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Nate Wooley: Battle Pieces 2 (Relative Pitch)

Commissioned by Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation, trumpeter Nate Wooley developed a modular compositional structure of small melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, conceptual, textural, and timbral fragments, allowing Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Matt Moran (Vibes) exceptional freedom in improvisation, here in their 2nd recording live at Koeln's Loft. ... Click to View

Rempis Percussion Quartet, The (w/ Haker Flaten / Daisy / Rosaly): Cochonnerie (Aerophonic)

13 years playing together and releasing this, their 8th album, the Chicago quartet of Dave Rempis on sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric bass, Frank Rosaly on drums, and Tim Daisy on drums, are captured live at Elastic Arts, in Chicago for three awe-inspiring collective improvisations of great energy, resolution, and focus. ... Click to View

Dave Rempis : Lattice (Aerophonic)

Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis approached the idea of his first solo album under the shadow of the greats before him, in 2017 choosing to journey across the country on a solo tour, performing 31 concerts of which these 6 recordings represent the best reflection of his unique solo vocabulary on the instrument and his enthusiasm for a wealth of musical styles. ... Click to View

Wadada Smith Leo / Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii / Ikue Mori: Aspiration (Libra)

Pianist/composer Satoko Fujii's "Aspiration" brings together four masterful improvisers and innovators--trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Natsuki Tamura, and Downtown NY laptop player Ikue Mori--for an album of exciting and exceptional free playing over compositions from Fujii, Tamura, and one collective composition, a brilliant pinnacle of creative music. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii Quartet (w/ Natsuki Tamura / Keisuke Ohta / Takashi Itani): Live at Jazz Room Cortez (Cortez Sound)

Presenting a different line-up from the 2001 debut of Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's Quartet, remaining is trumpeter Natsuka Tamura, with Keisuke Ohta on violin and Takashi Itani on drums, performing evolving and rich collective improvisation with a strange edge, captured live at the Jazz Room Cortez in Mito, Japan in 2016 for two extended and bewitching sets. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura: Kisaragi (Libra)

On their 5th album together, pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura push the limits on approach and technique on their instruments to create otherworldly and captivating improvisations, both players deciding against using "normal instrumental sounds" instead using preparations and textural approaches to create truly unique music. ... Click to View

Gato Libre (Fujii / Tamura / Kaneko): Neko (Libra)

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's Gato Libre's 5th album brings a beautiful light-through-the-leaves melodic melancholy to their unhurried pace, now the trio of Tamura, Satoko Fujii on accordion, and Yasuko Kaneko on trombone, as the cats on the cover stop to find allure in the late day while bringing profound and introspective music to our ears. ... Click to View

Musicworks: #128 Summer/Fall 2017 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

Summer 2017 issue of Canada's premiere new music magazine, with a CD featuring tracks from selected artists covered in the magazine; Bekah Simms; Senyawa; Pantayo, HanHan, and Luyos MC; Brodie West; Artificiel; Another Timbre's Canadian Composers Series; Vicky Chow; Festival de International Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, 33rd Edition reviewed; &c. &c. ... Click to View

Rudiger Carl Inc.: King Alcohol (New Version) [2 CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The debut album of Rudiger Carl is an assertive studio session of brilliant free jazz from 1972, with Carl on tenor saxophone, Gunter Christmann on trombone, and Detlef Schonenberg on drums, presenting a great example of European Free Improv, remastered from the original tapes and issued on CD for the first time, with a 2nd CD of previously unreleased bonus tracks. ... Click to View

Hans Reichel: Wichlinghauser Blues (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The debut LP by legendary German guitar improvisor and instrument inventor Hans Reichel, an incredible display of brilliant playing, both technically and by approach, playing on acoustic and unfiltered electric guitars, originally issued on FMP in 1973, here re-mastered from the original tapes and retaining the original design; highly recommended. ... Click to View

Hans Reichel: Bonobo (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Second LP in the catalog of German guitarist and instrument inventor Hans Reichel (1949-2011), a program of microtonal string investigations that is still beguiling and fresh four decades later, originally released on FMP in 1976, with a great cover from Reichel demonstrating how he created his neck-to-neck guitar; absolutely impressive and essential. ... Click to View

Billy Bang: Distinction Without a Difference (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The late American violinist Billy Bang's first album, originally issued on Hat Hut Records, is reissued with an additional track, plus 4 previously unissued solo tracks recorded in Tilberg, Netherland in 1978, demonstrating this great artist broad range of innovative techniques, mixing free-form and melodic passages in extended and joyful improvisations. ... Click to View

Leap of Faith Orchestra: Possible Universes (Evil Clown)

Started in 1995 as an interdisciplinary unit of improvisational artists led by Boston area reedist/multi-instrumentalist David Peck and cellist Glynis Lomon, exploring multi-phonics, glissando, microtones, graphic & descriptive scores, and extended techniques, expanding the ensemble with like-minded musicians, here in this 2017 recording of full 24-piece orchestra. ... Click to View

Crux Trio (Hanslip / Somervell / Gauden): BELieVE (FMR)

A wonderfully balanced example of melodic free improvisation from the UK trio of Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone, Colin Somervell on bass, and Ed Gauden on drums, frequent collaborators with an interest in both lyrical and free/collective improvisation, with an approach that uses technique and conceptual approaches in accessible and embraceable ways. ... Click to View

David Myers Lee: Superpositions [CASSETTE with Download Code] (Cronica)

David Lee Myers, AKA Arcane Device, explores feedback in its most beautiful forms, over decades developing systems to capture the microscopic edges of errant signals and convert them into lovely long tones, using a series of matrix mixers to manipulate them in real time, creating works of fragile charm, impressive interstices of rhythm, and gorgeous melodic nodes. ... Click to View

Asi Mina: Bialo (Bolt)

Sound interpretations of Miron Bialoszewski's poetry, who's work focuses on the mundane aspects of the everyday life, usually from an autobiographical perspective and using an overtly colloquial language, interpreted by vocalist Mina Asi, aka Asia Bronisławska, speaking and singing over understated keyboard work. ... Click to View

Tony Buck: Unearth (Room40)

Starting from nearly inaudible rumbling, Necks percussionist Tony Buck takes his listeners on a wild ride of sound, from quiet moments of introspective sound onto the densest potency, slowly unfolding his detailed journey in rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, and concrete additions, like an impressive storm brewing until it slowly overwhelms you. ... Click to View

Roscoe Mitchell : Discussions (Wide Hive)

Four original improvisations, taken from legendary AACM composer, improviser and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell's "Conversations" album transcribed and performed by a twenty piece Bay Area orchestra, along with two orchestral improvisations and two duets with Roscoe Mitchell and flutist Wilfredo Terrazas. ... Click to View

Akira Sakata / Manuel Mota / Giovanni Di Domenico / Mathieu Calleja: Jomon [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

Named for the Jomon period of Japanese history, when Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture, the trio of radical saxophonist Akira Sakata joins forces with frequent collaborator, keyboardist Giovanni Di Domenico, Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, and drummer Mathieu Calleja to record these powerfully cathartic and ritualistic improvisations. ... Click to View

Massimo Pupillo / Alexandre Babel / Caspar Brotzmann: Live At Candy Bomber Studios, Vol.1 [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

The insanely powerful work of this new trio--bass player Massimo Pupillo (Zu, Laniakea), drummer Alexandre Babel (Sudden Infant) and Caspar Brotzmann on guitar--captured live at Candy Bomber Studios, in Berlin for two monumental free improvisations of raw energy that blend noise rock, drone, and improvisation into something uniquely fearsome and wonderful. ... Click to View

Zeitkratzer / Svetlana Spajic / Dragana Tomic / Obrad Milic: Serbian War Songs [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

Reinhold Friedl's Zeitkratzer ensemble and special guests, vocalists Svetlana Spajic, Dragana Tomic, and diple / gusle player Obrad Milic, explore the possibilities found in traditional Serbian songs from and about World War I, including the classic epic "Assassination In Sarajevo", and songs chosen specifically by Spajic and Tomic. ... Click to View

Zeitkratzer + Elliott Sharp: Oneirika: Live at Berghain Berlin [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

Commissioned by Berlin's Maerzmusik Festival and premiered in 2014, Elliott Sharp's composition & soundscape is named after the Greek waking dream and inspired by John Cage, Sharp using a methodology to filter and process his musical manuscripts via Photoshop, which are interpreted through amplification of acoustic instruments by the Zeitkratzer ensemble. ... Click to View

Charlemagne Palestine : The Lower Depths [3 CDs] (Alga Marghen)

Charlemagne Palestine conceived this composition of unique piano sonorities in 1977 as a trilogy, taking it's name from the potential of his Bosendorfer piano, writing the first section for the middle keyboard, the second section for two octaves above, and the third at the bottom of the keyboard, producing a deep and singular work of minimalism. ... Click to View

Hermann Nitsch: Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 (Trost Records)

Austrian avant-garde musician and multimedia artist Hermann Nitsch performed these powerful and mesmerizing solo organ drone works during the 2013 "Shut up and listen" festival in in the Jesuit church of Vienna, releasing the 4 recordings with an 8-page booklet of art and an essay from Nitsch himself, with mastering by Martin Siewert. ... Click to View

Hermann Nitsch: Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Austrian avant-garde musician and multimedia artist Hermann Nitsch performed these powerful and mesmerizing solo organ drone works during the 2013 "Shut up and listen" festival in in the Jesuit church of Vienna, releasing the 4 recordings with an 8-page booklet of art and an essay from Nitsch himself, with mastering by Martin Siewert. ... Click to View

Haco: Qoosui (Someone Good / Room40)

An hypnotic, lush and beautiful album of sound and lilting voice from Japanese vocalist and electronic experimenter Haco (After Dinner), seven songs of subtle sophistication that create dreamlike environments of floating tones and invoking voice, refined from decades of experimentation and investigation to yield this enchanting album. ... Click to View

Pat Patrick And The Baritone Saxophone Retinue: Sound Advice (2017 Repress) [VINYL] (Art Yard)

Baritone saxophonist and flautist Pat Patrick was a member of Sun Ras's Arkestra for 35 years, and also played with Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane; in 1977 he assembled this 12-piece band with 8 baritone sax players, 4 of them doubling on flute, to present incredible versions of original work and modern standards. ... Click to View

Nate Wooley / Daniele Martini / Joao Lobo : Legacy of Ashes (Creative Sources)

A free jazz session recorded in Brussells between trumpeter Nate Wooley and half of the Daniele Martini Quartet--saxophonist Martini himself and drummer Joao Lobo--stepping in and out of modal jazz with a contemplative approach, using extended techniques to great effect, Lobo handling the foundation and rhythm in absolutely impressive ways. ... Click to View

Dafna Naphtali / Gordon Beeferman: Pulsing Dot (Clang)

Gordon Beeferman and Dafna Naphtali perform duet pieces and improvisations for piano and voice with kinetic sound processing, fractal rhythms, and polyphonic/kaleidophonic disturbances, as Beeferman creates solid structures which are augmented by Naphtali's live processing, while she employs extended vocal techniques and hand & voice activated electronics. ... Click to View

String Theory [Boston, USA]: Condensed Phases of Matter (Evil Clown)

String Theory was formed as the string section for Boston's Leap of Faith Orchestra, the core being David Peck on reeds, game calls, fog horn, sirens, &c, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic and voice, with Jane Wang (cello) and Mimi Rabson (violin), creating a wonderfully assertive and somewhat skewed approach to improvisation, captured live at Mobius in Cambridge, 2016. ... Click to View

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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)
  • September 20, 2017:

    I'll be out of the office for the next week, Carl taking control of the shop while I'm away. I'm heading back to my home town of Syracuse to see my father, clarinetist Gerald Zampino, and to celebrate the birthday of my aunt.

    In the meantime, just a few words about Nate Wooley's latest Battle Pieces 2:

    Wooley, Nate: Battle Pieces 2 (Relative Pitch)
    Wooley, Nate (w/ Ingrid Laubrock, Sylvie Courvoisier & Matt Moran): Battle Pieces (Relative Pitch)

    There can be no doubt that I'm an enthusiast for the work of NY trumpeter Nate Wooley, who's work appeals to me both for his strong playing style, effectively using unusual techniques as comfortable and appropriate language in his soloing, and his curious mind casting his music into a variety of settings from traditional playing to electroacoustic improv to avant compositional and conceptual work.

    For the Battle Pieces concept, Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation commissioned Wooley to create a new music. Wooley developed this modular compositional structure of small melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, conceptual, textural, and timbral fragments, allowing Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Matt Moran (Vibes) exceptional freedom in improvisation, here in their 2nd recording live at Koeln's Loft. It's incredibly impressive work, something that you will want to listen to repeatedly to glean all that the structure allows the improvisers.

    A couple of updates from this week, and the last until about the 26th.

    September 20, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Joker - O est-il donc ce rve (Ambiances Magnetiques) by Marc Medwin.

    September 19, 2017: New @ Squidco:
    Nate Wooley -Battle Pieces 2
    Rempis Percussion Quartet, The (w/ Haker Flaten/Daisy/Rosaly) -Cochonnerie
    Dave Rempis -Lattice
    Wadada Smith Leo/Natsuki Tamura/Satoko Fujii/Ikue Mori -Aspiration
    Satoko Fujii Quartet (w/ Natsuki Tamura/Keisuke Ohta/Takashi Itani) -Live at Jazz Room Cortez
    Satoko Fujii/Natsuki Tamura -Kisaragi
    Gato Libre (Fujii/Tamura/Kaneko) -Neko
    Musicworks -#128 Summer/Fall 2017 [MAGAZINE + CD]
    Rudiger Carl Inc. -King Alcohol (New Version) [2 CDs]
    Hans Reichel -Wichlinghauser Blues
    Hans Reichel -Bonobo
    Billy Bang -Distinction Without a Difference
    Leap of Faith Orchestra -Possible Universes
    Crux Trio (Hanslip/Somervell/Gauden) -BELieVE
    David Myers Lee -Superpositions [CASSETTE with Download Code]
    Asi Mina -Bialo

  • September 18, 2017:

    Sometimes the most exhausting listens are the most rewarding, and such is the case with Rudiger Carl's "King Alcohol", a romp through the roots of free jazz. While many modern practitioners play with the same technical and aggressive skills, there's something about being among the first to explore the possibilities of free jazz that make this music so exciting. Rudiger is best known for his accordion work, bringing that traditional instrument into the free improv world. Here we hear Rudiger on his first instrument, the saxophone, and his style and approach represent the strength and excited of the European Free Improv world that continues to influence modern players.

    Carl, Rudiger Inc.: King Alcohol (New Version) [2CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

    The other happy reissues from Corbett vs. Dempsey are the two Hans Reichel albums, both originally released on the FMP label.

    Reichel, Hans: Wichlinghauser Blues (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
    Reichel, Hans: Bonobo (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

    These are solo albums from the late, great free improvising guitarist, and both superb examples of his abilities and influence. Personally, Reichel became a bit of an obsession for me in the 80s, after discovering his 1979 solo album The Death of the Rare Bird Ymir. C vs. D's Wichlinghauser Blues reissue takes us back to Reichel's recorded start, his first solo album from 1973 originally issued as FMP 050. Bonobo is his 3rd album, from 1975 and originally issued as FMP 0280. Though mostly known for his solo playing, Reichel fits neatly into my own interests in his playing style, which to me is closely tied to the work of Fred Frith; in fact, Reichel recorded with Tom Cora, who's Frith/Cora project Skeleton Crew is in my top 10 RIO rock outfits. He also played with Shelley Hirsch in The September Band (where are those important reissues?), connecting him again to artists very important to me in the Downtown NY.

    Reichel's style borrows from free improvisation, blues and rock forms, his technique outrageously powerful, with articulate rapid runs and a picking style so strong that his voice on the instrument is clearly heard. His playing takes on hallucinatory edges, and his playing is both melodic and ruminating, pensive and introspective while maintaining an assertive command. It's both joyful and intellectually serious, never indulgent, always aiming to captivate both the listener and the player.

    Both of these reissues are guitar albums, but it should be noted that Reichel was also an instrument builder, his most important creation the daxophone. This innocuous looking instrument consists of a mount for various shaped hard wood "tongues" which are bowed and struck; the bowing creates an eerily human vocal sound, allowing him to create unusual conversational music unlike anything else I've encountered. Not heard on these records, I strongly suggest seeking out Shanghaied on Tor Road: The World's 1st Operetta Performed on Nothing but the Daxophone. But start with these reissues, giving credit to Corbett vs. Dempsey for reissuing such important music and re-introducing one of the great improvising guitarists to the modern listener.

    I added a new category last week, "Prepared Instruments" for albums featuring artists using various preparations to their otherwise acoustic instruments. A few electronic and otherwise instruments will be pulled into the category, but primarily it's intended for players who use traditional approaches to modifying their instruments (prepared piano, prepared guitar, prepared drums) and the new breed of advanced technique players (prepared trumpet, prepared saxophone, &c). This is similar to our category for performers playing the somewhat nebulous "Objects", non-musical instruments used acoustically or amplified to create sound in improvisation or compositional performance.

    Last, a few updates since my last entry.

    September 18, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Quartetski - Quartetski Does Bartok Mikrokosmos, Sz 107 (Ambiances Magnetiques) by Dave Madden.

    September 13, 2017: New @ Squidco:
    Tony Buck -Unearth
    Roscoe Mitchell -Discussions
    Akira Sakata/Manuel Mota/Giovanni Di Domenico/Mathieu Calleja -Jomon [VINYL]
    Massimo Pupillo/Alexandre Babel/Caspar Brotzmann -Live At Candy Bomber Studios, Vol.1 [VINYL]
    Zeitkratzer/Svetlana Spajic/Dragana Tomic/Obrad Milic -Serbian War Songs [VINYL]
    Zeitkratzer + Elliott Sharp -Oneirika: Live at Berghain Berlin [VINYL]
    Charlemagne Palestine -The Lower Depths [3 CDs]
    Hermann Nitsch -Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013
    Hermann Nitsch -Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 [VINYL 2 LPs]
    Haco -Qoosui
    Pat Patrick And The Baritone Saxophone Retinue -Sound Advice (2017 Repress) [VINYL]

    September 12, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Eric La Casa - Paris Quotidien (Swarming) by Brian Olewnick.

  • September 11, 2017:

    Monday opened the door to an impressive set of packages delivered by USPS, UPS, and DHL from New York City, Chicago, Boston, London, and Japan, representing a number of purchases in transit during our move. I also drove to our post office to pick up a package from France. In all we received new titles and restocks from Libra, FMR, Pulsewidth, Fou, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Trost, Room40, Alga Marghen Wide Hive, Karl Records, Art Yart, Sucata Tapes, and Someone Good. So clearly, this is going to be a busy and wonderful week of new music!

    Two highly recommended experimental albums of note, for which I'll simply copy the abstract I wrote for them:

    The Elks (Kai Fagaschinski / Liz Allbee / Billy Roisz / Marta Zapparoli): This Is Not The Ant (Mikroton Recordings): This Is Not The Ant
    An extremely balanced group of electroacoustic improvisers, Kai Fagaschinski on clarinet and Liz Allbee on trumpet make up the acoustic side, though sounding as electronic and other-worldly as Billy Roisz on e-bass and electronics and Marta Zapparoli on reel-to-reel tapes and tape machines, creating incredibly wide-ranging and psychedelic sonic environments.


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


    Recent Selections @ Squidco:

    (Someone Good /

    Akira Sakata /
    Manuel Mota /
    Giovanni Di Domenico /
    Mathieu Calleja:
    (Holidays Records)

    Alice Kemp:
    Fill My Body
    With Flowers
    And Rice
    (Fragment Factory)

    The Elks
    (Kai Fagaschinski /
    Liz Allbee /
    Billy Roisz /
    Marta Zapparoli):
    This Is Not
    The Ant
    (Mikroton Recordings)

    Georg Graewe /
    Mark Sanders:

    Christian Wolff /
    Eddie Prevost:
    Uncertain Outcomes
    [2 CDs]

    Larry Ochs /
    Sax and Drumming
    Wild Red Yellow

    Matthew Shipp :

    Nicole Mitchell :
    Mandorla Awakening II:
    Emerging Worlds
    (FPE Records)

    Nicole Mitchell :
    Mandorla Awakening II:
    Emerging Worlds
    (FPE Records)

    Michael Foster /
    Ben Bennett:
    In It
    (Astral Spirits)

    The Seen:
    Volumes I-V
    (2005 - 2009)
    [5-CD BOX SET]

    Steve Lacy:
    Free for
    a Minute
    [2 CDs]

    Barry Guy:
    (Trost Records)

    Simon Rummel Ensemble:
    (Umlaut Records)

    Lean Left:
    I Forgot
    To Breathe
    (Trost Records)

    Lean Left:
    I Forgot
    To Breathe
    (Trost Records)

    Pat Thomas:
    The Elephant Clock
    of Al Jazari

    John Butcher:
    Resonant Spaces

    Burkhard Beins /
    Lucio Capece /
    Martin Kuchen /
    Paul Vogel:
    Fracture Mechanics
    (Mikroton Recordings)

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