The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Steve Lacy: Free for a Minute (1966-72) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

Four sessions on a 2 CD set, all featuring Steve Lacy and Kent Carter: (1) DISPOSABILITY, the 1965 trio record with Aldo Romano of jazz standards, originals and free improv; (2) SORTIE, the 1966 free improv quartet + Enrico Rava album; (3) previously unissued 1967 'Free Fall' Film Cues in a quintet with Rava, Karl Berger, & Paul Motian; (4) two never issued '72 quintet pieces with Steve Potts, Irene Aebi on cello and Noel Mcghie. ... Click to View


Paul Rutherford : In Backward Times (1979-2007) (Emanem)

Four very different previously unissued concert settings featuring trombonist Paul Rutherford: 2 festival solos - one from 1979 with electronics and one from 2004 without; a 1988 duo with Paul Rogers a few months before their ROGUES CD; and a 2007 trio with Veryan Weston and Marcio Mattos, which turned out to be Rutherford's last public appearance. ... Click to View


Barry Guy: Frogs [VINYL 7-inch PICTURE DISC] (Trost Records)

A 7" limited vinyl picture disc made to celebrate legendary European Free Jazz bassist Barry Guy's 70th birthday, with Guy providing "acoustic sounds" along with his collaborating frogs, Wasserfrosch (Rana Esculenta) and Laubfrosch (Hyla Arborea), size A presenting Frogs & Barry Guy, and side 2, Barry Guy & Frogs; quirkly and wonderful free improv. ... Click to View


Christian Wolff : Berlin Exercises [VINYL] (God Records)

A series of shorter works composed by Christian Wolff written to explore the process of practicing and working within specified limits, exercises for both the composer and the performers, recorded live in Berlin in 2000 by an ensemble directed by Peter Ablinger and including Wolff on piano & melodica, Robin Hayward on tuba, Anette Krebs on guitar, &c. ... Click to View


Phill Niblock: Rhymes With Water [VINYL] (God Records)

A beautiful set of minimalist compositional drone from New York composer Phill Niblock, commissioned by the performers Natalia Pschenitschnikowa on bass flute and Erik Drescher on glissando flute, recorded at PIETHOPRAXIS, in Cologne, Germany by Marcus Schmickler, and in Berlin, Germany, by Thomas Ankersmit. ... Click to View


Simon Rummel Ensemble: IM MEER (Umlaut Records)

German composer and improviser Simon Rummel presents the 2nd release from his 11-piece Simon Rummel Ensemble, blending his interest in acoustic phenomena and improvisational harmonics in an extended work that shift from beautiful tonal work to disruptive cacophony and back to melodic music blending jazz and 20th century approaches; a great achievement. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee / Bryan Eubanks: My Undocumented Alien Clarinet [VINYL] (Penultimate Press)

Recorded and presented as part of Pauline Oliveros Foundation's New Vanguard Series in Kingston, NY in 2006, the unusual duo of Joe McPhee on b-flat and e-flat alto clarinets and synthesizer and Bryan Eubanks on open circuit electronics explores unusual dynamics and psychoacoustic intersections of both acoustic and electronic instruments. ... Click to View


Blaise Siwula / Jorge Nuno: Waterscapes (Creative Sources)

Waterscapes is the performing duo of New York saxophonist Blaise Siwula and guitarist Jorge Nuno, interwining distinct approaches to acoustic and electric improvisation, creating rich sound environments and rapid interaction that draws the listener in and then sweeps them off their feet with passionate, complex and informed dialog. ... Click to View


Carlo Mascolo: My Tubes (Creative Sources)

A unique take on this large brass instrument from Italian trombonis and Free Flow Festival director Carlo Mascolo, using preparations, focusing on components of the instrument, and using extreme techniques to create a startlingly diverse set of sounds, vocalisations, microtonal output and simply bizarre utterances as Mascolo attempts bring new language to horn. ... Click to View


Alfredo Monteiro Costa / Miguel A. Garcia: Aq'Ab'Al (Mikroton Recordings)

Audio experimenters Alfredo Costa Monteiro and Miguel A. Garcia join forces in an album titled after "Aq'ab'al", the Mayan Astrology Sign about polar opposites-- dawn and dusk, hot and cold, black and white--which represents renewal and change, through a series of opposing audio events, forceful sounds of texture, feedback, and intervention. ... Click to View


John Butcher / John Edwards / Mark Sanders: Last Dream Of The Morning (Relative Pitch)

A studio album between three UK master improvisers -- John Butcher on sax, John Edwards on double bass, and Mark Sanders on drums -- the trio pushing the envelope in technique and dialog in nearly telepathic playing that transports the listener into their environment, as the music builds and releases in effortless ways that are stunning and exulant; highly recommended. ... Click to View


Fred Van Hove / Roger Turner: The Corner (Relative Pitch)

Pioneering improvising pianist Fred Van Hove at UK's Cafe OTO for the first time, captured in a duo with UK drummer/percussionist Roger Turner, their first recording together, for a night of exceptional improvised interplay, sophisticated and complex playing that is constantly buoyant and charming, an enthralling conversation between two veteran players. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Jim Denley: Tempe Jetz (Relative Pitch)

A pairing of two innovative players, Berlin-based pianist Magda Mayas and Australian sound and wind artist Jim Denley, Mayas playing inside and out of the piano and Denley on alto sax and bass flute, both providing field recordings adding unexpected elements in a set of extremely balanced recordings that entrance the listener with unlikely and captivating settings. ... Click to View


John Butcher: Resonant Spaces [VINYL] (Blume)

Extreme acoustic space recordings from saxophonist John Butcher, part of Arika's Resonant Spaces event, with performances from resonant and remote corners of Scotland. ... Click to View


Lean Left: I Forgot To Breathe (Trost Records)

The 7th album from the quartet of Netherlands guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels (The Ex) with Chicago free improvising multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and Netherlands drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love in an album balancing amazing energy with profound introspective moments in thrilling edge-of-your-seat improvisation - excellent! ... Click to View


Lean Left: I Forgot To Breathe [VINYL] (Trost Records)

The 7th album from the quartet of Netherlands guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels (The Ex) with Chicago free improvising multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and Netherlands drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love in an album balancing amazing energy with profound introspective moments in thrilling edge-of-your-seat improvisation - excellent! ... Click to View


Kontakte Trio (Trevor Taylor / Ian Brighton / Steve Beresford): Kontakte Trio (FMR)

An important and well-matched trio of electroacoustic improvisers, and a welcome addition to guitarist Ian Brighton's return to active music life, with Steve Beresford on piano, prepared piano and electronics, and Trevor Taylor (Circuit) on percussion and electronics, six unhurried improvisations of intricate interplay and interchange themed on physics. ... Click to View


Viv Corringham / Lawrence Casserley: Anemoi (FMR)

Lawrence Casserley is a pioneer of real time electroacoustic music, since the 60s working with other artists and developing his Signal Processing Instrument, using physical gestures to process and morph sounds; here he works with British vocalist and Deep Listening teacher Viv Corringham in an other-worldly collaboration of voice and electonics. ... Click to View


Kamins / Smith / Fielder / Hertenstein: After Effects (FMR)

A great example of traditional free improvisation spanning generations from the quartet of Danny Kamins on baritone saxophone, Damon Smith on double bass, and two drummer/percussionists--Alvin Fielder and Joe Hertenstein--for 10 tracks of swinging free music recorded in the studio in Texas, 2016, jazz with a lyrical intention and powerful rhythmic underpinnings. ... Click to View


Pat Thomas: The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari [VINYL] (Otoroku)

Inspired by the automatic water clock invented by Iraq inventor, engineer, and father of robotics, Badi' al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari built in the 12th century, pianist Pat Thomas recorded these four exceptional improvisations of powerful solo piano with an unusual and inventive twist live at London's Cafe Oto in 2015. ... Click to View


Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza: Azioni/Reazioni 1967-1969 [4CD + DVD BOX] (Die Schachtel)

Box set CD reissue of the 2007 release of this seminal Italian free improvising group's complete recordings from 1967-69, in a deluxe box with 4 CDs, a DVD containing the original film "Nuova Consonanza" shot by Theo Gallher of their 1967 concert, and a 64 page LP-size book in English and Italian with essays, group commentary, collected reviews, &c. ... Click to View


Cilantro (Angelica Castello / Billy Roisz): Borderland (Mikroton Recordings)

Cilantro is the duo of multi-instrumentalists Angelica Castello on paetzold, ukulele, organ, tapes, & electronics, and Billy Roisz on electric bass, organ, tv, piezzo, computer & electronics, scrutinizing the activity in bordering areas between noise and silence, tenderness and rudeness, beat and drone, inner consciousness and outer awareness, control and freedom. ... Click to View


Burkhard Beins / Lucio Capece / Martin Kuchen / Paul Vogel: Fracture Mechanics (Mikroton Recordings)

"Fracture Mechanics" is the scientific study of cracks in any material, an apt title from these European experimental innovators--Burkhard Beins, Lucio Capece, Martin Kuchen, and Paul Vogel--pulling back the curtain on process and creating an impressive album crossing acoustic and electronic improv, organized sound, and inexplicable interaction; recommended. ... Click to View


The Holy Quintet (Change / Drouin / Lash / Lazardiou / Ryan): Borough (Mikroton Recordings)

The meeting of Johnny Chang (viola), Jamie Drouin (suitcase modular synth), Dominic Lash (double bass), Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga(zither, and David Ryan (bass clarinet) recording at Bourough welsh Congregational Chapel, in London in 2013, recorded by Another Timbre label leader Simon Reynell, for a unique merging of disparate approaches to ea-improv. ... Click to View


Kurt Liedwart / Andrey Popovskiy / Martin Taxt: Hjem (Mikroton Recordings)

A live concert at Dom Cultural Center in Moscow, Russia in 2015 from Norwegian tuba player Martin Taxt, Saint Petersburg violinist and object player Andrey Popovskiy, and ppool performer Kurt Liedwart focusing on sinewaves and noise, in an extended lowercase improvisation exploring harmonic and microtonal sounds. ... Click to View


Ayumi Tanaka / Johan Lindvall / Christian Wallumrod: 3 Pianos (Nakama Records)

This trio joins 3 disparate approaches to composition and improvisation--Japanese improviser Ayumi Tanaka, Oslo composer Johan Lindvall, and ECM artist Christian Wallumrod-developing the engaging material on this album by focusing on elements like tuning, register, intervals and dynamics, for an absorbing album of compatible and concentrative playing. ... Click to View


Ayumi Tanaka / Johan Lindvall / Christian Wallumrod: 3 Pianos [VINYL LP] (Nakama Records)

This trio joins 3 disparate approaches to composition and improvisation--Japanese improviser Ayumi Tanaka, Oslo composer Johan Lindvall, and ECM artist Christian Wallumrod-developing the engaging material on this album by focusing on elements like tuning, register, intervals and dynamics, for an absorbing album of compatible and concentrative playing. ... Click to View


Christian Svendsen Meaas : Avin (Nakama Records)

Known more for his double bass work, Christian Meaas Svendsen releases a stunningly beautiful album of unusually orchestrated pop songs with an 8-piece band of Nordic improvisers and performers, a dramatic album of tension and release which, despite lyrics in Norwegian, draws all listeners in through inventive and innovative musical structures. ... Click to View


Christian Svendsen Meaas : Avin [VINYL LP] (Nakama Records)

Known more for his double bass work, Christian Meaas Svendsen releases a stunningly beautiful album of unusually orchestrated pop songs with an 8-piece band of Nordic improvisers and performers, a dramatic album of tension and release which, despite lyrics in Norwegian, draws all listeners in through inventive and innovative musical structures. ... Click to View


Tipple (Frode Gjerstad / Kevin Norton / David Watson): Live at Elastic Arts (FMR)

Tipple, the trio of Frode Gjerstad on alto sax and clarinet, Kevin Norton on percussion, and David Watson on electric guitar, are captured live for an energetic and masterly concert at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, Illinois in 2015, four "Elastic" improvisations of intense interaction, from collective conversation to stunning solo statements; jaw dropping. ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales



  The Tyranny of the Tens  

A Belated Look Back at 2003

It must be hard to be a year. You have to come up with ten great movies, ten great records, ten great books - anymore than that and you're just spinning your wheels. History is written in decasets, or - with sufficient hindsight - in groups of 100.

Problem is, of course, there are good years and there are bad years. So rather than asking our writers to scrap for or limit themselves to ten, we gave them the sky as the limit for their end-of-the-year wrap-ups: a more democratic process, we feel. Those who had a better listening year get more votes because they want them, a vague sort of proportional representation.

A common complaint among avid listeners about the digital age is that there are just too many records these days. There have always been talented people, of course, but we fanatics have never been so saddled with knowing about them. Perhaps that's why only five records were named more than once, and perhaps this is how we might name the best records of 2003. And if anything can be gleaned from that half-a-ten, perhaps it's that we had a fairly melancholy year.



Sylvie Courvoisier - Abaton (ECM)The two surprises on Sylvie Courvoisier's two cd set are almost the same. The pianist proves herself to be a fine composer, and her trio with violinist Mark Feldman and cellist Erik Friedlander make a strong enough improvising unit that they nearly emulate the composer's voice even when playing without charts. The first disc contains four striking compositions and the second, recorded immediately after the first, captures three of New York's strongest improvisors in duo and trio settings. Abaton is a remarkable achievement, one that might bring the talented Courvoisier to many more ears.



Peter Kowald/William Parker - The Victoriaville Tapes (Victo) - Death, of course, brings immortality to the greats, and the German bassist Peter Kowald was no doubt one of the greats. He died in 2002 at the home of his longtime friend and fellow bassist William Parker, and this set from that year's Victoriaville Festival captured the two in a beautiful duet.



The Necks - Drive By (Fish of Milk) - The Australian piano trio The Necks are no doubt the least known of our Fab Four, which is a shame because they're as enjoyable as they are accessible. Landing somewhere between Miles Davis' In a Silent Way and Bernard Herrmann's film soundtracks, their music is slow, dramatic and engaging. Here they add Hammond organ to the piano/bass/drum line-up to a softly psychedelic effect.



Keith Rowe/John Tilbury - Duos for Doris (Erstwhile) - Two-thirds of slowsound forebearers AMM met in January, 2003, in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France, for a session that almost didn't happen but turned out to be one of Erstwhile's biggest sellers. The mood of the musicians was no doubt hampered by the fact that Tilbury's mother died at age 95 three days before the recording was to take place. The two-cd set is a worthy addition to AMM's nearly 40 years of exploring.



John Zorn - Masada Guitars (Tzadik) - A strange criticism surrounds the proliferous John Zorn. While he cut his first working band, Naked City, too short, his second long-term project has gone on too long. Plenty of cds have been released under the Masada name, and the plethora has pushed away some old-school fans. From the core quartet, with Joey Baron, Greg Cohen and Dave Douglas, to the string trio, chamber groups, and "cover" albums, the Masada songbook has become lovingly dogeared. Those who jumped ship somewhere around the fourth DIW record or the fifth live album, though, would be advised to return to the fold for this solo guitar recital. The well familiar pieces are given new breath by Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Tim Sparks and the album, from beginning to end, is a work of beauty.



That said, here's the list, alphabetically and with apologies to believers in the decimal system.

  • Abdullah Ibrahim - African Magic (enja)
  • Absolute Zero - Crashing Icons (Recommended Records)
  • Adam Lane - Fo(u)r Being(s) (CIMP)
  • Ahmad Jamal - In Search Of: Momentum (1–10) (Birdology/Dreyfus)
  • Albert Ayler - The Copenhagen Tapes (Ayler)
  • Andrew Drury - A Momentary Lapse (Innova)
  • Anthony Braxton - Four Compositions (GTM) 2000 (Delmark)
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago - Tribute to Lester (ECM)
  • Bob Drake - 13 Songs and a Thing (Crumbling Tones/Recommended Records)
  • Carla Kihlstedt - 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik)
  • Charles Hayward - Abracadabra Information (Locus Solus)
  • Christian Fennesz – Live in Japan (Headz)
  • Cooper Moore and Assif Tsahar – America (Hopscotch)
  • Dave Douglas- Freak In (Bluebird)
  • David Budbill/ William Parker/ Hamid Drake- Songs for a Suffering World (Boxholder)
  • David Sylvian - Blemish (Samadhi Sound)
  • Dingobats - Pöck (Bergland Productions)
  • DJ Wally - nothing stays the same (Thirsty Ear)
  • Elliot Sharp - Velocity of Hue (Emanem)
  • Evan Parker and Joe McPhee - Chicago Tenor Duets (Okkadisk)
  • Fred Anderson – Back at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark)
  • Fred Frith - Keep the Dog: That House We Lived In (Recommended Records)
  • Fredi Luescher, Cécile Olshausen, Nathanael Su, Dear C. – The Music of Carla Bley (Altrisuoni)
  • Geof Bradfield - Rule of Three (Liberated Zone)
  • Giorgio Pacorig - My Mind Is on the Table (Splasc(h))
  • Globe Unity Orchestra 2002 (Intakt)
  • Gordon Beck - Gyroscope (Art of Life)
  • Grand Mal - Perfect Fit (Unsounds)
  • Gunther Muller - Eight Landscapes (For 4 Ears)
  • Hiroaki Katayama - Quatre (Studio Wee)
  • Hoahio - Peek-Ara-Boo (Tzadik)
  • John Butcher - Invisible Ear (Fringes)
  • John Fahey - Red Cross (Revenant)
  • John Lindberg- Ruminations upon Ives and Gottschalk (between the lines)
  • John Surman - Free and Equal (ECM)
  • John Wall – Hylic (Utterpsalm)
  • John Zorn - Masada Guitars (Tzadik)
  • Jon Rose - The People's Music (Recommended Records)
  • Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor - Great Fences of Australia (Dynamo House)
  • Josh Abrams - Cipher (Delmark)
  • Josh Abrams Quartet - Ciper (Delmark)
  • Julien Ottavi – Nervure Magnetique (Sigma Editions)
  • Julius Hemphill - One Atmosphere (Tzadik)
  • Keith Rowe – 29 October 2001 (Sound)
  • Keith Rowe/John Tilbury - Duos for Doris (Erstwhile)
  • Kevin Norton/Joelle Leandre/Tomas Ulrich - Ocean of Earth (Barking Hoop)
  • Larry Coryell - The Power Trio: Live in Chicago (HighNote)
  • Le Quan Ninh - Le Ventre Negatif (Meniscus)
  • Limescale - Limescale (Incus)
  • Lisbon Improvisation Players - live_lx meskla (Clean Feed)
  • Lutz Glandien - Lost Rooms (Recommended Records)
  • Markus Eichenberger - Domino Concept for Orchestra (Emanem)
  • Martin Siewert/Martin Brandlmayr – Too Beautiful to Burn (Erstwhile)
  • Marty Ehrlich - Line on Love (Palmetto)
  • Morton Feldman – Early Piano Works (Stefan Schliermacher)
  • Oren Ambarchi/Gunther Muller/Philip Samartzis -Strange Love (For 4 Ears 1448)
  • Paul Rogers - Listen (Emanem)
  • Peter Brötzmann - More Nipples (Atavistic UMS)
  • Peter Kowald/William Parker - The Victoriaville Tapes (Victo)
  • Phil Minton and Roger Turner - drainage (Emanem)
  • Philip Samartzis – Mort Aux Vaches (Staalplaat)
  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Compliments of the Mysterious Phantom (Hyena)
  • Repeat – Pool (Cut)
  • Rhodri Davies - Trem (Confront)
  • Robert Marcel Lapage - La machine ŕ exploRecommended Records le tempo (Ambiances Magnetiques)
  • Sachiko M/Sean Meehan – [untitled] (upsidedownbowl)
  • Satoko Fujii and Tatsuya Yoshida- Toh-Kichi (Victo)
  • Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Live (Sickroom)
  • Spring Heel Jack - Live (Thirsty Ear)
  • Staffan William-Olsson - Pop! (Real Records)
  • Supersilent- 6 (Rune Grammofon)   
  • Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Erik Friedlander- Abaton (ECM)
  • The Necks - Drive By (Fish of Milk)
  • The Vandermark 5 - Airports for Light (Atavistic)
  • Tim Berne's Science Friction - The Sublime and. (Thirsty Ear)
  • Trio-X - Journey (CIMP)
  • Vijay Iyer - Blood Sutra (Artists House)
  • Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd- In What Language? (Pi)
  • VRIL [Bob Drake, Lukas Simonis, Chris Cutler] (Recommended Records)
  • Whit Dickey - Prophet Moon (Riti)
  • William Parker Trio - Scrapbook (Thirsty Ear)
  • William Parker/Joe Morris/Hamid Drake - Eloping with the Sun (riti)

The Nominating Committee: Nate Dorward, Kurt Gottschalk, Eyal Hareuveni, Andrey Henkin, Brian Olewnick, Phil Zampino



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


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (12165)