Start Your Day With Coffee

Here is Mathias Preuß, a German saxophone player from Lemgo, with his CD Coffee Faith & Mathias Preuß. Coffee Faith is Rio Nurkholis Syaifuddin, an Indonesian musician whom Mathias met some years ago at a gig in Purwokerto. I see Coffee Faith have released a few split tapes and albums since 2016, many of them on the 10PM Project label (probably run by him).

The music is quite interesting; it’s a sax and electronics pairing (one of my personal favourite combinations), and it was made from two separate parts, i.e. the musicians didn’t meet up and sent each other recorded portions. As this happened in April 2020, I guess I don’t need to explain why they did this. It seems a period of “discussions and ideas” preceded the final mix, which is encouraging if it means they didn’t rush into the project blindly. Preuß considers himself an improviser and favours solo sets or duo collaborations, and here he provides ample evidence that he can blurt out lines with a fine raspy tone as on ‘Bebaya’, or something with more dainty curlicues and trillings as on ‘Pangkur’. On the former, he’s not too far apart from a typical free jazz honkamaroo with his overblowings, but he keeps himself in check and restraint is one of his watchwords. On the latter, there’s a bit more substance to the meaty broth; plenty of squeaky blasterments in the “imaginary tropical bird” mode. If he settled down into a groove he could draw favourable comparisons with Ornette, except he doesn’t seem to have the staying power.

Coffee Faith’s contributions are just great; although he modestly tends to hide himself away and disguise his work as background music for the soloist, there’s a lot of inventive motorised drones, dark sub-sonic moans, vacuum cleaner pull-offs, and train-flattening chug effects that are all extremely pleasing and suitable to the occasion. On ‘Pangkur’ in particular, he comes close to summoning a small contained tornado of abstract noise that might just lift our German friend into the skies, if he’s not careful. All of this is quite some way from being pre-determined, composed music, and both the spontaneity of the performances and the semi-random assembly method works in favour of the album. The sparks of creativity are here. Available as a download from Basement Corner Emissions, and as a cassette or CDR from 10PM Project. (27/10/2020).

London improvising combo Found Drowned are here today with Clownslave (LINEAR OBSESSIONAL LOR150), a new cassette. We last heard them in 2013 with a self-titled CDR, although their guitarist James O’Sullivan has also made some solo records, the last one being the rather tepid and disappointing IL YA in 2018. Two very long workouts here; I think you get edited versions of them if you buy the cassette, but if you want to hear the full director’s cut of ‘Clown’ (34:50, nearly LP length in itself), you can click onto the Bandcamp link. The trio make their combined noise with electric guitar (O’Sullivan), electric bass (Pete Marsh) and percussion (Paul May); one of the selling points is that nothing here remotely resembles a normal musical instrument, and abstract grind and clonk is the end-product for the most part. I don’t object to this approach at all, but the surface sound they generate is just nondescript rubble; not ugly enough to be repellent, not detailed enough to invite further investigation. Having arrived at this vaguely textural chatter as a means of discourse, the group find they have very little to say with it, and proceed to noodle around in a tentative, uncertain manner for a very long time. No fire, no dynamics, little interaction. Not recommended. (29/10/2020)

Latest album from Gintas K is Sound & Spaces (POWDERED HEARTS ph#36), released on cassette by a USA label. This one’s made with a computer, a midi keyboard, and a controller, and all seven pieces were recorded in real time with no overdubs. Extremely irritating and hard to listen to; this process based noise contains virtually no human elements, and is predicated on artificial digital sound. As ever, Gintas refuses user-friendly strategies such as repetition or form, tends to atomise his content into microscopic-sized shards of unnatural noise, and seems to allow the very process to wrest control away from him. Alienating, exasperating. (29/10/2020)