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Brodbeck / Bohm:
Weak Ties (Creative Sources)

Working in the Elektronisches Studio, in Basel, Switzerland, the duo of electronic artist and guitarist Volker Böhm and drummer/percussionist Benjamin Brodbeck, also employing sonic objects of indeterminate source, create a fascinating set of 9 sonic compositions driven by rhythmic interaction, using space and focused recording techniques in superbly timed dialogs. ... Click to View


Gorlinsky / Sysoev / Muller:
Universal Vitamin (Creative Sources)

An extended improvisation for acoustic instrumentation and voice using unusual and extended techniques, from the Russian trio of Alexey Sysoev on piano, Vladimir Gorlinsky on guitar & voice, and Christian Müller on clarinet, recorded at the Cultural Centre DOM in Moscow in 2019, cycling patiently from quietly expressive sections to chamber-oriented brightly active moments. ... Click to View


Sarah Hennies :
Casts [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Percussionist and composer Nick Hennies presents four tracks featuring sine waves paired with speech, vibraphone, hi-hat and voice recorded over several years in Austin, TX and Ithaca, NY, contrasting electronics and percussion with the starkness of the human voice. ... Click to View


Cryingsnice (Eric Hamelin / Chris Dadge):
All Greased Up For Nothin' (Bug Incision Records)

Frequent collaborators, Canadian drummer and experimentalist Eric Hamelin joins Chris Dadge, who more typically performs as a drummer/percussionist, in a duo with Dadge on violin, as the two create wonderfully active environments of sound as they follow conceptual paths that embrace electroacoustic methodology through two pieces performed live in the studio. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith:
The Observed Present (Evil Clown)

The debut of this new Boston-area trio drawn from the Leap of Faith lineup, from the core duo of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, with guest Eric Woods on synth and percussion, the trio using heavy percussion and electronics gear in a unique journey of extended freeform improvisation. ... Click to View


PEK Solo:
Schism (Evil Clown)

Approaching his solo work with new compositional strategies, multi-reedist and percussionist David Peck uses time and texture as the principal organizational elements in 9 pre-mixed recordings over which PEK was allowed more flexibility and freedom in instrumental choice during performance, using a vast collection of instruments in dramatic improvisations. ... Click to View


Robert Wyatt:
His Greatest Misses (Domino Record Co.)

Originally released in 2004 in Japan, this compilation covers songs from Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt's solo career, from albums back to Rock Bottom through Cuckooland, sequenced non-chronologically reflecting the depth of interest, excitement & pathos of his remarkable career, one of rock's most unconventional and brilliant songwriters and singers. ... Click to View


Robert Wyatt:
His Greatest Misses [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Domino Record Co.)

Originally released in 2004 in Japan, this compilation covers songs from Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt's solo career, from albums back to Rock Bottom through Cuckooland, sequenced non-chronologically reflecting the depth of interest, excitement & pathos of his remarkable career, one of rock's most unconventional and brilliant songwriters and singers. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman / Ike Levin Duo:
The Present Gift (IML Music)

A meeting in the studio in 2001 between frequent collaborators, pianist Joel Futterman also performing on curved soprano saxophone & wooden Indian flute, and Chicago tenor saxophonist Ike Levin, also on bass clarinet and Brazilian Kalimba, beautifully capturing the extraordinary conversation of strongly articulated dialog between the two improvisers; impressive! ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman / Hilliard Greene / Federico Ughi:
Telepathic Mysteries Vol. 1 (577)

Referring to an improvisational style only possible after many years of collaboration, which they refer to as a "ghostly, boundary-pushing music between friends", this is the 4th sublime album from the quintet of Daniel Carter on reeds & trumpet, Patrick Holmes on clarinet, Matthew Putman on piano & keys, Hilliard Greene on bass, and Federico Ughi on drums. ... Click to View


Modern Jazz Quintet Karlsruhe / Four Men Only (Joos / Eichhorn / Zimmer / Buhler / Thellman):
Complete Recordings [3-CD BOX SET] (NoBusiness)

From 1968-73 the German Modern Jazz Quintet Karlsruhe of Herbert Joos on flugelhorn, Wilfried Eichhorn on sax & winds, Helmuth Zimmer on piano & percussion, Klaus Bühler on double bass, Rudi Theilmann on drums, and Wolfgang Czelusta on trombone, and then Four Men Only after Bühler left, were a force in the European Free Jazz scene, here in a 3-CD box collecting their works. ... Click to View


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

Recorded over 2 days in a Chicago studio in configurations from duos to an octet, drummer Quin Kirchner provides the compositions on this double LP 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, made cohesive by Kirchner's remarkable drumming and coherently diverse interests. ... Click to View


Chris Brown:
Retrospectacles [2 CDs] (fo'c'sle)

A fascinating 2-CD retrospective of the solo piano and computer work from 1990 to 2016 of San Francisco Bay Area experimental composer Chris Brown, whose work focuses on evolving paradigms of human-machine interaction through live signal processing, generative polyrhythmic textures, and a cohabitation of both formal control and indeterminacy. ... Click to View


Moritz / Ali / Costa :
Estuary (Neither/Nor Records)

After having collaborated in a variety of contexts for a few years, in 2017 Jonathan Moritz, Sean Ali and Carlo Costa started to perform regularly as a trio, over time honing a distinctive sound, using space through patient development, abstraction and textural playing and central tenets in their jazz-influenced improvisations, here in their first album. ... Click to View


String Theory:
Tin (Creative Sources)

The Portuguese String Theory ensemble led by violist Ernesto Rodridgues explores the element "Tin" in this live performance at CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, 2019, leading a 10-piece ensemble of strings — violin & violas, cellos, double basses, guitars and piano — through an extended improvisation of remarkably detailed yet controlled interaction. ... Click to View


Skrijelj / Rodrigues / Mira / Malmendier:
lluvia (Creative Sources)

A live performance at CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon in 2019 from the quartet of Emilie Skrijelj on accordion, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Tom Malmendier on percussion, Lluvia referencing Rain as the quartet quietly builds and releases tension through subtle cues, persistent figures, tonal innuendo and shades. ... Click to View


Gelber Flieder:
Olbaumgewachse (Creative Sources)

Gelber Lilac, or Yellow Lilac, is the electro-acoustic trio trio of Yves Arques (Tricentric) on objects & electronics, Joao Camoes (Open Field String Trio) on viola, and Luise Volkmann (Autochrom) on saxophone, presenting a romantic still life in improvisational colors and extended techniques, recorded live at La Petite Maison, in Paris in 2016. ... Click to View


Emily Davis / Christopher Riggs / George Romaine:
Extinction Burst (Bug Incision Records)

Chicago-based guitarist Christopher Rigg, founder of the Holy Cheever Church Records, developed this set of pieces called "extinction bursts", performed with Emily David on drums and George Romaine on piano, a work he refers to as "maximalist harsh free jazz wall", using a lurching and squealing guitar figure over which David and Romaine overlay slow progressions. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman:
Blues For My Brother (Creation Music)

Four solo imporovisations from pianist Joel Futterman, starting with the nearly 20-minute "Blues For Ronnie" dedicated to his brother Ronald, a lyrical and soulful work that reflects traditional blues and ragtimes forms within a modern perspective, alongside 3 other rich works of the strong technical and melodic skill that define Futterman's mastery and intentions. ... Click to View


Uchihashi Kazuhisa / Yoshida Tatsuya:
Improvisations 5 [2 CDs] (Magaibutsu)

21 wild rides from the fully improvised duo of guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi on guitar & effects, and Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, voice & sampler, two CDs from four separate concerts at Japanese venues Akihabara Goodman in 2012 & 2014, Kichijoji FOXHOLE in 2014, and Okubo Hikarino-Uma in 2017; intensely exciting and magnificently masterful improv instrumental rock. ... Click to View


Sanhedrin (Haino / Yoshida / Nasuno):
Change The Density So That You Can Crawl Up From The Sea Of ​​Duty (Trailights Record)

Formed in the mid-2000s in the wake of the band Knead, the first new Sanhedrin album in six years sees the return of Keiji Haino on guitar, Mitsuru Nasuno on bass guitar and Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, performing live at Akihabara Club Goodman in Japan for four extended rock improvisations, dense, soulful avant-prog with feedback drenched resonance. ... Click to View


Daimonji (Hoppy / Yoshida / Nasuno) :
Eutopia [3 CDs] (Magaibutsu)

A triple CD from the quartet of Hoppy Kamiyama on keyboards, voice, Tatsuya Yoshida on drums & voice, Mitsuru Nasuno on bass and Kinuzuki on guitar, frequent collaborators in a mostly instrumental setting of high intensity improvised rock forms, three complete sets of dense avant/progressive music with incredible technical dexterity and a twisted creative sense. ... Click to View


Petra Haden (w/ John Zorn / Jesse Harris feat. the Julian Lage Trio):
Songs For Petra (Tzadik)

The songwriting team of John Zorn and Jesse Harris, who worked together on Zorn's The Song Project, wrote these beautiful melodies & lyrics that merge elements of rock and jazz for singer Petra Haden, performed in a quintet with Jesse Harris on acoustic guitar, keys & background vocals, Kenny Wollesen on drums, percussion, Julian Lage on guitar, and Jorge Roeder on bass. ... Click to View


Guillaume Gargaud :
Strange Memories (Setola Di Maiale / Chant)

Guitarist/composer Guillaume Gargaud of Le Havre, France steps away from his more typical electric guitar work for an album of acoustic guitar improvisations, freely associative playing of rich harmonic and melodic development, from ostensibly meandering fragility to powerful chord work, revealing a strong and confident center through imaginative progressions that captivate his listeners. ... Click to View


Bruckmann / Djll / Heule / Nishi-Smith:
Brittle Feebling (Humbler)

The title gives a sense of the unusual acoustic improvisation this West Coast collective perform, along with their description "prickles and bleats, an abrasive delicacy; fricative rasp and withheld breath seethe together in a discomfiting cuddle" — from Kyle Bruckmann on oboe & English horn, Tom Djll on trumpet, Jacob Felix Heule on floor tom, and Kanoko Nishi-Smith on koto. ... Click to View


Ellen Fullman / David Gamper w/ Stuart Dempster:
Pink Sea Thrift [VINYL] (fo'c'sle)

Six works by iconic composer Ellen Fullman in a duo with David Gamper, an original member of Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening Band — ecstatic and mesmerizing improvisations recorded in the resonant space of the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA — plus 2 tracks of a duo between Ellen Fullman and Deep Listening Band founding member Stuart Dempster on trombone & didjeridu. ... Click to View


akuji Naka / Tim Olive:
Minouragatake [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Working extensively together in recording and touring, Japanese experimental sound artist Takuji Naka and Canadian ex-pat Tim Olive living in Kobe, Japan, recorded thise seven improvisations in the studio in Kyoto, 2019, using lo-fi electronics, distressed cassette tape and self-made instruments to create a unique sound in unusual dialogs of mysterious sonic motion. ... Click to View


Sub-Unit No. 1:
Main Sequence (Evil Clown)

A new sub-unit of the Leap of Faith Orchestra showcases the work of David Peck (PEK) on clarinets, saxophones, and a wide array of percussive devices, in a duo with new drummer Michael Knoblach, also on an assortment of percussive devices including antique sheep shears, African circumcision rattles, dan mo, &c, for 5 unique improvisations recorded in the studio. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Lonberg-Holm / Pinheiro:
Multiforms (Creative Sources)

A dynamic encounter between Chicago improvising cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Red Trio pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, and Creative Sources label leader, violist Ernesto Rodrigues, performing live during the CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal, in one extended improvisation and a relatively concise coda; powerful and assertive, masterful work. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler / Masako Ohta :
Music In Space (Creative Sources)

Tokyo pianist Masako Ohta, who works in both compositional and improvisation fields and here perform inside and out of the piano, met mutli-instrumentalist Udo Schindler, here on clarinets and alto horn, as part of the art exhibition by Philp Fischer Ulrich: "monitorobjekte" at Salon fur Klang+Kunst, in Krailling/Munich, Germany in 2019. ... Click to View



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  Jessica Pavone 
  In the Action  
  (Relative Pitch) 


  
   review by Dave Madden
  2019-12-17
Jessica Pavone: In the Action (Relative Pitch)

Before reading her bio or listening to an interview on Jeremiah Cymerman's 5049 podcast, I scribbled down some notes about Jessica Pavone's viola and electronic augmentation work on In the Action: "Playfully methodic, nimble, each bow bounce elicits visions of glissade and grande jet (need to look up more ballet words), and her longer tones read as sun salutations." Now here's the thing: Due to stress, a teaching gig, and touring in cars circa 2009, Pavone developed back problems that worsened to herniated discs, the inability to lift more than ten pounds, and temporary paralysis. Surgery a few years later returned her to a new lease on music and life, and she has since entwined the importance of strengthening her body with her relationship to viola performance both physically and creatively.

Pavone's ability to parallel expressive technique with human motion is obvious after a few reiterations/ variations on the opening motif of "Oscillatory Salt Transport": Big inhale with a single tone, slight vibrato, trill, mezzo piano to forte, exhale two elongated notes that swing back to tonic; you find yourself slow-motion rocking in anticipation of duration and pace. High register with buzzing harmonics morph into multi-string hums in duet, with any hiatus feeling monumental. Pavone's passage of repeating stabs each note filled with unprocessed harmonic fullness reels you in and oddly makes you long for a return to simplicity (this listener thought, "Why do I lean on so many things? Why do I have so many things? I'm going to harness my focus.") At the seven-minute mark, Pavone seems to conclude, but continues to tease the last three intervals and build an elaborate coda over the fifth (of the chord) without resolution (sorry, OCD folks).

"And Maybe in The End" grasps at the acoustic world, but is frequently tugged on by a shadowy figure. As Pavone plucks arpeggios, a growling echo fills in her pauses; moving like a sleeping juggernaut being summoned to action, each rousing creeps from gravel to dirt to barely contained feedback and back again. On a couple spots, she plunks (pizzicato) two notes through this gnarled processing, and the results resemble, say, an AM radio broadcast of a springy doorstopper struck really hard; it's a blip in the landscape of the album, and maybe not deserving of an extravagant description, but it's really cool.

Pavone shifts from first to fifth on "Look Out Look Out Look Out", a piece that could be mistaken for an early Einstrzende Neubauten jam. Jackhammering delay (gathered from a snippet of reverb trails?) feeds back in a rough, unrelenting ricochet removed from anything heard so far. The music evolves over six minutes through rising and falling across the frequency spectrum and eventually peeling back to a faded wobble. It's an unusual choice in the sequencing, but a great juxtaposition before the title track. On "In the Action", Pavone's major key melody and gestural approach (i.e. beginning phrases with exaggerated glissandi grace notes) border on idiosyncratic, bluegrass, hoedown fiddlin', but she bucks that label by restating the same quote, and again, and again, and again, almost sounding as a skipping record (not in a bad way but I enjoy the sound of a skipping record). Her distorted twin returns in the form of a bubbling, bassy pulse, something she syncs with, dances around, and ignores. Ultimately, she grabs onto the grunge for an eroded, crumpling farewell.

Aside from non-musical injuries, playing an instrument takes its toll on bodies. Torn muscles, arthritis, slamming your hand under a piano lid etc. can be career-ending, as was the case with a few brass players I knew who developed embouchure dystonia (your brain and the twelve mouth muscles involved in controlling a mouthpiece do not communicate well); a brilliant (!) kid from my university had a skin graft on his cheek at age eighteen due to frequent, intense violin practice. This is all rambles to say that Pavone's rebound of physical/emotional/mental therapy is fortunate for us listeners.



Jessica Pavone: In the Action
Is On Sale at Squidco!
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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