The Squid's Ear
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William Parker: Flower In a Stained-Glass Window & The Blinking of The Ear [2 CDs] (Centering Records)

Two full-length albums--"Flower In a Stained-Glass Window" and "The Blinking of The Ear"--recorded in the summer of 2018 with two distinct groups, "Flower" dedicated to the inspiration of Martin Luther King features the vocals and narration of Leena Conquest; "Blinking" was recorded during Parker's 2018 residency at the Stone presenting his concept of universal tonality. ... Click to View


David Ware S. Trio: The Balance (Vision Festival XV +) (Aum Fidelity)

The fourth edition in Aum-Fidelity's DSW-ARC Series (David S Ware Archives), presenting an outstanding and incendiary David S. Ware concert, in trio with William Parker (bass) and Warren Smith (drums & percussion) caught live at the 2010 Vision Festeival, alongisde 4 studio tracks recorded in Brooklyn in 2009 during the recording of the Onecept album. ... Click to View


Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt: Brace Up! [VINYL] (Palilalia)

The first studio release after a series of live albums, the duo of Chris Corsano (drums) and Bill Orcutt (guitar), are heard recording in Brussells for 12 fierce, technically excellent, and powerfully fervent instrumentals as the two change up direction and intensity in a wealth of creative impulses played with exuberant enthusiasm in a wild ride. ... Click to View


Tashi Dorji: But a night that ends, as all nights end, when the sun rises [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Moone Records)

Guitarist Tashi Dorji's two part work is pieced together in a non-linear/non-hierarchical form where every segment balances fragile and intense playing, his improvisations reflecting eastern and western approaches, with fragmentary passage that resolve into tightly focused playing that imparts a wonderful sense of lyrical and emotional depth. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton / Eric La Casa: Metro Pre saint-Gervais (Swarming)

A reissue of the 2002 Chloe label album, where Jean Luc Guionnet on alto saxophone, Dan Warburton on violin, and Eric La Casa on microphones use the ambiance of the Paris Pre Saint-Gervais metro station as the starting point for free improvisations, using their surrounding as inspiration while they record a most unusual album of urban sound and discourse. ... Click to View


Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: Second First [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (That's Cool Records)

Two live performances of objects, tapes, devices and guitar from the duo of Steve Jansen and Jeph Jerman, each recording from a live performance, "Second" captured at a "homecore" performance during the 2016 Idea Festival in Houston, TX, and "First" recorded at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, TX during the same festival; consuming and stunning journeys in sound. ... Click to View


Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: First Second [CASSETTE] (That's Cool Records)

Two studio recordings of objects, tapes, devices and guitar from the duo of Steve Jansen and Jeph Jerman, starting with seemingly random elements of sound that transform into rich soundscapes with subtle activity and extraneous, unidentifiable sound keeping the listener's curiosity and interest, as the two pieces slowly build in sonic richness and force. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium [VINYL 2 LPs] (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eliane Radigue: Jouet Electronique / Elemental I [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

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Christina Kubisch : Dreaming Of A Major Third (Edition Rz)

Christina Kubisch developed software to react to the variations in sunlight reflected on solar panels installed at an historic mill complex in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the sun's interactions driving pitch-shifted and envelope-altered samples from the original bells of that museum's clocktower creating a beautiful and illusory long-form recording. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air [VINYL 2 LPs + DOWNLOAD] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


The Dogmatics: Chop Off The Tops [VINYL] (Dogmatics)

The second album from the duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski (The Magic I.D., Interational Nothing) has the duo decelerating for a an intimate examination of tone and harmonics through perfectly placed notes and subtly extreme technique, creating sublime sonic environments that hover and dissolve; beautiful. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe / Damon Smith / Michael Vatcher: Unhesitating (Nuscope)

Drawing on collective improvisation and compositions from Carla Bley and Annette Peacock, the trio of pianist Georg Graewe, double bassist Damon Smith and drummer Michael Vatcher recorded this album of ferocious playing through rapid-fire interaction balanced with lovely free ballads, a reflection of their tremendous skill and their insightful approach to improvisation. ... Click to View


Achim Kaufmann: Mnemon (Nuscope)

With special attention to space and density, German pianist Achim Kauffman's solo piano album presents a set of 14 original compostions, from extremely active and technically astounding playing to inquisitive and beautifully contemplative work, a mature and fascination reflection that includes 4 works inspired by the poetry of Gabriele D.R. Guenthler. ... Click to View


About Group (Mukai / Clervaux / Coxon / Thomas / Taylor): RAK [VINYL] (Treader)

The 2nd About Group album replaces drummer Charles Hayward with Rupert Clervaux, alongside Susumu Mukai on bass, John Coxon on electric guitar, Pat Thomas on piano & synth, and Alexis Taylor on synth & electric piano, using Coxon's simple and insistent guitar themes as a foundation for four extended group compositions containing a surprising collision of sounds and influences. ... Click to View


John Tchicai: John Tchicai With Strings [VINYL] (Treader)

Recorded during a rare visit to London in 2005 after the 2004 Coimbra Jazz Fest, The late Afro-Danish saxophonist, associated with Albert Ayler John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Don Cherry, performs with orchestral strings alongside guitarist John Coxon, trumpeter/percussionist Ashley Wales, and drummer Mark Sanders; exotic, beautiful and unexpected. ... Click to View


Bernard Parmegiani : Memoire Magnetique, Vol.1 [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

Covering the period of 1966-1990 of French Acousmatic composer and electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani, this 1st volume of "Memoire Magnetique" presents never-released commercial and secret music, 17 short but intensely creative compositions that reveal a wealth of compositional strategies composed for film and performance. ... Click to View


Francois Bayle: Electrucs ! [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

18 never-released recordings by French electro-acousti composer Francois Bayle including the title track, an "imaginary" soundtrack, and a piece for Bernard Parmegiani, released on the 60th anniversary of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), which joined with Institut National de l'Audiovisuel in 1975 to create INA-GRM, with Bayle at the head of the record label. ... Click to View


Clinamen Trio : Enclins (Creative Sources)

The French trio of Louis-Michel Marion on double bass, Jacques Didonato on clarinet, and Philippe Berger on viola are heard in a live recording at Radio France, on June 12th, 2017, freely improvising in understated and rich layers of harmonics and tone, actively subdued interactions in an extended excursion of introspective chamber-oriented improvisation. ... Click to View


Amu (Fujii / Tamura / Itani / Wildenhahn): Weave [CD & DVD] (Libra)

Mizuki Wildenhahn adds an unusual percussive instrument through dance to the multi-arts Amu quartet of Wildenhahn, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, pianist Satoko Fujii, and percussionist Takashi Itani, heard on the CD and seen on the DVD of this 2-disc set of their unorthodox and absorbing live performance at Kanagawa Prefectural Lake Sagami-ko Exchange Center in 2018. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Tuko Yamaoka plays the music of Satoko Fujii [2 CDs] (Libra)

A double CD of Satoko Fujii compositions, 56 short compositions from a series she started around 2005 to expand her skills as a composer, many of which fueled her many band's repertoires; in 2018 she asked respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka to record this set of compositions as part of her 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii : Diary 2005-2015 [Scorebook] (Libra)

A book of scores to accompany the double CD of 56 Satoko Fujii compostions titled "Diary 2005-2015", performed by respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka, released as part of Satoko Fujii's ambitious 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver: Songs Of The Wild Cave (RogueArt)

An extremely unique sax and drums album, as Rova leader Larry Ochs and New York drummer Gerald Cleaver take their tenor and sopranino saxophones, and drums and percussion, into the absolute darkness and stillness of the Portel Cave in the South of France, using the resonance and inspiration of the cave to record these seven incredible improvisations. ... Click to View


Wendy Eisenberg : The Machinic Unconscious (Tzadik)

Guitarist and composer Wendy Eisenberg leads her powerful Downtown trio with Trevor Dunn on bass and Ches Smith on drums as they present hard-edged work including a piece inspired by poet Alice Notley, blending experimental and rock forms into a strange brew of eccentric improvised pieces, with an angular menacing approach and a fury of irrepressible determination. ... Click to View


Adam Hopkins: Crickets (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Dustin Carlson (Carlson / Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker): Air Ceremony (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Benoit Delbecq / Jorrit Dijkstra / John Hollenbeck: Linger (Driff Records)

The long-running collaboration of Paris pianist Benoit Delbecq and Netherlands-born, Boston-area saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra is joined by Boston drummer John Hollenbeck, the pianist and saxophonist also picking up electronics and bass synth as they improvise over 10 concepts of movement through texture and distinctive approaches to their instruments. ... Click to View


Pandelis Karayorgis Trio (w/ Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal): Cliff (Driff Records)

Contrasting his concurrent piano trio album with Nate McBride and Luther Gray, "Pools", "Cliff" is a first encounter between Boston-area pianist and composer Pandelis Karayorgis and drummer Eric Rosenthal with double bassist Damon Smith, recently migrated from the West Coast, as the three present a concentrative album of collective improvisation revealing three masterful players. ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
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Instrumentals
We've asked a number of musicians to write about their instruments of choice, taking a view that is either personal, historical or, in some cases, just unusual. The results are to be found in these pages.


  The Violin (& The Infidel)  


By Jon Rose 2002-12-17

infidel: a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than that of the majority eg. they wanted to secure the holy places from the infidel

origin: late 15th century; from the French infidele or the Latin infidelis, from in = not + fidelis = faithful (from fides =faith, related to fidere = to trust. The word has two distinct origins. 1) It denoted a person of a religion other than one's own, specifically a Muslim (to a Christian), a Christian (to a Muslim), or a Gentile (to a Jew). 2) With the invention of the violin circa 1530 and the confusing transformation of bowed strings from vernacular fidel , via fiddle to violin, viola, viole, violone, and viol (as it happens completely unrelated to the violin), the word fidel became a word of abuse denoting loose living or corrupt dealings as in fiddle your fancy, on the fiddle, fiddling around, or indeed the dismissive term get fiddled. The fiddle has given rise to many misreadings of history, most notably the assertion that "Nero fiddled while Rome burned", clearly impossible as by the first century AD, the instrument had not yet been invented. Other misconceptions abound, for example, that Jewish people always play the fidel on the roof, that Romany (or Gypsy) fiddlers always keep a knife in their left boot, that all famous fiddlers suffer from Paganini's serious complaint of a permanent erection. Today's common usage is obviously underscored by the present dearth of work for the practicing violinist, In fidel we trust, everybody else pay cash.

So what is it about the violin that makes it so untrustworthy? Is it due to the current world situat ion? A question worth asking as the divide between the rich and the poor on this planet continues to widen at an ex ponential rate. The instrument has become an icon of capitalism, that's for sure. Like old oil paintings of the rich and flatuous, old violins are a kind of inflated currency, the guaranteed investment, the item at houses of Southerbys and Christies that makes the auctioneer's wet their pants. I have played a $600,000 Guernarius and, shock horror, it was a good instrument. But it was no better than a $20,000 top of the line fiddle from a good modern maker.

The violin is 70 bits of wood stuck together. I discovered this as a child after I had been studying the instrument for a few months. Now the early days on a violin are not too enjoyable for the player or the listener, be you a Heifitz or a no-hoper. It is a very frustrating time. I felt things weren't going fast enough, so with one blow, I smashed the fiddle over the kitchen table. Now I would like to point out a number of issues at this point. Firstly, this was not a Fluxus performance as 1) I was a kid and 2) this was still in the 1950's. Secondly, it was not my instrument and was actually a piece of crap that belonged to the school. Thirdly, that doesn't matter because a violin, any violin is "of value," right? Fourthly, my father was a regular bricaleur who, as a prisoner of war in Japan, had made a two-string cello out of bits of camp detritus; he calmly spent the evening sticking it back together again (he had actually tried to make a piano for a concert pianist in the camp and had got as far as a sound board and 2 keys working before disaster struck, but that is another story altogether). Fifthly, my violin teacher never noticed.

Indeed genetics must have something to do with the whole violin conundrum. On my mother's side I am partly Afghan, her family name was Kahn, which could have meant me doing hours of practice on the Saranda instead of Satan's instrument itself. People often used to ask me if I was Jewish. "Plays the violin? Must be Jewish," goes the rocket science. So I'm in the minority then, or at least on the opposing team. This all came home to me just recently when I wrote a slightly off-center composition called "The Islamic Violin," it included the detonation of an ordinary violin which I was able to realize at a performance in Paris at the beginning of this year. The story, like most great stories, is based on a true one featuring a street violinist with a foreign name who stored his violin in a bus station left luggage cubicle in Hamilton, Canada. An official of the bus company became suspicious of the violin case and alerted the police, who with due care and subtlety, took it out onto the street and blew it up! "Due to the current world situation," explained the Police as they handed a few bits of wood and string back to the devastated musician. The score of the composition has the following notes on the notes:

(1) The inability of Muslims to recognise a violin manifests itself through the entire Lebanese restaurant industry in Australia. During and after the Lebanese civil war of the 1950's, the 1960's, the 1970's and the 1980's, many families from both Christian and Muslim communities in Lebanon emigrated to Australia. A tradition quickly grew whereby Christian Lebanese restaurants would always display the sign of the violin outside their premises (some of these are quite remarkable art pieces of neon, post-digestive, calligraphic Arabic deco). Research has shown that many Muslim Lebanese literally DO NOT SEE the violin, thinking that it may be some kind of indiginous pig or plant life or worse, a Christian plot conceived by the CIA (who run a number of military bases in Australia). One could think that the Muslim restaurants would be running a counter campaign of non recognition posting any number of Islamic bowed instruments in retaliation to this provocatio n, (One considers here the Afghani rebab or dilruba as suitable images to represent all that is fine in Muslim culture) but one would be mistaken. Muslims do not stoop to such low immoral subterfuge, relying instead on the final statement of account which must be paid at that restaurant in the sky.

(2) I should point out that I had actually brought a violin (a 'Tortellini' 1751) with me for the good Sheikh to study but after a cursorary glance and a rap on its historic body with the knuckles of his left hand, he had thrown it to his trusty dog who then proceeced to gnaw on it happily through out the entire interview.

(3) A quote that comes from the pyramid breaking tome 'Yehudi Menuhin serves Capitalism' by the influencial Marxist composer and violinist virtuoso Dr. Johannes Rosenberg. In a classic Rosenberg/Menuhin confrontation, the latter violinist is cornered as he admits to denouncing Ravi Shankar as a poser who pays no attention to speed limits, Stephane Grapelli as having bad intonation, Rumanian Gypsy music as being 'rather dirty stuff one wouldn't want next door in Hampstead,' and himself as having said 'actually classical music IS rather superior, don't you think?'

(4) From the best seller 'How to Blow Up a Violin' by Buttblaster Fuller. It includes a hand-drawn map of an average violin, indicating the weaker, more sensitive zones of spiral vibration where the four charges should be placed with 1/4 strips of gaffe tape (Please note that 'Scotch Tape' will NOT do). Alternative routes for the fuse wires are suggested depending on the reader's level of experience and expertise in dealing with their first violin assignment. Questions of budgetary allowancea re always prevalent in the modern day violin world, so the cheaper alternative has also been tested thoroughly throu gh correspondance courses in 'Final Violin Solutions' made available by The Mother of All Museums Museum, Baghdad. They suggest that four 'Tigre Bison 3' fireworks packed in the base of the violin with simultaneous ignition will blow the devil's instrument to 'Kingdom Come': results obtained with a cheap East German Eduard Tausher model seem to bare out Buttblaster's assertions.

---which may account for the sudden interest in my Web site from a US military search engine - unless there are some contemporary music freaks working at the Pentagon who spend their time searching the Web for weird violin stuff. I'm not kidding, I had over 3,000 hits last month from the defenders of the free.

In April my partner, violinist Hollis Taylor, and I were working on our 'Great Fences of Australia' project near Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. It's a kind of sonic map of the whole continent. We bow the fences, which we consider to be giant string instruments. In fact they are the longest artifacts in the world, the so called 'Dingo Fence' is twice as long as the Great Wall of China. So far we have traveled over 16,000 kilometers in our endeavor. Anyway I phoned up the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near 'The Alice' and asked if we could make a little recording of their perimeter fence. Well the head dude humored me for some minutes and I thought we had a chance till I mentioned we played the fiddle --- "No." The conversation was immediately terminated. 'Due to the current world situation' he barked.


(c)www.jonroseweb.com

the violin warping website remains
www.jonroseweb.com

for a guide to the weird, the wild and the vern ac ular in Australian music
www.abc.net.au/arts/adlib

Visit the Jon Rose Section at Squidco!




Previous Instrumental Articles:
The Accordion (& the Outsider) - Pauline Oliveros
The Guitar (& Why) - Derek Bailey
The Banjo (& guitarist Johnny PayCheck) - Eugene Chadbourne


The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
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