Archive for June, 2009

Behavior, Good Behavior 7 inch, Whip Records

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

If I didn’t count some of my closest friends in the Brooklyn band Behavior, didn’t know their music like the back of my hand, didn’t even have the pleasure of jamming with them from time to time, I would probably describe their first 7 inch with the following words, and leave it at that: “the “Good Behavior” 45 is two drop dead beautiful psychedelic pop songs from a band that poofed out of nowhere just yesterday, but that seems to already have achieved something of a devoted following in the smoggy North Brooklyn netherworld of legal and semi-legal concert dives.” It may seem a bit dishonest to write “music criticism” about a group that I personally hope to see go very, very far; but since I cannot erase this fact, I figure that doing so openly is hardly as dishonest as faking an absence of personal investment. Moreover, writing about your friends can make for a more three-dimensional picture of the subject at hand: If a 7 inch is kind of the aural equivalent of a snapshot, only someone who knows the photographed environment very well can point to what lies beyond the frame.

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Jonathan Kane, Jet Ear Party, Radium/Table of the Elements

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Mining the vein opened by his first solo album, February (2005), and later by his very successful EP, I Looked at the Sun (2006), Jonathan Kane continues down the shores of “progressive blues” with Jet Ear Party. Kane winds and unwinds catchy loops, purging the genre of all incidentals, keeping only the essential: the telltale chiseled riff, repeated ad infinitum. A pursuit that began with his collaborations with some of New York’s most prominent minimalists, Kane’s quest travels backwards in time to the blues, the genre from which he draws his main inspiration: “Listen to Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, John Lee Hooker. These artists will often play pieces consisting of one droning chord and a hypnotic, repetitive riff!”

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Guitar Parts: An Interview with Jonathan Kane

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Minimalist and pop music have always been closely linked, the vocabulary of the latter coloring the austere principles of the former. Terry Riley and Philip Glass drew inspiration from jazz, just as Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca, in their monumental symphonies for electric guitar, did from rock ‘n’ roll. Since 2005, and February, his first opus, Jonathan Kane has been revisiting the history of the blues. What could be more logical? “The blues is an intrinsically minimalist art form,” he shares. “John Lee Hooker […] often played consisted of one droning chord and a melodic, repetitive riff. Minimalism, yes?”

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Jonathan Kane, Jet Ear Party, Radium, 2009

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Exploitant la veine ouverte par February (2005), premier LP solo de Jonathan Kane (lire notre entretien), et I looked at the sun (2006), très réussi EP subséquent, Jet ear party recèle de longues plages de « blues progressif ». Kane y roule et déroule inlassablement des boucles entêtantes, expurgeant le genre de toutes ses accidents pour n’en garder que l’essentiel : le riff ciselé, exemplaire, répété ad infinitum. Une quête initiée lors de ses années passées à jouer avec les plus grands du courant minimaliste new-yorkais, mais surtout, la quête ultime du genre duquel il est issu et aux sources duquel il puise son inspiration, le blues : « Ecoute Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, John Lee Hooker, nous conseille-t-il. Ces artistes ne jouaient souvent que des pièces consistant en un accord bourdonnant et un riff hypnotique, répétitif ! ».

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Germ Studies, live at Ausland in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Germ Studies is an Australian duo made up of Chris Abrahams on a DX7 synthesizer and Berlin-based Clare Cooper on a zither-like instrument called a guzheng. I was fortunate enough to see them perform at Ausland in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg on 4 June.

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Rhys Chatham’s Astrological Advice for Musicians: June

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Visitation Rites is proud to present Rhys Chatham’s astrology column for experimental musicians, which draws on his experience as a composer and a meticulous analysis of the geometrical relationships between the sun and other planets in monthly astrological charts. Have fun reading the predictions for your sign, and do not be fooled by cheap imitations!

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