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Quin Kirchner:
The Shadows and The Light [2 CDs] (Astral Spirits)

Recorded over 2 days in a Chicago studio in configuration from duos to an octet, drummer Quin Kirchner provides the compositions on this double CD for 11 pieces, alongside works by Frank Foster, Phil Cohran, Sun Ra & Carla Bley, presented as a story or a journey of differing styles and forms, glued together by Kirchner's remarkable drumming and coherently diverse interests. ... Click to View


Tomeka Reid Quartet:
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Drawn from some of New Yorks finest and most active improvisers, cellist Tomeka Reid's string-centric quartet with Mary Halvorson on guitar, Jason Roebke on bass, and Tomas Fujiwara on drums, take Reid's lyrical compositions into exuberant territory, showing the effective power of these versatile string instruments in creative and irresistible modern jazz. ... Click to View


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Recently discovered, unissued solo improvisations from legendary Japanese free jazz alto saxophonist Karou Abe--four extended statements from the full concert recorded in 1970 at the Sapporo jazz cafe "Ayler"--an excellent example of the passionate performances he presented, using extended and unusual technique from assertive mastery to near-silent moments; incomporable. ... Click to View


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DUX Orchestra (Dave Sewelson / Mats Gustafsson / Susie Ibarra / Will Connell Jr. / Dave Hofstra / Walter "Sweet" Perkins / JC Morrison):
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Dux, led by guitarist JC Morrison and baritone saxophonist Dave Seweleson, plus Dave Hofstra on bass and drummer Walter Perkins, is heard in this 1994 recording from "an attic" in New York City in an expanded version of the band, adding Mats Gustafsson on baritone sax, Will Connell, Jr on clarinet and Susie Ibarra on drums, for a wild session of exuberant free playing. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Aram Shelton Quartet (w/ Nordeson / Dresser / Walton):
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Key artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, composers and bandleaders Larry Ochs on tenor and sopranino saxophone and Aram Shelton on alto saxophone join together with Swedish drummer Kjell Nordeson, joined by either double bassist Mark Dresser or Scott Walton, in an album drawn from two session featuring exhiliarating pieces of unique approach from both composers. ... Click to View


Roots Magic (Pololla / De Fabritiis / Tedeschi / Spera):
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Mining the area between the blues and creative jazz with pieces by Charles Tyler, Ornette Coleman, Phil Cohran and Sun Ra, this is the 3rd album from the Italian quartet of Alberto Popolla on clarinets, Errico De Fabritiis on saxophones, Gianfranco Tedeschi on double bass, and Fabrizio Spera on drums & percussion, joined by Eugenio Colombo on flute and Francesco Lo Cascio on vibes. ... Click to View


Cliff Trio (Pandelis Karayorgis / Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal):
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Recording at the Lilypad in Cambridge, MA, the Boston-area trio of pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Damon Smith, and drummer Eric Rosenthal are captured in concert for an adventurous album of free improvisation, Karayorgis's compositions leading this piano trio of magnificent mastery into buoyantly exciting interplay as they take their listeners to a dizzying precipice edge. ... Click to View


Anton Ponomarev Trio (w/ Per Ole Jorgens / Dmitri Lapshin):
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Aggressive "honk-n-skronk" free jazz from the Moscow based trio of alto saxophonist Anton Ponomarev, with Danish drummer Peter Ole Jørgensen (aka P.O. Jorgens know for his work with Peter Brötzmann) and bass guitarist Dmitry Lapshin, ijn a studio album of eight burning "Circles", demanding skirmishes of fiery imformed collective free jazz. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg / Skogen:
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First performed in November 2019 at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and then at the Splitter Orchester festival in Berlin, this studio recording of Magnus Granberg's delicately complex and exquisitely dream-like composition features his Skogen ensemble, including Granberg, Rhodri Davies, Toshimaru Nakamura, Erik Carlsson, Petter Wastberg, &c. ... Click to View


Rhodri Davies:
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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. ... Click to View


Tyler Higgins (w/ Monticello / Stevens):
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Blues with a strong sonic sense in Atlanta, GA guitarist Tyler Higgin's 2nd release on Shhpuma, his trio again featuring drummer Paul Stevens, and here adding bassist Gabriel Monticello, known for symphonic, jazz and rock forms, bringing masterful skill to this album that richly blends blues, gospel, folk, jazz and rock forms with passion and style. ... Click to View


Nicolas Snyder:
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West Coast sound artist Nicolas Snyder is a composer, filmmaker, sound-documenter, gardener, and forager; fascinated by the sounds of nature, he took recordings from streams and National Parks in Vietnam, Pennsylvania, and California and merged them with music composed in the studio to create these works of great beauty as a study of locational and emotional memory. ... Click to View


Dimos Vryzas:
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Violinist, improviser, songwriter and composer from Thessaloniki, Greece, Dimos Vryzas creates a virtual electroacoustic ensemble using violin, voice and effects, contrasting acoustic and electronic sounds in the search for music expression, his studies with Fred Frith and Alfred Zimmerlin a good indicator of the kind of sound approach Vryzas employs. ... Click to View


Takamitsu Ohta:
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Takamitsu Ohta, known for his work with artists Anne-F Jacques & Ryoko Akama, in three unexpected recordings using the microphone and speaker of small devices with recording and playback ability, from five to fifteen such linked devices creating surprisingly stacatto and expressive voices from feedback, each piece aptly named for the resulting articulation each combination creates. ... Click to View


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ppooll sound artist Klaus Filip and Japanese experimental vocalist Moe Kamura (10Tet, Taku Sugimoto) in a two part electronic improvisation of electronic tones, textures, silence, and minimalist vocalization and utterance, Filip using a dynamic frequency palette inspiring Kamura's wordless expression; lowercase or Onkyo, a meditative and moody work. ... Click to View


Ballister:
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The tenth year of the working and touring international Ballister trio of Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophones, Fred Lonberg on Holm on cello & electronics, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drum & 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. ... Click to View


Stirrup + 6 (Lonberg-Holdm / Macri / Rumback):
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The Stirrup trio of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Nick Macri (bass), and Charles Rumback (drums) is merged with improvisers from Lonberg-Holm's Lightbox Orchestra project--Keefe Jackson & Mars Williams on reeds, guitarist Peter Maunu, violist Jen Clare Paulson, trumpeter Russ Johnson & Zoots Houston on electronics -for this compelling structured performance at Elastic Arts. ... Click to View


Tashi Dorji / Tyler Damon:
To Catch A Bird In A Net Of Wind [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Fully free improvisation from Chicago musicians, electric guitarist Tashi Dorji and drummer/percussionist Tyler Damon, performing live in a concert at Horatio N. May Chapel in 2018, the resonance of the location adding a rich reverberant level to their evolving dialog, building to ecstatic sonic states and releasing to energetically ruminative discourse. ... Click to View


BROM (Lapshin / Ponomarev / Mikensky / Kurilo):
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Raw, raucous and dauntless improvisation from the Russian quartet of Anton Ponomarev on alto saxophone, Dmitry Lapshin on bass guitar, Felix Mikensky on guitar & electronics, and Yaroslav Kurilo on drums, in 7 passionate collective improvisations with a dark melodic bent with titles like "demon" or "iron hair", plus a twisted take on Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts". ... Click to View


Berangere Maximin :
Land of Waves [VINYL 2 LPs + DOWNLOAD] (KARLRECORDS)

The sixth album of embraceable electroacoustic and acousmatic French composer Bérangère Maximin, whose work with Ina-GRM, Stockholm's EMS points to her extraordinary skills in organize other-worldly sound, imbued with her ability to create warmly embraceable works with mystery amongst propelling rhythm, here exploring recordings from city parks & abandoned properties. ... Click to View


Sun City Girls:
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A 2004 live performance in LP and DVD from the experimental, irreverent and twisted rock trio Sun City Girls performing at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, from strange songs of weird, blunt or vulgar intent to experimental cutups--an unorthodox exorcism in sound--all presented with bizarre theatrical accompaniment as documented on the accompanying DVD. ... Click to View


Matias Riquelme / Fernando Ulzion:
La Trahison Des Mots (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Using the natural resonance of the Apodaka church in Alava, Spain, the Bilbao-based experimental improvising duo of cellist Francia Matías Riquelme and saxophonist Fernando Ulzion on soprano and alto, present an introspective and informed set of works titled as iconic jazz compositions, an implication of the impressionist approach their expansive and thoughtful playing invokes. ... Click to View


Machinefabriek / Anne Bakker:
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While developing a soundtrack with violinist and violist Anne Bakker, Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek, began editing a series of Bakker's improvisations, creating new works from those recordings by layering them into succinct short works or "scenes"--twenty of them in the end--that he sequenced into this album of confidently dramatic and delicately beautiful episodes. ... Click to View


Master Oogway:
Earth And Other Worlds (Rune Grammofon)

The second album from the Norwegian electric jazz quartet of Havard Nordberg Funderud on guitar, Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll on saxophone, Karl Erik Horndalsveen on double bass, and Martin Heggli Mellem on drums, after their 2018 album The Concert Koan on the Clean Feed label, here in six powerfully thrilling tracks of youthful exuberance and impressive skill. ... Click to View


Master Oogway:
Earth And Other Worlds [VINYL] (Rune Grammofon)

The second album from the Norwegian electric jazz quartet of Havard Nordberg Funderud on guitar, Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll on saxophone, Karl Erik Horndalsveen on double bass, and Martin Heggli Mellem on drums, after their 2018 album The Concert Koan on the Clean Feed label, here in six powerfully thrilling tracks of youthful exuberance and impressive skill. ... Click to View


Thumbscrew (Fujiwara / Halvorson / Formanek):
The Anthony Braxton Project (Cuneiform)

The Thumbscrew trio of NY improvisers Tomas Fujiwara on drums & vibes, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Michael Formanek on double bass, turn their focus to their shared history with composer and reedist Anthony Braxton as he celebrates his 75th birthday, performing 11 previously unheard compositions selected from Composition No. 14 through No. 274; masterful and profound. ... Click to View


Toyozumi / Yandsen / Countryman:
Future of Change (ChapChap Records)

The collaboration of American alto saxophonist living in the Philippines Rick Countryman with legendary Japanese free improvising drummer Sabu Toyozumim, also performing on Erhu, continues with this outstanding performance at the LIMBO Art Gallery in Makati, Philippines in 2020, joined by Malaysian tenor saxophonist Yong Yandsen for a burning set of free jazz. ... Click to View



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  Mattin 
  Songbook #7  
  (Munster Records) 


  
   review by Phil Zampino
  2019-08-21
Mattin: Songbook #7 (Munster Records)

The first Songbook from sound artist Mattin was released in 2005, releasing 4 "Songbooks" within the first year, then taking a long break until 2014, when Songbook 5 was released. Three years later #6 was issued, and #7, the latest as of this review, in 2018. The concept behind the series initiated as "improvisation as a way or exposing structural clichés in pop/rock music" and "song structures to demystify the so-called spontaneity and freedom of improvisation."

The series had rough beginnings, presented as collections of off-the-cuff songs with little treatment, raw and fully on display; the reception to those albums seems to have been equally coarse. Mattin persisted, 2006's Songbook Volume 4 presented as a 5-piece band performing live in Tokyo, with the lineup of long-time collaborator Taku Unami on bass, Anthony Guerra on guitar, Jean-Luc Guionnet on sax, and Tomoya Izumi "shouting". The Squid's Ear's writer Kurt Gottschalk, reviewing the album in 2008, declared: It's cool, it's raw - your parents wouldn't like it, and your kids probably won't either.

To back this assessment, Mattin issued the following manifesto to coincide with the release:

1. Make up songs on the spot
2. The songs must have a beginning, a chorus, and an end
3. Record the songs directly into the internal microphone of a laptop computer
4. Use improvisation as a way or exposing structural and improvisational clichés in pop/rock music
5. Use song structures to demystify the so-called spontaneity and freedom of improvisation
6. Release the recordings on different labels and laugh at different peoples reactions

Mattin : Songbook #5 [VINYL] (Disembraining Machine )

The reviews for Songbook Volume 4 were more positive, and the series seems to have taken a turn, so it's surprising that the next album took six years to come about.

On Songbook 5 Mattin recruited five musicians (Alex Cuffe, Andrew McLellan, Dean Roberts, Joel Stern, and Mattin himself) to record five spontaneous "songs" of five-minute duration, each in response to five different concepts of five different five-word song titles. Mattin then recorded vocals for each as a form of singing lecture at The Victorian College of the Arts, where Mattin heard the music on headphones but the audience does not hear the music; he subsequently superimposed the vocals onto the songs. One can only imagine the unique and perhaps maddening qualities of that lecture, but the unusual process provided results unlike any other rock album.

Mattin: Songbook #6 [VINYL] (Munster Records, Insulin Addicted Records, Crudités Tapes)

Songbook 6 from 2013 is performed with Farahnaz Hatam, Pan Daijing, Colin Hacklander, Werner Dafeldecker, and Dean Roberts, a vicious mix of essentially no-wave rock and experimental music, six songs at exactly six minutes each covering topics of the conflicts, confusion and frustrations of our modern age. The number theme continues here, and the songs become more articulated even if difficult to follow, the music more controlled but not polished, and certainly not predictable. Dean Roberts writes: "Yes, there is rock, but it's so deformed that not even no wave could help you make sense out of it." It's rock with an experimental bent, using plenty of electronics, and little indication of who is doing what. It's a far cry from Songbook 1, but it's still crying with angst, confrontational, and with a Berlin-backing band, hearkening a bit to Einstürzende Neubauten and similar bands of foreboding sound and word.

Mattin: Songbook #7 [VINYL] (Munster Records)

Which finally brings us to this review: Songbook 7, recorded in 2017. From its humble roots, the Songbook series has become serious, and Mattin is using his songbooks as a solid platform for social commentary with an incredible band capable of shaping his intentions in sound. As he states, if previous Songbooks dealt with the tension between improvisation and song structure, this Songbook explores the tension between the individual and the collective, while contrasting historic moments against modern politics, comparing the present with the past, and exploring issues like the rise of fascism.

In an impressive septet with Lucio Capece (bass clarinet & sampler), Marcel Dickhage (voice, sampler & German texts), Colin Hacklander (drums), Farahanz Hatam (computer), Mattin (voice & English texts), Moor Mother (electronics) and Cathleen Schuster (voice, sampler & German texts), Mattin uses this Songbook to contemplate two moments as historical inspiration: the first 7 months of the 1917 Russian Revolution; and Germaine Berton, the anarchist who in 1923 was accused of murdering Marius Plateau, director of the far-right organization French Action League.

To do this Mattin blends spoken words and electronics, shards of rock, noise, and otherwise inexplicable sound, all in an unpredictable amalgamation. Several of the pieces initiate as narratives, with intense musical accompaniment building, pausing at times for spoken asides, and then thickening like a chaotic clash, reflecting the events described. There's room for individual improvisation, and Capece, Mother Moor and Hacklander stand out in throttled and energetic cries, each eventually subsumed by the sonic tempest and overshadowed by statements that whiplash the listener, bouncing from speaker to speaker and modified by an array of treatments. Altogether it's an excellent work that fuses disparate musical and sonic forms in emphatics ways to create an enveloping set of sonic environments that support the themes of the album.

Each recording on the LP is named for a successive month, each distinctive in the layering and density of sound. "January" is foreboding and thick with a cloud of sound, effected and robotic voices guiding and rebuking; "February" builds thicker, demanding, driving but taking narrative pauses, twists & turns; "March" & "April" are reserved, instructive, mysterious; "May" experimental, filled with space and innuendo, whispered voices, fractured bits of sound and quietly aberrant and swelling electronics. The music's unpredictability is its fascination; at times the listener is overwhelmed, at times perplexed, at times startled, at times soothed into complacency.

We are led to track 6, "June", which is an audio discussion of the album's objectives and degrees of success; this level of self-awareness reflects Mattin's serious exploration of his themes--this is not an album to take lightly, and his subjects are non-trivial issues that have vexed society for decades. The album ends in "July", returning to the work of the album with distressed and desperate cries from Mattin. Is it frustration at the cyclical nature of these issues and their failure to resolve, for people to escape control and fascism, to transform society to something lastingly better?



Mattin: Songbook #7
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