Music Reviews

Loren MazzaCane Connors

Evangeline

Road Cone

Suzanne Langille with Loren MazzaCane Connors

The Enchanted Forest

Secretly Canadian

Alan Licht and Loren MazzaCane Connors

Hoffman Estates

Drag City

After recent cathartic releases in which he used drone, feedback, and volume to make his point, Connors has come up with Evangeline , a quiet and soothing suite of 14 guitar improvisations which he apparently considers to be the best thing he’s ever recorded. Maybe I should be able to say “now wait a minute, back in the ’80s, when this guy was known as Guitar Roberts, he released the best piece of guitar improv ever,” but I haven’t been able to track down half of Connors’ output. I can, however, say that of all the releases I do have, this is my favorite and I tend to whistle the passages of Evangeline without thinking. Three repeated notes find the ability to bore themselves into my head until I realize that they are trying to say something.

On The Enchanted Forest , Suzanne Langille’s beautiful narration is accompanied only by the fragile chords and sparse notes of Connors’ guitar. Langille takes on the role of the mother who loses her child to a river, a hermit who saves the boy and raises him, the boy himself, and a forester who wants to cut down the forest. Langille is successful in giving each character a different voice, so it becomes especially interesting when several characters are interacting in one scene.

Several months ago, someone at Drag City recommended Bitches Brew by Miles Davis as something I absolutely must listen to. I did manage to find the album and was impressed with an album by a musician whose music I generally do not like. The idea behind Bitches Brew was to record several improvisers without any of them hearing each other and then edit and splice together these various improvisations. On Hoffman Estates , Connors and Licht appear together on disc, but were in actuality recorded apart. Jim O’Rourke stepped in to edit all the guitar improvisations and add prerecorded horn sections. The resulting recordings are at times slow and mournful and at others shockingly loud and abrasive. Much is chaotic and free and so out of control that I can’t believe all these people weren’t in the same room feeding off each other’s energy.

Secretly Canadian, 1703 N. Maple St., Bloomington, IN 47404; Road Cone, PO Box 8732, Portland, OR 97207; Drag City, PO Box 476867 Chicago, IL 60647.


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