Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Live at Hungry Brain
In 2009 Family Vineyard released the first U.S. album by Japanese saxophone legend Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. That critically heraldedrelease, Friendly Pants, was with Sakata's long running rhythm crew Chikamorachi -- drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek, etc.) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise-Glace, etc.). This LP is their follow-up. Recorded during the '09 Umbrella Music Festival in Chicago, Live at Hungry Brain is an outrageous document by this brawling avant garde trio. Sakata, on alto/clarinet/ vocals, relentlessly pushes Corsano/Gray into the blackout zone where the body drops out and the spirit takes over. On each piece Sakata seemingly levitates higher into a cosmic zone while blasting out gorgeous melodic shapes -- even when he sings. Those who have followed Corsano and Gray's progression through the American rock, noise & free jazz underground will hear this LP as a pinnacle of their talent. It's an exhilarating, deeply textured and exhausting listen only matched by the outlandish, yet spot-on, cover art by famed Japan illustrator More Rock All Art. Edition of 700 copies.
Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Friendly Pants
Friendly Pants is the first American release by legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. It pairs the 65-year-old traveler alongside Chikamorachi, the bombast rhythm section of drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise Glace). Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as Yamashita Yosuke Trio and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brötzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others.
Since 2005 Sakata has been aligned with Corsano and Gray -- a duo equally informed by underground American rock, noise & free jazz -- and already issued two other smoked and blown out albums with them in Japan. On each of those they were joined by Jim O'Rourke, who remains in the producer's chair for this session. Sakata deliverers ferocious / highly lyrical approaches to the post-bop field and with Chikamorachi's recalls late-period John Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders during the early 1970s at times. While the three smear and tear at the edges, Sakata's massive tone and melodic sense reins in the chaos to create beauty and awe.
Originally issued on O'Rourke's Japanese imprint Shakaijin Records, Friendly Pants is now reissued for the rest of the world to dig.
Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi: And that's the Story of Jazz...
And that's the story of jazz... Get it? Well, maybe you had to be there when legendary saxophonist Akira Sakata, guitarist Jim O'Rourke and bombast rhythm crew of percussionist Chris Corsano and double bassist Darin Gray (aka Chikamorachi) jumped in the van for a Japanese tour. This two CD set documents their 2008 jaunt -- not the first and far from last -- in blistering detail. Shades of Last Exit, Coltrane's Live in Seattle and even Kousokuya appear here but this quartet has nailed its own unique 'n' volatile tension and symmetry during its past six years together. Until now, their albums have only been available as Japanese imports. This is also the third U.S. release by Sakata on Family Vineyard in the past three years.Throughout Sakata charges upper registers on alto sax yet still hooks stunning phrases and harmonic themes. O'Rourke's radical, electric guitar blasts are massive volleys of pure sound. All the while, Gray relentlessly anchors the torrent with subterranean grooves, scrapes and slaps while Corsano lays waste to his kit, pounding polyrhythms and tones. Together passages transform from blinding, uncompromised brutality to zones where Sakta's sweetened melodies dance slowly alone and O'Rourke, also on harmonica, adds lonesome country blues. Over-the-top at times, but hey, that's the story of jazz... If you want Grade-A, blood splattered free music, this is it, but you gotta pay for it.
Alan Licht: YMCA
YMCA is guitarist Alan Licht's first solo release since 2003's A New York Minute double CD (on XI), and his first solo vinyl outing since 1994's long out-of-print Sink the Aging Process (on Siltbreeze). Largely recorded at a 2004 concert at a Cambridge Massachusetts YMCA by Keith Fullerton Whitman, YMCA documents Licht's solo guitar set of the time -- a three-part structured improvisation that moves from mournful, layered sustained tones that sound more like a reed organ than a guitar, to a gently plucked middle section, to a final firestorm of loop processing that is a tour de force of "the changing same." Inspired by his friends Oren Ambarchi and Tetuzi Akiyama's then-current albums (Triste and Don't Forget To Boogie), Licht proposed YMCA to Idea Records to form a kind of trilogy with those releases. With Idea's subsequent demise, Family Vineyard has stepped in to bring this peak performance out as a special limited edition vinyl release, exactly as the artist originally conceived it. Limited to 500 copies.
Alan Licht & Aki Onda: Everydays
Debut collaboration of New York artists and long-time duo partners Alan Licht and Aki Onda, whose combined history connects artists straddling the pop and experimental worlds, including Fennesz, Loren Connors, Takemura Nobukazu, Lee Ranaldo, and Toriko Nujiko. In the past decade their montage-inspired solo work---Licht's permutational guitar and tape pieces on Rabbi Sky and A New York Minute, Onda's field recording recontextualizations on Bon Voyage! and Ancient & Modern---has co-existed with their experimental sound/visual projects Text of Light (Licht) and Cinemage (Onda). Everydays is five grandly formed soundscapes that mix Onda's poetic/textural cassette sounds and the rhythmic/lyrical pull of Licht's guitar. Morphing from recognizable structures to dissonant hammered chunks and rapid cut-ups, the album perfectly weaves their signature applications of sound diaries, minimalism, grainy fidelity, looping and free blues into a dynamic and ambitious statement.
Alan Licht & Loren Connors: Into the Night Sky
Into the Night Sky is the sixth album from avant guitarists Alan Licht and Loren Connors, the first after 2003's In France. Since 1993 these New York City artists have evolved an instrumental dialogue merging shades of electric blues and minimalism. These two epic pieces -- one from 1996, the other 2006 -- recorded live in concert clearly show far their desolate sound world grew over a decade of collaboration while the core of layered guitar complexities and alien melodies remain. The atmosphere conjured by the duo is unmistakable -- the ebb of eloquently shaped feedback -- while the harmonic patterns recall 20th Century classical music. Active since the early 1990s, Licht has worked with a veritable who's who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends to downtown composers while performing in Text of Light and an ongoing duo with Aki Onda. Since 1978 Connors has released dozens of acclaimed and sought after LPs documenting his singular adaption of the blues and forging his place as one of America's most iconoclastic artists.
Apache Dropout: Magnetic Heads
This is not a ?new??Apache Dropout platter, but an archival sidestep into the Fugs n? fried view of their early beginnings. Before the Indiana trio cemented their unique red-level, distorto proto-punk they focused on a more obliterated bent on traditional forms. Fiddle, distortion and echo drive most of these songs, as sung by Sonny Blood, that tout distrust of banks, ballot uncertainties and magnetic heads. It's a bleaker vision than the recent Bubblegum Graveyard LP on Trouble in MInd, even with the blownout take on Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" and hints of Holy Modal Rounders to Kim Fowley doused throughout these sides.
Culled from the group?s first two self-released cassettes -- Cha Cha in 2008 and Lysergic Choogle: Not for Pigs issued a year later -- the 10 songs are equally formed by their recording in a grain silo and the group's Magnetic South studio as much as the songwriting. Edition of 700 copies, comes with download code and if you can name all the heads on the cover, will give you prize.
Apache Dropout: Apache Dropout
Apache Dropout is a full on lysergic boogie trio from Southern Indiana who've self-released a handful of recordings while touring the sub-U.S. during the past couple years. Finally, their debut LP is here to catch you up with their three-minute-&-less anthems crafted of '60s epoch fuzz. With mostly guitar/bass/drums they channel soul melodies, primitive rock thump and blasted solos that are soaked in the dimethyl-trip of teenage visions (see songs "Sam Phillips Rising" and "God Bless You Johan Kugelberg" for that) and a few whifs of Tuli Kupferberg. Sonny Alexandre is the enigmatic howler/vocalist/guitarist whose swagger and melted riffs leads the way. Formed in 2008, the group's previous endeavors include John Wilkes Booze, Hot Fighter #1 and Lord Fyre. Recorded by the band at their own Magnetic South Studio, they've pushed these 11 songs into highly textured nuggets of punk art that follow in the wave of The 13th Floor Elevators, The Velvets, and Patti Smith Group. We've got no doubt, this is going to floor all ears in 2011. Album art and horn arrangements come by way of John Terrill (co-founder of the late '70s new/no wave Dancing Cigarettes) and final audio polishing by engineer Paul "Z" Mahern, vocalist of the legendary Zero Boys.
Blithe Sons, The: We Walk the Young Earth
We Walk the Young Earth is the third full-length release from The Blithe Sons, the duo of Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja) and Glenn Donaldson (the Birdtree, Thuja, Mirza). The Sons' debut (on their own Jewelled Antler Collective) combined studio constructions with field recordings, but by the second album, the studio had moved completely outdoors. Acoustic and battery-powered instruments were recorded via field-mic in a grassy meadow bristling with insects, birds and wind. We Walk the Young Earth continues this outdoor-recording practice and was edited from performances that took place under a creek bridge in San Gregorio and inside WWII-era bunkers on sea cliffs in the Marin Headlands, California. With acoustic guitar, harps, bells, harmonium, toy-amplifiers, gongs submerged in a creek, cymbals, battery-powered keyboards, vocals, banjo, birds, pipes, bell-blocks, drums, branches and the location itself as an instrument, We Walk the Young Earth weaves minimalist hymns with stark drones. The Blithe Sons conjure an imaginary wilderness through the sounds made within these mysterious locales, combining Chasse's leanings towards tones and percussive textures with Donaldson's folk-inflected melodies.
Blithe Sons, The: The Great Orthochromatic Wheel
The Great Orthochromatic Wheel is The Blithe Sons first full-length release since 2004. In the years since the California duo of Loren Chasse and Glenn Donaldson may have traversed poppy fields and swam to aqua cities though mostly they've remained active with their Jewelled Antler offshoots: Ov, Of, and Child Readers (Chasse) or Skygreen Leopards and Flying Canyon (Donaldson) and both in Thuja. These five songs combine nature's elodic pull and minimalist songs forms summoned by a miniature orchestra of eclectic instruments. Each LP side flaunts a different depth of the Sons, one recorded outdoors and the other inside. The indoor set consists of slow-motion ballads built on hymn-like organ, nylon string guitar, analog drum machine & stark percussion. The outdoor side offers a web of exotic wind-instruments & battery-powered electronics reverberating in a cavernous hall cut in the side of a sea-cliff. Each 500 copies contain a download coupon for MP3 version of the album.
Blithe Sons, The: Arm of the Starfish
Arm of the Starfish is the fifth full-length release from the outdoor wandering The Blithe Sons, the Jewelled Antler-related duo of Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja) and Glenn Donaldson (the Birdtree, Thuja, Mirza), and their second CD for Family Vineyard. Performed mostly in coastal environs on acoustic and battery-powered instruments, the sound of waves, wind, tide pools, seabirds and shifting sand plays an active role in these minimalist folk atmospheres. Incorporating 12-string cuatro, acoustic guitar, dulcimer, banjo, harmonium, percussion, toy amplifiers, wood flutes, Thai mouthorgan, violin-uke, Casio and Donaldson's mysterious vocal utterances, Arm of the Starfish evokes haunted shorelines, windswept cliffs and vast undersea caverns. The Blithe Son's previous Family Vineyard release We Walk the Young Earth was critically acclaimed the world over by Mojo, The Wire, Pitchforkmedia, Vice, Dusted, Signal to Noise, and many other publications.
Bruce Anderson: Brutality II: Balkana
Bruce's second installment. The production and narrative flow by Dale seals this brutal lament on Man's copious history.
"Anderson's guitar emits bell-like tones at one moment, and squalls of white noise at the next. The nearly half-hour "Feud," built around an insistent, clanging low-end figure, stacks whistling guitars and sporadic bass pulses to haunting effect. "Blood" employs more musicians and fewer notes, holding to one low tone for the entirety of its ten-minute length."-- Billboard
Bruce Anderson & Dale Sophiea: Strict
The first new recordings by O-Type/MX-80 Sound members Bruce and Dale, along with Dave Mahoney, Jim Hrabetin and Marc Weinstein. They call this New Edge."Appropriated contemporary classical music samples from Morton Feldman, Claudio Monteverdi, Hugo Distler, Jeanne Desslieux, and Frances Poulenc acts as beds and transitions in the narrative flow of this modern oratorio for rock instrumentation. This is out on the edge of both what is expected and what is allowed. Anderson's darkly meditative and thoughtfully screaming guitar has never sounded more at home. These veterans of MX-80 have evolved into something nobody's found a name for yet."--Henry Kaiser
Chris Forsyth: Paranoid Cat
Paranoid Cat is Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth's third solo album and the first for Family Vineyard. It is a sprawling, harmonically-charged side-long suite backed by a clutch of compositions merging raw and delicate American roots traditions. After more than a decade trotting the globe and recording with a mess of today's avant garde greats, plus co-leading the brazenly absurd Peeesseye, Forsyth has arranged a full-band with dummer Mike Pride and members of D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Peeesseye, and Mountains to accompany his electric six-string vision of interlocking arpeggios and maximalist peaks. The kaleidoscopic arrangements of Paranoid Cat are a leap from the stripped down attack on Forsyth's hotly acclaimed 2009 Dreams -- to be reissued by Family Vineyard later this year -- with hints of John Fahey's "America," Richard Lloyd's work with Television, John Lee Hooker, and Van Dyke Parks all being identifiable somewhere in the swirling mix.