Friday, November 21, 2008

Suite: Bittersweet

Nels Cline/ Wally Shoup/ Greg Campbell

Suite: Bittersweet (2007)

Strange Attractors

There's a good amount of records out there that are of Suite: Bittersweet's brand of modern free-jazz. Most of this brand involves the participation of names like Flaherty, Corsano, Shoup and Cline (and a host of others in this revolving door of worthy improvisers). These are the best of the best of our day, to be sure, but it's strange how these records now have a particular, unique set of expectations attached to them. You could not safely call these improvisations 'ground-breaking', or 'cutting-edge' as they seemed to have evolved into their own sub-genre, their own classification. But saying that does not intend to take anything from the unforeseen landscapes welded in these sessions. Nor do I intend to imply that they are premeditated. What in fact we have is a sort of controlled apocalypse. Like a C.I.A. experiment in which they remove a small town from all contact with the outside world in order to simulate Armageddon. It's real. The hysteria is real. But you can be assured knowing that it will not spread into some sort of John Zorn debacle.

This particular album has gotten quite a bit of playing time recently. I wouldn't rate it any better or any worse then any of it's contemporaries, if such a comparison is even possible. It does score a 100% for genuineness, which is probably the ony requisite we should have on improvised music. This is guitar, sax, drums, from 2007, and it is in print at SAAH. but assuming you'll hear this and immediately go out and buy the full record and the multitude of others of it's kind, I'll be willing to post the B side only to this record temporarily, and by request. Enjoy.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Not to get off-topic, but Summer is the most wretched of the seasons; an egregiously long string of unnecessarily hot days defined by excess, idleness, and reckless hedonism. A time in which everything of importance seems to dilute - 0ur convictions, our focus, our passions. It takes a disparate and cruel drop in temperature to remind us that our primary function is still simply to survive in an unforgiving planet. And that some things need to be explored before we're gone. Back to work.
By virtue of a welcome but inexplicable surge in email requests here are some re-ups:

The Music Improvisation Company
Instant Composers Pool 006
Guitar Solos 2
The Made-Ups

The Futurist

Shellac of North America
The Futurist (1997)
Chicago, IL

Ah, yes, the not so super secret Shellac album. I'm not going to go into what this record was, you can google all that. But I will tell you that it is my favorite Shellac work. All the expert minimalism and math, none of the doo-doo and feces talk.

I know posting a Shellac record may be breaching the sort of obscurity standard we've established here at M&N, but I just happened to have upped it for a friend last night and thought, some young kid out there in the vast reaches of our universe hasn't heard Shellac yet. And here it will be a bright morning for some new student of the non-song.