Tuesday, April 09, 2013

New Reviews.. VITAL WEEKLY #877

VITAL WEEKLY is a weekly online-email publication that is generated out of The Netherlands by reviewer and sound artists Frans de Waard.   VT is the OLDEST source for music reviews on the internet.. and it tends to focus on the obscure and experimental genres.    Recently we sent 3 of the recent Instagon releases to VT for review and this week, in episode #877.. we got the results.   We believe this is the 2nd review from VT that has mentioned a comparison to Throbbing Gristle within some recordings.. which is sweet..   also its great that vocalist Jenn Rogar received a nod for the tracks she appears on on the "Jazz for a Lesser Deamon" release..     so here are the reviews.. and if you want to read more reviews from Vital Weekly.. they can be found on the interweb at    www.vitalweekly.net

Reviews originally appearing in Vital Weekly #877:

INSTAGON - JAZZ FOR A LESSER DEAMON (CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)
INSTAGON'S GREATEST HITS (compilation CDR by Thee Instagon Foundation)
Music by Instagon I surely heard over the years, and maybe even reviewed, but I don't seem to easily find that relevant information. But maybe these three will lead me to some coherent thoughts. Instagon call themselves an 'experimental sound art jazz jam band', whose membership is floating, but with a nucleus of Lob (lead bass, loops) and Chad E. Williams (guitar). Further instruments are drums, saxophone, trumpet, flute, keyboards and vocals, sometimes with multiple players on boards. Their releases count up to thirty in twenty years and are usually culled from live recordings from a certain period - although these concerts are sometimes sessions without an audience. The release on Auricular Records for instance has recordings from 2007 through to 2010 and show them in a more experimental mood, I should think. Jazz is a word that doesn't immediately come to mind when hearing this. It opens with the title piece which lasts thirty-five minutes, of which almost the first half is the band starting up with some vague rumbling before going somewhere. Spacious, drifting, but also not too well recorded. Much of this recorded with digital recorders with microphones attached to it, but to capture a band of multiple players, and their amplification is not an easy task, and not always the sound is very defined. That is a pity of course, but you could argue that the rawness of the moment is captured by this, and none is lost (nor enhanced). Its a long piece and spacious piece, just like the closing thirty minutes of 'Thee Sickness Ov Losing Friends Over Stupid Stuff On Facebook'. Spacious, drifting, not without a hint of very early Throbbing Gristle. In the two shorter pieces in between Instagon goes out to free jazz a bit more, with bass and drums freaking out, along with a marimba.
On 'Jazz For A Lesser Deamon', their 30th full length album, we find live recordings from 2012. It sounds different from the previous release, but that doesn't mean this should be discussed in terms of progress. According to the press release this happens to explore more the jazz side of the band. 'Garage-jazz sound' is what they call it, and perhaps that is a most apt title for these explorations in the world lo-fi recording. Lots of wind instruments along with bass and drums, all set the mode from free to very free. Maybe it's all too (free-) jazzy for me, these grandchildren of the Sun (Ra), with the big band playing, but I like the fact that it has a raw energy and some excellent tunes that could work, when recorded properly, work out as a fine soundtrack for a black/white film noir. The biggest surprise are the final two tracks which has Jenn Rogar on vocals. Although primarily a folk singer, she is more like scatting around here, and it makes things rather smooth. Now if progression is anywhere on the list for Instagon, I'd say this is surely one (alone with technical improvement on the recording side, like doing multi track recordings; this music surely deserves that).
Of course the twenty years of existence also prompted the release of a greatest hits compilation but then played by others, mostly friends I'd say from the west coast. I recognized such names as Nux Vomica, +dog+, Chad E. Williams and One Infinite Loop and none of the others - fourteen hits are to be found here. I am not sure, but that's perhaps because I am not that familiar with all of those thirty full length releases, if these are covers - playing their songs with your own instruments - or remixes, in which sound sources from Instagon are used to create new songs. I guess it doesn't really matter, and it's all more about doing a tribute. All of the band's interests drop by here: the jazzy bass lines, sampled rhythm patterns, noise, sampled melodies and all in between. I should think more remix than actual cover, but perhaps I am all wrong about this. Loud at times, quiet at others, maybe as diverse as the original bunch. Including also the musical qualities of Phog Masheen, Messier 7, Mile 97, Scott Heustis/Jeff Schwartz, Ogo Pogo, Corroded Master, Stephen E. Elliott, Chopstick and Urban Sherpas. Nice one, and perhaps a fine introduction also for some new names. (FdW)

if you want information on how to GET any of these CD releases.. please contact instagon @ gmail.com