Flame Tree featuring Nik Turner
Cleopatra Records / Purple Pyramid CLO0298CD
This wholly improvised first encounter between Hawkwind founder Nik Turner and Seattle musos Jack Gold-Molina (drums), Dennis Rea (guitar), and Paul "PK" Kemmish (acoustic bass) covers widely varied sonic terrain, from high-intensity, galloping freebop to probing deep-space explorations, and finds Nik in rare form on tenor saxophone and flute. Beautifully captured by "Greedy Greg" Williamson, artfully mixed by Jack Endino, and gorgeously illustrated by Nik's longtime cohort Nazar Ali Khan.
"Laid down during a single recording session, these seven pieces are intense and elegiac at the same time, resolving such a contradiction in subtle, yet unconsciously shocking, electric vignettes which swirl amidst and under deceptively unhinged reeds.... transfixing and transcendental"
—Dmitry Epstein, DMME full review
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MoonJune Records MJR 078
Zhongyu is an American band with a Chinese name and an attitude that encompasses the full spectrum of musical sounds and sources. Composer Jon Davis teams up with three members of Moraine and an experienced jazz drummer to create a sound that blends influences from Rock in Opposition (Univers Zero and Present), progressive rock (King Crimson), jazz (electric Miles Davis and composers such as George Russell), and Asian music. Whether it involves plugging a traditional Chinese instrument into a modular synthesizer or running a bass clarinet through a wah-wah pedal, pushing boundaries (or denying their existence) is the core of the band’s identity.
They are a group that aims to balance the opposites of music: composition and improvisation, serenity and chaos, harmony and dissonance, complexity and simplicity, acoustic and electric. With guitarist Dennis Rea on board as co-producer and legendary engineer Steve Fisk at the controls, Zhongyu is a powerful, brilliantly executed, and strikingly original debut album that has been years in the making. With Alicia DeJoie (violin), James DeJoie (woodwinds), Randy Doak (drums), and special guest Daniel Barry (trumpet).