The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Peter Brotzmann / Heather Leigh: Ears Are Filled With Wonder [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Brotzmann continues to surprise in eclectic pairings, here pitting his tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, tarogato, and clarinet against Heather Leigh's pedal steel guitar, recorded during a tour of Poland where the two paused from big bands, trios, quartets, and duos to record this gem. ... Click to View


Akira Sakata: The Tale of the Heike [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Clarinetist, percussionist and vocalist Akira Sakata performs a disturbing rendering of "The Tale of the Heike", an epic account of the 12th century struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans for control of Japan. ... Click to View


Full Blast (Brotzmann / Pliakas / Wertmuller): Risc (Trost Records)

Full Blast, the long-running trio of Peter Brotzmann (reeds), Marino Pliakis (electric bass) and Michael Wertmuller (drums), recording in the studio for an album of seven masterful free improvisations of strong technical and powerfully intense playing. ... Click to View


"A" Trio + Alan Bishop: Burj al Imam [VINYL] (Unrock)

Sun City Girls guitarist Alan Bishop, also improvising on voice, meets Beirut's "A" Trio of Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Sharif Sehnaoui on guitar, and Raed Yassin on bass for four quite unusual improvisations, and a cover of "Gently Johnny", best known from the UK movie "Wicker Man". ... Click to View


Robin Hayward: Rubble Master [CASSETTE] (Cassauna)

Microtonal tubist Robin Hayward in a solo cassette release of two extended explorations of noise production, with the lips and tongue acting as noise generators that are filtered using half-valve techniques, using live electronics to create hallucinatory effects of motion. ... Click to View


Paulo Jorge Alexandre Improbable Trio (w/ Tom Wheatley / Eddie Prevost): Elements (Creative Sources)

Saxophonist Paulo Alexandre Jorge leads his Improbable Trio with Tom Wheatley on double bass and AMM/Matchless legendary percussionist Eddie Prevost in a six part album of ardent free improvisation on titles over Sex, Love, Death, Friendship, Art Beauty, Power Law, &c. ... Click to View


Ana-Maria Avram / Iancu Dumitrescu: Ilan Volkov conducts and plays Ana-Maria Avram and Iancu Dumitrescu (Edition Modern)

World premieres of new compositions by spectral composers Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram performed live with the Hyperion International Ensemble under the batton of Ilan Volkov at the 15th George Enescu Festival in 2015. ... Click to View


Sun Ra & His Astro Infinity Arkestra: The Intergalactic Thing [VINYL 2 LPS + DOWNLOAD CODE] (Roaratorio)

Unreleased material from Sun Ra & His Astro Infinity Arkestra recorded in the rehearsal space of Sun Ra's Philadelphia home in 1969, with a dozen never-before-heard pieces from Ra's songbook, plus reworkings of some classics; invaluable music for the Sun Ra collector. ... Click to View


Sun Ra: The Saturn Singles Vol. 2: 1959-1962 [VINYL] (Jeanne Dielman)

The second volume of "The Saturn Singles", recordings from Sun Ra's own El Saturn label, focusing on recordings with Yochanan (aka The Space Age Vocalist), a wildly original street performer from Chicago whom Sun Ra befriended, plus other tracks from 1959-1962. ... Click to View


Hubert Zemler : Gostak & Doshes (Bolt)

Drummer/percussionist Hubert Zemler's second solo album with two compositions inspired by electronic music, particularly by works of the ensemble Suaves Figures, recorded in the vaults of the Camaldolese Church in Bielany, Warsaw with Milosz Pekala on vibraphones. ... Click to View


Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables [2 CDs] (Pi Recordings)

New York drummer Tyshawn Sorey's impressive work for double trio is an ambitious chamber jazz composition using multiple harmonic, formal, rhythmic, and modal vocabularies in an exploratory and improvisational framework, inspired by the work of Lawrence D. Butch Morris. ... Click to View


Yoni Kretzmer (Steve Swell / Thomas Heberer / Max Johnson / Chad Taylor): FIVE (OutNow Recordings)

An excellent example of collective free improv from a quintet led by NY tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer with collaborators Steve Swell (trombone), Thomas Heberer (cornet), Max Johnson (double bass) and Chad Taylor (drums), capturing the horn sound of the late 60's Blue Note era. ... Click to View


Frantz Loriot Systematic Distortion Orchestra: The Assembly (OutNow Recordings)

The 11 piece Systematic Distortion Orchestra is led by composer and viola player Frantz Loriot, with Brooklyn Downtown players Nathaniel Morgan (sax), Brad Henkel & Joe Moffet (trumpet), Ben Gerstein, Sam Kulik (trombone), Sean Ali & Pascal Niggenkemper (bass), and 3 drummers. ... Click to View


JC Jones / Yoni Kretzmer (w/ Barre Philips / Mark Dresser / Reuben Radding / Sean Conly / Damon Smith / Pascal Niggenkemper): Esoteric Duos [2 CDs] (OutNow Recordings)

A tremendous CD of duos, disc one presents Israeli bassist JC Jones in duos with Steve Horenstein, Barre Phillips, Mark Dresser, Damon Smith, Yoni Kretzmer, and Carmel Raz; Disc 2 presents NY saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer in duos with Pascal Niggenkemper, Reuben Radding, Sean Conly, and JC Jones. ... Click to View


Kretzmer / Ajemian / Shea: Until Your Throat is Dry (OutNow Recordings)

The trio of NY free improvisers Yoni Kretzmer on tenor sax and Kevin Shea on drums (Talibam, Mostly Other People Do the Killing) with bassist Jason Ajemian in an intense album of "immaterial tangibility, the raw flesh, dirty concreteness, thoughtlessness and stuff called music." ... Click to View


Ehran Elisha / Kindred Spirit: Kindred Spirts: Quintets [2 CDs] (OutNow Recordings)

Composer-Improviser-Percussionist Ehran Elisha presents two quintets interpreting two of his extended compositions: "Kindred Soul" and "Spirit Suite", with collaborators including Roy Campbell, Sam Bardfeld, Dave Phillips, Yoni Kretzmer, Michael Attias, Sean Conly, &c. ... Click to View


Malfatti / Drumm / Capece: The Volume Surrounding The Task (Potlatch)

A moody album of minimal improv, using space, innuendo, breath and a wonderful sense of darkness from the trio of Radu Malfatti (trombone), Kevin Drum (electronics) and Lucio Capece (bass clarinet & preparations), performing live at Q-O2 in Brussel, Belgium. ... Click to View


Tony Conrad W/ Faust: Outside The Dream Syndicate [VINYL] (Superior Viaduct)

Originally released in Europe in 1973, this reissue details the meeting of NY violinist, composer and filmmaker Tony Conrad, a peer of John Cale, La Monte Young, &c. with the legendary German rock band Faust, recording these two side-long and forward-looking works. ... Click to View


Tony Conrad W/ Faust: Outside The Dream Syndicate (Superior Viaduct)

Originally released in Europe in 1973, this reissue details the meeting of NY violinist, composer and filmmaker Tony Conrad, a peer of John Cale, La Monte Young, &c. with the legendary German rock band Faust, recording these two side-long and forward-looking works. ... Click to View


Mats Gustafsson And Friends: MG 50 - Peace & Fire [4 CD BOX SET] (Trost Records)

A box set documenting the October 2015 3-day event held at Porgy and Bess in Vienna for the 50th birthday of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Fire! and innumerable duo/trio/ensemble formations) with a who's-who of collaborators invited to join in various formations. ... Click to View


Rempis / Abrams / Ra + Baker: Perihelion [2 CDs] (Aerophonic)

Following their 2013 release "Aphelion", the working trio of Dave Rempis on sax, Joshua Abrams on bass & clarinet, and Avreeayl Ra on drums release their 2nd collaboration in a 2-CD album of live and studio improvisations, adding Jim Baker on keys and electronics for the 2nd disc. ... Click to View


Gunwale: Rempis / Wildeman / Packard: Polynya (Aerophonic)

The debut album of this focused and intrepid Chicago trio led by saxophonist Dave Rempis with young stalwarts Ryan Packard on percussion and electronics, and Netherlands transplant Albert Wildeman, for three extended improvisations recorded live and in the studio. ... Click to View


The International Nothing: The Power Of Negative Thinking (Monotype)

The 4th album from The International Nothing, originally the clarinet duo of Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, now extended with Christian Weber on double bass and Eric Schaefer on percussion, adding new facets to their sonic spectrum of precise microtonal interaction. ... Click to View


Alfred Harth 23 / Wolfgang Seidel: Five Eyes (Moloko Records)

A fascinating psychedelic stew of improv and audio construction dovetailing tremendous playing with unexpected concrete and electronic interventions from the duo of Alfred 23 Harth on reeds, trombone, keys, and misc., and Wolfgang Seidel on drums, percussion and misc. ... Click to View


Matt Turner / Hal Rammel: As On A Pivot Of Air [10'' VINYL] (Penumbra)

A live recording by the long-running duo of Matt Turner on cello and Hal Rammel on amplified palettes at Acme Records & Music Emporium in Milwaukee in 2015 as part of the Audible Electricity series, presenting uniquely voiced and detailed improvisations. ... Click to View


PaPaJo (Hubweber / Lovens / Edwards): Spiela [2 CDs] (Creative Sources)

The long-running trio of Paul Hubweber on trombone, Paul Lovens on drums, and John Edwards on double bass in an album releasing a radio concert from Croatia in 2003, and another from Klangbrucke in 2009; highly attuned free improv with near-telepathic dialog from three masters. ... Click to View


Parak.eets (Ute Wassermann / Richard Scott / Emilio Gordoa): Natura Venomous (Creative Sources)

The trio of Richard Scott on modular synths, Emilio Gordoa on vibraphone & percussion, and Ute Wasserman on voice, in uniquely orchestrated free improvisations that focuses on sound interaction with detail and restraint, while still bringing a sense of wonder and exuberation. ... Click to View


Iridium String Quartet (Rocha / Rodrigues / Rodrigues / Mira): Iridium String Quartet (Creative Sources)

Unusual approaches to string improvisation from the quartet of Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Maria da Rocha (violin), and Miguel Mira (double bass), using extended techniques in subtle yet detailed discourse yielding unexpected qualities to their instruments. ... Click to View


Moondog AKA Louis T. Hardin: Round the World of Sound (New World Records)

The "Viking of 5th Ave" Moondog (Louis Thomas Hardin) was a blind musician noted for his unique garb, but also for his beautiful compositions that blended creative and rhythmic music with lyric and song, here in a collection of 25 songs from his "Madrigal Book 1". ... Click to View


Miimo: Miimo 3 (Amorfon)

The improvising steelpan ensemble of Yoshio Machida (steel drums, percussion, electronics, PanKAT), Tatsu (bass, electronics) and Norihide Saji (drums, laptop, electronics) in their 3rd release, an alternative dub album, or music created by poly-rhythm and sound effects. ... 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



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


  Copyright © 2014 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (1533)