Roaratorio Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
7” vinyl reissue of Cleveland Wrecking Company’s genre-busting Say There's A Reason. This is late ‘60s burnt-out, psych heaviness straight from the San Francisco Bay. The Roaratorio label have done a beautiful job on this slice of stoned hard rock, wrapping it up with rare photographs and knowledgeable liner notes.
A release from the vaults of legendary practitioner of deep listening Pauline Oliveros. To Valerie Solanas is an orchestral piece that is only now being made commercially available (thanks to Roaratorio). The LP contains both the 1970 premiere and a 1977 recording featuring a 43-piece orchestra. This piece is far too strong to have languished out of print for so long: have a listen!
The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984) comes from Joe McPhee’s personal archive and shows him at his most experimental with the numerous instruments he would tinker with. That tinkering creates some of the most mysterious and enthralling sounds which move from calming to enchanting to distressing within a few seconds.
Includes a download code and interview.
Konstrukt & Joe McPhee
Free jazz meets more free jazz in a free jazz shocker: Turkish improvisers KonstruKt meet saxophonist Joe McPhee on this one, a live recording of their collaboration in Istanbul. They didn't work on it or develop it beforehand: it all just unfolded on stage. That's ridiculous, especially when they wring a melody or two out of it. 'Babylon' is a little avant-garde nugget for fans of jazz that just happens, and doesn't stop happening.
Yet another Sun Ra reissue; it’s a lost album that was intended for release in 1972. It was set to come out after Sun Ra signed a big deal with Impulse/ABC but they cancelled the contract before it ever materialised. However, thanks to the label Roaratorio it finally sees the light of day. It’s one of his moog heavy albums with his usual Arkestra members, Ronnie Boykins and Clifford Jarvis.
Steve Lacy & Joe McPhee
Steve Lacy, the sadly deceased saxophonist, and Joe McPhee, who is still going strong with his horns, only performed together once in their long careers, and The Rest contains that performance in its entirety. One side of soulful dual-saxophone improvisation, brought back to us by Hat Hut / Roaratorio.
Scraps & Shadows is the second recorded meeting of Chris Corsano and Joe McPhee. I find it hard to emphasise just how incredible both these musicians are: powerful and intelligent masters of their respective instruments. Excellent as a duo too, always paying a lot of attention to each other. Yes yes yes, very special.
Before improv had a name, Sun Ra made this record by directing his Arkestra to pick up unusual stringed instruments and homemade percussion and play them without any direction. "Strange Strings" in Sun Ra’s own words, is a “study in ignorance”. It sounds like a group of space dwellers discovering musical instruments for the first time after also discovering sugar for the first time and it’s one of the greatest records in the Sun Ra space-world discography.
The rather wonderfully named Crystal Syphon were once called the rather less wonderful, Morlochs. That changed when their music began becoming a bit fuzzier, swaying a bit more and given that distinct, ‘60s psychedelic feel. Today they are considered one of those lost gems. They never signed to a label during the ‘60s as they wanted full artistic freedom however that freedom may have cost them success. Here however, Family Evil demonstrates the rewards of such musical freedom, which the band creating distinctly off-the-wall tunes which makes for some great rock songs with real character.
Vinyl LP includes a download code.
“BWEEEEEAAANG!” said the gong. “Crackle” said the feedback-loop. And so they went on, infinitely growing while staying the same. Philip Corner’s insane project featuring a gong and a dancer, recorded in 1989, is about sound, noise, meditation and enlightenment. There’s only 305 copies going round, and they included a brass gong.
In the face of true New Zealand tradition, this record is not about sheep. I think. Nobody knows for sure, with Rotate the Completor seeking out boundaries - perhaps due to the country’s being an isolated island. The Complete Rotations is challenging and head-spinning, and there’s only 100 copies available.
Contrary to what the title suggests, Knife World is not the newest theme park for kids, but it might be even more fun. Finally officially releasing their music through something other than amps turned up to eleven, their self-titled is the culmination of a decade of underground high energy destruction.
Droning about with what sounds like a baritone guitar played with a saw, Gedanken Splitter is apparently played on a tweaked-out banjo. Paul Metzger does not blend his music, or cut it up, or make it any way more accessible. Yet at the same time, it is strangely enticing, hypnotizing and comforting.
New York’s Talibam! and New York’s Daniel Carter combine their powers on this Roaratorio LP, explicitly endorsed by former US President Richard Nixon!! (well, possibly) Free music that swallows up most other genres and spits them out in a colourful synth-drum-sax melange. Pretty good fun all told.
George Cartwright & Davu Seru
Rag compiles a number of improvised free-jazz performances by George Cartwright and Davu Seru. The pieces were recorded at several venues in Minneapolis throughout 2009. Saxophonist Cartwright has a varied musical cv which includes work with artists as diverse as Ornette Coleman, Alex Chilton and Half Japanese. Percussion, Seru has also worked with a number of artists and was the recipient of an emerging composer award in 2013.
Unscrew your mind with Rotate The Completor. Completed Rotations Of The ... are eleven esoteric tracks from the New Zealand native. This is a single man project, with RTC composing and playing everything on this record. It's total weirdo indie-pop, with tripped-out guitar playing, minimal drums and an array of vocal stylings. You need to hear it to believe. Out on vinyl LP from Roaratorio.
Under A Double Moon is the first meeting on record of Chris Corsano and Joe McPhee. I find it hard to stress to you just how amazingly special both these musicians are: I mean have you see Corsano let loose on a drum kit? Both can go hard, both can go soft, and most importantly, they both listen to each other. A profoundly thoughtful and exciting set of recordings.
Anthologies and reissues are somewhat of a forte here at Norman Records, so this Rodd Keith compilation was right up our alley. Putting strangers’ words to music with his personal and singular style, he’s always been a fringe favorite of those in the know. My Pipe Yellow Dream is his second compilation for Rotario, hopefully with more to follow.
Hailing from pirate-favored Arrrgentina, Nelson Gastaldi makes the music you imagine if somebody ever were to describe something as avant-garde post-modern nihilist classical ambient. His Symphony No. 3 is right up there with the rest of them, and now, finally, available on LP, for all the fans and initiates.
This is '80s nihilistic rock at its finest - sloppy, noisy, fast, dirty and with a saxophone thrown in for good measure. Recorded Live at CBGB in 1986, this record is an improbable hybrid between nothing-to-live-for punk and avant-garde free jazz which sounds just as crazy as it sounds it will sound like.
Back with recordings from the late 60s and early 70s, sounding like a lo-fi one-take recording in an empty bar, Rodd Keith’s vocal chords seem linked directly to our heart strings. Plucking away at them on the 16 previously unrecorded tracks that form Black Phoneix Blues, Keith is back - at least while the record spins.
Nothing to do with The A Band here: rather, this is a peek into the Lebanese improvisation scene, and very pleasing it is too. The trio, made up of trumpet, double bass and acoustic guitar (but rarely sounding like the product of any of those instruments) was recorded Live In Nickelsdorf for this LP release on the Roaratorio label.
Free jazz is all about freedom and transcending pre-existing limits. During the '70s there was a lot of that transcendence going around, and The Music Ensemble included some of the greatest transcenders since Immanuel Kant. This release features two live recordings from '74 and '75, their first recording finally made available to those of us still stuck in everyday life.
Norman Records is helping you catch up on your free improvisation work, and this debut of the Carei Thomas Feel Free Ensemble is probably your best bet to make some major progress. Mining Our Bid’ness showcases Thomas’ potency, and illustrates his importance in the world of improvised music.
A nostalgic collection shining a light on the lesser known musician Rodd Keith. Perhaps the most ‘famous’ of all the song poets ripped off by song-sharking scams, Keith is posthumously given his due with a compilation of just some of the hundreds of songs he penned before his untimely death in 1974. Out on CD from Roaratorio.