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Marcos Fernandes - "Hybrid Vigor"

Fernandes is a percussionist who works with Japanese rhythms within very electronic but jazz-based structures. His overly self-conscious liner notes are a potential warning sign to a painfully contrived attempt at fusion, but fortunately the music is far from clichéd or pedantic. Hybrid Vigor is a series of highly percussive compositions with a good dose of taped sources and heavily electronicised instruments. It sounds like much of the music was recorded live, then processed heavily, but regardless of the method, Fernandes has achieved good togetherness amongst the players. The pieces often develop slowly, but manage to keep the listener interested. Even the pieces composed entirely of taped sources are excellent; they sound like the most compelling collaged street scenes you'll never witness. While so many taped sources are used as a cheap excuse for "ambience," these tape pieces had me straining to hear what was going on in the background - the very opposite of ambience. Fernandes and company's playing is pretty good, but not spectacular, however, this disc isn't really about individual showcases; it's a true fusion of acoustic, electric, electronic and ethnic.

     - David Dacks, Exclaim! Canada

Even without reading the liner notes, upon hearing Hybrid Vigor, you get the feeling that percussionist/improviser Marcos Fernandes's roots are all-encompassing. As a Catholic amongst a Buddhist majority brought up by Portuguese/japanese parents in the Orient, his musical and spiritual influences have been diverse. transplanting himself to San Diego has provided further influences - mostly electronic timbres and sampled sounds.As such, his latest albumbecomes a junction between a worldly artist and the anti-ethnocentric listener. Experimental drum patterns and hand claps fade in and out as static, feedback and found sounds fill a vacuous void on "Science Boy." Similarly, the ambient (and politically) inclined"Undercurrents" pairs free jazz and sparse drums with news bites on "Taliban strongholds" and "terrorist operations." Hybrid Vigor beats CNN, hands down.

     - Vincent Ziffle, XLR8R

Hybrid Vigour comes from Fernandes Portugese/Japanese background, his Catholicism in a Buddhist land, and from the artists in the Accretions and Trummerflora family. On the eight tracks here he has combined his percussion, production and compositional skills to create an amazing and strong album. It opens with 'Port of call' a tape piece (he has had works on all the collections, we reviewed the first) combining crowds and various musical forms with ceremonies. 'Science boy' initially foregrounds the percussion - a complex handdrum syncopation from 3 players that modulates slightly throughout. Over this is the 'science' - squiggles and synths, blurts, feedbacky guitar and other electronica from Donkey provides an unstable but captivating surface that shimmers into an electronica fade.

A big-group improv follows: 'Undercurrents' includes trombone, guitar, percussion, sampler, bass and sax - from a radio tape layered opening through an electronica battle the instruments emerge blurting sax, bass runs and drums, settling into a strong spacious improv that remains focussed. A change of mood with the meditation of 'Convergence' - prayer bells, tings, a deep throb and wood block percussions as Fernandes percussion and Ellis on skittering bass are joined by some shakuhachi from Philip Gelb which plays both straight and with some interesting light effects. Then back to a group improv in 'Bullets for battles' which starts in an unstructured combination of shaker percussion, flute, piano chords, animal calls and talking into a late night jazz and sax with the tapes and then a little wilder piano/sax, all moody and sort of nightmarish - a dark soundtrack.

Twisting the mood again, another ensemble percussion work 'Manifested/manifesting' where shakers, wood blocks, bamboo start tentatively and build through shimmering waves of flowing sound. And into 'The orange line' where the group is joined by Michael Dessen on trombone that adds blows and tones to a slowly building delicate opening, then a bass and drum solo before a groovy guitar and then melodic trombone join in, speeds up with more solos to a big end. A wooshy wavering tape piece 'Scintillation ("Don't sing aloha when I go")' with layered voices and birds mirrors the opening, then segues into a ukulele solo over nature sounds - this is Chris Fernandes, presumably the uncle the album is dedicated to. And forms a sensitive ending to a fabulous album - probably the most impressive showcase of the varied talents of the collective and of Fernandes compositional and creative skills.

     - Jeremy Keens, Ampersand, etc.

"This is inspired and carefully arranged chaos. It's a tea party in a hurricane. It mirrors MF's cross-cultural hybridized life. He grew up in a Portuguese/Japanese family. Raised Catholic in a Buddhist country. There is no stopping his material, it washes over you like a tidal wave of perceptions, splinters of influence, slivers of samples. He reminds me on this disc vaguely of Todd Rundgren, another maximalist, especially on his drug-induced/inspired journey "A Wizard A True Star" or on Vandergraaf Generator tossed into a busy street."

     - Bart Platenga, Wreck This Mess

The eclectic percussionist and visionary merger of genres Marcos Fernandes has again put together an album crossbred with unusual aural effects and stimulating music. The opening cut finds Fernandes playing snippets of taped material that appear to be taken from an Oriental market place. That sets the tone for the ensuing instrumental selections where the vibrant pulse is quickly established by a trio of percussionists, including Nathan Hubbard and Kristy Cheadle, who together with Fernandes sustain the colorful images of a drum-based society. On each song, Fernandes teams with different musicians, although several make more than one appearance in this mix and match approach. The overlaying of radio broadcast speech competes for attention with musicians who express themselves in liberated fashion, and electronic boxes bend and twist the sound to shape the music further into a strange and fascinating vehicle for hypnotism.

Many of the musicians who performed with Fernandes and his Trummerflora collective on No Stars Please (see OFN, Winter 2002) make an appearance, including flutist and saxophonist Jason Robinson, who introduces an electrified reed sound into the equation while the heartbeat rhythms continue to throb in blood pumping fashion. Serenity descends when bassist Lisle Ellis and shakuhachi player Philip Gelb join Fernandes on a Southeast Asian-flavored tune. One can envision mist rising from the jungle floor as the illusionary music casts its spell. Pianist Hans Fjellestad and flautist Marcelo Radulovich reunite with Fernandes on a few selections where larger ensemble sound and sampled material continue the parade of unusual yet engrossing songs. Radulovich on bamboo flute maintains the Eastern mystique, while the percussive beat of the land dominates.

"The Orange Line," the longest selection, includes the intricate bass playing of Joscha Oetz, who crafts lengthy spiritual lines with his bow, while tapes and samplings remain a subdued part of the text. The tune eventually breaks out into a pulsating percussion dance with Western jazz influences spurred by trombonist Michael Dessen. The album closes with a percussion/ukulele duet with Chris Fernandes. The recording is an attempt by Marcos Fernandes to paint a portrait of his Portuguese/Japanese heritage and its hybrid impact on his development. East and West meet, not in a clashing way, but in a very enjoined, compatible form. The music has rhythm throughout and respectfully pays homage to multiple cultures. It is a fine travelogue for vagabond souls.

     - Frank Rubolino, one final note

I've never heard of percussionist Marcos Fernandes, but he's apparently been busy while i wasn't paying attention -- he's appeared previously on releases in collaboration with the likes of the Trummerflora Collective, sound artist Marcelo Radulovich, trance artists Wormhole Effect, and worldbeat group Burning Bridges, among others. So he gets around, obviously, and he's not limited to any particular style. Here he appears in the context of his own compositions (with assistance from various guests), and his own words in the liner notes provide a (limited) basis for where he's coming from: "I grew up in a Portuguese/Japanese household where relatives often gathered to eat, drink, play music and dance. I was raised a Catholic in a Buddhist land...." So you know he's coming from a very different and varied musical space. The tracks here reflect that diversity: "Port of Call" sounds very much like the title suggests, with the sounds of audience chatter in various languages, ship horns baying in the distance, and music of various strains all weaved around hypnotic, minimalist percussion. "Science Boy" is a tad more traditional, with repetitive percussion gradually augmented by unusual guitar and electronic sounds in the background; "Undercurrents" pursues a similar stylistic motif, with minimalist percussion over unpredictably shifting layers of vocals, radio, electronic chittering, and other experimental sounds from guitar and saxophone. Fernandes consistently gets a nice tone from his drums, which i greatly like. More intriguing instrumental juxtapositions take place in the spacious, airy "Bullets for Ballots," with minimal piano figures and voices/exotic sounds from a sampler and tapes eventually resolve into a percussion piece accompanied by bamboo flute and wailing saxophone leads as the voices continue in the background. My favorite track may well be the lengthy and evolving world-beat/funk bit "The Orange Line," which works up to a happening groove over which trombonist Michael Dessen dominates as bassist Joscha Oetz lays down a jazzy rhythmic foundation and does battle with guitarist Scott Homan. This is a fine, complex album -- maybe my favorite on Accretions so far -- and if they keep putting out swell stuff of this caliber, they may end up giving Jester a good run for their money in the consistency of excellence department....

     - Dead Angel

Sound Art at its most elastic, with its ever-shifting cast of characters and usual sounds, Hybrid Vigor could be a piece of cinema waiting to be shot. But considering Hollywood's obsession with blow-'em-up blockbusters, this narrative of mixed improvisations put together by percussionist/tape manipulator Marcos Fernandes is probably truer to the artist's eye on CD than anything would be on film stock.

One of the founders of San Diego's Trummerflora Collective, Fernandes was born in Yokohama, Japan of Portuguese/Japanese heritage, and raised Catholic in a Buddhist country. Thus this disc includes hybrid elements of out-rock, so-called trance music, ethnic sounds and pure sonic manipulation.

Despite the addition of synthesized sounds, for instance, a couple of pieces are mostly percussion explosions, analogous to field recordings of ostensibly primitive natives working their polyrhythmic magic on sound-makers that appear to be snare drums, cymbals, kettle drums, triangles, cow bells, xylophones, steel drums, sound trees and sheets of metal. Another track is a mix-and-match compendium of ambient recordings taped in San Diego, Kona, Hawaii and Asakusa, Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. There's even an instrumental with the New Economy title of "Convergence" that, despite the name, ends up being a muted elaboration of tone-melding, featuring Lisle Ellis' bass, Philip Gelb's shakuhachi and what sounds like Fernandes working out on sticks, hand drums, basket shaker and small objects resonating on a drum head.

But the key elements in his vision appear to be those tracks with extended personnel. Built around a shifting organ continuo and a metronomic drum beat "Bullets For Ballots," highlighted male and female voices discussing in Spanish what's probably a South or Central American election, with "soldiers" one of the few words that comes through clearly. Soon the ghostly bamboo flute and constant piano vamp are succeeded by an extended screechy alto saxophone solo in counterpoint with racing piano chords and what could be described as No Wave peal point percussion.

Repetitive in an AMM or fusion-era-Miles-Davis sort of way, "Undercurrents" highlights a radio broadcast wherementions of Osama Bin Lade vie for attention with reports onpetty crimes and traffic accidents plus weather reports and season's greetings. Later, Michael Dessen's plunger trombone chorus jockeys for auditory space with Jason Robinson's squeaky alto sax, as well as facing a constant barrage of what sound like processed electronic sounds, sampled keyboard echoes, mechanized swooshes and static.

Dessen playing extended cadenzas, that neatly sidestep mainstream jazz trombone, is accounted for on "The Orange Line," at nearly 15 minutes, the CD's most lengthy number. On the same tune, guitarist Scott Homan's contribution range from mere plinks to protracted amp buzzes to a whole section of chicken-scratch rhythm guitar beats. Moving between overt jazz-like allusions, which include a walking bass solo from Joscha Oetz and a standard percussion turnaround, non-generic tones make their appearance as well. There's what appear to be calliope music, sampler swirls and an unvarying percussion cadence arising from a combination of Robert Montoya, Nathan Hubbard and Fernandes himself. Finally, the funk-influenced number ends with voices speaking Spanish. A five-minute concerto of short-wave static, surf sounds and an actuality featuring Fernandes' late uncle Chris playing a Hawaiian ditty, the final track reifies the mixtures of electronic modernism and ethnic universality that characterizes the rest of the session.

Overall, this CD is a fine achievement, and one that piques interest in the composer's future creations.

     - Ken Waxman, Jazz weekly

Marcos was born in Yokohama, Japan of Portuguese/Irish/Japanese heritage, and raised Catholic in a Buddhist country. This album explores his identity through field recordings (made in San Diego, California; Kona, Hawaii; Yokohama, Asakusa and Tokyo, Japan), and percussion while he's joined by many friends who provide, keyboards, synth, guitar, bass, sax, flute, shakuhachi, piano, radio, sampler, another trombone, ukulele and more. A shifting series of sound suites that evolve out of chaos , sound collages, drone, free jazz, electronica, soundtracks and more. Overheard or densely intense, Marcos takes up on quite an extensive sonic journey.

     - George Parsons, Dream Magazine

I grew up in a Portuguese/Japanese household where relatives often gathered to eat, drink, play music and dance. I was raised a Catholic in a Buddhist land. Hybrid Vigor offers a glimpse into my ethnic and cultural identity, and the continuing creative and spiritual experiences and insights that help shape my musical process. - Marcos Fernandes (from Hybrid Vigor CD notes)

Percussionist/Improvisor Marcos Fernandes is the driving force behind the Accretions label and a founding member of the Trummerflora collective among other projects. His latest, Hybrid Vigor, is a roller coaster ride of avant-rock and jazz, free-improv, sound collage and artfully crafted freakiness. Helping Fernandes to create this primordial sound soup are numerous Trummerflora and other artists on electronics, synths, guitars, horns, and percussion. Tapes and samples made in San Diego, California; Kona, Hawaii; and various cities in Japan are a key ingredient on a few tracks and help to create the cross cultural feel that Fernandes is attempting to communicate.

Among the highlights is "Science Boy", an intriguing blend of steady dancey ethnic percussion and freaky electronics that at times sounds like a War of the Worlds alien attack and at others recalls The Residents. "Undercurrents" is a slowly developing avant-jazz/rock tune with thudding percussion, a hypotic trance groove, a robotic brain throbbing bassline, and plenty more of the alien spacecraft freakiness that weaves it's way throughout the album. Much calmer is "Convergence", with its Eastern influences and highly thematic and image inducing quality that reminded me of many a scorching desert film scene. "Bullets For Ballots" is another track with a soundtrack feel, albeit a hallucinogenic one, with eerie mechanical keys, oddly collaged jazz with killer horn and piano runs, groovy ambient jazz bits, and samples of conversations in Spanish (or Portuguese?). And my favorite track is "The Orange Line" which includes lots of cross pollination that explores numerous rock, jazz and free-improv influences. The music transitions seamlessly from free improv chaos to killer funky spacey fusion grooves. Things get mucho acid funk rockin and totally freaked out as this 15 minute tune progresses and I want to cast my vote now for this to be the cantina scene music for the next Star Wars installment.

In summary, I sometimes wonder about Aural Innovations' schizophrenic themes that cover both space rock and psychedelia on the one hand and avant-garde jazz, free-improv and experimental music on the other. It's albums like this that remind me that these worlds comfortably collide and that there's so much in both spheres that influence and [should] appeal to each other. Hybrid Vigor will easily make my best of 2002 list.

     - Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

A quietly impressive album of ambient global-world music from improviser Marcos Fernandes, a founding member of the percussionist Trummerflora Collective. Combining edited tapes of found sounds with digital noise, percussion and slight, angular jazzy moods, Fernandes conjures up a world caught between the old and the new, the magic and the logic, the organic and the electronic. An ambitious project, and one done to death over the course of the last few decades, but Fernandes, with his humble approach and meditative ambience, somehow manages to bring something new and interesting to such a setting.

Tracks like "Science Boy" and "Bullets For Ballots" are by far the most successful on here, effectively fleshing out the album's project in both method and sound. Contrasting with those fine tracks are more tired and repetitive tracks like "Undercurrents" that offer little in the way of either musical interest or conceptual clarification. The longish "The Orange Line" may be regarded as the album's centerpiece, pulling together the various threads running through the album, but is too heavily dependent on experimental fusion jazz to actually take the album to its logical conclusion. And it is the unassuming whisper of "Scintillation" that savors the project, quietly and carefully making final and preliminary concluding sense to Fernandes' bold undertaking.

     - Stein Haukland, Ink 19

It's fair to say that, in my humble opinion, ACCRETIONS' releases tend to hit the target more often than not. And although it may not have immediate appeal, this eclectic collection from one of their leading lights most definitely falls into the former group.

Ambient street recordings seem popular these days, and the opening piece on this album - "Port Of Call" - is an average example of this - well recorded and interesting in that it has snippets of what sounds like North African street music, pompous drumming and a snatch of Irish accordian.

"Science Boy" is an ever-intriguing journey through exploratory electronics and compulsive tribal drumming. It works as a busily complex piece of Ambient rhythm - the heavy drums give the piece warmth while a delegation from all the electronic Insect planets throughout the universe hold a slanging match about 'Hive Mentality'. It's difficult not to be drawn into the hypnotic dance of bizarre spirits - an addictive trance piece which is ever eloquent in it's sonic diversity.

"Undercurrents" clears the pallate with it's amalgam of Jazz Sax, disconnected voice, echoing miasma, exploratory bass and general star pool of noise. As random and disconnected as it initially seems, the distinct sax motif leads us into a more structured saunter through twisted genius. Tight, snappy drums pull the sound together, solidifying into a gentle but determined chill rhythm.

"Convergence" takes a wander through the icy side of New Age with a sound which delves into the Native American spirit world - slow drums, long fade-in flute-like instrument and Witch Doctor bone rattles. It gently coagulates into a more solid rhythm which nevertheless takes the disquieting atmosphere along for the ride.

"Bullets For Ballots" takes a minute or so of stolen voice and disconnected instrumentation before it forms into a ponderous sequence plod which takes the occasional break into madcap jazz scurrying. It has an overall Surreal feel, and I'm sure it probably tells an intriguing story, although it ain't in English (uneducated guess - Spanish?). It works a peculiar magic on the listener - somehow sounds like something from a 21st Century-altered 1930's Speakeasy.

"Manifested / Manifesting" begins as an abstract percussion workout - if it makes a noise, hit it! Some tight drum rolls and inventive use of an extensive drum kit. Slowly it forms into a tighter, more logical rhythm, disassembles again and again, exploring every concievable nook and crabby within the limitations of it's own agenda.

"The Orange Line" continues the abstraction with an almost pained combination of trombone, bass and guitar through which the rolling percussion builds on the tension, making the entire sound as tight as a high tension wire one moment away from snapping. They seem to delve further and further into madness as the led display clocks up the minutes. When they form this mass of threads into a rhythm it is tightly delivered at slightly over a decent jogging pace. And as the tension keeps rising it becomes a burning collaboration between a more Old School Jazz style and more modern blistering electronics and novelty ideas. Deserving the longest stretch on the album - when it finally sets about creating a ripping dance groove it blows most similar music out of the water.

"Scintillation" returns to similar territory to the opening track, except here we have what I assume to be a mass of badly tuned radios babbling a babel of badly broken voices through the speakers and into the room.

Eccentric, self-indulgent, occasionally humorous, with more than a bucketful of talent in each of the thirteen people involved.

     - Antony Burgess, Metamorphic Journeyman

"Hybrid Vigor" ist ein Gang in die Stille. Ein glücklicher Versuch, urbane Klänge auf avantgardistische und im gleichen Moment eingängige Weise modern zwischen Jazz, Avant Rock und worldmusic zu vertonen. Das beginnt mit dem ersten Track "Port Of Call", der keine Musik im herkömmlichen Sinn, sondern Straßenlärm, Marktgeschehen präsentiert. Im Hintergrund spielt eine Kapelle fahren Autos vorbei, schellen Fahrradklingeln, dudelt ein Radio; im Vordergrund brodelt ein vielfältiges Stimmengewirr. Auf die Dauer von fast 5 Minuten ein wohliger Schauer angenehmer Entspannung. Mit dem zweiten Stück "Science Boy" beginnt die "richtige" Musik. Marcos Fernandes spielt Percussions, zu denen Electronics wie verrückt geworden kratzen und blubbern. Der manisch gleichförmige Rhythmus bietet den flirrenden, surrenden Syntheziser- und Electronic-Klängen eine merkwürdig urbane Stimmung. Als würden Free Jazzer mit afrikanischen Buschmännern jammen. Eine sehr gelungene Komposition. Das anschließende "Undercurrents" bringt Avant Rock, Jazz und Electronics in ein ambientes Gefüge. Der lyrische Song beginnt sehr verhalten, steigert sich auf festem Beat und verhallt mit langer Saxophon-Improvisation. "Convergence" und "Bullets For Ballots" sind melancholische Stücke; Stimmen, Electronics, Flöten und folkloristische Instrumente auf zurückgezogenem, kühlem Rhythmus episch verflochten. "Manifested" ist eine Percussion-Improvisation auf vielfältigem Instrumentarium. Rhythmus von außergewöhnlich melodischem Gehalt und großer Virtuosität. Das fast 15minütige "The Orange Line" wälzt sich wie Lava heran. Gefährlich, unberechenbar und von einer Wildheit, die eine grandiose Spannung aufbaut. Wie Posaune und elektrische Gitarre ein quasi atonales Duett austragen, ist beeindruckend! Hier entfaltet sich wieder Avant Rock, der schon fast wie Fred Frith mit Massacre klingt. Von Stille keine Spur; erotisch treibender Rhythmus jagt den erhitzten Bass, die plärrige Gitarre und die Electronics, worauf die Posaune einen frechen Tanz ausübt. Der Song steigert sich in eine rasante und willkommene Wildheit, die einfach nur schön ist. Das Noise-Stück "Scintillation" beendet das Album. Radio-Stimmen, Rauschen, Knarzen, verhallte Flöte, Electronics - da fliegen Töne durcheinander, die wie im ersten Track auf sehr lärmige Art Stille vertonen. Marcos Fernandes, der Trummerflora gegründet und mit etlichen Musikern (unter anderm Mike Keneally, Marcelo Radulovich und Scott Fields) gearbeitet hat, ist die Liebeserklärung an die Musik gelungen. Dieses aussergewöhnliche Album ist ein experimentelles, improvisatives Hybrid, ein Meilenstein moderner Musik. Wurzeln und Zukunft in einem. Ein Muss.

     - Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi Music

Marcos Fernandes offers an insight into the atmospheres of this CD in his own words in the booklet:

I grew up in a Portuguese/Japanese household where relatives often gathered to eat, drink, play music and dance. I was raised a Catholic in a Buddhist land. Hybrid Vigor offers a glimpse into my ethnic and cultural identity, and the continuing creative and spiritual experiences and insights that help shape my musical process.

We're waking up into a crowded towns'- or village area, where a lot of commotion is going on. People are talking, lively percussion and wind music is heard from some distance behind the crowd, children call out, vehicles drive past╔ as the music gets more somber, and a graver rhythm is sensed, for a while. It's a soundscape composition, obviously made up of different sections of so-called reality, and inserted into each other in layers, softly merging with one another, adding big drums and hand claps, all sort of in the distance. I'm sure there are codes to be found in here, which I can't discern, from the cultural-musical antecedents of the composer.

The second track reminds me of some drum pieces I've heard from the Indian subcontinent: a soft skin drum providing a rhythmic pattern of brownish hue, nothing threatening, just rolling along - but on this steady foundation little gestures of electronic origin are dancing a squeaky trail of light, pointing charged fingers that are giving off sparks and electric discharges in a show of hattifattener energy, from the cosmos through the cosmos to the cosmos╔ and in these signals spanning the area from music to noise to music into musical noise and noisy music some bowing and bending of the audio specks render them morphological, lingual appearances, swirling about in your language detection center as little whirlwinds of the residue of forlorn sentences╔

We're passing without a break into track 3 which combines some real (or unreal?) human lingual garlands out of political or meteorological remnants off of the local FM stations in a sound-poetic and textsound compositional way with the emerging jazzy gestures out of the ensemble - and the creative flux of electronic treatment is omnipresent throughout, but applied with a gentle touch of artistry, never overdoing its boundless craft of change and manipulation, but utilized in a precise, withheld manner which heightens the enjoyment of listening immensely. Tickling spurs of electronics in a pre-echo, cut-up spray inside the left ear allows for the saxophone gold mid-head, as a speeding line of visions move down a lit tunnel at right, until a steady electric bass takes charge and adds thorough force and direction, straight ahead! This pied piper gathers the townsfolk for an attack on boredom downtown, no doubt!

Track 4 opens in a meditation of the East, mist and shrouded mountaintops and all╔ and the shakuhachi, bass and percussion paint an introspective picture of sounds, masterly, slowly, carefully╔ Sparse metallic percussive attacks are given the time to ring out fully into silence, or into the general web of sounds, as the atmosphere very gradually is densified, diversified, though never leaving the Japanese mist of nose tip hypnosis and the dew of grass on your feet; hot tea somewhere in a bamboo environment╔

Track 5 commences in a rattlesnake rattle of percussion, envisioning Western U.S. stretches of land; North American Indian country - but perhaps the intention was a South or Middle American one, which the language might indicate, but I'll just let my vision roll along╔ in its Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California atmosphere of Indian medicine man mystique and hot Latin jazz expressions of good medicine, mescaline and sweat cures in tepees╔ as the voices swirl about my sense of being in a dream of uninterpreted humanity, reminding me of some Robert Ashley compositions, like Yellow Man With Heart With Wings, circling itself in the magnificence of existence╔

A cough begins track 6, which then spreads out a tapestry of diverse, careful percussion of wooden origin before you - at first - in a John Cage manner of lighthearted humor and generosity of spirit. This is music for the insects moving about under the dried up leaves - until more dense and forceful incidents appear, like pebbles and boulders on an old king's grave; a mound of percussion inside the composition╔ and the metal parts of the ensemble join, immediately opening up a much wider scope of geography and geology to the listener - and percussion has a lot in common with geology, spiritually, atmospherically╔ This piece is a geologist's trek through a highly interesting area of rocks and pebbles: lithophonic dreamscape!

Track 7 is the longest on the CD with its almost 15 minutes. It is called The Orange Line, and the sense of a line protruding into - or from! - space, is evident right from the outset, and I come to think about violin wizard Malcolm Goldstein and his Sounding The Fragility of Line, or, for that matter, percussion guru Matthias Kaul and his glassy motions through hurdy-gurdy soundscapes╔

A lot happens in The Orange Line, whereas the meditative feeling of line and lineage remains, around which all these other sounds - scrapings, twangings, eruptions of the wind, smalltalk of the trombone - spiral along down the track, anchored and secured - in all their whim! - by this sometimes just hypothetical line inside the music. At times the piece takes on the guise of classical jazz music, like the incident with the bass solo, just like out of a record with John Coltrane's crew back in the 1960s! This, however, moves into a 1970s' funky mood, and then you really don't quite know where you arrive╔ but that is nice! Evidently this gang knows how to drift in and out of styles and phases, seemingly effortlessly.

The finishing 8th track oozes with atmospherical smells and fragrances, like where you stashed away in a corner of a Texan Greyhound depot, listening to the wheezing of fumes and smelling the hot dogs or French Fries, or╔ Tacos!

It also appears to me that the wheezing could just as well come from the waves of the ocean, and I hear song birds in the tight sonic web, plus many voices off of the short wave, even sporting glimpses of Oriental music from behind the static of the world...

     - Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sono Loco

ACCRETIONS Was gibt es zu vermelden aus San Diego? Ein Label mit ungewöhnlichem Coverdesign und bizarr getauften Acts wie Trummerflora Collective, Upsilon Acrux, Wormhole Effect, Barefoot Hockey Goalie oder Go Van Gogh. Werfen wir zuerst einen Blick auf Tandem (ALP025). Mit dreizehn Duos und einem Trio gibt ein Tenor- und Altosaxophonist, Flötist, Klarinettist und Live-Elektronikspieler namens JASON ROBINSON, der in La Jolla das Label Circumvention Music betreibt, seine Visitenkarte ab und zeigt dabei, dass das Wörtchen 'Duo' ein weites Feld umreißt. Seine Partner, Widerparts und Mittäter waren George Lewis und Michael Dessen (trombone), Anthony Davis (piano), Peter Kowald (Kontrabass), Nathan Hubbard (percussion, live electronics), Hans Fjellestad (analog synthesizer), Marcelo Radulovich (guitar, samples, electronics) und Stephanie Johnson (electronics). Robinson, Gründungsmitglied des Trummerflora-Kollektivs in San Diego und dort ansonsten mit Funk-Outfits wie Wise Monkey Orchestra und Spinside zugange, daneben spielt er aber auch Roots-Reggae mit Groundation, konzentrierte sich hier auf seine improvisatorischen Interaktionsfähigkeiten und fächerte dabei wie nebenbei auf, was sich in der 'Szene' zur Jahrtausendwende tat. Und das reichte dann von melodiöser Old-School-Schönspielerei, etwa im gut 19 minütigen 'C.T.' mit Davis, bis zur elektronisch-noisigen Liebe-auf-den-ersten-Blick.

Eine hauptsächlich basslastige Angelegenheit ist Vieles ist eins (ALP026) von JOSCHA OETZ. Der Kölner Kontrabassist, der seit Herbst 2000 in San Diego lebt und dort beim Trummerflora Collective und mit Perfektomat Fuß gefasst hat, demonstriert hier seine Kunst in drei Alleingängen, daneben auch im Generationen verbindenden Kontrabass-Duo mit Barre Phillips sowie im Zusammenspiel mit dem Tenorsaxophonisten Andreas Wagner und dem Perkussionisten Greg Stuart. Ich begegne Respekt einflösender Spielkunst und frage mich besorgt, ob sich zwei Musiker solchen Kalibers inzwischen noch 1,3 (© Statistisches Bundesamt 1999) oder nur noch 0,9 Zuhörer teilen (was als Zahl für 2000 von gut unterrichteter Quelle vorab kolportiert wurde). Schwund und Zusammenbruch aller Orten. Vieles ist Eins und Eins ist Keins. Wenn's einem schon schlecht geht, warum dann auch noch trocken Brot?

MARCO FERNANDES, der Kopf hinter Accretions und Mitbegründer des Trummerflora Collective, ist in Yokohama mit japanisch-portugiesischen Vorfahren geboren. Auf Hybrid Vigor (ALP027) setzte er sich mit seiner gemischten Herkunft und seiner In-between-Existenz musikalisch auseinander. Mit dem Auftakt 'Port of Call', einem Tonbandstück, fing er atmosphärisch die Klangwelt seines Geburtslandes ein, beim finalen 'Scintillation ('Don't Sing Aloha When I Go')' hört man seinen verstorbenen Onkel Ukulele spielen, Vergegenwärtigung und Abschied werden eins. Dazwischen liegen eine Reihe von perkussionsbetonten ('Science Boy', 'Manifested/Manifesting'), mit liebevoller Sorgfalt kolorierten Ensemblestücken, die hybrid und spannend zwischen Elektrik, Sampling und Akustik schimmern ('Undercurrents', 'The Orange Line'). Dabei liehen ihm die - soeben bei "Tandem" begegneten - üblichen Trummerflora- und Accretions-Verdächtigen wie Michael Dessen, Nathan Hubbard, Joscha Oetz, Marcelo Radulovich und Jason Robinson sowie Robert Montoya (sampler), Damon Holzborn (guitar, electronics) und Philip Gelb (shakujachi) ihre helfenden Hände. Fernandes ist ein Stimmungszauberer, ein cineastischer 'Auteur' ('Bullets For Ballots') und "Hybrid Vigor" mit dem bisher kennengelernter Accretionsstoff nicht annähernd zu vergleichen.

     - Rigo Dittmann, Bad Alchemy

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