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Henry Kaiser - Garden of Memory [Box Set] (2015)

9-04-2015, 11:08
Music | Jazz | Instrumental | Rock | FLAC / APE

Henry Kaiser - Garden of Memory [Box Set] (2015)

Artist: Henry Kaiser
Title Of Album: Garden of Memory
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Fractal Music
Genre: Jazz, Avant-Garde, Free Improvisation, Guitar, Jazz Rock
Quality: Mp3 / FLAC (tracks)
Bitrate: CBR 320 kbps / Lossless
Time: 5:54:44
Full Size: 837 mb / 1.54 gb

Here, with a gesture of Braxtonian excess, is a 5-CD set containing 6 long-form guitar solos. These improvisations were all recorded live and in one take at the annual GARDEN OF MEMORY event on the Summer Solstice of 2014 in Oakland, California. I ve frequently participated in this annual event since 1996. In 2014, I performed in collaboration with my partner, the Canadian painter Brandy Gale. As I played, she created live synaesthetic paintings in reaction to the sounds from my guitar, and the surrounding environment. Probably more than 1000 listeners drifted in and out of our live performance that day. Just as when I play live, my aim with these CDs is to present to the audience with something, in the spirit of fun, that is entertaining, and asks more questions than it provides answers. As the cover photo of me under the frozen ceiling of the Ross Sea is meant to indicate: Since 2001 this mode of solo guitar playing is always about my experiences working for many years as a scientific diver in Antarctica. Color, mood, rhythms, timing, development, space, textures... it s also my day-to-day working life under the ice as a research diver, translated into music. I ve played in this particular square wave modulation of long delay times mode since I discovered the technique/method back in 1981 or so. It s a both a way of sounding like more than one guitar, and a method of unpredictably interacting with myself in several different time frames. My favorite solo recordings of mine in the past that fall within this style are Everything Forever, It s a Wonderful Life, Platelet Ice, A Little Stroke of Light, Requiem for Fred Lieberman, A Precise Kind of Infinity, and A Sliver of Clarity Nestled. When I perform in this manner, I just try to get out of the way of the music. I have no idea what s going to happen or what the music is going to be like. There is no plan and nothing is pre-conceived. At this particular concert I ended up with four long solos that seemed to be variations on similar sets of ideas; like the proverbial blind men s differing perceptions of the elephant, they are just expressions of something that is bigger, and outside of, my conscious ways of thinking and perception. This box also contains the bonus cd: A LITTLE STROKE OF LIGHT, which was recorded in 2010 and released back then as a limited edition CD-R. It seemed to fit in with the rest of this material; perhaps as a distant memory of another blind man s view of a giant squid. When I listen to these solos I do recognize points of reference, where I learned concepts and feelings that might be behind the curtain of the music. Some of those things here would be: 1) The solo organ improvisations of Terry Riley. 2) The superhuman, solo, soprano sax improvisations of Evan Parker. 3) The acoustic guitar playing of Robbie Basho. 4) Malagasy tromba trance music played on the marovany. 5) The right hand blues-picking techniques of Albert Collins and Hubert Sumlin. 6) The attitudes of Ligeti and Xenakis towards stochastically sprayed-out clouds of notes. 7) Developmental aspects of the longer form ensemble pieces of Morton Feldman. 8) Conlon Nancarrow s ideas about density and tempo relations between multiple voices. 9) Developmental/narrative/pacing ideas from the gushes of Persian classical music. 10) Playing techniques and programmatic ideas from Chinese gu-qin music.


Disc: 1
1 Garden Of Memory I 77:06

Disc: 2
2 Garden Of Memory II 69:58

Disc: 3
3 Garden Of Memory iii 64:48

Disc: 4
4 Garden Of Memory IV 64:54

Disc: 5 - Bonus Disc
1 A Little Stroke Of Light 69:54
2 No Trouble With The Tromba 7:55

This auspicious, ambitious little box features 5 CDs with 5 hours & 40+ minutes of long form guitar solos. The first four discs were recorded live and in lone take from the annual Garden of Memory on the Summer Solstice of 2014 in Oakland, California. The bonus disc contains a more recent but now out-of-print solo guitar effort called, "A Little Stroke of Light" plus a rare track called "No Trouble with the Tromba". Henry calls this box a gesture of Braxtonian excess which sounds right considering how many box sets Mr. Braxton has produced in recent years. Mr. Kaiser lists a number of musicians and composers who are inspirations for him: Terry Riley, Evan Parker, Robbie Basho, Albert Collins, Hubert Sumlin, Gyorgi Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Conlon Nancarrow, Chinese gu-qin music, Cecil Taylor and Derek Bailey. I started the day with CD 1 ("Garden of Memory I"). Through awakening, meditation, exercise, shower, breakfast and settling down at the computer to start the newsletter it has been on. The music is calm at the center, quietly psychedelic, raga-like in the way it slowly builds. Henry has a softly pulsating background layer underneath that changes mood from section to section. On top is Henry's lovely electric guitar taking one long solo after the other. Each solo tells another story as he also alters the tones of the notes, making certain notes ring, sail, soar, pop, harp-like at times and heavenly as well. It is as if he is creating a series of dreamscapes, each one better or at least different in vibe than the previous ones. Certain notes seem sped up, although the inner pulse is slow in the way it unfolds. Kaiser changing the tone or approach to his playing in each section so that he keeps things fascinating as they are transformed time and again. There is a section about 38 minutes into the first disc that sounds quite a bit like Frippertronics, well-handled yet still somehow Kaiser-like in its own way. It develops quickly and mutates into something else entirely. The following section sounds like an extension the sixties Bay area psych guitars jam/spirit (a la Dead/Airplane/Quicksilver). Four CDs recorded in one day seems to be a bit much but Mr. Kaiser is obviously on the top of his game and up for the challenge. This box is a modest masterwork, an essential part of the puzzle of where electric solo guitar has evolved and continues. --Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG


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