-The Battle by Jasun Martz-
"The Battle is an astounding symphony comprising elements of emotive beauty, brash chaotic volume and moments of starkness. A historic recording."
Scroll down for full reviews: (including many international reviews)
MONUMENTAL! "A work of great power and complexity. Absolutely an incredible tour de force!" --Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, The Netherlands
GORGEOUS! "Filled with dense music made of striking symphonic movements, powerful prog rock, sacred choir and celestial keyboards, gorgeous Mellotrons and dynamic ambient/industrial textures with the help of electronics and use of the highest quality 24-bit digital technology, which stand for the huge last movement /battle."--Pierre Tassone Music By Mail, Denmark
MAGNIFICENT! "Wonderfully dark and brooding. If there was any justice in the world this album would be in the top 10." --Redshift, England
ONE OF THE MOST AWESOME ALBUMS OF THE LAST TWENTY YEARS! "To say it is unique would be an understatement. It's incredible, holds your attention for the full duration, is a massive exercise in composition and structure, works from start to finish, and has to be one of the most awesome albums of the last twenty years in terms of its scope and originality.” --Andy Garibaldi, Dead Earnest, Scotland, UK
WILD! "Mr. Martz said he had the idea for the symphony after tumbling while descending a volcano in Ecuador. 'A wild idea came to me of what the symphony should be.' The music is sometimes very wild. The piece is not for the faint of heart.'' --Roberta Hershenson, The New York Times, USA
INCREDIBLE! An EPIC work. "Intricate and varied and with astounding sound quality. My headphones were jumping off my head! An incredibly articulate vision." --A B Ray, Chuncheon, Korea
GROUND BREAKING! "The Battle is an astounding symphony comprising elements of emotive beauty, brash chaotic volume and moments of starkness. A historic recording. RECORD OF THE MONTH.” --Dynamite Vision, England
A MASTERPIECE! "The Best Release of the year is here already! Jasun offers up a CD featuring 115 musicians and 1 1/2 hours of music. This group of musicians from around the world produce a sound that is amazing- filled with dense, rich mellotron, striking symphonic movements, powerful prog rock, dynamic ambient/industrial electronics, sacred choir and celestial keyboards. This album offers up the music of the future...composed now, by Jasun Martz!" --Eurock.com, USA
AMAZING! "Martz, who is mostly known for his work with Michael Jackson and Frank Zappa, leaves rock far, far behind for this avant-garde symphony . (The Battle)... is an amazing blend of music and sounds that will blow your mind (and your speakers clear across the room)!" --Mind & Music, USA
EDITOR'S PICK! "An amazing amalgamation of eclectic, experimental, contemporary classical, progressive, industrial, tribal and ambient featuring long and lush mellotron solos and harsh soundscapes featuring over 100 musicians and 1 1/2 hours of music." --CDbaby.com, USA
ASTOUNDING! "The results of all this work are simply astounding. ... full of excellent sonic textures and very unique musical ideas.” --Ffroyd, Progressiveears.com, USA
MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! "Music that will not only challenge your ears, but will allow you to explore new sonic worlds. Jasun is a master at using the music he's mixing together to create moods that you've never experienced before. You will be rewarded (and amazed) hugely if you listen carefully and let yourself be absorbed by the swirling textures and deep nuances contained in this musical tapestry. A GREAT album!” --Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation, USA
POWERFUL! "The haunting first movement evokes ancient Celtic landscapes: a sense of mystery and magic exudes from the dark and ominous melodies. The second movement (also colossal) opens in a chaotic and dissonant manner before a soaring march-like theme leads to a celestial choir of female voices lost in spacetime. Eventually it turns into the electronic equivalent of the crackling of a fire, rapidly escalating into a full-fledged volcanic eruption. Ranked #3 on The Best Albums" --Piero Scaruffi, History of Rock Music
GIGANTIC! "A gigantic monolith of sound, melody fragments, slow-acting tones floating and roaring, samples, long electronics fabrics, choir inserts, textless singing, keyboard walls, and noise that is every now and then very impressive, --Achim Breiling, BabyBlaue-Seiten.de, Germany
ORIGINAL! "An original work that deserves a listen.” --Beppe Colli, CloudsandClocks.com, Italy
BRILLIANT! "Absolutely brilliant, what an amazing genius work.” --François Miron, Filmgrafix, Quebec, Canada
CHALLENGING! "The Battle is best undertaken by a listener open to challenging their ideas about music, or eager to pull the secrets out of the seeming chaos."--Expose, Sean McFee
EXCELLENT! "Stylistically, the album isn't a million miles away from the original Pillory, being largely dissonant modern classical, crossed with just plain 'weird'. Battle 3 lives up to its subtitle of 'Tribal/Prog Rock', with some (relatively) straightforward drumming and riffy guitar, overlaid with a killer violin solo by Benedict Brydern,... the super-loud, distorted strings on Battle 1 are excellent... if you liked The Pillory, you stand a good chance of liking this." --Andy Thompson, Planet Mellotron, UK
EXCEPTIONAL! "In all, this is some exceptional music that covers a lot of ground, maybe too much ground, but patience will reward." --Expose, Peter Thelen
"A rare and sublimely beautiful cycle of compositions which seem to embrace the whole universe of music and sound." --Amazon, Tom Furgas
"Jasun seems so comfortable within all of the realms, and proves that inspiration can be perfectly mated with intelligence and education." --Amazon, T.J. May
"The sounds and noises are brutal and rumbling and amazing... The music literally grabs a hold of you and will not let go... I am mesmerized by this music!" --Amazon, Wanda in the UK
"It's astounding, dynamic, challenging, riveting, impeccably produced, uncompromising, but never inpenetrable. If you're into contemporary classicists it will blow your mind. --Amazon, Ed Rose
"This is truly a highly recommended album for the adventurous." --Amazon, Benjamin Miler
"5 out of 5 stars. Great music" --Amazon, Mr. Mellotron
"There's everything from World, Progressive Rock, Industrial, Ambient, Classical and Mellotron washes woven together to create one cohesive piece. "The Battle" is an easy contender for Album-of-the-Year. And, yet another masterpiece from Jasun." --Amazon, KATON
" It takes great genius to hide the "art" in the art, and make it seem that it has always existed out there in the cosmos somewhere, and we are just given a quick glimpse. Glad I got on board!" --Amazon, Dennis Shainon
"An amalgamation that leaves the listener exhausted after traversing a long road. Overall Martz stature in the electro-acoustic genre is further solidified though as a major composer and artist." --Expose, Jeff Melton
FULL REVIEWS BELOW:
Expose (USA) Peter Thelen
"Some 28 years ago Martz released his first epic, The Pillory, to great critical acclaim, with its massed Mellotrons and dreamy atmospherics, and then he drifted off the screen for all this time. Now it’s time for Martz’ second brush with acclaim, as the second part, The Battle, is finally here. As before, this is music squarely in the electro-acoustic vein, involving well over a hundred instrumentalists and vocalists to achieve a result that flows between the poles of minimalist ambient, avant-garde, rock, and heavy symphonic with occasional flare-ups that reach intense levels of energy. The seven tracks are simple titled “Battle 1,” “Battle 2,” etc. and the former kicks off disc one with a sidelong brooding dark symphonic opus with choirs and a series of floating dreamlike sequences. The second battle introduces a more grandiose melodic statement and uses all of the orchestra – this is more along the lines of modern classical music, with the introduction of many vivid themes and developments. Next up is a tribal rock jam in odd meter with electric guitars, bass and drums, crowned with some intense violin soloing, which leads directly into the chaos of “Battle 4,” which could best be described as a short avant-garde exercise dominated by random metal percussive events. Onward to the next battle, where heavy pipe organ musings create a dense wall of shimmering chords, before the disc closes with a nine minutes of ambient drift. “Battle 7”, which occupies all of disc 2, is an extended ambient drone peppered with industrial elements – if you last through the big symphonic build-up at the very end with your eyes open, then you’ve probably consumed too much caffeine. In all, this is some exceptional music that covers a lot of ground, maybe too much ground, but patience will reward."
DEAD EARNEST (UK) Andy Garibaldi
JASUN MARTZ: The Pillory/The Battle
Over two and a half hours of music, one track lasting seventy-four minutes, over 100 musicians - this is the "Ben Hur" of music albums - and it's immense in every way. The first disc starts out with a twenty-two minute cosmic composition that features spacey soundscaping for the first eight minutes and then opens out into a gloriously cosmic sea of mellotrons and choirs for the next fourteen minutes that's absolutely heavenly. The album then moves onto the neat twenty minute second section, this time immediately different as the sound of orchestral (genuinely orchestral!!!!) music ensues from a real orchestra and this mass of seething, writhing, snaking and soaring melodies, sound patterns and rhythms, all rise up in true contemporary classical fashion, one minute your gaze focused on the winds then the strings, then the brass, then all together as the drums boom out, and the massed soundscapes provide an orchestral immensity that is quite breathtaking. This all then drops down to a hushed landscape before the whole thing rises up once more into this structured and yet at the same time, almost amorphous, mass of classical contemporary proportions, the whole orchestra providing a mesmerizing set of sounds that holds your attention, and I say that as a guy who generally doesn't like orchestral or classical music, but this is altogether different and highly engaging, going from serene to scary in a heartbeat.
The eleven minute third section features a rolling undercurrent of drums that spends the first three minutes in early Amon Duul territory with single woodwinds providing the melodic layer, before the rhythms roll out into a drumkit and the music takes on an almost prog-rock dimension with the sound of violins, electric bass, keys and guitars over the fantastic and insistent drum patterns, a lead violin soaring overhead as the "Kraut-prog" fusion music simply flies into life and this takes you to seven minutes before a sizzling guitar riff ensues and what sounds like a lost Frank Zappa style passage ensues with synth and guitars rising up in immense proportions accompanied by the solid drumming , pounding bass and, now, almost Prokofiev-esque choral wordless vocals, as we move into an almost prog version of Magma - impressive and then some!!!
Without a break, it segues straight into the fourth part on a wave of searing guitar leads and that powerful drumming then suddenly the clattering of percussion and drums heralds the arrival of what sounds like a piano played by a team of mice as sections of the orchestra return to play free-form and provide you with just over two minutes of almost unbearably intense playing, before it all drops down to glowing woodwinds and echoed, stark, eerie prepared piano and percussion to take you to the six minute point where it abruptly stops to leave you with this undercurrent of deep bass layers courtesy of mellotrons and this rapidly develops into the sound of mellotrons that you know and love, accompanied by pipe organ to provide an almost gothic soundtrack so that all you need is Bela Lugosi to come jumping out of the speakers, to complete the picture for its near six minute running time.
The disc ends with nine minutes of rhythm-free, ambient, spacey. cosmic music that drifts and drones, slowly flows and silently soars to see the whole thing out on multi-textured layers of bass depths and droning, serene electronics - a perfect end to one of the most amazing albums you've heard in years - and still the seventy four minute disc 2 still to come.
Described as "industrial/noise/ambient', it is a seventy four minute single piece, but what that description doesn't say is that the whole thing is THE most incredible slice of rhythm-free cosmic music that's been done in years, going from a whisper to a scream across its many and varied heady, multi-textured soundscapes - sounding electronic, but probably the orchestra although, knowing Martz, it could be anything - but it SOUNDS electronic and that's god enough for me - as to the "noise" bit, don't be put off by that - there's a section about a third the way in that rises up to this huge blast of a soundscape where all cosmic music implodes on itself but it's perfectly natural and decidedly in keeping with the whole dark, eerie and suspenseful nature of the music as a whole. This section reappears in a varied manner around the forty minute mark for several glorious minutes, before the cosmic darkness falls once more and the track moves ever onwards to what you think is going to be a slowly faded end, but then it surprises you as, just before the seventy minute mark, the whole orchestra suddenly rises up to create this howling amorphous blast of sound for just two minutes before it drops away to leave the violins and strings, woodwinds and deep bass
electronics to see the trackout on a sea of cosmic bliss.
As a whole, this album is music on a decidedly grand scale, and to say it is unique would be an understatement. It's incredible, holds your attention for the full duration, is a massive exercise in composition and structure, works from start to finish, and has to be one of the most awesome albums of the last twenty years in terms of its scope and originality.
EUROCK MAGAZINE (USA) Archie Paterson
JASUN MARTZ: THE BATTLE
THE Best Release of all 2005 is here already! 25 Years after his first magnum opus, Jasun Martz offers up this stunning double CD featuring 115 musicians and 2 ½ hours of music. Featuring, “The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choir”, this group of musicians from around the world produce a sound that is amazing - filled w/ dense, rich mellotron, striking symphonic movements, powerful prog rock, dynamic ambient/ industrial electronics, sacred choir and celestial keyboards. This album offers up the music of the future/ composed now.
VITAL WEEKLY (Amsterdam)
JASUN MARTZ - THE PILLORY/ THE BATTLE
With a little exageration one could call Martz a composer of only one work: The Pillory. Besides this work, almost no other work is avialable, and listening to 'The Pillory' one cannot suppress the thought that Martz chose to put all his musical ideas into one work instead of composing an oeuvre. This may explain why in every aspect this work is BIG.
First it is a piece with a long history. Martz started composing the work in 1976. In that same year it was performed life in Los Angeles by an orchestra he assembled: The Neoteric Orchestra. In 1978 it surfaced for the first time on vinyl as a private release. Martz worked in those years as synthesizer programmer for Frank Zappa. In 1981 a release on Martz' Neoteric-label followed, famous for its cover by Jean Dubuffet. For the 2005 release a detail from this cover is taken. In 1994 the swedish label Ad Perpetuam Memoriam delivered the first cd-release. They included three trio-pieces that were originally released on the "American Music Compilation" on Eurock( 1982). And now some 10 years another recording and release of this masterwork sees the light. The fact that the original composition goes back to the 70s doesn't that the work sounds dated. This is absolutely not the case. It still is a work of great power and complexity.
What did Martz do all those years? Concerning his musical activities, over the years they moved to the background, not succeeding to make a living out of it. He plays synthesizers on a couple of hit Michael Jackson songs, and did some gigs with the Far East Family band. Also some production work for a few bands.
Secondly, for this new recording Martz invited musicians from all over the world for his Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and The Royal Intercontinental Choir. They are to many to mention. Over hundred musicians are involved and make up this virtual orchestra and choir. All of them send their contributions to Martz who completed he puzzle in the studio through an endless assembling process. He must have spend many many solitary hours in the studio. An enormous undertaking that makes clear that Martz did not chose the easy way.
This new recording is also longer than earlier versions. Two 74 minute cds are needed to embrase the new 'The Pillory'-project completely. So the original concept is extended and enriched, making gratefully use all the computer facilities that are available nowadays. 'The Pillory/The Battle' is an orchestral work of megalomanic proportions. In interviews Martz speaks of his eclectric interest in music. In 'The Pillory/The Battle' he blends of the music he likes into one work: symphonic parts, ambient, experimental, percussive interludes, choir, electro-acoustic, freeform, noise, ethnic, soundscapes. The work is a perfect mixure of all these influences.
The work is divided into seven parts, called 'battles'. Each battle is built around some of these influences. 'Battle 7' for example, that takes up the entire second disc, is a monumental piece of ambient and noise. At the base are acoustical instruments but treated intensively into a richly layered stream of sound that reaches hallucinatic heights and incredible dynamics. If you need a comparison, Biota often came to my mind.
'Battle 3' is the part that comes most close to rock. A long percussive intro develops into progressive rock with a strong beat. It culminates into a very cacaphonic fourth battle. 'Battle 5' is a much calmer piece dominated by some pipe organ. 'Battle 6' brings back the quietude of ambient music.
As a composer Martz is a special one because of his enormous synthetic power. He can cope with all these varied influences and use them to build an impressive and enjoybale composition. Also he is in control with all the technology involved.Absolutely an incredible tour de force! (DM)
NEW YORK TIMES (USA) Roberta Hershenson
Take a New York composer, add 115 musicians and mix with two hours of music on Dutch public radio. What do you get? The Battle, a seven-movement symphony composed by Jasun Martz that will be broadcast over the Internet at www.ConcertZender.nl on June 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. and June 23 from 8 to 10 a.m.
Why Dutch radio? Because the station received promotional CD's and liked the music, said Mr. Martz, 51, whose résumé includes work with Michael Jackson and Frank Zappa.
Mr. Martz said he had the idea for the symphony after tumbling while descending a volcano in Ecuador. ''A wild idea came to me of what the symphony should be,'' he said. To pursue his inspiration, he said he put out a call for ''weird musicians,'' assembling 100 of them by e-mail message and gathering 15 others from Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle to share in the music-writing process. The musicians received fragments of the score from Mr. Martz, then played the parts, improvised on them electronically and sent back results via the internet. ''Then I assembled thousands of computer files to create the symphony,'' he said. He calls the group the Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choir.
The music is ''sometimes very wild,'' Mr. Martz said. ''I love noise. The piece is not for the faint of heart.''
More information at www.ConcertZender.nl and www.JasunMartz.com.
HISTORY OF ROCK MUSIC (USA/Italy) Piero Scaruffi
JASUN MARTZ: THE PILLORY/THE BATTLE (Under the Asphalt, 2005), recorded with an orchestra of 115 musicians, is a double-CD seven-movement symphony (for a grand total of more than two hours) set in a distant future in which continents have come apart and now are beginning to approach again causing wars between their inhabitants. The theme does not do justice to the music, that is not only ambitious but powerful.
The haunting first movement (22-minute long) evokes ancient Celtic landscapes: a sense of mystery and magic exudes from the dark and ominous melodies. The second movement (also colossal) opens in a chaotic and dissonant manner before a soaring march-like theme leads to a celestial choir of female voices lost in spacetime. Percussions and violins propel the swirling dance-like third movement, that signals a complete change of mood, although it ends in panzer-grade heavy-metal convulsions and drifts into the cacophony of the fourth movement. After the brief organ-driven requiem-like fifth movement, the listener is lulled into the slow decay of whispered drones and melodies of Ambient.
The last movement (all 74 minutes of the second CD), subtitled "industrial/noise/ ambient", takes about ten minutes to reach the point where one can discern the noises and another ten minutes before the noises coalesce into a distinctive sound, something like a sustained guitar distortion. At 24:30 the noise dissolves in a whirlwind of piercing squeals. The new silence is eventually broken by a loud organ drone but never quite manages to turn into meaningless sounds. Eventually (45 minutes into the piece) it turns into the electronic equivalent of the crackling of a fire, rapidly escalating into a full-fledged volcanic eruption. When that one dies out, random dissonances slowly disappear, creating a deeper sense of vacuum. The music seems to end, but is suddenly resurrected at 62 minutes by a burst of orchestral noise. Ten minutes of harsh, massive, unnerving turbulence follows, with longer and longer orchestral spasms, until a final blow relieves the pressure.
Martz is one of the few composers of the post-everything age who understands how the orchestra can still be a vital tool for the digital composer.
PROGRESSIVE EARS (USA) FFROYD
25 years after the original epic release of The Pillory, Jasun Martz returns with a new album and a new ensemble. Those familiar with the original work cherish it as a groundbreaking achievement in the music world combining classical and avant-garde elements with a unique 50-member group dubbed The Neoteric Orchestra. I had been in contact with Jasun a few years ago when he sent me a CD copy for review and he had informed me of this up-coming project. When I didn’t hear back from him or see any other news about this I had figured he might have abandoned the undertaking or something like that. Now I see clearly why there was a delay in producing The Pillory/The Battle.
One of Jasun’s biggest tasks was the formation of The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and The Royal Intercontinental Choir. Classified ads were run for “weird musicians or musicians that played weird instruments” all over the world looking for folks to volunteer for the project. He managed to find 115, more than twice the amount of the original group assembled for The Pillory. Although none of them are as famous as Eddie Jobson or Ruth Underwood, one of them may be quite well known to some of us as none other than PE member Sixes&Twelves a.k.a. Bruce in Korea. He had seen my review for the first album and knew that I would have an interest in checking out this one. Bruce is very proud of his involvement in this even though he’s told me he can’t exactly pinpoint where his playing is on the record. Bruce told me that one of Jasun’s main instructions for the music was for him to focus on the idea of what music might sound like 200 million years from now. He wrote me a little about his involvement in the project:
“I think my recording was done on April 10th or so. I grabbed my Epiphone Gibson Les Paul 12-string – yes there is such a critter! –, twisted the tuning machines randomly so as to put it out of conventional tuning, plugged it into a Zoom 506 effect pedal, selected a clean patch, connected this to my Sony VAIO laptop via USB through an Edirol UA-20 24-bit digital interface, opened up my Adobe Audition recording program , and then grabbed the nearest available plectrum, which happened to be a Korean 10-won coin. I proceeded to play with an absolute random wanton abandon.”
I imagine this is only one of dozens of similar unique tales that can be told about the creation of this CD. Among the personnel list are several interesting inclusions like crustation, suonas, galvanized metal, gas tank orchestra, blackberry transmission, ammunitions, N.A.G.mkX, 9 volts, modified toys and battering ram! All of these parts had to be organized by Martz in some sort of coherent fashion and mixed into the music. The results of all this work are simply astounding. The two discs are full of excellent sonic textures and very unique musical ideas.
“Battle One” starts out in very much the same way as the original album, silent with a very gradual crescendo for a several minutes until there are bursts of loud chaotic tones. This is followed by some very interesting soundscapes that provide an almost primitive atmosphere. At about the 10 minute mark there is a beautiful lone female voice arising from the drones. After this there are some stunning string samples that Jasun has decided to substitute for the cumbersome mellotron that was used on the first record. At first I was slightly stunned that he didn’t use a real mellotron but the samples work very well and are much cleaner than that old muddy mellotron.
“Battle Two” is a much more contemporary classical piece with a mixture of traditional instruments and orchestral keyboards. I really like the percussion on this one, especially the hugeness of the timpani. One little complaint I would issue though, is there are some parts here that just sound a bit too crisp. There are some absolutely crazy moments in this piece though. The choir section at the end is a seriously haunting drone that turns into something akin to a Tibetan chant. Nice stuff!
“Battle Three” starts out with tribal percussion and flute, which are joined by weird bagpipe sounds. The piece abruptly turns into something I didn’t really expect to hear on the album – progressive rock! The sort of prog you’d hear on something like Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, very fast-paced with heavy guitar and a raucous violin lead. There’s a very crazy section with an absolutely insane lead guitar on top of chants that are reminiscent of something from the first album. I thought it might be samples at first but on closer listen, I don’t think they are. This segues right into “Battle Four” which is the most insane part of the entire work. This is the section Mr. Martz has appropriately called the “anarchy” part. There’s some very chaotic music going on here. This is where I believe Bruce’s detuned 12-string can be heard somewhere in all the racket. Later, the piece becomes almost all metal percussion, clanging away for several minutes.
“Battle Five” is a much calmer piece featuring some glorious pipe organ accompanied by a somewhat gloomier mellotron in the background. “Battle Six”, the final section of disc one is a very quiet ambient piece at first that becomes what sounds like mechanical insect drones and distant thunder.
This sound continues on “Battle Seven” which takes up the entirety of disc two. This track contains quite a good amount of avant/industrial/noise stuff, some of it very loud. There are also moments of calmness scattered around. Conversely to “Battle One” on the first disc, this ends in a similar fashion to his original album with a torrent of orchestral noise slowly decaying into silence.
Similar to what he did to Jean Dubuffet’s drawing on the cover artwork, Jasun has taken his original album and held it up to a magnifying lens; focusing on some intriguing aspects of the music and expanding on those ideas. In another 25 years Martz has said he will be revisiting The Pillory again. And quite possibly, 200 million years from now this work will still be ahead of its time.
Expose, Jeff Melton (USA)
Ex-Zappa sideman and painter Jasun Martz is also a semi-classical electro-acoustic composer who has been operating under your popular music radar for sometime. His initial recording, The Pillory, received critical acclaim and is recognized as a seminal symphonic work that defies straightforward classification. Elements of this seven-part two CD set cross a wide range of styles accentuating assimilation of Mellotron string samples merged with orchestral arrangements. Martz himself is an instrumentalist and handles most electric instrumentation himself except for help from a few notables such as Mark Shreeve. What is clear after a few passes is that the creator’s mindset is committed to smooth transitions between disparate musical styles. When it all works best is on parts three and five, where the instrumentation and performance come together. Part three relies heavily on a primitive percussion cadenza to build tension into a hard rocking passage driven by riffing guitars and Michelle Frioli’s gypsy violin. Part five opens with a Vidna Obmana like idea that transitions into a powerful gothic theme stated on pipe organ. Other sections such as part four are less successful possibly due to the inclusion of free improvisation after a heavy obsessive theme that doesn’t fully resolve. The closing part seven takes up the entire second disc and is a 74 minute amalgamation that leaves the listener exhausted after traversing a long road. Overall Martz stature in the electro-acoustic genre is further solidified though as a major composer and artist.
Improvijazzation Nation (USA) Issue # 70
Jasun Martz - THE BATTLE: Over 2 1/2 hours of music that will not only challenge your ears, but will allow you to explore new sonic worlds. CRG III "sticks to his guns", playing "modified toys", but this album goes into territories pretty much further out than "normal". You will not want to cheat yourself out of the "true" experience... ensure that (at least the first time) you are listening with headphones, & that you allocate at least 70 minutes per sitting... you will not want to try and listen to this in "pieces"... the effect is much more enjoyable if you listen to the first CD all the way through... then (I would recommend), come back to the second one & listen all the way through it!
Jasun is a master at using the music(s) he's mixing together to create moods that you've never experienced before. Those who fancy themselves "casual" listeners will not be able to "grok" this experience... it requires intimate attention to the environment that is being painted for your ears, and concentration far past the normal "Amurrican's" ADD problems.
You will be rewarded (and amazed) hugely if you listen carefully and let yourself be absorbed by the swirling textures and deep nuances contained in this musical tapestry. This comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for non-ADD listeners who have adventure in their ears and their souls! GREAT album! Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the site at www.undertheasphalt.com Rotcod Zzaj
CLOUDS AND CLOCKS (Italy) Beppe Colli
Jasun Martz. The Battle
I was quite surprised when, a few weeks ago, I found a "mysterious package" inside my mailbox: coming from New York, presenting a sender I didn't know, it contained a double CD and a thick press release package that on its cover announced "115 musicians!", "2 1/2 hours of music!" and "200 million years into the future...". The artist? Jasun Martz, with The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and The Royal Intercontinental Choir. Reading the printed material I learned of a rich and quite varied artistic biography; one episode that immediately attracted my attention was Martz's collaboration with... Frank Zappa! Being a long-time Zappa fan, the fact that I didn't remember Martz looked more than a bit strange. Careful reading told me that Martz's role had been that of programmer of Zappa's big modular synthesizer made by Emu Systems that Zappa brought on tour in 1977 and that was played by Eddie Jobson. Jobson's - and Ruth Underwood's - participation to Martz's album The Pillory had its seeds planted during that tour. From what I understand, The Pillory could be defined as a Mellotron + Orchestra multistylistic adventure, one that was much lauded the three (!) times the album was released: in 1978, 1981 and 1994.
Martz's background is that of your "typical American maverick": young drummer, multi-instrumentalist, synth wiz, this and that, sculptor and painter (painting appears to be his main occupation nowadays). If progressive rock, modern classical, and electronic music appear as being Martz's main influences, I'd say that a "pictorical" concept (think: Mnemonists, circa Horde) is at the foundation of this album. The Pillory/The Battle is not a work that's easy to "file under"... whatever. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, in an age when most music seems quite worried about not appearing too ambiguous in order to find its audience more easily. The only sure thing is that the album requires a long attention span on the part of the listener: Martz likes to work on big canvases, track 5 being - at 5'40" - the "single"; while track # 7 - at 74' - fills the second CD.
If I understand correctly, some musicians recorded their parts in Martz's studio, while others sent their parts from all over the world, in the form of digital files. Though this is not something really revolutionary nowadays, it's a way of working that seems to go well with the "episodic" nature of this music (in the only track that has a very strict rhythmic feel - a bit like a prog arrangement of Zappa's King Kong, with a violin and keyboard solo - almost all the instruments are played by Martz).
It could maybe be argued that while the album is always stimulating, it's not always successful. The strange thing is that, while a lot of things happen quite a lot of the time, the "more conventionally musical" moments appear as lacking a quality I'd call "necessity of development". While "soundscapes" - the first part of track one, the first thirty minutes of track seven - are quite successful, the same can't be said of the more "orchestra-enhanced" moments; it goes without saying that the movement we could call "minimalistic" - for the amount of instruments used, if not for the underlying philosophy - and which goes from 29' to 42' on the second CD requires a precise disposition on the part of the listener.
I found the concept that is said to be behind the work - and which explains why the seven tracks are all called Battle - to be not terribly useful; but it doesn't matter, really, because the music works (or doesn't) without it. At 22', Battle 1 moves through soundscapes, choirs and the Mellotron, while the orchestral Battle 2 didn't sound entirely convincing to me. I've already said of Battle 3, a quasi-progressive which flows into Battle 4, which has a nice percussive climax. Mellotron and pipe organ dominate Battle 5, while the more "abstract" climates of Battle 6 close the first CD. I consider the long track that occupies CD 2 in its entirety to be the best thing here, provided one is ready to walk at the right pace. It's not a "new age" album, by the way, its climates being most of the time very tense. A violin and vocals interlude, at about 67', nicely brings the album to its close. If not entirely successful, this is an original work that deserves a listen.
Music by Mail (Amsterdam) Pierre Tassone
Jasun Martz: The Pillory / The Battle. "The Pillory", released in the late 70's has quickly become a cult album for many music lovers and has behind itself no less than 4 releases on different labels. 25 years later, composer and keyboardist Jasun Martz (who was touring with Frank Zappa on his 1977/78 world tour as his synthesizer programmer) is BACK!
The musical ambitions are still higher, calling for a 115 members orchestra, The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choir. Jasun even put announcements to recruit people creating AND playing weird unusual instruments. the result? Two discs filled with dense music made of striking symphonic movements, powerful prog rock, sacred choir and celestial keyboards, gorgeous mellotrons and on the entire second disc dynamic ambient/industrial textures with the help of electronics and use of the highest quality 24-bit digital technology, which stand for the huge last movement/battle.
Expose, Sean McFee (USA)
"This ambitious undertaking utterly stretches Martz’s abilities as a composer and arranger. Combining elements of ambient, electronic, avant-garde, and even a little progressive rock, It is a difficult listening experience if taken sequentially, sprawling and struggling under its own weight. The breaking apart of the seventy minutes of music into six tracks helps in its digestion. It works better as ambient music, with the dynamic contrasts forcing the music in and out of the listener’s active mode. The album involves submissions of music by fans from around the world, writing parts for unusual instrumentation and avoiding obvious melodies, subsequently arranged by Martz. This technique appears to be used more on “The Battle,” (Movement 7) a single huge track. That he is able to get anything musical out of this is to his credit, and the trade-offs of this approach are self-evident; unity for chance, cohesion for a stab at genius. The results are mostly incidental, even inchoate, with Martz’s main success being in the creation of a sonic otherworld reminiscent of Magical Power Mako meets Steve Roach. Clearly not for everyone. The Battle is best undertaken by a listener open to challenging their ideas about music, or eager to pull the secrets out of the seeming chaos.
Amazon, Tom Furgas
The Universe Symphony of Everything!
Shortly after the advent of magnetic recording tape, and, later, the invention of the voltage-controlled synthesizer, there was much made of the "endless possibilities" of those mediums. One could now use the actual sounds, both of instruments and voices as well as "noises", to mold and create one's music. In the case of the electronic synthesizer, it was believed that it could replicate virtually any audible sound and enable it to be used in a musical way hitherto impossible. So what happened to all those "endless possibilities"? One has to search far and wide to uncover any music that actually fulfills that promise.
Much of the musique concrete or electronic music created in that heady time ('50's-'60's) certainly seems to have fallen far short of the dream, except for certain works by Stockhausen, Xenakis, Subotnick and a (very few) others. The reason for this is as simple as it is devastating; as composer Mel Powell put it, the creation of electronic or concrete music "allows camouflage about as generously as does, say, writing madrigals for unaccompanied voices."
Not only that, but it also requires a tremendous amount of hard work! The composer and artist Jasun Martz knows this quite well. The amount of work to create, mold, shape, and produce "The Pillory" and "The Battle" was staggering, but he knew well that to accomplish the sublime one must commit to the hard work and devotion necessary to bring the vision into reality. Martz contacted musicians all over the globe, sent them sheet music and instructions, then imported, assembled, arranged, and produced the music, as well as performing many parts of his own. The result is a rare and sublimely beautiful cycle of compositions which seem to embrace the whole universe of music and sound. But unlike composers whose reach exceeds their grasp, Martz has kept this all within HUMAN time and perceptual boundaries, so as to be fully comprehended and enjoyed. He did not want the listener to be as staggered by the listening process as he nearly was in creating it. The wealth of music, sound, and overall conception never seems like an "embarrassment of riches". The pacing and progression of the individual movements as well as the outlines within the movements are clearly drawn, logical but humanistic. These "Battles" are fought with strategy and foresight...never devolving into insipid ambience on the one hand, or mindless chaos on the other. Martz holds the progression and development of the music firmly within his grasp, but allowing freedom and chance to operate appropriately when needed to balance the stricter elements. The richness of texture and invention invite continued repeated listenings, as there always seems to be just a bit more embedded in the music than a given audition would reveal.
Amazon --Mr. Mellotron
This one was worth waiting for. I liked The Pillory but this one is better.
Two CD's with great orchestral soundscapes and of course a lot of mellotron.
Pretty amazing. Just let us hope Mr Martz don't wait 25 years for his next opus.
Jasun Martz returns nearly 30 years after releasing his masterpiece "The Pillory", an album which is often cited as the Mellotron Holy Grail! The piece has also been hailed as one of the greatest 20th-Century compositions. This follow-up, "The Battle" follows in the tradition of the first album and expands upon it. Fans of eclectic music will eat this up. There's everything from World, Progressive Rock, Industrial, Ambient, Classical and Mellotron washes woven together to create one cohesive piece over 2 full CDs! "The Pillory/The Battle" is an easy contender for Album-of-the-Year. And, yet another masterpiece from Jasun. I'm looking forward to the third installment.
Amazon --T. J. May
Jasun continues his wonderful mix of rock/avante guard/ prog explorations.
As the others have stated before me, this is quite amazing. It is also quite eclectic, yet molded into a fabulous cohesive work of art. Huge in nature, yet very personal.
The rock sections are perfectly fused into the overall modern classical nature of the music. Jasun seems so comfortable within all of the realms, and proves that inspiration can be perfectly mated with intelligence and education.
Congrats to Jasun and keeping my fingers crossed for the third in the series of The Pillory!
A great result for a great work, 25 years --Poigneton
25 years is the top age for human race ! for this CD it's the same, 25 years after the 1st opus !
This is a real great and hard work with plenty different sources and influences A combination
of quiet and loud times in alternation A great pleasure to ear it for the mind,
for the body and for enlarge his own culture
Amazon, --Wanda in the UK
I have never, ever EVER heard any music and sounds like this before.
The music literally grabs a hold of you and will not let go... I am mesmerized by this music!!!
The sounds and noises are brutal and rumbling and amazing... the contemporary classical sections (for a huge, full symphony orchestra) remind me of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps but MUCH wilder and intense... I think it is impossible to fully describe all that goes on in this music other than it is so, SO stunning and even if you hate it you will know you just experienced something very, VERY important. I think this release will be talked about for centuries in University classes as a turning point in music development so you better give a listen so you know what the heck everyone is talking about!
Amazon --Ed Rose
At last, something worthwhile!
I got into Jasun's first release "The Pillory", last year. It was everything the reviews had said: "Brilliant", "Stunning", etc.
This new one I love even more. It's astounding, dynamic, challenging, riveting, impeccably
produced, uncompromising, but never inpenetrable. If you're into contemporary classicists
like Gavin Bryars or John Tavener, you'll dig it. If you're into definitive prog, it'll blow your mind.
Once again, Jasun outdoes himself with his sublime mellotron work. Think of the great mellotron moments in music (Genesis-Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Yes-And You and I, all of Tim Christensen's Honeyburst cd) and increase it exponentially. If you love Zappa, Orff, Air, Boards Of Canada, there's something there, but this work is derivitive of nothing. I mention those artists just to give a vague point of reference. One of the things that astounds me about this work is how FRESH it is. Exactly what is needed (and virtually absent) in music today. Buy.
Amazon, --Gaetano Sorrentino
Great Mellotron/Orchestral work!
Jasun Martz returned after 25 years with another masterpiece! The battle it's better than The Pillory. With 115 musicians and 2 1/2 hours of great music,this is a masterpiece! Buy it and enjoy this piece of art and music!
Fractal Music --Dennis Shainon
I can't imagine anyone reading these reviews, trying to get an idea of what is going on here. Either you're familiar with this work, or it has been recommended to you. In my case, I have the original 1978 album and thought it about time to upgrade to CD.
To those in a similar situation let me address a few issues. When looking for a CD replacement, I stumbled across this double CD production, but one thing is not made clear, how much does the original "Pillory" differ from this version? Since my vinyl is buried somewhere, the answer does not come readily to mind, other than this is not the way I remember it.
The newer compositions on the second disc certainly are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I think I'll hunt up a CD of the original "Pillory recording as an after thought. Now onto the music itself. One of the best guidelines I ever read about writing music is this: If the music is constantly going to unexpected places, it confounds the listener and they soon give up. But on the other hand if the music is too predictable, the listener gets bored and disregards it. It is a delicate balance, and I've noticed that younger composers violate the first rule (making it too complicated to follow) by wanting to impress everyone with their "talent." Hearing both the old and the new compositions by the "new" and "old" maestro Martz the previously mentioned maxim comes clearly into focus. Although I enjoy the first chaotic composition, there is a marked maturity visible in the second. The 1978 composition represented in this new recording is an obvious exercise in intellectual manipulation, and can be quite challenging to listen to. However the newer composition on disc two seems to be more "discovered" than composed. It has a natural organic feel to it.
The reviewers here are having a hard time trying to label what genre' of music this is, I think I have the answer. The movements (in the second CD) come and go for the most part imperceptibly, Hardly ever does a new theme just jump out. It is rather an example of "Fractal" music, where everything is contained simultaneously, it is just a matter of what we are focused on.
It reminds me of a fractal zoom, where new variations are revealed on closer inspection in endless, subtle variation. It's like walking down a street with musicians playing on every corner, one group dominates, merges and then gives way to another. Many great composers say that they didn't really write the music, they were just the conduit through which it flowed. Rather than being disrespectful of Jasun's labors, this comment is made as the highest compliment, it takes great genius to hide the "art" in the art, and make it seem that it has always existed out there in the cosmos somewhere, and we are just given a quick glimpse. Glad I got on board!
Amazon --Benjamin Miler
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!
Over 25 years later, Jasun Martz had revisited The Pillory. He's not the only one revisiting albums from the '70s. Think Mike Oldfield with his series of Tubular Bells sequels in the 1990s, think Jean Michel Jarre and Oxygene 7-13. Many people accused them of simply cashing in on nostalgia or desperate to gain more sales, or both.
Of course, since Jasun Martz had nothing to lose, given his original Pillory from 1978 only sold to the handful who knew of it, and not recording albums in between (he played for Michael Jackson and arranging the dreaded "We Built This City" by Starship in between that time, but that really didn't matter much as the mainstream audience hardly knew who Jasun Martz was), recording a sequel was not going to hurt his reputation.
And it's true, this is truly a wonderful sequel to his great 1978 album. This time around he used a 115 piece orchestra called The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra. While the 1978 original had such familiar names as Eddie Jobson, Ruth Underwood, and Paul Whitehead helping out, this time around, the only recognizable name (to me) is Mark Shreeve, one of Britain's top electronic musicians. With two CDs, and over two hours of music, he's able to expand much greater the ideas he had in his mind than he ever dreamed of back in the '70s with the original Pillory. The Pillory/The Battle is divided in seven movements, the final movement, takes up all of the second disc (clocking in at 74 minutes, making the likes of Acid Mothers Temple and Radio Massacre International seem rather modest in their composition length, where they often did 40-50 minute long compositions).
Each of these movements have their own "musical style", like "Soundscapes/Choir/Mellotron", "Tribal/Prog Rock", "Ambient", etc. And trust me this is music not very easily labeled. Neo-classical? World music? Ambient? Prog rock? Industrial? Noise? Actually all of the above and more, as the music goes through all these different styles. I'll tell you the exploration of noise and industrial is something you'd never find on the original Pillory. You get the orchestra, strings, brass, choir, percussion, and keyboards (synthesizers, and virtual Mellotron).
As mentioned "virtual Mellotron", meaning an M-Tron, SampleTron, or any similar VST plugins, or real keyboards that emulates the Mellotron. Also there's a couple passages that was so obviously a digital synthesizer trying to sound like tron cellos (like on the first cut) but still sounding like a digital synth. Andy Thompson who runs a website called Planet Mellotron stated he was invited to play on the album, and had he done so, real Mellotron would have been used, but he never had the time to do so. "The Battle 3" actually features guitar, something never used on the original Pillory. The original Pillory is not exactly easy going, this 2005 sequel is even more so, with over two hours of music, but it's stuffed with so much great ideas, that it completely warrants a 2 disc set! Once again, a lot of the music has this rather gloomy, sinister feel, to let everyone know this ain't lite classical!
Jasun Martz talks of a third Pillory around 2030. Well, given sources state he was born in 1953, he'd be well in his 70s by the time he attempts to do this. So lets hope he still has the health and energy to do that, and it's just as good as the first two he's made!
This is truly a highly recommended album for the adventurous, and don't forget to pick up the original too.
CONCERTZENDER (The Netherlands) Hessel Veldman
The Pillory/The Battle van Jasun Martz. Tijdens de Frank Zappa World Tour in 1977/78, waarbij componist en keyboardspeler Jasun Martz was aangesteld als Frank's synthesizer programmeur, componeerde Martz zijn symfonie "The Pillory". Aan dit modern klassieke meesterwerk werkten meer dan 40 muzikanten mee, waaronder leden van de Zappa band (Ruth Underwood, Eddie Jobson, e.a.). Gedurende de afgelopen jaren is "The Pillory" al door diverse labels uitgegeven. Nu, in 2005, heeft Jasun Martz zijn complete symfonie m.b.v. de allernieuwste digitale technieken opnieuw bewerkt, gemanipuleerd en gemixt. Hij heeft daarbij gebruik gemaakt van wereldwijd opgenomen stukjes geluid en muziek samengesteld door tientallen muzikanten. Het resultaat is te vinden op de dubbel CD "The Pillory/The Battle" uitgegeven door het label Under The Asphalt.
In dit twee uur durende thema-programma drie stukken van deze fraai vormgegeven CD: Battle 1, Battle 2 en Battle 7.
BABYBLAUE-SEITEN (Germany) Von: Achim Breiling
Vor über 25 Jahren nahm Jasun Martz zusammen mit 40 Sängern und Instrumentalisten seine erste CD auf. "The Pillory" (der Pranger) war (ist) eine knapp dreiviertelstündige Symphonie, eine gewaltige Klangmasse, die Elemente aus elektronischer Musik, Symphoprog, zeitgenössischer Klassik und RIO-Kammerrock in sich vereinigte. Das Werk erschien 1978 erstmals auf LP. Bis auf sein Trio für Klavier, Violine und Klarinette von 1982 - "in light in dark in between" (welches als Bonustrack auf der CD-Ausgabe von "The Pillory" zu finden ist) -, hat Martz diesem ersten Opus zwei Jahrzehnte lang kein weiteres umfangreiches musikalisches Werk folgen lassen. Erst 2005 erschien die hier zu besprechende Fortsetzung zu "The Pillory ", "ThePillory/The Battle".
Knapp zweieinhalb, auf 2 CDs verteilte Stunden an Musik gibt es auf dem Album zu hören, erzeugt von 115 Sängern und Musikern. Allerdings befanden sich diese 115 Personen nie zusammen in einem Studio. Vielmehr hat sich sich Martz in der ganzen Welt Kollaboratöre zusammengesucht, hat ihnen einen Teil der Partitur zugeschickt und sie gebeten ihren Part aufzunehmen. Via CD, e-mail oder FTP-Datentransfer kamen die so aufgezeichneten Klänge zu Martz zurück, der schliesslich in seinem Studio in New York die neue Symphonie aus diesen Tonkonserven zusammenbastelte und durch eigene Instrumentaleinspielungen vervollständigte.
Ging es in "The Pillory " noch um die Verwandlung einer Existenz durch neun Phasen hindurch (Vorgeburt, Geburt/Tod, Verwirklichung, Beschränkung, Anpassung, Grenze, Rebellion, Verurteilung und Tod/Geburt), dargestellt durch die neun, ineinander übergehenden Sätze der Komposition, steht hinter "The Pillory/The Battle" ein weltumfassendes, apokalyptisches SF-Konzept. 200 Millionen Jahre in der Zukunft ist das Ende der Kontinentaldrift erreicht. Die sieben Kontinente kollidieren miteinander, um wieder eine einzige Landmasse zu bilden. Sieben verschiedene Menschenrassen, die sich aus einem etwas unerfindlichen Grund (Martz schreibt etwas davon, dass die Ozeane zu Feuerlohen geworden sind), voneinander isoliert, ganz unterschiedlich weiterentwickelt haben, treffen aufeinander und es kommt zu sieben gigantischen Schlachten - die sieben Abschnitte des Werkes. Das Ganze ist übrigens eine Vison, die Martz angeblich hatte, als er den Cotopaxi in Ecuador hinuterrannte! Hm ... zur Musik!
Musikalisch geht es auf "The Pillory" stellenweise durchaus apokalyptisch zu. Die sieben Abschnitte gliedert Martz wie folgt:
2. Contemporary Classical/Orchestral
5. Mellotron/Celestial Pipe
Wie schon der Erstling ist "The Pillory/TheBattle" ein recht wüstes Konglomerat aus elektronischer Musik, Kammerrock, zeitgenössischer Klassik und Symphoprog, welches nun aber auch Worldmusik- und Folkelemente, Ambientschweben und Industrialkrach enthält und sich stark auf Sampler- und Miditechnologie stützt. Allzu orchestral-vielstimmig wird die Musik recht selten, so dass die für die Begleitmusiker gewählte Bezeichnung "The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra - The Royal Intercontinental Choir" ziemlich irreführend ist. Die jeweiligen Beiträge der Musiker sind nur Bruchteile des Gesamtwerkes, welches eine, durch Martz stark ergänzte, Aneinanderreihung der Gastaufnahmen, und nicht ein gleichzeitiges Erklingen derselben darstellt.
Träge wälzen sich die Klangmassen und Gesänge zu beginn dahin, entwickeln sich zeitlupenhafte Themen und Melodieabläufe. Nach einem (zu) langen Solo verschiedener Midi-Streicher (kein Mellotron!) entwickelt sich die Musik langsam, über den fast klassisch-orchestral/kammerproggigen zweiten Teil hinweg, zu einem treibenden Progrock (mit solistischer Violine und E-Gitarren), der in Teil drei mit dem einsetzenden Schlagzeug richtig in Erscheinung tritt. In Teil vier bricht dann das Chaos aus. Das wüste Klangdurcheinander schwillt aber langsam ab und mündet in einem hallenden und schallenden Perkussionsabschnitt. Danach wird es sakral. Brummende Synthesizer, Mellotronimitat und Kirchenorgel (der man allerdings auch anhört, dass sie einem Midi-Keyboard entstammt) sorgen für weihevollen Bombast, ehe sich CD1 in elektronischem Ambientgewaber auflöst.
"Battle 7" nimmt dann die gesamte zweite CD ein. Das Stück ist ein Monstertrack von fast 75 Minuten, ein gigantischer Monolit aus Klang, Melodienfragmenten, trägem Tonschweben und Dröhnen, Samples, langem Elektronikgeweben, Choreinlagen und textlosem Gesang, Keyboardwänden, Geräuschen und Krach. Das ist mitunter sehr beeindruckend, aber insgesamt doch ziemlich lang.
Letzters könnte wohl auch das Fazit zu dieser Scheibe sein. Martz erschafft hier durchaus grandiose Klanglandschaften, doch braucht der Hörer sehr viel Geduld und Ausdauer, um sich dieselben zu erschliessen. Mitunter - recht häufig - blubbern und dröhnen auf "The Pillory/The Battle" die Klänge minutenlang dahin, ohne dass sich allzu viel verändert. Eine Art von Monumental-Minimalismus ist das, den vermutlich der eine oder andere Hörer als langatmig, uninspiriert und langweilig empfinden wird. Wer allerdings die eher zähen Tonskulpturen diverser deutscher Elektroniker der frühen bis mittleren 70er Jahre schätzt, und sich solcherlei Klänge mit industriellem Krach, symphonischen Keyboardteppichen, klassischen Orchesterklängen und RIO-Kammerrock gekreuzt vorstellen kann, der dürfte wohl an "The Pillory/The Battle" gefallen finden!
BABYBLAUE-SEITEN (Germany) Von: Andreas Pläschke
Was habe ich mir da bloss angetan ;-)?
Neugierig geworden (danke Achim), auf Martz' Homepage nachgeschaut und schwupps drei neue CDs in kürzester Zeit im Briefkasten, zuzüglich signiertem Riesenposter und einer große Postkarte von einem seiner Bilder.
Die Geschichte (das Aufeinandertreffen diverser Menschenarten in 200 Millionen Jahren) wird genau so umgesetzt, wie die einzelnen Teile der Schlacht geschrieben sind. In "Battle 1" herrschen Soundscapes vor, im zweiten Teil modern klassische, im dritten ethnisch/progressiv Elemente undsoweiter. Das ist wirklich Musik im Grenzbereich von Prog. Achim hat es gut getroffen, eine Vielzahl von Klängen umschwirren einen; mal eher ruhig oder mal heftig laut. Battle 3 klingt stellenweise wie Kriegsgesang von Kobaia, wobei alles bis auf die Solovioline von Herrn Martz stammt.
Besonders heftig ist die zweite CD. Hier herrschen erst heftigste Industrialklänge vor, aus denen sich sehr sehr langsam (so gegen Minute 25) aus tiefster Ferne kleine Melodien entwickeln, um den Noise und später den Ambientteil zu formen. Hier ist die Ähnlichkeit mit frühen Werken deutscher Klangkünstler oder ENOs Ambientplatten am deutlichsten. Der reine Klang zählt, die langsamste Variation desselben.
Wie Achim so schön sagte: Geduld heißt hier das Zauberwort - wenn man sich darauf einlassen kann, ist die Musik besonders unter dem Kopfhörer beeindruckend, wobei ich mir die Industrialtöne eher selten antun werde. Ich brauche meine Ohren noch.
HARMONIE MAGAZINE (France) Bruno Versmisse
JASUN MARTZ THE BATTLE
J’avais été on ne peut plus dithyrambique en décembre 1994 sur le disque de Jasun Martz, The Pillory. Je débutais ou presque au sein d’Harmonie et je me sentais obligé d’en rajouter des tartines dans l’élaboration d’une chronique ! Quand je la relis, je ne peux que m’amuser à l’évocation de « mon 1 er vrai CD de progressive » chroniqué !! Oui, exagération due à l’enthousiasme de découvrir des inconnus ferraillant bravement à la pointe de musiques invraisemblables. J’ai vieilli et je ne suis plus capable des mêmes émois sur certains disques, a priori le type de musique développée par Jasun Martz. Si je ne retire aucune ligne de ce que j’ai pu écrire dans ce n° 24, je serai plus mesuré dans mes propos à l’heure actuelle. D’autant plus qu’à cette réédition, vient se rajouter The Battle pour un deuxième CD. Et le concours du Philharmonic Orchestra et du Royal Intercontinental Choir à l’appui. Pour faire rapide, je rappelle que le bonhomme a travaillé avec Zappa, Far East Family Band (des Japonais), Starship (ex-Jefferson) et même... Michael Jackson !!! Martz fut un compagnon de tournée de F. Zappa et cela s’entend car, à côté des envolées mellotronesques et des violonades terriblement progressives, vient se juxtaposer une « musique concrète » si proche de certains travaux de Zappa et de son mentor, Boulez !!! Le choc des cultures pour un artiste assez complet et se complaisant d’ailleurs dans une approche du rock progressif quasi complète. C’est simple, avec ce double album, vous aurez l’impression d’avoir fait le tour de la question progressive ! Ceux qui se torturent les méninges sur un certain jazz-rock aride et déviant et les autres, plus nombreux, qui flashent ad vitam eternam sur les grandes orchestrations pompeuses et rococo, vont se rencontrer au carrefour de cette grande œuvre, incontournable monument de la cause progressive. Jasun Martz ne sait jamais vers quel style se tourner alors il opte pour une approche globale des écoles différentes de la cause... Et comme son talent de compositeur est à la hauteur de ses envies, c’est une cathédrale qui s’érige entre les enceintes de votre nid douillet. Il faut bien dire que le mellotron, omniprésent, additionné aux effets du grand orchestre et des chœurs quasi religieux, ça remue l’intérieur ! Le violon en rajoute dans la sensiblerie et la mélancolie, le grandiloquent ne sombre jamais dans le ridicule comme on pourrait le soupçonner. On reste loin des tirades japonaises dans le genre mais Jasun Martz assure comme le génie qu’il est et semble rester malgré les appels d’inconditionnels vénérant le « monstre » issu de son cerveau torturé. Bon, je m’arrête là car moi aussi, je vais me faire une resucée de mon article de 1994. Putain, déjà onze ans... Preuve que le progressif est intemporel, l’œuvre fut composée en 1976 et enregistrée une première fois en 1982 !! Tout est dit...
L’actualité du rock progressif magazine
PROGRESSIVE-NEWSLETTER (Germany) Kristian Selm
1978 veröffentlichte Jasun Martz sein erstes Soloalbum „The pillory“. Der u.a. im Umfeld von Frank Zappa tätige Musiker lieferte auf diesem avantgardistischen, modernen Album vor allem eine Klangorgie für alle Mellotron Fans ab, die auch heute noch einen gewissen Kultstatus genießt. In der Zwischenzeit kehrte Martz dem Musikbusiness mehr oder weniger fast gänzlich den Rücken zu, arbeitete vor allem in der Werbebranche und als Künstler. Doch verlor er die Musik nicht komplett aus den Augen, so dass der Autodidakt zwischenzeitlich z.B. mit Michael Jackson(!) zusammen arbeitete und sich in den 80ern als Co-Arrangeur von Starships „We built this city“ seine Meriten verdiente.
„The pillory / The battle“ ist nun eine Rückkehr zu seinen experimentellen Wurzeln, wobei dieses monumentale Werk nach einem ganz eigenen Ansatz entstand. Über das Internet arbeitete der New Yorker Künstler mit „The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra & The Royal Intercontinental Choir“ zusammen, ein virtueller Zusammenschluss von 115(!) Musikern aus allen Kontinenten. Martz war dabei vor allem auf der Suche nach ungewöhnlichen Instrumenten und Sounds, so dass er aus knapp 1000 Beiträgen sein ganz eigenes Werk zusammenstellte. Das Endresultat ist eine Art zeitgenössische Sinfonie, die die weiten Felder von Soundscapes, Avantgarde, Experimentalmusik bis hin zu World Music und Progressive Rock abdeckt. So unterscheiden sich die 7 Stücke auf den beiden CDs zum Teil sehr stark voneinander. Mal gibt es über 20-minütige Klanglandschaften, die von innerer Ruhe und Besinnlichkeit bestimmt werden, während auf anderen Titel eine interessante Interaktion aus stampfender, expressiver Weltmusik und progressiven, schrägen Rhythmen entsteht. Von der Mellotrondramatik des Debüts ist übrigens nichts mehr übrig geblieben, nur auf einem Titel sind ganz sachte Klänge des anachronistischen Instruments mit dem seufzenden Sound zu vernehmen.
„The pillory / The battle“ ist vor allem ein Werk zum genauen Zuhören, eine monumentale Reise quer durch alle Kontinente, Kulturen und Musikstile, schlichtweg harter Stoff. Ganz so weitschweifend wie dieses Werk sind auch die musikalischen Pläne von Jasun Martz für die Zukunft angelegt, denn der dritte Teil der „The pillory“ Trilogie ist in 25(!) Jahren geplant.
--Kristian Selm. Progressive-Newsletter,de Germany
RAGAZZI (Germany) Volkmar Mantei
Bei Jasun Martz geht es stets gewaltig zu. Das war schon bei seinem 1978er Werk "The Pillory" so, das er mit dem so genannten The Neoteric Orchestra eingespielt hatte und ist dem neuen, wieder "The Pillory" getauften Album ebenso. 115 Musiker waren an der Einspielung der 7 Songs auf 2 CDs involviert. The Intercontinental Philharmonic Orchestra und The Royal Intercontinental Choir sind aufgeführt, allein zwei ganze Seiten des Digipacks braucht es, alle Musiker aufzuführen. Beide CDs sind jeweils 74 Minuten lang und das Motto lautete: 200 Millionen Jahre in die Zukunft. Wenn da nichts Großes bei herauskommt!
Das 1978er Album war "nur" 44 Minuten lang, die Plattenfirma bewarb die Produktion damals mit "Dear Ears", das war damals schon nötig. Heute müsste die Aufforderung an Ohren, Nerven und Durchhaltevermögen gehen, 148 Minuten Musik sind kein Pappenstiel.
Stilistisch hat sich seit 1978 einiges getan. Konnte man das dröhnende, hektische Werk noch als Avantgarde Rock anbieten, sind die Formen auf dem neuen Werk eklektisch.
Zur Erleichterung hat Jasun Martz jedem Stück gleich die stilistische Ausrichtung mitgegeben, die hier kurz aufgeführt seien: 1. Soundscapes/Choir/Mellotron. 2. Contemporary Classical/Orchestral. 3. Tribal/Progressive. 4. Anarchy/Freeform/Percussion. 5. Mellotron/Celestial Pipe Organ und 6. Ambient. Auf CD 2 gibt es nur einen (!) Track, der sich genüsslich über 74 Minuten ausbreitet: Industrial/Noise/Ambient.
Es gibt auch ein Thema hinter der Musik, das im beiliegenden Presseblatt ausführlich erwähnt wird. Über Jasun Martz steht geschrieben, er habe mit Frank Zappa, The Far East Family Band, Starship (wo er an den Arrangements des Verbrechens "We Built This City On Rock 'n' Roll" beteiligt war) und Michael Jackson gearbeitet. Gewidmet ist "The Pillory/The Battle" drei Personen: Charles Darwin, Allan Kurtzman und Frank Zappa.
Den dritten Teil der "The Pillory" Trilogie will er im gleichen Abstand wie zwischen Teil 1 und 2 realisieren: in 25 Jahren.
Zudem ist Jasun Martz studierter Maler, der weltweit Ausstellungen hat und auch in diesem Metier für Avantgarde mit Bildern und Skulpturen steht.
Jasun Martz hat nicht nur allein die gigantische Arbeit des Komponierens und wohl bis auf die Knochen strapazierenden Schreibens der endlosen Partituren getan, er steht auch für erheblich viele Instrumente, deren einige hier aufgelistet seien: Keyboards, Electronics, Synthesizers, Noise Generators, Percussion, Sheet Metal, Drums, Electric Guitars, Bass, Woodwinds, Horns und Vocals sowie komplett alles allein im 3. Part, der mit Tribal/Prog Rock bezeichnet ist.
Im Prinzip sind die stilistischen Titel, die Jasun Martz getroffen hat, auch aussagekräftig. Der erste Track beginnt leise und braucht eine Weile, sein harmonisch ausgefallenes Motiv zu entfalten. Das ist jedoch sehr eindrücklich gelungen und wird vor allem die Musikinteressierten begeistern, die klassische Musik, zeitgenössische ernste Musik mögen. Die 22 Minuten sind ein brodelnder Kessel, der mit dem Ausdruck des Mellotrons in die symphonische Progrichtung kippt, melodisch und harmonisch aber auch hier in der zeitgenössischen Musik verbleibt.
Die knapp 20 Minuten des 2. Parts sind aufgeregter als Part 1. Das Orchester entwirft ein leises Motiv, das emotional tief aufbricht und sich stark erregt, abebbt und sich wieder aufwirft. Mal ist das große Orchester dabei, die Partituren zu spielen, dann Jasun Martz mit Keyboards und Percussion. Der 11-minütige 3. Part macht seinem Namen alle Ehre. Tribal/Prog Rock finden hier in sehr avantgardistischer Spielweise, mit heftigem Schlagzeugspiel und ausgeflippter Melodiesprache zu kerniger Ausdruckskraft. Starkes Stück, das nach im Off beginnenden Start plötzlich und mit virtuosem Rhythmus nach vorn prescht und dauerhaft wie ein nicht enden wollendes Erdbeben arbeitet und in gewaltigem Krach aufgeht.
Eben dieser Krach wird im folgenden, 6-minütigen "Anarchy/Freeform/Percussion" fortgeführt und dort avantgardistisch auf die phänomenale Spitze getrieben. Die Minuten braucht das Stück auch, um die Free Form wieder abzubauen und erneute Harmonie zu schaffen, die in den beiden ambienten folgenden Stücken lyrisch ausgebaut wird, nachdem Part 5 erst ein klanglich beeindruckendes Orgelsolo bietet. CD1 ist grandios. Manches Mal bleibt die Frage, wozu die vielen Musiker notwendig waren, wenn das elektrische und elektronische Equipment viele Facetten des bisherigen Werkes auch allein vermocht hätte auszudrücken. Aber der klare Klang der vielen involvierten klassischen Instrumente ist nicht mit Synthesizern und Mellotron zu finden, und sicher ist der Anspruch Jasun Martz', die Klangfülle so erheblich zu machen, nicht anders zu erfüllen.
Das eine Stück auf CD2 unterscheidet sich erheblich von den ersten 6 Battle-Parts. Industrial/Noise/Ambient entwickelt sich unterschwellig, brodelt im Untergrund, gefährlich wie ein Boden, von dem man nicht weiß, ob er das eigene Gewicht hält. Doch Ausdruck und Klang des Werkes finden meines Erachtens längst nicht die Qualität der ersten CD. Plötzlich sind unangenehme Sounds zu hören. Es quietscht und kreischt, als träfen große sich reibende Flächen aufeinander, die hässliche und unangenehme Geräusche verursachen.
So interessant und spannend CD1 sich entwickelte, so wenig kann ich das von CD2 behaupten. Mit einer Ausnahme, 6 Minuten vor dem Ende des nicht nur zeitlich gewaltigen Werkes bricht die latente Gewalt der Komposition auf und entwickelt sich in melodischer, avantgardistischer Musiksprache frei und vital, um zum Ende zurück in die verwirrte und verwirrende Abwesenheit zu fallen, die in den vorherigen Minuten so bedrückend herrschte.
Das Werk von 1978, damals mit bekannten Musikern der Rockszene wie Ruth Underwood, Eddie Jobson und Paul Whitehead im Zeitalter der Rockmusik eingespielt, konnte die Rockgemeinde interessieren. Das 2005er Werk kann das mit Abstrichen auf CD1 auch, leidenschaftlich und ausdrucksstark. Insgesamt aber wird die Produktion wohl eher an neuer Avantgarde Interessierte ansprechen und die neugierigen Musikfreaks dieses Planeten, die auf der steten Suche nach ungewöhnlichen
More The Battle reviews to be posted soon...