Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Paul Dunmall/Chris Corsano
Identical Sunsets

ESP Disk 4058


Raging free jazz duo blat from saxophonist Paul Dunmall (here doubling on border pipes) and drummer Chris Corsano, marking Corsano’s first –fated! - appearance on ESP Disk. Following in the tradition of ESP’s first classic free jazz run, Identical Sunsets is an ass-blasting high energy side. The title track is a particular monster, with Dunmall’s ululating border pipes conjuring the ghost of Albert Ayler’s bagpipes with psychedelic overtones and raw folk passion. Corsano is, of course, amazing. One of the first releases from the revived ESP Disk that feels worthy of the label. Highly recommended. 

Brooklyn Wednesday

Corwood 0789


DVD edition featuring both sets from this trio show with Sterling Smith on guitar and vocals, Chris Corsano on drums and Matt Heyner on bass, live at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, New York, September 7th, 2005. The sound is closer to the 'classic' Neilson/Youngs live blats but with a more straightahead garage/punk feel, with Sterling playing some of his oddest electric guitar downs while Heyner moves from groaning electric bass monoliths across the first set to quiet, semi-audible acoustic bass on the second. The second set is consequently the weirdest, with the extra space generated by Heyner fully inhabited by very minimal guitar work from Sterling and some oddly dramatised lyrical set-ups. Corsano plays it pretty straight for the bulk, riding behind Sterling's guitar like a steamroller, and at points the vocal delivery combines with the overall bounce of the rhythm section to birth something that seems to owe more to The Minutemen than any sort of avant blues tradition. The songs are great, moving from devastating emotionally wrought confessionals through to funny situational set pieces and Sterling really stretches out on vocals and is obviously enjoying the performance.

Colour Them Gone

Nyali Recordings #7


World-beating free music duo of Heather Leigh on pedal steel and vocals and Chris Corsano on drums, following on in style from their Family Vineyard LP. Once more recorded and mixed by Andreas Jonsson the sound is as dazzling as their debut, with three tracks that move from ferocious post-Sharrock power blues through new zones of smoky, spectral tone. The opener comes straight out of The Rocker, with Heather’s bad motor scooter guitar burning asphalt while Corsano plays in four directions at a time, ducking air raid warnings with an amphetamine dexterity. Second track, “White Spider” is a whole new bomb, with the duo navigating a kind of psychedelic giallo atmosphere with Corsano making like an orchestra of Max Roachs while Heather plays spectral strings and floating tones that are straight out of the Nicolai/Morricone songbook. The closing “Freezing Shark” might be the most radical recording they’ve nailed to the floor, with an unaccompanied vocal from Heather driven straight through the wall by Corsano before the guitar explodes like a heavy metal Masayuki Takayanagi playing future blues. This is such a great, invigorating shot from the source and it confirms a whole buncha things that are important in underground music: energy, passion, actual playing, speed-of-thought improvisation. Who else comes close? Hand-numbered edition of 297 copies. Highest possible recommendation!

Akira Sakata/Giovanni Di Domenico

Mbari Musica Mbari-21


Stunning studio set from this legendary Japanese free jazz saxophonist in the company of pianist Giovanni Di Domenico: Sakata plays alto sax, clarinet, bells and shakers and he sings in a spontaneous old man of the mountains/crazy wisdom style. This is a blazing set w/a heady diamond-sharp, questing appeal. Akira Sakata has long been one of the key players on the Japanese free jazz underground, playing as a part of Yamashita Yosuke’s trio and forging alliances with players like Peter Brotzmann and Sonny Sharrock, who he played with as part of Last Exit, as well as noise groups like Hijokaidan. When he’s blasting on all cylinders he has all the emotive power of a David S. Ware or a Peter Brotzmann, but he’s just as likely to get down with the weird, sinuous melodic lines of a Dolphy or a Lacy. Di Domenico is a stunning foil, sometimes extrapolating Sakata’s lines, other times creating weird, dunting bass counterpoints, worrying over great boulders of bottom end w/all the deliberately inchoate tactile doofs of a Dumitrescu before devolving in light, skipping patterns and flighty, extended runs. The atmosphere shunts from gregarious power visions of the sound of now through quizzical, haiku-like asides out into pure meat joy song-forms, making this one of the premier duo exchange’s of recent years. A stand-out set, very highly recommended!