Music

Phil Minton + Audrey Chen: By the Stream

A long improvised production like this one doesn't have a score but it has a history. It thickens with the weight of its own past.


Phil Minton + Audrey Chen

By the Stream

Label: Sub Rosa
US Release Date: 2013-02-19
Amazon
iTunes

There was so much saliva about 50 seconds in that I worried they were going to run out of it but then they dried, they hissed, Phil Minton mosquito'd, Audrey Chen made a noise like a budgerigar in a balloon, and I noticed that the rapport between the two performers was developing a history. A long improvised production like this one doesn't have a score but it has a history, it thickens with the weight of its own past. In By the Stream it doesn't have a climax or an obvious story, it flares and sinks, the two performers make their mouth noises, the slurp, the suck, the vocal squitter, the wet/dry contrasts, or loud/soft duets, not words, never words, though sometimes they seem close to words ("to", from about 1:40 on) and Minton has performed words before, doing Blake and Finnegans Wake. He is a British vocalist and a jazz trumpeter. Chen is a conservatory-trained American singer and cellist. No cello here, no trumpet, no conservatory, they manage their mouths like machines, pressing the musculature around the passage of the air, shaping the album around mutual responsiveness, see, I hum, you complement me with a buzz, I build, you help. Inuit katajjaq would be an obvious stylistic model but they don't seem to have borrowed. They have their own repertoire of habits, repeating motifs without copying themselves exactly. Put the titles of the tracks together and you produce this sentence: "It's all starting to make sense there are other things to do as well by the stream." Deduce that they set out to develop their duet with as few references as possible to exterior-established conventions. That idea could have trapped them inside limitations of their own, smaller than any set of rules from the outside, but their range of sounds is so large that they triumph.

7

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

Keep reading... Show less

Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image