Two Rooms mega-post

July 28, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Quartet Now!: s/t LP

The first LP on Two Rooms Records, a new label launched by Detroit venue/cafe Trinosophes, is easily the most traditional-sounding of the label’s initial batch of releases. The quartet formed after drummer Dr. Prof. Leonard King and baritone saxophonist Alex Harding played together for the first time since 1995, and then invited Rocco Popielarski to play bass, soon followed by the addition of trombonist Vincent Chandler. Apart from Chandler’s “Closing Doors”, all the selections are covers of other people’s songs, and all four musicians fully understand each composition. There’s an unmistakable energy and chemistry to their playing, with shouts of joy appearing during certain high-spirited moments. Harding’s sax has a bit of a barbed edge to it, but it’s not overwhelmingly abrasive. While generally structured and composed, the quartet do let loose at the end of “Mandela’s Muse”, after a rallying cry of “Freedom!” Apart from a rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, it’s all pretty upbeat.

Viands: Seven Thousand Year Plan LP

Three years after Midwich Productions released the first Viands LP, which was recorded live at Trinosophes, Two Rooms is now issuing the duo’s second album, which was recorded as a rehearsal for a festival performance in 2016. Like their first album, this is two sidelong minimalist explorations, with some loose rhythmic underpinning at some points, as well as lots of moments where it just heads off and goes where the spirit leads them. The second side has some moments which start to sound like one of Raymond Scott’s synth inventions starting to lose control, and then some others that seem to be probing the sky for alien life forms, and preparing for their ascent to earth.

Thollem and Clem Fortuna: Your Letter Must Have Followed Me All Over The World LP

The third release on Two Rooms features four pieces improvised by Thollem on different pianos, each in a different tuning system, all of which were devised by Clem Fortuna. Some of these are forms of just intonation, so the pieces seem to explore the limitations imposed by the unconventional tunings. “Golden Meantone” is perhaps the most “prepared”-sounding one, with more of a visceral attack on the instrument. The most mind-bending piece is the lengthiest, “Ten Tone Equal Temperament”, in which Fortuna spontaneously alters the tuning while Thollem is playing.

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