Rum Music For June Reviewed By Jennifer Lucy Allan

Audience as rabble, song as ancient history and poetry as sound in this month's Rum Music

Anadol by Orhan Kolukısa

The book I’m writing at the moment is largely unfriendly to the swamps of sound I usually write to. For large swathes of time it has demanded something unfamiliar – silence. In the recent edit only a few options present themselves when silence is not available: the first four Popol Vuh albums; the Coil back catalogue from start to finish, or choral early music: Thomas Tallis, Hildegard Von Bingen, Naxos choral comps on Spotify called things like ‘The World Of Early Music’.

I also can’t stop coming back to sound, despite writing about material objects. There’s Michael Cardew describing a potter’s wheel as being more like an instrument than a tool. There’s Tori Kudo comparing one of his pots to a Velvet Underground bassline; there’s an analogy between drummer and hand-builder; there’s a video of a traditional tile maker striking his tiles like bells to check for flaws. Then there’s the pots that make sound themselves: Nok heads that are singing; porcelain paste cockerels crowing; earthenware Haniwa musicians and clay drums with holes punched to tie a skin. A pot by one person I’m writing about who is not typically collected in museums or galleries anywhere, made it to me via Annea Lockwood, who happened to have been given one. There is something in all this I need to chase.

In other news: there’s more to come from the Les Rallizes Denudes archives, a live show at Citta from 1993 that’s being remastered by Makoto Kubota from sound nobody knew was being pulled from the desk on the night, as well as some more recordings queued up behind that. If you are in the vicinity there’s an unmissable Moki Cherry show on at the ICA, a well-overdue display of the visionary hangings she created that formed the environment in which Organic Music Society was made.

On my reading pile are many things: Emma Warren’s Dance Your Way Home; a proof of Ed Gillett’s Party Lines, and a new book about Henry Threadgill, who was articulate, sharp dressed and charming when I interviewed him in New York many years ago – ‘The Devil Is On The Loose And Dancin’ With A Monkey’ by his sextet is a piece I last heard a decade ago. Something about its angular forms and the rhythm of the title still rolls around my skull from time to time.

4 Grados del Fuego – Transfiguraciones
(4 Grados del Fuego)

I don’t know much about this project. I know that at time of writing, I am the only person to have bought it on Bandcamp. I know it’s come out of Caracas in Venezuela. I know the name of the project roughly translates to four grades of fire and they formed in 2019. It’s a group that pulls together from different disciplines, they say in a sort of alchemy, made up largely of the poets Bolívar Pérez, Adrián Pomontty, Alejandro Indriago, Anahís Monges and Oswaldo Flores, whose voices ripple and echo in distorted miasmas of sound, with instrumentation by guitarist Keban Frías, horn player Liber Oscher and pianist Andrés Levell. I’d love some translations, but there’s plenty that doesn’t need to be translated: Portal’s language is relatively simple, running in whorls and refrains and repetitions. There is something a little Siltbreezy about some of the fogginess here, maybe to do with the angular guitar incisions, but there’s also something refined about its sound that feels born of a gallery rather than a gig space. Seven other singles went up along with this album. Tip!

Anadol – Hat​​​ı​​​ralar

Anadol’s Hat​​​ı​​​ralar sounds like a private press bedroom-pop album from 1970s Turkey made by someone with a couple of Casios. Her 2019 album Uzun Havalar followed me around for a long time before I sat down to listen to it. I remember being struck by the artwork in racks; seeing it hyped, having it crop up in unexpected places. I finally picked it up after Felicita in 2022, which is an odd album, stylistically all over the place but it stuck like a burr. This new one, Hat​​​ı​​​ralar is actually older than both, originally composed in 2012, and is far more consistent. Constructed from tinny presets and bendy melodies, it has a distinctive feeling of faraway yearning in its melancholy motifs, permeated with a lonesomeness of the same breed as bedroom synth musicians like Rick Crane. Something about the electronics conjures a time before there was always a possible connection to the world outside your room, a lonely contentment that is spellbinding.

Mykolaiv Singers – Winter Songs, Wedding Songs

I’ve been waiting for this project to emerge for a few years. It was started before the war but since then, the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine has suffered enormously, so this is now a very different album than was originally intended. In the context of now it becomes a document of people and their songs under threat; a more significant document because it contains something that has been damaged to a yet unknown extent. It collects recordings of various unaccompanied singers and groups from the 1980s through to 2012 – the Mykolaiv singers is not one group but refers to all those recorded here – sourced by Tetiana Chukhno, and featuring songs about weddings, seasons, and lyrical poetry. For the next book I’ve been reading a lot by and about of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, whose work focused on South Eastern Europe. She thought that some of the folk traditions that exist in the present might bear traces of our most ancient past, and while listening to these songs sung in full voice I thought about how far back some of the seasonal winter songs might run – songs about bread, green groves and birch trees – songs that still have a bearing on the present in more ways than one.

Jeanne Lee / Gunter Hampel / Michel Waisvisz / Freddy Gosseye / Sven-Åke Johansson – Scheiße ’71
(Black Truffle)

I’d love to read a book on live music told purely through heckles – a full chapter on Fugazi heckling the audience back; the "stop clapping then" to Bono; Joanna Newsom being asked about the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre. This album deserves a key mention in this fantasy project: the title comes from one of the audience members screaming "Schei​ß​e!". It’s an energetic and agitated ensemble that includes personal favourite, the free jazz vocalist Jeanne Lee, as well as drummer Sven-Åke Johansson, Lee’s other half Gunter Hampel on vibes, flute and bass clarinet, as well as live electronics pioneer Michael Waisvisz on synthesiser and Freddy Gosseye on electric bass (who even the sleevenotes say is largely unknown). From the very start the audience all sound like they’re wriggling unhappily in their seats, then Waivisz farts in on a series of fizzy and flatulent exclamations that must have driven them up the wall. The quiet passages are quite beautiful and strange, there’s a wonderful interplay between moments of particularly caustic synths and angelic vibes whereas in the thicker passages the electronics make things harsh and beastly. Lee rides the waves of sound in essential utterances – at one point repeating "get it out, get it out" in a stuttering delivery I’m not sure isn’t directed at the rabble of an audience. An amazing document of ensemble and audience.

Roman Norfleet & Be Present Art Group – Roman Norfleet & Be Present Art Group
(Mississippi Records)

Some lineage on this: musician, artist and teacher Roman Norfleet had an early encounter with Pharoah Sanders that set him on his path with the sax – the way he moves is audibly indebted to Sanders’ style. He also trained spiritually with and in the philosophy of Turiyasangitananda, aka Alice Coltrane, who his daughter is named after and who sings the final song on this album (What is that motif she’s singing? Please someone help my slug brain). Add this potent spirituality to the fact that the album grew from group sessions in Malcolm X Park in Washington DC, and what you’ve got is a free-flowing suite: twinkling percussions lead to classic spiritual jazz, leads to an invocation that is a nod to the intensity of Angel Bat Dawid. Cosmic Forces is a highlight: the sax has a raw, searching quality, but takes flight when the drums fall in behind.


This was in the cassette column earlier this month too, but I’m bigging it up again as I bloody love it. Footwork meets minyo in a fizzy, dinky minimal sort of cyber/hyper minyo, chopped and bundled; unrolled and bound into a three-legged race. The percussions are infectious – in the opener the loose skin of a massive kettle is pummelled, but its dynamic low end is pulled taut across the track by the giddy jingling of small bells. KASAI takes more from the way footwork creates space for its awkward percussions to breathe and move than its BPM, and drops into some really bungee-like rhythms that topple vertiginously and rebound. Chinabot is a consistently good label, but this is a massive highlight for me, not least because I find the isolated ‘oi’s, vertiginous woops and the poky little trumpets that punctuate these infectious, lolloping bangers, totally irresistible.


Love the production and low drip vocal delivery on this collab single between Samrai, vocalist LINTD, and musician Raheel Khan. Black Editions continue with their High Rise reissues, there’s a big one coming from them at some point, so stay tuned. There’s not many copies about of Mesh Key’s essential Tolerance reissues, so move fast if you want it. I slept on the Abdul Wadud reissue and missed it over here. Sonny Sharrock’s Black Woman has been reissued by Superior Viaduct: free jazz grit and muscle that goes interplanetary, one of my favourites of all time.

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