Robert Aaron; Datura, The Last Ten MinutesCreel Pone
CP 190-190.5 CD
Double Compact Disc-Recordable
The two moldy, water-logged LPs being reproduced here - the particular copies in question were steeped in Italian bog-water for decades, then recently proffered to the Mr. P.C. C.P. brain-trust - cover the self-released early-80s Electronic Free Jazz / Improv diversions of one Robert Aaron - the New York "Jazz Musician" / James Chance sideman who was recently arrested in connection to Philip Seymour Hoffman's death. That aside, let's focus on the music: both LPs - issued via Aaron's Private Artichoke imprint - posit a unique form of punk-laced, synth-centric free improv that really has no real antecedent, making it a perfect candidate for exploration via the C.P. program.
"Datura's" whole look/spec reminds me of the contemporaneous Gregory Sablosky / Roy Jones "No Imagination" set - the mutant, gelatinous google-eyed formation on the cover being indicative of just so much of the early 80s NY sleaze that formed around it - alas, the decidedly "Downtown" aggregate of duo synth-haze & the kinds of room-toned, loft-captured noise-improv shenanigans simultaneously being channeled by John Zorn et.al in neighboring spaces. There's something so incredibly singular about Aaron's SIEL - Societa Industrie Elettroniche - monosynth extrapolations; as far away from someone like Morton Subotnick's work as conceivable, favoring a more expressive, keyboard-fisted application of cross-hatching, sliding timbres that echo perhaps Sun Ra's diversions in decades prior moreso than Marty Rev & Alan Vega's direct assaults.
The variable duo & group-mind lineups heard across "Datura" then coalesce into a solid working-group format on "The Last Ten Minutes," featuring a fixed trio lineup of Aaron's Synth / Piano, Michael Curran's Piano / Rhodes / Kalimba, & Keith Nicolay's Guitar / Flute / Piano. The generic pressing-plant "Solar Eye" cover - augmented with a gross fish-eye illustration of a housefly - says it all: mutant, garbled music wrapped in an air of anonymity - both covers are reproduced via their own booklets, each album included on its own disc; both records are white-hot documents of ferocious intensity stopping at all of the waypoints between the "Loft Jazz" explosion of the late 60s, post/punk anarchisms, and the nascent 80s "anything goes" ethos of the New York experimental music scene of the 80s.