MUSIC | Records – Jazz & World ALSO RELEASED
THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything (Constellation Records) ●●●●●
The ungracefully-named seventh LP from Canada’s experimental torch-raisers of scorn is a sweeping terrain, dotted with impressive instrumentals, lyrics presaging dehumanisation and a nightmare- inducing lullaby.
At times the vocal bouts from Efrim Menuck (of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) aren’t pretty, but overall the LP’s gloriously harrowing, vindicated by his moon- howl caterwaul chorus of ‘All our children gonna die’ on ‘What We Love Was Not Enough’.
Like a birthed Monarch Butterfly stretching its wings, it’s vivid and transfixing, but with a blackness about it like a poisonous bite of despair. ■ tra-la-la-band.com, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (see album cover, above) play Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tue 25 Feb. SENEKA Man Made Earthquake (Self-released) ●●●●●
An Englishman, an Irishman and two Scotsmen walk into a studio. They pick up their instruments, rattle out a solid rock album and head home. Unfortunately, that feels like all it’s ever going to be for Seneka. While their LP is musically tight and the group elicit both American (Gaslight, Springsteen) and Scottish (Biffy) influences, the lead vocals often appear constrained, it deviates little from convention and overall, there’s the sense that a hard-hitting punchline is lacking to their narrative. ■ facebook.com/senekaonline
MC ALMOND MILK PC WORLD MUSIC (Self-released) ●●●●●
Taking a break from serious matters such as the universe’s demise after reaching thermodynamic equilibrium, Conquering Animal Sound’s James Scott hurls out a satirical rap mixtape on societal subjects, each dose dripping in levity.
Numbers produced by Jonnie Common and grnr are highlights, though disappointingly omitted is his earlier offering ‘Great Cop Love Kestrel’, which although comical, is the best evidence of some superb elasticated syllables being flushed through Scott’s deft electronic nervous system. No joke. ■ Listen to soundcloud.com/ mcalmondmilk, MC Almond Milk plays the Glad Cafe, Glasgow, Sat 1 Feb. Á SGEIR In The Silence (One Little Indian) ●●●●●
Freshly translated into English by John Grant (the US singer formerly in The Czars), one in ten Icelanders own the original, Icelandic-language debut album, Dyrd í dauðathogn from this 21-year old Icelandic singer; a synergy of song and poetry (sales of which outstripped Sigur Ros and Bjork’s debuts). Why? As a lozenge does, cracked
open it dissolves, spreading lucid calm across the brain. The title track or the poignant mergence of Nordic and Celtic on ‘Summer Guest’) are both highlights. It’s not spotless, with some misplaced oddities scattered among its inventory, but Á sgeir has a damn good crack at being so. ■ asgeirmusic.com; soundcloud.com/asgeirmusic (Harris Brine)
74 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014
JAZZ & WORLD JAZZ RAYMOND MACDONALD & MARILYN CRISPELL Parallel Moments (Babel Label) ●●●●●
A long-time associate of Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell delivers playing that is avant garde, but with a strong romantic sensibility, making her an excellent match for Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, co-founder of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Their partnership was first forged in 2010, and recorded at that year’s London Jazz Festival, Parallel Moments is an intimate and richly imaginative duo set.
The opening ballad, ‘Longing’, sees MacDonald weave melodic alto sax over Crispell’s lush chording, with his raspy tone on the chorus bringing a passionate edge. ‘Town and City Halls’ is altogether starker, with MacDonald’s sustained tones offset by Crispell’s masterfully restrained one-hand piano statements. With ‘Notes in the Sky’, MacDonald channels Evan Parker with soprano loops and squawks, while the title track features some inspired inside piano from Crispell, her fingers rubbing the strings to create deep, resonant tones. (Stewart Smith) JAZZ / NOISE URINE GAGARIN The Withered Terminus of Evolution (Kovorox Sound) ●●●●●
If the jazz police come knocking, tell ’em it’s the trumpet wot did it. The first track from The Withered Terminus of Evolution, the debut disc from Glasgow’s impishly named ‘ecstatic free jazz noise maximum improv trio’ Urine Gagarin, bursts out of the speakers in a brick- walled mass of hideous scree. Over Laurie ‘Golden Teacher’ Pitt’s free drum armageddon, trumpeter Stuart Arnot of weirdo-improv crew Acrid Lactations unleashes banshee howls and arcs of white light, while Mr Kylie Minoise himself, Lea Cummings, hoses them down with sulphuric acid, before barbecuing the sinewy pulp with a flamethrower. The second track takes a left turn into tense no- wave atmospherics, all scraped guitar strings, billowing percussion and sinister electronic hum, while the third sounds like kittens in a microwave. This is raw, hell-for-leather stuff, lacking the scalpel-sharp precision of heavy jazz fiends like Dead Neanderthals, but it sure is exciting. (Stewart Smith)
WORLD SUPER ONZE Gao (Sahel Sounds) ●●●●●
Saharan desert blues begins here. Formed in the early 80s, Super Onze are the masters of Takamba, a style originating in the Songhai region of Mali that combines the ngoni (West African lute) with heavy calabash percussion and passionate vocals. This is a celebratory music, performed at weddings, birth ceremonies and religious festivals.
Recorded in the early 90s, Gao is the first vinyl release of Super Onze’s music, and features a different lineup of the band to that on the 2011 CD on Two Speakers. The sound is rawer here, with the tranced-out buzz of the electrified ngoni up front and the vocals in a supporting role. Over the relentless click-boom beat of the calabash, ngoni masters Yahia Mballa Samaké and Douma Maïga spool out a spider’s web of shredding syncopated runs and mesmeric pedal-points, while the singers praise the holy man Yehia. Ecstatic desert music at its best. (Stewart Smith) WORLD VARIOUS Let No One Judge You: Early Recordings From Iran, 1906–1933 (Honest Jon’s) ●●●●●
Continuing their trawl through the Gramophone Company’s Middle Eastern archives, Honest Jon’s presents a stunning collection of Iranian music from the first third of the 20th century. Beginning with a 1906 recording of the Royal Orchestra, where western instruments play Persian scales, this two- disc set is a heady journey into old Tehran. Most remarkable are the female voices: these recordings were made at a time when Iranian women were for the first time accepted as musicians, without the connotations of prostitution that had stigmatised them before. From the 1906 recordings we have the gutsy elastic alto of Reza-Qoli, and from 1925, remarkable settings of the poet Raheb by Moluk Zarrabi. Parveneh sings mournful love songs, accompanying herself on the setar. (Stewart Smith)