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Goat's Notes: Cosmic Circus
Today's Russian jazz leaves nothing to the intentionality of casuality. It's some time a core of artists who has re-organized jazz following feelings, striving for an appropriate use of the elements that make contemporary sound, who lives with a mix of genres with art disciplines that are more or less close to the music.
The case of Goat's Notes (a group that always renews my interest) shows that jazz is still very important to provide any kind of artistic glue.
The latest release record is a clear musical divertissement carved into the dynamics that characterized the world of the circus, a way to revive, through music, a clear cult-object of the linked arts, those that settled indelible contacts in the early twentieth century and they made the circus environments so interesting to painters, writers and art movements.
"Cosmic Circus" is this, but it seems to want also highlight something cosmic, that triggers addictional mental processes.
Is there any image that can approach neurally to the music donated by the band? The original six members, with three French improvisers added (they are the cellist Hugues Vincent, violinist Sabine Bouthinon and the alto saxophonist Pierre Lambla) with the aim to raise the bar on that capacity and indeed here we are facing a particular product free bop that, as mentioned before, marries the freedom of the mini-orchestras Haden and Mingus, with instrumental Zappa's weirdness; but it is a free bop opened, that turned away to the representations without character and personality of the sounds.
Following the suggestion of the title we'll have a chance to join an approach to the subject of descriptive circus in which the phenomenon of the circus, with its apparent playfulness mask allows you to steal more reflections.
But is the precise punctuation accomplished by musicians, maybe, a debt to the symbolism of the topics? In this meaning, the cosmic walks of Sun Ra, there seemed to be more meaningful, but the interpretation of the Goat's Notes might merit a different perspective, purely abstract and less cosmic than you can imagine, or at least the cosmic might take a partial meaning, sentimental and cosmopolitan. And 'therefore more a kind of surrealism that bivouacked by Cosmic Circus parts as well as was understood from the painting by Paul Klee in Traveling Circus, in which the actors of the circus circuit (jugglers, animals, tools) are synthesized in two bodies dominated by a magnificent mosaic, but they must be reintegrated as in a puzzle. Many are convinced that after abtractism, in the arts no one has been capable to replicate anything really innovative and perhaps my link to Klee could prove that the Russian group, not looking too far, has seized a specific historical moment, satisfying with a cosmic image (the cover shows an otherness of the circus than the galaxy) a “free” and little metaphysical version of circus.
In truth, the matter of symbolism, back beeing fashion in certain musical ambients, should be framed differently in Cosmic Circus, which is an alternative to what some of the Goat's Notes members (Kudryavtsev, Logofet, Talalay) indicated in other projects; consciousness orders that improvisation respect channels, which are the best way to pull the trigger of emotional reactions, those resulting from the immediate relation that our psyche fills with sounds. From this point of view Cosmic Circus has all the credentials.
Diritti Riservati - Pubblicato da Ettore Garzia
The apparent effect of this intermingling nonet is to have a string quartet playing alongside a jazz quintet, with each in its own way trying to play the same ‘compositions’. No, it’s nothing like as horrific as that might sound: on the contrary, it is very, very circus-like, colourful and boisterous, more molten perhaps than fluid, utterly jazz-improv and free.
Goat’s Notes was originally formed by pianist Sandomirskii and bassist Kudryavtsev, both fervent devotees of unprompted music. Working with the sextet and bringing together artists from diverse directions and objectives has resulted in total capriciousness for both sides of this eclectic, jazz collective. Its catalogue embraces uncluttered playing from an extensive range of improvised music genres, from experimental jazz to free improvisation and noise.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham
Vladimir Kudryavtsev and Grigory Sandomirsky
Goat's Notes: Wild Nature Executives
The combination of music with other arts is a constant source of inspiration in the throes of a simplistic
fashionable effect, namely hit the listener; it manifests itself in various forms: in the linear combinations that have already been tested (the simple references to literature, painting, cinema, etc..) or in modern multicultural packets (audiovisual collaborations, installations, etc..), where we often find quotes of complementary arts with questionable validity.
The Russian group of Goat's Notes, of which I reviewed their debut on Leo Records (see here), chooses the wise and natural perspective to conveniently connect subliminal music with the other arts, and it releases the second CD where the attempt is to enrich the musical formula: from the musical point of view the basic approach of the musicians has emerged in the debut and it relates broadly to a type of improvisation that walks on the axis Mingus-orchestra (with a tendency to a more pronounced free jazz) + Zappa-jazz (when rock music seemed more amalgamated), while from the point of view of the other arts there is a greater codification of their ideas and activities.
The title of the CD, "Wild nature executives" is programmatic, referring to the interesting philosophical and artistic issue that lurks behind "The old pair shoes", a painting by Van Gogh; the philosopher Heidegger imposed a thesis elaborated on the meaning to be attached to Van Gogh's paintings, which goes beyond the simple visual appearance.
In "Wild nature executives" the Goat's Notes were able to forecast an expansion of the collective improvisation and musical journey that would include feelings derived from observations of objects (in our case the shoes): we face to a necessary approach to overcome the Impressionism's themes and to discover the realism of thought expressed in the improvisation. The purpose is achieved by placing a greater emphasis on piano's figures (Grigory Sandomirsky is often the protagonist of the group's music), but the combination of which reference was made earlier (Mingus/Zappa) is perfectly in tune with the binomial (cynicism / irony) that nourishes the philosophy of the group, as well as in the same way, from the point of view of literary art, it is perfectly in tune with the backbone of the Oscar Wilde's essays (who is also mentioned in a song).
Heidegger argues the interior ranks of "Wild nature executives" and the Goat's Notes (with very spirit of empathy and adventure) take him as reference for to obtain the transposition of that thought that sees a
deeper meaning in the wild nature of things, beyond the mere impressionistic appearance . And in these artistic thoughts, which then become musical objects, you can not help but bask.
Diritti Riservati - Pubblicato da Ettore Garzia
This Russian sextet’s first CD was quite good, but this second opus is a masterpiece. The album features live recordings edited together to form a 19-part suite. Four guests push the number of musicians to nine or ten on a handful of tracks, always keeping with the group’s acoustic-only sound palette. Gorgeous free improvisations where softness, boldness, humour, and wildness intermingle. Wonderful creativity finding a convincing expression in the short form. And when durations extend, like in the 10-minute title track, it is only to let the band’s contagious craziness explode. Very highly recommended.
- François Couture
Goat's Notes: Wild Nature Executives
who are they - Big ensemble of improvisers of Moscow gathered by pianist Grigory Sandomirsky and
doublebassist Vladimir Kudryavtsev. Cast can change, the principles – never. It's been a short time since we were rejoicing that the group of young musicians came to join the catalogue of the respectable british independent label Leo Records with their debut, as another album comes, a concert one.
how does it sound - Members of the former group apart from noticed are drummer Piotr Talalay, violinist Maria Logofet, trombonist Ilya Vilkov and clarinettist Andrey Bessonov. In concerts they are often joined by guest musicians announced or not in the program. No one of the participants knows which way the things on stage will turn out. Everything is created at the moment, on the eyes of the audience. But before some of these materials will appear on the album, they pass a selection tour at Vladimir Kudryavtsev's. That's him, who cuts, invents the track list (on this album, dedicated to wild
nature, tracks tell the story of some shoes, the instruments of human interaction into wild nature life), joins it with quotations of Heidegger and Van Gogh's “Old Shoes” painting story.
why it’s worth listening to - Goat's Notes naturally are not the only improvisers in Russia (although there are none such instrumental ensembles here). But their openness to everything in the world, willing to work with any cliches during one minute and being ready to refuse them let's say seduces. But very likely main on this album is that result of critic analysis of the materials by Kudryavtsev. In the end we have a product of a different kind than just a concert recording.
- Grigory Durnovo, Afisha Magazine
Coming from traditional music, classical, jazz & rock - six instrumentalists play together an open, dynamic, lifeasserting music, and, in a sense, as unclassifiable as music of Mothers of Invention, but the russian way, as the
author of liner notes remarks. They form a real group where collusion and joy of playing together is felt. The
listener is taken away by exchange, contrasts, sonorities, colors and power of group playing. Stimulating and
unpredictable listening. As the press representatives say: it’s a must! YES!
No borders music…Goat’s Notes - “Fuzzy Wonder” (2013): Colorful, ethnic avant-garde with intrepid flair. A bunch of prolific, let alone genuinely creative Russian performers in pursue of the”Mothers of Invention” legacy. Soviet Futurism reborn…Highly recommended…
Goat's Notes: Fuzzy Wonder
From the first notes you know that you are with the avant-garde and the Russian avant garde at that. This is music with a smile. It is also, in their description, ‘ethno-jazz-rock-folk-avant- garde’. Their aim?
To surprise themselves.
Difficult with music from this area of the world to play spot the innfluence. This Moscow collective is playing music from a culture that we don’t know enough about. The rhythms are many and varied. In ‘Preface and Gentle Chimeras’ you could be at a dance in a Balkan village: Piotr Talalay on drums and Kudryavtsev are adept at varying the rhythms throughout the whole album.
‘Party Flowers’ is based on a kind of russo-dixieland with Andrey Bessonov’s clarinet sounding improbably like Tricky Sam Nanton. Throughout the album Bessonov produces notes that Benny Goodman could
not have envisaged even in a dream. Vladimir Kudryavtsev’s bass dominates the opening sequence and underpins most of the pieces with an assured sound.
One feature of the album is that none of the fourteen pieces on the album goes over more than seven minutes and most of them are well under that. They ensure that each piece has a definite structure and mood. There is a feeling that the musicians are playing for an audience with self indulgence almost absent. There are minds at work here making sure that there is shape: a beginning, a middle and an end. They are playing engagingly and inventively with all the sounds they can extract from the instruments. Their wide knowledge of music influences their improvising so that it has a European feel. If you are curious about what is happening in Russia at the moment, the Goats will give you some notes.
I can promise you, you will not be bored.
Reviewed by Jack Kenny
Goat’s Notes were formed in 2008 and in these last 5 years became one of the most known newjazz ensembles of Moscow. “Fuzzy Wonder” is their debut album edited by english Leo Records and at the same time by russian Fancy Music label. You can buy or listen to this release on their bandcamp.
On this album we’ve got 14 not that long improvisations, that are belonging to a range of styles in between Tzadik’s klezmer and “Auktsion” or “Polite Refusal” improvised pieces, along with some folk music intrusions that could make you think of Arkady Shilkloper & Segey Starostin’s discs for example. So if you try to label or define each of the ingredients of sextet’s music - it’s quite easy to get lost. Even though their music has to be called new-jazz, it is not actually a jazz or modern-jazz issue. So if some jazz-like feature appears, it is still just an element in a general flow as in Party Flowers for example. And here it is also simply freaking out with tradition, but kind and smily. In the music of Goat’s Notes you could possibly feel the influence of New York jam-bands, and sometimes it looks like progressive-rock appearing. There’s some space for pseudo-academic passages that remind us of american minimalists and Vladimir Martynov at the same time, as in “Landscape Architecture” for instance. Working with small forms is another special feature of this collective. You wouldn’t find here a
long improve-session, tracks don’t last longer than 7.31 with numerous events that are stacked one over the other but not giving a junk heap impression. All this is nicely displayed in the cover image combining some tiny details that you would go for focusing on them, but at the same time keeping your attention on the whole.
- Ilya Belorukov
This group of improvisers of Moscow shows that the scenario of Russian jazz has never eclipsed:
Goat's Notes is a group fascinated by the taste to combine poly-harmonies of Mingus' free jazz
("Blues and Roots"), Zappa's bizarre improvisation ("The grand wazoo") with the exclusion of that part of the music linked with the rock and some ethnic accent of their land.
"Fuzzy Wonder" contains many pleasant musical surprises, highlighting the artistic value of the two founders and the fundamental contribution of the two players of wind instruments, the excellent trombonist Ilya Vilkov and the talented clarinetist Andrew Bessonov. In a project lived in a kind of intelligent collective irony, that smells of free jazz of the sixties, with encouraging results "Fuzzy Wonder" recalls the style and moods contained in Mingus's compositions and those of the bands of the first American free jazz (Charlie Haden and the Liberation Orchestra especially), with brief forays into free improvisations furthest from the typical model of the first American free jazz and with the desire to maintain even their own ethnic roots.
Diritti Riservati - Pubblicato da Ettore Garzia
Apart from some information found in the liner notes, we have no biographical or artistic information on the members of this iconoclast sextet that has appeared on Moscow’s ethno-folk-rock-jazz-avant-garde
contemporary scene. In a sort of modern homage to "music without borders," as taught by the masters Frank Zappa and Charlie Mingus, the Goat's Notes are having fun. Moreover, they're having fun under the fatherly guidance of the producer Leo Fegin whom we will never stop thanking for all that he has been publishing on a regular basis on his immense record label.
On the initiative of the pianist Grigory Sandomirsky and the bassist Vladimir Kudryavtsev, the combo was born in 2008 after the two founders met at a concert by Anthony Braxton Quartet in Moscow. The trigger (it can also be heard in the fourteen tracks by the enigmatic Fuzzy Wonder) may have been the classical violinist Maria Logofet who is capable of shifting perspectives and measures in rhythmically unusual and innovative areas. Of course, at this point, the rock heritage of the "scholarly" Andrey Bessonov (clarinet), combined with the theories of rhythm by Piotr Talalay (drummer founder of the Ensemble Priot, quite well known within
Moscow's jazz scene) and the virtuosity of the trombonist Ilya Vilkov (playing in the line-up of all the major Russian big bands of the decade) did the rest.
Fuzzy Notes is a treasure chest of surprises and promotes the artistic value of Goat's Notes protagonists.
If, with a little imagination, you try to think of a possible output of a band with such characteristics that
presents itself to the "new music scene" with the idea of total creative improvisation, you may be able to imagine the result. A sort of "new Fellinian hypothesis" that doesn't give in to being circus-like and frivolous. Instead, we are dealing with a balanced mix of positive sound folly in the hands of excellent musicians who are able to give to the interplay an outline of intelligent irony in some ways similar to the underground Chicago scene of the midsixties (think Mingus and Haden's Liberation Orchestra) as well as the forms of the free collective closer to us. But the ethnic helm firmly directs the boat through the territories of the old Europe which, at the end of the day, turns out to be the trump card of this successful record. Listening to it is not likely to change the way you think or to affect the appearance of your neurons but it will enable you to newly grasp the famous saying - recently "distorted" for other purposes - "ladies and gentlemen: no music no party."
Have fun. There is good reason for it.
by Vittorio Albani
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