The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Matthew Shipp : Magnetism(s) (RogueArt)

The creative NY jazz trio led by pianist Matthew Shipp with Rob Brown on alto sax and flute and William Parker on bass re-release and re-master their 1999 Bleu Regards album "Magnetism", a 20-part suite of concise and informed dialogs; and add a live CD of the trio recording three larger "Magnetism" improvisations capture live at the Stone, 2016. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Sax and Drumming Core: Wild Red Yellow (RogueArt)

Rova leader Larry Ochs takes his Sax and Drumming Core to the next level with this charged album of mind-bending album of free improvisation with an hallucinatory edge, joined by Libra artists Satoko Fujii on piano & synth and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, with Scott Amendola on drums, William Winant and Matthias Bossi on a wild set of percussive instruments. ... Click to View


The Seen: Archive: Volumes I - V (2005 - 2009) [5-CD BOX SET] (Confront)

Since 2005 bassist and percussionist Mark Wastell has been organizing concerts of ever-changing groups of improvising musicians under the collective name The Seen, using predominantly improvised material with occasional instructions or themes, here presented in 5 CDs, each a complete concert recorded at venues including Cafe Oto, Red Rose Theatre, &c. ... Click to View


Nicole Mitchell : Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds (FPE Records)

The second astounding album from Chicago Flutist Nicole Mitchell on the FPE label, continuing her project in the sphere of Sun Ra and Afrofuturists, merging fiction, fantasy and sound in an electro-chamber octet, encompassing contemporary classical, globally oriented fusion, gospel, avant-rock, spoken word, and funk-inspired groove research. ... Click to View


Nicole Mitchell : Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds [VINYL] (FPE Records)

The second astounding album from Chicago Flutist Nicole Mitchell on the FPE label, continuing her project in the sphere of Sun Ra and Afrofuturists, merging fiction, fantasy and sound in an electro-chamber octet, encompassing contemporary classical, globally oriented fusion, gospel, avant-rock, spoken word, and funk-inspired groove research. ... Click to View


Michael Foster / Ben Bennett: In It [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

The second release for the duo of Ben Bennett on drums, percussions and membranophones, and Michael Foster on tenor, soprano, sopranino saxophones and aerophone, in uniquely voiced improvisations that develop both carefully and, at times, erratically, but always with an ear to interesting dialog that captivates and confuses the listener. ... Click to View


Andrew Smiley : Dispersal [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

An uncommon solo guitar album from Andrew Smiley, a member of Little Women and the Chris Pitsiokos Quartet, creating textures on the guitar by applying unconventional techniques with his pick and fingers instead of using effects or guitar preparations, and accompanying himself on voice in Haino-esque ways, creating an album of sharp contrast and color. ... Click to View


Emmanuelle Waeckerle : Ode (owed) to O [2 CDs] (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

London-based composer Emmanuelle Waeckerle in a project of spoken word, flute and melodica with contributors including Antoine Beuger, using minimal and multiple narrations in texts that blend erotic literature, conceptual writing and verbal scores, presented as 2 Scores for voice(s) and instrument(s) based upon Pauline Reage's "Story of O". ... Click to View


HMS (Joe Houpert / Nathan McLaughlin / Erich Steiger): Tetrad [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Blurring the lines between experimental music, improv, and composition, the trio of Joe Houpert, Nathan McLaughlin, and Erich Steiger use the studio to rework their improvisations, accenting aspects of the acoustic and electronic elements and morphing them in unexpected ways; "think Henry Flynt meets Cluster meets Revolutionary Ensemble". ... Click to View


W-2 (Sam Weinberg / Chris Welcome): Fanatics [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

The Brooklyn duo of saxophonist Sam Weinberg (Captain Phillips) and synth player Chris Welcome (Chris Pitsiokos, Mike Pride) in an album of abrasive, rhythmically abraded and contorted electro-acoustic improvisation, each player embedding themselves into each other's sound, at time making their instruments indistinguishable from one another. ... Click to View


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 brings 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


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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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