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mwalker on 10/23/2009 at 08:00AM

Snorting Money with Earth, Wind, & Fire

Chris Corsano and Mick Flower; photo by Hrvoje Goluza. Paris, November 2008.

I’ve upped two albums -- one from the Flower/Corsano Duo and one from Ashtray Navigations -- to get everyone amped up for what should prove to be two ridiculously great shows at ISSUE next week. Both groups play individual sets on Monday, Oct. 26 and will perform in various collaborative groupings with the Termite Club on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Check the albums here and here.

Ashtray Navigations, the longtime recording moniker of UK-native Phil Todd, covers a rather diverse amount of territory across these 4 tracks on Sweet Iron Feet, a CDr put out by Chocolate Monk in 2006.  First track “Tin and String” opens with a rustic, grounded scene -- ruminative steel string plucking in a small kitchen amidst a warm bed of white-noise hiss and slow-boiling synths as strains from a worn violin creep in through the open window. By the time “The Whirlpool What Was” closes things out, AN’s risen into the ether as phased-out, buoyant electronic swirls hum beneath transcendental, gorgeous ruminations on a processed guitar. Enveloping, comforting stuff.

Mick Flower and Chris Corsano have been recording together sporadically since 2006, releasing The Radiant Mirror in early 2007, also on Textile. Flower, a founding member of the Vibracathedral Orchestra, plays an amplified shahi baaja (or japan banjo) in conjunction with a droning tanpura box, drawing some parallels to Indian ragas but effortlessly wresting out a remarkably unique voice of his own. Corsano, a phenomenal drummer of whirlwind technical facility and acute sensitivity and restraint, has played with everyone from Paul Flaherty (highly recommended listening) and Jim O'Rourke to Six Organs of Admittance and Bjork. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform a fantastic set with Evan Parker and Nate Wooley at the Stone last week. In contrast to AN's work, The Radiant Mirror possesses a highly singular, unified sound-world, resulting in a powerful presence of almost overwhelmingly focused intensity. While the surface of their music might seem removed from the transcendental jazz of the late 60s, the duo seems to pull from the same bottomless, spiritual well once drawn from by Coltrane and Ayler. Firecely mesmerizing and absolutely worth checking. Also, look for their dope new album out on VHF.

chris corsano


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