Horns

I find myself with less time to write and, worst of all, think these days. Or maybe I just lack the inclination. Or the ability.

In short: I’m dying.

As if the words on this blog or any other weren’t already desperate scratches at the edges of mortality and loneliness, now I can’t even be bothered to pretend.

Anyway, what I mean is, the rather neatly composed and thoughtful (not my words*) micro-essays haven’t been flowing of late so I think I’m going to start utilising this blog to share music. Something I find comes naturally and easily. When I remember.

Where I can, I’ll fit things into some sort of logical/impulsive grouping and say something interesting about them. Otherwise, I might just post a track without comment.

*My words

Horns

Horns are much maligned. They invariably ruin dance tracks and loads of people (/lesser species) hate jazz. Why? It might be something to do with their ostentation. There’s no burying them in the mix – they’re shrill and clear and vocal in their range – and I think this offends some people. They’re so fucking chirpy.

On the contrary, horns can, of course, be all sorts of other things – from the percussive, rumbling tuba of Oren Marshall to the swirling, scattered saxophone of Stockhausen’s Spiral.

Here are two recent things – from brass veterans – that do great things with horns. The first is from John Butcher. The piece I’m thinking of is at the end of this radio show – it’s called Hamon from his Nigemizu recording. The sax isn’t too high in the mix here, because there is no mix. It’s just John frantically squeaking notes that veer in and out of the sonorous and the dissonant. It’s busy and disorientating and beautiful.

On the other hand, here’s something much less sweaty and frantic, but no less brilliant, from Jac Berrocal in cahoots with David Fenech and Vincent Epplay. It’s a new release from Blackest Ever Black and, as the label continues to surprise and diversify, so it continues to improve. Being ostensibly an old school trumpeter’s album, it seems far removed from the disquieting clatter of Cut Hands or Vatican Shadow. But there are obvious continuities – BEB have re-released classic Ike Yard cuts and Berrocal played with No Wave / Post-Punk royalty like Lizzy Mercier-Descloux and James Chance.

The trumpet is here weaved into a smudged soundscape of distant shouts and buzzing electronics, with a foregrounded sparse guitar line. It’s like some sort of No Wave Western.

 
I’ll have something on Overdrive, Repetition and…stuff in the coming days.
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