Zona Tapes presents: FREEFORM
Radio Bushwick; Brooklyn, NY

So it was September 11, 2014 and the traffic going into Brooklyn from Long Island never changes: rubbernecking is by nature or something we collect socially? But goodness, we all get to where we need to go (most days), as did I upon arriving at Radio Bushwick, and just looking at the place, I’m thinking, My boii Andre (Zona Tapes CEO and coordinator of FREEFORM) moving on UP. This place is a legit-ass venue and bar, where the tender talks about paling ‘round with Rraro, and I’m just like, “Budweiser!”

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut was first up on a player-piano with a fellah on drums. The build-up of this set — up and down, left and right — was enormous. Shurdut scaled just about every note, flinging fingers across the bones of percussion the piano contained. The drummer (borrowed-borrowed set) played everything: all cymbals with other cymbals, feet on drums, sticks inside spilled water glasses, etc. As the set constantly sifted between climaxes and declines, the duo was one with music and unmatched cooperation of sound; picture the percussionist hunched over just about every drum, muting them with a thousand silent beats, and Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut slapping the side-wood of the piano while scraping the key cover across the top; everything. All in all it amounted to about 45 minutes of sheer improvisational bliss.

Then came a furry of spontaneous jazz via Rob Magill. The back of Radio Bushwick’s stage was blue-lit, as was the room, with swells of breath and clicks from Magill’s beard against a tenor sax. Button-upped and tucked-in, he flared out a plethora of notes, by way of core-brainstem urges, into a single mic in front of band-less musical equipment, being filmed for a documentary by Alix Spence. And it was nearly a performance piece, unintentionally so: the constant sax playing and visual destination of the curiosity. Is there ever a moment you just know? Should he play more? Of course.

Next act was Kallie Lampel, whom I’d never heard before, but gave it a whirl because anything following a saxophone that entails a fellah sitting on the floor with two or three electronics means something drastically different, and was exactly why the night worked out so well in favor of Zona Tapes Presents FREEFORM aesthetics. Employing a sampler and some various (personally unfamiliar) effect [arrangements], the New York-based Lampel went boundlessly between timbres of life-like/-recorded sounds and melted, effects-driven squelches. Between unlocks and old samples, the set was more hip-hop-based than I initially expected, but warped into what DJ DJ Tanner does with crackle vinyl samples.

Dali Vision was up next, stocked up with his table-of-shit (as Samuel Diamond once eloquently put it to me), and unfortunately, the sound was sort of off for the first five minutes, or so. Eventually, the bass evened out with the treble and a vision of adventure emerged, as Dali traversed through scape after scape of sound and collage, on a journey of paradise and existence. With the action of Nick James and the voyeurism of AceMo, Dali Vision overcame the initial hiccup of Radio Bushwick’s set-up, and became the night’s bard, telling of a land not far from the future.

As Dali Vision’s set faded, Rob Magill Trio, including Sam Blum on drums and Shaine Scarminach on guitar. Instantly, they ripped apart the Bushwick neighborhood (audibly) until midnight. With blight matched only by the JFK runway, Rob Magill Trio, lead by Magill raising and lowering his arm, began an set of symbiotic mind cooperation. It was as if improvisation was merely fitting in puzzle pieces, when those last remaining bits began to slid in so easily, yet the images don’t match, is exactly how the three fell into a parallel. At the strike of 12, the well-oiled night, organized by Zona Tapes, came to an end as Zona’s founder DJ’d, playing out as I was leaving — and into the car, highway, and home I went, seeing a beam raised, still, in the rearview mirror.

Most Read