The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Martin Blume / Lou Houtkamp / Steve Beresford:
Shed 1 (FMR)

A superb concert of masterful collective improvisation capture live at LOFT Cologne in 2018 from the trio of Luc Houtkamp on tenor saxophone & clarinet, Steve Beresford on piano & objects, and Martin Blume on drums & percussion, in three extended improvisations, thoughtful work building to periods of powerful passion while maintaining a reflective introspectiveness. ... Click to View

In Layers (Marcelo Dos Reis / Onno Govaert / Kristian Martinsson / Luis Vicente):
Pliable (FMR)

Portuguese guitarist Marcelo Dos Reis and trumpeter Luís Vicente, Icelandic pianist Kristján Martinsson and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert release their 2nd album, moving from the studio to a live concert at Salão Brazil in Coimbra in 2018, performing six collective improvisations of explorative and technically advanced, cutting edge free improv. ... Click to View

MPT Trio (Mela / Paz / Trujillo):
Volume 1 (577)

Influenced by both free jazz and Caribbean folk music, the NYC-based MPT Trio, led by Francisco Mela (Crash Trio, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz), presents a stylistically innovative sound on their debut album, presenting eight original pieces blending diverse musical traditions with contemporary & avant-garde jazz structures. ... Click to View

John Zorn:
Azoth (Tzadik)

Two compositions by John Zorn for solo cello and two works for cello and rhythm section, performed by cellists Jay Campbell (JACK Quartet) and Michael Nicolas (Brooklyn Rider, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)), with drummer Ches Smith and bassist Jorge Roeder taking the rhythm chairs; exciting and innovative compositions in virtuoso performances ... Click to View

John Zorn (Stephen Gosling):
The Turner Etudes (Tzadik)

A suite of short pieces for solo piano subtitled "Images and Impressions for Piano", composed by John Zorn and performed by frequent Zorn interpreter Stephen Gosling, the works inspired by the sketches of English painter J.M.W. Turner, embracing influences including Ligeti, Scriabin, Bach, Glass, Debussy, Bartok, Berio, Feldman, Xenakis, Schoenberg &c. ... Click to View

Matthias Muller / Eric Normand / Petr Vrba:
Triche! (Tour de Bras / Circum-Disc)

A set of informed avant/abstract acoustic and electroacoustic improvisations recorded in the studio in Austria in 2019, from the transatlantic trio of Euro free jazz legend, trombonist Matthias Muller, Quebec bassist Eric Normand on electric bass, and innovate trumpeter Petr Vrba also deploying electronics, the trio's interaction focused on patient and inspired sonic detail. ... Click to View

Sun Ra:
Egypt 1971 [4 CDs] (STRUT)

Originally released in 3 LPs as Live in Egypt on Thoth Intergalactic and then as the Saturn albums Dark Myth Equation Visitation, Nidhamu & Horizon, this set reissues the 1971 Sun Ra tour recordings: The Mena House Hotel in Giza; a concert at Hartmut Geerken's in Heliopolis; a live Cairo TV channel broadcast; and a concert at Cairo's the Ballon Theatre. ... Click to View

Sun Ra Arkestra:
Swirling [2 LPS] (STRUT / Artyard)

The first new Sun Ra Arkestra album in twenty years, recorded in Philadelphia under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allan, with long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune, Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchel, with new material and new renderings of classic Ra compositions. ... Click to View

Joshua Abrams' Cloud Script:
Cloud Script (RogueArt)

Double bassist Joshua Abrams provides the compositions for this studio album performed with Ari Brown on tenor sax, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gerald Cleaver on drums, an exceptional quartet of master improvisers who balance lyrical and soulful playing with explorative impulse, fueled by an empathetic responsiveness that only a long history of collaboration can engender. ... Click to View

Paul Dunmal Sextet (Dunmall / Pursglove / Foote / Saunders / Owston / Bashford):
Cosmic Dream Projection (FMR)

A studio project led by Paul Dumall on alto & tenor saxophones and alto flute, recorded while on touring hiatus during the pandemic, composing six passionate and melodically charged works performed by the brilliant sextet of Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Richard Foote on trombone, Steven Saunders on guitar, James Owston on bass, and Jim Bashford on drums. ... Click to View

Dunmall. Paul with Metcalfe / Owston / Jozwiak:
Unmasked (FMR)

The other side of Paul Dunmall's characteristic saxophone work is heard here on the alto flute, bringing Dunmall together with fellow flutist Neil Metcalf and the rhythm section of James Owston on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums for four exceptional improvisations that focus more on interaction and less on soloing, showcasing all four through sophisticated performance. ... Click to View

Trevor Taylor:
Oscillations 12 Tone Music For Jazz Quintet (FMR)

Exploring the jazz tradition through 12 tone serial tone row scales, along with graphic and other variations, from UK composer Trevor Taylor, also on drums and vibraphones, in a quintet with Shanti Paul Jayashina on trumpet, Josh Ison on saxophones, Dan Banks on piano, and Jose Canha on Double Bass, in a set of tunes that beautifully balance freedom and lyricism. ... Click to View

MoE w/ Mette Rasmussen / Ikuro Takahashi:
Painted (Relative Pitch)

During their 2019 Japan Tour, the collaboration of the Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen extended their trio with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi to record this energetic, rough and tumble album exploring the boundaries between free improvisation, skronky rock, and other confrontational, conceptual crossover forms. ... Click to View

Metal Chaos Ensemble:
Don Quixote (Evil Clown)

An epic journey through diverse improvisational approaches within a composed framework, using heavy percussion of unusual & world origins, electronics, rock/groove elements and prepared mixes created from samples, from the Boston duo of David Peck (PEK) on reeds & an arsenal of devices & sources, and Yuri Zbitnoff on drums & percussion, with narration points along the way. ... Click to View

Audrey Chen / Phil Minton :
Frothing Morse (Tour de Bras)

Two innovators on free vocal improvisation come together for a concert at Santa Chiara Nuova Church during the 2015 ImprovvisaMente festival in Lodi, Italy, setting aside Chen's cello and electronics to focus on pure voice interactions, each using their unique language and technique in a single 37 minute performance of intrepid, inexplicable and unique improv. ... Click to View

Jean-Luc Guionnet :
Solo A La Decollation (Tour de Bras)

Emphasizing unusual aspects of the pipe organ, composer and typically reedist Jean-Luc Guionnet (Hubbub, Return of the New Thing) performs solo on the organ at the Church of the Decollation of Saint-Jean Baptiste in L'Isle-verte, Quebec, Canada, taking a sound-oriented approach to the instrument with a minimalist attitude in four extended performances. ... Click to View

Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra:
A Fire Side Chat With Lucifer (Modern Harmonic)

This reissue of the 1983 Saturn Research LP presents two aspects of the Sun Ra Arkestra, the first side with the 80's classics "Nuclear War" along with "Retrospect" and "Makeup"; the second side presenting the extended and more experimental "A Fireside Chat with Lucifer", a 20 minute well balanced, open framework that allows for both melodic soloing and extended free exchanges. ... Click to View

Lisbon Improvisation Players:
Motion (Clean Feed)

A precursor to his Motion Trio, this is a 2002 studio recording led by saxophonist Rodrigo Amado performing on baritone & tenor saxophones, with US West Coast saxophonist Steve Adams on soprano & tenor saxophones, Acacio Salero on drums, and New York bassist Ken Filiano, improvising over six works that show the depth and mastery of each individually and collectively. ... Click to View

Susan Alcorn Quintet:
Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

An innovator in integrating pedal steel guitar into modern improvised music, Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn's quintet enlists a superb set of New York players--Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Formanek on double bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ryan Sawyer on drums--taking on a diverse set of Alcorn compositions. ... Click to View

Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Arnau Horta / Seijiro Murayama / Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
Installations [CD + 24 page booklet] (Swarming)

A fascinating set of stereophonic electroacoustic compositions based on the recordings and mixes used for four sound installations in four galleries in France, impeccably captured and creatively edited: Eric La Casa & Jean-Luc Guionnet; Michaële-Andréa Schatt & Eric La Casa; Seijiro Murayama & Eric La Casa; and Arnau Horta & Eric La Casa. ... Click to View

Femme / Sunk Heaven / Jeph Jerman / Somnoroase Pasarele:
7 & 7 : VOL. 1 [VINYL 2 7-inch BOX] (SpleenCoffin)

The 1st in SpleenCoffin's double-7" series, each featuring exclusive material and packaged in reclaimed 7" audio reel boxes, this volume featuring audio tracks by French synth duo FEMME; NYC's Sunk Heaven; a piece composed from a group recording of Jeph Jerman, Tim Barnes, Bill Hutson & Ten Byrnes; and a work from Romanian audio artist SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE. ... Click to View

Rafal Mazur (feat. Satoko Fujii / Guilleromo Gregorio / Ramon Lopez / Natsuki Tamura / Artur Majewski):
The Great Tone Has No Sound [4 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Four settings with improvising bass guitarist Rafal Mazur, 4 CDs, the first a solo studio recording of two extended improvisations; the 2nd a duo with clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio; the 3rd a live concert at Baza Club in Krakow with trumpeter Artur Majewski; the 4th a quintet session with Gregorio, Satoko Fujii (piano), Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), & Ramon Lopez (drums). ... Click to View

Kier Neuringer / Rafal Mazur:
The Continuum (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Investigating the continuity of our perceptions through sound--the one sense that flows continuously into our awareness--through a concert at Baza Club in Krakow, Poland in 2018 between alto saxophonist Keir Neuringer and acoustic bass guitarist Rafał Mazur, using magnificent technique as they tentatively then boldy exchanges waves of the past, present and future. ... Click to View

Marco Colonna / Alexander Hawkins:
Dolphy Underlined (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

A set of Eric Dolphy compositions and one Colonna composition in the style of Dolphy and a Dolphy-esque take on Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child", from pianist Alexander Hawkins and Marco Colonna on clarinet, bass clarinet & sopranino saxophones, recorded live in Rome in 2020 for a spirited and tender hommage to one of the great and most singular figures in jazz history. ... Click to View

Elisabeth Harnik / Steve Swell:
Tonotopic Organizations (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

The title referring to the spatial arrangement where sounds of different frequency are processed in the brain, New York trombonist Steve Swell and Austrian Elisabeth Harnik performing inside and out of the piano, are captured live at Martinsschlossl, in Vienna, Austria in 2019 for 8 free improvisations of immense creative drive and ebullient rapport. ... Click to View

Kaluza / Majewski / Mazur / Trilla:
The Night of the Swift (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Picking up where the 2013 Clean Feed album Tone Hunting left off, the quartet of Anna Kaluza on alto saxophone, Artur Majewski on cornet, Rafal Mazur on acoustic bass guitar, with drummer/percussionist Vasco Trilla replacing Kuba Suchar, the refreshed quartet is heard live at the University of Zielona Gora, Poland for an informed 6-part free improvisation. ... Click to View

Bernard Santacruz / Michael Zerang:
Cardinal Point (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Seven succinct dialogs between two masterful rhythm improvisers--bassist Bernard Santacruz and drummer Michael Zerang--whose previous work with Jeff Parker, Joelle Leandre, Douglas Eward and Jean-Luc Cappozzo is distilled to this intimate setting, employing innate lyricism and unique approaches to their instruments to fascinate and captivate their listeners. ... Click to View

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl:
Artlessly Falling [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

The 2nd Code Girl release from guitarist Mary Halvorson presents an embraceable and ambitious set of songs from 8 poetic forms for which Halvorson composed words & music, 3 of which are sung by Robert Wyatt, the others by Amirtha Kidambi, in a band with Thumbscrew members Michael Formanek (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), plus Maria Grand (sax) and Adam O'Farrill (trumpet). ... Click to View

Trevor Watts (feat. Moire Music Drum Orchestra / Mark Hewins / Jamie Harris / Gibran Cervantes):
A World View [5 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Five CDs with unique and joyfully creative aspects of saxophonist and composer Trevor Watts' work, from concerts and studio settings in the UK, US and South Americal in configurations of Trevor Watts Moiré Music Group, with the Enjambre Acustico Urukungolo, Trevor Watts' Moiré Music Drum Orchestra, and duos with Jamie Harris, and with Marc Hewins. ... Click to View

Chris Cundy:
Mountains (Aural Terrains)

Bass clarinetist Chris Cundy, uses the studio as a performance tool for accompaniment along with pre-recorded tapes, as he contrasts two different composers--Cornelius Cardew & Ton de Leeuw and their compositions titled "Mountains", alongside a Cardew graphic score piece, and 2 work for 5 bass clarinets, from Thanos Chrysakis and John Cage, the latter from his Numbers series. ... Click to View

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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)
philz Squidco Blog
  • January 8, 2021:

    I have tried to focus on our usual purchasing/cataloging/publishing tasks here at Squidco & The Squid's Ear, but events of the last few days have been incredibly distracting. Despite the seditious behavior that stems from the divisive words of our exiting president, I am looking at this period in as optimistic a view as possible. This country has rejected the creeping tyranny and anti-Democratic aspirations from a cult leader and a liar. We have chosen moderation, and we have a unified legislative house for the first time in many years. The eyes have been opened to many legislators, though sadly by the barrel end of a gun brought by rabid supporters of their own party, inside the supposed sanctity of a seat of government. May it be a defining moment here and abroad that extremism is a fast burning fuse that can only end in explosion.

    For Squidco, a company founded on cooperative music with a global view of freedom and the open exchange of ideas, I welcome a return to a more measured approach in governance. We need to open borders, not seal them, and listen with open ears to the voices of the people, voices that deserve to be heard well above the bluster of a single egomaniacal individual.

    Phew ... I needed to get that off my chest. Now I'd like to get back to the music!

    Anyone watching the site will see that we've awoken from our holiday stupor, and we're starting to publish on our typical busy schedule. A number of purchases are in place and on their way to us, or just arrived, the most exciting to my ears being new releases on FMR, RogueArt, Ayler Records, Notice Recordings, Creative Sources, Mikroton Records, and Matchless Records. Here's the list, which should be arriving over the next couple of weeks, with FMR on our desks currently. If you would like us to notify you when any of these releases are physically in stock and available for purchase please use our upcoming releases page.

    Paul Dunmall with Metcalfe / Owston / Jozwiak: Unmasked (FMR)

    Udo Schindler / Jaap Blonk: Lakefront Discussions (FMR)

    Jeam Nichel Van Schouwburg / Lawrence Cassserely / Yoko Muira: Arcturus Sverdrup Balance On Tour (FMR)

    Paul Dunmal Sextet: Cosmic Dream Projection (FMR)

    Martin Blume / Lou Houtkamp / Steve Beresford: Shed 1 (FMR)

    Udo Schindler / Ove Volquartz: Tales About Exploding Tress And Other Absurdites (FMR)

    Marcelo Dos Reis / Onno Govaert / Kristian Martinsson / Luis Vicente: In Layers Pliable (FMR)

    Udo Schindler / Damon Smith / Karina Erhard: The Munich Sound Studies Vol 1 (FMR)

    Udo Schindler / Damon Smith / Jaap Blonk: The Munich Sound Studies Vol 2 & 3 (FMR)

    Hernani Faustino / Joao Madeira: dB Duet (FMR)

    Crispell / Prevost / Smith: concertOTO (Matchless)

    NOI TREI (Gestalder / Marion / Becheanu): 3 vues d'un paysage / 3 views of a landscape (Creative Sources)

    Biliana_Ernesto_Rodrigo: White Bricks And The Wooden Mutes (Creative Sources)

    Pesce / Forestiere: Anthropolitan Chorale (Creative Sources)

    WERCKMEISTER (Eichenberger / Ludwig Hubsch / Nillesen / Zoubek): Musik (Creative Sources)

    Perepelycia, Alexis: Esos Fantasmas (Creative Sources)

    Mitzlaff, Ulrich: Transparent - fluorescent sound fibres (Creative Sources)

    Microfiche (Alduca / Calligeros / Conner / Gill / Manojlovic / Murphy-Haste / Schack-Arnott): Everything and Other Infinities (Creative Sources)

    Denzler / Rodrigues / Moimeme: Immobility and Movement (Creative Sources)

    Parrinha / Moimeme / Santos: A silent play in the shadow of power (Creative Sources)

    Mortagua / Rodrigues / Andrade: Springtime (Creative Sources)

    Takatsuki Trio Quartet (Marwedel / Schubert / Okuda / Virtaranta / Weitzel): Live in Hessen (Creative Sources)

    Sanchez / Moser: Inscape (Creative Sources)

    Drasler / Pascolo / Novello: odboqpo (Creative Sources)

    Varela / Trinite: Alba (Creative Sources)

    Sung / Rose: Map of Dreams (Creative Sources)

    String Theory: Musique Placide (Creative Sources)

    Isotope Ensemble: Helium (Creative Sources)

    IKB: Limosa limosa (Creative Sources)

    Steve Baczkowski/Bill Nace: Success [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

    Fred Lonberg-Holm: Lisbon Solo [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

    Jessica Ackerley / Patrick Shiroishi: Extremities [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

    Jacob Wick / Claire Rousay: I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

    Helary / Rayon / Gilbert / Lavergne: Sylvaine Helary's Glowing Life (Ayler)

    Souchal / Nick / Lazro / Cappozzo: Neigen (Ayler)

    Abrams', Joshua Cloud Script: Cloud Script [CD] (RogueArt)

    Matthew Shipp & Evan Parker: Leonine Aspects (RogueArt)

    Paul Dunmall & Matthew Shipp & Joe Morris : The Bright Awakening (RogueArt)

    Tronheim Jazz Orchestra & The Maxx: Live (MNJ)

    Elliott Sharp: Presents I Never Metaguitar 5 (Klanggalerie)

    MKM: Norbert Moslang, Jason Kahn, Gunter Muller: Bangalore [VINYL] (Mikroton Recordings)

    PERIFERIYA: Christian Kobi / Tomas Korber / Kurt Liedwart / Christian Muller / Mikhail Myasoedov / Boris Shershenkov : Boundary Scan [VINYL 2 LPs] (Mikroton Recordings)

    SCHNEE: Christof Kurzmann / Burkhard Stangl : Cher [VINYL] (Mikroton Recordings)

    Before the year's end we published our Customer Top 40 by Customer Orders list, which we think of as our most important list of the year. That said, I had hoped to publish my own list of top releases from 2020, a daunting task given that, according to our database, we added 790 new albums during the year(!) Given how unusual the year was, it makes sense that physical releases would have a very good year, and that labels would be very concentrated on getting albums to listener's ears.

    My listening habits are, by choice and by force, unusual for most listeners, as I listen to everything that we list on our website. Some albums are heard one time only, and I'll admit that a very few are skipped around within their tracks... But the most interesting to my tastes are played multiple times, making it to my home or car and joining my permanent collection. I list just a few here, with brief comment beyond the abstract that I wrote for each.

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

    Filmakers and composers Nicolas Humbert and Marc Parisotto revisit the tapes recorded by Jean Vapeur for the film by Humbert & Werner Penzel, "Step Across the Border" with soundtrack by Fred Frith, extracting more of Vapeur's fascinating field recordings and adding music by Fred Frith with additional music & voice from Tom Cora, Iva Bittova, John Zorn, &c.

    Additional comment: Fred Frith's Middle of the Moment was a revelation to me in studio composition and pacing when I first heard it back in 1995. This album extends that album with additional material composed roughly 25 years later. It's a welcome addition to an album I have played frequently over the years, as both inspiration and escape from the tedium of life. Having it come out on one of my favorite current labels only makes me like this more, as I discovered Middle of the Moment by following the family around one of my still-favorite labels, Recommended Records.

    La Casa, Eric : Interieurs (Swarming)

    A stunning exploration of interior architecture through recordings of the elements of three spaces including La Casa's own apartment, finding micro and macro-scopic sound in common elements that he uses to create fascinating compositions reflecting both the captivating fullness and stillness of each space, as the composer questions his relationship with each space.

    Additional comment: Being a frequent hobbyist in capturing field recordings and constructing studio compositions using them, La Casa has been an inspiration for a number of years. This examination of a location near and dear to him showcases his profound skills at both skills.

    Davies, Rhodri: Telyn Rawn (Amgen Records)

    Dating back to the 13th century in Wales, the Telyn Rawn is a nearly forgotten horsehair harp; UK improvising harpist Rhodri Davies researched the instrument and its unique sound, commissioning the construction of a harp on which he performs 18 improvisations of impressive technique and sonority, launching his new Amgen Records label with this album named for the instrument.

    Additional comment: Follow the links to the videos of Davies constructing, playing and discussing the Telyn Rawn to fully appreciate this album.

    Ballister: Znachki Stilyag (Aerophonic)

    The tenth year of the working and touring international Ballister trio of Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophones, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello & electronics, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums & percussion, here in an outrageously powerful yet explorative concert at Dom Cultural Center, in Moscow, Russia in 2019, a fierce example of what this band is capable of.

    Additional comment: Three of my favorite players in a trans-Atlantic band that has a long history of profound and powerful improvisation; what's not to keep this one spinning?

    Dharmoo, Gabriel : Quelques fictions (Ambiances Magnetiques)

    Stunningly unusual vocal music from composer, music researcher and vocalist based in Montreal, Gabriel Dharmoo, collecting works from 2012 to 2019, performed with small and large ensembles using almost completely wordless voice, utterance, guttural sound, swoops and, melodic flights, augmented with physical percussion like stamping and clamping; brilliant and enthralling.

    Additional comment: The Montreal collectives and performer orbiting Ambiances Magnetiques consider to surprise and delight. Gabriel Dharmoo was a new name to me in 2020, but his vocal music is incredibly sophisticated and remarkably creative. His depth of interest and inquisitive nature shows through on this album, with a diverse set of ideas that make this album a unique joy.

    Taylor, Cecil / Tony Oxley: Being Astral And All Registers - Power Of Two (Discus)

    Taken from the personal archives of UK drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley, this extremely well recorded duo session with frequent collaborator, iconoclastic NY pianist Cecil Taylor, are heard in a live performance at the Ulrichsberg Festival, Austria in 2002 for a brilliantly frenetic and masterfully controlled, creative set of two jaw-dropping extended dialogs.

    Additional comment: Let's hope that more gems like this album, so perfectly recorded and filled with such imposing creative mastery, are hiding in other collections waiting to be released. Wow!

    Rodrigues / Rodrigues / Faustino / Pinheiro / Carneiro: The Book of Spirals (Creative Sources)

    Not your average Creative Sources releases, the father/son collaboration of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Guilherme Rodrigues on cello are joined by 2/3 of Red Trio — Hernani Faustino on double bass and Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano — with Pedro Carneiro on marimba, for an impressively active set of Swirling, Whirling and Twirling improvisations.

    Additional comment: Creative Sources has a remarkably prolific release schedule, and label director, violist and composer Ernesto Rodrigues is well represented on his label. It's virtually impossible to point out a single release from the set that I consider the finest, I've become a strong adherent to his unique approach to improvisation. This album, with members of Red Trio, who more frequently inhabit Creative Source's orbit, is a great example of his small group work, non-idiomatic and allowing great freedom to all peformers.

    Suspensao: Sfumato (Creative Sources)

    A substantial live work from the 2019 CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda in Lisbon from the improvising ensemble Sfumato lead by violist Ernesto Rodrigues, fulfilling the title of the album in great tension and suspense as the 11 members improvise, generating waves of activity between concentrated and meditative moments, an incredible example of power and restraint.

    Additional comment: The other impressive aspect of the Creative Sources catalog are the larger ensemble works, both acoustic and electroacoustic. This is a fine example of the latter, demonstrating the restraint of the ensemble's movements, and how unified these players are in concept and momentum.

    Marsella, Brian: Gatos Do Sul (Tzadik)

    Pianist and composer Brian Marsella leads an all-star octet including Cyro Baptista, Mark Feldman, Jon Irabagon performing Marsella's lyrical and upbeat compositions inspired by classical, jazz, and folkloric Brazilian music and influenced by composers from Ernesto Nazareth, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Pixinguinha to Baden Powell and Egberto Gismonti; irrepressible!

    Additional comment: Marsella's lyricl writing made this a go-to record for cooking and pleasurable listening after a long day's work. The upbeat and exuberant rhythms creating foundations for each composition are a joy, whisking each player along in a great and radiant set of Brazilian-influenced jazz tracks.

    Parker, Charlie : Selections From The DIAL Recordings (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

    The first of two volumes in celebration of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker's 100th birthday, here remastering his landmark recordings for the Dial label on the US West Coast between 1946-47, performing with jazz greats including Miles Davis, Lucky Thompson, Erroll Garner, Barney Kessel, Red Calender, JJ Johson, Max Roach, &c. for some of Parker's best known and essential compositions.

    Parker, Charlie : Selections From The SAVOY Recordings (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

    The second of two volumes in celebration of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker's 100th birthday, here remastering his landmark recordings for the Savoy label in New York City between 1945-48, performing with jazz greats including Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Lewis, Curley Russel, Max Roach, &c. for some of be-bop's finest and best known compositions.

    Additional comment: Discovering Parker's Dial releases changed my understanding of the history of jazz, both because of the solidity of Parker's compositions and playing; and because of the boldness of their introducing new concepts into the tradition. I bought some of the original LPs from a radio reviewer in Oswego, NY who was selling off his collection. Scratchy and written on with ball-point pen, I was thrilled to discover the music. Peter Pfister's remastering, as he always does, brings out nuance that I haven't heard in any prior reissue of this material.

    Dockstader, Tod: Aerial 1 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Important Records)

    The first in a 3-part series of vinyl releases for Tod Dockstader's "Aerial 1-3", his major work of electronic drone environments developed over 15 years, using over 90 hours of shortwave radio sources, cross signals and fragments, creating vast atmospheric clouds from which emerge voices, mutated conversations and unexpected patterns; amazing!

    Additional comment: More inspirational soundwork from one of the early greats of electronic composition. Dockstader's lack of academic education as a musician, armed only with his engineering skills, and his persistence and insight into electronic music, makes his output even more inspiring.

    Motorpsycho: The All Is One [2 CDs] (Rune Grammofon)

    Led by Bent Sæther, Hans Magnus Ryan and Kjell Runar Jenssen, this Norwegian prog-oriented improvising rock band is perhaps one of the finest active currently, here in a double album featuring music from 2 sessions, the 1st at Black Box Studio in France with Reine Fiske (Dungen), and the 2nd at Ocean Sound Studio in Norway with Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) and Ola Kvernberg (Steamdome).

    Additional comment: I very often listen to rock forms while driving around town, and this album went into heavy rotation in my little Kia Soul. This is a band with many interests and a sound that only players who have worked so long together could achieve. In a year of insane politics, the message of unity that opens the album is welcome, but the real core of this album is found in the epic work of tracks like "N.O.X."

    There are 23 or more other records I definitely should have and have failed to include here; perhaps I'll write a second set in the future. But these are the records that came to mind as I reflected back on 2020. Which is a much nicer thing to reflect on rather than pandemics, political turmoil and social unrest!

    Squidco Publishing Roundup:

    I end with a list of updates to our site and The Squid's Ear over the last couple of weeks. You can always keep up with the latest additions to our catalog as they enter our Just In Stock Section, meaning that we physically have an album and are able to ship it with an order. You can also see recent restocks of previous items at our Recently Restocked page. You can see a list of the releases we're anticipating on our upcoming releases page, where you can request that we inform you via email of any release that you're interested in, with no obligation to purchase.

    January 7, 2021: New @ Squidco:
    Susan Alcorn Quintet -Pedernal [CD] (Relative Pitch)
    Eric La Casa/Jean-Luc Guionnet/Arnau Horta/Seijiro Murayama/Michaele-Andrea Schatt -Installations [CD + 24 page booklet] (Swarming)
    Femme/Sunk Heaven/Jeph Jerman/Somnoroase Pasarele -7 & 7 : VOL. 1 [VINYL 2 7-inch BOX] (SpleenCoffin)
    Rafal Mazur (feat. Satoko Fujii/Guilleromo Gregorio/Ramon Lopez/Natsuki Tamura/Artur Majewski) -The Great Tone Has No Sound [4 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Kier Neuringer/Rafal Mazur -The Continuum [CD] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Marco Colonna/Alexander Hawkins -Dolphy Underlined [CD] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Elisabeth Harnik/Steve Swell -Tonotopic Organizations [CD] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Kaluza/Majewski /Mazur /Trilla -The Night of the Swift [CD] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Bernard Santacruz/Michael Zerang -Cardinal Point [CD] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

    January 7, 2021: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Frank Denyer - The Boundaries Of Intimacy (Another Timbre) by Massimo Ricci.

    January 7, 2021: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Zeena Parkins & Jeff Kolar - Scale (Two Rooms) by Dave Madden.

    January 5, 2021: New @ Squidco:
    Mary Halvorson's Code Girl -Artlessly Falling [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)
    revor Watts (feat. Moire Music Drum Orchestra/Mark Hewins/Jamie Harris/Gibran Cervantes) -A World View [5 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
    Chris Cundy -Mountains [CD] (Aural Terrains)
    Jaap Blonk/Lou Mallozzi/Ken Vandermark -Improvisers [CD] (Kontrans)
    Antoine Beuger/Apartment House -Jankelevitch Sextets [CD] (Another Timbre)
    Maya Verlaak -All English Music is Greensleeves [CD] (Another Timbre)
    Newton: Armstrong Plus Minus Ensemble; Severine Ballon -The Way To Go Out [CD] (Another Timbre)
    Judith Hamann -Days Collapse [CD] (Another Timbre)
    Martin Arnold -Stain Ballads [CD] (Another Timbre)
    Pek Solo -Pursuing the Ideal Limit of Inquiry [CD] (Evil Clown)


  • The Squid's Ear presents
    reviews about releases
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    written by
    independent writers.


    Recent Selections @ Squidco:

    Martin Blume /
    Lou Houtkamp /
    Steve Beresford:
    Shed 1

    Sun Ra Arkestra:
    [2 LPS]
    (STRUT /

    Trevor Taylor:
    12 Tone Music
    For Jazz Quintet

    Joshua Abrams'
    Cloud Script:
    Cloud Script

    Paul Dunmal Sextet
    (Dunmall /
    Pursglove /
    Foote /
    Saunders /
    Owston /
    Cosmic Dream

    Metal Chaos Ensemble:
    Don Quixote
    (Evil Clown)

    Marco Colonna /
    Alexander Hawkins:
    Dolphy Underlined
    (Listen! Foundation
    (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

    Susan Alcorn Quintet:
    (Relative Pitch)

    Rafal Mazur
    (feat. Satoko Fujii /
    Guilleromo Gregorio /
    Ramon Lopez /
    Natsuki Tamura /
    Artur Majewski):
    The Great Tone
    Has No Sound
    [4 CDs]
    (Listen! Foundation
    (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

    Eric La Casa /
    Jean-Luc Guionnet /
    Arnau Horta /
    Seijiro Murayama /
    Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
    [CD + 24 page booklet]

    Mary Halvorson's
    Code Girl:
    Artlessly Falling
    [VINYL 2 LPs]
    (Firehouse 12 Records)

    Trevor Watts
    (feat. Moire Music
    Drum Orchestra /
    Mark Hewins /
    Jamie Harris /
    Gibran Cervantes):
    A World View
    [5 CDs]
    (Listen! Foundation
    (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

    Maya Verlaak:
    All English Music
    Is Greensleeves
    (Another Timbre)

    Antoine Beuger /
    Apartment House:
    Jankelevitch Sextets
    (Another Timbre)

    Chris Cundy:
    (Aural Terrains)

    Marie Takahashi /
    Maria do Mar /
    Ernesto Rodrigues /
    Helena Espvall /
    Joao Valinho:
    Queen Triot
    (Creative Sources)

    Christiane Bopp /
    Jean-Marc Foussat /
    Emmanuelle Parrenin:
    Nature Still
    (Fou Records)

    The Sealed Knot
    (Beins /
    Davies /

    Joshua Abrams'
    Cloud Script:
    Cloud Script

    Matthew Shipp :
    The Reward
    [VINYL 2 LPs]

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