The Necks

January 3, 2010

One of my absolute all time favorite minimalist jazz groups.


Difficult Listening

July 11, 2009


Now here’s one that shaped my musical palette in a big way: Microstoria is a side project of Oval’s Markus Popp and Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars. Combining Oval’s fetish for CD scarification with MoM’s odd instrumentation and breezy, subtlely inchoate arrangements, Popp and St. Werner seem odd bedfellows at first, but the subtle parallels in compositional concern become clearer as the tracks roll on.

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Microstoria – ‘Performal’

Oddball Machines

June 4, 2009


Grasping further into the outer boundaries of recent modern avant-garde electronics, here is Ø, the solo identity of Mika Vainio of Finnish techno duo Pan Sonic, who’s work tends more toward the ambient and experimental, wedding sparse machine noises with shifting rhythms, stubbornly unmusical sonic textures, and assorted channel separation weirdness.
The increasing popularity of Pan Sonic has meant Vainio’s giving less and less time to his Ø work, but he did manage to release some of his most accomplished solo material in 1996, on his third Sähkö full-length Olento, which featured the most effective fusion of Pan Sonic’s austere minimalism with less immediate, more challenging structures.

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Ø – ‘Ilta’

Japanese Minimalism

February 10, 2009


Kyoto born Rei Harakami studied film and initially wanted to pursue a career writing scores; however, a demo tape of his electronic material sent to the Sublime label garnered him the opportunity to remix Ken Ishii and, later, to release his own material ranging from danceable house tracks to spacy, minimalistic translations of Japanese melodies and rhythms into reflective electronics on the 1997 album ‘Unrest‘. Delicate & precise.

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Rei Harakami – ‘Bioscape’

Coolin’ Pt.5

January 9, 2009


An excellent modern pianist who is adaptable to many acoustic jazz settings, Stanley Cowell has long been underrated except among knowing musicians. Taken from the 1981 album ‘New World‘, this invigorating track displays amazing technique, finding each player exploring seemingly different territory, keeping the listener in a deep meditative state trying to take it all in. Recommended.

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Stanley Cowell – ‘El Space-O’

Funk Not Funk

January 8, 2009


The minimalistic funk of New York’s Liquid Liquid is definitely not a bad choice to start this years’ series of posts with. The angular, bass-propelled funk grooves laid the groundwork for post-rock bands like Tortoise and Tarwater more than a decade before the fact — stripping all excess and artifice, resulting in their hypnotically dub-like sound. Remarkable intense stuff.

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Liquid Liquid – ‘Lock Groove [Out]’

Brother Adderley

December 4, 2008

Cannonball Adderley – Alto sax
Nat Adderley – Cornet
Yusef Lateef – Tenor sax, oboe, flute
Joe Zawinul – Piano
Sam Jones – Bass
Louis Hayes – Drums

Thanks to the always excellent Uncertain Times blog…