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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


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The Squid's Ear
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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  Bark! Lacy! Massacre! Death Ambient!  
   review by Phil Zampino
  2007-05-25

This has been a fun week at Squidco, with releaes on several favorite labels, particularly: psi, Tzadik, Cuneiform. (Comments on Moon June & Water reissues to follow!)


Houle, François / Parker, Evan / Delbecq, Benoît : La Lumière De Pierres
(psi)

BARK!: Contraption
(psi)

Casserley, Lawrence / Desorgher, Simon : Music From ColourDome
(psi)

First and foremost, a new set of psi releases, Evan Parker's sublabel of Emanem, which has documented the great European Free Improv scene for decades. My favorite of the lot is Bark!, which has links to Furt and Stock, Hausen and Walkman. I don't hasten to add the last, only because the music comes from a different attitude, though SH&W's later works are much more experimental than their initial plunderphonic and humourous releases. Bark!, despite the instrumentation which might imply loud interactive sound, is actually quite subtle, a delicate interplay that requires intent listening; not anything you'll be snapping your fingers to, but really fun to listen to.

The Houle / E. Parker / Delbecq release La Lumière De Pierres is the most notable of the set. The real duo here is Delbecq and Houle: clarinetist Delbecq and prepared/pianist Houle have worked together since 1997. Delbecq approaches the piano as a "fabric", drawing on Cage and Ligeti for inspiration, and using African timbres and polyrhythms in his approach to the keys. Houle's work is informed by the work of Evan Parker or William O. Smith, as he creates multi-layered compositions that expand the possibilities and language of the clarinet. Delbecq and Houle have long had an interest in collaborating with a 3rd person, and in in 2005 were invited by composer Michel Frigon to perform at his Innovations concert series in Montréal with Evan Parker. Seeing an excellent opportunity to record this trio formation, the results are this release, on Evan Parker's own psi label, a distinctive sonic world and approach to improvised explorations.


Massacre: Lonely Heart
(Tzadik)

Death Ambient: Drunken Forest
(Tzadik)

Brody's Sadawi, Paul: For the Moment
(Tzadik)

Maguire, MC: Meta-Conspiracy
(Tzadik)

New Tzadiks arrived yesterday, with two anticipated releases: Massacre's "Lonely Heart" and Death Ambient "Drunken Forest." Massacre started life in New York City in 1981, two years after Fred Frith moved to the city. This was an amazing time for music in the city, leading to bands like Material, New York Gong, Scritti Politti, Golden Palominos and No Safety. Given that, Massacre was originally very short lived, a trio of Bill Laswell on bass and Fred Maher on drums. The band released one album on Celluloid, Killing Time that was instantly remarkable for the opening number "Legs," a 'killer' track with an incredibly mean hook - Recommended Records revived the album last year. Most of the album is improvised rock in the Downtown NY mode, skronky and convoluted work that's a sonic display of great power and interest.

The original Massacre only lasted a year, but was brought back to life by swapping Fred Maher with Charles Hayward, one of the planet's most intense drummers. Hayward is probably best known from This Heat and Camberwell Now, but has also has a huge history of solo work and collaborations with many amazing players, including Peter Brotzmann, David Shea, John Edwards, Phil Manzanera, Percy Howard, Veron Reid, Trey Gunn, &c. Tzadik has now released 3 Massacre records: Funny Valentine, Meltdown, and now Lonely Heart. The first two are intensely amazing releases, Funny Valentine a studio effort from 1998 that is a massive work of improvised rock, a building work that shows the potential of the new group. Meltdown was recorded live in 2001 at Robert Wyatt's Meltdown Festival in London. The band plays in a more standard improv format, but given that it's Frith/Hayward/Laswell that's an amazing format with a ferocity and huge sound that few other trios could pull off. The live format being the natural state of this band, Lonely Heart takes us to the opening set for Metallica (!) at the Roskilde Rock Festival in Denmark, an open-air festival that attracts more than 80,000 fans. Apparently playing for metal-heads is a serious motivator for this band, because they pull out all stops to create 5 seriously scorching tracks. Frith in particular shows his often implied pyrotechnical abilities, while Laswell and Hayward play with an intensity that makes for a flat-out amazing release.


If you find ambient music exciting then the third installment of Kato Hideki's Death Ambient project is a cause for great and sombre joy! Japanese born Kato Hideki is a well rounded musician and conceptualist, who's interests include art and literature. Hideki spent the 80's in Japan, working with seminal figures Otomo Yoshihide as a founding memeber of Otomo Yoshihide's Ground Zero, Yamatsuka Eye of The Boredoms, Yoshida Tatsuya of Ruins and the great vocal improviser Koichi Makigami. After working with John Zorn and Makigami in 1991 on one of the latter's Toshiba EMI albums, Hideki decided to relocate to New York City. He quickly became an important part of the Downtown NY scene, recording with Marc Ribot, Zeena Parkins, Christian Marclay, and as an accompaniest for visiting artists such as Chris Cutler, and was named an artist-in-residence at Harvestworks.

Perhaps Hideki's most prominent project has been Death Ambient, which actually began life as the name of an album, the band simply credited to Hideki, Fred Frith and Ikue Mori. Mori and Hideki began working together in 1995, the year of the first Death Ambient release. The compatibility between these artists is apparent in both their interest in unusually structured music and the creation of fascinatingly textured sound. Fred Frith, then living in NYC, had worked with Mori since the mid-80's, after John Zorn introduced the then post-DNA drummer into the young Downtown scene. Hideki and Mori invited Frith to join them in creating "sounds and texture extravaganza," recorded in Brooklyn's Green Point Studio. The implication of the album is that it fits in the ambient/techno world, but in reality the association with that music is somewhat distant. All three musicians have extensive histories writing soundtracks and music for theatre, and that unobtrusive and subliminal approach comes through, using repeating dark and somewhat disturbing structures, though the 'ambient' aspects of the music are intermittently disturbed by improvisational interventions.

Death Ambient was very well received, and after their first tour in Germany under the Death Ambient name in 1998, the trio returned to NY and in 1999 recorded their second CD Synaesthesia, refining the darkly designed beauty of their form. Frith and Hideki create growling and grainy walls of guitar, while Mori's samplers accentuate and punctuate with her amazing palette of sound. My dictionary defines 'Synaesthesia' as the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body and the poetic description of a sense impression in terms of another sense, as in "a loud perfume" or "an icy voice." A fitting description for their hallucinatory series of sound perceptions and deceptions.

Active musicians all three, it's taken another eight years to get to the latest Death Ambient release: Drunken Forest. The trio is joined by another Downtown NY player, the phenomenal percussionist Jim Pugliese. The album has actually been in development for six years, and the care and detail of the release are undeniable. The instrumentation is extensive, including Mori's computer, Frith's guitar, and Hideki's guitar, analog synthesizer, violin, banjo, mandolin, accordion, ukelele, electric and lap steel guitar, vocals, recorder, glasses, ice and water(!) Despite this, the music is more mysterious and, actually, more uniformally ambient, more electronic and with few interventions. The results are submersive and encompassing, an eerie and wonderfully dusky sound, meticulously devised, an excellent late night album to accompany your darkest dreams.


Lacy, Steve / Rudd, Roswell Quartet: Early and Late
(Cuneiform)

Redfearn, Alec K. and The Eyesores: The Blind Spot
(Cuneiform)

Upsilon Acrux: Galapagos Momentum
(Cuneiform)

Cuneiform also chimed in with three new releases, and not a weak one in the lot (it's hard to expect anything different from Steve Feigenbaum's). For the improv listener, the double release of Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd, with Jean-Jacques Avenel from Lacy's European trio and quintet settings. Lacy's work with Roswell Rudd had a long history, and the two were very like-minded musicians with similar tastes in jazz genres. These recordings were from the period 1999-2002, the first CD containing mostly Lacy originals with one Monk tune; the second CD presents both Rudd and Lacy compositions, along with Cecily Taylor and more Monk, including alternate takes. Lacy's young passing has left us with a wealth of unreleased material; kudos to Cuneiform for making this material available.



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