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Ratchet Orchestra:
Coco Swirl (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Active since the early 90's, the superb Montreal super-group Ratchet Orchestra under the direction of Nicolas Caloia with 19 performers presents 10 works including the title track, with soloists including Jean Rene, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ellwood Epps, Sam Shalabi, Craig Petersen, Yves Charuest, Joshua Zubot, Scott Thomson, Isaiah Ceccarelli, &c. ... Click to View


Chris Pitsiokos :
Speak In Tongues And Hope For The Gift Of Interpretation (Relative Pitch)

Dedicating his pieces to Charlie Parker, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, and John Zorn, NY alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos is heard live at this solo concert in New Haven, CT in 2019, reflecting on the history of jazz through his intense playing style that deploys incredible technique balanced with abstraction and rapid lyricism. ... Click to View


Raoul Bjorkenheim :
Solar Winds (Long Song Records)

Paying tribute to his musical inspiration John Coltrane, Finnish/NY electric guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim leads a quartet with Silvia Bolognesi on contrabass, Tiziano Tononi on drums & percussion, and Emanuele Parrini on violin, as they perform five Coltrane compositions and two Bjorkenheim originals, a superlative homage to technical brilliance and conceptual vision. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne / Duck Baker / Randy Hutton :
The Guitar Trio In Calgary 1977 (Emanem)

A concert recording from 1977 in Calgary, CA captured during Eugene Chadbourne's time in Canada prior to his move to NYC, from the guitar trio of Duck Baker, Randy Hutton & Eugene Chadbourne, performing on acoustic guitars, using a variety of approaches to improvising in trio, duo and solo configurations, with original work, an Ornette Coleman mashup, and a piece by Charlie Haden. ... Click to View


Company:
1983 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Honest Jons Records)

Unreleased recordings from Derek Bailey's Company project, recorded at the BBC in 1983 with a stellar set of performers including Evan Parker (clarinet), Hugh Davies (electroncis), Jamie Muir (percussion), Joelle Leandre (bass), J.D. Parran (winds), John Corbett (trumpet), Vinko Globokar (trombone), Ernst Reijseger (cello), and Peter Brotzmann (reeds). ... Click to View


Muhal Abrams Richard:
Celestial Birds [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

A compilation of works from the late Chicago multi-reedist, experimenter, and AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams, focused on his widely unknown electronic compositions, with four recording from 1968-1995 with collaborators including Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Amina Claudine Myers, Roscoe Mitchell, Maurice McIntyre, Yousef Yancey, Thurman Barker, &c. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa:
L'inspir du Rivage part 2&3 [VINYL 7-inch] (Povertech / Joe Colley)

First stock of this 1999 7" from French sound artist Eric La Casa created as part of Joe Colley's "Explorer" series, the title translating to "the shore breathing" where each composition develops from field recordings of water, the first part more naturalist and adhering to the initial recordings, the second using sound processing to create something unique and mesmerizing. ... Click to View


Rachel Musson / Naoko Saito / Audrey Lauro:
The Region Of Braille Responsibility [CD with English Braille Sheet] (Armageddon Nova)

Three female saxophonist from around the world--Rachel Musson (UK), Naoko Saito (Japan) and Audrey Lauro (Belgium)--in a compilation of solo saxophone works, two extended pieces from Musson and Satio, and four shoterr works from Laura, with a CD insert with English Braille characters, and a QR code that, when scans, plays the audio information for the album. ... Click to View


Musica Elettronica Viva:
United Patchwork [VINYL 2 LPs] (Alternative Fox)

A reissue of Musica Elettronica Viva's innovative 1978 open-structured album of free improvisation, United Patchwork, with the core performers of Frederic Rzewski on piano & electric piano, Richard Teitelbaum on synthesizer & conch shells, Alvin Curran on synthesizer & keys, plus Karl Berger on keys & vibraphone, Garrett List on trombone, and Steve Lacy on soprano sax. ... Click to View


Karkhana:
Bitter Balls [VINYL] (Unrock)

LP-only, no 7" single. The second full-length album from Karkhana, a septet featuring members of Dwarfs Of East Agouza, A "Trio", Konstrukt, Chicago Tentet, Land of Kush, among others in four compositions of "crystal clear and deep, dark, distorted unrock compositions" in both electric and acoustic instrumentation, an internation genre-crossing album. ... Click to View


Rob Burke / Ben Monder / Tom Rainey / Ben Grayson:
Slip Sliding (FMR)

Rob Burke composed the first seven pieces for this experimental NY quartet, the multi-reedist joined by guitarist Ben Monder, drummer Tom Rainey, and Ben Grayson on electronics, the last "Discordat" a collective improvisation in 4 parts, as the band investigates emotional approaches to playin, using subtle distortion and Grayson's post-editing sonic additions. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall Nonet The:
Interpretations of Beauty (FMR)

Paul Dunmall's nonet with Neil Metcalfe, Philip Gibbs, Trevor Taylor, Hannah Marshall, Sarah Farmer, Theo May, Alison Blunt and John Edwards on one track is a larger ensemble blurring improvisation and compositional approaches through violin, viola, cello, double bass guitar, reeds, flute, and guitar; sophisticated chamber improvisation of superb quality. ... Click to View


Nicolas Field / Albert Cirera:
Live at Dragon (FMR)

After recording the Not Two trio album "Five Spontaneous Ones", the trio of Catalan saxophonist Albert Cirera, English/Swiss drummer Nicolas Field and Polish bass player Rafalm Mazur planned a concert at Klub Dragon in Poland, but when Mazur was unavailable Field & Cirera played the concert as a duo, recording this exceptional sax & drum free jazz album. ... Click to View


Quatuor Bozzini:
Ana Sokolovic: Short Stories (Collection QB)

Long-time collaborators the Quatuor Bozzini string quartet of Clemens Merkel, Alissa Cheung, Stephanie Bozzini and Isabelle Bozzini join with Slavic composer living in Montreal Ana Sokolovic, to present a series of 14 short works -- "Ghost 1" & "Ghost 2"; "Commedia dell'arte" in 10 movements; "Blanc dominant"; and "Troisieme page apres le soleil". ... Click to View


Treesearch:
Know More Knowledge (577)

West Coast/San Diego violinist Keir GoGwilt and bassist Kyle Motl are Treesearch, improvising on contrabass and violin with warm strength and expression, using a mix of traditional and creative approaches to their instruments as they bridge jazz and modern compositional approaches to create their own unique approach to free improvisation. ... Click to View


Astroturf Noise (Harmet / Nagano / Swanson / Martin / Bernstein):
Astroturf Noise (577)

Astroturf Noise is Sam Day Harmet on mandolin, Sana Nagano on violin, Zach Swanson on bass, Billy Martin on percussion, and Sarah Bernstein on violin, living at the intersection of American folk & roots music and free improvisation, using effects and sonic additions music in an unusual mix that the quintet makes completely natural and all their own. ... Click to View


Tony Irving / Massimo Magee :
Vitriol And The Third Oraculum (577)

Two separate live recordings from the UK sax & drum duo of Massimo Magee on tenor, alto and sopranino saxophones, and drummer Tony Irving (Ascension), both captured in 2019 at The Globe in Newcastle Upon Tyne and at Hundred Years Gallery in London, as they burn through three free jazz dialogs of passionate playing informed by personal history and creative drive. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman:
Whoadie (577)

"Whoadie" is New Orleans slang for close friends, and the NY trio of saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter and flute player Daniel Carter, clarinetist Patrick Holmes, and pianist Matthew Putname are three close compatriots including Telepathic Band, and apt description of their chamber-oriented free improv in an album inspired by an out of tune piano. ... Click to View


FEN (Otomo Yoshihide / Ryu Hankil / Yan Jun / Yuen Chee Wai):
No One's Island (Mikroton Recordings)

FEN (Far East Network) is comprised of improvisers from Singapore (Yuen Chee Wai), Japan (Otomo Yoshihide), China (Yan Jun), and Korea (Ryu Hankil), using electroacoustic instrumetnation to create a unique merging of cultural and personal aesthetic, in their 1st album recorded in NYC using electronic feedback, computer noises and guitar; intriguing and unconventional. ... Click to View


Turbulence:
Tumult (Evil Clown)

The extended horn section for the Leap of Faith Orchestra is heard here as a quintet with PEK (reeds), Jim Warshsauer (reeds), Bob Moores (trumpet), Eric Dahlman (trumpet) and Duane Reed (baritone horn), all using an a vast collection of percussive instruments, game calls and other devices, to create a journey of tone, color, interactive playing and rhythmic intervention. ... Click to View


Tim Hodgkinson / Jason Alder / Chris Cundy / Yoni Silver / Heather Roche / Shadanga Duo / Thanos Chrysakis:
Music For Bass Clarinets (Aural Terrains)

A live performance at London's Cafe OTO from composer Thanos Chrysakis, performing compositions focused on the deeper reeds from composers Christian Wolff, Iancu Dumitrescu, Hannes Kerschbaumer, Georges Aperghis, and Chrysakis himself, in configurations from solo to quintet, with Tim Hodgkinson, Jason Alder, Chris Cundy, Heather Roce, Yoni Silver, and Shadanga Duo. ... Click to View


Thollem / Parker / Cline:
Gowanus Sessions II (ESP)

Free collective improvisation with an electronic edge from the trio of Nels Cline, double bassist William Parker and pianist Thollem McDonas, following up on their 2012 "Gowanus Session I" recorded in the same studio space, here expanding on the 1st session's shorter works with two large and evolving improvisations that balance reflective moments with intensive playing. ... Click to View


Luigi Archetti / Bo Wiget:
Weltformat (Die Schachtel)

"Weltformat" translates to "world-class", an apt description of the 20 year collaboration between sound explorers, improvisers and rock legends Bo Wiget and Luigi Archetti, heard in this diverse album of soundscapes and sonic intersections, with Archetti on guitar, mandolin, & electronics, and Wiget on cello, electronics, & vocals, fascinating their listener in shades of dark and light. ... Click to View


Luigi Archetti / Bo Wiget:
Weltformat [VINYL 2 LPs] (Die Schachtel)

"Weltformat" translates to "world-class", an apt description of the 20 year collaboration between sound explorers, improvisers and rock legends Bo Wiget and Luigi Archetti, heard in this diverse album of soundscapes and sonic intersections, with Archetti on guitar, mandolin, & electronics, and Wiget on cello, electronics, & vocals, fascinating their listener in shades of dark and light. ... Click to View


Will Guthrie:
Nist-Nah (Black Truffle)

Using instruments inspired by Australian percussionist Will Guthrie's travels to Indonesia and his fascination with Gamelan music, Guthrie explores modern percussion approach using electroacoustic composition and improvisation, focusing tradition in both hypnotically delicate textures and complex energetic music, merging rhythm and melody in fascinating ways. ... Click to View


Brunhild Ferrari / Jim O'Rourke:
Le Piano Englouti [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

Recorded in concert at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe in 2014, electronic artists and composers Brunhild Ferrari and Jim O'Rourke use tapes, electronics and synths to create these two monumental works of electroacoustic improvisation, with sources including material from Luc Ferrari's "Exercises d'Improvisation", O'Rourke revising and remixing the material in 2019 for this LP release. ... Click to View


Keith Jafrate / Herve Perez:
Tete-a-Tete (Noumenon)

Recorded live in the studio in Sheffield in a single take, this first time meeting of the UK alto saxophone duo of Keith Jafrate and Herve Perez improvise freely, distinguishable by the stereo channel they reside in, as they display great technical skill and a unique sense of humor on tracks titled like "Something Funky in the Sauce" or "And a Hair in the Pudding". ... Click to View


Scott Thomson:
Murray - Trombone Solos (Tour de Bras)

Trombonist Scott Murray (Monicker, AIMToronto) performed this installment of his "Trombone Solos at Odd Hours" series by paying homage after the passing of his friend, painter and drummer John Heward, recording this concert at Heward's studio in his home on Murray Street in Montreal, in a far-ranging and emotional solo performance of fascinating technique and expression. ... Click to View


Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet (feat. John Zorn):
Voodoo [VINYL] (Black Saint Vinyl)

Pianist Sonny Clark passed in 1963, leaving a legacy of compositions that the Downtown NY trio of saxophonist John Zorn, drummer Bobby Previte, and pianist Wayne Horvitz seized upon in 1985, enlisting legendary bassist Ray Drummond to record these seven Clark compositions, blurring hard bop history with emerging improv technique, an apt reissue of a fitting memorial quartet. ... Click to View


Kosi:
Stranger In Every Town (self-released)

NY/East Coast Jazz vocalist Kosi presents her 5th album, a rewarding album of original songs that depict her experiences touring as an independent singer-songwriter through jazz idioms influenced by blues and rock forms, her strong voice emotional and expressive while supported by a core sextet of New York musicians; lyrical, solid, passionate. ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
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The Bottom Shelf is where artists keep the records in their collections that they might not want you to see. Revealing early influences, unusual appetites or just guilty pleasures, we offer a peek at the shelves of some of our favorite musicians.


  Anthony Coleman's Bottom Shelf  

Schlanger Jordan Parker
[Photo by Kurt Gottschalk] 
OK, here goes...My bottom shelf...well, first, a little cultural philosophy: Back in the day, there was some kind of frisson connected with liking/loving/being influenced by music that was outside of whatever was considered culturally acceptable. Jazz inched its way in slowly but surely, starting in the early '30s - and now it's part of a good Liberal Music Education. And I remember those great early days (in the '80s) where David Garlard (on WKCR at that time) would shock by announcing a "work" by Ferrante and Teicher or Esquivel with the same gravitas that another would give to the names "Mozart" or "Beethoven." But those days are over...WFMU, Zorn, Post-Modernism (in its decadent phase - if that's not a redundancy) changed all that. My Bottom Shelf is downright canonical.

How could I have found the perfect soupcon of Romantic Irony to counterpoise the weight of the mournful Sephardic songs in my Sephardic Tinge project if wasn't for the revelation of Irving Fields' Bagels and Bongos (Decca 8856). Magnificently cheesy arrangements for trio - Yiddish hits "Latinized." The version of "Belz" changed my life (in a small way). Why isn't this on cd? Fields glides over the keys with not one iota of Jazz feeling In (George) Lukacs-ian terms, that's what makes his version more "authentic" than my brooding cover version, redolent as it is with all kinds of references. He has a couple of perfectly played klezmer clarinet riffs that function as signifiers throughout the disc. I've stolen them all. He's like Ahmad Jamal - he just knows what will work on piano in a trio context and what won't. The master!

My used copy of Organ Jazz Samba Percussion by Andre Penazzi (Audio Fidelity DFS 7020) comes from the discard of the library of a Montreal radio station - CHOM. On the back is hand written "A bit of a nothing set - But???" A nothing set??? Philistines! They don't have any idea how long I looked for this one. It was a major item on the playlist at Soho Music Gallery, the record store where I worked in the late '70s/early '80s (along with Zorn, Tim Berne, Anton Fier, etc...). A nearly indescribable melange of rhythmic virtuosity, unbelievable facility with the variety of the stops available on that magificent dinosaur of an instrument - the '60s electric console organ. And a resolute, unbending, almost ascetic schlockiness. A footnote: For years this was one of the only Brazilian albums in my collection. I say that with neither pride nor shame - it just was.

Next - a whole series of discs connected to some sort of unhealthy but complex German fixation; I'll start with the most complex: Songs of the Spanish Civil War Vol. 1 (Folkways FH 5436). Let's face it, I was a weird kid. I loved this record - I knew all the songs by heart. In a way, this isn't even a Bottom Shelf record, except in how it relates to the others in this sub-group. Ernst Busch was a stirring, moving great singer. The lines from "Freiheit!" ["Die Heimat ist weit/ Doch wir sind bereit/Wir kaempfen und siegen fuer dich: Freiheit! (Far off is our land/yet ready we stand/We're fighting and winning for you/Freedom!)] still (today!) give me goosebumps. And Eisler's "Song of the United Front" and "The Peat-Bog Soldiers" are both acknowledged masterpieces.

But still . . . at the distance where we are, communism and communist anthems (especially the humorless German variety) have something touchingly kitsch about them. No such exegesis is necessary to locate the perverse moment at the heart of Hitler Is On The Air! (Radiola 2MR-8889) or Hitler's Inferno (Audio Rarities 2445). Ialso had the second one of these as a kid, and all of these discs have inspired endless reflections (which continue to this day) about the nature of the Political in music - especially when you consider the music alone and try to put the text on the side for a second (as virtually no critic in the history of rock has - even for a second). The similarities between music from the Far Left and the Far Right. The differences. The mediation of a foreign language - how that aids reflection. How it impedes it. I could write a book... Somehow, you haven't quite lived until you've heard the Storm Troopers sing "Wenn Die S.S. und die S.A. Aufmarschiert" or the Hitler Youth sing "Die Jugend Marschiert," and "On The Air" was my first exposure to the phenomenon which is Charlie and his Orchestra - the Nazi propaganda swing band. Parodies of American big-band hits - lyrics like "I hate to see the evenin' sun go down/because de German, he done bombed this town" (St. Louis Blues) played by the best jazz musicians the occupied nations had to offer... indispensable! (some of the Ernst Busch tracks are available on the CD Der Barrikaden Tauber Barbarossa (EdBa 01303-2), all Folkways are available from Smithsonian/Folkways on special order, and Charlie tracks have been lovingly reissued on a series on Harlequin (I have HQ CD 03).

OK...I could go on all day. But I'll leave you with a masterpiece of horrendous '80s Yugoslav Pop. To continue the "canonical" theme, my cd Disco by Night would have been impossible without this music. It helped me escape the dangerous tendency to fetishize the "folklorical" as the only significant product of a culture. Within its totally commodified nature, this music told important truths about the Yugoslavia of that moment in time. If they would've listened to their own truths....People often say it sounds like Turkish pop. Well, not to me, although there's no shortage of terrifying Balkan-isms. Anyway, I promisedyou a masterpiece ... The oxymoronically - titled The Best of Lepa Brena Vol.5 (JVP Vertrieb CD 018) contains her magnum opus "Sitnije Cile Sitnije," produced (unlike most of her hits) by the Brian Eno of Yugoslav Pop, Kornelije Kovac. The difference between this and other tracks is in Kovac's clever dialectical manipulation of the Western and Eastern elements: The parade bass drum of the Balkan brass band, the clarinet and accordion, the Eastern scales...and then the handclaps, the synthesizer hooks. The touch of a poet. New Year's Eve, Belgrade, 1981 turns into 1982. The Top 10 Video Hit Parade. Number 1: "Billie Jean," Number 2: "Sitnije Cile Sitnije." Do I really have to say more?




Previous Bottom Shelf Articles:
Our Own Bottom Shelves
Gary Lucas
Ron Anderson


The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Raoul Bjorkenheim:
Solar Winds
(Long Song Records)



Ratchet Orchestra:
Coco Swirl
(Ambiances Magnetiques)



Company:
1983
[VINYL 2 LPs]
(Honest Jons Records)



Muhal Abrams Richard:
Celestial Birds
[VINYL]
(KARLRECORDS)



Decoy
(Alexander Hawkins /
John Edwards /
Steve Noble)
With Joe McPhee:
AC/DC
(Otoroku)



Rob Burke /
Ben Monder /
Tom Rainey /
Ben Grayson:
Slip Sliding
(FMR)



Astroturf Noise
(Harmet /
Nagano /
Swanson /
Martin /
Bernstein):
Astroturf Noise
(577)



Quatuor Bozzini:
Ana Sokolovic: Short Stories
(Collection QB)



Brunhild Ferrari /
Jim O'Rourke:
Le Piano Englouti
[VINYL]
(Black Truffle)



Will Guthrie:
Nist-Nah
(Black Truffle)



Luigi Archetti /
Bo Wiget:
Weltformat
(Die Schachtel)



Michael Formanek
Very Practical Trio
(w/ Tim Berne /
Mary Halvorson):
Even Better
(Intakt)



Aly Keita /
Jan Galega Bronnimann /
Lucas Niggli:
Kalan Teban
(Intakt)



Sam Rivers /
Joe Daley /
Dave Holland /
Barry Altschul /
Charlie Persip:
Zenith
(NoBusiness)



Albert Ayler Trio:
1964 Prophecy
Revisted
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records Ltd)



Sun Ra Arkestra:
Heliocentric Worlds
1 and 2
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records Ltd)



McPhee /
Reid /
Lopez /
Nilssen-Love /
Rempis:
Things Beyond Thule
Volume 1
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(Aerophonic)



Fred Frith /
Nicolas Humbert /
Marc Parisotto:
Cut Up The Border
(RogueArt)



PEK Solo:
Coefficient of Unity
(Evil Clown)



Stefan Aeby:
Piano Solo
(Intakt)







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