Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Ting Ting Loft: A Short Retrospective

This doesn't really count as a year-end highlights sort of thing, but I have been meaning to jot down some thoughts on the metamorphosis from what was once a trio (who occasionally welcomed additional sit-ins) to a full-fledged quintet, New Ting Ting Loft. The trio (New Loft: Jimmy, Tim, and I) were a pretty tight-knit unit, weathering and coming out of the loss of Jon Mela from the group with a renewed sense of purpose and direction: all improv, pretty much all the time. Like I said, we would occasionally have folks sit in, and it would always be enjoyable. One memorable gig was the Joyful Noise Big Band Sun Ra tribute show, back in 2003. New Loft opened, and we took advantage of the presence of so many like-minded friends being there for the big band by having several of them join our set, one at a time, over the course of the half-hour-or-so improv.

Some of the folks that made the trio a temporary quartet (or more) over the years include Daniel Barbiero, Molly Berg, Dave Brogan, Will Bryce, Jeff Byrd, Chris Davis, Hunter Duke, Paul Faatz, Danny Finney, Elias Ghaphery, Eric Helm, Matt Heyner, Michael Thomas Jackson, Brian Jones, Pat Lawrence, Whitney Lynn, Marty McCavitt, Fred McGann, Chris McQuale, Phil Murphy, Brian Osborne, Cliff Schwing, Mike Sebastian, Harvey Sorgen, Chris Vasi, Chris Videll, and Harry Walker.

Our development changed with the permanent addition of Tommy and Ben from Ting Ting Jahe. It was Jimmy's idea to shake things up by inviting the two electronic noisters formerly known as the Pussy Boys (don't ask) to join us as the Godzilla Meets King Kong Quintet. Things clicked right away from the beginning, as can be heard on our first time playing together, 2013-05-06, and our first gig, 2013-05-13.

Godzilla Meets King Kong Quintet, 2013-05-06:

Godzilla Meets King Kong Quintet, live 2013-05-13:

In many ways, the timing was perfect. All three of us were ready for the quantum leap. In terms of my own playing, I had long enjoyed the various noise and electronic avant musicians we'd often shared shows with. Over the last few years, I’d begun getting more and more into experimentation with physical handling of things and combining them with the kit, scraping objects together and generating non-idiomatic sounds and textures...that kind of activity is fun in and of itself, and it serves to put me in a great mind set for when I return to sticks. It changes the way I play. Jimmy had recently expanded his arsenal to include clarinet, and his approach to that instrument comes as much from abstract noise as from “conventional” playing. In the meanwhile, Tim had acquired an electronic keyboard, and his often unconventional coaxing of sound from it (like playing it with the neck of his guitar) widely expanded our palette.

So we were primed for Tommy and Ben's unique approaches to sound and texture. Their arsenal of sound possibilities (electronics, keyboards, prepared guitar, scraped and bowed styrofoam, 8-tracks, samples, radio, contact mics, Android apps, and other unknown sources of sound) perfectly melded with our direction, and enabled us to veer off into new territories. Having it be permanent has solidified us as a band, creating more opportunities for interaction and for sub-sets of sound activity within the quintet. Lots of room for noise, and lots of room for space. We don’t always all play at the same time, and there’s no need to; something’s always going on, and it’s always interesting.

Chart our progress on the Internet Archive. We try to get together once a week; Jimmy is kind enough to record our sessions with his Edirol R09HR digital recorder and he gets me the file for uploading within the week. So, new stuff popping up all the time! So, feeling adventurous? Check out this week's session:

Charley Vision Gets a Rehaul (January 26, 2015):

And if you’re feeling really adventurous: we are available for parties.

2018 update:
New Ting Ting Loft has further solidified our music footprint with the addition of Fred McGann as a permanent member. Fred's unique sensibility and sense of adventure have expanded our sonic horizons considerably. Keyboard, guitar, trombone, contact mics, baby doll heads, knives, tables, ball bearings, cassette tapes, etc. In the past few years, we have also expanded to include the sporadic presence of guitarist Alex Ricart. We're still available for parties.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Playlist, Week of 2015-01-25

Includes a great version of Composition 96...but I think the large ensemble piece Compositions No. 169 + 147 is my favorite on this box. At any rate, I feel like I will -always- be playing catch-up with the work of Mr. Braxton!

Playlist 2015-01-26:

*AMM: 2003-11-12 Glasgow (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton with the Northwest Creative Orchestra: Eugene (1989)
*Anthony Braxton: 4 Compositions (Ulrichsberg) 2005 Phonomanie VIII (discs 2, 4)
*Don Cherry: Where Is Brooklyn?
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-29 Nashville (wav)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-30 Nashville (wav)
*Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone/Devin Hoff/Ches Smith: Calling All Portraits
*Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 (disc 9)
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Strong Place
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House:  2014-09-26 Darmstadt, Germany (CDR)
*Mindbreath Trio: 2015-01-10 Union Arts, Washington DC (wav)
*Music Revelation Ensemble: 1980-05-26 Moers (CDR)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2015-01-05 “Quirk Elastic” (wav)
*Sonny Rollins: The Definitive Sonny Rollins on Prestige, Riverside, and Contemporary (disc 1)
*Synthesis: Sentiments
*Cecil Taylor Feel Trio: Two Ts for a Lovely T (discs 9, 10)
*Weasel Walter/Mary Halvorson/Peter Evans: Electric Fruit
*Beatles: With the Beatles (2009 mono remaster)
*D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah
*Bob Dylan and The Band: The Basement Tapes- Complete (disc 3)
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2015-01-23 (wav)
*Electric Wurms: Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk
*Flying Lotus: Los Angeles
*Guided By Voices: Cool Planet
*Henry Cow: Live on Radio Bremen 1978 (boot CDR) (disc 1)
*John/Paul/George/Ringo: Post-Beatles (cassette compilation)
*Kinks: The Kink Kontroversy
*Pere Ubu: Lady from Shanghai
*Irma Thomas: Soul Queen of New Orleans (disc 2)
*Wig Drop: Wig Drop (selections)

Reading List, Week of 2015-01-25

Reading List 2015-01-26:

*Erikson, Steven. Midnight Tides (reread/in progress)
*Ratey, John J., and Eric Hagerman. Spark (in progress)
*Stanley, Thomas. The Execution of Sun Ra (in progress)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Playlist, Week of 2015-01-18

Now that the dust has settled on this, I gotta say I think it's D'Angelo's strongest yet. There's this special thing he does with the rhythm; it's not just that the backbeat is delayed oh so slightly to deepen the funk, it's also that his vocals are even further in the back pocket of the backbeat. And the beats themselves are almost disjointed and slightly off, just off enough to be deeply, slowly grooving. Check out this effect especially on "Prayer." He did this on Voodoo too, and of course it all goes back to There's a Riot Goin' On. Here, he takes it to a whole new level.

Playlist 2015-01-19:

*AMM: Combine + Laminates + Treatise ‘84
*Anthony Braxton: 4 Compositions (Ulrichsberg) 2005 Phonomanie VIII (discs 2, 3, 4)
*Anthony Braxton/Tomas Fujiwara/Tom Rainey: Trio (New Haven) 2013 (discs 3, 4)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-29 Nashville (wav)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-30 Nashville (wav)
*John Coltrane: Offering: Live at Temple University
*Marilyn Crispell/Gerry Hemingway: Affinities
*Jimmy Ghaphery: 904F (streaming)
*Barry Guy/Marilyn Crispell/Paul Lytton: Ithaca
*Herbie Hancock: Thrust
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Strong Place
*Mindbreath Trio: 2015-01-10 Union Arts, Washington DC (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2015-01-05 “Quirk Elastic” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2015-01-12 “Auspices” (wav)
*Return to Forever: Where Have I Known You Before
*Sun Ra: Continuation (Saturn/Corbett vs. Dempsey 2CD)
*Sun Ra: Spaceways (1968 film soundtrack, dir. E. English) CDR
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Sign of the Myth
*Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
*Arctic Monkeys: Humbug
*Booker T. & the MGs: Time Is Tight (disc 2)
*Deerhoof: La Isla Bonita (selections)
*Bob Dylan and The Band: The Basement Tapes- Complete (discs 1, 2, 6)
*Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma
*Flying Lotus: You’re Dead!
*D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah
*Henry Cow: Live on Radio Bremen 1978 (boot CDR) (disc 2)
*Darlene Love: The Sound of Love: The Very Best of Darlene Love
*Royal Blood: Royal Blood

Reading List, Week of 2015-01-18

Damn, I'd forgotten how good this is.

Reading List 2015-01-19:

*Erikson, Steven. Midnight Tides (reread/in progress)
*Ratey, John J., and Eric Hagerman. Spark (in progress)
*Stanley, Thomas. The Execution of Sun Ra (in progress)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Photos from Mindbreath Trio Set in DC

Photos from our set last Saturday at Union Arts in DC. Daniel Barbiero on double bass, Perry Conticchio on tenor and soprano sax, flute, and bass clarinet, and yours truly on drums. A whirlwind set that felt like 15 minutes and lasted over 35.

photos by Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop — at Union Arts DC.

Playlist, Week of 2015-01-11

I don't even know where to start saying anything about this. Brilliant, transcendent, and so, so much better sounding than the incomplete version that has circulated for years. Excellent!

Playlist 2015-01-12:

*Tommy Birchett: 2014-12-12 MoMA PS1 Print Shop, Queens (streaming)
*Cornelius Cardew: Works 1960-70 (Tilbury/Duch/Davies)
*Cornelius Cardew: Treatise (Prague 1967) (QUaX Ensemble)
*Stan Link/Rodger Coleman: 2014-12-06 Nashville “Concert” (version 2)
*AMM: 1970-03-02 London (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton: 4 Compositions (Ulrichsberg) 2005 Phonomanie VIII (disc 1)
*Anthony Braxton/Tomas Fujiwara/Tom Rainey: Trio (New Haven) 2013 (discs 1, 2)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-29 Nashville (wav)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-30 Nashville (wav)
*Colla Parte: 2010-09-19 Fairfax, VA (CDR)
*John Coltrane: Offering: Live at Temple University
*Bill Evans Trio, Lee Konitz, & Warne Marsh: Crosscurrents
*Jimmy Ghaphery: 904F (streaming)
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House
*Roscoe Mitchell: Duets with Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Sign of the Myth
*At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command
*Beatles: Revolver (2009 mono remaster)
*William Bell: The Very Best of William Bell
*D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah
*Dope: Felons and Revolutionaries (selections)
*Bob Dylan and The Band: The Basement Tapes- Complete (discs 1-5)
*Grateful Dead: Wake Up to Find Out
*High Llamas: Beet, Maize & Corn
*Pere Ubu: Dub Housing
*Mary Wells: Something New: Motown Lost & Found (disc 1)
*Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun
*Robert Wyatt: Different Every Time

Reading List, Week of 2015-01-11

Reading List 2015-01-12:

*Merlin, Enrico. "Code MD: Coded Phrases in the First 'Electric Period'" (started/finished)
*Ratey, John J., and Eric Hagerman. Spark (started)
*Stanley, Thomas. The Execution of Sun Ra (started)
*Tilbury, John. “AMM 1965-71,” from Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished (finished)
*Erikson, Steven. Midnight Tides (reread/in progress)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

John Tilbury on Improvisation
Yet because of its directness, its immediacy, improvisation is often perceived simply as something musicians do when they arrive on stage, as if by default, without sheets of manuscript paper. They invent nothing, they simply access their memory bank. But just as thought has preceded the mark on the manuscript paper in the composer's studio, so before he emits a sound the improviser has trained and prepared himself; he has reflected on the new musical problems that have arisen; he has pondered and perhaps rejected the 'reformulation of successful modes'; he has recalled the unresolved tensions of previous performances; he has considered the relationships with other players: in short, he has engaged in musical thought. A particular improvisation is one of many possible consequences of these considerations; spontaneously and publicly, they are given temporal musical expression. (John Tilbury, Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished,Copula, 2008, p. 318)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mindbreath Trio This Saturday in DC

The Preparation

Got a gig this Saturday! I was asked to be a part of the Mindbreath Trio, with 2/3 of Colla PartePerry Conticchio on sax and Daniel Barbiero on double bass (thanks for the invite, Dan!). We'll be playing at Union Arts, as part of the three-night event of improvised music, The Preparation. I am both scared and excited. If you're in the DC area, stop by! Details in the link.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Ting Ting Loft Solo Projects

I want to call your attention to a couple of items from members of New Ting Ting Loft:

1. Jimmy Ghaphery's new solo project: 904F. In his own words:
Stretching time, ideas, and texture. Listening patiently to repetition and improvisational counterpoint. Two long pieces clocking in at 90 minutes each, both using the same 90 minute guitar improvisation as a common layer. The first piece adds a repeated 45 minute clarinet improvisation with a ninety minute wooden flute improvisation in the distance. The second piece adds a series of themes for alto sax with liberal ornamentation. The final piece is a short 10 minute sax quartet assembled from 4 of the sax tracks found on the previous piece.
He really is going for the long form here! Layers of sound recede in the distance, like the fog on the beautiful album cover (pictured above).

2. A video of Tommy Birchett's fantastic solo performance at the MoMA PS1 Print Shop in New York City in December. 8-track hijinx and even a bit o' swing! Plunderphonically phun:

Playlist, Week of 2015-01-04

Unreleased (and heretofore undocumented) studio session from 1973...a must-have for Ra fans! Very much in the vein of Crystal Spears and Cymbals, this album has some fantastic synth/percussion interplay and some killer Gilmore. Understated and all-new, fresh and familiar. Brilliant and demanding. Who knows how many more mysteries are out there from Mr. Ra? Keep 'em coming!

Playlist 2015-01-05

*Ensemble 303: Treatise by Cornelius Cardew
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2014-12-29 Nashville (wav)
*Fontanelle: Vitamin F
*Kuumba-Toudie Heath: Kawaida
*Warne Marsh Trio: The Unissued Copenhagen Studio Recordings
*Joe Morris/William Parker/Gerald Cleaver: Altitude (selections)
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Sign of the Myth
*Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
*Beach Boys: Greatest Hits
*Beatles: Past Masters
*Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night
*Beatles: Beatles For Sale
*Beatles: Help!
*Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour
*Beatles: The Beatles
*Beatles: Let It Be
*Beatles: Abbey Road
*D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah
*Deerhoof: La Isla Bonita
*Drifters: Greatest Hits
*Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt ‘80: Odoo
*Herman’s Hermits: Blaze
*Jefferson Pilot: Hello Mississippi
*Nektar: A Tab in the Ocean
*Elvis Presley: Greatest Hits
*Prince/3rdeyegirl: Plectrumelectrum
*Royal Blood: Royal Blood
*UYA: Improvisations (1992): Pixie Swirl  “Swirly” (CDR)
*Neil Young: Greatest Hits

Reading List, Week of 2015-01-04

Reading List 2015-01-05:

*Erikson, Steven. Midnight Tides (reread/started)
*Erikson, Steven. House of Chains (reread/finished)
*Tilbury, John. “ AMM 1965-71,” from Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished (in progress)