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Philip Gayle - Mammoth Flower
CD (Utsunomiya, Japan)

1. Mammoth Flower
2. ????? (minus inu)
3. Ceann Ruadh Tiresias
4. Zone (in three parts)
5. ???? (geketsutoketsu)
6. I Ain’t Got No Think
7. TN 35


pg: banjo, bass, cello, door, guitars, mandolin, percussion, piano, toy piano, voice, ukulele, waterphone

special guests: Shogo Ohshima alto sax on tracks 1 and 7, Shizka Ueda voice on track 1, and Omusubisan and Fuuchan vocals on tracks 1, 6, and 7

Recorded and mixed at Beat Club Studios, Utsunomiya, Japan in April 2022
Mastered by Makoto Kubota (www.makotokubota.org)
Artwork by Kohei Akiba (www.instagram.com/kohei_akiba)
Front cover painting: Dragon
Inside cover painting: Figure
Artwork photographed by Toshiya Suda

(Vital Weekly) t's been a long time since I reviewed 'Babanco Total' by Philip Gayle (Vital Weekly 815), and upon re-reading, I have no idea how it sounded, but it seemed to be using voice material. DM reviewed a CD in Vital Weekly 1154. Gayle has been active since the late 1990s and has several releases, mainly on Yabyum Productions and Family Vineyard. Gayle plays various instruments on this disc: banjo, bass, cello, door, guitars, mandolin, percussion, piano, toy piano, voice, ukulele and waterphone. There are also three guest players: Shogo Ohshima on alto saxophone, Shizka Ueda on voice, and Omusubisan Fuuchan on vocals. The latter on three pieces, the second on one and the first on two. They all appear on the long opening track, a whirlwind of sound. Everything is stuck inside a multitrack recorder and played simultaneously without a proper mix, so chaos prevails. It sounds very much like a free improvisation thing, and as such, maybe not my thing, but with the instruments as object approach, sitting next to chaotic excursions on the saxophone, this is something that extends beyond regular improvisation, I think; a bit more orchestral due to the number of sounds and instruments used. But then, I have to realise this piece contains four players, but the difference becomes apparent in the following pieces. There is no more extended density here, but the sounds open up, and there is a much sparser approach. Overtones ringing from objects played with a bow in both 'Minus Inu' and 'Ceann Ruadh Tiresias', a delicate moment of calm music after fifteen minutes of chaos. This is followed by more chaos, again about fifteen minutes long, but solo by Gayle, who uses the stereo spectrum in full force; you can play this hearing only the left or only the right channel or in stereo; maybe that's why it's called 'Zone (In Three Parts)'. 'geketsutoketsu' is the final sparse one, before two short bursts of collaborative explosions. I enjoyed the variety here, which made the more die-hard improvised bits easier to digest. - Frans De Waard

(Disaster Amnesiac) Several weeks have passed since Disaster Amnesiac received Mammoth Flower, Philip Gayle's new recording for Public Eyesore. It's been a daunting process to try to review it, in large part due to my having noticed certain repeated tropes within reviews, tropes that, when noticed, became extremely aggravating. Sounds such as those produced on Mammoth Flower deserve better than that. Disaster Amnesiac has listened, many times, but just really doesn't want to get reductive about describing the album. Maximalist pieces such as the title track, wherein all sorts of musical elements, especially the wonderfully "inside/outside" alto sax of Shogo Ohshima, blend into a fantastical soundscape that evokes night scenes from Shinjuku or perhaps a jungle at its most dense spots, or Zone, with its glistening string slides and percussives, drop the listener into spaces that are almost overwhelming at times. It's been fascinating to note the astute uses of the multi-track recording process on both of them. This stuff is thick. Gayle also finds time for more reflective musical ruminations on geketsutoketsu, a sparse, spacious guitar piece worthy of Takoma Records (not that Public Eyesore is anything to sneeze at, mind you) and the similar minus inu. I Ain't Got No Think has Disaster Amnesiac tweaking as fingers skitter across strings and Omusubi-san and Fuuchan get primitive in the human vocal range, while TN 35 gets all SF Tape Music Center while pairing up with a returned Ohshima. Solo waterphone gets a lovely treatment on Ceann Ruadh Tiresias. An instrument with potential for such lovely, lonesome sounds, played well by Gayle. Richard Waters had a bit of a cranky side, or so I've heard, especially when it came to his opinions about musicians using his invented instrument. Surely he'd have heard the beauty within this track? Along with all of these wonderfully challenging sounds, Mammoth Flower is presented with groovy Abstract Expressionist painting by Kohei Akiba for its cover art. Wonderful stuff, full of blendings between lighter, brighter shades and darkness. Very cool. Philip Gayle traverses several distinct sonic approaches on Mammoth Flower and all of them are worthy of deep, dedicated listening. No platitudes present on it. Disaster Amnesiac hopes that they are also absent from this review. Sounds such as Philip Gayle's are worthy of deeper consideration. - Mark Pino

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