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Includes a free copy of Trouble with the Treble while quantities last!
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Polwechsel:
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J. Gregg J. / David Van Auken:
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Nomi Epstein:
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Florian Wittenburg :
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Oliver Schwerdt / Barry Guy / Baby Sommer:
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JAKAL (Fred Lonberg-Holm / Keefe Jackson / Julian Kirshner):
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The Remote Viewers :
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Teiku (Harlow / Taylor / Shahid / Formanek / Leafar):
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Jorge Nuno:
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Bruno Duplant / Rutger Zuydervelt:
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The third collaboration between sound and electronic artists Bruno Duplant and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) is a darkly heavy and dramatic work of subtle motion that slowly unfolds and shifts through vast sonic environments, fueled by acousmatic sources that take the listener to the edge of darkness and then pulls them back in warm waves or rich ambiance. ... Click to View


Felix Profos / Peter Conradin Zumthor:
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Leap Of Faith:
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The core of the Boston improvising collective Leap of Faith Orchestra are the duo of cellist Glynis Lomon and reedist and multi-instrumentalist David Peck, here joined by Eric Woods on analog synth and new collective member Jared Seabrook on drums & percussion, for two examples of Peck's broad palette concept yielding evolving transformations through free playing ... Click to View


Expanse:
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Perhaps the most synthetic of Evil Clown releases, Expanse represents space and restraint, this the 8th album from the Boston improvising collective of David Peck on reeds, winds, synths and percussion, Robin Amos on synths, Michael Knoblach on percussion (including egg beater, humpty dumpty toy, and teething rings) and Joel Simches providing real-time processing; inexplicably interesting. ... Click to View


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble:
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Celebrating 50 years, percussionist Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble as the trio of El'Zabar, Corey Wilkes (trumpet) and Alex Harding (bar. sax), joined on tracks by James Sanders (violin) and Ishmael Ali (cello), reinterpret classics including "Great Black Music", "Ornette" and Aretha Franklin's "Compared to What", along with Miles' "All Blues" and McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance". ... Click to View


Simon Hanes:
Tsons of Tsunami (Tzadik)

Drawing on a far-ranging set of influences--jazz, rock, contemporary, surf & exotica--California-born improvising guitarist Simon Hanes (of Trigger, who covered Zorn's Bagatelles) now resides in NYC, appropriately releasing an album of eclectic, generally upbeat, sometimes quirky, typically melodic instrumentals performed with an octet ensemble of incredible musicianship. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman:
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Five extended improvised piano solos from Joel Futterman recording in his home base of Virginia Beach, each an incredible journey in free playing that quotes and comments on the history of jazz piano, living up to the album's title through insight, perceptiveness, wit and intuition, Futterman's technique and mastery expressing narratives of amazing confidence and solid direction. ... Click to View


Kimmel.Ali.Harris (Jeff Kimmel / Ishmael Ali / Bill Harris):
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The third release for the Chicago collective improvising trio of Jeff Kimmel on clarinet & electronics, Ishmael Ali on cello & electronics and Bill Harris on drums & feedback, acoustic interplay in the foreground with electronics adding layers of intriguing sonic pressure as their playing evolves through clear and cohesive conversation over punctuated & textural foundations. ... Click to View


Anthony Donofrio :
These Calm Words (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

An exquisite recording of composer Anthony Donofrio 1972 work for solo vibraphone captured at the University of Nebraska where Donofrio teaches and directs their new music ensemble, this extended work for solo vibraphone performed by Donofrio himself, living up to its title in a delicate advancement from clear playing to unusual vibraphone timbres and technique. ... Click to View


Eva-Maria Houben (Kei Kondo / Takahiro Kuroda):
His Master's Voice / Aus Den Fliegenden Blattern Eines Fahrenden Waldhornisten / Lose Verbunden (Ftarri Clasical)

One of two albums capturing a May 15th, 2023 concert in Tokyo by composer Takahiro Kuroda at the Ftarri performance space, titled "Square of Thoughts Vol. 2: Eva-Maria Houben and Horn + x", this album presenting two Houben works for solo horn performed by virtuoso horn player Kei Kondo, and one solo piano piece performed by Kuroda on upright piano. ... Click to View


Eva-Maria Houben (Takahiro Kuroda / Kei Kondo):
Echo Fantasy II (Ftarri Clasical)

The second of two albums capturing a May 15th, 2023 concert in Tokyo by composer & pianist Takahiro Kuroda at the Ftarri performance space, titled "Square of Thoughts Vol. 2: Eva-Maria Houben and Horn + x", this album presenting a 2018 Houben composition for horn and piano titled "Echo Fantasy II", performed by virtuoso horn player Kei Kondo and Takahiro Kuroda on upright piano. ... Click to View


Rutger Zuydervelt :
Kites (music for a performance by Roshanak Morrowatian) (Machinefabriek)

Music for a solo dance piece performed by Roshanak Morrowatian and composed by Netherland electronic artist Rutger Zuydervelt, the subject of the dance reflecting on the experience of young asylum seekers forced from their native countries to grow up somewhere unfamiliar, the music in seven parts weaving fragments of Iranian popular music into Zuydervelt's abstract electronics. ... Click to View


Simulacrum:
Mimesis (Evil Clown)

Expanding on their 2023 Homunculus, the Boston-based collective ensemble Simulacrum with a core of David Peck on reeds, percussion, keys and direction, Eric Woods on analog synth and Bob Moores on space trumpet & guitar are expanded with Cecil Taylor bassist Albey OnBass, synthesist Eric Zinman, reedist Michael Caglianone and drummer Michael Knoblach. ... Click to View


John Butcher + 13:
Fluid Fixations (Weight of Wax)

Commissioned for the 2021 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, John Butcher's fantastic work for 14 improvisers of unique approach employs what Butcher refers to as "psychological orchestration"--imagining how each performer might respond to particular ideas & their sonic company--the score, which includes photographic imagery, directing specific solos, duos & small groupings. ... Click to View


Phantom Orchard (Ikue Mori / Zeena Parkins):
Hit Parade of Tears (Tzadik)

Distilling their ensemble to its original duo configuration, New York improvisers Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori reflect on the stories of Japanese author Izumi Suzuki through ten mysteriously eclectic and beautifully developed compositions of harp (acoustic and electric), electronics, percussion, harmonium, ondes martenot, and much more; wonderful, imaginative and evocative work. ... Click to View



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  John Zorn 
  Kristallnacht  
  (Eva (1993)) 

   review by Scott K. Faingold
  2003-08-20
John Zorn: Kristallnacht (Eva (1993))

The holocaust is an easy lay. From Art Spiegelman's MAUS (the only comic book ever to win the Pulitzer) to Jonathan Safron Foer's recent bestselling debut novel Everything Is Illuminated to last year's Academy Award-bedecked film "The Pianist", the systematic murder of millions of human beings always seems to do boffo box office.

Enter John Zorn. In 1992 the great man recorded Kristallnacht, an extended suite of seven short compositions linked by the theme of the destruction (and eventual rebuilding) of Jewish life during and after the National Socialist scourge. Zorn's piece is by turns lilting and unlistenable, reverent and jarringly pomo, giving vent to the composer's obviously strong emotions regarding this greatest of all 20th century crimes.

Upon relistening to this opus eleven years later a question arose of its own accord in my mind: is this here Kristallnacht the serious and important work of a mature composer? Or is it more like a downtown equivalent of Schindler's List, just another Jewish baby-boomer's well-intentioned miscegenation of facile craftsmanship with unassailable, emotionally loaded material?

I'll admit that I find it more than a little disingenuous when a fimmaker brings a bag of well-honed popcorn-movie editing tricks to bear on concentration camp atrocities, tricks that had their proving ground in the rendering of shark hunts, extra-terrestrial resurrections and dinosaur chases. In such escapist fodder, it can be argued that the viewer becomes a willing victim of benign artistic sadism, allowing his or herself to be jerked around and manipulated by tropes and imagery designed for no other purpose than to forcibly yank visceral reactions from viewers.

This seems well and good.

What rankles me is that when applied to more serious subject matter, these cynical cinematic parlor games risk trivializing the very lives and struggles they seek to avenge or lionize. Likewise, the sadism risks becoming less benign as the filmmaker attempts (thankfully in vain) to wreak a movie equivalent of Nazi atrocities upon the passive audience.

John Zorn is plainly no stranger to artistic sadism. And while his milieu, audience and bag of tricks are all on a minuscule scale compared to those at the disposal of a Hollywood director, my reaction upon revisiting Kristallnacht was not far from the one engendered by "Schindler's List". For instance, at eleven-plus minutes, the longest track on Kristallnacht is "Never Again." This piece, according to an almost unreadably tiny composer's note on the CD release, "contains high frequency extremes at the limits of human hearing and beyond, which may cause nausea, headaches and ringing in the ears." It goes on to state that "prolonged or repeated listening is not advisable as it may result in temporary or permanent ear damage."

Here Zorn goes as far as to implicitly (unconsciously, even?) posit himself as a sort of musical Mengele, performing ostensibly irreversible sonic experiments on his sophisticated audience, a majority of whom presumably feel the same way about Nazi atrocities as the composer. On "Never Again", Zorn seems to blithely apply the tricks and tropes he learned from hanging around the fun-loving late-'80s Japanese noise-rock scene to evoke the attempted violent extermination of European Jewry. Unflinching aesthetic candor or misguided sonic brutality? You be the judge.

Of course any criticism of Zorn's (or Spielberg's) work in this area will inevitably be met with cries of sacrilege. I mean, only a deeply cynical misanthrope (or David fucking Duke himself) could find fault with material rooted in the unimaginable agony and loss of The Holocaust, right? There is no socially acceptable reaction to this area of artistic expression other than hushed awe. And even if one finds the work itself offensive or manipulative or ham-fisted, it is inadvisable to express such opinions for fear of being branded insensitive. Or worse.

So, yeah, Kristallnacht is, like, a masterpiece.



John Zorn: Kristallnacht
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