GROUPS
ARTISTS

Henry Kaiser / Alan Licht
(Santa Cruz / NYC)



Alan Licht
Henry Kaiser

Biography


Henry Kaiser has made records with many like-minded guitar experimentalists (Derek Bailey, Ray Russell, Nels Cline, Jim O’Rourke, Fred Frith), but Skip to the Solo, his first album with his longtime friend (and one-time student!) Alan Licht, a denizen of multiple underground New York music circles, is unlike any of them. Recorded in Santa Cruz with drummer Rick Walker and third guitarist Mikko Biffle, with revolving bass duties, it’s an instrumental rock album but one with no melodic themes, just molten, passionate soloing over simple progressions of 2 to 4 chords. The rhythms come from rock, Afropop, reggae, blues, jazz, Latin, you name it; it's not avant-garde per se but decidedly off-kilter and trans-idiomatic. The tracks have deliberately abrupt beginnings and endings, with brief 10-second "tags" sandwiched between them, so the album flows together as one big piece, à la The Faust Tapes (it’s also very much in the methodological lineage of Frank Zappa’s Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar). Even dedicated followers of both Kaiser and Licht’s patently unpredictable respective outputs will find themselves surprised by Skip.?

The album’s title and concept harks back to the experience of playing vinyl records and lifting the stylus ahead to the guitar solo.?Although they're a generation apart, in their younger days Henry and Alan would both do this and then jam along with the winding modal excursions over vamps like "Light My Fire," "Down By the River,” “Agharta Prelude,” “Alice in Blunderland,” “Dark Star,” "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” and many more. ?Alan was a fan of Henry's as a teenager in the 80s and took a workshop with him back then that was an eye-opener as far as listening to and playing free improvisation. They stayed in touch, played live together a few times, and had been talking about doing a record project for close to 20 years. Alan recalls, “During a 2015 duo gig at The Stone in NYC Henry turned to me and said ‘Play a couple of chords that I can fuzz solo over.’ A couple of days later it hit me--let's do a whole album of that!” This disc is it, one where the artists provide a notable service to the listener: they skip to the solos so that you don't have to! ?


Public Eyesore Releases


PE135 - Skip to the Solo
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