The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Seijaku: Last Live [2 CDs] (Doubtmusic)

Long form twisted blues from the Japanese Seijaku Trio of Keiji Haino (guitar, voice, violin & flute), Mitsuru Nasuno (bass) and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku (drums), performing live at Club Goodman in Tokyo in 2014, for an album of profoundly introspective and dark music. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Mitsuru Nasuno / Yoshimitsu Ichiraku: After Seijaku [2 CDs] (Doubtmusic)

The Seijaku Trio of Keiji Haino (electronics, guitar, voice), Mitsuru Nasuno (bass, electronics) and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku (electronics), recording 2 years after the "Last Live" album, in an epic voyage of meditative and intricate electronics performed live in Tokyo. ... Click to View


Shelton / Lonberg-Holm / Rosaly: Resounder (Singlespeed Music)

Half of Chicago's Fast Citizens sextet, Aram Shelton (sax), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello & electronics), and Frank Rosaly (percussion) recorded these free improvisations in the studio then post-processed them to enhance their intricate and unusual electroacoustic dialog. ... Click to View


Arnold Hammershlag : No Face, No Name (Skirl)

A rich, diverse and irrepressibly melodic album from trumpeter Arnold Hammershlag blending jazz with Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Latin influences, in a quintet with Sam Barfeld (violin), Wil Holshouser (accordion), Brian Glassman (bass) and Aaron Alexander (drums). ... Click to View


Anna Webber (w/ Matt Mitchell / John Hollenbeck): Simple (Skirl)

Saxophonist and flutist Anna Webber composed this album in isolation from her active Brooklyn life, balancing introspective material with complex rhythms and dissonant melodic sections performed by the outstanding work of John Hollenbeck (drums) and Matt Mitchell (piano). ... Click to View


Invisible Things: Time AS One Axis [VINYL] (New Atlantis)

Intensely heavy rock from guitarist Mark Shipping (U.S. Maple, Shorty) and drummer Jim Sykes (Parts & Labor, Grooms, 77 Boadrum), engineered by Martin Bisi in Brooklyn, in a sick record of thick and sophisticated rock with an ear toward sonic melodicism. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani : Gong (Nakatani-Kobo)

Compositions on fourteen gongs performed and recorded by Tatsuya Nakatani during the winters of 2014 and 2015, 6 untitled works of powerful tones evoked from these large instruments by bows and mallets, each slowly unfolding and enveloping the listener. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani & Michel Doneda: Duo (Nakatani-Kobo)

The long-running duo of US-based Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and French saxophonist Michel Doneda in an album merging superb technical skills and creative approaches in an almost telepathic dialog of surprising twists and turns. ... Click to View


Nakatani-Kobo Special: Nakatani/Doneda: Duo & Nakatani: Gong at one special price. (Nakatani-Kobo)

Buy both Kobo releases Nakatani/Doneda: Duo & Nakatani: Gong and save $4.00 ! ... Click to View


Stephen Haynes Quintet (feat Joe Morris / William Parker / Warren Smith): Pomegranate (New Atlantis)

An organic and rich album of broadly influenced creative jazz from NY cornetist Stephen Haynes, in a quintet extending his trio Parrhesia with guitarist Joe Morris and percussionist Warren Smith, adding bassist William Parker and tuba player Ben Stapp. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp + Scott Fields: Akra Kampoj (New Atlantis)

Using mostly unprocessed electric guitars, the duo of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields' latest release presents eight dueling guitar works using dynamic, angular tones and textures, from extremely aggressive work to clean avant-jazz with twisted technical intent. ... Click to View


Philippe Lauzier : Transparence (Schraum)

Quebec bass clarinetist and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier is an accomplished improviser and composer, here in his solo debut, an epic suite that finds untreated acoustic reeds mingling with textured overdubs and subtle feedback, music that is equally jarring and hypnotic. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : Above the Hidden Track An Endless Blaze (Aural Terrains)

Composer/performer Thanos Chrysakis in a studio electronic work, using a diversity of methods and approaches that imply his usual free improvisational approaches by creating a rich and elaborate sound world of distinctive, unique and often warped electronic sound. ... Click to View


Roel Meelkop: Oude Koeien (Herbal International)

Sound artist Roel Meelkop compiles various limited vinyl 7", 10" and lathe cut releases from Korm Plastics and related labels, along with one work made for this release, showing the variety of approaches and concepts Meelkop applies to his fascinating sound work. ... Click to View


Goh Kwang Lee: The Lost Testimony Of Rashomon (Herbal International)

A diverse set of electronic compositions from hauntingly beautiful to tormented soundscapes, composed by Goh Lee Kwang for a multimedia stage work based on Rashomon, a short story about moral ambiguity written in 1915 and based on a 1000-year-old Japanese tale. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg : How Deep is the Ocean, How High is the Sky? (Another Timbre)

Swedish composer Magnus Granberg (Skogen) places baroque instruments alongside prepared piano, objects and electronics in an exquisite 60-minute piece performed with an excellent set of performers including Cyril Bondi, d'incise, Eric Ruffing, Christoph Schiller, &c. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey : Grizzana and other pieces 2009-2014 [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

The Ensemble Grizzana (Ryoko Akama, Mira Benjamin, Richard Craig, Emma Richards, Philip Thomas and Seth Woods) performs a series of delicate and beautiful chamber pieces by Swiss composer and clarinetist Jurg Frey, who also performs on clarinet. ... Click to View


James Saunders : Assigned #15 (Another Timbre)

Leading contemporary music ensemble Apartment House perform a new piece developing out of James Saunders's long-term modular project '#unassigned'; the new piece, "assigned #15" creates a mesmeric, dense, jungle-like soundworld across its 45 minutes duration. ... Click to View


Burkhard Beins / Enrico Malatesta / Michael Vorfeld / Christian Wolfarth / Ingar Zach: Gluck (Mikroton Recordings)

The international percussion quintet of Burkhard Beins, Enrico Malatesta, Michael Vorfeld, Christian Wolfarth and Ingar Zach, using compositional and improvisational methods to create new forms of contemporary percussion music with a unique group aesthetic. ... Click to View


Taumatrop (Fages / Marquez): For John Ayrton Paris (Confront)

The duo of Ferran Fages on electronic devices and Eduard Maquez on percussion in a beautiful long-form drone, a drifting and haunting work that hangs off of slowly building crescendos which release to beautifully suspended sonic environments. ... Click to View


Matilda Rolfsson / Richard Sanderson / Mark Wastell: Live at l'Klectic (Confront)

The subtly complex trio of Richard Sanderson on amplified melodeon, dictaphones & small percussion, Mark Wastell on tam-tam & shruti box, and Matilda Rolfsson on percussion performing an extended improvisation live at The Horse Improv Club, l'Klectic, London. ... Click to View


Philippe Battikha : Invisible Backgrounds (Samizdat)

A beautiful solo album from Montreal/Brooklyn trumpeter Philippe Battikha, who also developed the field recordings over which he plays, joined on two tracks by double bassist Johan Fortune, in a melancholy and haunting album of emotionally rich soundscapes. ... Click to View


Sharon Sharrock : No Is No (Don't Fuck Around With Your Women) (Improvising Beings)

Two extended and frenetic works of improvisation with free vocals from Linda Sharock, in a sextet including Itaru Oki on trumpet, Mario Rechter on reeds & voilin, Eric Zinman on piano, Makoto Sato on drums and Yoram Rosilio on bass; demanding, complex and cathartic jazz! ... Click to View


Lucien Johnson / Alan Silva / Makoto Sato: Stinging Netttles (Improvising Beings)

The trio of New Zealand saxophonist Lucien Johnson, living in Paris, with the rhythm section of Alan Silva on double bass and Makoto Sato on drums for an expressive album of free jazz with inventive counterpoint and soulful playing in the Ayler tradition. ... Click to View


Forro Zinho / Zorn, John: Forro Zinho - Forro In The Dark Plays Zorn (Tzadik)

Forro is a NY East Village rock ensemble that reinterprets forro--traditional Brazilian folk music--using modern Downtown language, here taking on the compositions of John Zorn in rhythmically rich melodic approaches that's equal parts tribute and collaboration. ... Click to View


Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt: Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt (Tzadik)

A Canadian quintet led by double bassist Bret Higgins (Zebrina) merging latin, R&B, soul, film soundtracks, jazz and more into moody and infectious grooves, lyrical and upbeat music that borrows freely from a variety of world and folk styles in exuberant ways. ... Click to View


Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Ensemble: Crisis (Pi Recordings)

NY trumpeter Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers Ensemble, exploring the juncture between jazz and music of the Middle East through sophisticated and lyrically stunning music, here focusing on revolution, civil war, and sectarian violence; a culture's struggle for survival. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe: Stills And Stories (Random Acoustics)

German pianist and Euro Free Jazz stalwart Georg Graewe in his first solo release in more than a decade, a remarkable set of succinct compositions balancing astonishing technical skills with beautifully expressive playing, presented in several series of "stills" and "stories". ... Click to View


Ilia Belorukov / Harpakahylo / Patryk Lichota / Kim_Nasung: After (Nueni)

A short and succinct album of free improvisation from the Russian quartet of Ilia Belorukov (sax), Hapakahylo (drums, objects), Patryk Lichota (sax, objects), and Kim_Nasung (Guzheng), using unusual techniques to conjur unexpected audio environments. ... Click to View


Lali Barriere / Miguel A. Garcia : Espejuelo (Nueni)

The duo of Miguel A. Garcia on electronics and Lali Barriere on objects and no-input mixer for an album of investigative, detailed improvisation that's well paced and calmly complex. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Helen Stapinski 
  Baby Plays Around  
  (Villard) 

   review by Kristen Persinos
  2004-04-26
Helen Stapinski: Baby Plays Around (Villard)

December.  June.  Four Heads.  Recliner.  Star 69.  Speed Dial.  Bitter.  Panchino.  Gump.  Maraschino.  Tug.  Dish.  Reflector.  Stipend.  Slattern.  Slatternly.  Carmie.  Maxilla.  Shifter.  Resentful.  The Stevedores.

This is the pastime popular with musicians called the "name our band" game, as played by Helen Stapinski and her old bandmates in her memoir Baby Plays Around.  (My own band once considered "Jesus Streisand.")

The book chronicles a year or so in the life of 30-something Stapinski as she made her living as a freelance writer, played drums in an indie rock band based in the Lower East Side of New York City (with no prior band experience other than playing along to her favorite records as a kid) and faced marital problems.

Being a 30-something female in a rock band based in the Lower East Side myself, I was curious and armed for battle: What was her experience, her take on the male-driven popularity contest of the indie rock scene in NYC?  Would the book be much like most of the hipsters involved: puddle deep?  Would familiarity breed contempt?

Upon reading the first few chapters, it seemed that Stapinski and I share more in common than just age and the band thing. We both have older brothers who influenced our involvement with music. We both sometimes come off as tomboyish. We listened to some of the same records (REM's Murmur) growing up, and had some of the same rock heroes (Elvis Costello). And to top it off, much of the book's action takes place within a 10-block radius of my apartment. (One of her band's old haunts was a restaurant where I used to bartend.) After a few no shits - "no shit, that sounds familiar" and "no shit, that is a block from my house" - my claws began to retract and I ended up not being able to put the book down; not just for the cheap thrill of reading about my immediate surroundings and the things we have in common, it was Stapinski's self-effacing, wry sense of humor, her intelligence, and her sincerity.She is delightfully sarcastic, but also thoughtful, decent and ultimately fair. (Hey Helene, wanna play in my band?)  Her writing style is refreshing in its directness and its lack of masturbatory word play. She knows when enough is enough.

There are many witty moments in this book.  The chapter on her band's bass player auditions was funny and dead on, but you do not have to be a musician to appreciate the humor.

"There was another guy, who hadn't even listened to the tape.  'Why are you wasting our time?' Julie asked him.  He just shrugged, grinning like the teenager he actually was.  You could tell what was passing through his meager brain, as he nodded and looked us over: 'Chick band.  Cool.  Two chicks.  One guy.  Guy is me.  Hey.  Maybe I'll score.  Threesome!  Cool!'  I think he actually drooled on his bass guitar.  Unfortunately he was not electrocuted."

"Then there was the guy with the long ponytail who played New Age bass.  He was sent packing, back to the mother ship."

Later chapters in the book are touching as her relationships with her band mates and her estranged husband…well I wouldn't want to give it away, now would I?

So yes, I laughed ... I cried ... as her increasingly troubled marital life intertwined with her rocky (forgive me) band life, both marriages affecting each other with moments of ecstasy and despair as Helene powered through.

Readers who live in New York City, or just love it from afar, will enjoy reading about such landmarks as Katz's Deli, Ratners and the Lansky Lounge, as well as some of the popular rock clubs: Arlene's Grocery, Luna Lounge, and the now defunct Spiral and Brownies.

So, I'll do my best now to sound like a book critic and say that Baby Plays Around is a well crafted, entertaining book about the weathering of love found and love lost (and visa versa); dry but not without heart.





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. (3473)