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Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Karyobin (1968) [2017 REISSUE] (Emanem)

The 2nd SME record to be issued, a 1968 classic of free improvisation as the quintet of John Stevens, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Dave Holland, and Kenny Wheeler, the 1st SME to feature their new organisational method, here remastered with far superior sound and balance than previous issues, with new notes by Evan Parker, Dave Holland and Martin Davidson plus session photos. ... Click to View

George Khan: Ah! (1968-2005) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

An essential retrospective of UK saxophonist and flutist George Khan's long career featuring 4 concerts: a 1980 duo with People Band percussionist Terry Day; a 1968 quintet with Peter Lemer (piano), Albert Kovitz (clarinet), Frank Flowers (double bass) and Terry Day; in 1975 with Terry Day and bassist Charlie Hart; and solo in London around 2005 at Mopomoso. ... Click to View

Musicianer (Sinton / Ajemian / Taylor): Slow Learner (Iluso)

Sidney Bechet referred to fellow musician as "musicianer", the title for New York baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton's trio with Jason Ajemian on acoustic bass and Chad Taylor on drums and percussion, in an outstandingly creative and compelling album of modern jazz showing the strong links between these three, dating back to their work together in Chicago in the 80s. ... Click to View

Josh Sinton: Krasa (Irabbagast)

New York reedist Josh Sinton take the contrabass clarinet on a wild ride, performing live with no overdubs using clip-on mics, a mixing board, a sans amp box, a volume pedal, and a bass amp, as he explores sonic possibilities and unexpected directions for this big reed instrument in his quest to redefine the old Slavic word for beauty or splendor: krasa. ... Click to View

Sista Maj: Series Of Nested Universes [2 CDs] (Space Rock Productions )

Organized by Camper van Beethoven violinist Johan Segal, Sista Maj is an instrumental psychedelic rock trio with Mikael Tuominen on bass, baritone guitar and sitar, and Andreas Axelsson on drums and percussion, with Segal also on organ, electric guitar, synth and bass, for a double CD exploring sophisticated heavy electric rock, jazz, hypnotic and space music. ... Click to View

Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Warsaw Concert (Intakt)

After 44 years and presenting this, their 20th album, the UK/European free improvising trio of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens presents an incredible extended performance and a brief coda recorded during the Ad Libitum Festival at the Polish broadcasting, a testament to masterful skill and the endurance of free jazz. ... Click to View

John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Vol. 5 _Philharmonie De Paris (Tzadik)

The During a week in April 2017 John Zorn travelled to Paris, where he performed several concerts including "The Interpretation of Dreams", presented an evening with guests, and performed solo on the organ at the Grande salle Pierre Boulez, the full concert of which is presented on this CD, along with 30 minutes of recordings made before the evening's concert. ... Click to View

Piiptsjilling: Fiif (Peter Foolen Editions)

Piiptsjilling is the duo of guitarist Romke Kleefstra and vocalists Mariska Baars & Jan Kleefstra, joined here by Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek, combining poetry with vocals, guitars and electronics in improvisational settings, creating rich sonic environments over which the voice guides the listener, speaking in one of the Germanic Frisian languages. ... Click to View

Tatsuya Nakatani : Cooked In My Van (H&H Production)

Anyone who follows the work of Japanese drummer/percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani knows that cooking on the road is an integral part of his traveling life, and this slender cookbook provides images, descriptions, and insight into this cooking and his life on the road, with suggestions for meals that would make the perfect accompaniment to an evening of Nakatani's music. ... Click to View

Katharina Bohlen / Reinald Noisten / Claudius Reimann : Long Clarinets - Short Stories? (Creative Sources)

Extending the realm of clarinets in improvisation, the trio of three clarinetists--Katharina Bohlen, Reinald Noisten, and Claudius Reimann--perform on clarinet and bass clarinet with a diverse set of approaches, opening their 12 movement work with a trio of bass clarinets, and then permuting bass, b-flat clarinets and sax with remarkable technique. ... Click to View

The Remote Viewers : Last Man In Europe (Remote Viewers)

The saxophone-heavy UK improvising band Remote Viewers returns to a trio format, with founders David Petts on tenor sax and Adrian Northover on soprano sax, plus John Edwards on double bass, as the stripped-down band employs signature harmonic territory and compositional approaches, making this a distinctively concentrated and welcome Remote Viewers album. ... Click to View

Jeb Bishop / Dan Ruccia: Scratch Slice Jag (Out & Gone Records)

Trombonist Jeb Bishop and North Carolina-based Out & Gone Collective member, violist Dan Ruccia, after touring and performing with Eugene Chadbourne, Dan Lilley, and David Menestres, found their sound so compatible that they recorded this duo album that uses the language of free jazz, chamber music, and extended improvisations to create something unexpected and rare. ... Click to View

Leap of Faith Orchestra: Supernovae (Evil Clown)

Boston area composer and multi-instrumentalist David Peck developed a unique approach to scoring for this large and idiosyncratic ensemble, referred to as Frame Notation, giving descriptions of sonority, time scale, events, playing occurrences, &c, leaving a great deal of freedom for these extraordinary musicians, as borne out in their incredible and extended performance. ... Click to View

John Zorn / Eugene Chadbourne: 1977-1981 [VINYL LP + BOOK] (Song Cycle)

Deluxe box set edition of the 1998 Materiali Sonori CD, originally released to accompany the book release of "Sonora: John Zorn", here in its first vinyl release presenting early Downtown NY recordings between the duo of Zorn and guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, with vital players including Tom Cora, Polly Bradfield, Davey Williams, Fred Frith, Mark Kramer, &c. ... Click to View

Hollis Taylor: Absolute Bird [2 CDs] (ReR Megacorp)

An unusual and distinctive record from violinist and ornithologist Hollis Taylor, a book with 2 CDS presenting 41 tracks of recordings of the Australian pied butcherbird, each track pairing a bird, environmental sound, and a single instrumentalist, with an impressive list of performers who take unique approaches to the challenge of accompanying a bird. ... Click to View

Udo Schindler / Johannes Ollinger / Dine Doneff: Waterway (FMR)

The quirky acoustic trio of German improvisers Udo Schindler on clarinet, saxophone, cornet, and Euphonium, Johannes Ollinger on acoustic guitar and toys, and Dine Doneff on double bass, waterphone, and toys, the odd instrumentation adding surprising textures and disorienting angles to really fine dialog, technically, melodically, and eccentrically. ... Click to View

Alan Tomlinson Trio ( w/ Dave Tucker / Phillip Marks): Out And Out (FMR)

London Jazz Composers Orchestra trombonist Alan Tomlinson, performing on tenor and alto trombone, with his trio of Dave Tucker on guitar and Phillip Marks on percussion, are caught live in Birmingham, Lancaster, London, and during the Harwich Festival, from 2009-16, demonstrating the strong rapport and exciting dialog these players have developed over years performing together. ... Click to View

David Area / Tomas Gris / Ernesto Rodrigues : Chorismos (Creative Sources)

An album of patience and concentrated listening from the lowercase trio of David Area on electronics, Tomas Gris on guitar and objects, and Ernesto Rodrigues on harp and objects, each player subtly coaxing sounds out of their instruments while the electronics act as environmental ambience over which tones slowly voice and recede and occasionally punctuate. ... Click to View

Oren Ambarchi: Stacte Karaoke II [VINYL 12-inch] (Black Truffle)

Heavy rock riffs and shredding from Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi, his version of karaoke being repeating rock structures plundered and played over, giving him a platform to show his power tools, which are heavily modified and effected guitar lines in an oddly compelling album of rock machinations from this typically explorative, experimental player. ... Click to View

Matt Weston: Searchlight Swings b/w Is That Helicopter Over Our House? [7-inch' VINYL] (7272music)

Percussionist and electronics artist Matt Weston (Arthur Brooks Ensemble V, Arc Pair) in a 7" release showcasing his playing skills over his own notation systems employing additional dimensions of pre-and post-gestural strategies, using written standard notation and visual cues based on multiple and simultaneous, graphic scores. ... Click to View

Tomas Fujiwara : Triple Double (Firehouse 12 Records)

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara's sextet is actually two trios interacting, with fellow drummer Gerald Cleaver, both Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook on guitar, and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and Ralph Alessi on trumpet, the pairings forming unisons and contrasts that add an unrestrained sense of enthusiasm and excitement to Fujiwara's sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View

Mary Halvorson: Away With You [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Mary Halvorson continues her string of excellent modern jazz albums with this octet release with fellow guitarist Susan Alcorn, Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon & Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Jacob Garchik (trombone), John Hebert (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). ... Click to View

Taylor Bynum Ho : Enter the Plustet [VINYL] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum draws on a variety of techniques from improvised conduction to big band orchestration to deconstructed fanfares, with a large 15 member ensemble of impressive improvisers embodying a diversity of generations, backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender, presenting three large scale compositions that are ambitious and wonderfully accomplished. ... Click to View

Matthew Lux's Communication Arts Quartet: Contra/Fact [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD CODE] (Astral Spirits)

Chicago bassist Matthew Lux (Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra) in an album of effusive and spiritual percussive grooves under electronic and acoustic leads, performed with Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, electronics and percussion, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, percussion, mellotron and more, and Jayve Montgomery on various woodwinds, samples and percussion. ... Click to View

Peter Urpeth / Olie Brice / Terry Day / Ntshuks Bonga): Wraith Island (Live At Cafe Oto) (FMR)

Actually four quartet improvisations and two duets, London creative improvisers Peter Urpeth on piano, Olie Brice on bass, Terry Day on drums and Ntshuks Bonga on saxophone took to Cafe Oto in January, 2017, to record this excellent album of collective free improvisation drawing on decades of experience in an absorbing and engaging concert. ... Click to View

Lisa Ullen / Torsten Muller: Into The Staring Town (Creative Sources)

Recording at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2014, the duo of Swedish pianist Lisa Ullen and German double bassist Torsten Muller perform two extended improvisations focused on music and sound, using extended techniques and unusual approaches to their instruments in service to the spontaneous flow of ideas between them, never excessive, always captivating. ... Click to View

Corso (Emilio Gordoa / Nicola L. Hein): Unwanted Pregnancy (Creative Sources)

Mexican composer and vibraphonist based in Berlin since 2012, Emilio Gordoa in a duo with guitarist Nicola L. Hein, using preparations to their vibraphones, percussion, and guitar, in an 8 part composition of diverse approaches to improvisation, from exuberant interaction to Reich-like minimalism to cantankerous experimentation, a well-rounded and interesting album. ... Click to View

Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Alexander Frangenheim: Underwater Music (Creative Sources)

Like the Lisbon String Trio, this trio explores strings in a viola, cello and double bass trio configuration, from Creative Sources core players Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, and Alexander Frangenheim, exploring a classic trio concept towards new expressions and boundaries, through spritely interaction and sonic expedition. ... Click to View

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before [VINYL] (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... Click to View

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... Click to View

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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)
  • November 14, 2017:

    The last two weeks were all about purchasing for the fall and winter, as we prepared orders with a number of great labels, and received a few of those purchases already. In particular, the latest Silkheart release, Music for Six Musicians: Hommage a Olivier Messiaen is on its way to us from Sweden; two new releases from Russia's Mikroton label; two from Chicago's versatile reedist Josh Sinton; the latest Victo release, Anthony Braxton's solo concert from the 30th anniversary of the festival; several new Corbett vs. Dempsey albums from Joe McPhee, Eugene Chadbourne, and Sun Ra; and this exciting set from Clean Feed:

    Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity : Live in Europe [3 CDs]
    Eve Risser / Kaja Draksler: To Pianos
    FCT Trio meets Carlos Atti (Atti / Graziano / Evangelista / Cusa): From Sun Ra to Donald Trump
    Ada Rave Trio (Rave / Hein / De Joode): The Sea, the Storm and the Full Moon
    Aalberg, Kullhammar, Zetterber & Santos Silva: Basement Sessions Vol.4 (The Bali Tapes)
    Nick Fraser (Fraser / Malaby / Downing / Clutton): Is Life Long
    Joao Lencastre's Communion 3 (Lencastre / Sacks / Opsvik): Movements In Freedom
    Sirius (Tembe / Trinite): Acoustic Main Suite Plus The Inner One
    Imaginary Numbers (McPhee / Niggenkemper / Solberg): Imaginary Numbers
    Joao Camoes, Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Jean-Marc Foussat: Autres Paysages
    Moster, Parker, Abrams & Herndon: Ran Do

    For those items that are coming up, you can see them in our Upcoming Releases Section where you can ask us to email you when they're available to order.

    Remote Viewers, The : Last Man In Europe (Remote Viewers)

    I wanted to make a special mention about the new The Remote Viewers album, Last Man In Europe, which has been in rotation in my library. This configuration of the band is a unique, dropping the number of saxophonists to just two, with the amazing UK bassist John Edwards the sole accompanist. Tenor saxophonist David Petts handles all the formal compositions, with humorous titles that may or may not abstractly explain the music; the band collectively takes credit for 4 of the recordings. Adrian Northover is the second saxophonist, here on soprano; he's a founding member of the band, from their early Leo Records releases, and he also provides the album cover and inside photo.

    I personally find Petts' compositions the most interesting aspect of the band, and it's what first brought me to listen to the band. His writing combines chamber aspects, but also a certain dramatic sensibility that I associate with rock, albeit in the RIO forms, and shades and approaches from creative free jazz. Harmonic dualities are characteristic, the two horns working in unison using unusual combinations of tones, progressing the music and then breaking off in staccato hesitation. Weaving tones between the saxes are often at play, creating a sense of motion much greater than expected. Edwards is the wild card here, plucking and bowing, he provides both support and counterpoint to the sax lines; his presence on recent albums has given The Remote Viewers a solid basis for their compositions, and brought prodigious technique and skill to the band. He also provides the excellent mixing and mastering for the release, which was beautifully recorded with great clarity. Looking back at their first 1999 album, Low Shapes In Dark Heat, a trio album of sax and synth, one can contrast with both the progress the playing and writing has evolved, but also the consistency with which Petts has maintained his signature over the music. Really fine work.

    This last week we caught up with the Tzadik label, which we had slipped behind in during our move of offices. The list of "new" releases is impressive, with surprises to our ears from Burning Ghost, a West Coast improv quartet with experimental & rock leanings that's based on long-running collaborations. Ikue Mori's Obelisk also takes center stage, proving difficult to keep in stock (re-orders should arrive by the end of the week).

    Taborn, Craig / Ikue Mori: Highsmith (Tzadik)

    Two of Downtown NY's most innovative performers collaborate for an album placing the rich acoustic piano work of Craig Taborn beside the slippery electronics of Ikue Mori, the result of their live performances that started at New York's Village Vanguard in 2016 and leading to this album, which presents a set of 11 unique and sophisticated dialogs.

    Zorn, John : Midsummer Moons (Tzadik)

    Two guitarists -- Gyan Riley and Julian Lage -- perform 10 lyrical John Zorn compositions inspired by Shakespeare and written for the moon, a symbol of love, lust, madness and dreams, as the two guitarists play in unison and interweaving figures, a beautiful album of contemplative, refined and elegant works from one of New York's most prolific composers.

    Burning Ghosts (Giddens / McLendon / Rosenboom / Vossler): Reclamation (Tzadik)

    Burning Ghost is the West Coast rock influenced improvising quartet of Daniel Rosenboom on trumpet, guitarist Jake Vossler, Richard Giddens on double bass, and Aaron McLendon on drums, in a fiery album of heavy playing that borrows from jazz and metal rock forms, with ominious political overtones in their titles while showing articulate and impressive playing skill.

    Mori, Ikue (w/ Jim Black / Okkyung Lee / Sylvie Courvoisier): Obelisk (Tzadik)

    Ikue Mori's Obelisk project brings together her unique electronics with Downtown Scene key players, Jim Black on drums, Okkyung Lee on cello, and Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, an album driven by Mori's melodic compositions that take unexpected twists and turns in dramatic and lyrical playing, Mori's electronics bringing an exotic charm and ringing beauty to her works.

    Zorn, John: The Interpretation Of Dreams (Tzadik)

    A new set of works from Downtown New York composer John Zorn inspired by the surrealism of Luis Bunuel and the psychotropic dream world of William S. Burroughs, in three compositions performed by Jack Quartet, the rhythm section from the piano quintet Obscure Objects of Desire, plus vivbraphonist Sae Hashimoto, pianist Steve Gosling, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey.

    Shardik (Shellenberger / Buckley / Hollenberg): (Tzadik)

    Born from rock bands like Cleric and Simulacrum, this NY instrumental, improvising rock trio blends avant-garde classical, free jazz, dissonant math metal, ambient and world music into a powerful new mix, with Nick Shellenberger on bass and synth, Matt Buckley on drums & percussion, and Matt Hollenberg on guitar; intricate, edgy, demanding and driven music.

    Halvorson, Mary Quartet (w/ Gress / Fujiwara / Okazaki): Paimon: The Book Of Angels Volume 32 (Tzadik)

    The final album from John Zorn's "Book of Angels" series presenting Zorn's Masada compositions, here with 10 previously unrecorded compositions from "Masada Book Two" performed by NY guitarist Mary Halvorson in a quartet with Drew Gress on bass, Tomas Fujiwara on drums, and Miles Okazaki on guitar, in an album of joyfully exciting and melodic improvisations.

    Zorn, John: The Hermetic Organ Vol. 5 _Philharmonie De Paris (Tzadik)

    "John Zorn returns to his original instrument with a new volume of organ improvisations recorded at his infamous Weekend in Paris in April 2017. The organ at the Grand Salle Pierre Boulez is one of the most powerful and versatile in France, and Zorn approaches it with great sensitivity and wild abandon. Includes both the full 40 minute concert recording, and over 30 additional minutes of Zorn alone at the manuals in rehearsal the same day."-Tzadik

    Finally, a few updates from the last week or so.

    November 7, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: The Elks (Fagaschinski / Allbee / Roisz / Zapparoli) - This Is Not the Ant (Mikroton) by Darren Bergstein. November 8, 2017: New @ Squidco:
    Mary Halvorson Quartet (w/ Gress/Fujiwara/Okazaki) -Paimon: The Book Of Angels Volume 32 [CD] (Tzadik)
    Ikue Mori (w/ Jim Black/Okkyung Lee/Sylvie Courvoisier) -Obelisk [CD] (Tzadik)
    Craig Taborn/Ikue Mori -Highsmith [CD] (Tzadik)
    John Zorn -Midsummer Moons [CD] (Tzadik)
    John Zorn -The Interpretation Of Dreams [CD] (Tzadik)
    Burning Ghosts (Giddens/McLendon/Rosenboom/Vossler) -Reclamation [CD] (Tzadik)
    Shardik (Shellenberger/Buckley/Hollenberg) - [CD] (Tzadik)
    Machinefabriek -Becoming [CD + DOWNLOAD] (Not On Label)
    Peter Brotzmann Group -Alarm (1981) [CD] (Atavistic)
    Rova::Orkestra -Electric Ascension (2003) [CD] (Atavistic)
    November 9, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: The Runcible Quintet - Five (FMR) by John Eyles.

  • November 2, 2017:

    I think I'll write a text macro that starts these blog entries with "Another great week of music", because it just keeps on happening... and so defines this wonderful week, with a new Anthony Braxton live solo CD, 9 new FMR CDs, 3 new Firehouse 12 releases, 6 Tzadik albums, new Acid Mothers Temple, plus time listening to and cataloging 4 Another Timbre CDs, and receiving the last of the Astral Spirits releases from their latest batch.


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


    Recent Selections @ Squidco:

    Schlippenbach Trio
    (Schlippenbach /
    Evan Parker /
    Warsaw Concert

    Spontaneous Music
    Karyobin (1968)
    [2017 REISSUE]

    (Sinton /
    Ajemian /
    Slow Learner

    Sista Maj:
    Series Of
    Nested Universes
    [2 CDs]
    (Space Rock Productions )

    Leap of
    Faith Orchestra:
    (Evil Clown)

    Hollis Taylor:
    Absolute Bird
    [2 CDs]
    (ReR Megacorp)

    Matthew Lux's
    Communication Arts Quartet:
    [CASSETTE w/
    (Astral Spirits)

    Tomas Fujiwara :
    Triple Double
    (Firehouse 12 Records)

    Mary Halvorson:
    Away With You
    [VINYL 2 LPs]
    (Firehouse 12 Records)

    Taylor Bynum Ho :
    Enter the
    (Firehouse 12 Records)

    Electric Ascension

    Ikue Mori
    (w/ Jim Black /
    Okkyung Lee /
    Sylvie Courvoisier):

    Mary Halvorson Quartet
    (w/ Gress /
    Fujiwara /
    Paimon: The Book
    Of Angels
    Volume 32

    Anthony Braxton:
    Solo (Victoriaville) 2017

    Francois Carrier /
    Michel Lambert:
    Out Of Silence

    Glasgow Improvisers
    The Word For
    it Now

    Frode Gjerstad /
    Fred Lonberg-Holm:
    The Houdan

    Insub Meta Orchestra:
    13 & 27
    (Another Timbre)

    Sylvie Courvoisier /
    Mark Feldman /
    Evan Parker /
    Ikue Mori:
    Miller's Tale

    Barry Guy /
    Marilyn Crispell /
    Paul Lytton:
    Deep Memory

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