Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jack Rose - 1971-2009 - REST IN PEACE


Sorry for the random update, but Three Lobed Recordings is extremely sad to pass along news that our dear friend Jack Rose passed away this morning in Philadelphia at the age of 38. This news is still fresh to us and we're still trying to process it. Jack was a warm, caring person and was always a pleasure to be around. His larger than life spirit will truly, truly be missed even moreso than his inspired musical ability. Our deepest sorrow goes out to his wife.

Rest in peace, Jack.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


many more to follow

The Carnatic music of southern India is no stranger to innovation and unexpected instrumentation. The human voice is probably still the preeminent sound. While the veena (a plucked string instrument) and bamboo flutes are the ancient traditional tools, the violin has been common for more than two centuries. In contemporary recordings, the mandolin, guitar and slide guitar have even found their way into the music in interesting and potent ways.

The nadaswaram is one of the important wind instruments in Carnatic music, a loud reed instrument most often used in outdoor ceremonies. So the alto saxophone makes perfect sense, with its wide range of sounds and its ability to "bend" to the microtonally exact system of melody in Carnatic music. Fifty year old Kadri Gopalnath has pioneered the use of the saxophone in this music, to both critical acclaim and the loud protest of the keepers of tradition (whose forebears probably had a bit to say about the violin, too). He has adapted the music of the nadaswaram to his chosen instrument, but he is also expanding the boundaries of the music, making the saxophone a unique rather than imitative part of a new music. 

The songs on Gem Tones are both ancient and unique. As an example, two of the works on this CD are from the venerated composer Tyagaraja (1767-1847), and yet another dates back to the 16th Century. They retain an incredible sense of agelessness and yet seem strangely contemporary, full of rich improvisations and Kadri's personal style. These works are accompanied by mridangam (an hour glass drum), morsing (a metal "jew's harp")and violin. It is neither pop music nor a revived classical style in the Western sense. The tradition is based on change and Kadri Gopalnath is offering the saxophone as another part of the music's evolution.

"Speaking in an almost improvisational style, Jensen explores the nature of injustice, of what civilizations do to the natural world, and how, in the face of the resulting horror that is one of the all too apparent consequences of grave injustice, civilized human beings create intricate systems of denial, silence, abnegation, deception, and self-hatred to keep it at bay. A typical Jensen event is multidimensional and feels a bit like traveling beneath the earth among tree roots as they twist their way into soil, rock, riverbeds and accompany fish, insects, discarded tires, cellophane wrappers, animals, history, and human instinct on a strange and interlocking journey. It is indeed a heart rending, mind expanding, and ultimately healing excercise to explore Jensen's root system, with him not so much as a guide, but an experienced fellow traveler."

"Jensen is often labeled an anarcho-primitivist, by which is meant he concludes that civilization is inherently unsustainable and based on violence. He argues that the modern industrial economy is fundamentally at odds with healthy relationships, the natural environment, and indigenous peoples. He concludes that the very pervasiveness of these behaviors indicates that they are diagnostic symptoms of the greater problem of civilization itself. Accordingly, he exhorts readers and audiences to help bring an end to industrial civilization."

repost request

1987: C-60 (Cloaven Cassettes - 16)
Outtakes from the Torch of the Mystics sessions, circa 1987–88. Exotica with a capital X using two electric guitars and drums.