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Liam Hockley (Avram / Chrysakis / Dumitrescu / Radulescu):
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Kenny Dorham:
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Joe Mcphee / Ken Vandermark:
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Birgit Ulher:
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Published on the occasion of Birgit Ulher's exhibition Split Friction at Errant Sound in Berlin from November 24-26, 2023, an interdisciplinary project spanning the intersection between exhibition, video, performance, concert and sound installation, documented in this 96 page full-color book with images from the installation, graphic scores, and essays in English & German. ... Click to View


STHLM svaga:
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Bob Drake:
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Space (Ullen / Bergman / Lund):
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A startlingly exciting album of piano trio jazz from three creative innovators, in the followup to the 2022 debut of the Swedish Space Trio of Lisa Ullen on piano, Elsa Bergman on double bass and Anna Lund on drums, recording in the studio for eight collective improvisations of extremely well matched, highly interactive and exhilarating modern improv. ... Click to View


Yedo Gibson:
Conic Tube (Relative Pitch)

Born in São Paulo, Brazil and working in Amsterdam and Lisbon, and also part of the London Improvisers Orchestra, Yedo Gibson unleashes an album of solo improvisation on the soprano and tenor saxophones, his "conic tubes" which he uses to express the potential to change environment and energy through technically impressive, expressive playing. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Rodrigues:
Intenso como o Mar (Creative Sources)

With the nearly telepathic communication that only a father & son duo could have, Lisbon violist and Creative Sources label leader Ernesto Rodridgues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues recorded these two string improvisations live at Cossoul in Lisbon during the "Esta Noite Improvisa-se", a melding of remarkable technique, concentration and profound expression. ... Click to View


Violaine Gestalder :
Furtive (Creative Sources)

With an impressive resume in improvised and contemporary forms, French saxophonist Violaíne Gestalder presents three major conceptual works for multiple players, using studio layering to perform all parts herself on soprano sax, voice & effects, a comprehensive, yearning, powerful and often mysteriously beautiful album that draws on her skills as a composer, improviser and experimenter. ... Click to View


Loris Binot / Violaine Gestalder :
Loris Binot & Violaine Gestalder (Creative Sources)

A contemplative and building collection of electroacoustic improvisations from French alto & soprano saxophonist Violaine Gestalder, augmenting her horn with effect pedals, and pianist Loris Binot, using preparations, magnetic bows and electronics to create sustained and percussive elements, recording in the CIM auditorium in Bal-Le-Duc, France for five rich and fascinating dialogs. ... Click to View



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  Liam Hockley (Music by Avram / Chrysakis / Dumitrescu / Radulescu) 
  Pulse Tide  
  (Aural Terrains) 


  
   review by Massimo Ricci
  2024-05-29
Liam Hockley (Music by Avram / Chrysakis / Dumitrescu / Radulescu): Pulse Tide (Aural Terrains)

An imprint that offers cerebral yet sensorily engaging releases is rather uncommon. Aural Terrains does exactly that, regularly presenting programs with multiple points of interest. They may not always be within the reach of immediate fulfilment, but the angles of observation and the cues for in-depth study of the material are more than enough for yours truly. On the disc under review here, clarinet virtuoso Liam Hockley tackles challenging scores for basset horn, composed by three renowned representatives of the Romanian avant-garde: Ana-Maria Avram, Iancu Dumitrescu, Horațiu Rădulescu. In the midst of them stands an excellent piece by label honcho Thanos Chrysakis.

At this point, let me introduce a description of the basset horn by none other than George Bernard Shaw (aka Corno di Bassetto during his stint as music critic), in turn quoted by Donal Henahan in a New York Times article dated 1983: "It is a wretched instrument, now completely snuffed out for general use by the bass clarinet. It would be forgotten and unplayed if it were not that Mozart has scored for it in his Requiem, evidently because its peculiar watery melancholy, and the total absence of any richness or passion in its tone, is just the thing for a funeral". Assuming that this reviewer's opinion about Mozart as the greatest composer ever of cell phone ringtones is quite high, it is funny to compare the aural blindness of selected members of vintage intelligentsia to the effective ability of evolved composers to get the most out of a given instrument.

Avram's "Penumbra" (originally intended for clarinet/bass clarinet) and Dumitrescu's "Aura" (again, for bass clarinet in the initial form) highlight Hockley's expertise as a soloist. The possibilities of the basset horn and those of a musician willing to plumb its expressive depths are equally delineated in both pieces, typified by severely dissonant phraseologies, microtonal investigations, multifarious techniques. The performer extrapolates logic from any page, not to mention a wealth of upper partials that the aforementioned Shaw could not even imagine existed at the time of his rant. Chrysakis' "Egress" and Rădulescu's "Capricorn's Nostalgic Crickets" respectively employ five and seven superimposed basset horns, although in principle Rădulescu conceived the score for "7 identical woodwinds". There, it is the composer's clairvoyance that determines the success of the whole, subject to the instrumentalist's technical prowess and interpretive brio. Some contrapuntal designs may appear too complex to the inexperienced, but for a trained ear the intertwining lines are so well grounded in a concept of absolute lucidity that they resonate almost familiarly after four listens or so.

I'd suggest looking elsewhere if you are a bit too passionate, or plain romantic. Throughout Pulse Tide, one gets a glimpse of primary perceptions that privilege stern intellect over guts. Or perhaps as is often the case your chronicler is still missing something; and because of that, he will humbly press "play" once again.



Liam Hockley (Music by Avram / Chrysakis / Dumitrescu / Radulescu): Pulse Tide
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