Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Things we like: Nick Didkovsky

I was crate-digging at Recycled Books in Denton the other day when I stumbled on a copy of Doctor Nerve's Out To Bomb Fresh Kings LP -- the original US indie release, not the German reissue! -- stuck in the jazz bin. (The estimable Denton muso-broadcaster J. Paul Slavens reminds us that uninitiates often mistake progressive rock for jazz. The very presence of saxophones is enough to trigger this response; add some dissonance, and it's a foregone conclusion.) Doctor Nerve is the band that Nick Didkovsky -- the NYC-based guitarist-composer already known to me as the brains behind the $100 Guitar Project and the Pretties For You NYC band -- has led since 1983. The record's an explosion of high-energy hi-jinks and rock-fueled, funkafied freeblow, activating my Zappa/Beefheart and Soft Machine pleasure centers in the same way as Tin Huey, and inspahring me to hit Didkovsky up for a German CD reish of Doctor Nerve's live '97 career summa Every Screaming Ear. (He's also got reissue CD copies of their weighty '95 opus Skin for them what wants 'em.)

That very night, I was able to catch Didkovsky on a radio show, playing and talking about music from some of his many projects. Didkovsky was a composing member of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet (two CDs on the Canadian label Ambiances Magnetiques, plus all the quartet members guest on his solo-with-overdubs album Binky Boy), and played in a power trio, BONE, with ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper (two CDs on Cuneiform). His compositional strategies include conducted improvisation and algorithmically-generated composition, using software he developed. Didkovsky studied composition under Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros, and Gerald Shapiro, but he's also a dyed-in-the-wool rockarolla who's mastered the emblematic '70s styles of Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Alice Cooper's Glen Buxton; he plays metal with Hassliche Luftmasken and grindcore with Vomit Fist. There's also Petromyzontiformes, a series of electric chamber pieces. Quite an extensive and varied body of work, of which I need to hear more.


Blogger Doctor Nerve said...

You can hear my glass slide fall to the floor and shatter during the bass lick at about the 2:50 mark.

3:00 PM  

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