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Using multiphonics, percussive effects, circular breathing and other extended approaches to the contrabass flute, composer/performer/improviser Robert Dick releases a mesmerizing album of improvisations, breaking new terrain by letting the largest of flutes lead his muse. ... Click to View


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Kent Carter: Oratorios and Songs (2010) (Emanem)

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Anker / Lonberg-Holm & Jackson / Serries: Two Duos [CASSETTE with download] (Astral Spirits)

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Chatoyant: Place Of Other Destination [CASSETTE w/ download] (Astral Spirits)

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Louis Minus XVI : Kindergarten (BeCoq)

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Bi-Ki?: Quelque Chose Au Milieu (BeCoq)

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Michael Moser: Antiphon Stein [2 Vinyl LPs] (Edition Rz)

A site-specific sound installation in the nave and choir of Minoritenkirche in Krems/Stein that engages with the architecture and sound of this church space from composer Michael Moser working with Berndt Thurner, Klaus Lang, Hannah Schwegler and Nik Hummer. ... Click to View


Ghedalia Tazartes : 5 Rimbaud 1 Verlaine [VINYL 10-inch] (Holidays Records)

A 10" vinyl reissue of outside artist Ghedalia Tazartes' tribute to the poetry of Rimbaud and Verlaine, reinterpreting six small poems through a variety of genres that are playful and profound, previously available only in a small mini CD edition on the Jardin au Fou label. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann / William Parker / Hamid Drake: Song Sentimentale (Otoroku)

One of a dual CD/LP release documenting three nights at London's Cafe Oto by the trio of Peter Brotzmann on reeds, William Parker on double bass, guembri, shakuhachi, and shenai, and Hamid Drake on drums, an incredible display of improvised music from three masters of the form. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann / William Parker / Hamid Drake: Song Sentimentale [VINYL] (Otoroku)

One of a dual CD/LP release documenting three nights at London's Cafe Oto by the trio of Peter Brotzmann on reeds, William Parker on double bass, guembri, shakuhachi, and shenai, and Hamid Drake on drums, an incredible display of improvised music from three masters of the form. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Philip Gibbs / Ashley John Young: Now Has No Dimension (FMR)

Live recordings from the trio of Paul Dunmall on soprano and tenor sax, Philip Gibbs on guitar, and Ashley John Young on double bass, performing at Cardiff University School of Music Concert Hall in 2016, a great example of concentrative, complex and lively interplay. ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Ramiro Molina: Unseen Seas (FMR)

Frode Gjerstad returned to Chile after his 2013 Trio tour to meet with guitarist Ramiro Molina, both to sample the amazing fish recipes Molina introduced him to, but more importantly, to perform live and to record these delicate and sophisticated improvisations. ... Click to View


Luis Conde / Fabiana Galante / Frode Gjerstad: Give And Take (FMR)

During multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad's tour of South America in 2015 he met with pianist Fabiana Galante and fellow reedist Luis Conde to record these excellent improvisations, all three using unusual and extended techniques to create these 8 captivating dialogs. ... Click to View


Stefan Keune / Lovens, Paul: Live 2013 (FMR)

Working together in various ensembles since the early 90s, Stefan Keune on sopranino, alto and baritone saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums and cymbals captured these three extraordinary improvisation in the studio in Brussels, Belgium and live Munich Underground in Germany. ... Click to View


Trevor Watts / Stephen Grew: Con Fluent (FMR)

Saxophonist Trevor Watts and pianist Stephen Grew improvised these pieces at a distance, Grew sending recordings of two separate solo concerts from Newcastle, which Watts improvised over resulting in these intricate and exuberant "Improvised Compositions". ... Click to View


Rob Hall / Chick Lyall: Myth (FMR)

A lyrical and sincere dialog from the Scottish duo of Rob Hall on clarinets and Chick Lyall on piano, recoreded at the chapel in St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh, blending improvisation with chamber music, free jazz, contemporary classical and folk idioms. ... Click to View


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  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.





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