Thursday, February 17, 2005

Back for a Taste

Ok folks, I know I said regular posting was in the offing, but this time I'm serious as a heart attack! Last time we spoke, we were 7-3 against-the-spread in the playoffs, and we were seriously sweating our fade-the-Pats pick. Well, lo and behold: dreams do come true!! Of course, the Pats won. They are an absolute juggernaut, no doubt about it. Bill Belichick, well, I'm ready to concede that, yeah, the guy IS a genius!! But the fact of the matter is, we called it folks: that spread was too high. Those plucky Eagles gave it everything they had -- got to give it up for TO -- and came pretty darn close. More importantly, they covered. We finish very happy with our 8-3 record against the spread in the 2005 NFL Playoffs. Thank you for playing, and we'll see you at the steakhouse...

SO. Back to the music. What's been going on? Speaking of sports, didn't Gretchen look great at that Super Bowl pre-game shindig? Pretty fine on the Grammy's too. She should have won best country album, but what can you do. It's the year of the oldsters. I don't mind so much. Loretta looked great and god bless her. And Ray has meant so goddamn much to me that, yeah, the Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt performances had me in tears. So I'm outing myself as a sap. Whatevs. Still, the academy is so ridiculously predictable with its posthumous accolades. Fucking joke. We lost a few more greats between the last time I posted, too. Not the least of which being the GREAT Chicago soul singer (and legendary WHPK DJ Arkansas Red favorite) Tyrone Davis. Damn. "Turn Back the Hands of Time" is one of THE GREATEST soul cuts EVER. God bless you, Tyrone. Thanks for the music.

Much the reminder that we need to celebrate these folks while we still have the capability to do so. I was pleased as punch to learn that, at this year's Vision Festival in NYC in June, there will be an honorary Fred Anderson day! Yay Fred!! He is the best. And so deserving of this tribute. From the official press release:

We are very happy to present a Special Lifetime Recognition Award for Fred Anderson This will be celebration on Fred Anderson Day, Thursday June 16, 2005. It will feature Fred Anderson, Kidd Jordan, George Lewis, William Parker, Joseph Jarman, Alvin Fielder, Harrison Bankhead, and other artists who have work ed with Fred Anderson over the years.

Should be sweet.

Hey, in the interest of celebrating more of our living legends, didja know Antonio Carlos Jobim celebrated a birthday last month? It's true, he did! His birthday comes 4 days after my own. The Brazilian master is now 78. 78!!! Holy Christ, if I make it to 50 it will be a miracle. Let's all bask in the glow of this beautiful man's work and listen to a version of his own "Por Causa de Você", performed here by Brazilian guitar great Baden Powell, and taken from his 1971 lp Solitude on Guitar.

Peace out and I will catch you tomorrow. Be good. Don't drink as much as me.

Download "Por Causa de Você" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, as performed by Baden Powell

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Analysis Leads to Paralysis

Yikes!! Sorry for the silence. I've been, um, taking a break. ALSO: sorry for that EMBARASSING backtrack. Wow, how stupid was I? I totally overthought that Pats-Steelers game. I usually stick to first impulses; I don't know what happened there.

Well anyway, if you're still betting with me, we are doing it AGAIN: we are going to bet AGAINST the Patriots. We are taking the Eagles.

So far this playoff season, we are 7-3 against-the-spread, and TWO of those three losses came against the Pats. But that 7 point spread is too high. Sure, the Pats are a great time, PROBABLY will win, but SEVEN points??? If this was a Monday Night Football game in November, that spread would be like 3. But, see, Vegas loooooves a returning Super Bowl champ. They do this shit all the time. And we, as savvy speculators, loooove to FADE THEM.

Remember the Panthers last year? Nobody gave them a chance. And what happened? They covered. And almost won the damn thing.

And remember that Rams-Patriots Super Bowl? Nobody thought Bill Belichick was such a freakin' "GENIUS" back then, did they? Hell no. Vegas made the Rams -- the "greatest show on turf" -- a huuuuuge favorite. We all know what happened.

Oh, and how about the Packers' second Super Bowl of the nineties? Remember that one? Favre vs. Elway? C'mon, Elway didn't stand a chance against the green and gold, at least if you went by Vegas. I think they made the Pack like a 12 or 13 point favorite, if I remember correctly.

And we know what happened there. Easiest cover of my life.

Anyway, player-for-player, talent-for-talent, and yes, I really think: coaching-for-coaching, the EAGLES are every bit as strong as the Patriots. The only thing that worries me is the mental factor. I am a bit concerned that, in the back of their mind, the Eagles are happy to have just finally gotten over the hump, and reached the Super Bowl. The Patriots have an undeniable, well-deserved swagger. They are an intimidating bunch, there is no doubt about it. But I am hoping the Eagles won't be cowed. I think that at the end of the night, the people of Chicago will be happy! We love Donovan! We are all rooting for the product of Mount Carmel.

Go Eagles!



This will be the last sports-related post for a while. I know you are happy to hear that! And I will be posting with more regularity. I had get some file-hosting issues sorted out. And I have done so. because I really want to bring you folks the music, and my old service wasn't cutting it. I have a ton of MP3s in the queue that I am itching to post. Shit, I saw an amazing Lee Konitz show last week that I haven't even blogged about yet. I can't believe I wrote "blogged about." I've got some posts coming up on Mario Davidovsky, Konitz, Spyro Gyra, Joe Harriott, and the Screaming Trees, so please stay tuned!!

Peace.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Change of heart!! You know what? I'm changing my mind. I just can't bet against a home dog in a championship game -- a 3 point home dog that went 15-1 in the regular season, including a victory over their current opponent. Including a victory, on the road, utilizing almost all second stringers, in the last game of the season against a team (the Bills) that HAD to win to advance to the playoffs. I think that defense is going to give Brady fits. I've slept on it, and that's my firm opinion.

We are changing course: the STEELERS will cover against the Patriots.

And then there were four...

OK, 2nd to last football post here. Then I will be out of your hair with this stuff. But I have to beat my chest about my 6-2 against-the-spread record because, folks, it's only going to improve this Sunday.

OK, here goes:



1/23 3:00 PM ET 1/23 6:30 PM ET
Atlanta New England -3
Philadelphia -5.5 Pittsburgh





That Philly line is funny. It opened as a -2.5, and now it's a full-on -5.5. Folks, that's a THREE point infusion of cash. WOW. You almost never see that kind of action in a market like an NFL League championship game. big BIG money is coming in on the boys from the city of Brotherly Love. Well, as much as our credo is about zigging when others zag .... there is a time for everything. The RAPIDITY and the EXTREMITY of this line shift leads me to believe that Vegas initially set the thing far too low, presumably anticipating a MOTHERLODE of Vick money ... which has just, not, materialized. I think the smart money is seeing through this one. We were already picking the Eagles for an outright win before we saw the initial line (disregarding the fact that, as fans, we absolutely love Vick and root for his team), but seeing this action leads us to believe that Vegas called this one way wrong. This isn't just dumb money: this is smart money; Vegas is going to get absolutely pounded on this one tomorrow. I kind of feel bad for them. Anyway, I have absolutely no problem following the money here: The Iggles WILL finally, at long last, ADVANCE to the Super Bowl, and the WILL cover that very ample 5.5 spread. Their defence is simply too good to allow the Georgia Dome-coddled Falcs to beat them on their home turf on what looks to be absolutely frigid conditions.

We don't often follow the money ... but in this case, it's a lock. The Eagles are a team of destiny. Expect them to win by about 10.

And finally ... possibly the trickiest game of the season thus far. This game opened with the road team -- NE -- as a 2.5 favorite. Now, they're a 3. Folks, you practically NEVER see a road favorite in a league championship game. But ... after taking our lickings last week, foolishly doubting the men from Foxboro, we've realized the error of our ways. nothing fazes Belichick's boys. They lost to the Steelers earlier in the season. They won't make the same mistake. The Patriots WILL advance to their third Super Bowl in 4 seasons. Crazy, but true. Hey, I grew up in Michigan -- I'm a long-time Brady guy. I doubted them last week, but I am officially a believer. The fact that this line has stayed fairly constant all week long indicates a huge amount of indicision; normally you see some sway in one direction or the other. I am going to be frank: there is NO WAY that a home dog, in a championship game, with a legitimate chance to win, would not see the line move in their favor over the course of the week. Sometimes, the money IS smart. Take it to the bank: Patriots win by 4 -- covering, but in a white-knuckler -- and we move on to the Super Bowl 8-2.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"And Then There Came a Day of Fire"



"Intimidation has not turned back one transcendent thought or one valuable idea from going where it was destined to go, and doing what it was destined to do. It may be temporarily delayed, or its species may revert only to propagate in a related form, but brute force (the world's greatest idiot) has never kept the germ from its divine order. A black eye never reformed a drunkard, a czar never stopped a free thought."

- Charles Ives

Download Charles Ives with the Kronos Quartet performing "They Are There! (Fighting for the People's New Free World)", by Charles Ives

Purchase Black Angels by the Kronos Quartet

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Flyin' High Again

Another weekend of pigskin prognosticating, another 3-1 record. Not too shabby! Of course we always strive for perfection, but this is a tough business. Once again, the last game of the weekend kept us from that lofty goal. We never should have doubted the mettle of the men from the Northeast. The story was different from last year -- Peyton played decently -- but the outcome was the same. The efficient play of the man named Brady ensured that the Colts would get a limited number of opportunities on offense, Belichick's boys swarmed on defense, and the Colts never got untracked in frozen Foxboro. We move on to the League Championship round pleased with a 6-2 record but expecting more; thoughts on that later in the week.

Annoying bout of insomnia last night, brought on by not-sure-what. Thrashing around, night sweats; had the Byrds "Draft Morning" stuck in my head. Don't know where it came from -- I haven't listened to Notorious Byrd Brothers for a couple months. What a gorgeous song, even as played by my head at 3 am. Perhaps I can homeopathically extirpate it by listening now. This album really is one the top documents of aquarian weightlessness, far more fried than many more highly touted psychedelic gems. The guitar tone acheived on the break in "Change Is Now" alone: that is IT, holmeslice. That's what psychedelic is and means. Well, the tone with the sustain of course; can't forget about the sustain. I only wish they would have extended it for a couple more minutes, give us more of that multi-track shit at the end. They were always so economical, those blasted Byrds. The thing about a great tone and a great sustain like that is, is if you strrrreeeetch it out around 30 minutes -- boom! you've got the Theatre of Eternal Music. Because you can't multitrack a great sustained tone like that without introducing tons of rich microtonal variances. Anyway, don't make the same mistake I did and avoid this one. It was the last of the 60s Byrds records I picked up -- the cover had always led me to believe it was merely some kind of dry run for Sweetheart of the Rodeo.



I think it was the horse that did it. This album deserved a better cover, dammit. It shoulda had one of the all-time iconic brain-fry sleeves, like Piper or something. Yeah, imagine Piper except with the three remaining Byrds dudes and the horse. Now you're cooking! The early Byrds records were all kind of saddled with that generic Columbia Records art design. Columbia always had thee most boring covers man, what a bringdown.

Speaking of psychonauts from years past, word comes of another death, this time ex-Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden. Folks, that's got to be one of the more depressing obituaries I've ever read, bearing the news that Dryden died from cancer at age 66 at his home: "little more than a shack really, that he rented on the back end of somebody else's property outside of Penngrove." Yikes. Man, the Airplane were so great in their prime. Let's all remember the man in more prosperous times by firing up the bong and slapping on our copies of Crown of Creation.

I had mentioned how surprising and delightfully lyrical was Wolter Wierbos's improvising, in calling his solo concert my favorite musical moment of 2004. Here are a couple tracks from his awesome 1982 solo recording titled Wierbos.



"Reeds" is a fine example of his melodic sensibility; "Plock-Plock-Plock" shows his more playful side. Both of them rock hard. I encourage everyone to seek this one out, recently reissued on CD by the Dutch Data label with a nice extra track from a 2001 performance. American readers, your best bet is that crazy Cadence crew -- a site always worth visiting for a chuckle over its Paleolithic design aesthetic.

Download "Reeds" by Wolter Wierbos
Download "Plock-Plock-Plock" by Wolter Wierbos

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Dance, Pt. II

Attended a program of chamber pieces by Argentinian composer Mario Davidovsky last night; it was really really wonderful. And the man himself was there! I had no idea he was going to be there, I just thought it would be neat to go hear some of his works being performed. He gave a little introduction before each piece. I'll blog it more extensively later on. First things first....

Ok, I'm still smarting from that Packers-Vikings game last weekend. I really wanted to go 4-0. Still can't believe I got suckered into going against the Vikings. I'm better than that; I've made my living fading the public. When others zig, I zag. It won't happen again! On to the next round...


1/15 4:30 PM EST 1/15 8:00 PM EST
N.Y. Jets St. Louis
Pittsburgh -9 Atlanta -7

1/16 1:00 PM EST 1/16 4:30 PM EST
Minnesota Indy
Philadelphia -8.5 New England -2





Today we are going to continue to ride the train known as the J-E-T-S express, but we are bidding sayonara to Martz and the boys. I don't like Big Ben in his first ever playoff game, coming back from that injury, going up against that stingy 7th rated defense of the Jets. I don't care that Pittsburgh beat 'em by 11 back in December. Jerome Bettis won't be tossing any TDs today. Pitt will win, but the public is in love with them; that line is too high.

We loved the Rams against Seattle last week, but this week the magic ends for Mike Martz and his merry bunch of pranksters. They just aren't that good. This 8-8 team went 4-8 in its last 12 regular season games including losses to lowly Miami and Arizona. One of their wins came against a Philly team that didn't even try, and one of the others was that must-win, backs-against-the-wall last game of the season at home against the Jets. And it took overtime to do it. They've shot their wad, and I fully expect Atlanta to win in a romp by about 14 points.

Tomorrow, we like Philly to cruise. TO or no TO, 8.5 is nothing to the Eagles. Against that PATHETIC defense of Minny?! They can cover that in their sleep. This team IS going to the Super Bowl my friends. Nothing can stop them this year. If it wasn't for the long layoff and the injury to TO that line would be about 11. I'm betting they win by at least that much.

Ahhh ... finally, the rematch we've all been waiting for. This one's easy folks: Indy will cover the 2. After last season's AFC championship game, the Indy folks bitched and moaned about the play of the Patriots defense, and lo and behold the rules were changed. Manning went on to have maybe the best season of any quarterback ever, and I don't see him slowing down. The Pats were impressive in beating the Jets week 16, bouncing back from that debacle on Monday Night Football against the Fins, but I'm still a little suspicious of them this year. They haven't really been tested -- they finished up the season with 7 games against teams that went a combined 44-68; the only playoff team they faced in that stretch was the aforementioned Jets. They really only faced one big test this season: against Pittsburgh, and they didn't pass. I'm guessing that line should be around even, way Indy is blowing people out, but that people keep thinking back to last year's AFC Championship game. They shouldn't. Take Indy and the points.

And lastly, in the East-West Shrine game, we like... hahahah!!! Just kidding. I'm not THAT sick in the head...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Some Sunny Day

I'm not going to flap my gums too extensively about the "year in music" or any of that hoohah. My hat is off to those who make it their business each year to slurp down a large percentage of the music industry's ever-expanding effluvia. I'm simply not up to the task.

I know that it is a waste of prime downloading time, but I'm the kinda guy that likes to go out to eat! And watch football and get caught up on old Sopranos seasons and maybe even read a book or two. stuff like that. Anyway, I couldn't begin to honestly essay the "ten best" or what have you. Heck, I only just heard that newest Fiery Furnaces full-length last week (and yeah, they are absolutely amazing, maybe my favorite rock (not rock) band since the demise of the beloved Royal Trux.) Micro trends? Don't look to me. I heard my very first screwed and chopped albums just this year. (the Banner ones are overrated -- gimme the originals -- but Da Unbreakables truly took on an added dimension; an already gloomy record rendered even MORE sinister.) I had a lot of fun going through the Teddy Wilson box set on Mosaic from 1997 though! And I'm really psyched because my brother received 2003's Johnny Cash Unearthed box set for Xmas, and I was able to rip it to my iPod before he went home. Yeah, as an elderly record collector, that's kinda how my years go these days: a little old, a little new, a little borrowed, a little DJ Screw. But in the interest of using this here blog thing as a kind of personal inventory, these are the moments in 2004 when music's singular burn was most acute:


1. Wolter Wierbos - solo trombone; June, the Hothouse, Chicago

This trombone master presented one of the greatest solo performances I've witnessed. The solo improvisor must grapple with a distinct set of challenges quite apart from those faced by more populous amalgamations. Groupings of players numbering 2 to 20 must be aware of constantly negotiating the delicate spaces between ego-directed insertion of novel sonic material and mere reactive dialogism. The solo player, however, must take great pains not to bore everyone to death! No but seriously, rare indeed is the improvisor who can pull off a solo performance without an over-reliance on extended techniques and other parlor tricks in order to sustain interest. It's a dicey proposition. Wierbos, the Dutch trombonist best known for his association with the long-running Instant Composers Pool, enthralled with a faultless romp across the expanse of the instrument's potentiality. No matter how far out he pushed the 'bone, he never lost sight of the strong rhythmic phrasing that informed the arc of his improvisation. Burbles and growls flecked the successions of long, swinging lines, before it all gave way to breathy pillow talk and Sam Nantonian plunger-play. During an extended digression midway through, circular breathing sustained a low glitchy rumble as breath and metal were subsumed by the vocabulary of the laptop. Astonishing.

2. Henry Threadgill's Zooid; December, the Hothouse, Chicago

As blogged below, the veteran multi-instrumentalist just gets better and better. Following on a series of outstanding yet sadly little-heard recordings released throughout the 90s, his writing continues to amaze and delight with its sensitivity to density and tone color, its fearless embrace of large ensembles and unorthodox instrumentation, and most importantly the gorgeous play of its intersecting polyrhythms. Where is this man's genius grant? MacArthur Foundation, are you listening to this shit??

3. Michael Mayer and Superpitcher; March, Smart Bar, Chicago

Mayer's Immer was a record that meant a lot to me in 2003, so this DJ set featuring two of the Kompakt label's finest was much anticipated. Everything conspired to make the night darn near perfect: good friends (including a new one! met my good friend Meg at this night); enthusiastic, swaying crowd whose energy never flagged; and most importantly a couple sets of banging, perfectly sequenced Teutonic romanticism. Towards the end, Mayer hit one of those peaks where you feel like you're gonna EXPLODE with presentness. One of those nights where you wish you had, like, three or four extra limbs. the Smart Bar doesn't have the best sound system in the world, but damn can it get LOUD.

4. Brian Wilson; October, Auditorium Theatre, Chicago

I'm not gonna get into SMiLE the record, other than to say: it's perfect, I couldn't have asked for more. The concert was loads of fun. It's rare that I get CHILLS at a gig these days, but "Sloop John B" and "Cabin Essence" did the trick. Turned to my pal Phil and we agreed: we simply couldn't believe we were sitting there in 2004 listening to the entirety of SMiLE being performed live, flawlessly. Chicago's Auditorium Theatre is just beautiful, btw; I'd never been there.

5. Ying Yang Twins - Me And My Brother CD (TVT)

While a 2003 release, I didn't pick this up until early 2004, but it pretty much soundtracked my last winter. I didn't feel all that alive this past year, truth be told. But I’ll never forget trudging throw snow and ambling aboard CTA buses and trains with the YYT’s bleak, brilliant electro joints in constant rotation, boom-bapping through my discman’s earbuds. Go and read Frank Kogan’s brilliant dissection of the album. (see how nice I was to include that link? It might take you a while to find the article otherwise, thanks to the Voice's recent SHITTY-BEYOND-BELIEF redesign.)

6. Hermeto Pascoal; October, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago

The nutty blind Brazilian albino is still going strong, as evidenced by the crack band he assembled for this tour. His music continues to be informed with the good-natured playfulness and chromatic dancing that characterized his 70s stuff. His music kinda assaults you with information, big rushes of notes, quick staccato runs up and down, lots of unexpected formal shifts. I was reminded of nothing so much as my beloved prog-rock. No capes or dry ice to be seen, but with Pascoal you never know...



7. Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley; July, Grant Park, Chicago

Will wonders never cease. Chicago city government officially acknowledged its rich dance music legacy by adding a weekly house night to its annual summer dance series called, uh, 'Summerdance'. Previously comprised of salsa, tango and other upscale NPR-friendly forms, this year the series devoted Wednesdays to full-on pumping Chicago house. Man, this year there was nothing quite like heading down to Grant Park around 7 pm and listening to top DJs spin house out onto Michigan Avenue and beyond, gazing up at that wonderful skyline, all for FREE. And they sold beer too! You gotta love it. As daylight faded into night, the vibe verily was felt. Long-time house veteran Hurley presented my favorite set of the series.

8. Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts, Thanksgiving; November, Ford Field, Detroit

Let's forget about Peyton Manning's SIX TOUCHDOWN PASSES against the pathetic secondary of the men who don the Honolulu Blue and silver. The reason this entry is here is the music: folks, nothing compares to big ol' pop anthems blaring out in a football stadium. I don't care HOW bad the home team is getting shellacked. I will always love my Lions. My brother and I attend this Detroit tradition every year and its always a rocking good time. Trick Daddy's "Let's Go" accompanied the pre-game player introductions: GOOSEBUMPS. That thing sounds so great at football stadium volume, you have no idea. Halftime show was John Mellencamp. He was good! I've always liked John Mellencamp but I had never seen him before. If I die tomorrow, well, now I can at least say that I have. For 10 minutes at least. He did some crappy new song and then "R-O-C-K in the USA". But the jingoism was mercifully on the DL. No images of waving flags or any crap like that on the 'tron. Just a great rock tune by a decent singer. Everything felt ... right.

9. Eminem – “Mosh” video

Yeah, more goosebumps here. Hey, maybe I'm not dead after all! I'm kinda embarassed how much I fell in love with this thing, how EXCITING it all felt. The darn thing was getting played on MTV every half-hour on the hour! It was awesome! a revolution was brewing! Yeah, ok, the crushing reality of the situation became apparent within a matter of days. Jeez, Em, maybe you shoulda released the thing earlier than A WEEK before the freakin' election. Oh well, the only way we wouldn't have been stuck with another 4 years of that cocksucking asshole is if Jesus H. Christ himself showed up to stump for Kerry. Great video though. Oh, and the tune is cool too. I've never had a problem with Em's goth-rap, it rules.

10. John Cale; November, Boulder Theater, Boulder

Never saw the old Welsh trickster before. But there he was, in all his glory, playing songs from his most recent release, HoboSapiens. This was just one of many high points I shared on a much-needed cross-country excursion with my dear friend Charity. After the tragic events of November 2nd, I had to get the hell out of town and see me some red states up close and personal. Nebraska, thank you for your hospitality, I will never forget you. Part of the good vibe was no doubt down to the company but anyway, Cale was great. Feisty.







Least favorite moments? Shit dog, that's simple! All these people DYING. It does hit me hard when my heros die. That's something I've never been able to get past. Don't ask me why. I didn't cry when my paternal grandmother died, but I cried when George Harrison did. Emotions are a tricky business. This year, there were way too many deaths to delve into here. you've seen the laundry lists. We lost some absolute titans. It was brutal.

The two passings that hit me hardest were Steve Lacy and Malachi Favors. Two big, big, irreplacable heroes. the Art Ensemble of Chicago... yeah, they changed my life. but that's for another post. We dread these passings because they make us question the value of our own pursuits. Lacy pretty much considered THE master of his chosen instrument, and he got, what? An NYT obit, a weekend NPR feature? Yeah, those things are great, but ... christ. Did the overwhelming majority of music bloggers have word one to say in tribute to these great folks, even in passing? Of course not. It's all about breaking the next indie rock chancers or hot dubplate traxx -- didn't you get the memo? Well anyway. I'm heartened by the emergence of the new blogs that evince some listening skills, discernment, and wide-ranging love of ALL music from all spheres and walks of life: Peter Margasak's Worldly Disorientation, Mike McGonigal's 'Buked and Scorned, Scott Seward's Metal Fury, and fellow ex-pat Michigander Chip Porter's The Suburbs Are Killing Us chief among them. It's beautiful to see some folks giving attention to music ignored by the indie/beat folks (really just two sides of the same dorky coin, no matter how much invective the beatsters hurl at the indie kids.) They've inspired me to get up offa my own very ample ass and bleat about the musicians I love. I hope to present some tunes half as hot as those being serving up by these fine folks.

...and mere hours after we put 2004 to bed, the deaths continue, with the British composer, educator and performer Hugh Davies passing away on the 1st of January at the age of 61. (that's him above, bottom right.) His stint with the Music Improvisation Company resulted in two official records that never fail to thrill. If improv has tended toward ossification through the years, well, here's two sparkling documents of the practice at its inception. It's really rather pathetic that neither the paper of record nor the Guardian have even bothered to devote so much as a paragraph to this man's life. Check this: a search of Davies's name at the Guardian turns up not a word about his passing, but DOES present an obituary that he himself wrote for fellow musician Daphne Oram. Ain't that a bitch? The only bloggers that even gave a damn, so far as I can tell, were gentleman Jon Dale and Joel H. Stencil. just ...sad, really.

Everyone at all interested in those squiggly things that fly through the air and lick and suckle at your cilia, HAS to pick up that great Not Necessarily "English Music" compilation on the Electronic Music Foundation record label. Two full CDs of ALL unreleased stuff from ALL the heavies, compiled by the Toopster. There is a great solo piece from Davies wherein the contact mics get put through their paces. but the whole 2CD set is wonderful. It's that good shit.

Download "Music for Three Springs" by Hugh Davies