SIGH DOG SIGH: Thing 1 & Thing 2[CASSETTE ONLY RELEASE: Don't have a cassette player? Contact the artist !]
Catching up with Frances is no easy pancake. She enjoyed unprecedented success on the early 90's Richmond scene as Aurora Paralysis and, nearly a decade later, would return with a fully realized song cycle as Her Love Filled the Room [Love, Hate & Dignity](the likes of which hasn't been seen since John Cale's Paris 1919) and a CD single (Grady Lives on Planet Grady) that would go to #13 on U. of Michigan's charts. "I was feeling confined," she confided to this reporter, "Salmon Patties was an inspiration. The spirit of the thing was 'let's go to the rehearsal space and see what happens.'" The results are astonishing.
New genres are soon enough reduced to cookie-cutter forms and gestures: Bluegrass became synonymous with speed and high-pitched vocals. And Free Jazz? At its most unengaging, the music is about speed, ferocity and little else. Those who mixed things up - both rhythmically and thematically - are few and far between: Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and Peter Brotzmann. Frances' own listening was along different, though no less independent lines: "I was listening to Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra every night for 4 months." A curious fact, given that Haden's personal music is more in the tradition of compositions for large ensembles: Ellington, Mingus, Carla Bley. The connection was a mystery I took some time to ponder as Frances fed the beagle Lorna Doones.
Let's get this straight: "Thing 1 & Thing 2" is Free Jazz by Sigh Dog Sigh. It is not an endurance test cleverly manufactured in a faraway town, nor is it Neil Young in the 80's modeling ill-fitting hats. Frances is at home here, on both piano and horns, and is joined by Salmon Patties (Guaranteed Katch, Colon on the Cob), whose drumwork recalls Rashied Ali. This is jazz for the eep hours of the morning (whenever they may fall) and Music that designs burial suits for the Xuxa-style theatrics of today's most desperate charity cases ("Bored Post-Rocker seeks Ailing Indie Heroes for Adequate Times," ad naseam). Sigh Dog Sigh is the Woo-Bop, get-down soundtrack to Now.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Thing 1
2. Thing 2