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Fred Van Hove / Peter Brotzmann:
Front To Front [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Dropa Disc)

A limited edition LP documenting the duo performance between European Free Improv legends, pianist Fred Van Hove and multi-reedist Peter Brotzmann, recorded at the Summer Bummer Festival in 2019 for an intimately forceful performance, four extended dialogs of immense technical skill and creative drive, a great summation of their adventurous drive. ... Click to View


Birgit Ulher / Franz Hautzinger:
Kleine Trompetenmusik (Relative Pitch)

Translating to "Little Trumpet Music", the duo of trumpeters Birgit Uhler and Franz Hautzinger, Uhler also performing on radio & objects, use extreme techniques and approaches to their improvisations, focusing on extraneous sounds from their instruments in enigmatic and captivating ways, expansively defining reductionism in masterfully idiosyncratic ways. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith:
Principles of an Open Future (Relative Pitch)

An embraceable & explorative example of the core duo of the Boston-area free improvising ensemble Leap of Faith (the foundation of the Leap of Faith Orchestra) of David Peck on reeds and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, both employing the enormous Evil Clown arsenal of percussive and sonic devices, in two large works recorded at their headquarter studio. ... Click to View


Sylvie Courvoisier / Drew Gress / Kenny Wollesen:
Free Hoops (Intakt)

With tracks dedicated to friends, family and musicians including Claude Thornhill & John Zorn, the 3rd album from the Sylvie Courvoisier trio with Drew Gress on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums & "Wollesonics", is an exuberantly sophisticated album of slyly complex jazz compositions that both happily swing and leave room for creative exploration; extraordinary! ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani / Shane Parish / Zach Rowden:
Live At Static Age Records [CASSETTE W/DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

An exciting set of improvisations between percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, guitarist Shane Parish (Ahleuchatistas) and double bassist Zach Rowden, recorded live at Static Age Records in Asheville, NC in 2018 while Nakatani was on tour, his inventive mix of drumming and tumultuously ringing percussion perfectly complementing the introspectively energetic trio interaction. ... Click to View


Don Brown / Dan Reynolds:
D=D [HARDCOVER BOOK w/ CD] (Sacred Realism)

... Click to View


Ilia Belorukov / Jason Kahn:
Studio Album [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Recorded in two studios--Saint-Petersburg, Russia and Zurich, Switzerland--capturing 5 encounters between experimental improvisers Ilia Belorukov performing on modular synthesizer, and Jason Kahn, who steps away from his synths and drums in favor of stark vocalizing, each providing perfectly caustic responses to the other's intense and determined tactics. ... Click to View


Robert Ashley:
Foreign Experiences (Lovely Music)

Part of the opera tetralogy Now Eleanor's Idea that Ashley wrote in the early 1990s and performed by his ensemble, the "band" who interpreted his work for 20 years, from 1992 through 2012; this recording is from a live performance in Hebbel Theater, Berlin in 1995, the opera following the life of his characters in parallel to universal issues we all face. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Torres / Mira:
Setubal (Creative Sources)

A live performance at Casa da Cultura during the "Creative Sources Cycle" in 2020, capturing an extended acoustic improvisation between Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Nuno Torres on alto saxophone, and Miguel Mira on cello, using restrained approaches to deceptively detailed dialog of magnificent technique, as they sonically describe the Setúbal inlet near Lisbon. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith:
True Representations of Reality (Evil Clown)

The core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice is joined by pianist Eric Zinman performing inside and out of the piano, and also on synthesizer, drums & percussion, for three improvisations recorded live in the studio in Cambridge, MA in 2020. ... Click to View


PEK Solo / An Orchestra Of PEKS:
Some Truths Are Known [3 CDS] (Evil Clown)

David Peck, aka PEK, took advantage of the down time from his typically busy performance schedule with the Boston-area collective of bands centered around Leap of Faith to record a number of solo performances, using a variety of reed and wind instruments and the arsenal of unusual percussive instruments at his disposal, recording the 3 full CDs of new material presented in this set. ... Click to View


Slapp Happy:
Acnalbasac Noom [VINYL RSD] (Our Swimmer)

Acnalbasac Noom was Slapp Happy's second LP, recorded in 1973, and engineered by Kurt Grauner in Faust's legendary Wumme Studio using Faust as the Slapphappy house band; it was originally rejected by Virgin Records, who made the group re-record the album with different musicians as Casablanca Moon, though through time Acnalbasac is still the definitive and preferred edition. ... Click to View


Paul Lovens / Florian Stoffner:
Tetratne (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Captured live in Ljubljana during the 2019 "Sound Disobedience Festival", European Free Improv legendary drummer Paul Lovens co-composed this work with Swiss guitarist Florian Stoffner, "Tetra" referring to structures of 4, as in their 4-part improvisation with each player using all 4 limbs in a remarkable dialog of time, tone, technique, and nearly telepathic intention. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler:
Spirit Rejoice & Bells Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Revisiting two of the most essential and influential albums of saxophonist Albert Ayler's discography, both recorded in 1965 — Spirits Rejoice in a sextet and Bells in a quintet — both drawing from some of NY's finest players including Charles Tyler, Henry Grimes, Gary Peacock, Sunny Murray, Donald Ayler and Lewis Worrell, properly remastered to showcase Ayler's stunning conceptions in free jazz. ... Click to View


Tim Berne's Snakeoil:
The Deceptive 4 Live [2 CDs] (Intakt)

The long-established Snakeoil quartet led by New York saxophonist Tim Berne, with Matt Mitchell on piano, Oscar Noriega on bass and B-flat clarinet, and Ches Smith on drums & percussion, are heard live in three settings over two CDs — at Firehouse 12 in 2017; at IBEAM in New York in 2010,; and at Roulette in NY in 2009 — showing the band's evolution of expressive power. ... Click to View


Jackson / Baker / Kirshner:
So Glossy and So Thin [CASSETTE W/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

The second release for the Chicago trio of Keefe Jackson on tenor & sopranino saxophones, Jim Baker on piano & synthesizer, and Julian Kirshner on drums, following their 2016 album The Noisy Miner, are heard two performances a year apart at the Hungry Brain, each an extended exploration of remarkably compatible, creative and uniquely lyrical collective collaboration. ... Click to View


Pau Nasim (Lopez-Palacios / Serra):
Alusion (Creative Sources)

Taking their project name as a concatenation of their personal names, appropriate to the close improvisational bond shared by the Spanish drum and sax duo of Nasim Lopez-Palacios and Pau Torres Serra, who present a unique and idiosyncratic language on their instruments to create an engaging set of dialogs through energetically controlled yet never chaotic interaction. ... Click to View


J. Pavone String Ensemble:
Lost and Found [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Jessica Pavones String Ensemble with Pavone and Abby Swidler on violas, and Erica Dicker and Angela Morris on violins, are recorded live at Firehouse 12 in a set of Pavone compositions combining traditional notation and improvisation, with a focus on sustained collaborative playing and the application of ideas exploring the healing potential of sonic vibrations. ... Click to View


J. Pavone String Ensemble:
Lost and Found [CD] (Astral Spirits)

Jessica Pavones String Ensemble with Pavone and Abby Swidler on violas, and Erica Dicker and Angela Morris on violins, are recorded live at Firehouse 12 in a set of Pavone compositions combining traditional notation and improvisation, with a focus on sustained collaborative playing and the application of ideas exploring the healing potential of sonic vibrations. ... Click to View


Powerdove:
Bitter Banquet (fo'c'sle)

Keyboardist Annie Lewandowski (London Improvisers Orchestra, Fred Frith, Samech) composed this song cycle about ancient Greek figures in collaboration with David Yearsley, Theresa Wong and Russell Greenberg, poetic pieces contrasting traditional use of instruments with subtle experimental approaches in a unique and fascinating set of compositional strategies. ... Click to View


Lijiang Quintet:
Crossing A River By Rope (fo'c'sle)

A rare and exuberant exchange of sonic discourse between Chinese and American improvisers recorded in the Yunnan Province of China at the Lijiang Studio artist residency, in a uniquely voiced quintet with Theresa Wong on cello & voice, Lao Dan on saxophone & bamboo instruments, John McCowen on clarinet & recorder, Li Xing on electric & acoustic guitars, and Deng Boyu on percussion & found objects. ... Click to View


Horace Tapscott / The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra / Great Vocie of UGMAA:
Live At Lacma, 1998 [VINYL] (Dark Tree Records)

Formed in 1961 with the goal of preserving, developing and performing African-American music, pianist Horace Tapscott is heard in this well-recorded concert from 1998, his last public performance, at LACMA in Los Angeles with a 20 piece orchestra including sax, trombone, a 12 member chorus, three bassists, and 3 percussionists; a significant addition to Tapscott's catalog. ... Click to View


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 that follow conceptual paths embracing 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 reconfigured Boston-area trio drawn from the Leap of Faith lineup, starting with 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



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  Misha Mengelberg / Peter Brotzmann / Evan Parker / Peter Bennink / Paul Rutherford / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink 
  Groupcomposing  
  (Corbett vs Dempsey) 


  
   review by John Eyles
  2020-01-21
Misha Mengelberg / Peter Brotzmann / Evan Parker / Peter Bennink / Paul Rutherford / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink: Groupcomposing (Corbett vs Dempsey)

Recorded in Rotterdam in May 1970 and originally issued as a (now very scarce) vinyl LP on Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink's ICP label, Groupcomposing was reissued on CD in 2012, but only as part of the limited-edition 54-CD box set marking the label's forty-fifth anniversary. Both of those options have become eye-wateringly expensive, so we must thank Corbett vs Dempsey for this CD release. As the personnel credit indicates, the septet that recorded this album was bursting with British, Dutch and German players who had a huge influence on the development of freely improvised music and are rightly described as 'legendary'. Dusting off the terminology of the time, the CD-cover-sticker quaintly refers to them as a 'free music supergroup'.

The music consists of two tracks, "Groupcomposing Part 1" and "Groupcomposing, Part 2", with lengths of eighteen-and-three-quarters minutes and twenty-three-and-three-quarters minutes, respectively, the split track and the durations revealing their origins as two sides of an LP. On CD, though, the transition is practically seamless, so the piece is effectively one extended improvisation. The use of "groupcomposing" in the track titles also hints at their vintage as, along with "instant composition" (as in ICP) or "spontaneous music" (as in SME), that term avoided the ambiguity of "free improvisation"; it would be some years until the term "improv" was commonly used. Away from the semantics, the music here is unquestionably improv as there is no evidence of pre-composed structures.

However, with seven players in the group, including four horns, there was clearly scope for overcrowding, leading to cacophony. That never happens here, indicating that there may have been some prior discussion about who would play when (but not what they would play). Throughout both pieces, the soundscape never sounds sparse, but never becomes so crowded that players get in each other's way or work against one another. Instead, they all manage to end up sounding as if they are fully tuned into the others' thought waves. There are countless examples here of individuals producing outstanding moments, but to pick out particular instances for attention would run counter to the overwhelming sense of this being a collective triumph. As much as Brotzmann's Machine Gun or SME's Karyobin, this album is an important landmark in the development of European improv.



Misha Mengelberg / Peter Brotzmann / Evan Parker / Peter Bennink / Paul Rutherford / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink: Groupcomposing
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Birgit Ulher /
Franz Hautzinger:
Kleine Trompetenmusik
(Relative Pitch)



Fred Van Hove /
Peter Brotzmann:
Front To Front
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(Dropa Disc)



Albert Ayler:
Spirit Rejoice &
Bells
Revisited
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records
Ltd)



Paul Lovens /
Florian Stoffner:
Tetratne
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records
Ltd)



Tatsuya Nakatani /
Shane Parish /
Zach Rowden:
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Static Age Records
[CASSETTE w/
DOWNLOAD]
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Sylvie Courvoisier /
Drew Gress /
Kenny Wollesen:
Free Hoops
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Jackson /
Baker /
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So Thin
[CASSETTE w/
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Tim Berne's Snakeoil:
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Live
[2 CDs]
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John Blum /
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Duplexity
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Slapp Happy:
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Robert Wyatt:
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