Tag Archives: jim abramson

[Free Music Friday: Gutpole, ‘Pole of Guts’]

Gutpole:

Jim Abramson – traps

Pat Cain – amplified saxophone, electronics

Scott Valkwitch – el. bass, oscillator

Recorded Live @ The Vault, Buffalo, NY 09.25.2012

Enjoy.


[Preview 04.04.12: Kraftwerkers, Show Tix + More]

Apparently, Hitler is not the only one upset over their inability to see Kraftwerk’s retrospective concerts at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC next week. Headed by the GalariesNFS, a group in Buffalo is organizing a “mirror event,” or string of shows from April 6-17 to honor the German electronic music pioneers and to give those that won’t get a chance to see the group live in NYC to take part in the retrospective (Hitler, reportedly, will not be able to attend due to being dead since 1945).

Details are scant, but it looks like things will kick off on Friday at Hallwall’s with a viewing of the documentary Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution, followed by a re-interperation of Kraftwerk I  by Jim Abramson, Scott Valkwitch, Pat Cain, & Gabe Gutierrez.

If more details emerge before airtime, I will be happy to impart them to you on the air. Regardless, we will do a block of Kraftwerk in honor of the event. *NOTE: The full schedule is now up on the FB Page. 

Also! We have two tickets to give away to the Disappears, Lotus Plaza, and Location Ensemble show going down in Albany on Wednesday, April 18.  These tickets are courtesy of WCDB Albany 90.9 FM. Make sure to tune in to find out how you can win the tickets.

Edwards and Friedberg's set up at EMPAC for 'Hant Variance'

Other stuff we will get to tonight include a preview of the Peter Edwards and Sabisha Friedberg’s Hant Variance exhibition at EMPAC (which is tonight), an absolutely INSANE re-construction of a famouse Beatles song by Buffalo artists Wendy Carlos Williams, and plenty of other awesome, amazing stuff that no doubt will make your head explode.

Show starts at 10pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.


[Review: Bear Flames, ‘EP 1, EP2 & Rehearsal Demos]

Buffalo noise-rock group Bear Flames features a trio of the city’s musical mainstays including drummer Jim Abramson, guitarist Scott Valkwitch, and bassist T. Andrew Trump (and at one time also briefly included other notable artists Jax Deluca and KG Price). While the group had been on a lengthy hiatus with the three core members working on an array of outside projects (i.e. Poverty Hymns, Totem Pole, Downsampling, Tenet/Octet) they have recently reunited to perform live and work on new recordings. Before moving into this next phase, however, the group has (re)released two EPs and some demos that were recorded between 2006-2007 in a single collection.

This group of songs demonstrates that Bear Flames’s music is both fresh–despite being recorded over five years ago–and pleasantly familiar. Fans of any number of post-1970s musical genres will instantly hear a number of recognizable and appealing sonic elements, but will also be exposed to a number of different and interesting musical ideas (specifically the ideas of unconventional song structures that are prevalent throughout the music heard here).

The debt that they owe to the New York bands that populated the No Wave movement of the late 1970s is apparent from the first note to the last, right down to the cover of DNA’s “Blonde Redhead.” Songs like “Radio (Friendly)” and “Sabbath” are built around simple, chiming chords rife with slightly unusual intervallic structure. The chord progressions tend towards the minimalist, exploring the same trance-like grooving that No Wave experimented with (think Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Theoretical Girls, etc., but slightly less abrasive and pretentiously ‘arty’). And of course, there is a heavy emphasis on ‘noise’, i.e. dissonant soundscapes that tend to evoke moods concurrent with the music around them; discomfort, paranoia, impending doom, and destruction all come to mind when listening to these barrages of amplified lightning.

The band possesses a powerful rhythm section that reminds me largely of Nomeansno; a style of playing by Trump that is both relatively simple and grounded yet sufficiently in the place as the ‘lead’ instrument (check out “Future of the House” for a good example). Abramson, meanwhile, is able to shift from absolute bare-boned to frenetically charged patterns at the drop of a hat and right back just as easily, as he does on “Bad Knee.” This leaves Valkwitch (who also handles FX duties) ample room to swing between the extremes of caustic atonality and feathery, chiming chords. The result is a band that is orchestrated in a very tempered way, where no one member overshadows another.

There are a number of standout tracks here, such as a “Social Security”– which starts out as a mock-up of what disco may have sounded like if acid was the drug of choice for the time instead of cocaine — with a wonderfully dissonant loop that seems to suggest running for your life while you dance. The song erupts in the middle, breaks apart, and regroups into a much more melodious but no less unnerving second half before once again falling apart.

Another great track is “Future of the House” where sections of hard-rock riffage alternate with more subdued sections of an almost dublike nature with the rhythmic entanglement of tremolo-bass and syncopated hi-hat. “IFSS” starts off with a tremendously flighty, off-kilter 3/4 strut before metamorphosing into a jumpy, even cheery 4/4 groove and finally combining the two in a beautiful moment of fusion before finally settling back into the original time.

This mixture of grooves is one of the defining features of the group, where they build up only to destroy and then rebuild often using one or more elements from the original construct. See “K/K” where the minimalist bass travels from two disparate sections, staying more or less the same while everything else around it shifts. This kind of trick shows up in a number of songs, and is thrilling each time.

To put it simply, there is a lot of really interesting, exciting music to be had here, especially the tracks recorded in 2007. Highly recommended for anyone into No Wave, post-punk, plain old punk, alternative, etc. Well worth your time.

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Review by Liam McManus 

[Free Music Friday: Bear Flames, EPs and Demos]

After a several year hiatus Bear Flames re-emerged with a performance at Hallwall’s last month. Whether or not the reunion was a one-off is unclear at the moment*, but the avant-rock trio out of Buffalo has made available a bunch of their old stuff to download via guitarists Scott Valkwitch’s SoundCloud site. Enjoy.

*Note: Valkwitch has responded by saying that the Hallwall’s show was “not a one-off reunion and we have been rehearsin’ NEW material.”  After listening to the old stuff I have to say that’s welcome news. 

From Soundcloud site:

Tracks 7 thru 10 Recorded in 2007 By Chris (RIP).
Tracks 1 thru 6 Recorded from 2005-06 by Bare Flames.

Jim Abramson – drums
T Andrew Trump – guitar, bass
Scott Valkwitch – guitar, effects


[2011 in Review: Bad Drone Media, ‘Glossy Eyes, Vol.1’]

Ranging from drone, to noise, to improv, this compilation from Buffalo’s Bad Drone Media is perhaps the clearest testament to the breadth of experimentation occurring within the Queen City. The compilation is not strictly a Buffalo affair, however, and does include tracks from friends within BDM’s noise network, including Pregnant Spore from Baltimore, Death Beef from Athens, Ohio, and Hostage Pageant from Virginia.

Without the existence of a single weak spot, Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 presents 13 articulate tracks that draw from distinct sonic wells. Mutus Liber‘s “Hesitation Resources” and Alfred Brown‘s “I’m Not a Fox for Nothing” both employ the workings of drone and ambient, while Pacing’s “Battle Damage,” GOD DAMN DEVIL EYES‘s “The Lady Next Door,”  and The Voidologists‘s “I Remember the Summer” all present different takes on harsh noise. Then VWLS meets the two sides in the middle with “Marauding Summer,” a screeching sci-fi trip down an eerie analog avenue.

Other standouts include Chapels’s “Stumbling,” a chattering lofi excursion, and Abramson Trump’s “Live at the Vault 1-30-11,” a masterful duet between two of Buffalo’s best musicians, drummer Jim Abramson and guitarist T. Andrew Trump. Both these tracks lend the compilation a stylistic depth by exploring territories outside of noise.

With several of these artists performing together on a regular basis at venues like Sugar City and the Jungle Gym it is hopeful that there will be a Glossy Eyes, Vol. 2 forthcoming from the Bad Drone Media label in the near future.

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Review by Cameron Alexander