The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Robert Ashley: In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men And Women [REISSUE] (Cramps)

Robert Ashley's minimal masterpiece centers on John Barton Wolgamot's experimental poem "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women," consisting of one sentence repeated over and over, only changing names inserted into the sentence with each iteration. ... Click to View


Full Blast (Brotzmann / Pliakas / Wertmuller): Risc [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Full Blast, the long-running trio of Peter Brotzmann (reeds), Marino Pliakis (electric bass) and Michael Wertmuller (drums), recording in the studio for an album of seven masterful free improvisations of strong technical and powerfully intense playing. ... Click to View


Michiyo Yagi / Lasse Marhaug / Joe McPhee / Paal Nilssen-Love: Soul Stream (PNL)

A intensely introspective album of free improvisation from frequent collaborators, reed and trumpter Joe McPhee, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, electronic artist Lasse Marhaug, and Japanese koto player Michiyo Yagi, performing live at GOK Sound in Tokyo, 2013; beautiful. ... Click to View


Edi Olvitt (Robert / Stokart / Chkifi): LOLO (Creative Sources)

Citing their influences as Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, John Zorn, and Steve Lacy, the Brussels-based bassless jazz trio of Quentin Stokart (guitar), Mathieu Robert (sax), and Nicolas Chkifi (drums) play lyrical and intelligently restrained music. ... Click to View


Matthieu Prual: Inside Walks (Creative Sources)

A unique approach to solo reeds and winds from French multi-reedist Matthieu Prual, also on flute and ORLA Keyboard, maintaining lyrical and comprehensible approaches with strong technical skills in captivating and succinct statements, truly excellent work. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Greenlief / Swafford: Sidereus Nuncius (Creative Sources)

An extended and far-ranging acoustic free improvisation from the trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Phillip Greenlief on tenor sax, and Tom Wafford on violin, recorded live at the Gallery 1412 during the Seattle Improvised Music Festival of 2006. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / Michael Bisio / Whit Dickey: Soul (Leo)

The long running duo of NY pianist Matthew Shipp and Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman forms the basis for this excellent quartet, with mainstays Michael Bisio on bass and Whit Dickey on drums, in an expressive and soulful album that balances enthusiasm and brilliant restraint. ... Click to View


Peter Frey K. / Daniel Studer: Zurich Concerts: 15 Years of Kontrabassduo Studer-Frey [2 CDs] (Leo)

A stunning example of modern creative improv from the duo of bassists Peter Frey and Daniel Studer, in concert with configurations of duos, trios and one septet, with performers including John Butcher, Hans Koch, Magda Mayas, Jacques Demierre, Gerry Hemingway, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Chris Corsano / Massimo Pupillo: Via Combusta [VINYL] (Trost Records)

A dark and powerful album of drums, percussion, and electric bass from the duo of Italian bassist Massimo Pupillo (Zu) and NY drummer Chris Corsano, both using a myriad of percussive and electronic strategies to create soundscapes that keep the listener on the edge of their seat. ... Click to View


Arashi (Sakata / Berthling / Nilssen-Love): Semikujira [VINYL] (Trost Records)

A free blowing session from the trio of Japanese saxophonist, clarinetist and vocalist Akira Sakta, double bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, a furiously intense album fueled by a scorching rhythm section and Sakata's urgent playing. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp: Corpo (Leo)

After many years working together in the vital Downtown NY scene, saxophonist Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp take their playing the next step after their previous duo "Callas", in thoughtful improv that expresses in both their mutual language and masterful skills. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Karl Berger: The Hitchhiker (Leo)

The second CD that NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman has recorded with Ornette alumni Karl Berger, the first with Berger on piano, and here on vibraphone, opening new aspects of sound to the commanding dialog between these two friends and seasoned improvisers. ... Click to View


John Butcher / Michael Duch: Fjordgata (Confront)

A live recording at the Jazzfest Trondheim, Trondelag Senter for Samtidskunst, in May 2015 from the freely improvising duo of John Butcher and contrabassist Michael Duch, a superb extended concert of incredible reed technique and concept anchored by Duch's flexible bass work. ... Click to View


Konstrukt / Peter Brotzmann / Huseyin Ertunc / Dogan Dogusel / Barlas Tan Ozemek: Eklisia Sunday [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

2011 recordings of the Turkish free jazz quartet Konstrukt of Korhan Futaci (sax), Umut Caglar (electric guitar), Ozun Usta (double bass, djembe, gong, bells) and Korhan Arguden (drums) augmented with additional bass, guitar, piano, and featuring saxophonist Peter Brotzmann. ... Click to View


Terry Riley: The 3 Generations Trio (Angelica)

Recorded during the 2013 Angelica Festival at Teatro Comunale, Terry Riley's 3 Generations Trio bring Riley on synth, piano and Indian influenced vocals together with son Gyan on guitar and Tracy Silverman on electric violin for an immersive and meditative performance. ... Click to View


Christian Wolff : Angelica Music (Angelica)

Taken from 2 concerts during the 2013 Angelica Festival in Santa Caterina, with the Apartment House Ensemble, percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky, and Wolff himself; compositions include several "Excercises", his "Duo for Violins", and a variation on a Morton Feldman work. ... Click to View


Carlos Costa: Door of No Return (Aural Terrains)

Double-bassist Carlo Costa, originally from the Canary Islands and who has worked with Tim Berne, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingar Zach, Wade Matthews, &c. in a solo album of solid and unusual bass technique including plucking, bowing and scraping, in his 9-part series of "Doors". ... Click to View


Mannfred Werder : 2003 [3 CDs] (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Pushing the envelope on minimalism, Manfredd Werder's 3 scores for "2003" present just 6 tones, the instructions telling 3, 2 or 1 performers to play a pitch or sound for 3-7 seconds twice during the performance; realized by Erik Carlson, Stephanie Richards, and D. Edward Davis. ... Click to View


The Wire: #391 September 2016 [MAGAZINE] (The Wire)

Silver Apples (Keith Moline meets New York's indomitable electro-punk duo); Steve Lehman; Noura Mint Seymali; Milan's electronicists: Die Schachtel, Nicola Ratti, Attila Faravelli, Giuseppe Ielasi, Enrico Malatesta; Invisible Jukebox: Suzanne Ciani; plus reviews, essays, comix, &c. ... Click to View


Paal Nilssen-Love : News From the Junkyard [VINYL] (PNL)

Assembling a wide range of percussive instruments accumulated through world travels, from Korean gongs to scrap metal sheets from Ethiopia, Paal Nilssen-Love presents an intense and wide-ranging solo percussion tour-de-force, recorded in Oslo by frequent collaborator Lasse Marhaug. ... Click to View


Bourne / Davis / Kane: Broken Light (Confront)

A live recording at Belfast's Sonic Arts Research Centre during the Translating Improvisation: Beyond Disciplines Beyond Borders colloquium, from the intrepid improvising trio of Matthew Bourne (piano), Steve Davis (drums) and Dave Kane (double bass). ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Joe Morris: Blue (Leo)

Referencing the color "blue" rather than the blues themselves, the duo of New York tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and Joe Morris on acoustic guitar present free improvisations balancing technical and melodic musings, an intimate and thoughtful album of concentrative playing. ... Click to View


XT (Seymour Wright / Paul Abbot): Pah' (Pleasure of the Text Records)

The duo of Paul Abbot on drum kits, percussion & computer, and Seymour Wright on alto saxophone and feedback, in a massive edge-of-your seat live recording from London's Cafe Oto in 2015, a mix of brutal and beautiful playing with unexpected and surprising twists. ... Click to View


William Hooker Duo feat. Damon Smith: Triangles of Force [CASSETTE] (Balance Point Acoustics)

An improvised performance of solos and duos of subtlety and power for a live soundtrack to the 1920s silent film "The Symbol of the Unconquered" (Oscar Micheaux), by NY drummer William Hooker and West Coast bassist Damon Smith, here on computer and 7-string electric upright. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : ΜΑΓΜΑ / MAGMA (Monochrome Vision)

An extended electroacoustic piece recorded in 2011 and named as an apt description of the bubbling, dense and intense flow of sound Chrysakis generates using electronic devices, acoustic sounds and field recordings, an absorbing work of audio flux and percolation. ... Click to View


Sylvia Ocougne / Chico Mello: Musica Brasileira Descomposta (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The Brazilian duo of Silvia Ocougne and Chico Mello, residing in Berlin, create a sonic collage of traditional popular and contemporary elements influenced by both Berlin and Brazil, using the unusual orchestration of instruments including tuba, matchbox, clarinet, &c. ... Click to View


Jason Kahn: For Voice (Confront)

Two concert improvisations for unamplified voice recorded in Canberra, Australia at the 2015 SoundOut Festival and in Tokyo, Japan at the Kid Ailack Art Hall in 2014, using extended vocal techniques and leveraging the room acoustics and social space between Kahn and the audience. ... Click to View


Staplerfahrer / Bonehole: Excessive Extension [CASSETTE] (Bicephalic)

Part of a series of 8 split release cassettes, hand-painted & numbered; this release presents the Dutch sound artist Steffan de Turck (Staplerfahrer) reworking material recorded in a duo with Jos Smolders; and 2 tracks from Korean sound artist Noizaki Eum Kyeong (Bonehole). ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Evil In Oslo [VINYL 2 LPs + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Dramatic and technically spectacular instrumental rock from the trio of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen on guitar, Ellen Brekken on bass, and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums, performing live in Oslo at John Dee and Buckley's in 2015, captured with great energy and fidelity. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov / Mark Dresser / Dominik Mahnig: Equal Poise (Leo)

Live at the LOFT in Cologne, Germany, the trio of German-based Russian pianist Simon Nabatov with NY Downtown double bassist Mark Dresser and relative newcomer Dominik Manhig on drums, expressive collective improvisation using edgy techniques in impressive dialog. ... Click to View


Uwe Oberg / Silke Eberhardt: Turns (Leo)

Playful, joyful and absolutely commanding performances from the duo of German pianist Uwe Oberg and Silke Eberhard on alto sax and clarinet, performing both live and in the studio on original compositions and pieces by Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, and Annette Peacock. ... Click to View


Uwe Oberg: Twice, At Least (Leo)

Live recordings from 2012 & 2015 by German pianist Uwe Oberg performing a mix of original compositions and work by Monk, Bley, Lacy, & A. Peacock, balancing melodic and exploratory playing with passionate conviction backed by masterly skills and impeccable pacing. ... Click to View


Pauline Oliveros / Roscoe Mitchell / John Tilbury / Wadada Leo Smith: Nessuno (Angelica)

The unexpected and open-minded quartet of Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, John Tilbury and Wadada Leo Smith performing live in Italy at the Angelika Festival in 2011, presenting the three part improvised work "Nessuno"; delicate, virtuosic, rewarding music from 4 masters. ... Click to View


Social Insects (Koch / Badrut): Social Insects II (Confront)

Sparse yet intently focused interaction with unusual timbre and technique in the 2nd release from the working duo of Hans Koch (Koch-Schutz-Studer) and Gaudenz Badrutt (strom), pairing reeds and electronics in micro-world improvisations that delight in subtlety. ... Click to View


Biliana Voutchkova / Ernesto Rodrigues / Micha Rabuske: 77 Kids (Creative Sources)

Exploratory free improvisation with an emphasis on strings from the trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Biliana Voutchkova on violin, and Micha Rabuske on flutes & sax, collective conversation with scraping and overblowing mutating their sound in interesting and curious ways. ... Click to View


Stones Of Contention : Stones Of Contention (Citystream)

Sicilian pianist Tommaso Vespo assembled the multinational sextet of Antonio Aiella (bass), Noel Taylor (clarinet), Antonio Longo (drums), Nicola Hein (guitar), Ricardo Teje (saxophone), and Tommaso Vespo (piano), blending lyrical jazz, chamber, and free improvisation. ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Black Stabat Mater (Rune Grammofon)

Another strong instrumental rock album, blending heavy prog, free jazz and psychedelia with forceful and technically excellent guitar work from leader Mollestad, backed by fellow Norwegians Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums; keeping the 70s alive! ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Black Stabat Mater [VINYL] (Rune Grammofon)

Another strong instrumental rock album, blending heavy prog, free jazz and psychedelia with forceful and technically excellent guitar work from leader Mollestad, backed by fellow Norwegians Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums; keeping the 70s alive! ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Jon Rune Strom / Paal Nilssen-Love: Steam In the Casa (PNL)

A live recording from the Casa Del Popolo club in Montreal, Canada, named because Gjerstad was upset that Air Canada had messed up his sax in transit, which he played regardless; his frustration pushed him into an overwhelmingly amazing set of smoking free jazz! ... Click to View


Large Unit: Ana (PNL)

Drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's Large Unit recorded this ecstatic, Brazilian influenced material in 2015 after a mammoth European and North-American tour, hours after their performance at the 2015 Oslo Jazzfestival with an extended line-up with Brazilian percussion players. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Painkiller 
  Execution Ground  
  (Subharmonic (1994)) 

   review by William Burke
  2003-08-20
Painkiller: Execution Ground (Subharmonic (1994))

Being a fan of Peter Brotzmann and other hard experimental jazz, I sought out Execution Ground with some anticipation. The idea of John Zorn doing a jazz-thrash hybrid band more than caught my attention. I was however somewhat skeptical and made it a point to get a hold of some Painkiller to see just what in the world was going on. I put in the CD, got a cup of coffee, and sat back with a sort of 'oh yea, show me' disposition. About half way through the first track I realized that I had spilled the coffee and hadn't even noticed. This was music that demanded to be listened to and after that initial playing it pushed several of my other CDs to the back of the shelf.

As I listened, I understood very quickly that this was a very focused effort. In many ways it was a logical step for Zorn between Naked City and Masada. Gone are the tricky jazz hooks that sometimes populated early Naked City albums, gone are the calculated chance of other projects, gone is the miscellaneous noise that sometimes seeps in. What is left is a pure blowing album with three highly skilled and focused players. Not only can they flat out play, but they also listen to one another in a way that is rarely accomplished in any kind of music. No filler, no empty calories, just pure clear focused sound.

Zorn, on sax and vocals, is joined by Bill Laswell on bass and former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris. They began their collaboration in 1991 when Zorn was listening to metal/grindcore groups such as Napalm Death. He discovered an intensity and creativity in this music that rivaled the 1960's free jazz players. From this admiration grew Painkiller, which successfully merges grindcore intensity with hard jazz sensibilities. The music is at once challenging, listenable and fairly unique. The only band that comes near it may be Last Exit, however the Painkiller sound is thankfully more sparse and the playing has a more carefully constructed lens.

Execution Ground is arranged in a series of strategic attacks on two discs. On disc one Zorn is in full-out, back-to-the-wall, straight-on thrash. He dips in and out of the weave of sound created by Laswell and Harris with graceful precision. There are no false steps, no misplaced notes. The drummer, Mick Harris does not overplay, often a danger in experimental music, but keeps things moving with well placed breaks, rolls, and melodic tom tom work. The glue, however, is Laswell, who thunders along with great timing and atmosphere. He moves through a wide range from ferocious rock licks, interesting hard bop, and even a little dub thrown in for good measure.

Disc two, which is labeled "Ambient," has more atmospheric playing, with a dark feel not unlike moments in Naked City'sTorture Garden but with a more ambient space: it's background music for the early morning darkness. It has the same unique merging of grindcore and hard bop, but in a more spacious and drawn out setting. Zorn holds long notes, then zigs and zags eerily through a series of ghostly patterns skillfully drawn by Laswell and Harris. It still grabs you and thrashes around, but in a more restrained way than disc one.

The moods achieved and the range of influences on this album are staggering. Even though at times the music is aggressive, anxious and intense, Painkiller manages to merge seemingly divergent directions in the music into a completely satisfying and engaging experience. The music cascades effortlessly through a series of different dynamics but always with an energizing point of convergence. While Zorn and Laswell have individually played in many different styles over the years, Execution Ground may be their most focused and complete vision to date.





Comments and Feedback:



The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2014 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (35304)