The Uncoverables Podcast: Nick Fraser Interview

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This week’s episode (is four days late….) features excerpts from an interview I did over the summer with Canadian Improvising Drummer Nick Fraser.  We spoke a bit about his philosophies surrounding improvisation and the process behind his latest album Starer which you can find at nickfraserthedrummer.bandcamp.com!  New music from outside the jazz world included after the interview portion.  Tune in!

(photo credit: Christer Männikus)

Playlist (artist-“tune” from album)

Nick Fraser-“Sketch #20/22” from Starer

Gintas K-“Minmi” from Under My Skin

Sarah Davachi-“Ghosts and All” from Vergers

Sneaks-“Inside Edition” from It’s a Myth

The Courtneys-“Silver Velvet” from II

 

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2016 Review: Honorable Mentions

No Particular Order:

Weezer-self/titled (white album)

A sunny album that throws a little bit of pet sounds into the classic weezer mix.

Further Reading

Blood Quartet-Deep Red

No wave threw and threw with trumpet at the helm.

Further Reading

Kristoffer Lo-The Black Meat

A gloomy drone album that re-contextualizes the tuba with massive, electronic soundscapes coming into play at each climax.

Further Reading

Nao-For All We Know

A nonstop pop party.

Further Reading

Xenia Rubinos-Black Terry Cat

An amalgam of punk, soul, and hip-hop ethos with social awareness and charisma dripping down the walls of each track.

Further Reading

Jason Sharp-A Boat Upon Its Blood

cover

A dense experience that searches for resolution throughout.

Further Reading

Skepta-Konnichiwa

An album that never skips a beat, destroying the competition with each fiery verse.

Further Reading

Nick Fraser-Starer

A quick-hitting record that expertly navigates the space between planned and spontaneous.

Further Reading

Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer-a cosmic rhythm with each stroke

A striking duo project with an air of minimalism achieving an unexpected level of accessibility.

Further Reading

Braids-Companion EP

A necessary reiteration of the sounds of their 2015 record.

Further Reading

On the Monthly: June 2016

June had some really cool stuff from a lot of different genres check out my picks for the best of the best.

Nick Fraser-Starer

“Although the album includes one song of over 10 minutes in length, Fraser wastes little time in his idea development, quickly moving from minimalist beginnings to high-energy final blows.”

Check out an interview that I just did with Nick here

Review of “Minimalism/416-538-7149

First Impressions

Mitski-Puberty 2

“Puberty 2 opens with a song that speaks to the emotion of happiness as real person, providing a first hand look to at Mitski’s fleeting ability to remain happy.  Throughout the album Mitski maintains this discussion through a series of telling metaphors”

check out my thoughts on the tune “Crack Baby

First Impression

Jessy Lanza-Oh No

Had a chance to do an interview with Jessy for Cult MTL look out for it in the next week or so.

“collection of expertly produced electronic pop tunes that complement her strong vocal performance”

Check out my thoughts on “Never Enough

First Impressions

Nate Wooley-Argonautica

 “Through the incorporation of jazz musicians from the free community and the more straight-ahead fusion side of the jazz world,  Wooley presents a space where musicality is at the fore-front with different stylistic preferences epitomizing contrast.”

Liked this album a lot on my first listen as well as the three or four listens that followed.  Plan on doing a full review in the near future.

Clipping-Wriggle (EP)

Wriggle cover art

“the group uses intriguing sampling to construct an industrial aesthetic matching the hard-lined delivery of Diggs”

Check out my thoughts on the song “Shooter

First Impressions

case/lang/veirs-self-titled

case/lang/veirs cover art

“lush, folk sound aesthetic, each of them sharing the spotlight to allow their voices and lyricism to sing out together”

check out my thoughts on “Supermoon

First Impressions

DB

Nick Fraser-“Minimalism/416​-​538​-​7149″_Ear Worms

minimalism/416-538-7149 cover art

(https://nickfraserthedrummer.bandcamp.com/track/minimalism-416-538-7149)

Tony Malaby’s tense melody on album opener “Minimalism/416-538-7149” perfectly sets the tone for the piece and the rest of the album that follows.  His minor, dark tonalities are surrounded by oscillating strings with Fraser’s textural drum approach serving as the group’s glue.

“Minimalism” serves as a concise rundown of the band’s skills as they quickly move from abstract beginnings to a more hectic climax without over-emphasizing any particular level of energy.  As the album moves forward more exploration is done and time spent on specific levels of energy and dynamics, however, by lightly touching upon the band’s conception of sound development, “Minimalism” obtains a lot of replay value.

The group’s aesthetic is extraordinarily malleable with any player prone to work in the foreground or background depending on the stage of the song’s development.  This dynamic aspect of the ensemble’s sound conception is accomplished through the lack of stagnant root.  Fraser dances around the meter expertly while the absence of piano, an instrument prone to chordal repetition, allows the group to be extremely collective as all of their ideas may bounce off of each other in the non-hierarchical space.  Another symptom of the piano-less void is a certain lightness that the songs carry.  On this track in particular the plucking strings complement Malaby’s staccato.

Starer is a fantastic album.  It’s development and dynamicism combine for a beautiful level of musicality with the quick-hitting natures of the song maintaining the attention of the audience through every nook and cranny.

DB

Nick Fraser-Starer_First Impressions

Starer cover art

Nick Fraser is a huge name in the canadian jazz scene.  His exquisitely modern drum chops never cease to take risks making him a force to be reckoned with in the live setting.  On his new album, Starer, Fraser takes his ensemble through a quick moving collage of various jazz sound aesthetics culminating in a release that values contrast without dwelling on specific ideas for too long.

One of the standout aspects of the album is it’s quick-hitting nature, a rare quality in the landscape of modern jazz.  Although the album includes one song of over 10 minutes in length, Fraser wastes little time in his idea development, quickly moving from minimalist beginnings to high-energy final blows.  The opening track “minimalism/416-538-7149” begins with quiet, oscillating plucked strings with Fraser himself playing a bit of a solo amongst the rhythm section.  Eventually, saxophone player Tony Malaby joins in along with other sparring melodic moments from the rest of the ensemble.

Fraser’s drum chops are on display constantly.  His textural approach to tom playing outlines the melodic developments perfectly without becoming too heavy.  Also, he seems to have a true knack for rhythmic articulation in a non-specified rhythmic space.  The album, as a whole, simply moves forward very well never remaining in stagnant, open-spaces for too long.

The group uses the two string musicians quite well.  Along with Fraser’s drum conception, Andrew Downing and Rob Clutton add an interesting texture that matches the singing nature of Tony Malaby’s saxophone phrasing.  Also, the idea of texture is reinforced by the ability of the ensemble to include both plucked Bass lines and elongated cello lines in the same space, which makes the absence of piano an afterthought.

Overall, Starer seemed to be a very well put together album on my first listen.  Fraser’s ensemble takes risks and maintains a heightened sense of musicality throughout resulting in a sleek, modern release with little room for excess.

DB