The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Paint (Hot Cup)

The first release by the piano trio configuration of Mostly Other People Do the Killing and features bassist/composer Moppa Elliott, pianist Ron Stabinsky, and drummer Kevin Shea, with each composition named after a small town in Pennsylvania that contains a color, and the town of "Paint, PA" lent its name to the title, with one apt Duke Ellington cover. ... Click to View


Moppa Elliott : Still, Up In The Air (Hot Cup)

Solo double-bass improvisations from Mostly Other People Do the Killing bassist and leader Moppa Elliot, consisting of sequences of contrasting themes, or musical cubism in the spirit of Picasso and Braque, presenting 7 of 14 sequences where the improvisation is a series of disparate musical ideas that transition rapidly in an attempt to disrupt the linear progression of thematic development. ... Click to View


Leandre / Minton: Leandre / Minton (Fou Records)

Phil Minton started as a trumpeter and became one of free improv's most outside vocalists; Joelle Leandre is a double bassist who also performs free vocal improv; this is their first recorded collaboration, and it's an unusual and wonderful album of heavy tone improvisation, plucked and bowed, and a masterfully odd free association of vocalisation. ... Click to View


Talibam! : Endgame Of The Anthropocene [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam!'s 1st cinematic album of through-composed ecogothic geosonics, the "soundtrack to 2048's despotic nationalism and crumbling international infrastructure, underscoring an eco-mercantilistic tragedy and the desperate plundering of the last pristine landscape on Earth" from NY's duo of Matt Mottel on mini moog and synths, and Kevin Shea on drums, and midi mallet percussion. ... Click to View


Talibam! / Matt Nelson / Ron Stabinsky: Hard Vibe [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam! with Matt Mottel on sax, Kevin Shea on drums, Matt Mottel on Fender Rhodes and synth and Ron Stabinsky on organ take inspiration from Herbie Hancock's 70's electronics, Miles Davis' "On the Corner" and Albert Ayler's New grass in compositions that transforms aspects of rhythm changes into a disciplined sequence, a new take on psychedelic jazz. ... Click to View


Crys Cole / Oren Ambarchi: Hotel Record [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

A double LP and the second release from the duo of Crys Cole and Oren Ambarchi, also romantic partners, as they explore their relationship through sound and voice, each side presenting a unique approach to their collaboration while maintaining a certain somnambulist feeling over rich guitar and organ work, and other unfathomable sound. ... Click to View


Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Thinking Out Loud (Trost Records)

The third album from this international trio of powerful improvisers--Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, and Chicago/NY saxophonist Mars William-- in four odysseys that take the listener from introspective playing to out and out blowing, using technique to serve their incredible dialog. ... Click to View


Sven-Ake Johansson / Alexander Von Schlippenbach : Schraubenlieder [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Drummer Sven-Ake Johansson is also a poet, writer and visual artist; here he joined forced with Alexander von Schlippenbach in 1988 to record these songs, never previously released, sung in German and English, for a set of 9 fascinating narrations that engage the listener independent of language, as von Schlippenbach improvises with prodigious technique. ... Click to View


Annette Peacock & Paul Bley: Dual Unity (Bamboo)

Reissuing the debut album by vocalist Annette Peacock and pianist Paul Bley recorded during their first European tour in 1970, in a quartet with compatriots Mario Pavone on bass and Laurence Cook on drums, Bley using an early Moog synthesizer; unique and original avant jazz. ... Click to View


Paul Bley Trio: Closer [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Paul Bley's 2nd ESP album from 1966, a lyrical and lush trio setting with material mostly from Carla Bley, one Ornette Coleman number, and one from Annette Peacock, with Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on percussion, exploratory free jazz that uses melodic intention in assertive but not aggressive aways; a classic. ... Click to View


Pharoah Sanders : Quintet [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Pharoah Sanders' 1965 debut release on ESP, in a quinet with Jane Getz on piano, William Bennett on bass, Stan Foster on trumpet and Mavin Pattillo on percussion, decidedly a jazz album from this outside player known for his association with John Coltrane in his freeist moments, here bridging lyrical and avant worlds with powerful playing. ... Click to View


Wadada Smith Leo: Najwa (Tum)

Paying tribute to musicians whose vision paved the way for modern creative players to use new approaches, language and philosophy in improvisation, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's band with four guitarists, electric bass, drums and percussion dedicates five incredible compositions to Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Billie Holiday. ... Click to View


Wadada Smith Leo: Solo - Reflections And Meditations On Monk (Tum)

An intimate album of solo trumpet from Wadada Leo Smith, performing compositions by Thelonious Monk, Smith professing in an essay in the accompanying booklet that he was motivated to become a composer by Monk above other contemporaries for his ideas of composition and bands; his admiration and love of Monk's work is clear in this beautifully lyrical album. ... Click to View


Aki Takase / Alexander von Schlippenbach: So Long, Eric! Homage to Eric Dolphy (Intakt)

Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase assembled an ensemble of Dolphy interpreters that includes bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall, saxophonist Tobias Delius, vibraphonist Karl Berger, trumpeter Axel Dorner, trombonist Nils Wogram, &c, for a fresh take on compositions from one of free jazz's most iconic composers, Eric Dolphy, captured live in Berlin, 2014. ... Click to View


Steve Noble / Yoni Silver: Home (Aural Terrains)

The two-headed snake on the cover of this album aptly describes the sublimely sinuous and dark interplay between London free jazz drummer Steve Noble and bass clarinetist Yoni Silver, their 4-part improvisation taking on sinister elements of exceptional cymbal techniques, unusual drum tones, and extended lower register tones and high harmonics; excellent. ... Click to View


Various Artists: Asian Meeting Recordings #1 (Doubtmusic)

Otomo Yoshihide started The Asian Meeting Festival in 2005 to foster creative interaction between Japanese and other Asian musicians, since 2014 curated by DJ Sniff, and here in the 2017 edition at GOK Sound, in Tokyo, Japan with a who's-who of players including Yoshihide, Ryoko Ono, Ko Ishikawa, Son X, KEITO, Yuji Ishihara, Yuen Chee Wai, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Jim Black Trio: The Constant (Intakt)

A beautiful example of the modern piano trio, led by in-demand drummer, Jim Black, with Elias Stemeseder the pianist and Thomas Morgan on bass, in a lyrical album that uses Black's compelling and elusive drumming on 9 original Black compositions and one unexpected standard, as all three deliver complex playing that sounds accessible and engaging, a true achievement. ... Click to View


Fred Frith / Barry Guy: Backscatter Bright Blue (Intakt)

Both bassist Barry Guy and guitarist Fred Frith are key artists of Switzerland's Intakt label catalog, but surprisingly the two have never shared a stage together; Intakt had a feeling about their pairing and brought them into the studio, this superb duo album being the result in 10 brilliant tracks intertwining acoustic double bass and electric guitar. ... Click to View


Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (Intakt)

Proclaiming that he nothing more in mind then getting together with a couple of formidable musicians, guitarist Fred Frith and Mills College alumni Jordan Glenn on drums and Jason Hoopes on electric and double bass take their listeners through 13 connected pieces that reference rock, jazz and ea-soundscape in an impressive album from a remarkable new group. ... Click to View


Lotte Anker / Fred Frith: Edge Of The Light (Intakt)

An intimate dialog between frequent collaborators, UK guitarist Fred Frith and Copenhagen saxophonist Lotte Anker, both players listening carefully as they interact in a fragile dialog of profound technique and inventive approach, using texture and nuance to create unusual and captivating interchanges that demonstrate how compatible these two very different instruments can be. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Features (Intakt)

The long-standing Schlippenbach Trio with Evan Parker on saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums presents 15 concise "Features", improvisations of great depth and diversity, from the beautifully stark solo piano that opens the album to intense collective interactions, avoiding excess in deference to the profound expression of an inspiring group chemistry. ... Click to View


Mark Dresser : Modicana [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Double Bassist Mark Dresser, a mainstay of the Downtown NY scene as an improviser and composer, and also prominent on the US West Coast and as an international touring artist, releases a powerful album of distinctive solo playing, both technically and melodically, with 2 tracks caught live at the Umea Jazz Festival and others recorded at the University of California, San Diego. ... Click to View


Bobby Bradford / Hafez Modirzadeh / Ken Filiano / Royal Hartigan: Live at the Magic Triangle [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A live concert at Amherst, Massachusetts in 2016 as part of the Magical Triangle Jazz Series from the quartet of legendary cornetist Bobby Bradford, Turkish saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh on tenor, in-demand New York bassist Ken Filiano, and percussionist/drummer Royal Hartigan, the band performing two Bradford compositions, with one each from Filiano, Modirzadeh and Hartigan. ... Click to View


Andrew Lamb / Warren Smith / Arkadijus Gotesmanas: The Sea of Modicum [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Captured live at the 2016 Vilnius Jazz Festival, the free jazz trio of saxophonist Andrew Lamb and percussionists Warren Smith and Arkadijus Gotesmanas provide a unique orchestration, with the percussionists building rhythmic structures over which AACM alumni Lamb's powerful saxophone work emerges; a great album of solid exploratory free jazz. ... Click to View


Yedo Gibson / Hernani Faustino / Vasco Trilla: CHAIN (NoBusiness)

A fiery and energetic album of masterful free jazz from Brazilian saxophonist Yedo Gibson, Portuguese-Brazilian drummer and percussionist Vasco Trilla, and Portuguese bass player Hernani Faustino (Red Trio, K4 Quadrado Azul), recording in the studio for 6 dynamic dialogs that uses a variety of approaches and references to free jazz and creative improv. ... Click to View


TON-KLAMI (Midori Takada / Kang Tae Hwan / Masahiko Satoh): Prophesy of Nue (NoBusiness)

Ton-Klami was an influential Japanese free improvising band active in the 90s, and leading to the solo careers of percussionist Midori Takada, pianist Masahiko Satoh, and saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan; here the band is heard in a 1995 live concert recorded at Design Plaza Hofu in Yamaguchi, Japan, recorded by Chap-Chap Records but never released. ... Click to View


Liudas Mockunas : Hydro [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Lithuanian reedist Liudas Mockunas in an unusual record of clarinet and saxophone improvisations, from solo work of powerful technique to pieces using water prepared instruments to create a wealth of bubbling and aberrant sound on the instrument, side A presenting the 7 part "Hydration Suite", Side B the 3 part "Rehydration", and "Dehydration". ... Click to View


James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View


James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View


Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra: The Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 [2 10-INCH VINYL RECORDS] (Art Yard)

A double 10" featuring unreleased and rare Sun Ra recordings, including a live track from Paris in 1983, two unreleased cuts from the "Disco 3000" concert tapes, a quartet session with Sun Ra on the Crumar Mainman synth, and three selections from the Sub-Underground series of Saturn LPs, including a ballad and new material from "Live at Temple" and "What's New". ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Instrumentals
We've asked a number of musicians to write about their instruments of choice, taking a view that is either personal, historical or, in some cases, just unusual. The results are to be found in these pages.


  The Accordion (& the Outsider)  


By Pauline Oliveros 2004-04-26
The Accordion (& the Outsider) By Pauline Oliveros


[Photo: Gisela Gamper - seehearnow.org]
Calling All Accordions! If there is an accordion in your attic, basement or closet why not get it out and let it breathe with you? Accordions are good friends and get lonely sitting around unused! They want to be played just like any other good instrument.

Get the accordion out of its isolation, put it on and just depress the air button. Let the air go through as you pull and push the bellows in a smooth arc and just listen to the air. This is the breath of the instrument. Let your own breath join with the accordion.

After the breathing duet gently depress a button or a key (just one or the other at first) and listen to the tone join the breathing.

Here is a piece that I wrote for myself to explore breathing with the accordion:

Horse Sings From Cloud
For solo or ensemble

Hold a tone until you no longer desire to change it.
When you no longer desire to change the tone then change it.

Pauline Oliveros 1979
Copyright Deep Listening Publications 1979

I have played the accordion for more than sixty years. I consider my accordion to be an amplification of my breath. The ancestor of the accordion the 4,000-year-old Chinese sheng (mouth organ) is breath-driven with a mouthpiece attached to a gourd resonator with free metal reeds vibrating inside of vertical bamboo pipes fixed into the gourd. There are finger holes in the gourd for changing pitches. The fingers pick up vibration from the gourd. The sheng is a beautifully integrated instrument for breath and touch.

http://www.musicofchina.com/sheng.html

The accordion (invented in 1840 in Vienna) with its keyboard/buttons and bellows remove the reeds from direct human breath, but its still a wind instrument with air-driven free reeds. The keys, when pressed, open valves that let the bellows blow air through the reeds to cause them to vibrate. I synchronize my breath with the air in the bellows as the reeds come to life and sound.

http://www.accordions.com/index/his/his_inv_dev.shtml

Playing the accordion has influenced my interest in breath-oriented music - that is pieces that are shaped by breath-like rhythms that flow organically as illustrated by Horse Sings From Cloud.

The instrument also lends itself very well to sharp articulations or accents so that dance rhythms and polyrhythms found in conjunto and tango are natural to the accordion as well.

I started learning accordion when I was nine years old. I was fascinated when my piano playing mother brought one home to learn in order to increase her earning power. Accordion was very popular in the 1940s. There were very large accordion schools in Houston Texas, where I was born in 1932.

I quickly learned the basics of music with melody with bass and chord accompaniment. I soon could play many tunes - especially World War II songs like "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer" or "White Cliffs of Dover" and many others.

A very significant experience for me in my first year of study was performing in the rodeo in the Houston Coliseum in a 100-piece accordion band. The overall sound of the band remains with me today. The sound was powerful and resonated throughout the Coliseum. That was the first experience that turned my attention to the timbre of the instrument and especially of many instruments sounding together simultaneously.

The accordion is rich in overtones. Subtly varying key/button and air pressures bring out different overtone structures for each pitch. The use of registers to open and close ranks of reeds increases the richness of possibilities. Unison reed sets tuned a few cents apart cause even more commotion with the overtones and beat frequencies.

After about a year of instruction from a rather limited teacher, I began to lose interest. I needed more stimulation and challenge. In 1945 my new teacher returned from serving in the Army. Dr. Willard Palmer (Bill) rekindled the fire of passion for the accordion and challenged me in many new ways. I began to progress again.

According to the Web site Mr. Smarty Pants Knows: "Professor Willard Palmer is credited with having the longest continuous master's degree program in accordion ever (it was at the University of Houston). Palmer also appeared on the television show, "America's Funniest Videos" playing the "Beer Barrel Polka" on the accordion. It fell apart in the middle of the song."

http://www.auschron.com/mrpants/accordion.html

My teacher showed two sides with his accordion playing: the serious musician seeking to elevate the accordion into the Classical canon and the commercial comedic musician seeking to make some money to support his family. Eventually Bill took up the harpsichord, got a PhD in musicology and became an expert on baroque and classical ornamentation. He edited Bach and Mozart for Alfred Publications and wrote the Palmer-Hughes accordion method books with his former student and partner Bill Hughes. These books were formulated while I was studying with him and have served thousands of students through the years.

http://trfn.clpgh.org/free-reed/essays/palmer.html

I entered the University of Houston as an accordion major In Palmer's program. During that time I learned to play baroque and classical solo pieces. I also participated in an accordion quartet playing Haydn string quartets. Sometimes I filled in for the lack of string players in the University orchestra. I also played popular music, folk and jazz to earn my living. I began teaching accordion privately when I was fifteen years old.

One special thing Palmer taught me was to listen for difference tones. (The difference between two frequencies sounding simultaneously). Difference tones fascinated me and later became the basis of my early electronic music I of IV - 1966, which was released in 1968 by Odyssey, Bye Bye Butterfly (1965) was released in 1975 by Arch Records. These have been reissued on cd along with other titles that are just now being released after thirty years on the shelf.

http://www.sfu.ca/sca/Manuals/ZAAPf/c/com_difftones.html

My awareness of timbre increased as I joined my high school concert band as a French Horn player. No accordions were allowed in traditional musical ensembles. The accordion is an outsider instrument invented after the Baroque and Classical periods so there is no repertoire except for transcriptions from the Western classical canon. I tried to imitate the timbres I perceived in band and orchestra with my accordion. I could do this through air pressure and touch.

My interest in composition increased with Palmer's encouragement. I left the University of Houston to seek a composition mentor after three years of study and went to San Francisco. There I met and studied with the composer Robert Erickson. I realized that composition was my path. Performing took second place for a while as I plunged into writing music and making electronic music.

In the '60s I helped to found the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Ramon Sender Barayon and Morton Subotnik. We made our taped electronic music there and also created a concert series. Soon we were creating many pieces that involved performers with tape or live electronics. Additionally we engaged in group improvisation.

I began to improvise with my accordion and to perform again. Ramon wrote a solo accordion piece with tape accompaniment for me called Desert Ambulance. I wrote Duo for Accordion and Bandoneon with Possible Mynah Bird Obligato for David Tudor and me. Desert Ambulance had about twenty-five performances with visuals by light artist Anthony Martin.

David and I performed the "See Saw" version of the Duo with the see saw conceived and constructed by Elizabeth Harris. She also constructed a mobile suspended above the center of the see saw for Ahmed the mynah bird and created choreography for the movement of the see saw. The see saw went up and down, clockwise and counterclockwise and had seats that spun around as well. The varieties of motion effectively distributed the sounds of our instruments spatially. Anthony Martin created a light score for the Duo as well.

The Duo had only two performances until it was revived in the late 80s for a show in San Francisco. I performed the piece with Gordon Mumma without the mynah bird (much to my chagrin) and without the light score. The Duo seems to have a long life in memory as people continue to mention it to me after almost forty years since the premiere performances. Toru Takemitsu, Toshi Ichianagi, Kuni Haru Akiyama and John Cage were in the audience.

One highlight of the San Francisco Tape Music Center performances was the premiere of Terry Riley's In C for Instruments at our 321 Divisadero concert hall. Terry had intended In C as a piece for his friends to play together. I played accordion, Mort played clarinet, Terry played flute. Steve Reich played as well. None of us could keep together so the piano pulse was added. All of us felt that Terry had created something very special even though we didn't play the piece very well. Alfred Frankenstein of the San Francisco Chronicle hailed In C as a 20th Century masterpiece. From the perspective of almost forty years and innumerable performances later, Frankenstein was right! I played in many of those performances with my accordion through the years. Actually I would like to hear it with a 100-piece accordion band - what a sound that would make.

When I left my teaching position at the University of California, San Diego, I was considered a composer of electronic music rather than a performer. I kept my hand in with an improvisation ensemble I organized outside of the University.

Leaving a full professorship with tenure in 1981 was a leap of faith. I moved from San Diego to upstate New York to live in back of Zen Mountain Center in Mt. Tremper. I lived in an A-frame in a meadow that looked at the mountain. There was no running water and just enough electricity to run my first computer, which I bought in 1983. I sent out a postcard with a picture of me playing the accordion noting that I was available for concerts, lectures, workshops and consultations.

It was important for me to assert my identity as an accordion player at the time. For me the accordion is a symbol of the outsider. Accordion music is associated with the working class and had no place in the establishment musical organizations representing the Western musical canon. As a composer I also felt like an outsider. I realized that to earn a living outside of the university I would have to perform. I embraced my old friend the accordion.



continued...





Previous Instrumental Articles:
The Guitar (& Why) - Derek Bailey
The Banjo (& guitarist Johnny PayCheck) - Eugene Chadbourne
The Violin (& The Infidel) - Jon Rose


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


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (13064)