The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Stephen Haynes Quintet (feat Joe Morris / William Parker / Warren Smith): Pomegranate (New Atlantis)

An organic and rich album of broadly influenced creative jazz from NY cornetist Stephen Haynes, in a quintet extending his trio Parrhesia with guitarist Joe Morris and percussionist Warren Smith, adding bassist William Parker and tuba player Ben Stapp. ... Click to View


Philippe Lauzier : Transparence (Schraum)

Quebec bass clarinetist and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier is an accomplished improviser and composer, here in his solo debut, an epic suite that finds untreated acoustic reeds mingling with textured overdubs and subtle feedback, music that is equally jarring and hypnotic. ... Click to View


Roel Meelkop: Oude Koeien (Herbal International)

Sound artist Roel Meelkop compiles various limited vinyl 7", 10" and lathe cut releases from Korm Plastics and related labels, along with one work made for this release, showing the variety of approaches and concepts Meelkop applies to his fascinating sound work. ... Click to View


Goh Kwang Lee: The Lost Testimony Of Rashomon (Herbal International)

A diverse set of electronic compositions from hauntingly beautiful to tormented soundscapes, composed by Goh Lee Kwang for a multimedia stage work based on Rashomon, a short story about moral ambiguity written in 1915 and based on a 1000-year-old Japanese tale. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp + Scott Fields: Akra Kampoj (New Atlantis)

Using mostly unprocessed electric guitars, the duo of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields latest release presents eight dueling guitar works using dynamic, angular tones and textures, from extremely aggressive work to clean avant-jazz with twisted technical intent. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : Above the Hidden Track An Endless Blaze (Aural Terrains)

Composer/performer Thanos Chrysakis in a studio electronic work, using a diversity of methods and approaches that imply his usual free improvisational approaches by creating a rich and elaborate sound world of distinctive, unique and often warped electronic sound. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg : How Deep is the Ocean, How High is the Sky? (Another Timbre)

Swedish composer Magnus Granberg (Skogen) places baroque instruments alongside prepared piano, objects and electronics in an exquisite 60-minute piece performed with an excellent set of performers including Cyril Bondi, d'incise, Eric Ruffing, Christoph Schiller, &c. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey : Grizzana and other pieces 2009-2014 [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

The Ensemble Grizzana (Ryoko Akama, Mira Benjamin, Richard Craig, Emma Richards, Philip Thomas and Seth Woods) performs a series of delicate and beautiful chamber pieces by Swiss composer and clarinetist Jurg Frey, who also performs on clarinet. ... Click to View


James Saunders : Assigned #15 (Another Timbre)

Leading contemporary music ensemble Apartment House perform a new piece developing out of James Saunders's long-term modular project '#unassigned'; the new piece, "assigned #15" creates a mesmeric, dense, jungle-like soundworld across its 45 minutes duration. ... Click to View


Burkhard Beins / Enrico Malatesta / Michael Vorfeld / Christian Wolfarth / Ingar Zach: Gluck (Mikroton Recordings)

The international percussion quintet of Burkhard Beins, Enrico Malatesta, Michael Vorfeld, Christian Wolfarth and Ingar Zach, using compositional and improvisational methods to create new forms of contemporary percussion music with a unique group aesthetic. ... Click to View


Taumatrop (Fages / Marquez): For John Ayrton Paris (Confront)

The duo of Ferran Fages on electronic devices and Eduard Maquez on percussion in a beautiful long-form drone, a drifting and haunting work that hangs off of slowly building crescendos which release to beautifully suspended sonic environments. ... Click to View


Matilda Rolfsson / Richard Sanderson / Mark Wastell: Live at l'Klectic (Confront)

The subtly complex trio of Richard Sanderson on amplified melodeon, dictaphones & small percussion, Mark Wastell on tam-tam & shruti box, and Matilda Rolfsson on percussion performing an extended improvisation live at The Horse Improv Club, l'Klectic, London. ... Click to View


Philippe Battikha : Invisible Backgrounds (Samizdat)

A beautiful solo album from Montreal/Brooklyn trumpeter Philippe Battikha, who also developed the field recordings over which he plays, joined on two tracks by double bassist Johan Fortune, in a melancholy and haunting album of emotionally rich soundscapes. ... Click to View


Sharon Sharrock : No Is No (Don't Fuck Around With Your Women) (Improvising Beings)

Two extended and frenetic works of improvisation with free vocals from Linda Sharock, in a sextet including Itaru Oki on trumpet, Mario Rechter on reeds & voilin, Eric Zinman on piano, Makoto Sato on drums and Yoram Rosilio on bass; demanding, complex and cathartic jazz! ... Click to View


Lucien Johnson / Alan Silva / Makoto Sato: Stinging Netttles (Improvising Beings)

The trio of New Zealand saxophonist Lucien Johnson, living in Paris, with the rhythm section of Alan Silva on double bass and Makoto Sato on drums for an expressive album of free jazz with inventive counterpoint and soulful playing in the Ayler tradition. ... Click to View


Forro Zinho / Zorn, John: Forro Zinho - Forro In The Dark Plays Zorn (Tzadik)

Forro is a NY East Village rock ensemble that reinterprets forro--traditional Brazilian folk music--using modern Downtown language, here taking on the compositions of John Zorn in rhythmically rich melodic approaches that's equal parts tribute and collaboration. ... Click to View


Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt: Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt (Tzadik)

A Canadian quintet led by double bassist Bret Higgins (Zebrina) merging latin, R&B, soul, film soundtracks, jazz and more into moody and infectious grooves, lyrical and upbeat music that borrows freely from a variety of world and folk styles in exuberant ways. ... Click to View


Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Ensemble: Crisis (Pi Recordings)

NY trumpeter Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers Ensemble, exploring the juncture between jazz and music of the Middle East through sophisticated and lyrically stunning music, here focusing on revolution, civil war, and sectarian violence; a culture's struggle for survival. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe: Stills And Stories (Random Acoustics)

German pianist and Euro Free Jazz stalwart Georg Graewe in his first solo release in more than a decade, a remarkable set of succinct compositions balancing astonishing technical skills with beautifully expressive playing, presented in several series of "stills" and "stories". ... Click to View


Ilia Belorukov / Harpakahylo / Patryk Lichota / Kim_Nasung: After (Nueni)

A short and succinct album of free improvisation from the Russian quartet of Ilia Belorukov (sax), Hapakahylo (drums, objects), Patryk Lichota (sax, objects), and Kim_Nasung (Guzheng), using unusual techniques to conjur unexpected audio environments. ... Click to View


Lali Barriere / Miguel A. Garcia : Espejuelo (Nueni)

The duo of Miguel A. Garcia on electronics and Lali Barriere on objects and no-input mixer for an album of investigative, detailed improvisation that's well paced and calmly complex. ... Click to View


Yoni Kretzmer / Andrew Drury: Oranges (OutNow Recordings)

A Downtown NY duo of OutNow label leader and saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer with drummer Andrew Drury, who both push the envelop with extended and unusual techniques amidst energetic playing and unusual freeform improv yielding unusual audio environments. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa / Cedric Peyronnet: La Creuse (Herbal International)

Eric La Casa and Cedric Peyronnet collected sounds in a triangular area in the north of the Creuse departement, France, giving the landscape a sonic corporeality by each initiating a sound work based on a specific site, which the other composer expanded upon. ... Click to View


Eric Cordier / Seijiro Murayama: Nuit (Herbal International)

On the surface an album of organized field recordings, which Eric Cordier recorded in both France and Japan, from outdoor sounds (frogs/birds) to indoor environments, over which Murayama added percussion and vocal utterances, synthesizing unusual and engaging environments. ... Click to View


SQID: SQID (Mikroton Recordings)

An international quartet of electroacoustic improvisers, SQID (Angelica Castello, Mario de Vega, Attila Faravelli and Burkhard Stangl) formed in 2011, using field recordings of sound instruments and objects which they use in live performance to make remarkable audio environments. ... Click to View


Simon Phillips James : Blage 3 (Mikroton Recordings)

A reduction of composer Simon James Phillips' 5 hour improvisation performed with Tony Buck (drums), Werner Dafeldecker (bass), BJ Nilsen (electronics), Liz Allbee (trumpet), Arthur Rother (guitar) & Simon James Phillips (piano) exploring time, perception and place. ... Click to View


Zbigniew Karkowski / Kelly Churko: Infallibilism (Herbal International)

Noise and sound artist Zbigniew Karkowski and Canadian born Japanese based noiser Kelly Churko in four recordings from Super Deluxe and Soup in Tokyo, bookmarking the release with harsh distortion offset by spacious and dynamic glitch and subtly aberrant sound. ... Click to View


Benjamin Duboc: St. James Infirmary (Improvising Beings)

French bassist Benjamin Duboc, part of The Turbine!, Nuts, and a member of the Dark Tree roster, in a solo album of two extended improvisations: the traditional folk song "St. James Infirmary Blues"; and a free improvisation named for the church in which the album was recorded. ... Click to View


Itapu Oki / Axel Dorner: Root Of Bohemian (Improvising Beings)

Two trumpeters 20 years apart, Germany's Axel Dorner and Japan's Itaru Oki are both known for their versatile approach to jazz, from traditional to the freest forms using extended techniques, in a unique dialog challenging the limits of the horn with fascinating results. ... Click to View


Gene Janas / Vinnie Paternostro / Jay Reeve / Other Matter : United Slaves #2~3 (Improvising Beings)

Recorded in Brooklyn and Paris, this quintet crosses the threshold between jazz, rock and electronic sound with a somewhat dark intent, using guitar & sitar, organs, syths, pianos, drums, bass and sounds to evoke thick and extended psychedelic environments. ... Click to View


Sandy Ewen / Damon Smith: Valle de Mexico (Confront)

Guitarist Sandy Ewen and double bassist Damon Smith recorded these 2 extended improvsations in concert as part a "Desbordamientos" series at Cine Tonala, in Mexico City, pairing live music with screenings of Derek Bailey's 4-part series on improvisation. ... Click to View


Patrick Shiroishi : White Sun Sutra (Confront)

Upsilon Acrux/Corima/Nakata saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi in an emotional album of solo saxophone recorded as a tribute to his grandfather, alone and overdubbed, pushing the limits of his mind and body through haunting, beautiful, and intense compositions and playing. ... Click to View


Leif Elggren / Joachim Nordwall: Prepresence (Confront)

A heavy, lo-fi, monster drone set recorded in concert at iDEALFEST, Fylkingen, Stockholm from the duo of Ideal Label head Joachim Nordwall & electronic artist Leif Elggren, using electric hair clippers and analogue synthesiser yielding a thick yet detailed performance. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee: Solos: The Lost Tapes (1980-1981-1984) [VINYL] (Roaratorio)

A collection of material from saxophonist Joe McPhee's personal archive of recordings, presenting unreleased material from 1980-1984, a diverse set demonstrating his investigative approach to solo playing from freely improvised, experimental, to melodic work. ... Click to View


Maja Ratkje S.K. / Jon Wesseltoft / Camille Norment / Per Gisle Galaen: Celadon (Important Records)

An exquisite and meditative work from this quartet, performing on voice, bells, accordion, organ, harmonium, glass harmonica and zither, recorded in the distinctive acoustics of the mausoleum of Norwegian sculptor and painter Emanuel Vigeland (1875-1948) in Oslo. ... Click to View


The Wire: #378 August 2015 [MAGAZINE] (The Wire)

On the cover: Ashtray Navigations; Flying Saucer Attack and members of Movietone, Crescent and Third Eye Foundation; Yorkshire Psychedelia; Invisible Jukebox: Mark Perry; Brooklyn rapper Ka; Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu; Charlotte Prodger. ... 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 presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco



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


  Copyright © 2014 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (4937)