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Northern-Spy_Records on 01/04/2011 at 09:31AM

Adam's Top Ten Performances of 2010

1) William Basinski's performance of 'Vivian and Ondine' at 110 Livingston (Brooklyn, NY)

The significance of this gig was already apparent before the lights dimmed and William Basinski stepped behind his table for a performance of  the 2008 composition 'Vivian and Ondine'.  The first sound he made was accidental - the apple computer start-up sound.  Drawing chuckles from the crowd, it was a harsh, sharp attack opposite his cathartic, glacially unraveling tape loops.  Behind Basinski, the Joshua Light Show 'liquid lights' highlighted the beautiful interior of the 110 Livingston building, Issue's future home.


2) Sir Richard Bishop at Zebulon (Brooklyn, NY)

During his 4 week residency at Zebulon, Rick performed a mixed bag of exotic, instrumental guitar songs and classic, surreal story-songs from the SCG catalog.  I attended 3 out of 4 of the shows including one in which he was accompanied by the incredible Bill Orcutt.  To be frank, it was too hot and sweaty to enjoy that one.  I believe it was his opening night that Bishop played 'Eyeball in a Quart Jar of Snot'.  INCREDIBLE!  He asked if there were any requests to which I quickly shouted "play Nancy" drawing a smirk and a "NO".

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andrewcsmith on 08/30/2010 at 02:23PM

Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano, Okkyung Lee

Paul Flaherty ended a year-long sabbatical to play at ISSUE last May, and the free jazz saxophonist brought with him two long-time partners in the free-improv scene: Chris Corsano & Okkyung Lee.

The improvisation is guided by Flaherty’s energy and spirit, which is not to say that others do not have a voice. If anything, Flaherty is here in his element, and the challenge for the other two is bringing their dispirate ideas and experiences accumulated over their diverse careers into a performance style that Flaherty has been working in for some time. Corsano’s playing is forceful in both its noise and its silence, while Lee seems to be channeling the composers Xenakis or (more appropriately) Lachenmann, absorbing their instrumental techniques into her participation in collective improvisation.

The three musicians never seem to find—or even seek—a stable moment throughout their performance. Flaherty moves in turns fluttering and squeaking, letting off ecstatic steam, while Corsano explores repeated twitching drum hits in counterpoint to Flaherty, alternately supporting and exposing his playing. I’ve attached an excerpt of the performance here, but the entire thing is available on their album page.

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longrally on 01/07/2010 at 08:41AM

C. Spencer Yeh/Chris Corsano/Nate Wooley Live on WFMU

DSC_0383 I confess it's taken me longer to get this post together than it should have.  I definitely have the holidays to blame, some family obligations, the usual work, the usual play.  But honestly the main reason is that I have been thinking about what to write, and how best to articulate why I am such a huge fan of these three musicians individually, and then why getting them to play as a group on my show was such an enormous coup.  And I think I figured it out.

C. Spencer Yeh (violin/voice) is probably best known as the founder of Burning Star Core, a noise band with a surprising elasticity in terms of sound, timbre, texture, form.  He has played with probably every major "noise" artist you can think of and in weirder situations with people like JandekChris Corsano (drums/percussion) has been moonlighting with Bjork of late, and has a longstanding free jazz duo with Paul Flaherty that peels paint.  Again, he's collaborated with an enormous range of stylists and kingpins, from free jazz masters to heavy noise blasters, from pop stars to beardos.  Nate Wooley (amplified trumpet) is a specialist-in-all-styles type player who digs Charlie Shavers and grew up playing in big bands, has spent time doing lowercase music, traditional-sounding free jazz, post-bop, electroacoustic improv and extreme/harsh noise.  The three are primetime improvisors, it's the defining element that links all three.  But what appeals to me about each of them is that they don't really "fit" anywhere.  Noise, free jazz, post rock, bebop, punk, scuzz.  If you are to play with them, you are to accommodate them, to get with the sound and discard the baggage, to open it up wide and be humble and just cruise. 

They put in two long pieces. The first was a culmination of a handful of live performances of Nate Wooley's Seven Storey Mountain, a version of which was released on Important Records (with David Grubbs and Paul Lytton).  The second is unadulturated free improvisation.  Please enjoy.  Many thanks to Mike Sin for engineering.

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mwalker on 12/07/2009 at 04:26AM

The Seven Storey Mountain

Nate Wooley

This Tuesday at ISSUE Project Room, trumpeter Nate Wooley (Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, John Butcher), violinist C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core, Thurston Moore, Evan Parker), and drummer Chris Corsano (Flower-Corsano Duo, Paul Flaherty, Six Organs of Admittance) join together in holy-shit revelry, forming a trio as intensely formidable as one might ever be lucky enough to witness. Along with a bracing evening of improv, attendees will also bear witness to the unveiling of a new tape piece from Wooley, expanding upon The Seven Storey Mountain album collaboration with David Grubbs and Paul Lytton (released last month on Important Records). To get warmed up for what should be a staggeringly awesome concert, check the playlist below for some past ISSUE performances from these three men. You’ll hear a newly-shared performance from C. Spencer Yeh (with Greg Kelley and Paul Flaherty) as well as a couple classic staples of the FMA.

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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.

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