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Mazurek, Rob & Black Cube SP (featuring Sao Paulo Underground): Return The Tides: Ascension Suite And Holy Ghost [VINYL] (Cuneiform)

Two weeks after the passing of his mother to cancer, cornetist Rob Mazurek and his Black Cube sextet recorded this profound album blending acoustic and electronics with intense spiritual and emotional energy, a fitting tribute that explores our connection to the next stage. ... Click to View


Mazurek, Rob & Black Cube SP (featuring Sao Paulo Underground): Return The Tides: Ascension Suite And Holy Ghost (Cuneiform)

Two weeks after the passing of his mother to cancer, cornetist Rob Mazurek and his Black Cube sextet recorded this profound album blending acoustic and electronics with intense spiritual and emotional energy, a fitting tribute that explores our connection to the next stage. ... Click to View


Ideal Bread (Stinton / Knuffke / Hopkins / Fujiwara): Beating the Teens [2 CDs] (Cuneiform)

The 3rd album NYC's Steve Lacy repertory band Ideal Bread led by John Sinton (baritone saxophone) with Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Adam Hopkins (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) in a double CD recomposing Lacy's "Scratching The Seventies / Dreams" in unique and fascinating ways. ... Click to View


Pirog, Anthony (with Michael Formanek and Ches Smith): Palo Colorado Dream (Cuneiform)

Washington, DC guitarist and electronic artist Anthony Pirog's trio with Michael Formanek on bass and Ches Smith on drums in his debut album, blending acoustic playing with electronics in immersive songs of soundscape and strong technical skills in 11 cathartic songs. ... Click to View


Pinhas, Richard / Yoshida Tatsuya: Welcome In The Void (Cuneiform)

Electronics and guitar from French psychedelic rock legend Richard Pinhas (Heldon) merges with the percussion mastery of Yoshida Tatsuya (Ruins, Koenji Hyakkei and Korekyojinn) for a remarkable two part duo of sonic and percussive exchanges recorded in Paris and Tokyo. ... Click to View


Pinhas, Richard / Oren Ambarchi: Tikkun [CD & DVD] (Cuneiform)

Richard Pinhas of Helodon fame meets guitarist and sound artist Oren Mabarchi, Masami Akita (Merzbow) on loops, noise &effects, and Duncan Pinhas on sequencer, effects & noise, plus Eric Borelva for additional drums in a studio CD / live DVD 2 disc release. ... Click to View


Zeitkratzer / Keiji Haino: Zeitkratzer + Keiji Haino (Zeitkratzer)

Keiji Haino collaborates with Reinhold Friedl's Zeitkratzer for their 2nd release, with Haino concentrating solely on his voice without electronic manipulation, in a live recording at Jahrehunderthalle in Bochum, Germany for a frightful mix of ferocious chamber music. ... Click to View


Haino, Keiji / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi: Only Wanting to Melt Beautifully Away Is It a Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be as of Yet Unseen [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

The 5th release from the trio of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Keiji Haino, guitarist Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi on wineglass and percussion is an introspective and beautifully developed set recorded live at their March 2013 concert at SuperDeluxe. ... Click to View


Zeitkratzer / Keiji Haino: Live At Jahrhunderthalle Bochum [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

Keiji Haino collaborates with Reinhold Friedl's Zeitkratzer for their 2nd release, with Haino concentrating solely on his voice without electronic manipulation, in a live recording at Jahrehunderthalle in Bochum, Germany for a frightful mix of ferocious chamber music. ... Click to View


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Black Is Back - 40th Anniversary Project (KATALYST )

Percussionist Kahil El' Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble with Ernest Khabeer Dawkins on saxophone and Corey Wilkes on trumpet, referencing the history of jazz in contemporary settings, with superb rhythmic textures and excellent soloing. ... Click to View


Adasiewicz's, Jason Sun Rooms: From The Region (Delmark)

Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms explores the sparse territory of the vibraphone trio with fellow Chicago player Mike Reed on drums and Texan via Norway bassist Ingrebrigt Haker-Flaten replacing Nate McBrite; tasteful and lyrical jazz with a modern edge. ... Click to View


Abrams, Joshua: Natural Information (Eremite)

Joshua Abrams (Town & Country, Matana Roberts & Chad Taylor, &c) in an infectious groove-based album built around the guimbri, a 3-stringed animal hide bass used by the Gnawa of North Africa, with a bonus 20 minutes of material not included in the LP. ... Click to View


NG4 Quartet (Keith Rowe / Anthony Taillard / Emmanuel Leduc / Julien Ottavi): A Quartet For Guitars (Mikroton Recordings)

Keith Rowe, Anthony Taillard, Emmanuel Leduc and Julien Ottavi perform on electric guitars and electronics, following a score of 9 sections worked out between them for over a year before recording these six improvisations. ... Click to View


Rowe, Keith / Alfredo Costa Monteiro / Ilia Belorukov / Kurt Liedwart: Contour (Mikroton Recordings)

Two recordings from spina!studio in St. Petersburg during the Teni Zvuka 2013 Festival, one a duo btween Keith Rowe and Alfredo Costa Monteiro, and the other filling out to a quartet with Ilia Belorukov and Kurt Liedwart; detailed interactions with impressive restraint. ... Click to View


Uchihashi, Kazuhisa / Noid / Tamara Wilhelm: I Hope It Doesn't Work (Mikroton Recordings)

Three unusual voices in electroacoustic improv from Uchihashi Kazuhisa on guitar and daxaophone, Tamara Wilhelm on DIY electronics, and Noid on cell, recorded at two concerts: Kleylehof/Nickelsdorf in 2011; and festival Konfrontationen 2013. ... Click to View


Fennesz: Venice [VINYL 2 LPs] (Touch)

Special 10th anniversary edition of Fennesz' classic "Venice" album from 2004 recorded with David Sylvian on vocals and Burkhard Stangl on guitar, presented in a gatefold double LP release. ... Click to View


Castello, Angelica / Billy Roisz / Burkhard Stangl / Dieb13: Scuba (Mikroton Recordings)

A large improvised work from the quartet of Angelica Castello (amplified subcontrabass, paetzold recorder and electronic devices, Billy Roisz (electronics), Burkhard Stangl (electric guitar) and Dieb13 (turntables & klopfer) performing live at Alte Schmiede Wien, Austria in 2013. ... Click to View


Triac (Tatone / Seracini / Polidoro): In A Room (Laminal)

Triac is an electronic music trio from Italy formed in the end of 2011 by Rossano Polidoro, Marco Seracini and Augusto Tatone, using laptop, fisa, electric bass, piano synth to investigate minimal ambient music. ... Click to View


Shea, David: Rituals (Room40)

Electroacoustic composer and a former Downtown NY artist David Shea returns with a massive work of semiotic acoustic renderings based around ritual music, performed with Lawrence English and Robin Rimbaud, Oren Ambarchi, &c., a profound and massive work. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple SWR: Yes, No & Perhaps (Magaibutsu)

Acid Mother Temple SWR merge's AMT's Kawabata Kakoto (guitar, voice,) and Tsuyama Atsushi (bass, vocals, sax) with Yoshida Tatsuya (Ruins, Koenji Hyakkei, &c), here in their 6th release, crazy prog-oriented rock of indescribable insanity and skill! ... Click to View


Lopez, Rick: The William Parker Sessionography [BOOK] (Centering Records)

Rick Lopez compiles a complete sessionography for the indefatigable New York bassist William Parker, and encyclopedic compilation of his work in a limited 8.5"x11" format, 482-page book. ... Click to View


Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Oliv & Familie (1968-9) (Emanem)

Reissuing the 3rd release from drummer John Steven's Spontaneous Music Ensemble with 31 minutes of previously unissued material, with participants including Derek Bailey, Kenny Wheller, Evan Parker, Dave Holland, Maggie Nichols, Trevor Watts, Johnny Dyani, &c &c. ... Click to View


Rutherford, Paul Trio: Gheim - live at Bracknell 1983 (Emanem)

A short-lived improvising trio led by Paul Rutherford (trombonist) with Paul Rogers (double bass) and Nigel Morris (drums) performing live in 1983, originally issued on cassette on the Ogun label, here with more than 24 minutes of additional studio material. ... Click to View


Lacy, Steve: Cycles (1976-80) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

Solo saxophone performances of three of Steve Lacy's cycles--"Shots", "Sands", and "Hedges"--recorded in concert and in the studio in the late 70's and 1980, with the majority of the material previously unreleased; thoughtful, technical, lyrical, astounding music from a true master! ... Click to View


Halvorson, Mary: Reverse Blue (Relative Pitch)

Guitarist Mary Halvorson's project with Chris Speed on sax & clarinet, Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Tomas Fuijwara on drums, a band formed for a one-off concert at the Blue Note in NYC, that continued on based on the strength of the bond between them, as heard on this superb release. ... Click to View


Grimal, Alexandra / Giovanni Di Domenico: Chergui [2 CDs] (Ayler)

Saxophonist Alexandra Grimal recorded this double CD with pianist Giovanni Di Domenico a the Theatre Du Chatelet, in Paris, France, for adventurous dialog in a dynamic set of original Di Domenico compositions plus freely improvised work, both duo and solo. ... Click to View


Lacy, Steve: School Days (1960/3) (Emanem)

Presenting a 1963 gig by the quartet of Steve Lacy (saxophone), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Dennis Charles (drums) and Henry Grimes (bass), playing piano-less interpretations of the music of Thelonious Monk; plus Lacy with the Monk Quintet live in Philadelphia, 1960. ... Click to View


Moholo, Louis / Frode Gjerstad: Sult (FMR)

Norwegian reedist Frode Gjerstad in three extended duos with legendary South African drummer Louis Moholo for sensitive, creative and engaging freely improvised music from two masters, performed live in concert at Gallery Sult in Stavanger, 2013. ... Click to View


Shetland Improvisers Orchestra: First Steps (FMR)

The 1st release from this collective directed by Raymond MacDonald on sax and George Burt on drums (GIO), presenting work from workshop sessions and a complete set from the 2012 Glasgow Improvisers Festival, 6 unique and sometimes eccentric work, including a piece for Lol Coxhill. ... Click to View


Bianco, Tony: Utoma Quartet (FMR)

Borrowing from Elvin Jones' concepts, drummer Bianco's band uses 2 saxophones (Mike Fletcher and Mark Hanslip), bass (Colin Somervell) and drums, for energetic and ecstatic jazz compositions creating a continual pulse with long lines and looped synchronicity. ... 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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