Doctor Nerve in Europe…again…
Crazy stuff: ten years after the Iraq war we will have another anniversary tied to another American invasion next week:
Doctor Nerve will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Jazz assimilates Metal…or was it Humor? So, Jazz assimilates Fun? Freely improvised Metal? Modern classical arrangements meet a drum set and a Mr. Didkovsky? Anyway, boundaries annihilated for 30 years and that needs some special celebration day, not just a series of some 5 shows at some of New York’s underground club, they will spill over Europe, they will find you at your homes, crush your ears, thoroughly chew your eardrum and spit it back at you!
And if you really don’t know nothing, here’s a brief introductory summary entitled “hey DOCTOR, my NERVE is twitching”:
In 1983, just after finishing his studies on contemporary and electronic music under the composers Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros and Gerald Shapiro, Nick Didkovsky founded the Avant-Metal-Jazz band this article is about. Already in the first year, they recorded their first record Out to bomb fresh kings, which was released on Recommended Records / No Man’s Land (a label from Würzburg, Germany so it makes some sense to start this year’s tour there) in 1984. No less than 17 musicians were involved in the recording sessions, mostly providing guest parts. However, composed with less than any need for harmony, this record with its erratic wind instrument explosions and spiced with erruptive guitar riffs definitively proves the name well chosen. And maybe one or an other remembers the prominent Peter Bäder cover…
Their second output, Armed Observation, followed three years later on the by that time aspiring Rock-In-Opposition label Cuneiform. Being co-produced by no less than RIO legend Fred Frith and recorded by a boiled down line-up, the music does not substantially differ from its predecessor Out to bomb fresh kings: heavy guitar riffs, dadaistic jazzy wind fanfares and improvised mind-blowing complex rock…actually, it even claims that “diese Platte ist keine Jazzplatte” (to be pronounced with a Viennoise accent). Being fraternal on the musical side, these two records were accordingly released by Cuneiform on a single CD in the early 90s.
Several times Europe was taken over in these days, before a live record, entitled Did Sprinting Die? and recorded at one of New York’s legendary clubs, the Knitting Factory, followed in 1990, which contained mainly material stemming from their first two records. Complementary to the free jazz program, this release for the first time also contains three pieces called Computer Generated Piece which according to the booklet are composed by a program called DrNerve.hmsl – a program designed by bandleader Nick Didkovsky using the theory and techniques of random walks and Markov chains.
This program was also used to partly compose the pieces for the third regular studio record Beta 14 ok, which as a result of this rather experimental technique sounds more sterile than their earlier outputs, even if contrary to the mentioned Computer Generated Piece on the previous live record the computer-composed music was played by real instruments this time. Two other extra special ideas were realized on this record on the edge between free jazz and electronic music: Fast Fourier Fugue, a computer generated vibraphone piece which composed itself while being played and 44 so-called Nerve Events, with which the listener can program his own Doctor Nerve piece with a little help from the programming function of his / her CD player (a trick which obviously would not have worked in good old vinyl days…)
Also the next record Skin was recorded under the influence of DrNerve.hmsl (where hmsl actually means Hierarchical Music Specification Language), the second live record Every Screaming Ear was released in 1997, before in 2000 the to date last Doctor Nerve record was spilled over music industry. This again was special. During the 90s Doctor Nerve played some concerts together with string instruments, called conducted improvisations, which brought up the idea of recording a whole record with such a line up. As soon as money dripped in, this idea was realized and led to a record somewhere in between free jazz and…chamber prog a la Art Zoyd.
And then? Well, it became quite quiet with Doctor Nerve in the last years. Some gigs were played, two of them at 2011’s Zappanale, where their trip to Europe for these gigs was crowdfunded by a kickstarter project, Nick’s 100 $ guitar project surely consumed a lot of time and now
Don’t miss it…in their rucksacks they carried smuggle rereleases of some out-of-print records so go out to see them at one of the following dates (click on them to see the details or visit the official tour homepage):