Sunday, May 27, 2012

Podcast Episode 4 - East Meets West. Pt. 2: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha

Buckethead: First Master/Splinter Pool from “Cobra Strike II – Y, Y+B, X+Y <hold>” (2000) [6.56]
Giacinto Scelsi: Uaxuctum: The Legend Of The Mayan City Which They Themselves Destroyed For Religious Reasons - 1st Movement for large orchestra, choir and Martenot waves (1969) [6.33]
Zulie Banda from “Voices of Haiti recorded by Maya Deren” (1953) [3.09]
Masahiko Satoh and the Soulbreakers: Amalgamation Pt. 2 from “Amalgamation (Kokotsu No Showa Genroku)” (1971) [21.18]
Triocton: Hizuru from “Triocton” (1998) [3.46]
Kecak (Chanting) from “Music for the Gods – The Fahnestock South Sea Expedition: Indonesia” (1941) [5.27]
Makoto Kawabata: excerpt from “Subjection of Drone” (2008) [21.15]
John Zorn: Chronology from “Spy Vs Spy – The Music of Ornette Coleman” (1989) [1.04]

This podcast is dedicated to Maya Deren

Brian Patrick Carroll (born May 13, 1969), better known by his stage name Buckethead, is a guitarist and multi instrumentalist who has worked within several genres of music, spanning such diverse areas as progressive metal, funk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music. Best known for his electric guitar playing, he has been voted number 8 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" as well as being included in Guitar World's lists of the "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" and is also known for being in the "50 fastest guitarists of all time list". Buckethead performs primarily as a solo artist. He has collaborated extensively with a wide variety of high profile artists such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, Bill Moseley, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen, That 1 Guy, and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. Buckethead has also written and performed music for major motion pictures, including: Saw II, Ghosts of Mars, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Last Action Hero, and contributed lead guitar to the track "Firebird" featured on the Power Rangers Movie Soundtrack. (from Wikipedia)

Giacinto Scelsi, Count of Ayala Valva (La Spezia, 8 January 1905 – Rome, 9 August 1988), was an Italian composer who also wrote surrealist poetry in French. He is best known for writing music based around only one pitch, altered in all manners through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusions, and changes in timbre and dynamics, as paradigmatically exemplified in his revolutionary Quattro Pezzi su una nota sola ["Four Pieces on a single note"] (1959). His musical output, which encompassed all Western classical genres except scenic music, remained largely undiscovered even within contemporary musical circles during most of his life. A series of concerts in the mid to late 1980s finally premièred many of his pieces to great acclaim, notably his orchestral masterpieces in October 1987 in Cologne, about a quarter of a century after those works had been composed and less than a year before the composer's death. Scelsi was able to attend the premières and personally supervised the rehearsals. Dutch musicologist Henk de Velde, alluding to Adorno speaking of Alban Berg, called Scelsi "the Master of the yet smaller transition," to which Harry Halbreich added that "in fact, his music is only transition."

In the early 1940s, Katherine Dunham engaged the future experimental film-maker Maya Deren to act as her personal assistant. Deren toured with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company doing secretarial work for Dunham as the latter wrote up the findings from the anthropological fieldwork she had done in the mid 1930s in Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean. Dunham, a mixed race African American born in Chicago, sought to educate black and white Americans through writing about and choreographing with the rich dance culture which had developed as a consequence of the African diaspora. Deren, born in Kiev into a Jewish family who migrated to the United States in 1922, discovered ritual through her contact with Dunham and subsequently used it as a key device in her pioneering experimental film work. In a 1946 pamphlet Deren wrote about the importance of ritual in her films, two of which had been made with dancers who had been members of Dunham’s company; the following year she made her first visit to Haiti to study and film vaudun (voodoo) rituals that had been the subject of Miss Dunham’s research a decade earlier. (from “Catherine Durham and Maya Deren on ritual, modernity, and the African Diaspora” by Ramsay Burt professor of Dance History at Department of Performance and Digital Art, De Montfort University, Leichester)

Born in Tokyo in 1941, graduated from Keio University, Masahiko Satoh studied music composition and arrangement at Berklee School of Music from 1966 to 1968. In his fully fledged professional life after returning to Japan, he received the “Japan Jazz Award” by Swing Journal Magazine with his first album “Palladium” in 1969 where he led the making of the album. Later he was also awarded twice with the Award of Excellency at the National Art Festival of Japan with his original masterpieces of “Four Jazz Compositions” (1970) and “Yamataifu” (1972). He released numerous albums he led the making of such as the U.S. release “Amorphism”, recorded in trio with Steve Gadd and Eddie Gomez, and “Randooga”, born from the occasion of “Select Live Under The Sky ‘90” (“Japan Jazz Award” by Swing Journal Magazine) which was released in France. His jazz festival appearance includes Berlin, Donau Eschingen, Moers, Montreux, and East Meets West In New York, and the concert tours in Africa, Australia, Russia, and Latin America. As music composer and arranger he participated in recordings of many well-known musicians such as Nancy Wilson, Art Farmer, Helen Merrill, Nakagawa Masami, Itoh Kimiko, and Miyamoto Fumiaki. He composed and produced two releases of a new direction “Ranmon for orchestra and three improvisers” (1987) and “Concerto for the WAVE III and orchestra” (1988) and pavilion pieces as “World Exposition - Local Governance Memorial Hall” (1970) and “Flower and Green Exposition - JT Memorial Hall” (1990). He also works on TV programs, movies, and CM in Japan. He composed and arranged the pieces combined with the traditional buddhist monk music for “BUDDHIST MUSIC with 1000 Syomyo Voices” at Budokan in Tokyo in 1993. This work attracted attentions from different disciplines. He created his own production label BAJ Records in 1997 and his activities continually grow and diversify. (Biography from

Maurizio Suppo (Turin, Italy, Dec. 26, 1970) started his musical journey in 1987 with a thrash metal band, changing their music toward a crossover style in 1989, as Producers of Absurdities. The band split up in 1991, then he joined another musical project called Human Contrast in 1992, doing crossover funk with experimental touch. After this project end, in 1997, Maurizio Suppo did mainly improvisation units with people like Hoppy Kamiyama, Harpy, Kirirola (ex Girl), Xabier Iriondo, Chris Iemulo, Stefano Giust, Ivan Pilat, Alessandro Cartolari, Daniele Brusaschetto, Luca  Torasso (Sandblasting), Eriko Suzuki, Dominik Gawara, and many others. After being featured in compilations for Snowdonia label and an album with Hoppy Kamiyama called Urabami still unpublished, Maurizio Suppo has two projects in solo with collaborators: Triocton (avantgarde metal) and The Nuns Of Telekinesis (experimental dark ambient). Triocton is a solo project done with guitar, drum loops, samples and guitar synthesizer, it is deeply inspired by the graphic works of Jack Kirby and the Lovecraft's novels, with guests Forbes Graham (ex Kayo Dot) and Chuck Stern (ex Time Of Orchids). It is a mixture of progressive influences, extreme metal, avantgarde and expecially improvisation. All tracks have a theme and then there are solos totally improvised.

Music for the Gods – The Fahnestock South Sea Expedition: Indonesia. The second release in Mickey Hart's Endangered Music Project captures the shimmering music of Indonesia as it existed in 1941, when the Fahnestock brothers set sail to record the indigenous musics of Bali, Java, Madura and Arjasa with state-of-the-art Presto disc-cutters. Music accompanies all aspects of Indonesian life -- the work of farmers, the play of children, royal ceremony, theaters, or rituals of birth and death. The most important form is the gamelan, ensembles dominated by magnificent bronze gongs and metallophones ( bronze-keyed xylophones). The gamelan is characterized by what might be called a sacred geometry -- everything from the number of beats to the arrangement and design of the instruments adheres to a precise symmetry and cosmology, reflective of a worldview rooted in Hindu Buddhism. In contrast to the driving energy of the large gamelan ensembles are simple and gentle performances featuring haunting voices, bamboo flutes and reed instruments, and one featuring nothing more than an Indonesian Jew's harp played by a young girl. And there is the legendary kecak, or Monkey Dance, the complex counterpoint of interlocking chants by a two-hundred man chorus, building to a kind of ecstatic, otherworldly frenzy. These recordings provide a window on a world radically different from our own -- one which has been changed almost beyond recognition in the intervening years.

"Music, for me, is neither something that I create, nor a form of self-expression. All kinds of sounds exist everywhere around us, and my performances solely consist of picking up these sounds, like a radio tuner, and playing them so that people can hear them. However, maybe because my reception is somewhat off, I am unable to perfectly reproduce these sounds. That is why I spend my days rehearsing. Where do these sounds come from? Who is sending them out? That is not something for me to know, and neither is there any way that I could find out. I simply believe that they come from the 'cosmos'. (Maybe other people would call God the source). Since I was a small child I have been prone to hearing ringing sounds in my ears and other sound phantasms. At the time, I believed that these were messages aimed directly at me from a UFO, and so I would gaze up at the sky. But once I started playing music myself, I came to feel that these noises were a kind of pure sound. And I promised myself that one day I would be able to play those sounds myself. It is only recently that I have begun to feel that I have been able to come close to reproducing these sounds in my solo guitar work, and in my INUI project. However, in June of 1999, I finally discovered my own 'cosmos' and I experienced an instant of total union with it!! That 'cosmos' is still tiny in size - although any cosmos can, by its very nature, be infinitely huge or infinitely small. The energy and vibrations contained within that it far exceeded my imagination in scope and beauty. I can only describe the miraculous instant when my 'cosmos' accepted my consciousness as MAGIC.” (Makoto Kawabata)

John Zorn (born September 2, 1953 in New York City) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, record producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. Zorn is a prolific artist: he has hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, or producer. He has had experience with a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, extreme metal, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music. Zorn brings these styles to his work, which he refers to with the label avant-garde/experimental. Zorn has stated: "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person - the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." Zorn has led the punk jazz band Naked City and the klezmer-influenced quartet Masada, composed Masada Songbooks (written concert music for classical ensembles), and has produced music for film and documentary. Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid 1970s and has since composed and performed with a wide range of musicians working in diverse musical areas. By the early 1990s Zorn was working extensively in Japan, attracted by that culture's openness about borrowing and remixing ingredients from elsewhere, before returning to New York as a permanent base in the mid-1990s. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with varying ensembles to display his diverse output. (from Wikipedia)

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.
To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Podcast Episode 3 - East Meets West. Pt. 1: Violence, Sex, Politics

Antonin Artaud: Bruitage, from “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (1947) [1.32]
Diamanda Galàs: Panoptikòn from “Diamanda Galàs” (1984) [15.06]
Keiji Haino: excerpt from “I Said This is the Son of Nihilism” (2004) [18.39]
Terre Thaemliz Yer Ass is Grass from “Soil” (1995) [8.22]
Vampillia feat. Attila Csihar: One (previously unreleased, 2012) [8.58]
Yosuke Yamashita Trio: Chiasma from “Chiasma” (1976) [7.15]
Carmelo Bene: excerpt from “Bene! Quattro modi diversi di morire in versi. Majakovskij-Blok-Esenin-Pasternak”, music by Vittorio Gelmetti (1974) [6.18]

This episode is dedicated to Koji WakamatsuI also thank Japanese ‘brutal orchestra’ Vampillia for sharing their still unreleased collaboration with singer Attila Csihar.

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), post surrealist poet, theatre writer, actor. The radio broadcast Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (‘To have done with the judgement of god’, 1948) is his last work, a radio broadcast thought as the full realization of his ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, a theatre not overtaken by repetition and delivered through action. Friend of André Bréton, fervent admirer of the Dalai Lama, interested in Balinese Gamelan music and South America peyotl rituals, Artaud used voice and noise to amplify the expressivity in order to get beyond the boundaries of language and of the body, anticipating contemporary singing (Demetrio Stratos, Joan La Barbara, Diamanda Galàs), performance art (Chris Burden, Gina Pane, Marina Abramovic) and the use of ethnic percussions in post-serial contemporary and electronic music (Iannis Xenakis, Terre Thaemlitz). “When we speak the word "life," it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.” (Antonin Artaud)

Born in San Diego, California, in 1955, but of Greek origins, Diamanda Galàs is a singer, pianist, videoartist. Choosing to focus through contemporary experimental music in subjects as AIDS (The Masque of the Red Death, Plague Mass, Vena Cava), forced institutionalization (Insekta), the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide (Defixiones: Will and Testament), she began her career, while developing her unique vocal style, working on the concept of ‘katharsis’ from ancient Greek tragedy, creating a sound environment with her voice and microphones system. Diamanda Galàs started her career as an improviser, with NY-based musicians David Murray and Butch Morris, then left the world of improvised music after collaborations with ‘downtown’ and European artists as John Zorn, Henry Kaiser, Andrea Centazzo and Peter Kowald. She debuted in 1977 as a contemporary music singer in Vinko Globokar Un Jour Comme un Autre and since 1989 started working also on cycles of songs taken from Western music repertoire - Edith Piaf, Roy Acuff, Ornette Coleman, Johnny Cash, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Her latest works are the movie Schrei 27, in collaboration with Italian videoartist Davide Pepe and focused on political use of torture, and the sound installation Aquarium, where with Vladislav Shabalin she denounces the environmental disasters on the Gulf of Mexico.

Keiji Haino (Chiba, Japan, 1952) started developing his artistic vision through theatre, inspired by Antonin Artaud, shifting to music after hearing The Doors’ When the music’s over. His first band was the psychedelic rock combo Lost Aaraaf, with multi-instrumentalist Magical Power Mako and composer Toru Takemitsu. In 1978 Haino formed the experimental duo Fushitsusha, featuring different musicians to accompany him through records and live performances. Collaborating with avant-garde artists as Derek Bailey, Faust, Peter Brotzmann, Loren Connors, Charles Gayle, Merzbow, John Zorn, Pansonic, Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi, and expressing himself mostly with guitar and voice but sometimes also with hurdy gurdy, ethnic instruments or live electronics, Haino cites troubadour music, Marlene Dietrich, Iannis Xenakis and Blind Lemon Jefferson as influences. Having tried with the band Aihyio to give his personal, Japanese translation of the blues – ‘covering’ The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Ronettes – Keiji Haino performances can be described as cathartic, but also intimate – as the ‘vol. 2’ of 2004 Black Blues, made entirely on voice and acoustic guitar, fully can testify.

Terre Thaemlitz is an award winning multi-media producer, writer, public speaker, educator, audio remixer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label. Her work combines a critical look at identity politics - including gender, sexuality, class, linguistics, ethnicity and race - with an ongoing analysis of the socio-economics of commercial media production. He has released over 15 solo albums, as well as numerous 12-inch singles and video works. Her writings on music and culture have been published internationally in a number of books, academic journals and magazines. As a speaker and educator on issues of non-essentialist Transgenderism and Queerness, Thaemlitz has lectured and participated in panel discussions throughout Europe and Japan. He currently resides in Kawasaki, Japan.

Vampillia is a ‘brutal orchestra’ coming from Osaka, the same city that saw Boredoms arise in the 1990s. Composed by 11 elements – electric guitar, drums, three singers, three violinists, piano and a Dj – the band during its performances alternates classical/acoustic instrumentals with grindcore bursts. In 2011 Vampillia released the albums Rule The World/Deathtiny Land (Code 666) and Alchemic Heart (Important Records), the last featuring Japanese avant noiser Merzbow and American vocal experimentalist Jarboe. Devoted to a music both lyrical, intimate and expressive, they are currently collaborating with Hungarian black metal vocalist Attila Csihar, singer for Mayhem, Tormentor, Current 93, Jarboe and recently Stephen O’Malley’s Sunn O))). Csihar last projects are Void Ov Voices, opening act for Ulver, Lustmord, Ruin and Diamanda Galàs, and Burial Chamber Trio with Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) and avant guitarist Oren Ambarchi. The piece featured on the podcast, and titled One, was sent to me last February when I was still in London, and is released here for the first time publicly through a new mix. The album, one of the five Vampillia is going to release this year, will be called Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness.

Yosuke Yamashita (Tokyo, 1926) is a Japanese pianist, composer, essayist, and writer. Praised by critics for his unique piano style, and a pioneer in Japanese free jazz and avant-garde music, in 1969 he formed Yosuke Yamashita Trio, whose music is featured in the final scenes of Koji Wakamatsu’s masterpiece The Ecstasy of the Angels (1972), dedicated to Japanese terrorism, struggle for revolution, power, and political repression. Also a soundtrack composer as for Atsushi Yamatoya’s Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wasteland (1967) and Shoei Imamura’s Dr. Akagi - awarded in 1999 Mainichi Film Concours as ‘Best Film Score’,  in the 1980’s with bassist Cecil Mc Bee and drummer Pheeroan AkLaaff formed the New York Trio, often hosting saxophonist Joe Lovano.  While also famous for a performance in which he played a burning piano dressed with an asbestos suit, Yosuke Yamashita has been a visiting professor of music at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, Nagoya University of Arts, and Kunitachi College of Music.

Carmelo Bene (1937-2002) was an Italian actor, writer, movie director. He debuted in 1959 with a Caligola that was very appreciated by Albert Camus himself. Close friend and also a collaborator of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and deep connoisseur of the work of Pierre Klossowski, an intellectual at the border of official French culture but a pupil of Rainer Maria Rilke and of André Gide, Carmelo Bene was influenced by Nietzsche and structuralism, by the paintings of Francis Bacon and by James Joyce's Ulysses; in 1960 - and again until the 5th edition in 1980 - he took the poems of Vladimir Majakovskij, the Russian revolutionary poet, as the starting point to his studies on voice, on voiding words of the dialectics between signifying/signifier, and on using the voice itself as a full orchestra. Helped for the music initially by post-serialist composer Sylvano Bussotti, Bene's quest for a theatre that goes beyond the flattening of the voice as mere extention of the written language in 'Majakovskij' passes through the stretching of the dynamics and possibilities of the voice, emphasizing gestures and phonetic elements.

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.
To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Podcast Episode 2 - Symbols of Transformation

Sabrina Siegel: Stop and Employ Nature from “Piano Breath (action music)” (2012) [7.27]
Anthony Braxton: JMK-80 CFN-7 from “Saxophone Improvisations Series F” (1972) [17.57]
Master Mujicians of Joujouka: Pull up your Belt and Dance from “Joujouka Black Eyes” (1995) [2.38]
Human Arts Ensemble: Hazrat, the Sufi from “Under the Sun”, (1975) [21.24]
Tom Soloveitzik/Korhan Erel/Kevin Davis: Arba Esre from “Three States of Freedom” (2012) [5.34]
Viktor Sethy: 3rd Movement from “Improvised Piano Concerto” [15.24]

Sabrina Siegel seeks to create situations where nature/chance compromise her control, to bring forth grace through the precarious. "More than executing notes or rhythms or melody, a song or a piece of music to me is a field for being--for direct living, feeling, breathing, and expressing in the moment; for sinking deeply, or flying highly into self/Self; or just maintaining our balance--which may reveal a simple beauty or truth. And like life, one rides the waves of grace and the precarious--in this existence, the better we watch and listen, the easier and more potent our flight."

“Braxton developed a systematized approach to free solo improvisation that would give various levels of pre-performance structure and organization to the music. Formal, stylistic, melodic and rhythmic organizational tools are implemented to stimulate the player's improvisatory thinking. By structuring the free improvisation, the performer is given a set of variables from which to generate personal creativity. Secondly, Braxton combined opposing creative forces into one unified thrust of creative expression. The solo alto saxophone improvisations combine jazz and concert modernist traditions, visual and audible creative mediums, and other dichotomies in an attempt to advance toward one composite world creativity.” [David Putnam Rowell, “Structure and Musical Convergences in Anthony Braxton's Solo Saxophone Improvisations”, B.A., Furman University, 2006]

“A lone pipe line leads the group into action. The drummers pound out an incessant barrage of colliding patterns on their drums (with sheep hides for skins), rested on the knees and played with a spoon shaped piece of wood in one hand and a thin stick in the other. You can watch the musicians and try to work out who is playing what, but once you catch the eye of the man you’ve picked out they will instantly change the beat. The rhaita players carry on a follow-the-leader routine, constantly upping the ante, using circular breathing techniques to maintain the notes, until unified screeches ring out in ascension, building up and building up the intensity until the pitch is ringing out beyond the lavish tent that is their backdrop and high out into the hills. And oh yes, it is loud too.” [Ritchie Troughton full article here]

“The Human Arts Ensemble was a musical and theatrical cooperative founded in St. Louis, MO, in 1971 by free jazz musicians who had been associated AACM and BAG (Black Artist's Group). Around 1970, public funding began to dry up for arts organizations that were suspected of having ties to radical political groups, and drummer Charles Bobo Shaw had the idea of creating a new artistic co-operative that was open to any person without regard to race. The resulting Human Arts Ensemble was thus able to proceed within a radical political agenda and pursue its unique brand of guerilla theater, yet get the public support it needed to do so. […] Among musicians who spent some time jamming with the Human Arts Ensemble were Luther Thomas, Joseph Bowie, Marty Ehrlich, John Lindberg, and even a young John Zorn, along with more established artists such as Lester Bowie and Oliver Lake.” [Uncle Dave Lewis at Allmusic]

“In October 2009 I travelled from Israel to Istanbul. Curious to connect with like-minded improvisers, I contacted Korhan, a founding member of Turkey’s pioneering free improvisation group, Islak Köpek. Korhan arranged for us to meet with Kevin, the group’s American-born cellist in Galata, home to many shifting communities over nearly two thousand years of Istanbul’s cosmopolitan history. Our tour began in June 2010, just a few days after the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish citizens were killed by the Israeli military. Our tour coincided with a heat wave, too. We saw cars stopped by the side of the road, unable to cope with the heat. In Jerusalem, a hundred thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets to protest a Supreme Court decision that ruled against ethnic discrimination in one of their schools. A line was drawn from our first meeting in Istanbul to our last days in Jaffa. While we recorded, this line hovered in the air, connecting our individual histories with a multitude of histories of confrontation, resistance, and co-existence.”
[Tom Soloveitzik, Tel Aviv, February 2012]

“Now we are living in one huge global society, and chaos and corruption rule. Talent doesn’t counts any more – that’s why we don’t have any subculture renewing cultural life – giving us geniuses like we had in the 60s or in the early 70s. in music, fine arts…or even in politics.  So – art is a way of life and needs a person who has to have all the opportunities (and time) to practice, play, work and show results to the public. Our life is not written down either – we have to know how to improvise – also in music, also in life. Otherwise we are not humans but robots = good slaves, perhaps… Art is something sacred – it can lift up our souls, our minds to a higher level of existence. And what else that is sacred is left for people these days?  I guess nothing.  This is the only, and the last chance for humanity to find the right way.  Maybe that is why some want to destroy it so bad.”
[Viktor Sethy, interviewed by Michele Andrée]

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.
To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

Monday, May 7, 2012

Podcast Episode 1

Mauro Sambo – 21/3/2012
Pandit Pran Nath – Raga Yaman Kalyan (from “Raga Yaman Kalyan Raga Punjabi Berva”, 1971)
Free Gagaku Ensemble - FreeGagaku present and presently remembered – 1
Sam Rivers Trio – Flute Section (from “Streams”, 1973)

Mauro Sambo’s music (Venice, Italy, 1954) can be compared in many ways to Ives Klein paintings, even if he's not that much a surrealist. Multi-instrumentalist (electric and acoustic bass, alto sax, bass clarinet, percussions, samplers, wind controller, Akai S3000XL), video artist and photographer, the art of Mauro Sambo has an attitude towards movement, creating a field of immanence in which music, visuals, sculpture, painting, photography, are not clashing but synthesized by a tactile quality of the space present also in some early NY minimalists, often former disciples of the Pandit Pran Nath. This is also clearly reflected by his videos, photos and sculptures. Sambo is tracing a trip right in between stagnation and movement, his idea of  'time'.
[text taken from my blog london_resonance, and issued in 2011]

Pran Nath's singing emphasized precise intonation and the gradual exposition of tone and mood. Pran Nath's students included a number of American composers of Minimal music, including La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Michael Harrison. He left home at the age of 13 and took up residence with legendary singer Abdul Wahid Khan of the Kirana gharana school. Both guru and disciple were much attracted to mysticism: Abdul Wahid Khan, a Muslim, to Sufism, and Nath, a Hindu, to a Shaivite sect in Dehra Dun. He eventually married and reentered the world at the request (guru dakshana) of his guru, in order to ensure the preservation of the Kirana style. In 1937, he became a staff artist with All India Radio. Nath stuck to a very austere singing style – heavy emphasis on alap, and very slow tempi – which suited his voice well, but was not very popular to the modern Indian taste. Nath supported himself as a music teacher, and worked at the University of Delhi from 1960 to 1970, travelling to New York to visit the American composer La Monte Young and visual artist Marian Zazeela. In 1972, he established his Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music in New York City and stayed in the U.S. until his death on June 13, 1996.

Wilhelm Matthies is a composer, videoartist and photographer living in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He builds and performs his original instruments, between which the kokeka, developed after years spent preparing guitars "in order to maximize the 'prepared' aspect of playing guitar". Listening to the eight tracks composing "RiverFoot-RealityRubs" (Field Noise Records, 2011), the first impression is that of a record staying at the crossroads of different streams of contemporary music. Matthies' Kokeka comes also from his studies on Japanese koto, Indian vina, Persian rebab and Chinese erhu; but there are also influences from John Cage's preparations and Iannis Xenakis' dry quality of microtones. Free Gagaku Ensemble is Wilhelm Matthies on rhythm stick and kokeka, Jaime Rodriguez Matos on guitar, Matthias Boss and Megan Karls on violin, Paul Mimlitch on alto clarinet.
[part of this text originally appeared on my blog london_resonance in 2011]

Sam "Rivers's music is rooted in bebop, but he is an adventurous player, adept at free jazz. The first of his Blue Note albums, Fuchsia Swing Song, is widely regarded as a masterpiece of an approach sometimes called “inside-outside”. The performer frequently obliterates the explicit harmonic framework (”going outside”) but retains a hidden link so as to be able to return to it in a seamless fashion. Rivers brought the conceptual tools of bebop harmony to a new level in this process, united at all times with the ability to “tell a story” which Lester Young had laid down as a benchmark for the jazz improviser." [Sam Rivers profile on AAJ] Sam Rivers with his Studio RivBea based in Bond Street was the beginner of the so-called 'loft era' [see my three part essay on that topic], started around 1972, with the counter-festival to George Wein's Newport in New York, and ended in 1983 approximately with the triumph of the Reaganomics. Striving to take control over shows and records and to manage independent careers, the 'loft era' was the zenith of the spirit of the Big Apple. “Streams” was issued in 1973. On this track, the multireedist is streaming his consciousness on flute, with all the sections – recorded live at the Montreux jazz festival – flowing coherently from one into the other. Cecil McBee on double bass, Norman Connors on drums
[text partly from my post on london_resonance blog]

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.

To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Complete Communion on Podcast soon ....

From the book 'La Terra del Rimorso' by Ernesto de Martino, 1961

A free podcast related to my blog Complete Communion will be available soon. All the musicians needing a space to see their works presented side by side with others and classic 'nuggets' - out of print - from the past twenty or more years of experimental music - my selection - are invited to send me an mp3 file of a composition/improvisation of their own choice to be featured on the podcast to the email address: galasi.g [at], or gianpaolo.galasi [at] Contemporary composers, improvisers, avant-metallians, self-built instrumentalists, strange 'ethnic' nuances are welcome.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Being a part of the whole (when I play it, I mean it): Bill Dixon [pt. 5]

Words: Gian Paolo Galasi

Sound and Vision Orchestra, 2007
Photo: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society 
“The music of Bill Dixon maintains such a powerful flavor, it is one of those things where you inevitably remember the first time you taste it. For me, it was his mid-career landmark recording November 1981. Within the one minute and twenty six seconds of Webern, the opening track, I realized I had to completely rethink the possibilities of the trumpet as an improvising instrument. By the end of the album, I realized I had to examine my assumptions about the nature of creative music in general.”

Cornetist Taylor Ho-Bynum included this statement at the beginning of an essay inserted in Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12, 2009), a double Cd plus Dvd documenting Bill Dixon’s residency at the 2007 NY Vision Festival. The line up features four of Dixon closest collaborators and disciples, Graham Haynes, Stephen Haynes, Rob Mazurek and Ho Bynum, along with double bassist and contrabass clarinetist Michel Côté, cellist Glynis Loman, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer and vibrafonist Warren Smith.

Aged 84 at the time of those live performances, Dixon’s work in the last decade is marked by a musical activity that spreads its wings well beyond the world of NY contemporary jazz. Or, better said, that enjoys the widening of the stream of what the avant jazz environment, and audience, is nowadays. Not by chance one of his last students, one of the few granted with private, individual lessons, was trumpeter, composer and visual artist Rob Mazurek.

Rob Mazurek - Photo by Jim Newberry
Born in 1965 in Jersey City, Mazurek started playing in a quartet in the early 1990s in Chicago, where after three albums he also founded the collective Chicago Underground with guitarist Jeff Parker, drummer Chad Taylor, bassist Noel Kupersmith and trombonist Sarah Smith. While recording for Delmark and other labels as a Duo, Quartet, or Orchestra, Mazurek often collaborated with combos coming from experimental rock such as Tortoise, Gastr del Sol, Stereolab and Sam Prekop.

This was one of the first generations of musicians newly aware, after the grunge/indie limelights, of the possible connections ‘outside of their mainstream’, to gain curiosity and then consideration into the avant jazz/contemporary milieu, as happened abut twenty years before with DNA’s drummer Ikue Mori and guitarist Arto Lindsay, or in Europe with guitarist Terry Ex, just to name a few.

Close at hand with the new millennium, Dixon’s releases featured a quartet album for the German label FMP titled Berlin Abbozzi. With a line-up similar to some of his Soul Note records – two basses, Matthias Bauer and Hans Koch, his trumpet and Tony Oxley on drums – it features a 60 minutes long composition, structured in three parts. At the change, Dixon will be on duty to carry his musical legacy with his younger acolytes.

Taylor Ho Bynum, Wadada Leo Smith, Stanton Davis, Stehpen Haynes
at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem - Photo by Richard Conde
As Tapestries,  its, posthumous, follow up Envoi (Victo, 2011) enjoy the same line up, the same instrumental colors, and the same extended form. Clearly at that point in time, after his long teaching status, and the previous decade outputs, Bill Dixon is finally ready to affirm himself as one of thw most important contemporary composer. As Clifford Allen aptly wrote, Dixon’s music at that point in time can be compared to such contemporary composers as Toru Takemitsu, Lucas Ligeti and Morton Feldman.

Responsible of sharing Dixon’s heritage in the present, revisiting Envoi at a memorial in New York’s St. Mark’s Place in 2010 with Joe Morris added as a second double bassist to the original band, or with the same year exhibiton at the Antwerp-based Follow The Sound festival with Dixon collaborators Franz Coglmann, Jacques Coursil and Barry Guy, or again in New York’s Rubin Museum of Art collective concert with Wadada Leo Smith, Taylor Ho Bynum, Stanton Davis, William Parker and Warren Smith, trumpeter Stephen Haynes, since 1973 former Dixon student at Bennington College and one of his closest collaborators, points at:

“His limning of the unexplored areas of the trumpet through consistent, controlled usage of multiphonics and extended range alone earns Bill the mantle of trumpet innovator. […] his mapping and harnessing of the lower, ‘off the horn,’ pedal register […]; his use of electronics, delay and reverberation, as well as his employment of extreme modality of attack and articulation […]. Dixon’s currently decreased employment of upper register multiphonics reflects organic change and the artist’s use of what is available to create new work.”

Taylor Ho Bynum at the Vortex Jazz Club
London, Oct. 2011 - Photo: Gian Paolo Galasi
And while 2008 AUM Fidelity 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur, issued not that much after being hosted into Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra ensemble (Thrill Jockey, 2007), is dedicated to the military-drive genocide in the African country, its ten movements – mostly short, with the central Sinopia as the only composition to oversize 20 minutes - features four trumpets, two trombones and one tuba, bassoon, three saxophones and one bass clarinet, double bass, cello and percussion.

The most extended of Dixon’s large ensembles to date, it follows the results achieved with Bill Dixon 7-tette and above all Intents and Purposes, while finally grounding in the same area of musicians involved in the music of composers such as Anthony Braxton in the same years another great composer and multi-reedist, Henry Threadgill, is finally being acknowledged as a true master of contemporary music.

Related discography:
Berlin Abbozzi (FMP, 1999)
17 Musicians in Search of a Sound (Aum Fidelity, 2007)
Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2008)
Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12, 2009)
Bill Dixon/Aaron Siegel/Ben Hall: Weight/Counterweight (Brokenresearch, 2009)
Envoy (Victo, 2011)