Tortoise – The Catastrophist – Album Stream


Tortoise‘s upcoming album, The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey Records), is currently streaming over at The Guardian’s site.  Check it out!


Makaya McCraven – In The Moment Remix Tape (International Anthem 2015)


My car still has a tape deck, so I like to blow the dust off of some cassettes from time to time for my morning drive into work.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought my first NEW cassette tape in years.  The In The Moment Remix Tape from drummer/producer Makaya McCraven has been in my car ever since.  Here’s a description from the International Anthem Records Bandcamp page:

“…reworks the already-chopped, altered, and looped spontaneous compositions of Makaya McCraven’s 2xLP In the Moment. Crossing the boundaries of improvisation, composition and sampling, nine producer/beat makers from around the globe reworked the tracks into new beats and creations of repurposed audio. Makaya then remixed their remixes into two continuous mixtape sides…”

Buy the cassette or just a digital copy HERE.  You won’t regret it.

Makaya McCraven – In The Moment (International Anthem – 2015)

Chicago based International Anthem Records just released a collection of recordings by drummer Makaya McCraven via digital, CD and vinyl formats.  The label describes it as:

Nearly 48 hours of live improvised performance recorded at 1 venue over 12 months and 28 shows – culled, cut, rendered, and remixed into 19 potent pieces of organic beat music.

At $25 plus shipping, the vinyl was a bit pricey for me so I pre-ordered the digital version. It features some guys that I’m very familiar with and a big fan of (like guitarist Jeff Parker and bassist Joshua Abrams), and several of whom that I’m not (for now), like vibraphonist Justefan.  The set is made up of 19 raw live exploratory pieces where some minor overdubs and looping have be added.  At one point, McCraven says something like, “…so basically we’re just making shit up!”. Explaining why I like a record is not something I’m very good at so I’ll just say that I really dig this.

To me, the label’s description certainly calls to mind the Space Exchange series here at the Thunderbird Cafe and the possibilities of releases alot like this one.  One can only hope that something like this is in the works.  Maybe those guys know something I don’t!  Enjoy.

Morning Commute – Reminder “Continuum” (2006)


A few days ago, I posted a link to a Nicole Mitchell live performance from NPR’s JazzSet series.  With that set still fresh in my mind, I went down to my basement and blew the dust of the big plastic bin containing the few remaining CD’s that I haven’t been able to part with to try to pick something out for my ride into work .  Right on top of the messy scattered lot sat Continuum by Reminder (Joshua Abrams).  This is Abrams’ first release under the name Reminder which is his downtempo/hip-hop/jazzy/electronic production project. Abrams plays bass on the Nicole Mitchell performance as well as on her newest release, Aquarius (2013 Delmark).  So I felt like Continnum would be the perfect soundtrack for my commute.

Continuum was released in 2006 on the Eastern Developments Music label.  For a few years in the mid 00’s I was really into production from the likes of DJ Shadow, RJD2, Madlib, Bonobo, Scotty Hard, etc.  I knew very little about Josh Abrams at the time other than he was a bass player in the Chicago jazz scene and that he was the original bass player in The Roots.  But I had heard a few tracks from this disc and based upon the eclectic sample-infused production style mixed with live instrumentation, I needed to check it out.  The album features a few guests on occasion including Nicole Mitchell on flute, Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Isotope 217, etc.) on guitar, and Tyondai Braxton, son of musician/composer Anthony Braxton, on vocals.

Since then, I’ve heard Abrams’ bass work on several releases including one of his own entitled, Natural Information from 2010 on Eremite Records.  On this vinyl- only release, Abrams plays the guimbri, a three-stringed animal hide bass traditionally used by the Gnawa of North Africa in healing ceremonies, among several other percussive instruments.  Natural Information also features Chicago jazz musicians, Jason Adasiewicz, and Frank Rosaly.  Here is a video of Abrams playing the guimbri.  Enjoy!