Tuesday, 14 July 2009
(Image created thanks to Wordle - http://www.wordle.net/)
I was pretty pleased with most these shows actually: I think the previous two years' experience was finally starting to teach me something in the way of presentation, though the spoken-word monologues did get longer and longer. Probably the pick of the bunch were the two-part shows on England/Folk/Horror etc and on the connections between jazz and punk, though I was fairly happy with the Ghedalia Tazartes one as well.
THIRD YEAR: 2009
(49) BROADCAST DATE: 18th January 2009
SHOW TITLE: Freddie Hubbard Tribute
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A tribute to the one of the greatest jazz trumpet players of all time, who died in December 2008. The programme ranges through his career, encompassing hard bop, experimental sounds, soul jazz, and high quality jazz fusion.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Don Sebesky, Freddie Hubbard
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/155/One_Step_Beyond_18109_-_Freddie_Hubbard
For this show I was joined by guest Dan Larwood
(50) BROADCAST DATE: 25th January 2009
SHOW TITLE: Sunn O)))
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Sunn O))) is the doom metal group of Stephen O’ Malley and Greg Anderson. Their low, loud dronescapes stretch the clichés of metal (tri-tone chords, power riffs and themes of near-nihilistic darkness) to limits that are simultaneously absurd and deeply serious, trance-like and exhilarating, bleak and joyful. Sub-bass solemnity.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Sunn O)))
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/161/One_Step_Beyond_25109
(51) BROADCAST DATE: 1st February 2009
SHOW TITLE: Eric Dolphy
SHOW DESCRIPTION: One of the great iconoclasts of jazz, Dolphy was at the innovative forefront of the music for a brief period during the early 60s. His playing style included huge intervallic leaps and speech-like effects; he had exceptional prowess on three instruments (flute, alto sax and bass clarinet – whose use he pioneered), and he was also a fine composer. Tracks selected cover the period when his star burned the brightest: from 1960 until 1964, the year of his death.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Charles Mingus, Oliver Nelson, George Russell, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/166/One_Step_Beyond_1209_-_Eric_Dolphy
(52) BROADCAST DATE: 15th February 2009
SHOW TITLE: Joe Lee Wilson
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The focus of today's show is the jazz singer Joe Lee Wilson, most famous for lending his rich and passionate baritone to a number of Archie Shepp recordings from the 1970s. We'll hear from those, as well as some much more obscure cuts. Listen out in particular for a fantastic track from Mtume's Umoja Ensemble, fairly early on in the show
ARTISTS PLAYED: Mtume, Archie Shepp, Charles Majid Greenlee, Joe Lee Wilson
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/169/One_Step_Beyond_15209
(53) BROADCAST DATE: 22nd February 2009
SHOW TITLE: Ghédalia Tazartès.
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A look at (or, more accurately, listen to) someone who is, in all probability, the most neglected musician on the planet, and the most unclassifiable too: Parisian one-man band/orchestra/experimentalist Ghédalia Tazartès. The selections come from four of the ten albums he's recorded between 1979 and the present: Diasporas, Tazartes Transports, Tazartes and Voyage a L'Ombre.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Ghédalia Tazartès.
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/172/One_Step_Beyond_22209_
(54) BROADCAST DATE: 1st March 2009
SHOW TITLE: The Garden is Dark, Part 1: Folk, Horror and Atmosphere in British Music of the 1960s and 1970s
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This will be the first part (the sequel will follow next week) of a slightly vague journey which can't really be called thematic or conceputal, but is more based around certain impressions and atmospheres - ideas, yes, will be floating around there too - ideas about politics and horror and pastoral and, most especially, about folk traditions - but mostly I hope the music can make the argument for me. The show will include substantial excerpts from the scores to two of the finest films from the period: the Third Ear Band's music for Roman Polanski's 'Macbeth', and Paul Giovanni's beautiful folk-influenced pieces for 'The Wicker Man'. There will also be some avant-garde jazz from Tony Oxley and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, music which exquisitely captures the feel of this creatively fertile period.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Stan Tracey, Tony Oxley, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Third Ear Band, Marc Wilkinson, Paul Giovanni and Magnet, Comus
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/175/One_Step_Beyond_1309
(55) BROADCAST DATE: 8th March 2009
SHOW TITLE: The Garden is Dark, Part 2: Folk, Freedom and Experimentation into the Twenty-First Century
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This is part two of an exploration of intersections between progressive/ 'avant-garde' music, and folk traditions in England, from the 1960s and into the new millenium. I'll begin by playing material from the likes of the Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention, before moving on to the 'apocalyptic' and 'neo'-folk of Richard Youngs and Current 93 – music emerging from 1980s industrial and noise experimentation, which brought folk influences into an even more overtly experimental context. Above all, I’ll be emphasising a falsity to the commonly-drawn dualistic distinction between the ‘cerebral’, 'intellectual' avant-garde and 'primitive', ‘instinctive’, indigenous folk music, arguing for a far more reciprocal relation between the ‘high’ culture of the avant-garde and the ‘low’ culture of folk music. Along the way, I’ll consider notions of ‘self-expression’ and the political, religious and social agency of certain traditions.
ARTISTS PLAYED: The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Syd Barrett, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Shirley Collins, Phil Minton, Joseph Taylor, Richard Youngs, Current 93, Coil, C. Joynes, Lycanthrope Oboe
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/178/One_Step_Beyond_080309
(56) BROADCAST DATE: 15th March 2009
SHOW TITLE: Sounding: An Evening of Music at The Shop, XVIII Jesus Lane, Cambridge (13/03/09)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: sounding, vbl. n. 1.a. The action or process of sounding or ascertaining the depth of water by means of the line and lead or (now usu.) by means of echo; an instance of this." (OED) Sounding: Testing the waters; listening to the sonic depths. An informal, though organised occasion: a space to try things out in a relaxed, semi-concert environment. This show focuses on recordings from 'Sounding', an evening of music which took place at student-run artspace The Shop, XVIII Jesus Lane, Cambridge, on 13th March 2009. From free improvisation to fingerpicking, classical to ambient and noise, a diverse line-up of student performers explored a number of intriguing musical strains - the results are here for you to judge.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Benjamin Britten, David Curington, The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society, Daniel Larwood, Lycanthrope Oboe, David Grundy
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/181/One_Step_Beyond_150309
(57) BROADCAST DATE: 26th April 2009
SHOW TITLE: Bobby Hutcherson
SHOW DESCRIPTION: For the first show of term, the show will focus on vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, with some classic mid-60s Blue Note recordings that straddle the line between free jazz and advanced hard bop, including sideman appearances on albums by Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, and Eric Dolphy, as well as Hutcherson's own recordings as a leader. [Note - the spoken portions of this show were re-recorded as the original studio broadcast was not archived due to a technological malfunction. The musical selections remain the same].
ARTISTS PLAYED: Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Harold Land, Bobby Hutcherson
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/186/One_Step_Beyond_-_Bobby_Hutcherson_260409
(58) BROADCAST DATE: 3rd May 2009
SHOW TITLE: New Albums
SHOW DESCRIPTION: New and recent releases for early 2009, including a variety of different improvisational approaches to the guitar: from the folkily acoustic to the bludgeoning electricity of a new ‘power trio’, and quiet, drone-based microtonal music reminiscent of early 60s minimalism. We’ll also hear a re-issue from the rarely-recorded multi-instrumentalist/composer Lowell Skinner Davidson, and a new interpretation of his graphic scores from collaborator Joe Morris. And more besides.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Profound Sound Trio, Weasel Walter/Henry Kaiser/Damon Smith, Tetuzi Akiyama, Jim McAuley/Leroy Jenkins, Lowell Davidson, Joe Morris/John Voigt/Tom Plsek, Byard Lancaster, Hugh Hopper, Alexander Hawkins
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/190/One_Step_Beyond_030509
(59) BROADCAST DATE: 11th May 2009
SHOW TITLE: Ennio Morricone (Part 1)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Ennio Morricone is the focus of today's show, and next week's as well. In part one (today), expect to hear classic spaghetti western scores for films by Leone, Corbucci, and others.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Ennio Morricone
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/193/One_Step_Beyond_110509_-_Ennio_Morricone_Part_1
(60) BROADCAST DATE: 17th May 2009
SHOW TITLE: Ennio Morricone (Part 2)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Including scores for giallo movies and one of the finest spaghetti westerns, Sergio Corbucci's 'Il Grande Silenzio' + Morricone's more avant-garde material.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Ennio Morricone
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/196/One_Step_Beyond_170509_-_Ennio_Morricone_Part_2
(61) BROADCAST DATE: 31st May 2009
SHOW TITLE: The Jazz-Punk Nexus (Part 1)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: After last week's absence due to exams, one step beyond is back with the first of a two part exploration of THE JAZZ PUNK-NEXUS, from the MC5 to John Zorn. Detroit Pre-Punk, Harmolodics, No Wave, Post-Punk and Jazz Grindcore will all make appearances - but this ain't no gimmick. Tune in for raw aggression and blazing volume.
ARTISTS PLAYED: MC5, The Stooges, Ornette Coleman, Luther Thomas/Human Arts Ensemble, Defunkt, DNA, Sonic Youth, James Chance, Blurt, The Damned, Lol Coxhill, Xero Slingsby, The Box
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/199/One_Step_Beyond_310509_-_Jazz-Punk_Nexus_Part_1
(62) BROADCAST DATE: 7th June 2009
SHOW TITLE: The Jazz-Punk Nexus (Part 2)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: the last ever ‘one step beyond’ to go out on CUR1350, ending a three-year run with part 2 of the jazz-punk exploration begun last week. as the late 70s enters the 80s, mark stewart and the pop group are fusing dub reggae, funk, free jazz and punk in the u.k...john zorn and bill laswell are making all sorts of uncompromising noises in the u.s...and last exit are giving their listeners 'brain damage'…plus more
ARTISTS PLAYED: The Pop Group, Rip Rig and Panic, The Lounge Lizards, Material, Ronald Shannon Jackson & the Decoding Society, Black Flag, Last Exit, John Zorn, Naked City, Painkiller, The Flying Luttenbachers, Otomo Yoshihide
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/202/One_Step_Beyond_070609
(Image created thanks to Wordle - http://www.wordle.net/)
The shows improved in quality during this year, with Noa on board and with some interviews starting to appear as well. My picks would be: Drone, Marion Brown, Michael White, Billy Harper, Captain Beefheart, Miles Davis, Gato Barbieri, Sun Ra, and the year's final show, which was the most experimental of the bunch, inspired by Noa's work on 'Seventy Loud Years'.
2ND YEAR: 2008
(24) BROADCAST DATE: 13th January 2008
SHOW TITLE: 2007 Roundup
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A selection of the best jazz and improv releases of the past year, from high-octane free jazz to thoughtful free improvisation to established masters to jazz/classical fusions to proof that big band music can still be exciting. Artists include Peter Brotzmann, Phil Minton, Joe Lovano/Hank Jones, John Surman, Anthony Braxton and Charles Tolliver.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Soil and ‘Pimp’ Sessions, Phil Minton Quartet, Evan Parker/Matthew Shipp, John Surman, Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, Peter Evans Quartet, His Name is Alive, Peter Brotzmann, Joe Lovano/Hank Jones, William Parker, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Charles Tolliver
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/38/One_Step_Beyond_1312008_-_2007_Round-up
(25) BROADCAST DATE: 20th January 2007
SHOW TITLE: Pharoah Sanders
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two hours devoted to the music of the great saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Described by Ornette Coleman as "probably the best tenor player in the world," his playing style is instantly recognisable: abrasive, over-tone-heavy, intense and full of emotion. According to jazz legend, he can cause a saxophone to continue to shriek for minutes after removing it from his mouth! Expect fearsome free jazz, mellow 60s/70s spiritual jazz, lots of African percussion, and even some yodelling...
ARTISTS PLAYED: John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/41/One_Step_Beyond_-_SHOW_TWO_-_Pharoah_Sanders
(26) BROADCAST DATE:
SHOW TITLE: Jazz & Hip-Hop/Spoken Word
SHOW DESCRIPTION: On today's show we examine the roots of hip-hop, from a recitation by legendary bassist Charles Mingus to the fiercely polemical Black Nationalist rhetoric of Amiri Baraka, The Last Poets, and Gil Scott-Heron. We follow this with tracks which integrate jazz and hip-hop, from both sides of the divide, including such artists as Public Enemy, Gang Starr, Steve Coleman and Soweto Kinch.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Charles Mingus, Amiri Baraka, Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Public Enemy, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, us3, Steve Coleman, MC Solaar/Ron Carter, Soweto Kinch, Vijay Iyer/Mike Ladd, Wynton Marsalis
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/44/One_Step_Beyond_27-1-08_Hip-hopspoken_word_and_jazz
(27) BROADCAST DATE: 3rd February 2008
SHOW TITLE: Drone
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Come with us now on a journey through time and space to the world of the mighty drone...On today's show we'll be looking at what's known as drone music, or dronology, which encompasses everything from 60s avant-garde classical music to ambient to early 90s 'shoegaze' and beyond that to post-rock. Along the way, some of the most controversial music ever made, creations which challenge the boundaries between sound, noise and music, which push at the boundaries of art. In other words, you may absolutely hate this stuff. But there'll also be more reflective, gently hypnotic music as well - an intriguing two hours of sonic exploration...
ARTISTS PLAYED: Giacinto Scelsi, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pandit Pran Nath, La Monte Young, Terry Riley, The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Fripp/Eno, My Bloody Valentine, Sunn O))), A Silver Mt. Zion
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/47/One_Step_Beyond_3-2-08_Drone
(28) BROADCAST DATE: 10th February 2008
SHOW TITLE: Marion Brown
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The show this week features the music of alto saxophonist/ethnomusicologist/composer Marion Brown, probably the most lyrical of the free jazz players. Most of his music is either out-of-print or very hard to get hold of, so this is a rare opportunity to hear some wonderfully atmospheric tracks, which explore and incorporate elements of African music, imagery from America's rural south, and European classical music.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Marion Brown
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/50/One_Step_Beyond_10208-_Marion_Brown
* Interview Show *
(29) BROADCAST DATE: 17th February 2008
SHOW TITLE: Prog-Rock/ Canterbury Scene (feat. Hugh Hopper Interview)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This week, One Step Beyond brings you two hours of music and discussion relating to 60s/70s prog-rock and the so-called Canterbury scene. Along the way, we're playing a variety of tracks, which move from Pink Floyd to the Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, and King Crimson. The programme also includes an interview with Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper that we recorded at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago. [This may have been the last interview conducted with Hopper; a full transcript is available in Issue 2 of Eartrip magazine.]
ARTISTS PLAYED: Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, King Crimson
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/53/One_Step_Beyond_17-2-08_Prog-RockCanterbury_Scene
(30) BROADCAST DATE: 24th February 2008
SHOW TITLE: Olivier Messiaen
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Some classical music this week - that of twentieth-century French composer Olivier Messiaen. Ondes martenots, birdsong, synaesthesia, Catholicism, mysticism, Sanskrit, Greek and Hindu rhythms, obscure number symbolism...It's all there, in some of the strangest and most individual music ever written, at any time. Prepare to be amazed!
ARTISTS PLAYED: Olivier Messiaen
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/56/One_Step_Beyond_240208_-_Olivier_Messiaen
(31) BROADCAST DATE: 2nd March 2008
SHOW TITLE: Wayne Shorter
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Just me solo today, as Noa wasn't feeling too well. The show looks at saxophone great and composer Wayne Shorter, from post-bop with Art Blakey to classic albums on Blue Note, to superb tracks from Miles Davis' great mid-60s Quintet and fusion from Weather Report, right up to Shorter's revelatory 21st-century quartet with Danilo Perez, John Pattitucci and Brian Blade. This really is superb stuff: music that heads out into the unknown...
ARTISTS PLAYED: Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Weather Report, Wayne Shorter
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/59/One_Step_Beyond_2308_-_Wayne_Shorter
* Interview Show *
(32) BROADCAST DATE: 9th March 2008
SHOW TITLE: Mike & Kate Westbrrok
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Probably the last show of term (unless Noa somehow manages to complete all his work by next sunday!), this time we featured music by, and an interview with British jazz pioneers Mike and Kate Westbrook. The interview was recorded back in November last year, and they had some fascinating things to say about their career and influences, as well as about jazz in general. It's really worth hearing, I assure you!
ARTISTS PLAYED: Mike and Kate Westbrook
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/70/One_Step_Beyond_9-3-08_Mike_Kate_Westbrook
(33) BROADCAST DATE: 27th April 2008
SHOW TITLE: New CDs/Re-issues Roundup
SHOW DESCRIPTION: None
ARTISTS PLAYED: Yuganaut, Phil Hargreaves/Barry Chabala, fURT, Bill Dixon/ Exploding Star Orchestra, Steve Peters, Linda Kallerdahl, Birigwa, Ted Daniel, Heikki Sarmanto/ The Serious Music Ensemble, Bob James
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/91/One_Step_Beyond_27-4-08_-_CD_Roundup
(34) BROADCAST DATE: 4th May 2008
SHOW TITLE: Gyorgy Ligeti
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The music of Hungarian avant-garde composer Gyorgy Ligeti, whose eerily atmospheric music was famously featured in '2001: A Space Odyssey.' Ligeti's work provides a fascinating listen; throughout his career, he continued to pursue his own individual path, owing debts to both the avant-garde (Stockhausen and the Darmstadt School) and to classical tradition, whilst creating music that didn't quite fit in with either.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Gyorgy Ligeti
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/94/One_Step_Beyond_4508_-_Gyorgy_Ligeti
(35) BROADCAST DATE: 11th May 2008
SHOW TITLE: Michael White
SHOW DESCRIPTION: One of the most obscure musicians we’ve featured on ‘One Step Beyond’ so far: jazz violinist Michael White, who, after roots in free jazz and early fusion, went on to create a sunny brand of 1970s ‘spiritual jazz’, shot through with gospel and ‘world music’ influences. A lot of this material awaits CD reissue, so this show is a rare opportunity to hear some fascinating and uplifting music.
ARTISTS PLAYED: McCoy Tyner, The Fourth Way, Smiley Winters, Michael White
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/97/One_Step_Beyond_11-5-08_-_Michael_White
(36) BROADCAST DATE: 18th May 2008
SHOW TITLE: Billy Harper
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Following last week's delve into the lesser-known reaches of 60s and 70s-era 'spiritual jazz', we'll be featuring more from the same era, this time from the criminally underrated Texan tenor saxophonist & composer Billy Harper. Most famous for his work in Gil Evans' big band on albums like 'Svengali' and 'There comes a Time', he also recorded with Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Randy Weston and Max Roach, and made some superb albums under his name, including the stonkingly good 'Capra Black' and 'Black Saint.' Harper plays with a hard, steely, powerful sound, full of emotion, merging the fervour of gospel and free jazz with the technical complexity and dexterity of mainstream post-bop, and gives across a sense that he really MEANS what he's doing every time. So, not a duff track to be found, and we'll be selecting some of the best things in his catalogue in our overview of his career.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Lee Morgan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Billy Harper
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/102/One_Step_Beyond_1852008_-_Billy_Harper
The following two shows were presented solo.
* Interview Show *
(37) BROADCAST DATE: 25th May 2008
SHOW TITLE: Styles Kauphmann
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Today's show features an extensive interview with, followed by the music of, improvising musician/composer Styles J Kauphmann, an Oxford-based clarinettist, vocalist and violinist currently engaged in a series of 'acoustic improvisations'. These performances have affinities with both free improvisation and avant-garde classical music, and make use of extended techniques, space and silence, and the acoustic properties of the environment in which they take take place. The first hour contains an interview recorded a few weeks ago in Cambrige, while the second hour contains an improvisation recorded on solo clarinet in London, back in July 2007, as well as a short excerpt from a solo violin concert. More information about Styles J. Kauphmann can be found at http://www.stylesjkauphmann.org/
ARTISTS PLAYED: Styles J. Kauphmann
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/105/One_Step_Beyond_25508_-_Styles_Kauphmann
* Interview Show *
(38) BROADCAST DATE: 1st June 2008
SHOW TITLE: Alexander Hawkins
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Oxford-based pianist Alexander Hawkins, one Britain's most promising young free improvisers, is the subject of today's show. The main focus is on a concert by his recently-formed ensemble, recorded on their visit to Cambridge a couple of weeks ago. Featuring British jazz giant Orphy Robinson on steel pan, alongside such free improv masters as Dominic Lash and Hannah Marshall, they play a varied programme which mixes original compositions with tunes by Anthony Braxton, Sun Ra and Wadada Leo Smith. To begin the programme, excerpts from an interview I recorded with Alexander Hawkins while he was in Cambridge for the concert.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Alexander Hawkins
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/108/One_Step_Beyond_1608_-_Alexander_Hawkins
(39) BROADCAST DATE: 8th June 2008
SHOW TITLE: Captain Beefheart
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Struggling out of bed following the completion of my exams, today I'm re-joined by Noa to present the music and weirdness of Don Van Vliet, alias Captain Beefheart (and of course, not forgetting his ‘Magic Band’ – Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Winged Eel Fingerling, Drumbo, Ed Marimba, et al). We will be featuring ‘Trout Mask Replica’, as you’d expect, but also some of Vliet’s less well-known work, and considering questions such as: is this man a fraud or a genius? How useful is the myth of ‘primitive genius’ that so many well-meaning critics slap on to him? And just what do lyrics like the following actually mean? “Feather times a feather/ Mornin' time t' thaw/ Strawwood claw rattlin' m' jaw/ Hobo chang ba/ Hobo chang ba.”
ARTISTS PLAYED: Howlin’ Wolf, Captain Beefheart
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/111/One_Step_Beyond_8-6-8_-_Captain_Beefheart
(40) BROADCAST DATE: 14th June 2008
SHOW TITLE: Dave Douglas
SHOW DESCRIPTION: For the last show of the 2007/2008 academic year, we focussed on trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas. Douglas emerged in the late 1980s on New York's 'Downtown Scene', and has since played with a huge variety of artists, including Anthony Braxton, Horace Silver, John Zorn, Joe Lovano, Tim Berne, Han Bennink and Steve Lacy. His own projects have been no less adventurous, encompassing 'chamber jazz' influenced by European folk and classical music, the incorporation of electronics, and works with a specific political motivation, such as the 2001 album 'Witness'. While not everything he's done is entirely successful, there is more than enough material of interest to explore, including a particularly evocative track inspired by the works of Egyptian Nobel prize winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Tiny Bell Trio, Jamie Saft, Dave Douglas
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/114/One_Step_Beyond_14-6-08_-_Dave_Douglas
All shows from now on were presented solo.
(41) BROADCAST DATE: 19th October 2008
SHOW TITLE: Miles Davis, 1969-75 (Part 1)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: 'One Step Beyond's three-year run continues with a show examining what is probably the most controversial period in the career of jazz innovator Miles Davis: the so-called 'first electric period', from 1968/9-75. This, the first programme in a two-part series, examines the genesis of Davis' move towards 'jazz fusion', with the addition of electric keyboards and guitars, and the adoption of rock rhythms and riffs.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/132/One_Step_Beyond_19-10-2008
(42) BROADCAST DATE: 26th October 2008
SHOW TITLE: Miles Davis, 1969-75 (Part 2)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The second programme of a two-part series moves on to Miles' increasingly controversial post-1970 work. Attaching a wah-wah pedal to his trumpet and emphasising the collective and rhythmic aspects of his ensembles, he was moving towards a non-western sound that incorporated elements of James Brown's unstoppable funk, Stockausen's concept of music as 'process', the distorted guitar sounds made famous by Jimi Hendrix, and flashes of jazz.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Amiri Baraka, Miles Davis
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/135/One_Step_Beyond_26-10-08
(43) BROADCAST DATE: 2nd November 2008
SHOW TITLE: Gato Barbieri
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Today’s show features the sounds of Argentinian saxophonist Leandro 'Gato' Barbieri. Beginning as a free jazz firebrand in the vein of Pharoah Sanders, he went to merge Latin rhythms with his unique saxophone style on albums such as 'The Third World' and 'Fenix', as well as writing a Grammy-award-winning score for Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial film ‘Last Tango in Paris.’
ARTISTS PLAYED: Don Cherry, Alan Shorter, Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Gato Barbieri
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/138/One_Step_Beyond_2-11-2008_
(44) BROADCAST DATE: 9th November 2008
SHOW TITLE: Ornette Coleman (Part 1)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This week, the second hour of 'One Step Beyond' was ordered off-air (with very little notice, or explanation, it has to be said). Consequentially, today's show was only an hour long. This truncated edition focussed on Coleman's early work (1959-60), with tracks from 'The Shape of Jazz To Come', 'Change of the Century' and 'Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation.' There was, of course, much discussion of its significance: more talking than music, but that's the way it goes. Part Two next week.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Ornette Coleman
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/141/One_Step_Beyond_9-11-08
(45) BROADCAST DATE: 16th November 2008
SHOW TITLE: Ornette Coleman (Part 2)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Covering Ornette's career from 1961-present. Among other things: Ornette playing tenor and trumpet, collaborating with Yoko Ono, the London Symphony Orchetra a and Jackie McLean, and causing controversy by employing his 10-year old son as a drummer and by forming jazz/funk ensemble Prime Time.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Yoko Ono, Jackie McLean, James Blood Ulmer, Ornette Coleman
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/143/One_Step_Beyond_16-12-2008
(46) BROADCAST DATE: 23rd November 2008
SHOW TITLE: Sun Ra
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Sun Ra, born Herman Blount, led an extraordinary 50-year career as notable for his unique philosophy/mythology/cosmology as for the superb music that resulted. Fusing ancient Egypt imagery with science fiction and outer space, his work with his big band (known as the ‘Arkestra’) encompassed free jazz, electronic experimentation, bebop, swing, modal jazz and fusion, transcending all such categorical breakdowns in its infinite variety. I’ll be picking my way through his many albums, selecting a few highlights and persona favourites, and trying to explain the significance of this man’s work.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Sun Ra
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/146/One_Step_Beyond_23-11-2008
(47) BROADCAST DATE: 30th November 2008
SHOW TITLE: 2008 Roundup
SHOW DESCRIPTION: An overview of some of the best albums released in 2008, in various genres.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Cloaks, Sunn O))), Paul Dunmall/Roman Mints, fURT, Liebman/ Eskelin/ Marino/ Black, Sonic Youth/Merzbow/Mats Gustaffson, Bill Dixon, Spring Heel Jack
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/149/One_Step_Beyond_30-11-08
(48) BROADCAST DATE: 7th December 2008
SHOW TITLE: The Art of Response
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The final 'One Step Beyond' of 2008 takes a look at the way art and politics have intersected in the 20th and 21st centuries, and, in particular, the way that art has responded to various political crises, such as the second world war, the civil rights movement, and the rise of AIDS. Music and spoken word from Penderecki, Richard Strauss, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Amiri Baraka, Funkadelic, Peter Brotzmann, and more.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Richard Strauss, Krzysztof Penderecki, Charles Bernstein, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp, Malcolm X, Jeremiah Wright, Martin Luther King, Philip Cohran, Anthony Davis, David Grundy, Peter Brotzmann, Fred Van Hove, Funkadelic, Lucien Monbuttou, Bob Ostertag, Keston Sutherland, Sean Bonney, Chris Morris, Roy Brooks & the Artistic Truth
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/152/One_Step_Beyond_7-12-08
Over the last three years I presented the show 'One Step Beyond' on CUR1350, the Cambridge University student radio station. When I was starting out I tended to mix tracks by different artists, with no particularly rhyme or reason other than that I felt they were worth playing, but I soon started to use the 2-hour slot for a more in-depth focus on particular artists or genres or movements, mixing biography, music, analysis and (as time went on) polemic. The presentation is a little duff at times, though it gets smoother later on - which means that the rants get longer! In any case, there's quite a bit of rare stuff on here, mainly jazz and free jazz.
During the show's second year, I was joined by fellow student Noa Corcoran-Tadd, who also had his own solo shows, including a very interesting soundscape project called 'Seventy Loud Years', mixing music and spoken word (political speeches, film clips, etc) in an alternative history of the twentieth century. It was a nice surprise to find genuinely experimental stuff on student radio, which too often seems to be a training ground for the mediocrity of local radio, with all its Alan Partridge-esque trite awfulness, or the equally trite environs of BBC airtime fillers. It's a far cry from 'the finest emerging minds of the new generation', blah blah - a space for radicalism and experimentation and so on - it seems that's not the way things run anymore. It's also a far cry from the college radio scene in the U.S., where covering jazz and experimental musics has been part of the schedules for years, where playing something other than the latest chart pap/pop is regarded with respect rather than with bemusement or contempt. In any case, I stuck with it, and if the quality of the spoken word segments varies, the music stays good.
Individual shows are posted in two parts, as 128kbps MP3s: they're all posted on multiply (http://fatgut.multiply.com), which seems to be the best web-host for this sort of thing (i.e. it has the largest capacity and is the easiest to navigate), though it does require (free) registration before you can listen to and download the tracks. The chronological list of shows begins below (to be continued in subsequent posts). For me, the best 2007 shows were the Alice Coltrane and Andrew Hill tributes, the John Coltrane and Archie Shepp shows, the Jazz/Classical Music survey, and the brief history of Electronic Music.
FIRST YEAR: 2007
(1) BROADCAST DATE: 1st December 2006
SHOW TITLE: Pilot Show
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A one-hour try-out broadcast; my first time on air.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Gil Evans Orchestra, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis, John Zorn, Sun Ra, Peter Brotzman
DOWNLOAD LINK: None: see explanation in description of next show
(2) BROADCAST DATE: 17th January 2007
SHOW TITLE: Alice Coltrane Tribute
SHOW DESCRIPTION: I think this is the first proper show I did (after a rather shaky pilot which I'm not going to post - despite the fact that it has a decent selection of tracks, the presentation is pretty awful!). Alice Coltrane had just died, so I decided to do a tribute programme, which included tracks from the albums 'Universal Consciousness', 'Journey in Satchidanda', 'Ptah the El Daoud', 'Lord of Lords', 'World Galaxy', & 'Cosmic Music'. The first MP3 is only half-an-hour, rather than an hour long, because I forgot to flick an on-air switch and so the programme introduction (and one track) was lost!
ARTISTS PLAYED: John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/73/One_Step_Beyond_1712007_-_Alice_Coltrane
(3) BROADCAST DATE: 31st January 2007
SHOW TITLE: Michael Brecker Tribute
SHOW DESCRIPTION: For the second show, I again paid tribute to a recently deceased musician: this time, someone else very much connected with John Coltrane (in terms of stylistic influence, if not direct contact) - saxophonist Michael Brecker. A hugely prolific recording artist, both as sideman and leader, I tried to encompass some of the range of his career: from Mel Lewis to Joni Mitchell and Funkadelic to Pat Metheny. Again, the first hour was cut short somewhat by me forgetting to press the 'on air' switch!
ARTISTS PLAYED: Brecker Brothers, Mel Lewis, Funkadelic, Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, Steps, Jaco Pastorius, Sarah Jane Cion, Michael Brecker
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/76/One_Step_Beyond_31-1-2007_-_Michael_Brecker
(4) BROADCAST DATE: 7th February 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Things from the easier side of jazz/soul.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Miles Davis, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sam and Dave, Dudu Pukwana, Hugh Masekela, Gary Bartz, Jimmy Smith, Quincy Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Amon Tobin, Roy Ayers, Bobby Hutcherson, Medeski Martin and Wood.
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/79/One_Step_Beyond_7022007
(5) BROADCAST DATE: 14th February 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This show saw a focus on extended, high-energy tracks, with some rare and beautiful interludes. The music played included the frenetic free jazz of the Cecil Taylor group, in a rare recording with tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler; the big band splash of the Gil Evans orchestra; a rarely-played track from Wayne Shorter's experimental album 'Motto Grosso Feio'; a straightahead workout by Freddie Hubbard; a moody slab of Ellingtonia from Charles Mingus; a dark and exciting piece from the David S. Ware Quartet; and, to conclude, more free jazz, this time from Ayler's work as leader rather than sideman.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Cecil Taylor, Wayne Shorter, Bennie Maupin, Alice Coltrane, Gil Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Mingus, David S. Ware, Albert Ayler
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/82/One_Step_Beyond_14022007
(6) BROADCAST DATE: 21st February 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A focus on music from the 60s and 70s in this show, leaning towards the avant-garde side of things but with plenty of room for the blues (in a rare Jimi Hendrix recording and a track from vocalist Leon Thomas) and some elegant-stripped down jazz, as Mal Waldron and Steve Lacy play Billy Strayhorn. Elsewhere, the Beatles’ only ever instrumental track, a bitesize chunk of Miles Davis’ Bitches’ Brew Sessions, some mighty thunder from Larry Young’s White House-levitating Love Cry Want, and, to end it all, a sizeable chunk of Keith Jarrett’s legendary ‘Koln Concert.’ (Incidentally, you'll have to wait about 3 minutes for the 1st track - I was late into the studio!)
ARTISTS PLAYED: Music Inc., Mal Waldron/Steve Lacy, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society, Brotherhood of Breath, Art Ensemble of Chicago (with Fontella Bass), The Beatles, Herbie Mann, Leon Thomas, Jimi Hendrix, Larry Young, Keith Jarrett
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/85/One_Step_Beyond_21022007
(7) BROADCAST DATE: 28th February 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc (incl. Leroy Jenkins Tribute)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Leroy Jenkins died of lung cancer the weekend before this programme went out, and the show opens with a brief tribute. Elsewhere, a mixture of different things, including a couple of tracks from David Murray, as well as different versions of the standard ‘My Foolish Heart’, from the Bill Evans trio and from John McLaughlin on solo guitar (in a performance that shows his debt to jazz guitarists like Tal Farlow, a side of him you don’t see too much of). Also, Wayne Shorter’s brilliant quartet, live at the Barbican Hall, and something from the world’s best-known jazz bag-pipe player!
ARTISTS PLAYED: The Revolutionary Ensemble, David Murray, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Aphex Twin, Rufus Harley, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter Quartet
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/88/One_Step_Beyond_28023007
(8) BROADCAST DATE: 7th March 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc
SHOW DESCRIPTION: From what I can remember, this one had tracks from: the Mingus’ Big Band’s Latin take on Mingus’ compositions, ‘Que Viva Mingus!’, Danilo Perez’ album ‘Motherland’, a musical portrait of his native Panama, some solo violin and viola tracks from Leroy Jenkins, ‘Anthem of the Trinity’ from Terry Riley’s overdubbed solo keyboard album ‘Shri Camel’, part of Gavin Bryars’ ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’, a live 1980s track from Art Pepper, something from a Jean-Luc Ponty plays Zappa album, and a live Seamus Blake track. Shame I can’t find the MP3 of the show.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Mingus Big Band, Danilo Perez, Leroy Jenkins, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars, Herbie Hancock, Art Pepper, Jean-Luc Ponty, Eric Dolphy, Seamus Blake, Keith Tippett
DOWNLOAD LINK: None: this one seems to have got lost in the archives.
(9) BROADCAST DATE: 25th April 2007
SHOW TITLE: Andrew Hill Tribute
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This show was a 2 hour tribute to pianist Andrew Hill, who had died just 5 days before. Music played is from the albums 'Point of Departure', 'Black Fire', 'Andrew!!', 'Compulsion!!!', 'Lift Every Voice', 'But Not Farewell' and 'A Beautiful Day.'
ARTISTS PLAYED: Andrew Hill
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/117/One_Step_Beyond_25-4-2007_-_Andrew_Hill
(10) BROADCAST DATE: 2nd May 2007
SHOW TITLE: Sonny Sharrock
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two hours of guitarist Sonny Sharrock, prompting one person to call up the studio (in the midst of the Sharrock-feature 'Satan', from Byard Lancaster's 'It's Not Up to Us') and ask "what is this weird music?" I don't think he was amused. The programme covers Sharrock's career, from Herbie Mann to Don Cherry, Linda Sharrock, Last Exit and 'Ask the Ages.' "I go out on stage, and my intention is to make the first four rows bleed from their ears." Indeed.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Marzette Watts, Byard Lancaster, Pharaoh Sanders, Herbie Mann, Don Cherry, Linda Sharrock, Last Exit, Sonny Sharrock
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/120/One_Step_Beyond_02-05--2007_-_Sonny_Sharrock
(11) BROADCAST DATE: 9th May 2007
SHOW TITLE: Freedom of the City 2007
SHOW DESCRIPTION: One day at the 2007 Freedom of the City Festival, held at the Red Rose in Finsbury Park, London. Performances by the trio of Alan Wilkinson, Joe Williamson and Eddie Prevost (more in a free jazz mode); Unit (a Vietnamese-English rock group dipping their toe into free improv); and another trio - Matt Davis, Matt Milton and Bechir Saade (quiet, minimal electro-acoustic improvisation - 'the new London silence'). To fill out the programme, additional (studio) recordings by Milton and Saade.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Alan Wilkinson, Joe Williamson, Eddie Prevost, Unit, Matt Davis, Matt Milton, Bechir Saade
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/123/One_Step_Beyond_09-05-2007_-_Freedom_of_the_City_2007
(12) BROADCAST DATE: 16th May 2007
SHOW TITLE: John Coltrane (1965)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A focus on what, for me, is perhaps the most crucial year in the musical life of John Coltrane - 1965. The year Malcolm X was killed, this was also the year when Coltrane really started to move over towards the free jazz that his conservative former fans so decried; the year that saw the break-up of the 'Classic Quartet' of Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garison and Elvin Jones, giving the music a tension that ensured, paradoxically, that these were some of the richest performances they ever gave; the year that saw Coltrane collaborating with avant-garde musicians such as Pharoah Sanders, Rashied Ali and Donald Rafael Garrett; and, most notably, the year that he recorded his most controversial album, the free-jazz big-band masterpiece 'Ascension'. The first hour of the programme sees one take of 'Ascension' played in full, followed by excerpts from other 1965 recordings in the second hour ('Om' and 'Live in Seattle'), and lengthy discussions of the motivations behind, and the implications of, Coltrane's music at this time.
ARTISTS PLAYED: John Coltrane
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/126/One_Step_Beyond_16-05-2007_-_John_Coltrane_1965
(13) BROADCAST DATE: 23rd May 2007
SHOW TITLE: Albert Ayler
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Classic Ayler material including 'Spiritual Unity' (what a record) and 'Live at Greenwich Village' (listen to Don and Albert launch off after half-solemn flamenco-tinged strains of melody) with a few traces of the less-classic later work ('New Grass'), and a stonking blues track from 'Music is the Healing Force of the Universe', featuring Bobby Few on piano and Canned Heat guitarist Henry Vestine.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Albert Ayler
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/129/One_Step_Beyond_23-05-2007_-_Albert_Ayler
(14) BROADCAST DATE: June 2007
SHOW TITLE: McCoy Tyner
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two complete albums by the influential pianist most famous for playing in John Coltrane's 'Classic Quartet', made after Coltrane's death. The first is 'The Real McCoy', from 1967, released on Blue Note Records, the 2nd 'Sahara', from 1972, on Milestone Records. Also heard is a brief extract from 'Extensions' (1970, also Blue Note).
ARTISTS PLAYED: McCoy Tyner
DOWNLOAD LINK: None: somehow this show got lost in the archives.
(15) BROADCAST DATE: 7th October 2007.
SHOW TITLE: New Releases/ Tributes
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Music from recent jazz releases & re-issues, including 'River: The Joni Letters' by Herbie Hancock, 'Night of the Purple Moon' by Sun Ra, and 'The Hilversum Session' by Albert Ayler. The 2nd hour of the programme features tributes to alto saxophonist Mike Osborne and free improvising trombonist Paul Rutherford.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Albert Ayler, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Trio of Doom, Ric Collbeck (feat. Mike Osborne), Iskra 1903 (feat. Paul Rutherford)
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/1/One_Step_Beyond_1_-_7th_October_2007.
With Noa Corcoran-Tadd
(16) BROADCAST DATE: 14th October 2007
SHOW TITLE: Misc
SHOW DESCRIPTION: An eclectic selection of tracks, with some loose underlying themes guiding the listener through, as they journey from Japanese nu-jazz to 1970s space-fusion to the Kronos Quartet's encounter with world music to new releases from Evan Parker and Terence Blanchard.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Soil and ‘Pimp’ sessions, Quasimode, Sleepwalker, DJ Spooky, Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto, Don Cherry, Collin Wallcott, Kronos Quartet, Dewey Redman, Evan Parker/Matthew Shipp, Terence Blanchard
(17) BROADCAST DATE: 21st October 2007
SHOW TITLE: Archie Shepp
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A look through the career of fiery free jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp, whose music has always been poised between tradition and innovation, the old and the modern, the challenging and the accessible, and draws on a diverse range of influences and idioms, from African music to free jazz, funk, soul, and the blues.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Cecil Taylor, New York Contemporary Five, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/7/One_Step_Beyond_3_-_21st_October_2007.
(18) BROADCAST DATE: 28th October 2007
SHOW TITLE: ‘Jazz’ Guitar
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Another eclectic selection of tracks, this time centred around the idea of jazz guitar, while acknowledging the fact that it is pretty hard to define what 'jazz guitar' actually is! From the jazz-rock fusion side of things to the more blues-based approach of James Blood Ulmer to the 'post-modern' approach of Bill Frissell, what all these artists share is a sense of adventure and innovation, and a refusal to be boxed in by generic conventions.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Jimi Hendrix/Larry Young, Tony Williams’ Lifetime, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Carlos Santana/John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius, Music Revelation Ensemble, James Blood Ulmer, Jeff Beck/ Jan Hammer Group, John Zorn & Naked City, Cuong Vu
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/10/One_Step_Beyond_4_-_28th_October_2007.
(19) BROADCAST DATE: 4th November 2007
SHOW TITLE: Jazz/Classical Music (Part 1)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The first of two programmes looking at attempts, from musicians and composers working in both genres, to fuse jazz and classical music. Today's show features works by classical composers who incorporated jazz elements into their music: Milhaud, Gerswhin, Antheil, Stravinsky, and Leonard Bernstein. And we finish with pieces by jazz composers: Duke Ellington, and the 'Third Stream' compositions of John Lewis and Charles Mingus.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Jacques Loussier Trio, Darius Milhaud, George Gershwin, George Antheil, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, John Lewis/MJQ, Charles Mingus
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/13/One_Step_Beyond_5_-_4th_November_2007.
(20) BROADCAST DATE: 11th November 2007
SHOW TITLE: Jazz/Classical Music (Part 2)
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Following last week's look at classical composers' attempts to incorporate jazz elements into their works, and similar experiments from the jazz side with the 1950s 'Third Stream' movement, this show will focus on encounters between the two genres in a more avant-garde context in the second half of the 20th century. Artists include AMM, Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Krzystof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Jimmy Giuffre, AMM, Anthony Braxton
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/19/One_Step_Beyond_6_-_11th_November_2007
(21) BROADCAST DATE: 18th November 2007
SHOW TITLE: Electronic Music: From Stockhausen to Squarepusher
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A look at electronic music, from the early experiments of avant-garde classical composers, to 1960s, 70s, and 80s rock, pop, and ambient, and finally the 'I.D.M' of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Lots of fascinating oddities and some pretty compelling stuff along the way.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Clara Rockmore, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Schaffer, Edgard Varese, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Louis and Bebe Barron, Raymond Scott, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Kraftwerk, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/22/One_Step_Beyond_7_-_18th_November_2007.
The following two shows were presented solo by Noa Corcoran-Tadd
(22) BROADCAST DATE: 25th November 2007
SHOW TITLE: Fragmentation: Jazz in the ‘90s
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A consideration of the musical area in between the emerging canons of the 70s and 80s and the releases of today. Rather than attempting to establish a new canon, this week's programme considers the multiplicity of ways in which 'jazz' ideas have been approached.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Steve Coleman, Clusone 3, Masada, Uri Caine, Cassandra Wilson, Carla Bley, Squarepusher, Wayne Shorter/Herbie Hancock, St Germain, Ornette Coleman, Django Bates, Dave Douglas
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/25/One_Step_Beyond_8_-_25th_November_2007
(23) BROADCAST DATE: 2nd December 2007
SHOW TITLE: Solo
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two hours devoted to soloists of differing persuasions – from the concentrated live improvisations of Evan Parker and Keith Jarrett to the complex compositions of Luciano Berio and Charles Dodge. Plus some leavening from bassists Pastorius and Weber and others.
ARTISTS PLAYED: Anthony Braxton, Jaco Pastorius, Charles Ives, Evan Parker, Cecil Taylor, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charles Dodge, Eberhard Weber, Steve Reich
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://fatgut.multiply.com/music/item/30/One_Step_Beyond_9_-_2nd_December_2007
Friday, 10 July 2009
Richard Long ‘Heaven & Earth’
Tate Britain, 3 June – 6 September 2009
Upon entering the exhibition space, one faces a massive, pristine, white-painted gallery wall, smeared with swirls of what turns out to be clay. It’s like a Pollock splash-painting but with patterns which are easier to follow, employing more obviously regular, recurring forms, though spread over such a space that there is a sense of teeming excess similar to Pollock. Entitled ‘From Beginning to End’, this is actually one of Long’s more ‘traditional works’, in that it was created specifically for a gallery space. As is well known, he’s an artist best known for ‘land art’, in which he takes long treks through rugged and mostly deserted terrain, re-arranging rocks and leaves, sticks and stones, into structures and patterns, taking all his material from what is to hand, knowing that it will be taken back again, that the art-works will collapse back into the landscape. Sometimes, the walks themselves constitute the ‘art-work,’ recorded through maps and photographs: Long describes his art as “the essence of my experience, not a representation of it.”
Which must have made curating the exhibition an odd business: Long’s interest in ephemerality goes against the very function of a museum or gallery: to preserve, to keep in a fixed, unchanging state (‘no touching’, ‘keep your distance’). Many of the rooms therefore feature Long’s textual records of his experiences, printed on the walls, in large bold font. For instance: “the mountainside in torrents/ summit shrine in cloud.” All that remains of pieces like this, then, is an idea, a trace – indeed, a ‘representation’ or record, exactly that which Long claims to be avoiding. Perhaps he would claim that these records – the photographs, the maps, the words – are not the actual art-works themselves, and, in that case, one might wonder at the fact that they take up half the exhibition space. On the other hand, it’s hard to see what else one could do to preserve a work of this perishable nature, and a trace is better than nothing at all.
There are some gallery-specific works as well, I hasten to add: the aforementioned ‘From Beginning to End’, and a few more large-scale pieces, taking up whole walls and building up patterns of mud and clay over dark painted backgrounds. The two pieces which give the exhibition its title face each other on opposite walls: based around characters from the ancient Chinese ‘I Ching’ (Book of Changes) which are suspended between writing and pictorial depiction, they are made from River Avon mud, thus constituting an attempt to fuse the local with other localities – to find cross-national similarities between natural phenomena and (perhaps less so) human reaction to them.
Such ideas are fascinating, but there’s something a little uncomfortable about the way in which the work is forced to change by being forced indoors. Long himself is on the defensive, claiming that he wishes to restore the experience of tactility, of physical experience, which is lost in those ‘works’ which are only preserved through photographs and words – an attempt, perhaps, to move away from contexts which are necessarily focussed solely on the individual and their experience. The problem is that the works lose their transience: it’s a completely different thing to come across Long’s patterned arrangements of stone when they have to be treated with respectful distance, and it seems somewhat odd to stress tactility when one isn’t actually allowed to touch the works.
I suppose that’s not really Long’s fault: after all, his major work hasn’t been gallery-based (though the fact that he’s regarded as an important artist is precisely because of the non-ephemeral records of his work: photographs, texts, gallery retrospectives). Richard Cork wrote in 1981 that “Long cuts himself off from all avoidable contact with other people – and from the urban centres where they congregate – so that he can regain at least a semblance of the relationship man used to have with the earth.” In a sense this is a radical nostalgia, but in another sense Long remains merely an adventurous hiker, perhaps one with greater stamina and will-power than most, but a hiker nonetheless.
The hermeticism is potentially interesting, but Cork’s idealised conception of the artist actually distorts the much-trumpeted ‘relationship with the earth.’ OK, the shaman who, as Theodore Roszak suggests, may have been the original artist (prophet, poet, musician, leader), was in some way ‘apart’ from the rest of the community: an ordained figure, entering into higher communication with spiritual forces denied to the ‘layman’ – but at the same time his prophecies and trances related to the community. I’m not suggesting that the artist should be our social prophet – I’m not sure that art (always? ever?) has that power– but Long’s isolation does seem to me a historical distortion.
This is not merely because he has had the ‘primitive’, return-to-origins tag forced upon him. On the contrary, he employs it in his own writings: “human mark-making with what is to hand”; “instinctive spontaneous primitive mark-making.” In this kind of discourse he also suggests an accidental nature to his work, access to something that manifests itself without having been consciously formulated or planned. One might view his re-arrangements of natural objects as improvisatory art-works, whose making is of the same transience as the ‘finished’ piece – which is never finished, because it will be eroded or blown away or snow-covered, eventually destroyed, indistinguishable from the landscape out of which it was temporarily made to stand out as some kind of marker.
Yet this is essentially a mystification of human impulses as something we can, if not understand, at least access on some pre-social level. Even if we do believe that such impulses lay behind the earliest forms of art – which may have been arrangements of natural objects just like Long’s – to believe that a twentieth-century man can tap into the same kind of relation is to ignore the entire history of socio-historical development since. We may soon be forced into a new kind of relation with the earth, driven to abandon our life-style dependence on the large-scale exploitation of natural resources by danger of global catastrophe, but it will not be one where we are simply free to wander the “road less-travelled” and take photographs of our exploits to hang in pristine galleries. In that sense, fascinating though this exhibition is, Long’s entire aesthetic appears suspect.
(The first half of this review was originally published in the arts supplement of 'The Cambridge Student', May Week Edition)
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Starring: Jason Patric, Thandie Newton
Music: Stephen Endelman
Director: John Duigan
Screenplay: John Ehle
Director of Photography: Slawomir Idziak
I’d never heard of this before it came up on TV last night: a very fine, understated historical drama, based on a novel by John Ehle, who adapted his book for the film’s screenplay. The journey referenced in the title is that undertaken by Jason Patric’s character, August King: a widowed homesteader in 19th-century North Carolina, he’s coming back from market having bought a cow, a pig and a couple of geese with the profits of a year’s work. On the way, he ends up aiding the escape of runaway slave Annalees (Thandie Newton, here following up her performance, also as a slave, in the same director’s ‘Jefferson in Paris’), and in the process loses his newly-acquired animals and his home (it’s burnt down in retribution).
In large part due to the contribution of cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, perhaps best known for his work with Krzysztof Kieslowski (this was his first American feature), it’s beautiful to look at; scenes often open with lingering shots of natural details (a butterfly, a leaf, a ray of sun through the trees), and, as the film progresses, there’s a dark tint at the edges of the screen and a progressive lightening in the centre which gives an almost storybook, fairytale quality to the images.
Yet this isn’t a film aiming for a fairytale quality: careful attention is paid to verisimilitude in costumes, dialogue, and narrative action. There are no manufactured moments of drama, overwrought confrontations and raised voices, but, rather, successions of small incidents (usually, the risk of being discovered by other people on the trail), the gradual development of narrative dilemmas, considerations both practical and moral – all of a piece with the careful attention paid to the complexities of character, of human behaviour. This puts a lot of focus on the actors – if they do not succeed in fully inhabiting their roles, in retaining interest and being more than just masks, facades, while at the same time not over-acting, over-emoting, then such a slow-paced film, filled with spaces and silences and dialogue which – as in life – verges on the inane, could become simply empty, going through the motions, the semblance of profundity, without the necessary substance behind that surface (for Roger Ebert, this was a trap not successfully negotiated: “The pacing, which is meant to be thoughtful, is lethargic. The silences grow longer than the moods they are intended to establish.”)
Credit, then, to the leading players: in particular, Jason Patric, whose expressions create August King as someone surprised by his generosity, sorrowing at his wife’s death (as we learn towards the end of the film, she committed suicide after the death of their baby), something of a loner, hard-working and quietly determined – someone, who, as he repeatedly states, has never broken the law in his life, and can’t quite understand (or, perhaps, can’t face the full implications of) why he’s doing so now. Roger Ebert argues that August is made too good, but to me it seems like a much more reluctant heroism, or maybe something that just arises from his pragmatic approach: the woman has entered his camp, is in need of help, so he gives it, and it wouldn’t do to abandon her on the route. Once one’s started, one might as well go on – almost a kind of fatalism, or, more likely, an understated self-sacrifice: a realisation of consequences, but a refusal to let these outweigh ‘doing the right thing’.
But this isn’t just ‘one man’s journey’, though it could easily have become so: Annalees could have become simply a cipher, the pivot around which the narrative turns and the motivating force for much of the action, but not necessarily an individuated figure, someone whose sufferings, though undeniable, risk becoming generalized into the sufferings of a people, a race, and thus losing their personal force (whereas King’s can seem a more singular sorrow – the loss of a wife not emblematic of an entire system of injustice). That she is more than this can be partially credited to the nicely-judged dialogue she is given by Ehle, but Thandie Newton’s performance catches just the right pitch too: at 17, her character is toughened by a life of hard service, but she also maintains a certain girlishness, a playfulness which pokes through despite her hardships (as when she comments on the oddness of naming people after the months of the year).
And then one must take into account the relations between the two leads: the lack of romance, which Roger Ebert felt weighted against the film, seems to me one of its main strengths. This makes it harder to talk about ‘chemistry’ – a word invariably dug out when a man and a woman play opposite each other in a film, and something which Patric and Newton could easily have played up. There may nonetheless be something of a sexual dimension to the relationship; August’s attraction to Annalees is shown pretty clearly in the scene where he rubs ointment into a scratch on her back. In a lesser film, this would have turned into a sexual encounter; when I say ‘lesser’, this isn’t merely moral prurience, but practical – with no birth control, it would hardly do for the 17-year old Annalees to have to trek north, heavily pregnant, and then to have to look after a baby to compound her hardships. In such a world, ‘romance’ is something of a dud concept (there’s no leisure for fancy speculations), and even ‘love’, still figured as something inexplicable and mysterious, is brought down to something of a pragmatic level: in a campfire scene, Annalees asks August what love is, and his reply – that he heard a preacher say that it was the overflowing of need for another – could be read on several levels (as well as deferring it from personal experience to theoretical speculation, in a way that suggest, not so much that ‘love’ doesn’t exist, but that it might make more sense to live ‘love’ as it emerges in life, rather than to organize one’s life around vague and possibly spurious concepts). In terms of August himself, the reported explanation has a very real application to his own loneliness; his relation with Annalees is much more about companionship than sexual spark, about mutual comfort – he comforts her by actually treating her as a human being and helping her escape, she comforts him by her vivaciousness and by such gestures of kindness as telling him that God probably caught his wife when she feel from the ledge. Newton’s delivery of this line presents it not as emerging from a naïve religious hope; she says it to offer comfort, rather than because she believes it herself, nor does she think that August will believe it either. This could come across as condescending, or foolish, but in this instance it seems like a carefully-weighted (yet spontaneously generous) judgment in human interaction, a realization that she may have probed too far into feelings that hurt (by asking what became of his wife), and an attempt to salve that wound. Such interaction is typical of the film’s portrayal of its leads’ relationship, refusing to settle for ‘romance’ and instead going for the whole complex of emotions that appear in life, if not in the movies. Perhaps for this reason – because ‘August King’ doesn’t go for the sort of solutions we expect from films and their artificially-ordered lives and narratives – it often feels more like a well-crafted short novel, a story, even as it uses cinema’s advantages, particularly (as we shall see) in photographic terms, in the quality of its images.
If Patric and Newton are exemplary in their roles, Larry King, too, deserves praise for playing Olaf, the slave-owner, as someone who does things which most would describe as ‘evil’, but who is not a stereotypical snarling or smiling racist – in contrast to his underlings, who in one scene are overheard debating whether black people have souls (probably not, is the conclusion), he responds quite angrily to August’s faked naivety about African-Americans – “they’re people just like us,” who eat the same things that we do – and is particularly vehement that Annalees “ain’t a thief.” He’s almost as confused as August is, though he chooses to remain on the wrong side of that confusion, rather than working through it as August does, and often comes across as a hurt child lashing out, in a mixture of sorrow, longing, and anger, at the loss of his prize possession (to whom he also has blood ties – she’s his daughter). It’s a beautifully-judged mixture of brutal action and child-like confusion – when August encounters him camping at night, he’s banging on a metal pan like a kid with a toy drum, in the vain hope that Annalees will hear the sound and come running back to him, but he’s also capable of extreme violence, slicing a man in half with a meat cleaver in the film’s most explicit scene. This is perhaps best summed up in the scene where he catches up with August at his house; demanding to know where his slave is, he seems genuinely hurt that the man should have helped her escape, responding first through lashing out, knocking him to the ground, and then by the colder, more pre-meditated (and legally-sanctioned) revenge form of destruction of property, watching as the house burns down.
The lawman and his family, King’s fellow homesteaders, present in this scene, are similarly, not ‘evil’, even though they accept (or try to ignore) the inhuman system of slavery going on in their midst: ‘decent’ and ‘hard-working’, they’d probably have been well-intentioned liberals a century later, but have a block against breaking the established order: that of the home, the (white) community, the law.
And the aforementioned cinematography, the beauty of the film’s visuals, helps to underline this appeal – to law, order, custom, the local, the settled – for, at times, it seems as if the film yearns for this simpler time, of small log cabins and a few livestock in a green land where eagles fly and call in the sky, where showers leave a moist freshness in the air and on the ground: for the pioneer spirit before settlement solidified into technology and massiveness, when just the fingertip of civilization touched the land, barely disturbing it – a harmony with nature, something closer to a natural state, as in the little interlude where Patric and Newton let out long whoops of delight as they refresh themselves under a waterfall. This sort of thing might seem antithetical to rules and regulations, but it’s precisely because of legal codes that potentially dangerous wildness can be balanced with a feeling of being settled, of being at home; thus, Stephen Endelman’s rhapsodic bursts of vaguely Copland-esque strings, played over particularly panoramic shots, are more folky than ‘sublime’, and the trek through the forest would be nothing if it did not have a solid, permanent home as its ultimate goal.
The community which manifests these impulses, which we catch in glimpses along the route, as August encounters various neighbours, and which we see in its gathered, collective form as he enters the last stage of his journey, is not shown as inherently evil – indeed, it seems that the film-makers rather like the idea of this ‘simple life’– but it is shown to have a dark side (literally and metaphorically), which it tolerates by turning a blind eye, inherently naturalizing something which would instinctively repulse it by pretending that it is just part of the way things are, and is thus not worthy of too much attention. That dark side is, of course, slavery, and it’s significant that this practice is shown in its harshest colours precisely when it locates itself at the heart of the community, at the festive gathering through which August travels. Having finally caught the male slave who escaped with Annalees, Olaf strings him up upside down on a three-part wooden frame, in between two pigs (an echo of Jesus’ crucifixion between the thieves, presumably), and slices him in half with a meat cleaver when he refuses to divulge the location of his fellow escapee. That this is a background event to the briefly-glimpsed Punch and Judy show at which the children gleefully laugh indicates how easy it is to ‘naturalize’ (or to simply ignore) extreme brutality, and how the brutality of slave-treatment is displaced into the brutality of the puppet-show: ‘civilization’, for all its claims to oppose wildness and brutality, to harness nature into a harmonious working relationship with man, enshrines exactly that brutality in its law codes and in its entertainments. A distinctly pessimistic suggestion, this balances out the more sentimentalized/ idealistic elements of the film: thus, even given the pride which August claims to feel as a justified individual in the penultimate, house-burning scene – he can ‘stand tall’, despite the loss of much of his livelihood, and enjoy moral, if not fiscal, contentment – the community of which he is a part is ingrained with the prejudices to which he has run counter (to his surprise as much as anyone else’s, it must be remembered). Similarly, the Punch-and-Judy show and its juxtaposition with the execution/murder appears as a counter-example to the innocent children (all of a part with the ‘young land’/ new-generation pioneer elements) from an earlier incident in the film, where August bribes two little boys not to tell their parents that he’s hiding Annalees in his cart; they respond by telling him they don’t need to be bribed, in contrast to the intolerance of their parents.
It’s worth noting, too, the presentation of the simple settlements and homesteads as the result of hard work, of this simpler life as a tough way to survive. In losing everything, August doesn’t go through the overblown tragic rigmarole of so many films which depict their hero’s descent into hard times; rather, slaughtering one cow, losing one pig in a torrent, losing two geese in the forest – all these are big sacrifices, however matter-of-fact August is in the face of these hardships. Similarly, despite the occasional, rather jarring and overtly ‘weighty’/symbolic shots of an eagle soaring in the sky, what hope there is at the film’s end – August’s moral, if not physical, ‘salvation’, Annalees’ achieved escape – is not allowed to overwhelm the realities of the situation. Thus, the film’s final scene (over which the credits role), depicts Annalees walking along the trail to the North, to her new life, overlaid with a quiet female vocal on the soundtrack, gently yodeling: no blaring, triumphant orchestra, no over-stated ‘hopeful’ melodicism, just one voice and one person, moving out of shot, as if singing to themselves, uncertain of what might lie ahead (more hardship, despite nominal ‘freedom’, for sure – think Lars Von Triers’ ‘Manderlay’ for what happens after one is freed).
Moments such as these, embodying as they do the balance between optimism and pessimism, criticism and something approaching myth-making, a consideration of realities and a desire to overcome these in a spirit of ‘goodness’ and ‘love’, are what distinguish ‘The Journey of August King’, what render it more than what it could so easily have been: a project ‘worthy’ in intentions but not in execution. It rings just right in keeping within the specifics of its situation, realizing that it’s by being true to historical specifics (even if the actual story is fictional) and to human actions and motivations, rather than by ambitious over-reaching, that genuine scope can be accomplished. Indeed, I find myself surprisingly close to James Berardinelli’s apparently overstated position: “The Journey of August King is as close to a flawless motion picture as is likely to be produced by the film industry (independent or mainstream).”
James Berardinelli http://www.reelviews.net/movies/j/journey.html
Roger Ebert http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19960322/REVIEWS/603220305/1023