Tag Archives: steve baczkowski

[Review: Bul-Bul Tarang Gang, ‘Kali’]

Bul-Bul Tarang Gang packs a punch. Their Kali cassette released under the Sloow Tapes label symphonically channels the creator and destroyer, Indian Goddess Kali, the “black night.” Kali blurs together the sounds of harmonium, bass, dholak, emphatic percussion, and the bul-bul tarang. The bul-bul tarang is played by Buffalo’s Ravi Padmanabha, who is known for his collaborations with saxophonist Steve Baczkowski and also his brotherly trio, the Family FUNKtion and the Sitar Jams. The gang here—which features FUNKtion brothers Naryan and Aneal Padmanabha on percussion (along with Bill Conroy), Micheal McNeill on harmonium, and Ed Kalvoon on bass—takes the listeners on an exotic set of raga-infused meditations from the otherworld which yield an incredibly unique, stimulating experience.

There is a constant meditative thread that runs throughout each piece. The melodies are stirred, allowed to rise, and then simmered back down, all collaborating nicely off one another. Ravi’s sound on the bul-bul-tarang is likely to impress and is something that many may have not encountered before.

Albums that have a concept and stimulus are fascinating, and I believe that Kali captures a wide-range of the goddess’ forms and emotions. “Kali Part I” warms up with a lingering introduction to all the instruments one will hear throughout the album. A few minutes in, they begin to crash and meld into one another, as the image of Kali stepping onto the battle ground, rattling up the army, is conjured in the listener. The percussion glides swiftly. Around five minutes in, the harmonium and percussion create a steady, entrancing, andante beat. In the foreground, the bul-bul tarang is sharp and spirited, while the percussion provides spacious support, lifting the harmony from the darkness. The sounds of the bul-bul-tarang–which translates to “a wave of nightengales”–lives up to its name and leads the listener through sonic chaos, crooning for Kali and singing her praises. Toward nine minutes in, the pace runs and intensifies becoming more stilted and frenzied. After a few minutes, the bass splinters out, the bul-bul tarang quiets as “Kali Part I” ends. The blood has been spilled.

“Kali Part II” picks up with the tarang playing a steady raga. The pace is controlled, no stray elements linger. Perhaps Kali has stepped on Shiva, her consort, and her tongue has flicked out in shame. The tarang rumbles on and the drums become stronger, eerie, and seductive. As the song progresses, it becomes more meditative; the harmony appears nostalgic, as it returns to the dark from whence it came. The tarang softens as the bass bounces, calming the music, dampening into the mist.

Out of the darkness must come light, of course. Sarasvati, the river goddess whose knowledge Brahma used to create the universe, is a great contrast to Kali. As we know, energy is neither created nor destroyed. Chaos brings creation. The track invokes Sarasvati’s flow. McNeill’s harmonium strums along as Klavoon’s bass plops steadily, like a water’s ebb. Each component is patient, trickling. This is a refreshing, relaxing ride between journeys. We aren’t peaceful for very long, though. “Nagin A” and “Nagin B” channel Naga’s, the snake spirits, half serpent and half man, who are harbingers of drought and famine, and also contain the fluid of immortality. In the opening, the tarang slithers through the pensive, enchanting beat. Toward the climax of the album, the drums created by the trio of percussionists gives off an intense heat.  A great wisdom is subtlety being imparted—the flux of life is ever-changing. At the climax, the tarang jumps octaves, ending with the fluctuating, wavering harmonium, decresendoing into silence.

It is said that to be a child of Kali is to be denied of earthly delights and pleasures. Kali refrains from giving that which is expected. This very refusal to do so enables her devotees to reflect on dimensions of themselves and of a reality that goes beyond the material world. The Bul-Bul Tarang Gang establishes a medium to convey the transience of this message, a seamless, wavering, powerful album that reflects on many aspects of the self, while providing an entertaining and spirited symphony.

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Review by Ailsa Florenza


[Soundcloud Group Featured Track: Improv Ork, ‘Graphic Music’]

As the 2012 edition of Infringement Festival nears, how about we take a look back at a great performance from last year’s fest?

Here is one that Buffalo’s John Bacon, percussionist  and member of Improv Ork, uploaded to our Soundcloud group. “Graphic Music” features an all-star cast, including J.T. Rinker, Jonathan Golove, Dan Bassin, Steve Baczkowski, Joe Rozler, and of course Mr. Bacon.

You can catch Improv Ork again this year on Thursday, August 2 at Hallwall’s.

Remember the Upstate Soundscape is an Infringement “venue” and will feature in-studio performances on tomorrow’s show and next week’s. Stay tuned for more info.

From Bacon’s Soundcloud site: [“Graphic Music” was] performed by Improv Ork as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival July 2011 at Soundlab Buffalo, NY. Electronic, percussion, wind and string instruments coexist, combine, conflict, collaborate all with the intent to create a new sonic landscape that is environmentally freindly. Featuring J.T. Rinker, Jonatahn Golove, Dan Bassin, Steve Baczkowski, Joe Rozler, John Bacon.


[Archive 06.20.12.]

1) Thoughts on Air, “Hop Scotch,” Randem Tandem (Old Frontiers)
2) Liars, “The Exact Colour of Doubt,” WIXIW (Mute)
3) Peaking Lights, “LO HI,” Lucifer (Mexican Summer)
4) Sandro Perri, “Changes (Eluvium Remix)” (DFA)
5) Laurel Halo, “Thaw,” Quarantine (Hyperdub)
6) Zelienople, “Out of It,” The World is a House on Fire (Type)
7) Mercury Rev, “Empire State (Son House in Excelsis),” See You on the Other Side (Beggar’s Banquet) 1995
8) Bill Nace, Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty, “Untitled” Live at Flywheel (12.30.11)
9) Steve Baczkowski-Bill Nace Duo, Live in Buffalo (8mm)
10) Nels Cline, Wally Shoup, and Chris Corsano, “Lake of Fire Memories,” Immolation/Immersion (Strange Attractors)
11) Rangda, “Sarcophogi,” False Flag (Drag City)
12) Steve Baczkowski and Nola Ranallo, “Tusk and Drink,” Live at Soundlab 
13) Northampton Wools, “Sweetness,” Live at All Tomorrow’s Partie2010 (Free Music Archive)
14) Thurston Moore, Bill Nace, Chris Corsano, “Untitled” Live at Colour Out of Space (07.09.08)

[Archive 05.02.12: House of Alchemy Special]

 

1) Afghanistan, “Cicada Song,” And Bide Your Time
2) Mister Matthew, “Innerspaced (excerpt),” Telecut Powers (Gift/Draft Tapes)
3) Digital Dog Party, “Life’s Intermission,”
4) Steve Baczkowski and Nola Ranallo, “Marrow Bird,” Live the Soundlab 
5) Rust Worship, “Side A (Excerpt),” Terrerestial Society (House of Alchemy)
6) Parashi, “Undulate,” Parashi/Chapels Splits (House of Alchemy)
7) Venn Rain, “The History of Things to Come,” Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)
8) DeTrop, “Four Stages Apostasy (excerpt),” Man, Woman & Beast (House of Alchemy)
9) Mama Baer, “Track 1,” Perverted People Girl Fuckers (House of Alchemy)
10) Scott Valkwitch, “InfraRed Black Haze,” TBA (House of Alchemy)
11) Jason Lescalleet, “Accidental Orriental,” Electronic Music (RRR)
12) Hive Mind, “Side 1 (excerpt),” Elemental Disgrace (Spectrum Spools)
13) Yek Koo, “East Hollywood Studio,” A Plea for a Night Desert
14) Clay Cantrell, “Late Aster Girl,” The Tree Farmer (House of Alchemy)
15) Transplant Mountains, “So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World (excerpt),” Transplant Mountains/Chapels Split (House of Alchemy)
16) Mundkrach & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau, “Track 3 excerpt,” A/N/T/I/Z/I/P/A/T/I/O/N (House of Alchemy)
17) Sheldon Siegel, “Side A excerpt”Midden (House of Alchemy)
18) Rambutan, “Midpoint (excerpt),” Rambutan/Fossils from the Sun Split (House of Alchemy)


[Visually Sound Sunday: Pre-Music Consciousnesses -Going to Cargill ‘S’ 2]

Stumbled on this while doing some research. A couple minutes into the video you’ll see Steve Baczkowski blasting his horn inside the Cargill grain silo found just south of Buffalo. Even over YouTube, the sound is unbelievable. The natural reverb here gives the saxaphone an incredibly haunted and eerie sound that will give you chills. Seriously.

From tuffrod’s youtube channel: Steve [Baczkowski] was telling me that there was abandoned grain elevator where he used to play when he was kid and it had gigantic silo. It must be interesting to make sounds inside of it. but we couldn’t make it for a while. Then one day time has come. should we go to the grain elevator? why not! Riding bicycles carrying big instruments and video cam. 

The refrain of the pastoral phrase by Steve is enhanced by this silo which can be called the remains of the 20th century and reaches the extremity. 

So we were totally beaten by this natural reverberation.

this is series of video that is trying to imagine pre-music field.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L6MUR36v9g&feature=plcp&context=C451bda0VDvjVQa1PpcFNG2M4pfwlJ6-zWF6_bF0eHrp89e27JBi8%3D%5D

[Preview 02.01.12: Vault Show, New Skell/HOA/caesura and more]

Got a whole bunch of good stuff lined up for tonight, including new tracks fresh in from the House of Alchemy, cae-sur-a, and Skell labels.

Keir Neuringer w/ DJ Sniff

Good show going down at the Vault tomorrow, so we’ll hear some of the artists that will be performing, including Ithaca’s Keir Neuringer, Toronto’s Colin Fisher, and the Steve Baczkowski/Bill Sack Duo from Buffalo.

Pauline Oliveros

Also, I recently took a trip to the UB music library so we got some archival goodies to get to as well, including some Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, and others.

Windy & Carl

If we got time we’ll hear some other new stuff from old school droners Windy & Carl as well. Show starts at 10pm on 91.3 FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.


[Archive 11.30.11]

1) Parashi, “Broken Element,” Counterweight (Tape Drift)
2) Location Ensemble, “Diversion # 3,” Live in Saratoga 11.12.11
3) Christian Marclay, “Neutral,” Records1981-1989 (Atavistic)
4) John Cage, “Imaginary Landscape No. 1,” The Works for Percussion I 
5) Steve Baczkowski, “Side A,” Tone Arm (cae-sur-a)
6) Otomo Yoshihide, “2*10′,” Re/cycling Rectangle: Complete Works (Rectangle)
7) Janek Schaefer, “Tone Arm Two,” Above Buildings (Fat Cat)
8) Phillip Jeck, “Now You Can Let Go,” (Touch)
9) DJ Sniff, “Live Improvisation,” Recorded live at WORM, Rotterdam, 9.9.11 for the presentation of Gerco Hiddink & Rutger Zuydervelt’s ‘Bridges’ project
10) Indignant Senility, “Untitled – Part Seven,”  Plays Wagner (Type)
11) Borful Tang, “Herd and Unherd,” Herd and Unherd (Gigante)
12) Rust Worship, “Repressed Memories,” Deposits of Despondency (Tape Drift)
13) Ignaz Schick and Martin Tetreault, “6-p45 six,” Live 33 45 78 (Ambiances Magnétiques)
14) Pierre Schaffer, “Etude Aux Chemins De Fer”
15) DJ Sniff and Burkhard Beins, “Live Improvisation,” Recorded live at WORM, Rotterdam, 9.9.11 for the presentation of Gerco Hiddink & Rutger Zuydervelt’s ‘Bridges’ project