Friday, January 28, 2011

Eugene Chadbourne/John Zorn

"School is a double album released on Eugene Chadbourne's Parachute Records label in 1978. Each of the two LPs was organized by Chadbourne and reedist John Zorn, respectively. This album was Zorn's first professional release. It is an intriguingly raw document of the sort of embryonic, non-idiomatic free improvised music coming out of the American scene in the Seventies.

Disc one features Chadbourne on a variety of guitars, electric and acoustic, in solo, duo, trio and quartet settings featuring accompaniment by Zorn, guitarists Henry Kaiser and Davey Williams, violinists Polly Bradfield and LaDonna Smith and soprano saxophonist Bruce Ackley (of ROVA). The tone of the music is generally very stark, organic and abstract. In this music, there is an emphasis on what can be done sonically with simple tools, i.e. the instrumentalists depend more on contrast, space and timbre than electronic manipulation or effects. Even when sparse, the music is generally manic. It is often difficult to identify who is producing which sound. At many moments, all of the instruments take blatantly percussive roles, displacing any notion of meter violently with shard-like, disjointed atonal outbursts. For the most part, the players investigate the outer limits of extended technique capable on their axes, but at times, disorientingly traditional musical phrases appear, if only for a moment. Of particular note on disc one are the bizarre composed unison figures executed during the quartet piece 'The Shreeve.'

Disc two features three versions of the John Zorn game piece 'Lacrosse.' The group features Mark Abbott on electronics, Chadbourne on various stringed instruments, LaDonna Smith on violin and viola, Davey Williams on banjo and guitar and Zorn on saxophones and clarinet. The music hinges on a continual disruption of silence and harkens back strongly to the seminal work of 20th century composers such as Mauricio Kagel (cf. 'Acustica'). The overall tone is very dry, evoking timbres of wood and blunt metal, peppered with primitive electronic touches. It is a sort of brusque, randomized chamber music, subtly violent and terse at all times.

This vinyl transcription was recorded on a Technics SL1200MK2 turntable through a NAD amplifier to a Sony D-50 digital recorder at 44.1/24 bits. The audio was cleaned up through careful use of the Waves Click and Crackle filters, and limited slightly and dithered with the Waves L-1 Ultramaximizer with IDR."

- Dr. C. Everett Poop, Portland, Maine, 1.24.11

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Eugene Chadbourne/John Zorn.

School (Parachute)
1. Solitude
2. Duet
3. The Return of Romance
4. The Shreeve
5. The Fling
6. Missing Persons
7. Welcome West
8. Lacrosse (take 3)
9. Lacrosse (take 4)
10. Lacrosse (take 6)


NiKT said...

Thank you, sir! Great to hear some very early Chadbourne.

roberto t. said...

Infinite thanks for this one. Love Polly Bradfield, a personal myth!