I love new music, but I’m also attuned to keeping up with the latest in reissues and archival releases. Sometimes those feature some of my favorite artists; other times they turn me on to music of the past that I’ve never even heard. In 2016 I’ve been able to select my Top Ten reissue and/or

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 9 of 10

Gary Ritchie – Poptimistic Style: powerpop Melodic, good-natured powerpop is the order of the day on Ritchie’s new album. Musical touchstones include the obvious ones (Beatles, Raspberries, Romantics) and some perhaps less obvious ones (he reminds me a good bit of Donnie Iris). There’s always room on my shelf for some quirk-free rock ‘n’ roll,

Album Review: John Cage Meets Sun Ra

A musical summit between avant-garde legends John Cage and Sun Ra is the kind of thing that – had it not actually taken place – history might have had to invent. While the idioms within which each of these giants worked were quite different from one another, both men shared a commitment to pushing the