A few years ago (now that I think of it, more like fifteen years ago!) I went through a phase where my music consumption consisted nearly 100% improvised sorta-jazz. Looking back, there were many reasons for it, not the least of which was having to endure the end-stage of a dying marriage. Boredom and despair will make a person do some funny things. That situation made me seek out the most jarring, shocking and blasphemous noise I could find.
I found it in a group called The Splatter Trio. Dave Barrett on saxophones, Gino Robair (drums) and Myles Boisen on doubleneck electric bass/guitar. Toss in some samplers, electronic and the occasional Theremin and….hooeee, this was not pretty music. But it was my music. My life felt fucked up and, for whatever reason, fucked up music made me feel better.
At the time, my wacky music lust was aided and abetted by a magazine called Cadence. For lovers of jazz and improvised music, it is the source. It’s full of reviews and, if a person is so inclined, said person can place orders for CDs. They have a huge listing called the “center section” (because it’s literally in the middle of the magazine) that is sorted by record label. You might think that this way of presenting things is weird, but to the collector (read: music crack whore), being able to see everything offered by, say, Rastascan Records (The Splatter Trio’s label) is pure heaven.
That “center section” resulted in my stereo being marinated in such oddities as Anthony Braxton, Debris, Fritz Hauser, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and Peter Brotzmann.
Oh right…and Myles Boisen. This solo disc represents was Boisen calls his “development as an improvising guitarist since moving to California in 1984.” It’s a big, glorious mess.
Interesting (to me, anyway) are Boisen’s thoughts on improvisation, composition and the daily here and now.
But these acts of improvisation are not exactly opposed to composition any more than turning onto a side street is opposed to taking a walk somewhere. The act of composing is by nature improvisational and vice versa; subject to any and all uncontrollable circumstances. A song heard in the morning, a train whistle which drifts in through the window, any number of external events can influence the act of writing music.
Yes, and the act of listening as well.
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)