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The 2nd SME record to be issued, a 1968 classic of free improvisation as the quintet of John Stevens, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Dave Holland, and Kenny Wheeler, the 1st SME to feature their new organisational method, here remastered with far superior sound and balance than previous issues, with new notes by Evan Parker, Dave Holland and Martin Davidson plus session photos. ... Click to View


George Khan: Ah! (1968-2005) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

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Sidney Bechet referred to fellow musician as "musicianer", the title for New York baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton's trio with Jason Ajemian on acoustic bass and Chad Taylor on drums and percussion, in an outstandingly creative and compelling album of modern jazz showing the strong links between these three, dating back to their work together in Chicago in the 80s. ... Click to View


Josh Sinton: Krasa (Irabbagast)

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Sista Maj: Series Of Nested Universes [2 CDs] (Space Rock Productions )

Organized by Camper van Beethoven violinist Johan Segal, Sista Maj is an instrumental psychedelic rock trio with Mikael Tuominen on bass, baritone guitar and sitar, and Andreas Axelsson on drums and percussion, with Segal also on organ, electric guitar, synth and bass, for a double CD exploring sophisticated heavy electric rock, jazz, hypnotic and space music. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Warsaw Concert (Intakt)

After 44 years and presenting this, their 20th album, the UK/European free improvising trio of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens presents an incredible extended performance and a brief coda recorded during the Ad Libitum Festival at the Polish broadcasting, a testament to masterful skill and the endurance of free jazz. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Vol. 5 _Philharmonie De Paris (Tzadik)

The During a week in April 2017 John Zorn travelled to Paris, where he performed several concerts including "The Interpretation of Dreams", presented an evening with guests, and performed solo on the organ at the Grande salle Pierre Boulez, the full concert of which is presented on this CD, along with 30 minutes of recordings made before the evening's concert. ... Click to View


Piiptsjilling: Fiif (Peter Foolen Editions)

Piiptsjilling is the duo of guitarist Romke Kleefstra and vocalists Mariska Baars & Jan Kleefstra, joined here by Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek, combining poetry with vocals, guitars and electronics in improvisational settings, creating rich sonic environments over which the voice guides the listener, speaking in one of the Germanic Frisian languages. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani : Cooked In My Van (H&H Production)

Anyone who follows the work of Japanese drummer/percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani knows that cooking on the road is an integral part of his traveling life, and this slender cookbook provides images, descriptions, and insight into this cooking and his life on the road, with suggestions for meals that would make the perfect accompaniment to an evening of Nakatani's music. ... Click to View


Katharina Bohlen / Reinald Noisten / Claudius Reimann : Long Clarinets - Short Stories? (Creative Sources)

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The Remote Viewers : Last Man In Europe (Remote Viewers)

The saxophone-heavy UK improvising band Remote Viewers returns to a trio format, with founders David Petts on tenor sax and Adrian Northover on soprano sax, plus John Edwards on double bass, as the stripped-down band employs signature harmonic territory and compositional approaches, making this a distinctively concentrated and welcome Remote Viewers album. ... Click to View


Jeb Bishop / Dan Ruccia: Scratch Slice Jag (Out & Gone Records)

Trombonist Jeb Bishop and North Carolina-based Out & Gone Collective member, violist Dan Ruccia, after touring and performing with Eugene Chadbourne, Dan Lilley, and David Menestres, found their sound so compatible that they recorded this duo album that uses the language of free jazz, chamber music, and extended improvisations to create something unexpected and rare. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith Orchestra: Supernovae (Evil Clown)

Boston area composer and multi-instrumentalist David Peck developed a unique approach to scoring for this large and idiosyncratic ensemble, referred to as Frame Notation, giving descriptions of sonority, time scale, events, playing occurrences, &c, leaving a great deal of freedom for these extraordinary musicians, as borne out in their incredible and extended performance. ... Click to View


John Zorn / Eugene Chadbourne: 1977-1981 [VINYL LP + BOOK] (Song Cycle)

Deluxe box set edition of the 1998 Materiali Sonori CD, originally released to accompany the book release of "Sonora: John Zorn", here in its first vinyl release presenting early Downtown NY recordings between the duo of Zorn and guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, with vital players including Tom Cora, Polly Bradfield, Davey Williams, Fred Frith, Mark Kramer, &c. ... Click to View


Hollis Taylor: Absolute Bird [2 CDs] (ReR Megacorp)

An unusual and distinctive record from violinist and ornithologist Hollis Taylor, a book with 2 CDS presenting 41 tracks of recordings of the Australian pied butcherbird, each track pairing a bird, environmental sound, and a single instrumentalist, with an impressive list of performers who take unique approaches to the challenge of accompanying a bird. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler / Johannes Ollinger / Dine Doneff: Waterway (FMR)

The quirky acoustic trio of German improvisers Udo Schindler on clarinet, saxophone, cornet, and Euphonium, Johannes Ollinger on acoustic guitar and toys, and Dine Doneff on double bass, waterphone, and toys, the odd instrumentation adding surprising textures and disorienting angles to really fine dialog, technically, melodically, and eccentrically. ... Click to View


Alan Tomlinson Trio ( w/ Dave Tucker / Phillip Marks): Out And Out (FMR)

London Jazz Composers Orchestra trombonist Alan Tomlinson, performing on tenor and alto trombone, with his trio of Dave Tucker on guitar and Phillip Marks on percussion, are caught live in Birmingham, Lancaster, London, and during the Harwich Festival, from 2009-16, demonstrating the strong rapport and exciting dialog these players have developed over years performing together. ... Click to View


David Area / Tomas Gris / Ernesto Rodrigues : Chorismos (Creative Sources)

An album of patience and concentrated listening from the lowercase trio of David Area on electronics, Tomas Gris on guitar and objects, and Ernesto Rodrigues on harp and objects, each player subtly coaxing sounds out of their instruments while the electronics act as environmental ambience over which tones slowly voice and recede and occasionally punctuate. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi: Stacte Karaoke II [VINYL 12-inch] (Black Truffle)

Heavy rock riffs and shredding from Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi, his version of karaoke being repeating rock structures plundered and played over, giving him a platform to show his power tools, which are heavily modified and effected guitar lines in an oddly compelling album of rock machinations from this typically explorative, experimental player. ... Click to View


Matt Weston: Searchlight Swings b/w Is That Helicopter Over Our House? [7-inch' VINYL] (7272music)

Percussionist and electronics artist Matt Weston (Arthur Brooks Ensemble V, Arc Pair) in a 7" release showcasing his playing skills over his own notation systems employing additional dimensions of pre-and post-gestural strategies, using written standard notation and visual cues based on multiple and simultaneous, graphic scores. ... Click to View


Tomas Fujiwara : Triple Double (Firehouse 12 Records)

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara's sextet is actually two trios interacting, with fellow drummer Gerald Cleaver, both Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook on guitar, and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and Ralph Alessi on trumpet, the pairings forming unisons and contrasts that add an unrestrained sense of enthusiasm and excitement to Fujiwara's sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View


Mary Halvorson: Away With You [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Mary Halvorson continues her string of excellent modern jazz albums with this octet release with fellow guitarist Susan Alcorn, Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon & Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Jacob Garchik (trombone), John Hebert (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). ... Click to View


Taylor Bynum Ho : Enter the Plustet [VINYL] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum draws on a variety of techniques from improvised conduction to big band orchestration to deconstructed fanfares, with a large 15 member ensemble of impressive improvisers embodying a diversity of generations, backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender, presenting three large scale compositions that are ambitious and wonderfully accomplished. ... Click to View


Matthew Lux's Communication Arts Quartet: Contra/Fact [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD CODE] (Astral Spirits)

Chicago bassist Matthew Lux (Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra) in an album of effusive and spiritual percussive grooves under electronic and acoustic leads, performed with Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, electronics and percussion, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, percussion, mellotron and more, and Jayve Montgomery on various woodwinds, samples and percussion. ... Click to View


Peter Urpeth / Olie Brice / Terry Day / Ntshuks Bonga): Wraith Island (Live At Cafe Oto) (FMR)

Actually four quartet improvisations and two duets, London creative improvisers Peter Urpeth on piano, Olie Brice on bass, Terry Day on drums and Ntshuks Bonga on saxophone took to Cafe Oto in January, 2017, to record this excellent album of collective free improvisation drawing on decades of experience in an absorbing and engaging concert. ... Click to View


Lisa Ullen / Torsten Muller: Into The Staring Town (Creative Sources)

Recording at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2014, the duo of Swedish pianist Lisa Ullen and German double bassist Torsten Muller perform two extended improvisations focused on music and sound, using extended techniques and unusual approaches to their instruments in service to the spontaneous flow of ideas between them, never excessive, always captivating. ... Click to View


Corso (Emilio Gordoa / Nicola L. Hein): Unwanted Pregnancy (Creative Sources)

Mexican composer and vibraphonist based in Berlin since 2012, Emilio Gordoa in a duo with guitarist Nicola L. Hein, using preparations to their vibraphones, percussion, and guitar, in an 8 part composition of diverse approaches to improvisation, from exuberant interaction to Reich-like minimalism to cantankerous experimentation, a well-rounded and interesting album. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Alexander Frangenheim: Underwater Music (Creative Sources)

Like the Lisbon String Trio, this trio explores strings in a viola, cello and double bass trio configuration, from Creative Sources core players Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, and Alexander Frangenheim, exploring a classic trio concept towards new expressions and boundaries, through spritely interaction and sonic expedition. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before [VINYL] (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... 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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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Schlippenbach Trio
(Schlippenbach /
Evan Parker /
Lovens):
Warsaw Concert
(Intakt)



Spontaneous Music
Ensemble:
Karyobin (1968)
[2017 REISSUE]
(Emanem)



Musicianer
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Ajemian /
Taylor):
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Sista Maj:
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DOWNLOAD CODE]
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Tomas Fujiwara :
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[VINYL 2 LPs]
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Taylor Bynum Ho :
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