The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Matthew Shipp Trio: To Duke (RogueArt)

Pianist Matthew Shipp's trio with Whit Dickey on drums and Martin Bisio on bass, take on Duke's Ellington's classic compositions, adding free elements and unexpected angles without losing the melodic charm of these classic jazz standards; recommended. ... Click to View


Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City (RogueArt)

Art Ensemble founder Roscoe Mitchel on reeds, winds and percussion, in an extended electroacoustic work performed with James Fei on reeds and analog electronics and William Winant on percussion; a composition/improvisation blending sound and space in creative and compelling ways. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi: Tea Time for Those Determined to Completely Exhaust Every Bit of This Body They've Been Given [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

The trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi return for their 6th album, the second set from their March 2013 concert at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo, extending and refining the mix of heavy sound work redefining the guitar, drum & bass format in powerful ways. ... Click to View


Great Waitress: Lucid (Splitrec)

Berlin pianist Magda Mayas with the Australian duo of accordionist Monika Brooks and clarinetist Laura Altman in understated improvisations that reveal unexpected sonic properties while pushing the boundaries of each player's instruments. ... Click to View


Teletopa (Collins / Evans / Aherns / Frampton): Tokyo 1972 [2 CDs] (Splitrec)

The 1972 recording at a Tokyo radio station of the forward-thinking improvisation of David Ahern (violin, percussion, electronics), Roger Frampton (percussion, electronics, saxophone), Peter Evans (percussion, electronics) and Geoffrey Collins (flute, percussion electronics). ... Click to View


Dale Gorfinkel: Switches & Hose (Splitrec)

Dale Gorfinkel is a multi-instrumentalist, improvisor, instrument creator and installation artist, creating unexpected aural environments exploring acoustic phenomena or creating acoustic sculptures from using common materials like switches, balloons, hoses, cages, &c. ... Click to View


Chris Abrahams / Clare Cooper: Germ Studies For Guzheng & DX7 (Splitrec)

The Australian duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (Necks) & Berlin harpist Clare Cooper in a series of 198 short improvisations performed on Yamaha DX7 and the 14th century Guzheng harp, presented with 198 illustrations in an unusual and obsessively rewarding project. ... Click to View


Teletopa (Collins / Evans / Aherns / Frampton): Tokyo 1972 [VINYL 3 LPs] (Splitrec)

The 1972 recording at a Tokyo radio station of the forward-thinking improvisation of David Ahern (violin, percussion, electronics), Roger Frampton (percussion, electronics, saxophone), Peter Evans (percussion, electronics) and Geoffrey Collins (flute, percussion electronics). ... Click to View


Dale Gorfinkel: Switches & Hose [VINYL] (Splitrec)

Dale Gorfinkel is a multi-instrumentalist, improvisor, instrument creator and installation artist, creating unexpected aural environments exploring acoustic phenomena or creating acoustic sculptures from using common materials like switches, balloons, hoses, cages, &c. ... Click to View


Nate Wooley / Ken Vandermark: East By Northwest (Pleasure of the Text Records)

A superb live set between trumpeter Nate Wooley and multi-reedist Ken Vandermark performing on clarinet, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone, captured live at the 2014 Okka Fest in Milwaukee, intelligent free improvisation balancing introspection and fire. ... Click to View


Carlo Costa Quartet: Sediment (Neither/Nor Records)

A new NY label from percussionist Carlo Costa in its 1st release, a quartet with Steve Swell on trombone, Sean ali on bass and Jonathan Moritz on sax, presenting an improvisational language that subsumes the individual players into a distinct group sound. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann & Jason Adasiewicz: Mollie's in the Mood [VINYL] (Bro)

Brotzmann's own BRO label releases this performance at Chicago's Hideout of the duo of Peter Brotzmann on alto and tenor sax, b-flat clarinet and tarogato, and vibraophonist Jason Adasiewicz from their 2012 US tour for three stunning tracks of free improvisation. ... Click to View


Ballister: The Ballister Monologues [CASSETTE with download code] (Astral Spirits)

Ballister's first cassette release finds the the trio of Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), Dave Rempis (reeds) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello & electronics) performing live at The Northern Door in Austin, Texas for a furious and dynamic set of two extended improvisations. ... Click to View


Will Guthrie: Stepped Stoned [CASSETTE with download code] (Astral Spirits)

France-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie in a solo recording of powerful and diverse playing using a combination of drums, percussion, objects, junk, amplification and electronics. ... Click to View


Broken Trap Ensemble (Shelton / Rankin-Parker / Dutton / Pearce): Upes [CASSETTE with download code] (Astral Spirits)

West Coast Bay Area creative improvisers Aram Shelton (alto sax), Teddy Rankin-Parker (cello), Kristina Dutton (violin) and Daniel Pearce (drums) in a balanced release borrowing from jazz, modern improv, classical, folk, drone and beyond. ... Click to View


Sult (Dryer / Heule / Moe / Skaset): Svimmelhed (Conrad Sound-Humbler Records)

West Coast/Oslo acoustic improvising ensemble Sult is the quartet of bassist Tony Dryer, percussionist Jacob Felix Heule, bassist Guro Skumsnes Moe, and acoustic guitarist Havard Skaset, playing subduedm informed and textured work with a dark intent. ... Click to View


Philip Corner: Through Two More-Than-Mysterious Barricades (Improvizations After Francois Couperin) [VINYL] (Roaratorio)

Fluxus musician Philip Corner uses French Baroque composer Francois Couperin's "Les Barricades Misterieuses" as the starting point for his piano improvisations, here presenting two unique perspectives on the piece, the 1st from 1992 and the 2nd from 2004. ... Click to View


Cornelius Cardew : Nova Musicha No. 6: Four Principles on Ireland and Other Pieces (1974) [VINYL] (MiruMir (Cramps))

180 gram reissue of Irish composer Cornelius Cardew's 1974 album, a series of compositions based on the revolutionary songs of different countries (i.e. the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Islamic Rebellion of 1937, the uprisings in West Berlin in the early seventies). ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio: First Recordings [VINYL] (Trost Records)

These 1972 trio recordings of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Trio with Evan Parker on tenor & soprano sax, and Paul Lovens on drums recording at the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin, were found in the FMP archives and are issued for the first time ever. ... Click to View


Christof Kurzmann : Then & Now [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Christof Kurzmann has been a part of Extended Versions, The Magic I.D., Made to Break, El Infierno, Trio x 3, &c; this double LP collects unreleased tracks from a diversity of projects with collaborators B. Fleischmann, Ken Vandermark, Robert Wyatt, Mats Gustafsson, Tony Buck, &c. &c. ... Click to View


David Sylvian (w/ Franz Wright / Christian Fennesz): There's a Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight (Samadhi Sound)

David Sylvian's long form composition is a collaboration with American Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright, with music performed by Sylvian, Christian Fennesz and John Tilbury in a single long narrated work of insight and remarkable electroacoustic accompaniment. ... Click to View


Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II [VINYL] (Saturn)

The 2nd volume in Sun Ra's "Discipline" series was recorded during the same sessions as 1972's Impulse release "Space Is the Place", with Sun Ra on electronic keyboards and Moog, and a large band including Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny Davis, Akh Tal Ebah, June Tyson, &c. ... Click to View


Solidarity Unit, Inc: Red, Black and Green [VINYL] (Eremite)

Percussionist Charles "Bobo" Shaw produced this album, which documents what happened at the Black Artists Group Room in St. Louis, MO, on September 18, 1970, the day Jimi Hendrix died, performed in an ensemble including Oliver Lake on sax & flute and Joseph Bowie on trombone. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink: The Topography of the Lungs [VINYL] (Otoroku)

A much-needed vinyl reissue of the seminal London & European Free Improv trio release from 1970, an amazing album showing the relationships between established jazz forms and the emerging modern language. ... Click to View


Luigi Nono: Seguente [2 CDs] (Edition Rz)

Reissuing composer Luigi Nono's 1990 Edition Rz LP with the addition of 3 works, presenting 6 remarkable symphonic works combining live electronics and voice, intended to expand the technical possibilities of sound and the perceptive faculties of the listener. ... Click to View


Ferdinand Kriwet : Hortexte Radio Texts Zwei [VINYL 2 LP Picture Discs] (Edition Rz)

A beautiful 2 picture disc LP and booklet of radio plays (Horspiele) from sound artist and poet Ferdinand Kriwet, presenting 6 works including Hortext (radiotext) I, and Rotoradios I & II. ... Click to View


Chris Forsyth / Nate Wooley: Third [VINYL] (Rekem Records)

The 3rd collaboration between guitarist Chris Forsyth and trumpeter Nate Wooley following "The Duchess of Oysterville" and "Chocolate Monk", here recording live in concert in Philadelphia for the two part "Evening Rage", creating rich sonic palettes of unexpected sound. ... Click to View


ROIL (Chris Abrahams / Mike Majkowski / James Waples): Raft Of The Meadows [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Free improvisation using the jazz idiom as a jumping off point from the trio of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks), bassist Mike Majkowski, and drummer James Waples, superb technical playing with a melodic intent and excellent pacing. ... Click to View


Barry Guy : Five Fizzles for Samuel Beckett [10-inch VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A limited 10-inch pressing from European Free Improvisation bassist Barry Guy, performing with the ambiance of St. Catherine's Church in Vilnius, Lithuania, using extended techniques and unusual approaches to the instrument that are both remarkable and satisfying. ... Click to View


Ted Daniel's Energy Module (feat. Oliver Lake and Daniel Carter): Innerconnection [VINYL 2 LPs] (NoBusiness)

Trumpeter Ted Daniel's Energy Module with Daniel Carter, Oliver Lake, Richard Pierce and Tatsuya Nakamura, a post-bop free improvising quintet from the mid-70s, here in an unreleased studio session showing raw power and superb playing. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Heard In

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


John Zorn 
Redbird  
(Tzadik (1995)) 

review by Brian Olewnick
2003-08-20
John Zorn: Redbird (Tzadik (1995))

For all his hyperkinetic musical activity over the last few decades, some of Zorn's most beautiful moments have, for me, been those rare examples of stasis, when he reaches a territory and allows himself to observe instead of quickly disrupting it. Granted, those moments are few and far between, but things like the closing minutes of his string quartet Forbidden Fruit, the brief, lonesome surf guitar forays played by Ribot in Bar Khokba or even, in an odd way, the entirety of Leng T'Che with its obsessive exploration of one fearful emotion are among the examples of his music that have had the most staying power for me.

When 'Redbird' appeared, I was immediately heartened by the lovely Agnes Martin painting adorning its front cover. Not only was this a refreshing change from what I found to be the increasingly puerile and shock-for-shock's-sake illustrations more typically found on his releases, but for what it possibly promised regarding the music within. Happily, the artwork and music share a common sensibility.

The first of two pieces, 'Dark River' is a solo performance by Jim Pugliese on bass drum. It has, ostensibly, one zone of reference: the low rumble. But over the course of its nine minutes, Pugliese creates a palpable world wherein one never has any sense of sameness but instead a breathing pocket of reality. No steady rhythms, only mild fluctuations in volume, just a natural, billowing flow of deep, echoing booms achieving an almost wind-like quality at times. I have no idea how much of this is to the credit of Pugliese's own creativity or Zorn's score (I imagine a bit of both) but it's a trivial matter. It's also, presumably intentionally, an intriguing prologue to 'Redbird' proper, a processional of sorts, dark into medium light.

Zorn had cited Morton Feldman as an influence on many prior occasions but I was rarely, if ever, able to hear it in his actual music. That breathing quality, the ultra-slow rhythms as subtly irregular as they were organic, found little expression in the younger composer's work. Redbird is about as close as I've heard him get, and it's a ravishing achievement. I'm reminded very much of Feldman's orchestral work For Samuel Beckett in the sense the listener gets of having stumbled into an ongoing performance, a piece that began well before you hear the first note and continues well after the disc is over. Scored for harp, viola, cello and percussion, it also has an instrumental flavor akin to a number of Feldman's chamber works. Other influences make their presence known to be sure: one hears snatches of George Crumb and you can even pick up some sonorities in the strings that recall Ornette Coleman's 'The Skies of America'. There's also a plaintive, almost romantic aspect to some of the writing, something Feldman might abhor (though he, too, didn't sidestep it completely) but which, in my opinion, is a central part of Zorn's persona. The overall feeling is of being on a gentle seesaw, undulating back and forth, seeing almost the same view reappear time after time but always noticing some new detail, some different tinge. Eventually, it stops rather than ends.

It's been several years now since I've picked up a new Zorn release; although he'd occasionally explore similarly intriguing areas (as in Duras), too much of his recent work had struck me as treading water, and less and less interesting water at that. Although it's perhaps too much to ask of so restless a composer, I still wouldn't mind if, at least once in a while, he picked a plot of land and worked it, then worked it some more, then continued to work it. I'm fairly confident that I'd be pleasantly surprised at what he was able to grow.





Comments and Feedback:



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco






Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




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


  Copyright © 2014 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (729)