Sunday, March 10, 2013

Baptists/Haggatha/The Thing/Beak/Steve Reid

Alright.  Despite appearances and Adrian's comments to the contrary February has been a very productive month for me in terms of music appreciation.  This is a pretty big post this week to account for a glut of new music I've been digging recently.

Baptists - Bushcraft (2012)

Baptists are probably the darlings of Vancouver's thrash/hardcore scene right now and deservedly so.  Over the years playing in shitholes in East Van they have become a polished and devastating sonic machine.  They were just signed to the illustrious Southern Lord records and hosted a rightous record release party on Friday.  This record has been on my platter pretty steady for the last couple days.  Nothin' particularly original going on here but some very solid representations of the genre that definately repay repeat listens.

Check out a nicely packaged little trio of songs from the record release show (take note of the classic breakdown ~6:30):


Here's a little taste of another Vancouver band.  These guys are my current favourite local act.  They opened for Baptists at the aforementioned recent slow and are brutal.

Dig them from a recent European tour:

Their drummer is a personal hero of mine. Now dig them from their new record:

Neneh Cherry and The Thing - The Cherry Thing (2012)

The Thing are a Swedish based avant-jazz power trio led by superstar saxman Mats Gustafsson of whom more will come in future posts.  Each of their records is quite different but generally contain a good deal of devastating, balls out jazz noise and maybe a punk cover or two.

Item: Hidegen Fujnak A Szelek

Elsewhere they do a great cover of Lightning Bolt's Ride the Sky but it was sadly not to be found on Youtube.

For the new record though the trio is joined on vocals by Neneh Cherry, the daughter of pocket trumpet genius Don Cherry.  They run through a surprisingly accessible set of mostly covers which ends up being being a mix of sugary pop-jazz and fierce free jazz blowing.  This record is full of really fresh sounds not quite like anything I've heard before.

Check out the opening track Cashback:


 Beak - s/t 2009

Here's one for those more krautily inclined.  This is the new project from Portishead's Geoff Barrow and here he and a couple of other English dudes diligently follow the cartography of Can and Neu! This, their first is so indebted to the Can and Neu! that it sometimes feels that one is listening to some lost metting between those two motoric German ensembles.  Even the record's production carries with it the clean, warm sound of the early '70s.  Generally, each track centers around one repetitive minimal groove, I am given to understand that some of you out there enjoy this sort of thing.

Here is a characteristic example, Iron Action:

The second album is also very good  and finds the band adding more variety to the mix without moving far away from their krauty devotionals.

Check out the opening track from Beak II, The Gaol:

Steve Reid - Rhythmatism (1975)

Of late I have been going through somewhat of a deep jazz kick and one of the artists most able to provide the fix I need has been drummer/bandleader Steve Reid.  His is a long career the details of which I will not relate in full here but he grew up in New York out of the free/spiritual jazz scene associated with John Coltrane and Sun Ra.  He also spent some years in West Africa playing with Fela Kuti after which he was arrested and spent a few years in jail for missing his military duty in Vietnam.  Following his release from prison he recorded three birlliant records on his own label and helped to propel the burgeoning New York loft jazz scene.  The selection presented here comes from his first record.  The later two records follow in the same vein although they steadily move farther 'outside'.  Despite a move to freer playing Steve Reid remained dedicated to a strong rhythmic pulse in his work.  In the last decade Steve Reid has returned to the spotlight leading his own band with electronics whiz Keiran Hebden to much deserved acclaim.  I plan to post some contemporary material from Mr. Reid later this week along with a slew of other material that I have been spinning lately but for the time being I will close with some insanely groovy spiritual jazz.


Unfortunately I could not find a full version of this song online, it should be 12:45.  If you want more I guess you'll have to find the whole album for download or buy the thing.


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