Doom, gloom and some rather nice music

August 5, 2007

Feels like nothing but stress and gloom around here at the moment. My own health hasn’t improved over the last day or so, a chest infection rendering me close to useless, coughing up green gunk by the gallon and sweating like a paedophile in a playground. If no improvement in the morning I’m off to get some antibiotics. Two other bad pieces of news in the last 24 hours though, Julie lost yet another family member and is naturally pretty low, as my youngest brother was rushed into casualty today. An operation he had to remove a benign cyst refused to heal properly and opened up spilling blood everywhere whilst he was out shopping. Neil visits these pages from time to time, and he’s fine, waiting on some minor surgery to sort it out, but if you read this Neil, stop being a lazy sod, get out of bed and stop bleeding on everyone :)

So not much to report, dear readers, though I did make a flying trip into London yesterday to drop some Cathnor CDs off at Sound323 and to meet up briefly for a mug of tea with Travis Just, a New York composer and musician, and all-round pleasant and decent guy whose music I have enjoyed in the past on the rare occasions it has crossed my path. Travis plays and records a lot in Berlin, and was in London for just a few days en route to Germany. Working often in the orbit of the Wandelweiser composers’ collective. He runs the Object Collection label to showcase his music, although from our chat I sense his music is best served in a live setting and he is less of a fan of the CD medium. His work can also be heard on the Wandelweiser radio stream if you have the patience to wait for one of his pieces to come around!
For those readers in the New York area Travis is organising a series of performances throughout the first half of 2008 at a place called the Ontological-Hysterical Incubator, bring over the likes of Christian Kesten and Radu Malfatti amongst others.
Anyway it was nice to meet you Travis, all be it pretty briefly!

So I made my regular wander around the (newly refurbished) shelves of Sound323 in search of anything worth investigation. In recent months these visits have seen me walk away with less and less music, mainly as so much stuff comes at me from many other angles these days. I bought five CDs though, and for once I can’t wait to play them all. A 2CD set on the and/OAR label of what appears to be musical responses to the films of Yasujiro Ozu looks interesting. Amongst the many names on the discs, Taku Sugimoto, new work from Bernhard Günter and Toshiya Tsunoda stand out as possible winners, but I’ve played it yet, but looking forward to giving that a listen later.

The jewel in the crown of yesterday’s acquisitions though is the new solo CD by Mark Wastell on the Kning Disk label. Come Crimson Rays is the slightly dodgy title (;)) of the third and final disc in Mark’s solo tam tam series, the first two released under the Vibra title. This new, gorgeously packaged disc investigates the bass end of the instrument’s possibilities, with most of the sounds coming from the lower end of the spectrum, Unlike the other Vibra discs though there is an awful lot more space on Come Crimson Rays, with the first and third of the three tracks in particular focussing more on small clusters of soft strikes of the tam tam, with each note allowed to decay sumptuously slowly and drift off into the silence. Much of Mark’s recent solo work has been concerned with this notion of decaying sounds in a Feldmanesque manner, and the subtelty of his touch with this instrument lends itself perfectly.
The music on this disc is really quite dark, almost ritualistic stuff, and perhaps not the best thing for me to be playing to lift the gloom around here right now, but its really rather beautiful, fragile music I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Tonight I listened to the BBC Proms broadcast of Shostakovich’s seventh symphony performed by a youth orchestra and I rather enjoyed the rousing, epic qualitites of the music on a ridiculously hot (come back rain, all is forgiven!) summers evening. I’ve been slowly working through the 27 disc Shostakovich set, which begins with the symphonies, and have so far listened to No’s 1-5. It’ll be interesting to hear No.7 very soon just after listening to this broadcast.

OK, I’m off to cough my guts up again.

Comments (7)

  • Anonymous

    August 5, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    is the tsunoda you bought a new release by him. if so can you give the label it is on, what the tracks are like i.e. all field recordings extracts or mixed. really any info would be great as i hadnt known he had anything new out and sound323 site does not have naything new

  • Jon

    August 5, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    it’s a compilation on and/oar like he said, the label has a site. not sure if it’ll work, but here’s the link:


    Richard, I hope you feel better soon, dude, that sounds awful…

  • Anonymous

    August 5, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    yes i see now what he meant. my reading comprehension is going fast i guess. anyway what i really want is to see if a copy of excerpt from field recordings vol 2 is available anywhere on earth. i have the other 2 and they are my favorite of his disks although i enjoy just about all of them

  • _duif

    August 5, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    get well soon, Richard!
    that Ozu compilation has some nice tracks on it, sorry to say Taku’s is not one of them.. you’ll see when you listen to it :)

  • Richard Pinnell

    August 6, 2007 at 1:56 am

    OK, lets see if I can keep from dripping a mixture of sweat and mucus onto the keyboard long enough to answer some of these 😉

    Mr Anonymous (do you have aname by the way?) the Tsunoda track on this compilation is pretty good actually, and probably right up your street judging by your interest in the “excerpt” albums. Excerpt No.2 is really hard to find though yes. I tracked it down on eBay a year or so back and had to fight off a few others to get it. Not seen any sign of it since. Funnilly enough though I successfully won a CD on eBay last night that I have been searching for for as long as I knew eBay existed. I’ll write more about that later.

    David, hi, good to hear from you. I quite like the Sugimoto “thing” on the compilation (I don’t think its fair to call it music!) it works as a little oasis of silence in the otherwise relentless stream of field recordings and “nice” sounds on that compilation. I do rather like the set, but it does become a little too much to listen to in one long run.

    OK off to the doc in an hour.

  • Peter

    August 6, 2007 at 8:03 am

    I actually managed to get Excerpts #2 on Ebay maybe two weeks ago. Last time I saw it there I must have lost it in favor of Richard. (So it does surface from time to time…)

    Don’t know if I really find it worth all the money though – even if I’m a fan of Tsunoda’s. On this occasion it did come with a few other titles from WrK and Selektion, so I’m happy with it.

  • Richard Pinnell

    August 6, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Peter

    Well yeah is any music really worth what we pay for it? Last week I pulled out of an ebay bid for a Luigi Nono disc I don’t have (the LaSalle version of the string quartet) as the bidding went up over $75. there are always two things to consider with eBay, first is the item really worth that much money to me, but then also, will it appear again? In the case of the Nono disc I suspect it will and the next time my eager competitor won’t be interested. Thats my theory anyway!

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