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Peter Brotzmann / Majid Bekkas / Hamid Drake:
Catching Ghosts (ACT Music + Vision)

A powerful, spiritual and warmly dynamic album of international and cross-cultural free improvisation meticulously recorded live at Jazzfest Berlin in 2022 from the trio of German reedist Peter Brötzmann on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Chicago drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake, and Moroccan guembri player and vocalist Majid Bekkas. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman Quartet (w/ Shipp / Helias / Rainey):
Water Music (RogueArt)

After shattering the mouthpiece he had used for years, tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman searched for a replacement, choosing the same mouthpiece used by Paul Desmond, provoking a shift in style to more melodic lines, as heard in this studio album performed with the exemplary quartet of pianist Matthew Shipp, double bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman / Ike Levin Duo:
Infinite Dimensions (CLM)

Two spontaneously composed original improvisation from the collaborative partnership of Ike Levin on tenor saxophone and Joel Futterman on piano & Indian flute, their long history together allowing great depth of connection, passionate expression and periods of reflective contemplation, weaving their playing with meticulous detail inside an impressive and masterful journey. ... Click to View


Henry Kaiser:
The Lost Chord (Metalanguage)

Includes a free copy of Trouble with the Treble while quantities last!
Focused around a poem by Adelaide Anne Procter title "A Lost Chord", West Coast guitarist Henry Kaiser invokes the spirit of Procter's words through a stunningly beautiful album of both contemplative and technically excellent work, his first solo album performed on the lower tuned baritone guitar, in 10 tracks inspired by Frith, Xenakis, Evan Parker, Ligeti, &c. ... Click to View


Polwechsel:
Embrace [4 LP BOX SET] (NI-VU-NI-CONNU)

BACK IN STOCK! The current Polwechsel quartet of Werner Dafeldecker, Michael Moser, Martin Brandlmayr and Burkhard Beins — merging improvisation and contemporary forms for outstandingly paced and conceptualized performance — are joined by luminaries John Butcher, Klaus Lang, Magda Mayas, Andrea Neumann and Peter Ablinger, released in a deluxe 4-LP box set with a 32-page booklet. ... Click to View


Otomo Yoshihide :
Hummingbird and Four Flowers: Turntable and Harmonium Solo Live (Hitorri)

Part of a concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Ftarri's physical store in Suidobashi, Tokyo, drawing on performers from the Improvised Music From Japan imprint, turntable and sonic legend Otomo Yoshihide performed this solo concert in two sets, first using a turntable and the Ftarri store's harmonium (pump organ), and then on the turntable alone. ... Click to View


J. Gregg J. / David Van Auken:
Lunar Prairie [CD w/ DOWNLOAD] (IntangibleCat)

After meeting through mutual esteem of their individual SoundCloud presences, these Oregon string players met to develop their compellingly engaging work in rehearsal, David Van Auken's guitar arrangements the perfect canvas for the sitar melodies of J.J. Gregg; after touring together they went into the studio for this album's 8 tracks, plus two live recordings. ... Click to View


Nomi Epstein:
Shades (Another Timbre)

Influenced by New York School composers, Fluxus, Oliveros Sonic Meditations, and Wandelweiser, Boston-based composer Nomi Epstein's fascinating scores take unique and experimental approaches to composition, heard here in three chamber works, two recorded by London's Apartment House, and a live recording from a 2019 concert in Berlin, "sounds for Berlin". ... Click to View


Marco Baldini:
Maniera (Another Timbre)

Seven works from Italian composer Marco Baldini, a follow-up to his well received 2023 album Vesperi, this album introducing a variety of recent chamber works for strings from trios to quintets, performed by members of London's Apartment House ensemble, with the pieces "Selva", "Plutone" and "Otto" written specifically for Apartment House. ... Click to View


Florian Wittenburg :
Regenprasseln (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Translating to "rain pattering", German-born international sound artist Florian Wittenburg uses a MetaSynth and the Kyma visual programming language for sound design to emulate the sounds of rain pattering from aperiodic to periodic in two parts, along with heating noises in two parts, and a clock ticking; compellingly structured accompaniment to your personal ambiance. ... Click to View


Oliver Schwerdt / Barry Guy / Baby Sommer:
Fucking Ballads (Euphorium)

An enthusiastic and energetically powerful trio meeting between three masters--Oliver Schwerdt on grand piano & percussion, Barry Guy on double bass and Baby Sommer on drums & percussion--performing live in 2021 at naTo, in Leipzig for two extended improvisations of remarkable communication, incredible virtuosity, but most importantly, incredible and compelling creative drive! ... Click to View


JAKAL (Fred Lonberg-Holm / Keefe Jackson / Julian Kirshner):
Peroration (Amalgam)

Formerly known as J@K@L, this Chicago trio has explored hard hitting improvisation since 2014, the band name an amalgamation of the performer's names--Keefe Jackson on tenor & sopranino saxophone & tube, Julian Kirshner on drums and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, tenor guitar and electronics--in a dynamic and exciting 2022 concert at Elastic Arts, in Chicago. ... Click to View


The Remote Viewers :
Inside The Blizzard / Trivia (Remote Viewers)

UK Composer David Pett's Remote Viewers present two large works: "Inside the Blizzard" in five parts of configurations from solo to quintet; and "Trivia", a quintet work in eight parts; solid, compelling work of forceful confidence from members Adrian Northover, Sue Lynch, Caroline Krabbel & Petts on sax, John Edwards on bass, Hutch Demouilpied on trumpet and Rosa Theodora on piano. ... Click to View


Teiku (Harlow / Taylor / Shahid / Formanek / Leafar):
Teiku (577 Records)

Teiku, a Talmudic acronym that roughly translates to "unanswered question", was co-founded by pianist Josh Harlow and percussionist Jonathan Barahal Taylor to explore each of their family's unique Passover vocal melodies through improvisation and sonic exploration, performed in a quintet with Art Ensemble/Sun Ra bassist Jaribu Shahid and reedists Peter Formanek & Rafael Leafar. ... Click to View


Jorge Nuno:
Labirinto (Phonogram Unit)

After recovering from heart surgery, Portuguese guitarist Jorge Nuno (Ensemble MIOA, Isoptope, Voltaic Trio, &c) records this solo improv album to show his resilience, performed primarily on acoustic guitar in a balanced journey of assertive and introspective playing, accompanied by an insert of a text work by Rui Baião. ... Click to View


Bruno Duplant / Rutger Zuydervelt:
Edge Of Oblivion (Machinefabriek)

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:
Grund (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Since 2021 Swiss composer Felix Profos and drummer Peter Conradin Zumthor have performed as the duo Grund, Profos performing on harmonium and on the 1973 Italian organ Bontempi Pop3, Zumthor on bass drum, gong, bells & snare, their extended work on this self-titled album a tranquil and meditative work of slow transitions with moments of terse activity, receding with grace and serenity. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith:
Emergent Spacetime (Evil Clown)

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:
Reach (Evil Clown)

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:
Open Me, A Higher Consciousness Of Sound And Spirit (Spiritmuse Records)

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:
Perspicacity (Soul City Sounds)

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):
Flora Oblique [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Amalgam)

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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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  The Upside of Dowloading  
by Scott MX Turner

This is what it's come to: A 12-year-old girl in New York was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America, those asswipes, for fileswapping / filesharing / downloading.

The mighty mouthpiece of megacorporate music. Hey, I like that alluring alliteration, so much so I'm gonna upper case it. Those Asswipes, The Mighty Mouthpiece of Megacorporate Music ... suing a 12-year-old for acquiring "If You're Happy And Your Know It, Clap Your Hands" without paying for it.

A fucking campfire song.

As you know, Those Asswipes are suing hundreds of filesharers throughout the land in the belief that free downloads are killing music.

How adorable!

Those Asswipes are on a nostalgia trip, just like the rest of us. They're reliving the good old days of "home taping is killing music," "radio broadcasts are killing music," "recorded music is killing music" and "sheet music is killing music."

They're so cute!

Especially since it's music that's killing music.

More precisely, the music biz that's killing music.

Here's why sales are down so badly that Universal has reduced suggested retail prices by a whopping 30%:

1) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

2) The music biz promotes increasingly smaller numbers of acts of increasingly worse quality;

3) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

4) The biz capriciously switched formats, from vinyl to digital, and now has to lie in the cold and soulless bed it made;

5) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

6) Said format change has reduced fans' appreciation and need for artwork, making downloads a less unattractive alternative;

7) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

8) Politically and culturally conservative Clear Channel is locking up radio stations nationwide, rendering radio itself a wasteland of Lee Greenwood anthems and Timberlakeian pop drivel...the opposite of "limitless possibilities."

9) CDs are obscenely overpriced.

Since I subtly got you thinking about the retail price of today's compact disc, let's have a little look, a little see...

For indie artists like myself, a CD costs $1-2 to manufacture on an order of 1,000 discs - the standard order for most bands issuing their own releases. The larger the pressing order, the cheaper the discs. Indie bands have learned what the major labels haven't: You don't need to blow million$ to make a great album.

Obviously, the Megacorporate Music Labels get much larger bulk discounts on the manufacturing end. They just refuse to pass the savings on to you.

And obviously, Megacorporate Music Labels spend more on one artist's in-store posters than most indie bands make in a year.

They're entitled to the discounts - they do press a lotta discs. But not the immoral expenditures keeping their publicity juggernauts afloat.

Unlike P. Diddy and Sir Elton, indie bands don't generally put a gun to their labels head for overwrought videos, Courvoisier and Lear jets. More to the point, indie labels can't afford it. Major labels should urge spoiled brat superstars to experiment with anatomically impossible solo sex acts, and instead divert the money to signing good bands, getting 'em out on the road, and really bringing down the price of CDs.

Sticking to the basics means better music at cheaper prices.

The Megacorporate Music Labels haven't learned that one just yet, even though screams of "ohmyfuckingGodwe'redoomed!!!" can be heard coursing through the hallways at Bertelsman, AOL Time Warner, Sony, Universal and their megamates.

Now that the expected bumper crop of the analog-to-digital forced march - everyone buying the CD version of Dark Side Of The Moon to replace their vinyl copy - has waned, the big labels are running on fumes. Weirdly, they're only starting to learn how to use the Internet to make money. The biz is like your old, grouchy Uncle Fred, the one who never gets it and won't take anyone's advice.

Then again, how weird can it be when you're dealing with people who couldn't predict the utter ease of counterfeiting and bootlegging digital releases?

As for radio - the free downloading of choice in the '70s, '80s and '90s, thanks to blank cassettes - the Clear Channels are making sure that less, and less imaginative, bands are coming to the forefront. Very few commercial channels are freeform these days. Not the hippie freeform playlists of 20-minute live tracks, but rather djs being allowed to think for themselves ... having the freedom to choose tracks they believe in.

The last remaining bastion of alternative radio, smallpower college stations, are under attack from the FCC, local religious groups, conservative on-campus student organizations, and funding cuts at universities across the land. The FCC periodically makes noise about repealing college stations' exemptions and forcing commercial-standards compliance they can't possibly meet.

Know this: the battle over downloading is the same as any other socio/political/economic struggle in the world today, a war between the haves and the have-nots.

The haves, represented by Those Asswipes,

Here's how most musicians make money these days: live dates, touring and selling merchandise. Record sales are the primary source of income for a small percentage of musicians.

How could they be? The average pre-taxed take for major label musicians on their album sales is 3 to 7 cents on the dollar. If you're in the MetallicaLLCoolJ stratosphere, you're making a lot of money from cds. If you're on any of the lower levels, you simply use cds as portal to earning a living.

Those Asswipes and the Megacorporate Music Biz are gonna have to change their way of thinking, buying, selling and promoting. If they wanna stay in business, they're gonna have to sell cds at fair value prices, prices that support a decent salary for working musicians (whose pay scale must be increased) and trim the fat from label heads and superstar artists (whose pay scales must be slashed). The more radical idea - that times have changed and recorded music now plays a support role to live music, not vice versa - must be embraced, and music labels need to make the shift. It doesn't mean layoffs, it just means learning new modes and skill sets.

And what of the kids? Those sweeties who spend their campus days searching for WiFi hotspots to download music? Are they part of an evil cabal to deprive us musicians the right to earn a living? Do they truly hate Metallica and Dr. Dre and - no! - Those Asswipes? Are they ... are they ... un-American in their refusal to embrace free-market capitalism?

Probably not, since many support bands whose music they download by purchasing t-shirts, concert tickets, books and magazines with their heroes on the cover. A lot of 'em end up buying the albums anyway.

People who download become music fans. Or they already are, and want to expand their horizons. In other words, just the kind of informed consumer Those Asswipes fear. Because the more access music fans have to music, the more support they give to musicians. Downloaders don't sit in front of their computers, gleefully rubbing their hands and churlishly celebrating depriving musicians of a salary. Rather, they're trying to remain music fans in the face of overpriced cds of limited choice.

And that's terrifying to a business controlled by Those Asswipes, their megacorporate clients, and the Clear Channels of the world.

Musicians should be paid a fair wage. We shouldn't have to nickel-and-dime with club owners and record labels who, without us, wouldn't have a pot to piss in. There need to be more organizations like the old Noise Action Coalition, which worked hard to fuse labor activism with the New York downtown scene in order to earn fair pay for musicians on both fronts.

The thing is, downloading and filesharing ultimately aren't about who gets paid, but rather, about new models for the distribution of culture. That, and our increasing independence from the old models, which have stood for exploitation of music workers and condescension toward music buyers.

And if that makes you happy and you know it, clap your hands.



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reviews about releases
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written by
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


JAKAL (
Fred Lonberg-Holm /
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Julian Kirshner):
Peroration
(Amalgam)



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