Posts Tagged ‘Chris Cutler’

Shub Niggurath - Introduction

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Been inactive here, sorry. Have not been inactive in general. The latest thing I did was a review of Shub Niggurath’s Introduction over at the Washington City Paper (it’s in this week’s print edition as well). To go along with that review, I also did a Q&A with Udi Koomran, who is responsible for remastering the original tape, and who also got me a copy of his early remaster so that I could review it for this site a few years ago. The review here is geared towards someone familiar with the RIO/avant-prog axis; the review at the City Paper is more for laypeople.

Readers of this site will be interested in the question I ask Udi, towards the end of the Q&A, about what he’s been working on lately. Bands like Present, Guapo and Eskaton are involved.

Also in that same question, be sure to check out the link to Udi’s contribution to the Radio Village Nomade soundscape project - a lot like Chris Cutler’s Twice Around the Earth project. Very cool stuff.

Last December’s pseudo-Henry Cow reunion: recorded!

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

I’ve already exceeded my budget for CDs this month, but man, this looks delicious: the next best thing to a brand new Henry Cow live recording:

Fred Frith/Tim Hodgkinson/Chris Cutler
The Lost Weekend: Live NYC December 2006 [3 CDs + DVD]
Three members of Henry Cow re-united for the first time in nearly 30 years! Four amazing tour-de-force sets [early and late shows from both Sat 12/16 and Sun 12/17] from 3 master improvisors who resumed an intense dialogue as they though they had only left off the day before! The DVD is of the early show Sunday!

To be clear, that’s two sets of the three of them together, one Hodgkinson/Frith duo set (that’s the one documented on the DVD apparently; I wish the DVD was of the trio, but I can’t really complain!), and one Hodgkinson/Cutler duo set. The Frith/Cutler duo set that was performed the Friday before these shows is being documented on a separate release, The Stone: Issue 2, a benefit CD for the venue. This release is described as follows by Bruce at Downtown Music Gallery, where these sets are being sold for $40 and $21, respectively (though the 3CD/DVD set is not yet on sale):

This was the first of three nights of the much anticipated reunion of three former members of Henry Cow. The first set that night was a trio featuring Fred Frith & Chris Cutler with special guest Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper. It seemed too restrained in part and was a bit disappointing for some in attendance. The second set was just the Frith and Cutler duo and it was phenomenal! Although Fred & Chris’ musical relationship goes back the beginning of Henry Cow in the late sixties/early seventies, they have been doing duo gigs periodically since 1979. They have three previous live duo discs out, the last one is from 1999. The duo seemed primed for this particular set and it was an indeed an incredible occasion. Although Fred played an electric guitar with a variety of pedals and a small table of objects and Chris played a drum kit with even more assorted percussive objects, electronics and a small mixing board, when one is listening and even watching the duo play, it was and is difficult to tell who was doing what. The disc itself captures their entire nearly 51-minute set and immensely fascinating throughout and even throttling at times. It begins with a splash that sounds like magic and lets you know that something wonderful is about to take place. It sounds like a soundtrack to a movie that has you at the edge of your seat. Each sound, each gesture is filled a most compelling vibration. There is a great deal of discussion about “noise” nowadays… what we have here is some of the most well-sculptured and musical noise that I’ve heard in a long while. I am truly proud of the way the entire month of performances turned out and especially elated that way this disc has captured the magic of this set. Now it is your turn to dig in and enjoy the great journey within. Thanks to our friends Robert O’Haire for the recording, Scott Friedlander for the cover photo and to Fred & Chris for the music.

It’s going to be difficult to restrain myself from buying both of these things ASAP.

Very exciting news from ReR

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

I usually try to avoid posting straight-up news items on my blog, leaving that task to sites like Avant Music News (or for the more neo/symph prog-inclined, the excellent DPRP news pages). But Chris Cutler’s recent post to the ReRmegacorp Yahoo group has me too excited to not mention it. Cutler outlines ReR’s plans for 2006, which include some things that had me practically jumping out of my seat this morning:

  • The This Heat box set announced last year should be ready May 10th.
  • Remastered, repackaged versions of both News From Babel albums.
  • New CDs from Chris Cutler/Fred Frith (duo), Biota, and The Necks.
  • Possibly some unreleased Henry Cow material… maybe a set of two or three cds.”

Unreleased Henry Cow material? What’s this? Live stuff, or actual unreleased compositions? Either way, if this came to fruition I’d be one hell of a happy camper. Keeping my fingers crossed!

You can read Cutler’s full post here.

Today’s review roundup

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Three reviews of interest in the indie-rock Web press today. (For the interested, I scan five indie review sites each day: Pitchfork, Popmatters, Dusted, Stylus, and Splendid. All of these from time to time review more proggy or avant stuff, especially Dusted.) Dusted reviews the new Shining album, which I just ordered from Wayside; Splendid reviews the Blackfield album, and Pitchfork (Dominique Leone, to be specific) reviews Chris Cutler’s new one.

I particularly like the Blackfield review. I have not yet heard this album, but as it’s available at BMG, I might get it even though I’m not all that interested in the idea of another Steven Wilson project. Apparently, neither is the reviewer at Splendid, who says the album is “at best, an emo record with delusions of grandeur.” Ha! “It’s not that the songs are weak; they’re just sonically anonymous,” he says, which come to think of it would be a perfectly apt description for a lot of Porcupine Tree’s music that I’ve heard (though, I must say, Deadwing excepted).

Dominique’s review of Chris Cutler’s Twice Around the Earth manages to make it sound both extremely avant-garde and extremely interesting. I know my interest is piqued, at least. I find the concept of the album — taking field recordings that musicians around the world made of their everyday lives and synthesizing them into a whole — a recipe for disaster, but if Cutler actually pulled it off well, as Dominique seems to indicate, I’d be very interested to hear the results.

Chris Cutler talks about Dagmar Krause

Saturday, April 3rd, 2004

The Wire, the UK magazine that covers “new music”, meaning avant-garde stuff of various colors, is fairly hit-or-miss for prog fans. The magazine is fairly condescending to anything resembling conventional prog, and most of its coverage will appeal only to avant-prog and RIO types. That said, for those people, the latest issue is a gem. There’s a pretty good feature-length article on Art Bears - as well as one on György Ligeti - that makes the issue worth its price.

The Art Bears article, as well as the review of The Art Box in the Soundcheck section, make the case that Winter Songs is the group’s crowing achievement, a sentiment that doesn’t seem to be shared by most RIO folks. The article is particularly notable, though, in that it includes sentiments from Dagmar Krause, whose voice was conspicuously absent from the booklet to The Art Box. Also interesting are Chris Cutler’s thoughts on Krause:

“‘I don’t write simple or obvious words,’ he admits, ‘they are not easy to sing. Dagmar had the amazing ability to make them make sense, to make them sound obvious. She sings from the inside and her accent helps to lift words out of their slots and give them a slightly resonant displacement. No one else could have done what Dagmar did on those LPs. I’m still amazed by her.’”

Also of interest to prog types in this issue are reviews of new albums from Einstürzende Neubauten, Absolute Zero, and the Satoko Fujii Quartet (Fujii’s band with Tatsuya Yoshida), as well as the Amon Düül II live DVD, Plays Phallus Dei.