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


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  Ground-Zero's Early Releases Reviewed  
   review by Phil Zampino
  2007-06-09

Ground-Zero was Otomo Yoshihide's 1990's amazing collission band, devised to allow and perhaps prefer a changeable lineup. The basic orchestration was sax, bass and drums, playing a rapid combination of improvised rock and free jazz, over which Yoshihide would play guitar and turntable. As a guitarist Yoshihide deals mostly in the world of distortion and psychedelic sound; as a turntablist his scratching, drop-ins and collection of outrageously odd records is somewhat mind-boggling, as is his ability to attack the machine itself to find noise, sound and beauty. Ground-Zero's music is thematic and, particularly in the early, shorter works, dementedly deliberate, while later constructing longer and elegant self-propelled virtual soundtracks. The band also incorporated many unusual, electronic, vocal, sampling (and sampled) artists, including Yamataka Eye, Jon Rose, Steve Beresford, Tenko, Tony Buck, Alfred 23 Harth, Sachiko M, Sergey Kuryokhin, and Christian Marclay. Regular members include guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisu who added his personal pyrotechnics into the lot; Kato Hideki on bass, who eventually transplanted to New York City; and Ruins bassist Kimoto Kazuyoshi. Ground-Zero was an amazing weave and clash of styles that walked a weird path.

Ground-Zero's first album on Japan's God Mountain label is simply titled "Ground-Zero." It's a series of short and weird experiments, with names that nod to other like-minded artists, such as "Topography of the Black Lungs" or "Massacring". An intelligent and bizarre album of incredible strength, using turntables, spoken word drop ins, and a rock-oriented approach to playing otherwise improvised music. It's a freestyle affair in many ways, but over thick grooves primarily thanks to Kato Hideki's rock solid bass work, while Yamataka screams and Otomo scratches. The quick screaming sax work of Hirose Junji eventually settles in for some aching and lyrical playing - a distinctive voice who's versatility and attitude reminds a bit of Zorn. Meanwhile Yoshihide is dropping in and punctuating the music with concise and really odd sources. Everything has a drive and determination and it's incredibly well put together, a concise and crazy album.


Ground Zero: Null and Void
(Tzadik)
Null and Void is a meatier and more brutal affair, but also shows a more elegant and refined Ground-Zero, if controlled chaos can be as such. The band was well received in New York's Downtown scene. Falling in with like-minded improvisers, Yoshihide was able to release several albums on John Zorn's Tzadik label, which includes this second Ground-Zero release in 1995. Two years after the first release, Null and Void's pieces feel more refined, and are often longer and thematically based, with languorous sections contrasting the tendency towards full-on propulsion. Hideki Kato plays sampled double bass on two of the larger works, "Movie 1" and "International 2" and Jon Rose provides a shopping list on "International 1." The album cover conveys a sense of foreboding, and with the look of the packaging one might believe that this was some off-shoot of Painkiller or Naked City. An easy comparison, as the bands work the same area of oft-frantic, genre-bending and technically superb improvisation. Ground-Zero, howevers, speaks in their own twisted tongue, and on this album tell some very strange stories. A well sequenced album, Null and Void is an impressive achievement.


Ground Zero: Revolutionary Pekinese Opera (Ver 1.28)
(Recommended Records)
Revolutionary Pekinese Opera expands upon the concept considerably. Existing in four official versions, (this review applies to Version 1.28 on Recommended Records), the palette is broad, using found sounds and recordings in, well, an operatic approach. Yoshihide leads the longer works with his increasingly confident turntable drop ins - the action is rarely slow, and the music itself factors more prominently than the bizarre punctuation and bedlam. The album is designed as a remix of Peking Opera by Heiner Goebbels and Alfred 23 Harth, a complex multi-instrumental work of live improvisation following a pre-recorded tape. Guitar wizard Uchihashi Kazuhisu now factors in the front line, with a number of guest musicians either playing live or sampled - violinist Jon Rose is one of the latter, as is fellow turntablist Christian Marclay, along with Goebbels and Harth themselves. This is an amazing album by any account, with so much motion and so many ideas that work together in an amazing mesh of sound. It's dynamic in pacing and timbre, has no caution for mixing styles, and takes off in many directions, often at the same time. There are layered spoken words, marches, Henry Cow like guitar progressions, mash-up's of music and soundtracks, and other indescribable sound. Yoshihide builds up and releases tension using a variety of approaches, generally yielding to lyrical and gorgeously lush sections. Even those passages use unlikely tools to accomplish their means, and it's that sort of fractured beauty that defines this version of Ground-Zero.

1997's Plays Standards, is the most digestible of this set, and is in fact an album of standards reflecting Yoshihide's personal relationship with music and sound - he explains that a childhood passion for Japanese music, with its straightforward power, affects his relationship with writing songs and in developing sound track work. Ground-Zero songs are, not surprisingly, odd interpretations of the originals, technically wonderful but taking the melodies in unexpected directions using a wide array of sonic beauty and assault.

The first piece, Chile's "El Derecho de Vivir en Paz" (Jara/Sosa) was introduced to Yoshihide by Lijma Akira, the noise guitarist in Takayanagi Masayuki's New Direction. "Ultra Q" reinforces his soundtrack interest by recreating the theme show to the Japanese TV show of the same name, a piece of music which Yoshihide explains both frightened and enticed him as a child, and still affected him at the writing of this piece. Perhaps one of the best examples on the release is the old chestnut, "Those Were the Days," an infectious pop song. A version of the song was covered by the great Russian players Sergey Kuryokhin and Keshavan Maslak, which is sampled in this version. Ground-Zero's interpretations starts out very straight, introducing the melody, until about 3 minutes in when a motorcycle starts. Saxophonist Kikuchi Naruyoshi then starts a quick series of riffs, and the piece begins to fall apart, or come together, depending on your preference. A wonderful and fun chaos follows, which samples, smashes and scatters the melody along with traffic sounds and an unidentifiable maelstrom of interjections. The melody picks up again, but is continually beaten down and resurrected in incredible ways.

Other pieces includes an interpretation of the Massacre piece "Bones" (Frith/Laswell/Maher), which is hard to recognize until the end when the stacatto signature of the piece becomes apparent. This follows by a cover of Misha Mengelberg & Steve Beresford's "The Bath of Surprise," including real bath samples over it's loping melody. The album ends with Burt Bacharach's "A Better Tomorrow" combined with Joseph Koo's "I Say a Little Prayer." The concept here was to work from the Roland Kirk version of the Bacharach song, but to load the song with mountains of Coltrane riffs, crossed with fragments from 80's Hong Kong films. It's an ebullient and uplifting interpretation, ending the album on a joyful and somewhat crazy note. Talk about a well-informed record!


Ground-Zero: Consume Red
(Recommended Records)
1996's Consume Red is one of the odder of the set, a single long track that starts out with the cry of a hojok, an eastern double reed, which calls and responds in a singular cry. This continues for about 6 minutes until the band starts breaking in, fragmenting the work with strange punctuations, and manipulating and layering the reed sound. the piece gets heavier and heavier as it goes, until taking up a drum beat marking out a heavy rhythm. With its sometimes rigid repetitions the piece borders on arduous, but the complexity of the sound texture keeps it fascinating in a Painkiller kind of way. The piece further devolves into a chaotic and desctructive soup, with signal noises, reeds, guitars, submerged bass riffs and perhaps a few kitchen sinks. In many ways an unsettling release and suited to those interested in Yoshihide's other experimental solo releases.


Ground-Zero: Live 1992 +
(Doubtmusic)
The latest Ground-Zero release is actually the earliest, Live 1992 +. Yoshihide explains that he had been rummaging around in his closet for lost and unused recordings, and found two recordings that stood out from the rest. The first 11 tracks of Live 1992 + are from a live recording in Tokyo, 1992, before the release of their first album. The band performs a series of short, bombastic and intense pieces. The sounds quality is a bit rough, but the cry of Yamataka Eye that starts the album off tells you that you're in for something unusual, born out of the intensity of this young version of the band. The second half of the release is taken from the recording of their first self-titled release on God Mountain, Ground-Zero. According to Yoshihide, there was a great deal more material to the recording sessions for the first self-titled release, all of which were destroyed in a fire at GOK Studio. Yoshihide discovered a DAT of some of that material which had been dubbed. The last two tracks of this album are taken from those recordings, giving the listener a longer look at Ground-Zero's early studio efforts.



Here is a list of the official Ground-Zero releases releases released after those listed above, from the JapanImprov.com site

Ground-Zero. Conflagration. Sank-ohso /Creativeman, CMDD-00047. 1997.

Cassiber. Live in Tokyo. off note, ON-25, 1997.

Ground-Zero. Consummation. Sank-ohso / Creativeman, CMDD-00048, 1998.

Ground-Zero. Last Concert. Valve / Amoebic, AMO-VA-02, 1999 (Japan); Alcohol, ALGZ1CD, 1999 (UK).

Ground-Zero. Live 1992 +. doubtmusic, dmh-114, 2007.





Comments and Feedback:



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


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (13564)