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Recently @ Squidco:

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Kira Kira (Tamura / Spence / Fujii / Takemura): Bright Force (Libra)

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Animals & Giraffes (Greenlief / la Rocco / Leidecker): Landlocked Beach (Creative Sources)

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Bill Dixon: Odyssey (Solo Works) [6 CD BOX SET] (Archive Edition)

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Peter Bruun's All Too Human (w/ Tranberg / Ducret / Toldam): Vernacular Avant-garde (Ayler)

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Christophe Monniot & Grand Orchestre du Tricot: Jericho Sinfonia (Ayler)

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Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / Jeff Cosgrove: Live In Baltimore (Leo)

A rare live album from Brazilian-born/NY-based saxophonist Ivo Perelman, performing live at An Die Musik in Baltimore in 2017 in a trio with pianist Matthew Shipp and new drummer Jeff Cosgrove, for a single epic improvisation that takes the listener on an adventure from lyrical to energetic free jazz, all three players unhurried and absolutely focused. ... Click to View


Suspensao: Physis (Creative Sources)

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Domeniconi / Schlegel / Suter : Quince Dreams (Creative Sources)

Three versatile improvisers with pedigrees including Christian Weber, Christian Wolfarth, Objets Trouves, Big Bold Back Bone, &c, the Swiss trio of Roberto Domeniconi on piano, Jan Schlegel on electric bass, and Sheldon Suter on drums use unusual and extended techniques integrated within free improv in this coproduction with RSI Rete Due Radiotelevision, Switzerland. ... Click to View


Baker / Glover: Love, Approximately (Bad Architect Records)

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Cornelius Cardew / London Experimental Ensemble: Treatise (Split Rock Records)

The full two-hour performance of Cornelius Cardew's entire 193-page legendary Treatise graphic score, performed at Iklectik in London, England on January 28, 2017 in an 11-member ensemble of some of London's most interesting improvisers including participants in Scratch Orchestra, in a double CD release with liner notes by AMM founder Eddie Prevost. ... Click to View


Henry Kaiser / Ed Pettersen: We Call All Times Soon (Split Rock Records )

A series of acoustic guitar duos between Henry Kaiser playing on an 18-string harp guitar, and Ed Pettersen, playing an 8-string Weissenborn guitar, freely improvised and with a psychedelic/cosmic impulse as the two draw on elements of Americana and roots-based folk music in four extended recordings, the camaraderie and mutual intent evident in this fascinating album. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov / Max Johnson / Michael Sarin: Free Reservoir (Leo)

An exciting and forceful album of free jazz from the trio of pianist Simon Nabatov, bassist Max Johnson and drummer Michael Sarin, recording in the studio in New York City with each player propelling themselves in dynamic, inventive collective free playing with an experimental bent, but never departing from the traditions of identifiable jazz music; recommended! ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Bobby Kapp: Heptagon (Leo)

Releasing albums at a furious pace, Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman continues his collaborations with some of New York's finest players, here in a quartet with Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass and Bobby Kapp on drums, in the appropriately titled 7-part "Heptagon" of lyrical free improvisation of great intensity and dialog. ... Click to View


Camarasa / Mahler: TbPn (Gigantonium)

Recorded in concert during "Culture with a Big Q" in Toulouse, France in 2017, the duo of Xavier Camarasa on piano/prepared piano and Matthias Mahler on trombone, take Camarasa's compositions and arrange them to alternate between melodic free sections and contemporary abstract passages using extended techniques, heard in this captivating and versatile performance. ... Click to View


Clement Janinet : O.U.R.S. (Gigantonium)

French violinist Clement Janinet composes music for quartet inspired by the lyricism of the free jazz melodies of the 60s (Ornette Coleman, Phoraoh Sanders, &c.) and the timbral and rhythmic textures of repetitive music (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Adams, &c) in several quartet configurations including bass clarinet, tenor sax, bass, drums, guitrar, and cello. ... Click to View


Jean-Brice Godet : Epiphanies (Gigantonium)

French experimental improviser Jean-Brice Godet, a frequent collaborator with Joelle Leandre and a member of Cuir, in a solo album of 8 etudes for dictaphone, radio, and clarinet, a unique album of extreme and eccentric technique on reeds punctuated by unearthly voice and radio transmissions, a curious album that rewards detailed listening. ... Click to View


Shed Metal (Daniel Kernohan / Dan Lander): Equivalent Insecurity (Spool)

Verge Music founder Daniel Kernohan aka Dee Kay and radio host Dan Lander developed this album of electroacoustic interaction between 1987-1989 in a dilapidated row house on "the wrong side of the tracks" in Toronto, using "instruments, toys, stuff, sound" to create an amusing, sometimes startling, and insightful series of interactions; unpredictable and interesting. ... Click to View


IKB: Rhinocerus (Creative Sources)

One of Portugal's most interesting large scale lowercase ensembles led by violist Ernesto Rodrigues, with frequent Creative Sources collaborators including Nuno Torres on alto sax, Carlos Santos on electronics, Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, Miguel Mira on bass, 14 musicians move with subtlety in a tapestry of electroacoustic resonance and mystique. ... Click to View


Wasteland Jazz Unit: Attuned To Ruin [CASSETTE] (Banned Productions)

Wasteland Jazz Unit is Jon Lorenz on saxophone and John Rich on clarinet, based in Cincinnati, Ohio that please their own ears by playing an amorphous, hyper-amplified free improvised noise of blasting screaming horn squeals, damaged contact mics, feedback tones and the like, in a cassette of dark, aggressive sound. ... Click to View


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  The Manhattan Listening Tour  

A guide to galleries that aren't for the eyes.


By Nirav Soni 2002-12-07

Poking around Manhattan for any period of time will soon yield a steady stream of tourists, eyes welded heavenwards, cameras in hand, relentlessly scanning left and right for the next spectacle. One should have caution when around such birds; an errant digit poses a significant threat to eyeballs. Rarely, however, do you find out-of-towners armed with a minidisc recorder, or a DAT machine. Surely our fair city is as much an auditory all-you-care-to-eat as it is it is an ocular one!

Apocryphally, John Cage said that when he moved into a loft on 18th St. and 6th Ave, he never bought records again. Whenever he wanted to hear music, he just opened his window. What can compare to the subtle symphony of pedestrian and road traffic? How many composers harmonies subtle as that of a screaming baby and a fire engine or rhythms as complex as squealing breaks and car alarms? The ears reel at the wealth of such sonic stimuli!

Of course, the nuances of street sounds can be somewhat unwelcome in an undercaffinated morning. But the shock always subsides and the hum of traffic blends with howling winds, underscoring the subtle interplay of rustling leaves and grumbling pedestrians.

Noise pollution?! How can you even think a phrase like that? I'll fight to the death to hear the Long Island Rail Road every morning; there are few sounds as life-affirming as the 7 train rattling over Roosevelt Avenue in Queens at the break of dawn. The sweet sounds of this fair city are in my book nowhere paralleled. Sure, New Delhi is louder and more brash and les rues of Paris perhaps more refined, but how can you compare it to the delicate clinking of change in indigent cups, the idle chatter of trust-funded youth, sizzling kebabs, clomping boots and clicking heels? Give me street performers like Kalaparusha Maurice McIntryre, Kenta Nagai and a free-jazz subway combo like Test over whatever else another city's got any day.

With su ch a rich ambiance to work in, NYC has a number of galleries and spaces devoted to the creation and presentation of sound art, in its installed and performed incarnations. These galleries present an excitingly diverse range of work, from the rigorously formal and conceptual to the more spontaneous and organic. With this in mind, I present to you "The Squid's Ear Sound Art Tour of Manhattan"

A few preliminary remarks:

  1. Get a Metrocard Funpass. $4 will have you cruising the subways and buses all day.
  2. Sound art galleries are not available in the way that visual art galleries in Chelsea and Soho are. As they are not dedicated to the marketing of commodities, galleries like Engine27 and Diapason are generally not as accessible as "traditional" art galleries are. You'd be well advised to check ahead of time to see which days and times they are open.
  3. Turn off your cell phone.
  4. Leave your headphones at home.

Engine27

Whatever you hear at the Engine 27 sound art gallery, it is likely to be perceptually overwhelming. Housed in an ex-firehouse in Tribeca, the gallery is home to the most sophisticated and awe-inspiring multichannel sound playback system I've ever witnessed.

Engine27 is generally open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, exhibiting sound installations and, on occasion, live performances. The rest of the week, the gallery becomes a studio for artists to work. The overarching majority of what is exhibited is created on commission, specifically for the space. As part the commission, each artist is given 30-40 hours of time with an engineer to create a work to be exhibited in the environment.

I stopped into Engine27 early on a weekday, and had the pleasure of seeing the gallery without it's dress shoes on.Fragments of Leopanar Witlarge's composition-in-the-working hovered in the space as I took a slow walk through the gallery. It's d isconcerting enough to walk through an ex-firehouse filled with speakers that are at least half your size suspended from the ceiling; imagine the cognitive dissonance you feel when you see two people amiably chatting while shards of a disembodied voice moves from one side of the space to the other.

http://www.engine27.org/
Address: 173 Franklin St., between Hudson and Greenwich
Directions: 1, 9 train to Franklin St. Walk 1 and 1/2 blocks west on Franklin.

The Dream House

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House has been a fixture of the New York creative community for 8 years. Since its creation, it has been employed in the realization of their collaborative project "The Base 9:7:4 Symmetry in Prime Time...." (Go to the website if you want to see the entire title), which ostensibly becomes an immersive sound and light environment.

What's most amazing about the Dream House is how the meticulously structured and calculated, para-scientific study sensory input is deployed in a space is so gentle and warm. Fans of drone based music will be taken by the complex webs of sum and difference tones that are synthesized in real-time, and the corollary light sculptures at once suggest 19th century retinal psychology, and 60's minimalism.

There are a few pillows alongside the walls, and the carpeting is plush, but aside from a small shrine to Pandit Pran Nath and the sound and light producers, the main space of the Dream House is bare. There's no one ideal location to experience the piece, and you're tacitly invited to create the composition for yourself by walking around and turning your head. Every time I go, I end up slumped up against the wall, gently nodding my head and thoroughly losing myself. There aren't really audible indicators of time, so if you don't have a watch, it becomes tough to tell whether you've been si tting down for 15 or 50 minutes.

The Dream House is a wonderful place to go in the wintertime, as it's much warmer than it's surroundings. There's a $4 donation requested at the door and shoe removal is mandatory (wear clean socks.)

http://melafoundation.org/main.htm
Address: 275 Church Street between Franklin & White Streets in Tribeca
Directions: 1,9 to Franklin St. Walk east to Church, cross the street, turn left, and walk 1/2 block.
From Canal St. Station (N, R, Q, W, J, M, Z, 6) Walk west to Church Street and head south.

Diapason

Diapason resides in the midst of office buildings and the financial mutterings. You'd hardly guess that this narrow entranceway in midtown would be home to some of NYC's most innovative sound art. Michael Schumacher and Liz Gerring continue Diapason in the tradition of their Studio Five Beekman, and present installations and performances in the galleries. Often you'll see video projected on the 3 screens in the galleries, adding an interesting visual component to the music.

You'll have to plan your trip around this visit. The gallery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 6-12 pm, and since it's so far removed from the other stops on the tour, it's recommended that you leave plenty of time for it.

Diapason is comprised of two separate galleries: a large chamber that you enter when you walk through the door and a smaller room towards the far end of the room. The second room is easy to overlook, but is always worth spending time in.

Fred Szymanski presented his "Friction Sticky Rough" in the larger chamber in October, filling the space with dense clouds of sound particles, ebbing and flowing. On the wall were undulating, synthetic structures, a visual analogue to the tactile effervescence of the music. Bernard Gunter's installation in the smaller room wa smu ch more spare, a single red bulb illuminating the room, with speakers pushed against the wall almost sculpturally. The music was haunting, so quiet at times that the sound from the Szymanski piece became a very real presence.

http://www.diapasongallery.com/
Address: 1026 Sixth Avenue, between 38th and 39th
Subway: Subway: 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, B, D, F, Q, N, R, W to 42nd Street. Walk 3 and 1/2 blocks south on 6th Ave.

Sonic Garden at the World Financial Center

I applaud the curators of the Sonic Garden for their curatorial acumen and progressive tastes. It's not often that one can hear innovative sound art from the likes of Laurie Anderson, Marina Rosenfeld, David Byrne and Ben Rubin in as public an arena as the World Financial Center, where hundreds and hundreds of people pass every day.

However, these works are in an uncomfortable space. The Winter Garden, of which the Sonic Garden is a component, is located within the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan. For whatever reason, that didn't trigger enough bells for me, and I didn't mentally prepare myself for walking right next to the site of the World Trade Center last November in order to get to the Winter Garden.

Context is so important to the reception of artwork, and the Sonic Garden, while admirably presented, can't escape the larger shadow it stands beneath. It makes David Byrne's collection of jokes and one-liners seem a little trivial. Taken on their own merit, the works are nice enough. Ben Rubin incorporates market economics in his work, while Marina Rosenfeld's echoing sound particles evoke an image of a large, quiet imaginary dream garden. Laurie Anderson's work alone seemed appropriately elegiac, it's single processed violin, which feels delicate and reverent.

http://www.creativetime.org/sonicgarden/map.html

Subway: Take the 4/5/6 to Fulton Street, the N/R to Rector Street, or the 1/9 to Wall Street. Walk to Church and Liberty Streets and cross the South Bridge to 1 WFC. Follow signs within complex to the Winter Garden.



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