Take it on faith

 Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  September 6, 2013

If like us you’ve got a soft spot for minimal, freely improvised jazz skronk, you’ll love digging into a new one from the duo KHLEB1917.215. Two tracks, 30-some-odd minutes of restrained sax-and-drum interactions, most of it polite yet occasionally swelling into mini-tantrums of splattering expressivity. This is a very precise, conceptual sort of jazz. At times it’s got a hum like Bitches Brew; at others it can recall the syntax of several configurations of real-world conversations between unlike species, such as woman-and-young-dog, teenager-and-bank-teller, or drunk-adult-and-parrot. Titled An Umbilical Cord of Gold, it’s available on Bandcamp with an obtuse album cover and absolutely no explication of personnel, with only a vague nod in the direction of the Dirigimus enclave, who’ve no doubt been up to some fabulous shit lately. Visit khleb1917dot215.bandcamp.com and slice a nice gash into an otherwise typical day.

From the Lewiston-Auburn area, the songwriter and educator Greg Boardman has been hammering at folk variations for going on four decades now. He’s also the founder of the Maine Fiddle Camp, an outdoor weeklong immersion in Americana and fiddle culture held twice every summer in Montville. So there’s considerable experiential heft informing the two albums he’s released this month, the Acadian folk fixations of Century Reel and the wide-eyed devotional Christ Made a Trance. The largely instrumental Century Reel contains much musical accompaniment, and makes a great snapshot of the culture of folk-dancing communities in central and Downeast Maine. But it’s Boardman’s richly personal other record where he really puts himself out there, guiding his voice through ten somber, faith-drenched journeys of the spirit (check out the arrestingly droning “You Lone Journey” for some fine non-denominational longing). Good stuff. Visit gregboardman.bandcamp.com for name-your-price downloads.

So while there hasn’t been any announcement of schedule, it looks like Empire Dine and Dance will re-open this coming week, with a Clasher scheduled Wednesday the 11th and the super-clever compositions of instrumental post-rock band El Ten Eleven the following Thursday. In other words, right where they left off. Be interesting to see what the upstairs looks like, as the playing stage at Empire v. 2.0 was definitely one of the better ones in town.

  Topics: New England Music News , EMPIRE DINE AND DANCE
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