tunedin52 & zenjungle
written, produced & performed by tunedin52 & zenjungle @ castlebaldwin, sligo, ireland and athens, greece.
tunedin52: guitar. samples noise loopstation delays mac gleetchlab
zenjungle: sax. percussion
mastered by john daly and phil @ castlebaldwin, sligo, ireland. and athens greece.sleeve design and photography by tunedin52.
(c) + (p) 2012 catalogue of wonders (arts) ~ the copyright in these sound recordings & artwork are owned by tunedin52 & zenjungle under exclusive license to catalogue of wonders (arts), london
not that i am a jazz aficionado or a musicologist, but the creation of sounds of an improvising nature always interested me, thus my interest in some of the history of jazz. moreover, the recent history (or stories) of improvised music.
before i wrote this little article i enquired at work what people thought or thinks of jazz, but i asked them not to think at all and tell me what came to their mind, three things to be precise when i told them the word ‘jazz’ the exercise proved elucidative (regarding the fact that i work in a university!)
some of the answers were expected, some other not. miss dix explained that ‘jazz’ brought to her memory men in suits, smoking and playing saxophones. mister spalenka more elucidative responded immediately with images of san francisco and the beat generation (bebop), alcohol and drugs. the most common images inbuilt on people’s minds are saxophone, louis armstrong or, for my horror: noise! but some were nostalgic explaining that what they love of jazz is grappeli and menuhin playing together. for others nowadays jazz is chill out musak, relaxing bar and pub music, a certain kind of sophistication. mister weston told me blushing that jazz for him was a portal, a big ‘yes’ and a passion for double bass. nevertheless mrs. peters’ thoughts were all about mardi gras, carnivals and fun and new orleans.
so we live at the moment at the mercy or in the very comfortable and so far semi-free times of the cyber highways, always staring at the past with a mix of disdain and admiration (and more frequently than not the speed is so vertiginous that we only stare at our bellybutton.) after all the gods are dead, the history seemed to have ended and we now can do whatever we want (or so we think.) anything is for grabs, everything is available, anyone can create “music”. yes, we are the new gods (+ sex and horror, as frankie said wisely...), everything is permitted (permissible?) and possible and all (or nothing) is true (hassan i sabbah via w. s. burroughs.)
they tell us that we live in a post-post-historical time (others say post-post-modernism, which can also be the same), and an inspired innovative world that comes from the twentieth century through the avant-gardes and back to the scavenging of the origins, which others call a waste of time and, what really matters here, keeps jazz stuck in the second decade of the twenty-first century: imitation, homage, standardised repertoire, tributes, lack of inspiration, fashion/fashionistas, fusion, commercialism... united states of america - hybrids, pop, charting territories, polished sounds (sounding), the compromises of krall, connick jr., norah jones, callum, etc...
‘on popular music’ (adorno) “even though jazz musicians still improvise in practice, their improvisations have become so ‘normalised’ as to enable a whole terminology to be developed to express the standard devices of individualisation... this pseudo-individualisation is prescribed by the standardisation of the framework. The latter is so rigid that the freedom it allows for any sort of improvisation is severely limited. Improvisations... are confined within the walls of the harmonic and metric scheme. In a great many cases, such as the ‘break’ of the pre-swing jazz, the musical function of the improvised detail is determined completely by the scheme: the break can be nothing other than a disguised cadenza. Hence, very few possibilities for actual improvisation remains.”
nevertheless the jazz that interests me keeps kicking out of its own corpse and “having permanent interest and value” (as j. c. fillmore said of the ‘true’ music, classical that is, in 1885.) this to admit that before the second world war the artists of the avant-garde were consciously fighting canons but examining the relations between art and society. but after the end of that period art was to challenge and change society in an anti-colonialist, anti-regime, anti-segregation and anti-discrimination stances, while celebrating tea absurd and the dystopian, the empty, the repetitive and the popular. nuclear weapons brought confusion, manipulation and desperation. not that these artists succeeded in their pretensions, but they fought and created a difference. it is this part of jazz that interests me most. the travelling and challenges this ‘new’ music provoked, the extensive travels to learn one’s way and hand, live...
music wants to be free:
silence when death’s chauffer turns on the car radio in jean cocteau’s film orphée, a voice from the underworld recites disconnected lines of enigmatic poetry and strings of numbers. The first line we hear in the film is “silence is twice as fast backwards... three times.” (david toop, p. 140 ‘ocean of sound’)
the three kantian maxims of common human understanding (‘critique of judgement’):
they are these: (1) to think for oneself; (2) to thin from the standpoint of everytone else; (3) always think consistently. The first is the maxim of unprejudiced thought, the second that enlarged thought, the third that of consistent thought.
as to the second maxim belonging to our habits of thought, we have quite got into the way of calling a man narrow (narrow, as opposed to being of enlarged mind) whose taqlents fall short of what is required for employment upon any work of any magnitude(especially that involving intensity.)
the third maxim – that, namely, of consistent thought – is the hardest of attainment, and is only attainable by the union of both the former, and after constant attention to them, has made one at home in their observance.
jazz wants to be free:
art for art’s sake: witty, intelligent and challenging. the listener must give it utmost attention, be part of the play and listening, there is an absence of a familiar frame of reference, no chorus, no harmonic resolutions...
these are the reasons why i am interested in the work of tunedin52 and zenjungle. in ‘jazz subversion’ the classic rules of jazz are subverted through innovation and exploration and in two different geographical places, the artists never met to record the album. their processes rejects imitation and develops itself by acute individualism.
“following some preparation and experimentation i aim to create a piece in one live take knowing that there will be unpredictable occurrences - which i welcome within the work. the chain of building and layering sound is primarily guitar, ebow and loop station with a menu of found sounds, field recordings and voice in gleetchlab. the work is further manipulated with effects using the software available from noiseplug, ambient and audacity with the interface provided by ni audio 6 komplete between me and the digital crunching required to process all that information.”
obviously this is not the first album recorded over the internet, but here in ‘jazz subversion’ there is a mix of tradition (the improvisation of the saxophonist) and contemporary musical ideas and technologies, both the tunedin52 and zenjungle. they created brand new music through melodic figures, dissonance and use of electronic effects and technology.
“in jazz subversion i am collaborating with a physically distant saxophonist – zenjungle, whose work i know. before this project i was exploring the sonic possibilities of real-time manipulation of guitar through loop station working with delays and pitch shifting. but for zen, i produced a series of tracks that are influenced by our common enthusiasm for jazz and the playing of john coltrane, building in spaces for zen’s sax response. it’s different for me to work with another musician whom i’ve never met and at first i gave him some guidelines to consider re. melody and timing but we agreed that these could be ignored. zenjungle’s contributions prove that ignoring them was the correct approach. i’m excited by what we have created together.”
zenjungle continues: “i don't have a standard method when i play with sound. when john sent me these tracks to add sax on them i really didn't know where that would lead. i first heard the 'flunkjazz' track and i thought 'wow! /what's that? /super! /what will i add to this? / what the fuck?' and i have to say that i have listened in my life tons of experimental and jazz stuff but it was still making me wonder. it was 'easier' than i thought when i started playing. after some listening and a few takes on the sax the whole thing took another direction for me. it was the moment that i started feeling free and enjoying it too much. there is a lot of improvisation in all the songs. i did some live takes and then put them in. sometimes, i use all the takes that i record.
as i said i like to 'throw' things (ha!) - and to be more specific - recorded stuff on a track here and there to see what will happen in the end. the result always surprises me. it must be stuff that i still carry since i was playing in freejazz / freeform bands in the past.
the result is pure jazz, using glitch, musique concrete, internet, new techniques and electronic apar traditional instruments like the guitar and the saxophone – “to get to the final result (jazz) by engaging unorthodox methods: digital cut and paste, looping phrases, pitch shifting, feedback generation, digital stutter - creating a jazz trio style from guitar, dropping tuning to get a bass line and slapping to simulate a drum loop, also used, toy drum and tibetan bowl,” says tunedin52. He refers other methods, for some of the tracks that “consists of a carrier (a prerecorded sample) and a modulator (a sample or realtime sound that when played allows the carrier to be heard). in 'subversive convolution' the sub bass line is only heard when the guitar line is played. the creative possibilities of this module are endless and is used a lot on this album.” Which is to say, and tunedin52 again “punk-funk-junk just my way of saying fuck the preconceptions this is our jazz, take it or leave it.”
which leads me to conclude that ‘jazz subversion’ is part of that rare group of ‘militant art’, a work that asserts its posture and, yes, is disruptive. and beautiful.
zenjungle writes about his music life history:
i'm not sure about the first music i listened to. i grew up in a house where my parents listened to mostly greek pop music, i guess something that was popular in the 80's.
i bought my first lp at the age of 9. it was a compilation double album of the pop hits of the year. a funny thing is that these pop compilations used to have a metal song, always the last track on the record. i remember that i used to play this one more than the others because it was so different. it didn't take me much time to start buying records of heavy metal bands after that.
a good thing was, that in the house there was a classical guitar and i remember hitting the strings as if it was a toy. at the age of 10 my older cousin gave me an electric guitar. i used to plug it into my parents hi-fi because i didn't have any amplifier, but soon i blew the speakers. after that, the speakers produced a cheap distorted sound, so i tried more and more to play my own heavy metal sound.
i listened to different stuff even at that age. i passed through a lot of different phases. the other kind of music that i really got into was the new wave scene of the 80's. i enjoyed very much listening to bauhaus, joy division, cocteau twins and all the 4ad stuff. i tried to play the music that i was listening to, on guitar (i bought a good one after a few years, some good pedals and a powerful amplifier) or with a cheap yamaha keyboard that a friend of mine gave me.
i never took any music lessons, i'm not sure why, i guess my parents didn't feel that it was important and i never asked them to send me to music school. after the synth-electro-new wave phase i went some years back in time and started listening to music of the late 60's and early 70's. from psych to classical rock.
a big influence for me was the music of jethro tull and was encouraged to buy my first flute. at this time i had a rock band, i was playing guitar and composing most of the songs and lyrics. a friend of mine gave me a record of liberation music orchestra. charlie haden on the bass, carla bley on the piano, don cherry on the trumpet - to name a few. that was an awakening. the record changed my musical life, i explored and collected all the free jazz of the 70's. i bought a sax and taught myself to play. i was living in a commune, we listened to many kinds of music, and also we played music together. we had a piano, guitars, percussion, my wind instruments (after the flute and the sax i bought a clarinet too and also a didgeridoo). that was a great experience in my life and i started also to delve into more electronic sounds and computer assisted music.
i have a track that always takes my mind to another place, it's john surman's "edges of illusion". nowadays i listen more to music from friends on soundcloud. there are many talented people there and so much great music that it is hard to tell who is my favourite.
catalogue of wonders is a great collective of artists and i'm really honoured to be a part of it. one of the things that really blew my mind was the music of the virgin automata (which reminds me, i have forgotten to purchase that album!).
for 2013, i wish the situation here in greece will improve a bit, which seems impossible with all the austerity measures that have been passed. apart from that, to continue playing music on my own and with my collaborators. a trip to ireland is in my plans, to meet john in person, and hopefully do a gig together.
tunedin52 writes about his music life history:
the older one gets the more fragile and uncertain memories become. there is also the inventive mind to consider. i only start like this to excuse myself if i say something different now to last year, and of course next year i may declare that i was once a pope. it's a privilege to be part of catalogueofwonders and asked to contribute to a publication. ben's questions seem at first simple and straightforward, but on reflection i find myself sitting silently, not composing an answer, but lost in the golden amber and sometimes miasmic maze of my life.
i'm not sure why but sadness is the earliest and most consistent feeling of my existence. so music that reflects this state, or consoles and empathises with it is the soundtrack of my life. it's not so much wallowing in sorrow as using sound as a life jacket to help tread water.
loss of loved ones and family is the greatest personal challenge we all face. miles davis 'composed' he loved him madly in tribute to duke ellington who died one month before the recording in 1974. i bought the album get up with it that year aged twenty two. it was then and probably still is my soundtrack. we called our daughter maiysha (after another track on the album) to celebrate our blessing and acknowledge the great comfort mile's music brought to our family.
1. THE FIRST MUSIC YOU CAN REMEMBER (DON’T CHEAT)
my father sat us down and commanded our attention to peter and the wolf. it was an extended play '78rpm vinyl with a beautiful his masters voice label.
for any who are not familiar:
peter and the wolf (russian: petya i volk), op. 67, is a composition written by sergei prokofiev in 1936 in the ussr. it is a children's story (with both music and text by prokofiev), spoken by a narrator accompanied by the orchestra. the instruments represent: bird: flute. duck: oboe. cat: clarinet. grandfather: bassoon. wolf: french horns. hunters: woodwind theme, with gunshots on timpani and bass drum. peter: string instruments (wiki)
i grew to love it and got to recognise most instruments by sound by nine years of age. both my brothers learned to play french horn while i struggled with violin and clamored around inside our old piano with various tools. we were not well off but my fathers priorities thankfully included a musical education.
2. THE RECORD THAT MEANS MORE TO ME UNTIL NOW.
so many, but i may as well go way back. rubber soul by the beatles. it was so fresh and new and hopeful.
3. THE RECORD THAT MADE ME MOVE FROM POP AND ROCK INTO OTHER THINGS.
it took a while. definitely an ornette coleman album which i listened to several times before i liked it. i can not remember the name but it prepared my mind and ears for two decades of amazing jazz that followed.
4. THE RECORD THAT REMINDS ME LEAVING HOME
it has to be 'she's leaving home' from sgt. pepper. when i heard it first i immediately packed my mental bags, however it was a couple of years before i got out the door.
5. THE RECORD THAT REMINDS ME OF MY FIRST LOVE
san francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair by scott mckenzie.) that's all i'm saying.
6. THE FIRST RECORD I HAVE BOUGHT
there was a jewelry shop in our town that sold top twenty 45s. probably rolling stones 'little red rooster' or roy orbison's candy man. i'm not even going to check the timeframe to see if that makes sense.
7. THE RECORD THAT MADE ME WANT TO MAKE DIFFERENT THINGS
i never thought of making anything but different things. my failure to do so has kept me quiet for a long time.
8. THE FIRST BROKEN HEART RECORD
let's get it on. marvin gaye. :(
9. THE RECORD THAT MADE ME WANT TO MAKE MUSIC
the first chord of jailhouse rock by elvis. i gained this single very early from a cousin who did not like it.
10 THE FIRST RECORD I EVER DANCED TO
i can't do dancing but my body tried to move to 60s soul, i guess 'do you like soul music' was a real challenge to victims of years of occupation, oppression, and the catholic church. most irish people until the dawn of house music danced as if they had a broom handle shoved up their bottoms , check river dance :)
11. THE RECORD THAT REALLY INFLUENCED MY SOUND UNTIL TODAY
it has to be something by stockhausen not that you could tell, the influence is more to do with my desire to always seek out new sound and explore alternative sound composition. i know a little about music theory, my approach with sound is non theoretical but relies more on empirical knowledge.
12. THE RECORD THAT ALWAYS MAKES ME CRY
well not always, but i am likely to shed a tear from time to time. simon and garfunkel's america is a fairly consistent tear jerker. the vocal harmonies, the acoustic and chorus guitar are so emotive and the imagery portrayed a new american dream which was spreading around the world. now it's a nostalgic journey where one can feel the vibrance of youth scratching through the years.
13. THE FIRST GREAT RECORD I EVER LISTENED TO
easy for a teen from the sixties. sgt pepper. you had to be there and one of the millions of kids to know the power of that album.
14. THE LAST GREAT RECORD I LISTENED TO
that is a difficult question. attaching greatness to music seems now such strange thing to do, very much the value system of youth. i can not remember thinking anything was great in the last thirty years, i guess also it was easier to imagine a greatness when buying a vinyl album with sleeve notes and artwork. i still buy the odd cd and digital downloads but a lot of my listening now is on soundcloud where many of todays vibrant creators share their work for free. soundcloud for now, is the sound store of the future. i never liked the word 'industry' attached to music and hopefully this monster will fade away like dinosaurs, along with the hmvs, virgins and the industry mega stores. however i still love singer-songwriters and have had great joy listening to an irish singer ann scott. her first album (i think) is poor horse 2003 (firstname.lastname@example.org). i think this an inspired album.
15 MY FAVOURITE 5 ALBUMS OF ALL TIME AND WHY
this could go on all day so i will keep my answers brief.
1. a hard days night. the beatles. 1964
the music, the sleeve, the movie, the hairstyles, the suits, the era, and it gave me the courage to say fuck off to my tyrannical auntie rose (who i grew to love in later years). i just realised i was only twelve years old, what a little bastard i was, john lennon has a lot to answer for!
2. are you experienced. jimi hendrix. 1967
i do consider that i am lucky to have lived through the greatest decade of the last century, the 65-75. jimi hendrix was like a visitor from another planet, proof that we are not alone in the universe. the sound is blue denim, psychedelic tie dyes, long hair, afghans, leather, petula oil, cannabis resin, orange tinted bongs, circular shades, purple haze, rebellion, sanctuary, enlightenment, hope and vision. jimi did not live to see our hippy generation disintegrate.
3. bitches brew. miles davis. 1970
miles headed up every decade with a masterpiece. always influencing and being influenced by the great innovators, on this album he fuses a unique brand of jazz rock improvisation which challenged the jazz world and inspired rock and funk players to explore new sounds. i remember the opening track as a dangerous and heady experience, it was an explosion into a new world.
4. head hunters. herbie hancock 1973
ultimate funk jazz by a master. everything about this album was perfect.
5. mysterious traveller. weather report 1974
it's hard to pick out a weather report album, the band went through so many changes of sound and amazing personnel. definitely from the miles stable, joe zawinul and wane shorter took fusion jazz to great and unique heights. i must cheat here and also mention black market 1976. our little band of gipsies enjoyed many all nighters with miles, weather report and herbie hancock's headhunters.
but five is not enough and i would just like to mention other inspirational albums i listened to in these golden years. the black saint and the sinner lady. charles mingus 1963. out to lunch. eric dolphy 1964. science fiction. ornette coleman 1971. on lighter days and nights it was beatles, sly stone, james brown, stevie wonder, jeff beck, stanley clarke, almost anything on ecm etc, etc..
ALBUM OF THE YEAR, WHY?
jazz subversion :)
it's zen it's me it's good it's bad it's 'not' music it's 'not' jazz it's sound it's free (or is it?) it's paving it's wallpaper it's refuse it's anti matter it's treasure it's mycelium it's water.
DO YOU LIKE ANY ARTISTS OR ALBUMS OF THE CATALOGUE OF WONDERS? (IT DOESN’T MATTER AT ALL IF YOU DO NOT!) – AH AH, WHY?
i applied to join the catalogue having listened to and liked so much music there. i bought and like very much asobi by gymnosophists and haru kakoyama. the catalogue is a treasure of experimental sounds.
WHAT DO YOU WISH FOR 2103? WHY?
1 stay healthy and alive
2 continue to work with zen, our sound exploration takes us everywhere. i would love to meet up and see if we can perform live.
3 make some progress with a book i'm producing.
4 reach a wider audience with my own and zentune's sound.
5 stay close to my partner, my daughter and grandchildren my family and friends.
6 best wishes to all my soundcloud friends and followers.
ZEN & TUNE graphical
these images were provided and are copyrighted to tunedin52 & zenjungle and are used by permission. they were used on a booklet in 2012, 'a muse's vault' to illustrate their sound life history which you can read above,