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Cecil Taylor Mixed To Unit:
Structures Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Bringing together two essential and impeccably remastered 1960's Cecil Taylor albums — Cecil Taylor Unit Structures and Cecil Taylor Unit Mixed — presenting both traditional influences and Taylor's unique approaches to modern jazz, featuring two septets with musicians including Jimmy Lyons, Henry Grimes, Archies Shepp, Ted Curson, Andrew Cyrille, Roswell Rudd, Sunny Murray, &c. ... Click to View

Archie Shepp:
Blase And Yasmina Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Revisiting two of Archie Shepp's 1969 recordings released on the BYG label as Blasé, and title track to Yasmina, three tracks featuring the vocals of Jeanne Lee, with four band configurations including Dave Burrell, Malachi Favors, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Sunny Murray, Philly Joe Jones, &c., beautifully remastered to bring to light Shepp's pan-stylistic impulses. ... Click to View

Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito):
Beyond (Libra)

Futari (meaning "two people") is the stunningly beautiful debut album of pianist Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito, recorded in 2019 after a concert tour in Japan, the confluence of these similar instruments and the performer's technical mastery blending in introspective and active modes, adding rich sonic dimensions through preparations and extraordinary technique. ... Click to View

Derek Bailey / Mototeru Takagi:
Live At Farout, Atsugi 1987 (NoBusiness)

Japanese free improvisation legend, soprano saxophonist Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝), having been a one-time member of Masayuki Takayangi's New Direction Unit, shows his affinity to guitarists in this 1987 live performance at FarOut, in Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan with UK free improvising guitar legend Derek Bailey, presenting four contemplative & intricate avant improvisations. ... Click to View

Derek Bailey / Mototeru Takagi:
Live At Farout, Atsugi 1987 [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Japanese free improvisation legend, soprano saxophonist Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝), having been a one-time member of Masayuki Takayangi's New Direction Unit, shows his affinity to guitarists in this 1987 live performance at FarOut, in Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan with UK free improvising guitar legend Derek Bailey, presenting four contemplative & intricate avant improvisations. ... Click to View

Kassel Jaeger:
Meith [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

Kassel Jaeger, aka François J. Bonnet, a leading figure in electroacoustic and electronic music, presents an extended work of rich and warm layers, slowly unfolding and shifting as both detailed and clouded events emerge and disappear, the consistency and pacing of the work an impressive testament to his compositional control and inspiration. ... Click to View

Joelle Leandre / Pascal Contet:
Area Sismica (We Insist! Records)

A live concert at Area Sismica, Forlì, in 2019 between two masterful French improvisers--double bassist Joëlle Léandre and accordionist Pascal Contet-- each pushing each other in both melodic and abstract improvisations with occasional vocal asides, as they engage their listeners through surprising twists and turns as they explore the farthest reaches of their instruments. ... Click to View

Rob Hall / Chick Lyall:
Upward Fall (FMR)

A set of lyrical, thoughtful and sometimes whimsical works from the Scottish-based duo of Rob Hall & Chick Lyall (Green Room Trio), who have been developing their musical language since 2003, merging a wide range of genres from Baroque chamber music to free jazz and folk idioms, their lack of boundaries lending itself to a uniquely diverse and embraceable music. ... Click to View

Mopcut (Konig / Desprez / Chen):
Accelerated Frames Of Reference (Trost Records)

"The trio MOPCUT claims to be a medium-length noise-style that covers the head and ears with a vertical bang and a horizontal wave. MOPCUT also argues that its sonic output is a popular style for all ages, genders and generations, but adds that ts soundscapes should be trimmed evenly all around the circumference so that the noise at the front reaches the inner eye while the waves on the sides cover (or almost fully cover) the ears.

You can trust this insightful advice. This trio - American vocal artist and analog electronics player Audrey Chen, known also as a cellist, a close collaborator of British vocal artist Phil Minton and half of the duo Beam Splitter with Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø; French electric guitar player Julien Desprez, leader of his own ensembles and member of Mats Gustafsson's Fire Orchestra and Eve Risser's White Dessert Orchestra, and Austrian drummer-synthesizer player-vocalist Lukas König, member of Viennese groups Kompost 3 and 5K HD- are going to spin your heads and ears so thoroughly until your inner eyes will not only absorb their wild soundscapes, but most likely may beg for more from this rare stuff. Obviously, by then you may lose all connection with real human languages and earth's gravity.

Accelerated Frames of Reference, the debut album of this trio, lasts only 32 minutes but you have to be in top shape - mental and physical one - in order to fully comprehend the series of ultra-accelerated sonic events that MOPCUT keeps creating. Chen rushes with her ultrasonic stream of consciousness, fragmented vocalizations as a shaman possessed by mysterious spells, and is always busy mutating and distorting her mad songs with vintage electronics. Desprez intensifies this troublesome and urgent atmosphere with imaginative, explosive noises and effects and König deepens these blistering attacks with disruptive, alien beats and noises of his own. MOPCUT chose to conclude with wild journey with the quiet and meditative "Soundspa". A peaceful farewell or a promise for more insightful messages from the MOPCUT spaceship?"-Eyal Hareuveni

... Click to View

Don Cherry:
Relativity Suite [VINYL] (KLIMT)

2020 reissue of trumpeter Don Cherry's '73 album recorded with & commissioned by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, with Carla Bley on piano, Charlie Haden on bass, and Ed Blackwell on drums, in compositions blending Eastern and Indian music with Western jazz. ... Click to View

Martin Blume / Lou Houtkamp / Steve Beresford:
Shed 1 (FMR)

A superb concert of masterful collective improvisation captured live at LOFT Cologne in 2018 from the trio of Luc Houtkamp on tenor saxophone & clarinet, Steve Beresford on piano & objects, and Martin Blume on drums & percussion, in three extended improvisations, thoughtful work building to periods of powerful passion while maintaining a reflective introspectiveness. ... Click to View

In Layers (Marcelo Dos Reis / Onno Govaert / Kristian Martinsson / Luis Vicente):
Pliable (FMR)

Portuguese guitarist Marcelo Dos Reis and trumpeter Luís Vicente, Icelandic pianist Kristján Martinsson and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert release their 2nd album, moving from the studio to a live concert at Salão Brazil in Coimbra in 2018, performing six collective improvisations of explorative and technically advanced, cutting edge free improv. ... Click to View

MPT Trio (Mela / Paz / Trujillo):
Volume 1 (577)

Influenced by both free jazz and Caribbean folk music, the NYC-based MPT Trio, led by Francisco Mela (Crash Trio, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz), presents a stylistically innovative sound on their debut album, presenting eight original pieces blending diverse musical traditions with contemporary & avant-garde jazz structures. ... Click to View

John Zorn:
Azoth (Tzadik)

Two compositions by John Zorn for solo cello and two works for cello and rhythm section, performed by cellists Jay Campbell (JACK Quartet) and Michael Nicolas (Brooklyn Rider, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)), with drummer Ches Smith and bassist Jorge Roeder taking the rhythm chairs; exciting and innovative compositions in virtuoso performances. ... Click to View

John Zorn (Stephen Gosling):
The Turner Etudes (Tzadik)

A suite of short pieces for solo piano subtitled "Images and Impressions for Piano", composed by John Zorn and performed by frequent Zorn interpreter Stephen Gosling, the works inspired by the sketches of English painter J.M.W. Turner, embracing influences including Ligeti, Scriabin, Bach, Glass, Debussy, Bartok, Berio, Feldman, Xenakis, Schoenberg &c. ... Click to View

Matthias Muller / Eric Normand / Petr Vrba:
Triche! (Tour de Bras / Circum-Disc)

A set of informed avant/abstract acoustic and electroacoustic improvisations recorded in the studio in Austria in 2019, from the transatlantic trio of Euro free jazz legend, trombonist Matthias Muller, Quebec bassist Eric Normand on electric bass, and innovative trumpeter Petr Vrba also deploying electronics, the trio's interaction focused on patient and inspired sonic detail. ... Click to View

Sun Ra:
Egypt 1971 [4 CDs] (STRUT)

Originally released in 3 LPs as Live in Egypt on Thoth Intergalactic and then as the Saturn albums Dark Myth Equation Visitation, Nidhamu & Horizon, this set reissues and expands the 1971 Sun Ra tour recordings: The Mena House Hotel in Giza; a concert at Hartmut Geerken's in Heliopolis; a live Cairo TV channel broadcast; and a concert at Cairo's the Ballon Theatre. ... Click to View

Sun Ra Arkestra:
Swirling [2 LPS] (STRUT / Artyard)

The first new Sun Ra Arkestra album in twenty years, recorded in Philadelphia under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allan, with long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune, Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchel, with new material and new renderings of classic Ra compositions. ... Click to View

Joshua Abrams' Cloud Script:
Cloud Script (RogueArt)

Double bassist Joshua Abrams provides the compositions for this studio album performed with Ari Brown on tenor sax, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gerald Cleaver on drums, an exceptional quartet of master improvisers who balance lyrical and soulful playing with explorative impulse, fueled by an empathetic responsiveness that only a long history of collaboration can engender. ... Click to View

Paul Dunmal Sextet (Dunmall / Pursglove / Foote / Saunders / Owston / Bashford):
Cosmic Dream Projection (FMR)

A studio project led by Paul Dumall on alto & tenor saxophones and alto flute, recorded while on touring hiatus during the pandemic, composing six passionate and melodically charged works performed by the brilliant sextet of Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Richard Foote on trombone, Steven Saunders on guitar, James Owston on bass, and Jim Bashford on drums. ... Click to View

Dunmall. Paul with Metcalfe / Owston / Jozwiak:
Unmasked (FMR)

The other side of Paul Dunmall's characteristic saxophone work is heard here on the alto flute, bringing Dunmall together with fellow flutist Neil Metcalf and the rhythm section of James Owston on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums for four exceptional improvisations that focus more on interaction and less on soloing, showcasing all four through sophisticated performance. ... Click to View

Trevor Taylor:
Oscillations 12 Tone Music For Jazz Quintet (FMR)

Exploring the jazz tradition through 12 tone serial tone row scales, along with graphic scores & other variations, from UK composer Trevor Taylor, also on drums & vibraphones, in a quintet with Shanti Paul Jayashina on trumpet, Josh Ison on saxophones, Dan Banks on piano, and Jose Canha on Double Bass, in a set of tunes that beautifully balance freedom and lyricism. ... Click to View

MoE w/ Mette Rasmussen / Ikuro Takahashi:
Painted (Relative Pitch)

During their 2019 Japan Tour, the collaboration of the Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen extended their trio with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi to record this energetic, rough and tumble album exploring the boundaries between free improvisation, skronky rock, and other confrontational, conceptual crossover forms. ... Click to View

Metal Chaos Ensemble:
Don Quixote (Evil Clown)

An epic journey through diverse improvisational approaches within a composed framework, using heavy percussion of unusual & world origins, electronics, rock/groove elements and prepared mixes created from samples, from the Boston duo of David Peck (PEK) on reeds & an arsenal of devices & sources, and Yuri Zbitnoff on drums & percussion, with narration points along the way. ... Click to View

Audrey Chen / Phil Minton :
Frothing Morse (Tour de Bras)

Two innovators of free vocal improvisation come together for a concert at Santa Chiara Nuova Church during the 2015 ImprovvisaMente festival in Lodi, Italy, setting aside Chen's cello and electronics to focus on pure voice interactions, each using their unique language and technique in a single 37 minute performance of intrepid, inexplicable and unique improv. ... Click to View

Jean-Luc Guionnet :
Solo A La Decollation (Tour de Bras)

Emphasizing unusual aspects of the pipe organ, composer and typically reedist Jean-Luc Guionnet (Hubbub, Return of the New Thing) performs solo on the organ at the Church of the Decollation of Saint-Jean Baptiste in L'Isle-verte, Quebec, Canada, taking a sound-oriented approach to the instrument with a minimalist attitude through four extended performances. ... Click to View

Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra:
A Fire Side Chat With Lucifer (Modern Harmonic)

This reissue of the 1983 Saturn Research LP presents two aspects of the Sun Ra Arkestra, the first side with the 80's classics "Nuclear War" along with "Retrospect" and "Makeup"; the second side presenting the extended and more experimental "A Fireside Chat with Lucifer", a 20 minute well balanced, open framework that allows for both melodic soloing and extended free exchanges. ... Click to View

Lisbon Improvisation Players:
Motion (Clean Feed)

A precursor to his Motion Trio, this is a 2002 studio recording led by saxophonist Rodrigo Amado performing on baritone & tenor saxophones, with US West Coast saxophonist Steve Adams on soprano & tenor saxophones, Acacio Salero on drums, plus New York bassist Ken Filiano, improvising over six works that show the depth and mastery of each individually and collectively. ... Click to View

Susan Alcorn Quintet:
Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

An innovator in integrating pedal steel guitar into modern improvised music, Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn's quintet enlists a superb set of New York players--Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Formanek on double bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ryan Sawyer on drums--taking on a diverse set of Alcorn compositions. ... Click to View

Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Arnau Horta / Seijiro Murayama / Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
Installations [CD + 24 page booklet] (Swarming)

A fascinating set of stereophonic electroacoustic compositions based on the recordings and mixes used for four sound installations in four galleries in France, impeccably captured and creatively edited: Eric La Casa & Jean-Luc Guionnet; Michaële-Andréa Schatt & Eric La Casa; Seijiro Murayama & Eric La Casa; and Arnau Horta & Eric La Casa. ... Click to View

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  Alvin Lucier 
  String Noise  
  (Black Truffle) 

   review by Brian Olewnick
Alvin Lucier: String Noise (Black Truffle)

Alvin Lucier has long made a practice of developing ideas and compositions that skirt the boundaries, if such boundaries exist, between music and sonic phenomena. These often involved extended duration and a soundscape wherein the variations are extremely subtle, often akin to staring at a "blank" wall and, over time, coming to realize the enormous, not immediately apparent wealth of detail contained therein. Needless to say, such experimentation can test the patience of even the most intrepid of listeners.

String Noise, a two-disc set containing three compositions performed by the duo of the same name (Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris on violins), does just that. "Tapper" (2004), realized here by Conrad Harris, for whom it was written, asks the violinist to strike the body of their instrument with the butt end of the bow. It unfolds in a number of discreet sections over the course of its 52+ minutes. The tempi vary, though they're generally on the rapid side, often hastening or slowing the pace during the "event". As well, though one has the sense that the musician is asked to play as steadily and regularly as possible, there's always some small variation in strength of attack, precise area of impact, etc. One initially hears the dry, abrupt crack of wood on wood as the prime sound-area but quickly comes to realize that the surrounding, room-generated aural cloud is just as important, arguably more so. In fact, the rapid attenuation of sharp noise into cloud, together combine to form an area of great fascination and beauty. The dogged repetitiveness becomes mesmerizing and revelatory.

"Love Song" (2016) is for two violins connected by a long wire. In a manner I can't begin to explain, the tones played by the violinists are carried to each other via the wire, resonating in their companion instruments as the players circle each other. The result is a keening, howling maelstrom, a pained song indeed. As above, it proceeds in episodes, the music shifts ever so slightly, becoming more siren-like here (very intense), grainier there. The complex interaction of tones, overlapping and receiving enhancements from the room, make for a bracing piece, a rather ruthless examination of relationships. Lastly, we have "Halo" (2019), for one or more violins in which the player is asked to maintain a single, bowed pitch (here, rich and resonant) and walk across the room in a zigzag pattern, generating "haloes" of tones derived from the acoustic properties of the space. In a way, this is both the most approachable and demanding work presented here. Approachable in that the basic sound is relatively familiar and nonabrasive, demanding in that the overtones and other enhancements are very subtle and slightly more difficult to perceive (though, really, very apparent if one listens well). An extremely satisfying, "actively meditative" work.

Overall, an excellent addition to the already inspiring canon of Lucier, one of the deepest investigators of the spatio-acoustic world we're lucky enough to have around.

Alvin Lucier: String Noise
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:

Martin Blume /
Lou Houtkamp /
Steve Beresford:
Shed 1

Sun Ra Arkestra:
[2 LPS]

Trevor Taylor:
12 Tone Music
For Jazz Quintet

Joshua Abrams'
Cloud Script:
Cloud Script

Paul Dunmal Sextet
(Dunmall /
Pursglove /
Foote /
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Owston /
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Metal Chaos Ensemble:
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(Evil Clown)

Marco Colonna /
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Susan Alcorn Quintet:
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Rafal Mazur
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Ramon Lopez /
Natsuki Tamura /
Artur Majewski):
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[4 CDs]
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Eric La Casa /
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[CD + 24 page booklet]

Mary Halvorson's
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Trevor Watts
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Antoine Beuger /
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Chris Cundy:
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Marie Takahashi /
Maria do Mar /
Ernesto Rodrigues /
Helena Espvall /
Joao Valinho:
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Christiane Bopp /
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The Sealed Knot
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Joshua Abrams'
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