Playlist: January 5, 2010

To see the full KZSU playlist for Tuesday, Jan. 5, 5:40 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., click here.

Items of note:

* Mats Gustafsson — “Untitled (Just Say No)” — The Vilnius Explosion (NoBusiness, 2008) … From an exciting new record label out of Lithuania, which is apparently run by folks who also organize jazz/improv shows out there. This was their debut CD, matching Gustafsson with a quartet of Lithuanian improvisers for some impressive results. This track is the centerpiece, a 30-minute ride that includes lots of sax bluster from Gustaffson and Liudas Mockunas, but also some sublime passages that quiet down to fast patters that let the bass and drums shine.

* Jliat produces intense noise by linking effects pedals together.  Lots of folks do that, but Jliat makes it particularly piercing and harsh. It’s always a fun challenge to insert Jliat into a “jazz” show.

* William Hooker — “Ghost Dance” — Armageddon (Homestead, 1995) … For some reason, I was in the mood to start sets with something harsh (like Jliat), then amp downwards.  This track combines a firestorm of Hooker’s drums with David First on guitar.  First’s playing is noisy but at a low volume, like an understated accompaniment.

* Jonathon Haffner — “Formigas” — Life on Wednesday (Cachuma, 2009) … Here’s an interesting one, a modern/contemporary jazz quintet that includes Craig Taborn adding some electronics.  They’re often in an accessible mode but aren’t afraid of a free-jazz freakout, as on “Western Wren (The Bird Call).”  This track is a 10-minute excursion that starts with about four minutes of a quiet patter, a combination of electronics, bass/drums, and possibly some percussively played guitar.  The sax breaks in for an improv section that heats up to a boil by the end.

* Etienne Jaumet — “At the Crack of Dawn” — Night Music (Versatile, 2009)Planetarium music.  That is, it’s dance/electronica but with a sit-down feel, lots of springy beats played out on Jean-Michel-Jarre kinds of synthesizers for an upbeat but cerebral sound.  This track is centered on a saxophone sample that makes it sound “jazzy,” even though the sample is looped to form a one-note drone. It’s also got a deliciously low low bass tone at the start. Separately: Don’t know if it’s just kismet or what, but this CD was one of our most popular last week, its first week in rotation. It might be one of those albums with enough of a common denominator to attract a wide swath of DJs. We’ll see.