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Michael Pisaro : Melody, Silence (For Solo Guitar) (Potlatch)

A collection of materials for solo guitarist, written by Michael Pisaro and here performed by Christian Alvear, presenting the performer with up to 12 fragments which can be played in any order and which allow for various transformations, cuts, extensions and silences. ... Click to View


Charlemagne Palestine : Bells Studies [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

From 1963 to 1970 avant composer/performer Charlemagne Palestine played the 26-bell carillon at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church while attending The High School of Music and Art in New York; this LP collects recordings of his performances from those early days. ... Click to View


Charlemagne Palestine : CharleBelllzzz at Saint Thomas (Golden 666) (Alga Marghen)

Previously unreleased recordings of Charlemagne Palestine's "Bells Studies", some of his earliest works, captured while attending The High School of Music and Art in New York in the 60s, of the 26-bell carillon at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church. ... Click to View


Albatre: A Descent Into Maelstrom (Shhpuma)

An experimental music trio playing a joyously harrowing display of urgent bass & sax noise, skewed jazz elements, frantic but meticulous drumming and abrupt moodshifts, representative of the crossover of improv, noise rock and jazz currently made in Holland. ... Click to View


Coclea: Coclea (Shhpuma)

Clean Feed's side label Shhpuma presents a solo release from multi-instrumentalist Guilherme Goncalves (Gala Drop), dreamy and informed guitar-driven mkusic borrowing from kosmische musik, Edgar Froese, or Loren Connors in gorgeously paced lush instrumental music. ... Click to View


Joana Sa: Elogio Da Desordem (In Praise of Disorder) (Shhpuma)

Composer, pianist and multi-instrumentals Joana Sa gives voice to texts by Goncalo M. Tavares as read by Rosinda Costa, where the text organizes the thoughts that filter the multiple, disorderly, eccentric, voluble mind described in Tavares' work. ... Click to View


Robert Ashley: The Wolfman (Alga Marghen)

A collection of pieces that introduce the listener to the most extreme experimental side of the late American composer Robert Ashley, with a 12-page booklet including liner notes written by the composer and the complete score of "The Wolfman". ... Click to View


David Behrman: Wave Train (Alga Marghen)

2015 remaster of Behrman's 2002 album issuing works from 1959-68, including a piece with Gordon Mumma; sounds for a film by Robert Watts; a collaborative work with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma & Robert Ashley; and a work with David Tudor on piano and Christoph Caskel. ... Click to View


James Blackshaw : Summoning Suns [VINYL] (Important Records)

A lovely album of instrumental guitar and songs in James Blackshaw's tenth studio album, the first recording to feature his voice and lyrics, drawing inspiration from '60s and '70s singer-songwriters, baroque and orchestral pop, and folk music. ... Click to View


John Russell / Phil Durrant / John Butcher: Conceits (1987/1992) (Emanem)

In 1987 the trio of John Butcher on tenor & soprano sax, Phil Durrant on violin & trombone, and John Russel on acoustic plectrum guitar, released this LP of free improvisations using superb forward-thinking dialog, remarkable 3 decades after its release! ... Click to View


Evan Parker: Monoceros (psi)

The four part "Monoceros" was recorded by saxophonist Evan Parker, here on soprano, in 1987, originally for the Incus label, here in a remastered form with Parker showing his masterful use of the extended techniques that have influenced a generation of players. ... Click to View


Marcio Mattos: SOL[os] (Emanem)

Surprisingly the first solo album from bassist Marcio Mattos, an important member of the London free improv and jazz scenes since the 70's, here presenting recordings from late 90s and 2000's, and a live recording at St. Mary's Old Church in Stoke Newington, 2010. ... Click to View


John Butcher / Phil Durrant / John Russell: The Scenic Route (Emanem)

1999 release of the trio of John Butcher on soprano & tenor sax, Phil Durrant on violin, and John Russell on guitar, meticulous improvisation using outrageous technique, "unorthodox thematic development and off-center interplay which at times is odd and surreal". ... Click to View


Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble: Earlier Outbreaks of Iconoclasm (1976-8) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

An excellent reissue of reedist/drummer/pianist Milo Fine, bringing together material released on Hat Hut in 1976 & '7 ("Hah!" & "The Constant Extension Of Inescapable Tradition") plus his never-issued '78 album "When I Was Five Years Old, I Predicted Your Whole Life". ... Click to View


Nordstrom / Johansson / Schlippenbach: Stockholm Connection [3 CDs] (Umlaut Records)

A unique 3CD-box from Umlaut Records putting in attention the musical collaborations between two of Sweden's most headstrong musicians: the pioneers Bengt "Frippe" Nordstrom and Sven-Ake Johansson. ... Click to View


Tim Berne's Snakeoil: You've Been Watching Me (ECM)

Saxophonist Tim Berne in his 3rd ECM album, leading his NY band Snakeoil, now a quintet with guitarist Ryan Ferreira joining pianist Matt Mitchell, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, and percussionist Ches Smith, for intricate, dynamic and sophisticated modern jazz. ... Click to View


John Zorn: Simulacrum (Tzadik)

John Zorn's organ trio crosses metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, and noise in 6 intense and rocking tracks performed by John Medeski on organ, Matt Hollenberg on guitar, and Kenny Grohowski on drums. ... Click to View


Per Bloland: Chamber Industrial (Tzadik)

Composer Per Bloland blends custom built electronics with instrumental textures to create unique soundscapes, presenting 5 works performed by Ecce Ensemble Chamber Industrial in a release of vigorous electroacoustic and instrumental compositions. ... Click to View


The Work: Slow Crimes [VINYL LP + 7-inch] (Megaphone/Knock 'em Dead)

The Work, formed in 1979 by reedist Tim Hodgkinson (Henry Cow), guitarist Bill Gilonis, bassist Mick Hobbs, and drummer Rick Wilson, plus vocalist Catherine Jauniaux in the first vinyl issue of their 1st LP, an aggressive and intelligent post-punk/RIO masterpiece. ... Click to View


Various Artists: Miniatures [VINYL] (Megaphone/Knock 'em Dead)

Released in 1981, keyboarist Morgan Fisher asked a broad set of artists including Robert Wyatt, David Bedford, Fred Frith, Maggie Nicols, Ollie Halsall, The Residents, Lol Coxhill, &c &c. to create a piece of music 60 seconds in length; here in a 180g vinyl reissue. ... Click to View


No Pair (Chiapperini / Elia / Trapani / Fusco): Chaos and Order (Long Song Records)

A mix of free jazz, rock, and avant-garde experimental music from clarinetist Francesco Chiapperini in a quartet with Gianluca Elia on tenor sax, Dario Trapani on electric guitar, and Anotonio Fusco on drums; lyrical modern jazz with a good dose of free chaos. ... Click to View


John Butcher / Gino Robair: Bottle Breaking Heart Leap [VINYL] (Alt.Vinyl)

An amazing example of modern free improv from two modern masters--John Butcher on tenor and soprano sax, acoustic and amplified; and percussionist Gino Robair on energized surfaces, blippoo box--playing with frightening intensity in perfectly paced dialog. ... Click to View


Liz Allbee / Burkhard Beins: Mensch Mensch Mensch [VINYL] (Alt.Vinyl)

Berlin based composer-performers Liz Allbee and Burkhard Beins team up for some electro-acoustic explorations, utilizing synths and field recordings, trumpet and percussion, and tuning forks. ... Click to View


Matt Starling: Terry Riley's Dorian Reeds (For Brass) (Self Released)

Matt Starling, founder of the Salt Lake Electric Ensemble, returns with a lesser known but equally impressive Terry Riley composition, "Dorian Reeds" for solo performer, microphone and two tape recorders, performed by Starling on flugelhorn and layered in the studio. ... Click to View


Charlemagne Palestine : Four Manifestations On Six Elements (Golden 5) (Alga Marghen)

One of Charlemagne Palestine's most well-known works, finally included in the Alga Marghen Golden Research series of CD editions presenting the composer's relevant historical recordings. ... Click to View


The Wire: #374 April 2015 [MAGAZINE + CD] (The Wire)

April 2015 issue + Wiretapper CD: On the cover: Holly Herndon; The Wire Tapper 37 VA CD; Invisible Jukebox: Lightning Bolt ; The Primer: Moondog; Brighton Noise Poets; Liturgy (Heavy overload); Model 500 (The future returns); John Wiese (New noise mutations); Global Ear: The Hague. ... Click to View


The Wire: #373 March 2015 (The Wire)

March 2015 issue; on the cover: Carter Tutti; inside this issue: Invisible Jukebox: Sleaford Mods; Cecil McBee; Steve Coleman; Global Ear: Mexico City; Inner Sleeve: Alvin Curran on Edith Schloss's artwork. ... Click to View


The Wire: #372 Febuary 2015 (The Wire)

February 2015 issue, with Mica Levi; Invisible Jukebox: John Carpenter; The Primer: Hiphop mixtapes; Inside the Red Bull Music Academy; Global Ear: Florence; Ohio punk 1975-80 ; Matana Roberts; The Pop Group; D'Angelo and the Vanguard. ... Click to View


James Blackshaw : Summoning Suns (Important Records)

A lovely album of instrumental guitar and songs in James Blackshaw's tenth studio album, the first recording to feature his voice and lyrics, drawing inspiration from '60s and '70s singer-songwriters, baroque and orchestral pop, and folk music. ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp Chamber Ensemble: The Gospel According to Matthew & Michael (Relative Pitch)

Frequent collaborators, Matthew Shipp (piano) and Michael Bisio (bass) are joined by fellow Downtown New Yorker Mat Maneri on viola create what they refer to as a chamber ensemble, performing the 15 improvised and inspired chapters of Shipp & Bisio's "Gospel". ... Click to View


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  Richard Crandell 
  Spring Steel  
  (Tzadik) 

   review by Darren Bergstein
  2008-03-24
Richard Crandell: Spring Steel (Tzadik)

The mbira, or thumb piano, has broken free of its indigenous African origins for some years now, but few beyond its native inhabitants have mastered the instrument. White Plains, New York, musician Richard Crandell, however, has taken the mbira to heart and head, making the metallophone's chiming resonances very much his own. Self-taught, with a background well-steeped in the music of fellow minimalists and innovators such as Leo Kottke, Steve Reich, and John Fahey, Crandell's tightly designed and salubriously executed works are an absolute wonder, primarily because they're so damned beautiful to listen to.

One might think that the mbira has a limited tonal range, and to some extent it does, but here on Spring Steel, Crandell manages to sidestep both cliché and obviousness by exploring variable timbres, tunings, and tendencies. It doesn't hurt that he's sometimes accompanied by percussionist Cyro Baptista, who provides his own Latin American flavorings to the aural fiesta. Right off the bat, with the utterly sublime "Inner Circle," it's clear Crandell's onto something. Attaining a smooth flow of sound that feels like tumbling down a river of woodblocks, Crandell weaves a most definite type of trance music that might well suggest Reichian tropes; of course, thanks to Baptista's own sparse yet effective array of percussive accents (shakers, rainsticks, triangles, other myriad noisemakers), this "fifth-world" music, "minimal" that it is, says more about places and timeframes than most so-called pirated "world" music.

The rest of Spring Steel follows the same kind of moiré patterns Crandell sets up at the beginning of the recording. Of course, the art of keeping this all from becoming simply a one-trick pony is varying the speed of play or altering the clusters of notes in seemingly simple yet deceptively ingenious ways. The best example of this is throughout the nine-plus minutes of "Zen Dagger," where Crandell's labyrinthine thrums dance magnificently around Baptista's shaker tableau; only Nana Vasconcelos' little-known but extraordinary solo recordings approach these for sheer innovation. As it is, getting up close and personal with Crandell's unique soundworld nearly opens up Castaneda-like dimensions; it's zen and the art of mbira maintenance.



Richard Crandell: Spring Steel
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