The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

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


  •  •  •    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. (12460)