Listening - Tuesday, Oct 29th 2019


After a flu-y week of no music this morning I had a hankering for coffee and something lush – Simon Scott’s FloodLines to be specific, but as I write I still can’t find my copy… a side effect of having not yet organized my CDs and the slimline spineless packaging that makes it easy to go hidden on a shelf somewhere.

Anyway I found a number of things that well fit that lush vibe and Ryonkt’s Troposphere has been criminally absent from my CD player for too long. It’s a very good one to break the silence. I played it twice, back-to-back actually.

I’m also happy to see a tease for something new on Ryonkt’s bandcamp page, hopefully the wheels are still in motion.

The morning’s energy was completely gone by this afternoon. I literally fell asleep in my chair before a work meeting while listening to Alfredo Costa Monteiro’s Umbralia… ironically as I dozed off I was thinking about how I was going to write that it was much more angular and difficult listening than I remembered: many hard edges and uniform attacks from the electric organ. Lots of close harmony and rhythmic intonation too – a parade of loose clusters with bricked edges maybe… but also apparantly soporific. Probably helps if you just got over a flu, too.

The last time I listened to this France Jobim album I listened to most of her discography in the course of a day. This is her first one, and it’s much more gentle, various and colorful than I remembered. In my memory of that listening much of her work fell into the Tu M’ Monochromes Vol. 1 camp – in other words: subtle, well crafted, but largely featureless by design. Returning to Valence today has corrected that impression. There are some great slow-evolving harmonic drones that I sometimes had trouble disentangling from the hum of my air conditioner but plenty of structure surrounding, the smallest whisp of a crackle, very gently placed high tones… something that is very much at home on the Line label but has an abstractly narrative arc within it that I’d basically erased in my mind. Worth a close listen.

Keeping this listening diary makes me more aware when I’m returning to a familiar favorite that I haven’t played in years. Michael Pisaro’s July Mountain is one of those. I seriously toyed with the idea of staging a performance of it when it came out… which would still be a fun project to attempt. Part of the score requires you to collect certain types of feild recordings beforehand. I’m better suited to do it now that I live in a more remote spot.

I’m also interested to see that the version I have (a 2010 edition of 50 mini CDrs) from Jez riley French’s Point Engraved Edition label kinda fell off the map pretty quickly. The same year Pisaro released a new version with alternate takes and a track of just the percussion part isolated which I’d very much like to hear. Not sure how I missed that back when! My aging CDr is already sadly doing the click-dance, too. It sounds nice, but it’s amazing how quickly some of them can rot away…