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Sylvie Courvoisier (feat. Wadada Leo Smith / Christian Fennesz / Nate Wooley / Drew Gress / Kenny Wollesen):
Chimaera [2 CDs] (Intakt)

Chimaera is the ensemble of Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, her core trio with Drew Gress on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums & vibraphone, expanded by two trumpeters--Wadada Leo Smith & Nate Wooley--and affected by Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz who provides sonic backdrops for the improvisations over Courvoisier's compositions, focusing on aura over pyrotechnics; absolutely sublime. ... Click to View


James Lewis Brandon Quartet :
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With a rare ability to play hard-hitting jazz while maintaining a lyrical sense to his compositions, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' new studio album from his quartet of Aruan Ortiz on piano, Brad Jones on bass and Chad Taylor on drums is the fourth album from this working band, demonstrating their strong group affinity that invokes impressive soloing from all four. ... Click to View


Ingrid Laubrock (w/ Jon Irabagon / Zeena Parkins / Tom Rainey):
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Saxophonist & composer Ingrid Laubrock's quartet with Jon Irabagon on sopranino sax, Zeena Parkins on electric harp and Tom Rainey on drums, in a work of conventional and graphic notation with text instructions, accompanied by fixed media tape pieces (monochromes), from Nate Wooley, Adam Matlock, Tom Rainey, and by JD Allen, David Breskin & Ingrid Laubrock manipulating Harry Bertoia sculptures. ... Click to View


Anna Webber (O'Farrill / Roberts / Stemeseder / Mok):
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Anna Webber's explorations of just intonation in a quintet of New York improvisers, with Webber herself on tenor sax & flutes, Adam O'Farrill on trumpet, Mariel Roberts on cello, Elias Stemeseder on synthesizer and Lesley Mok on drums, her approachable compositions blurring the lines between tuning systems while focusing on fascinatingly exotic tonal combinations. ... Click to View


Ches Smith:
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A stunning album that effortlessly blends styles from jazz, electronics, minimalism and contemporary forms, rendered by an eclectic group of primarily NY artists including Nate Wooley, Jennifer Choi, James Brandin Lews, Oscar Noriega, Anna Webber, Shahzad Ismaily and Smith himself, in an exhilarating and well-balanced set of Smith compositions that inform and groove spectacularly! ... Click to View


Catherine Sikora / Susan Alcorn:
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The first meeting of tenor saxophonist Catherine Sikora and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn was at the Zurcher Gallery in New York City in 2022, an inventive dialog of free improvisation split between three "Filaments", their interaction ranging from delicate dialog to asservite discourse in a wonderfully expressive concert of sincere affinity. ... Click to View


Extra:
Spiral/Athletics (Love Earth Music)

The third album from the collaboration of sound artists Howard Seltzer, who typically works with consumer grade tape players, and Brian Grainger, head of the Milieu Music mailorder label, in an extended work of textural cassette sound, field recordings, drone music and modular synthesis, a journey through rich and well-controlled sound. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
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While still a member of Henry Cow, guitarist Fred Frith released his first solo album simply titled Guitar Solos in 1974, a remarkable album of expression through preparations, treatments and effects; 50 years later Frith expands on that album with new compositions using a similar setup as the original, paired in this 2-LP release with the remastered original album. ... Click to View


Phil Durrant / Daniel Thompson:
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The improvising string duo of stalwart London improvisers, Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar and Phil Durrant on the octave mandola, are heard in two settings of texturally rich, intricate interactions, first at Cafe OTO in 2022 for an extended improvisation, then at Cable Street Studios two months later for six succint, impressively diverse dialogs. ... Click to View


Impetus Group (Serries / Webster / Verbruggen / Verhoeven / Jackson)):
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Their impetus motivated by the 60's & 70's London improv scene, epitomized by Derek Bailey's Company group, guitarist Dirk Serries leads this assemblage of quick-witted improviser as they challenge each other through pointillistic and sublime passages; from Tom Jackson (clarinet), Colin Webster (sax), Martina Verhoeven (piano), Dirk Serries (guitar) & Teun Verbruggen (drums). ... Click to View


Cassiber:
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Reissuing the 2013 box set of the 1980s UK/Euro improvising rock band Cassiber, including their 4 remastered studio albums + 2 additional CDs, a 2 hour DVD, and a 32-page color book, revealing an amazing band merging experimental rock, fringe jazz, punk, pop, plunderphonics, improvisation, & musique concrete with an energetic and complex form of studio composition - superb! ... Click to View


Surplus 1980:
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Composed using an "exquisite corpse" method during the pandemic, where each player provided a partially complete track with instructions to expand their concept, enlisting an incredible set of musicians across the US & Europe, directed by Moe! Staiano, including Jesse Quattro, Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, GW Sok, Amy X Neuburg, Darren Johnston, &c &c. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi:
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Documenting the complete performance at the now-shuttered Tokyo underground club SuperDeluxe, the trio of Keiji Haino on guitar, voice, flute, snare & oboe, Jim O'Rouke on 6-string bass, electric guitar, synth & electronics, and Oren Ambarchi on drums & percussion, performed for 2 hours in an amazingly diverse set of acoustic and electronic improvisation. ... Click to View


Djll / Perkins:
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Expanding on their 2007 release Kinda Green, the decades-long collaboration of SF Bay Area improvisors Tom Djll on trumpet & electronics and Tim Perkis on "coding" and electronics presents six unusual spontaneous compositions of live trumpet, electronics and real-time manipulation, release by the Ubu, Incorporated project supporting experimental and electronic music. ... Click to View


Robert Cahen:
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Electroacoustic composer Robert Cahen studied at ORTF and CNSM in Paris under Pierre Shaeffer, turning to video work in the 1970s and applying musique concrete concepts to moving image, these compositions recorded at the GRM studios between 1971 and 1974 show his mastery over sound and his expressive ability to morph transitions through rich sonic detail. ... Click to View


Horacio Vaggione :
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Specializing in micromontage, granular synthesis, and microsound, Argentinian-born and Paris-based electroacoustic composer Horacio Vaggione recorded these four compositions at at INA GRM in Paris between 1994 and 2002, each a fascinatingly detailed work illustrating his research into sound and compositions, with a stunning aesthetic for dramatically unfolding concepts. ... Click to View


Fully Celebrated Orchestra (Hobbs / Bynum / Ayers / Gray / Shanko):
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Reid / Edwards / Coudoux:
(Relative Pitch)

Three innovative cellists at the intersection of improvisation, contemporary compositional and experimental forms — Tomeka Reid from Chicago, Isidora Edwards from Chile and based in London, and Elisabeth Coudoux from Germany — meet in Wiesbaden to record these four multi-layered improvisations merging their unique perspectives with great concentrative expression. ... Click to View


Isabelle Duthoit / Franz Hautzinger:
Dans le Morvan (Relative Pitch)

French free vocalist Isabelle Duthoit and world traveling improviser and Zeitkratzer trumpeter Franz Hautzinger continue their collaborations at GMEA Centre National de Creation Musicale, in Albi, France to record these 11 unusual duos, using outrageous technique and inexplicable intent to create aberrant accompaniments to your most subtle and frightening dreams. ... Click to View


[ism] (Pat Thomas / Joel Grip / Aontonin Gerbal):
Maua (577 Records)

Recordings from the Berlin club Au Topsi Pohl where the [ism] piano trio of Pat Thomas on piano, Joel Grip on double bass and Antonin Gerbal on drums played 4-nights in a row, May 18-21, 2022, Thomas performing on a Bösendorfer grand piano, creating an omnipresent and precise sound that drove the band to great heights of interactive, warmly diverse playing. ... Click to View


Frank Denyer / Octandre Ensemble:
Screens (Another Timbre)

An exceptional collection of works by composer Frank Denyer written between 1973 and 2021, especially the monumental 5-part "Five Views of the Path", performed by the UK Octandre Ensemble led by composer Christian Mason and conductor Jon Hargreaves, which focuses on modern composers with an emphasis on works of timbre and ritual, Denyer's work being an ideal match. ... Click to View


Martin Arnold:
Flax (Another Timbre)

Commissioned in 2020 by pianist Philip Thomas, whose health prevented him from performing the work, Canadian composer Martin Arnold's 79-minute hypnotic solo work for piano emphasizes the keyboard's upper register in slow moving textural melodies influenced by innovative 50's & 60's bop pianists, performed in 2022 at the University of Huddersfield by pianist Kerry Yong. ... Click to View


Star City Survivor:
Wilderness (Soul City Sounds)

The follow-up to their debut album, Orbital Decay, finds guitarist Phil Venable and drummer Tommy Jackson delving deeper into their free duo referencing free jazz, ambient, no wave, and other forms of experimental and avant-garde music, their often turbulent dialog inspired by a desire to find hope in the world despite a contemporary period of death and injustice. ... Click to View


Tamarisk (Carter / Menestres / Weathers):
House of the People, Property is Theft (Editions Glomar)

The Tamarisk trio of bassist David Menestres, guitarist Andrew Weathers and vocalist Christina Carter (Charalambides) are heard live at Casa del Popolo, in Montreal and at PIT, in Brooklyn, New York, joined in Brooklyn by flutist Laura Cocks, each performance an extended journey between assertive, cathartic improvisation and introspective rumination. ... Click to View


Paquet X Landry:
Planter du sel (Tour de Bras)

Alternating between classical and electric guitars, Pascal Landry and Francois Paquet use a non-traditional broadcast system where the signal from their electric guitars is sent through materials selected by the musicians, creating unique tones and timbres, and providing an interesting visual aspect to their dialogs, captured here in the studio in Beauport, Quebec in 2021. ... Click to View


Terton (Belogenis / Dunn / Sawyer):
Outer, Inner, Secret (Tzadik)

In Tibetan Buddhism a terton is a person who is a discoverer of ancient hidden texts or terma, an apt description of the masterful, exploratory free jazz heard in the New York City band Terton of Trevor Dunn on bass, Louie Belogenis on tenor & soprano saxophones and Ryan Sawyer on drums, in ten powerfully assertive studio improvisations. ... Click to View


Nate Wooley:
Moths (Editions Verde)

Nate Wooley's exquisite improvised composition begins with a musical gesture and four parameters of change from each player--harmonic motion, articulation, extension, & physicality--which directs their "flight" in its slowly evolving pace, creating a varying mosaic of sound, as beautifully rendered by Laura Cocks (flute), Madison Greenstone (clarinet) and Eric Wubbels (keys & voice). ... Click to View


DUOT & ZARM Ensemble (Cirera / Prats / Zingaro / Alves / Mitzlaff / Rosso):
DUOT with Strings (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

The DUOT pairing of Argentinian, Barcelona-based sax player Albert Cirera and Spanish drummer Ramón Prats is joined on their 6th album by the Portuguese string quartet ZARM Ensemble of Carlos Zingaro on violin, David Alves on violin, Ulrich Mitzlaf on cello and Alvaro Rosso on double bass for a dynamic concert at Igreja do Espírito Santo in Caldas Da Rainha, Portugal. ... Click to View


Vuoto Bersagli (Carlo Mascolo / Giacomo Mongelli / Pino Montecalvo):
Vuoto Bersagli (FMR)

A unique approach to improvisation, the Italian trio of Carlo Mascolo on trombone & no-input trombone, Giacomo Mongelli on drums & objects and Pino Montecalvo on trombone & toy junk, use a "Blind Instant Composition" approach to their live studio improvisations, where the players are unable to see each other, forcing close listening & response to their quirky and fascinating conversations. ... Click to View


Andrew Bazzicalupo :
The Ball I Threw Has Not Yet Reached The Ground (Tour de Bras)

Recording in the studio in Nice, France, guitarist Andrea Bazzicalupo's solo album is a collection of pieces, consisting exclusively of improvisations and instant creations, moving between sonic explorations, melodic textures, experimental material and spontaneous compositions, a well-paced collection of introspective and assertive explorations. ... Click to View



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  Butcher / Charbin / Kanngiesser / Prevost 
  The Art of Noticing  
  (Matchless Recordings) 


  
   review by Brian Olewnick
  2023-12-07
Butcher / Charbin / Kanngiesser / Prevost: The Art of Noticing (Matchless Recordings)

Eddie Prévost's 80th birthday was celebrated in July 2022 as a series of four concerts, each referencing important musical associations during his lifetime (Last Calls, intended to be an AMM trio event, turned out to be a Keith Rowe/Prévost duo, John Tilbury being unable to make the date for health reasons. The recording, with Tilbury adding a beautiful addendum from afar, is very much worth hearing). On July 16th, the performance at hand took place, with a quartet consisting of John Butcher (tenor and soprano saxophones), Marjolaine Charbin (piano), Ute Kanngiesser (cello) and Prévost (percussion). Violinist Jennifer Allum was also scheduled to perform but wasn't able to attend and is recognized in absentia.

One of the striking qualities that emerges from the first of the two lengthy improvisations heard here, something not always encountered in this area of music, is a strong sense of narrative, even drama. Nothing as overt as crescendi towards climaxes, of course, but a real sense of events leading to other events, passages being tied in to passages heard later on or referring to earlier sections. This, plus a real plasticity in the sounds themselves, gives the music an organicity or, as Harry Partch might have said, a corporeality that's rare and moving. A special mention should be made of pianist Charbin, new to these ears, who manages to strike a fine balance between (relatively) non-traditional approaches — inside-piano, percussiveness, etc. — and more tonal keyboard attacks, using a fine ear for when to deploy which, in what situation, always contributing sounds that are as imaginative as they are somehow appropriate. Butcher, Kanngiesser and Prévost (bowing cymbals) blend together so smoothly as to often render the combination wonderfully difficult, not to mention unnecessary, to parse. One would also have to mention the warmth and empathy felt throughout; Prévost has always foregrounded the communitarian spirit of his music and that comes across quite clearly in this performance.

The second set is somewhat more active on the surface, tilting a bit more toward a free jazz vein, especially during the first third or so of the performance, with Butcher's fluttering soprano, Kanngiesser's skittering bow work and some bubbling, upper register playing from Charbin. Prévost's bowed metal reins things in for the middle third, encouraging more probing, considered playing from all. There's a bit of back and forth, very slowly shifting between the softly, though delightfully sour, flowing and the emergence of somewhat more effusive eruptions from thenceforth. Again, Charbin's piano provides some surprising, though quite welcome recurring chords, comforting within the gently swirling sounds. The communication between musicians is human-reaffirming, generous while retaining individuality but only as assertive as called for by the moment.

As usual for Matchless releases, we get a fine, short text from Prévost and an excellent essay from David Grundy. A truly wonderful recording, as honest and vibrant as one could hope for and a fine testimony and representation of Prévost's ideas, influence and expansive personality.



Butcher / Charbin / Kanngiesser / Prevost: The Art of Noticing
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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