Friday, November 14th, 2008 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM

(Return to playlists.)

Of note this week:

  • Previwing the ROVA/Nels Cline Celestial Septet: here, here, here, and here
  • The Carla Bley question
  • Don't blink for Blink
  • Getting down (and sideways) with Oliver Lake
  • Getting all Euro and hip with Andres Subercaseaux
  • Flashback: Jack DeJohnette

    2 Foot Yard -- Borrowed Arms (Yard Work, 2008)


    There's a lingering sadness to 2 Foot Yard's songs, a tinge of Eastern European heritage -- or, maybe I'm projecting Carla Kihlstedt's own musical heritage. For years, she's been turning out fine work in some of the most intriguing local bands, like Charming Hostess and Tin Hat, not to mention countless improv projects. The similarities are there, in the rich stew of classical, folk, jazz, and artsy European film soundtracks, coupled with Kihlstedt's heartfelt vocals (Marika Hughes', too) and poetic lyrics.

    2 Foot Yard was the name of Kihlstedt's first solo album of violin-and-vocals songs, with Tzadik, performed with Hughes on cello and Shahzad Ismaily on drums. It picked up deservedly good reviews for its challenging mix of classical, rock, Gypsy jazz, oddball folk, and, as one writeup put it, twisted Fellini soundtracks. In reconvening the band for a second go, Kihlstedt decided it had become a band now, with all three members

    creating the music collaboratively. So, Borrowed Arms became their second group effort, and the first under a collective name.

    "Octopus" kicks off the album with a melancholy, poetic tone about having three hearts -- one "yours," one "mine," and one a condemned space "piled high with things I've stolen." It's a sad little song -- but then it gets into a louder, sharper-edged break with guitar.

    That's the band, and the album, in a microcosm. Simpler, quieter songs abound -- the title track is a pretty tune, with airy vocals and a catchy chorus that's easy on the ears -- but things get loud when they have to. "Crisis" bitterly rocks out, much like the rougher tracks on Kihlstedt's first album. "Whistle Past the Graveyard" is a darkly folky tune with a sinister air that gets big and dramatic at points; "One Day in May," a breathy, sad song, bursts into a fierce, terrible energy at the end, like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (another Kihlstedt band) with classical overtones. So, 2 Foot Yard is full of lingering drama and latent heartache, but it's not just a frail folksinger on the corner; it's edgy and explosive, with the power to conjure up an orchestral storm.

    To that end, the local Magik*Magik Orchestra put together a program consisting of 2 Foot Yard songs, presented at the Swedish American Music Hall (the upstairs side of Cafe Du Nord). As part of the same show, they apparently played some modern classical pieces (Ives/Stravinsky kinds of fare) with 2 Foot Yard members sitting in. Ah, if only I'd been able to go.

    Three people make plenty of sound for this band, particularly with the variety of noises Kihlstedt and Hughes conjure up, but there's some welcome variety from the stacked deck of special guests, including Tin Hat bandmates Ben Goldberg, Mark Orton, and Rob Burger; saxman Colin Stetson; and, separately, guitarists Jim Campilongo and Myles Boisen.

    Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.


    * Jean Martin and Evan Shaw -- "Sweeter Than a Plastic Bag" -- Piano Music (Barnyard, 2007)

    The Nels Cline Singers -- "Lowered Boom" -- Instrumentals (Cryptogramophone, 2002)
    * Francois Houle, Joelle Leandre, Raymond Strid -- "Moment Grave" -- 9 Moments (Red Toucan, 2008) ROVA :: Orchestrova -- (Parts 5,6,7) -- Electric Ascension (Atavistic, 2005) * Blink. -- "Glass" -- The Epidemic of Ideas (Thirsty Ear, 2008)

    Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble -- "Smell of Fear" -- Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008)

    *! Andres Subercaseaux -- "Morning Again" -- Aqui (Triple Down, 2008) * Oliver Lake Organ Trio -- "Say Girl" -- Makin' It (Passin' Thru, 2008)

    Tao (Yasuhiko Tachibana, Carlo Actis Dato, Keisuke Ohta) -- "Orange" -- Tomorrow Night Gig (Leo Records, 2002)

    The Nels Cline Singers -- "Square King" -- The Giant Pin (Cryptogramophone, 2004) * Annbjorg Lien -- "Walking Strings" -- Waltz with Me (Compass, 2008) * Neil Welch -- "Raga Kirwani" -- Narmada (Belle, 2007)

    * Neil Welch -- "Raga Kirwani" [cont'd] -- Narmada (Belle, 2007)

    * Carla Bley Big Band -- "Awful Coffee" -- Appearning Nightly (ECM, 2008)

    *! Chumbawamba -- "Add Me" -- The Boy Bands Have Won (PM/Trade Root, 2008) * Plays Monk -- "Skippy" -- Plays Monk (Long Song, 2007)

    * Wadada Leo Smith -- "DeJohnette" -- Tabligh (Cuneiform, 2008)

    -- 5:00 p.m. --

    Jack DeJohnette -- "Picture 1" -- Pictures (ECM, 1977)

    * Kris Davis -- "Black Tunnel" -- Rye Eclipse (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008)

    * Csurgo Zenekar -- "A Halalra Hurcolt Menyasszony" -- Folk Music from Hungary (Arc,2008) * Carla Kihlstedt, Gino Robair, Matthew Sperry -- "Sonarchy Two" [excerpt] -- Sonarchy 1998 (Majmua, 2008)
    ? 2 Foot Yard -- "Borrowed Arms" -- Borrowed Arms (Yard Work, 2008) ROVA :: Orchestrova -- "A Lion in Your Bag" -- An Alligator in Your Wallet (East West, 2004) * George Schuller's Circle Wide -- "Common Mama" -- Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape, 2008)

    * = Item in KZSU rotation
    ! = Pop anomaly
    ? = Item not in KZSU library

    -- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
    -- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: