October 12, 2018:
This week saw 9 new releases on Portugal's Clean Feed imprint, and the 4 on the associated Shhhpuma label. That's a big number of new releases take in at one shot, and I'm still listening to them. Three of the Clean Feeds are LPs, one being the vinyl edition of the previously released CD from the Jonas Cambien Trio, We Must Mustn't We. The other LPs are the sax and drum duo of Heaven (Henrik Pultz Melbye & Ole Mofjell), and the Norwegian electric jazz quartet Master Oogway, drawing on both electric Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman's work.
Of the CDs, four of them are listed in the upcoming mailing list (planned for Tuesday October 16) as Staff Picks on Squidco.
Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten / Johansson / Gronberg / Rune Strom / Ostvang): What's Next? (Clean Feed)
A great example of the Norwegian creative jazz scene, the quintet of Andree Roligheten on sax & clarinet, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on double bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums take their name from an Ornette Coleman LP, as they show us 'What's Next' by blending lyrical and free approaches with unexpected twists and turns.
Pitsiokos, Chris / Susana Santos Silva / Torbjorn Zetterberg: Child Of Illusion (Clean Feed)
A profound sense of drama in free playing from the young collective trio of NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos with the establish partnership of Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and Swedish bassist Torbjourn Zetterberg, in jazz is chamber-like, informed by their musical background that spreads over a myriad of aesthetics, full of nuance and beautiful interplay.
Sacks, Jacob: Fishes (Clean Feed)
Eleven new works from New York pianist Jacob Sacks in a quintet with some of NY's finest--Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone, Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxophones, Michael Formanek on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums--referencing traditional jazz influences like Monk & Mingus with superbly creative soloing fostered by the freedom of Sack's compositions.
Nordstrom, Fredrik : Needs (Clean Feed)
An all-star octet of Swedish improvisers is actually a double quaret with two reed players (Nordstrom & Ljugkvist), two brass players (Aleklint and Barno), two double bassists (Augustson and Zetterberg) and two drummers (Cantillo and Rundqvist), creating a powerful rhythmic foundation for a lyrical set of Nordstrom compositions and conductions.
Saturday October 13th is the 5th Cassette Store Day, described as:
"Cassette Store Day began in the United Kingdom in 2013 and quickly grew to become a
global event with the participation of the United States, Japan, Germany and France.
Through the efforts of CSD and the stores, labels, bands and fans involved worldwide
we've helped keep what was once perceived as a dead format alive and viable in today's digital age!"
When Squidco opened in 2002 we carried no cassettes. The format seemed dormant,
with little interest for serious musicians in releasing albums on this "antiquated" format.
Fast forward to 2018, where we are now averaging 40 cassette releases each year,
many of which include a download code. Most are short run or limited releases, and
most sell out quite quickly. We currently have 124 cassette releases in stock, with
titles from the US, Canada, UK, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Slovokia,
and Japan. It may not rival our CD or LP catalog, but the cassette tape has made a
decided comeback, with a diverse and interesting set of releases to choose from.
Out of curiosity I ran the numbers on our database to see how many cassettes we've stocked over the last several years. In our first 8 years, we carried exactly two cassettes, bot of which came from the great Montreal label Ambiances Magnetiques, and the bands Bruire (not surprisingly as they've alway been a forward thinking group) and from clarinetist and composer Robert Marcel Lepage. Surprisingly we still have a copy of each in our inventory, as they've been a perennial seller since we first added them. I suppose Ambiances is part of the reason my own faith in the cassette was restored.
Here are the numbers:
2018 - 39 cassettes (so far)
2017 - 35
2016 - 44
2015 - 31
2014 - 25
2013 - 3
2012 - 7
2011 - 2
2010 - 9
before that, just 2
Despite my lack of faith in the cassette as a commodity when we started the store, I have been an advocate of the cassette tape since the 1970s. If you can bear with a little reminiscing: when I first started seriously collecting music in high school and college, starting in the late 70s, I would "preserve" my LPs by making cassette copies of them. This gave me a big advantage, as most of my listening was on the fledgling Sony Walkman, which I sported all around Central NY and my college campus, receiving many curious stares from people not quite ready for the age of the portable headphone. I was meticulous in my taping habits, cleaning the heads, checking the bias, and I upgraded my recorders regularly to keep up with technology (spending my student loans inappropriately, naturally!) I found the intimacy of listening on my Walkman helped me to become educated in the music I was following, then a mix of RIO, traditional jazz and Blue Note/Riverside style hard bop, loft style NY jazz and Downtown NY, European Free Improv, and genre-blending pop and rock forms.
I have no doubt that the cassette format shaped my listening, ultimately leading me to running Squidco. I'm happy to see the format remain viable and desirable in the second decade of the 21st century, an unexpected twist in the evolution of formats. Coupled with download codes, the cassette is both a modern and a nostalgic media, as satisfying as any other format that's survived the temperamental interests of industry and listener.
A few updates from the last two weeks:
October 11, 2018: New @ Squidco:
Chris Pitsiokos/Susana Santos Silva/Torbjorn Zetterberg -Child Of Illusion [CD] (Clean Feed)
Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten/Johansson/Gronberg/Rune Strom/Ostvang) -What's Next? [CD] (Clean Feed)
Jacob Sacks -Fishes [CD] (Clean Feed)
Mette Rasmussen /Chris Corsano -A View Of The Moon (From The Sun) [CD] (Clean Feed)
Master Oogway -The Concert Koan [VINYL] (Clean Feed)
Heaven (Henrik Pultz Melbye/Ole Mofjell) -IAPOE [VINYL] (Clean Feed)
Peter McEachern Trio -Bone-Code [CD] (Clean Feed)
Jonas Cambien Trio (w/Roligheten/Wildhagen) -We Must Mustn't We [VINYL] (Clean Feed)
Gunter Sommer Baby (w/ Till Bronner) -Baby's Party [CD] (Intakt)
Stefen Aeby Trio (w/ Andre Pousaz/Michi Stulz) -The London Concert [CD] (Intakt)
Skerebotte Fatta -Riders From The Ra [CD] (Creative Sources)
Ornette Coleman -Looking For Ornette [DVD] (La Huite)
October 10, 2018: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Cornelius Cardew / London Experimental Ensemble - Treatise (Split Rock Records) by Dave Madden.
October 9, 2018: New @ Squidco:
Donald Sturge/Anthony McKenzie II (feat. Elliot Sharp, Bill Laswell, Vernon Reid) -Silenced II - Views from the Auction Block [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)
Listening Group (feat. Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Jeff Snyder/Stelios Mihas/Federico Ughi) -Live at the Forward Festival 2016 [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)
Listening Group (feat. Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Jeff Snyder/Stelios Mihas/Federico Ughi) -Live at the Forward Festival 2016 [CD] (577)
Choi Bae Sun/Junji Hirose/Motoharu Yoshizawa/Kim Dae Hwan -Arirang Fantasy [CD] (NoBusiness)
Choi Bae Sun/Junji Hirose/Motoharu Yoshizawa/Kim Dae Hwan -Arirang Fantasy [VINYL] (NoBusiness)
Morton Feldman -Triadic Memories & Piano [2 CDS] (Hat [now] ART)
Morton Feldman -Trio [CD] (Hat [now] ART)
Metal Chaos Ensemble -Blast Furnace [CD] (Evil Clown)
Leap Of Faith -Proof Theory [CD] (Evil Clown)
Antonis Anissegos/Christos Yermenoglou -Intertitles [CD] (Creative Sources)
Univers Zero -Ceux Du Dehors [VINYL] (Sub Rosa)