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Stoned Free

Heard many free jazz albums lately that, I don't know, were recorded after, like, 1965? No? Well, me neither. Call me crazy but it's kind of nice to listen to some shackles-free music by someone who's not...dead. So aren't we lucky that Australian...
Κείμενο Yule Tide

Heard many free jazz albums lately that, I don’t know, were recorded after, like, 1965? No? Well, me neither. Call me crazy but it’s kind of nice to listen to some shackles-free music by someone who’s not…dead. So aren’t we lucky that Australian label Heathen Skulls has had the sense to release a Brian Chase and Seth Misterka Duo album. Recorded in 2005, after playing together only once, the album is a compilation of their favourite improvisations recorded over a few bleary Brooklyn-winter weeks. You probably know Brian Chase as one third of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Seth—we’ll, since recording this album he’s decided to run for US president. On a pro-marijuana platform. Here’s what Brian had to say about it all. VICE: So I hear you’re “trying to find the middle road between the accessible and experimental” with this release. Brian: The improvisations on this record are essentially rooted in an experimental format: free improvisation mixed with compositional conceptualism with influences ranging from 70s AACM, 90s Downtown NYC eclecticism, Han Bennink and post-minimalism. But, we’re kids at heart that love rock and pop so our music tends to value basic elements of accessibility: clear and succinct motives and melodies, thematic playing which develops in an easily traceable way, a non-aggressive attitude which is inviting and inclusive rather than ugly and exclusive, lyricism, and brevity (most of the tracks are three minutes or under). Tell me a bit about recording. We recorded at Seth’s studio in his loft in south Williamsburg. My first memories are of hauling my hardware case through the snow, past the Hasidic newspaper office at the bottom of his building, up his steps and into his loft. Once inside, I remember his studio feeling calm, casual and relaxed and there being those quiet moments in a winter afternoon when the sun sets early and suddenly there’s a spark of inspiration. Would you describe the music as free jazz? The music is free but contained. It’s certainly not jazz but it has elements that extend from the jazz (mostly free) tradition. The music on this CD doesn’t suit the normal associations that the term ‘free jazz’ brings to mind—there is no hyper ‘skronk’ or freak out—very, very little anyway. It’s much too delicate and ‘wallpaper-y’ for that. The music seems to care and not care at the same time. It’s cool. So Seth’s running for president? Seth is serious and knows his shit. His platform in a nutshell: the system is rotten. Let’s take it down with Peace, Love, and Enlightenment. He doesn’t have many hits or friends on his myspace. Would you vote for him? He has one friend, Tom and, symbolically, that’s the only friend Seth needs. I won’t say I wouldn’t vote for Seth. So is he a total stoner? Are you? Marijuana very rarely comes my way and I don’t seek it out on my own. I don’t know. Do people still smoke pot? Who smokes pot? You’re in three bands. Do you have time to do anything but music? I practice yoga regularly. And cook Indian food. (I can here you calling me a hippy under your breath.) But mostly I do stay busy with music. Would you have it any other way? No. I wouldn’t know what other way I could have it. I play music. YULE TIDE
Brian Chase and Seth Misterka Duo’s self-titled album is out now on Heathen Skulls.