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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

David Moss Dense Band - Live in Europe

Name: David Moss Dense Band
Album: Live In Europe
Year: 1988
Style: Experimental, Avant-Garde
Similar Bands: John Zorn, Brand X, Secret Chiefs 3, Fantomas, Mr. Bungle
"One Word" Review - Schizophrenic Asian Racquetball 
Based Out Of: NYC, NY
Label: Ear-Rational
 Live in Europe - Cover & Record
Live in Europe - Back & Record
Live In Europe (1988)
  1. Two to Three to Tango 4:07
  2. Re-Shuffle 4:09
  3. Day to Climb 4:20
  4. Full Step 4:18
  5. Glider 3:18 /
  6. Neural Sense 4:31
  7. Song of the Possible 4:43
  8. Slant Lines 5:38
  9. Slow Talking 5:17
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
David Moss - Drums, Vox (Bill Dixon Ensemble, The Golden Palominos, Denseland, Direct Sound, The Markus Stauss Project, Meltable Snaps It, Paul Brody's Detonation Orchaestra, John Zorn, Uri Cane)
Wayne Horvitz - DX7, DX100, Harmonica (Eugene Chadbourne, John Zorn, Curlew, Naked City, NY Composers Orchestra)
Christian Marclay - Turntables, Records (John Zorn, Kronos Quartet, Elliot Sharp, The Art Bears)
Jon Rose - 18 String Cello, Violin (Eugene Chadbourne, Slawterhouse, Kryonics, Transcendence, Art Bears )
Jean Chaine - Electric Bass (Uberfall, The Markus Stauss Project, Sarah Greene, Gary Lucas)
Francois Dietz - Producer, Mastering
Didier Dalfitto - Engineer, Mixing
Nick Lawrence - Cover Art [The Entymologist]
Tom Cora - Composition (Curlew, John Zorn, Andrea Centazzo, Eugene Chadbourne, Nimal, Third Person)
Fred Frith - Composer (John Zorn, Violent Femmes, Half Japanese, Swans, Residents, Curlew, Material, Brian Eno, Henry Cow, Naked City, Golden Palominos)

Unknown-Ness: I’ve never heard of this band. Looking back, I think I got it because of the clear vinyl. That was just unusual enough to make me pick this out of a thrift store music stack. It surely was not the cover, which makes me think the content will be some sort of modenrist take on classic jazz. I don’t know much about Jazz or enjoy it for that matter, but this blog is for discovery, so I can check this out. I may even be surprised.

Album Review: - So this is a live version (duh, that’s what it is called: Live in Europe) of a travelling line-up of David Moss’s 1985 album Dense Band when they played in Europe; Vandoeuvre, France to be specific, on 5/23/87. The proclaimed stellar line up is made of avent-garde, experimental artists from NYC, who have all made names for themselves individually. It is interesting, and to appreciate in any capacity, you need to pay attention to what is going on. Seeing this live was probably an inspiring event, if not, entertaining at the least.

“Two to Three to Tango” features one off bass notes, chaotic drum spurts, and synth chimes; none of which sound in unison. The vocals are high pitch, and not very melodic, reminding me of a chicken squabbling with Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo. After the first section of vocals, there is an intense section with elements that have been used by John Zorn and Mr. Bungle.
“Re-Shuffle” starts off with a lot of Western cowboy bass energy, and gives the impression of building to something big and possibly chaotic. The driving bass sound is supported by creepy Ghostbuster dripping ooze synth, and other occasional oscillations and about 2:30, some vocal shouts are buried to the back. With balloon deflating squeals, and Mike Patton-like vocals. Or perhaps it should be written that the vocals seem to have inspired Patton.
“Day to Climb” is a nervous jumper looking down over the side of a building. Or perhaps, as the song is named, a climber ascending a mountain, but fearfully checking the ground behind him. It is tense and a bit stressful bass line, which also reminds me of the later, more difficult, Dr. Wily levels in Mega Man in a very basic form. There are some screeching metal synth effects and random chimes to increase the intensity. Toward the end, the bass line is replaced with a singing saw sound, and hauntingly smooth vocals of pain.
“Full Step” is an unsure bass line, a little mysterious like the Pink Panther theme. There are deep, masculinly confident vocals, that have tones of an Asian Announcer but is really French. After those vocals end, a chorus of female vocals is buried down in the background, singing their own melody. The song picks up in a spastic drum and bass racquetball game. The end of the song shows a bit of actual shared melody and could almost be interpreted as a traditional song, if only basic form, and for a very brief time.
“Glider” does exactly as its name sake suggest: Primus-like gliding bass notes and tin pot hitting percussion, and a vocal hoot and holler once in a while. Eerie alarm like chimes are echoing behind, like a faulty security alarm has been disabled. And steel drum bongs dot the song scape.

“Neural Sense” Drum hits and bass plucked notes are timed together, as sawing violins are layered down behind, suggesting urgency that the sporadic bass-drum rhythms seem to ignore completely. The background violins grow in number, like a swarm of violin mosquitos calling their masses together toward these dumb plodding hippo bass notes. Squeaks and squelches of violins are accompanied by vocals that sound like secondary exhales that accompany karate chops.
“Song of the Possible” has a quiet, dark, minimal bass line in the beginning. Background, coming to foreground fast, are turkey gobbler vocals of a neurotic emotion. The vocal sounds still remind me of an avent-garde Asian performance, and I can only imagine what this was like performed live, and I wonder how close these performances are to the originals. The vocals, through a doubling vocoder, sound a bit like the chicken lady from Kids in the Hall.
“Slant Lines” has an unaccompanied, looping bass line that evolves as it repeats in the beginning 1:45. A cymbal simmer introduces the schizophrenic vocals, and the song transitions into a dark, funky march. The march becomes side tracked with crazy percussion and chaotic deep then high vocal sounds.  The song ends with what sounds like an English car siren, played melodically.
“Slow Talking” is very slow, with bass notes paired up in twos. There are some old-internet link-up static sound effects, and a very loungy, deep vocal (slow talking) that is paired with a high, shrew, helium voice (fast talking). The voices take turns as if having a conversation. And the song kind of just slinks away as if it was never there to begin with, like a fever dream.

Stand Out Track: - Re-Shuffle

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