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Matthew Shipp / Nate Wooley: What If? (RogueArt)

An authoritative meeting between two of New York City's strongest players--Matthew Shipp on pian and Nate Wooley on trumpet--distilled to their essence after work with saxophonist Ivo Pereleman and performing a set of 12 Shipp compositions brilliantly captured in the studio, illuminating Shipp's solid mastery of the keys and Wooley's remarkable technique and creative drive. ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp String Trio (w/ Mat Maneri / William Parker): Symbolic Reality (RogueArt)

Six compositions by pianist Matthew Shipp for his String Trio with violist Mat Maneri and double bassist William Parker, their first Trio record since 2001's "Expansion, Power and Release" (Hat), their long history of working together in a variety of configurations creating a near-telepathic link between the players over Shipp's sophisticated frameworks. ... Click to View


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Day & Taxi: Devotion (Percaso)

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After Dinner: Souvenir Cassette (2019) [DELUXE CD EDITION] (Fish Prints)

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Cristian Alvear / Tim Olive: Telquan (845 Audio)

Minimalist Chilean guitarist Cristian Alvear and Tim Olive first played together in October 2016, doing three concerts in Japan, Alvear returning to Japan in October of 2017 for additional performances in Kyoto and Osaka, then spent a day recording in Kobe; this single improvised piece is the result of that day, heard as it was recorded, with a few structural edits. ... Click to View


Elizabeth Millar / Tim Olive / Craig Pedersen: Charm Point (845 Audio)

Montreal-area's Mystery and Wonder Records duo of Elizabeth Millar on clarinet and Craig Pedersen on trumpet met sound artist Tim Olive in Tokyo's famed Gok Sound studio to record these absorbing electroacoustic improvisations, employing hand-made microphones in metal and wooden tubes, corrupted consumer sound devices, and electro-magnetism through analog circuits. ... Click to View


Toys'R Noise: Manivole [VINYL] (BeCoq)

Using toys and handmade instruments alongside guitar, bass, synths, plundered recordings and electronics, the French Toys'R'Noise trio are a live performing group that borrows from electro-beat rock forms with overtones of IDM/ambient forms, building extended sections and then amusing with quick-witted sections that bridge a clear love of the music. ... Click to View


Bonne Humeur Provisoire: Marek [VINYL] (BeCoq)

A very odd album of experimental rock and mutilated folk forms that they refer to as "A sort of traditionnal music from a later country in a less faraway time", from French percussionist Bertrand Fraysse with vocalist Miha, using repetition and simple forms that build to strangely dense electronic environments, with a clear DIY and peculiar attitude; great fun! ... Click to View


URGE / SETE STAR SEPT: SSSURGE [VINYL] (BeCoq)

A split vinyl release between Urge (Caen) and Tokyo's Sete Star Sept, with one track from the French free jazz trio Urge of Antoine Ulmann on sax, Bubu Pagier on gutiar, and Yann Fontbonne (drums) in a Borbetomagus mode; and the Japanese gridcore duo of drummer Ryosuke Kiyasu and bassist/vocalist Kae Takahashi providing a thick extended rock grindcore piece; a blistering combo. ... Click to View


Nate Wooley: Battle Pieces 4 (Relative Pitch)

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Masahiko Satoh / Otomo Yoshihide / Roger Turner: Sea (Relative Pitch)

After their Doubtmusic CD "Live at Hall Egg Farm", capturing the trio of Masahiko Satoh on piano, Otomo Yoshihide on electric guitar & whistle, and Roger Turner on drums & percussion in Fukaya City, this new chapter in the trio's activities finds them live at Shinjuku Pit Inn, in Tokyo the following year, for two energetically active and captivating conversations. ... Click to View


Ramon Lopez / Mark Feldman: Trappist-1 (Relative Pitch)

NY violinist Mark Feldman, an intensely active musician in improvisation and contemporary composition, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez, active with an impressive list of jazz masters including Barry Guy and The Turbine!, join together in the studio for the seven-part improvisation "Trappist-1", a virtuosic intertwining from introspective to exuberantly energetic. ... Click to View


Fred Van Hove: At 80 [3 CDs / 80 page book] (Dropa Disc)

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Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Four (Long Song Records)

Their aptly titled "Fourth" album since they first performed together in 2015, Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and NY bassist and flutist Joe Fonda have toured and developed an intuitive, almost telepathic, relationship--naturally melodic, intelligent yet emotional-- heard here in two concerts in Japan, with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura joining as a guest on two pieces. ... Click to View


Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Toronto-area saxophonist Colin Fisher, best known for his group I Have Eaten The City, with his collective quartet of NY players Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxophones + clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on upright bass, and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion, for three extended and exploratory improvisations of exemplary creative insight. ... Click to View


Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight (Astral Spirits)

Toronto-area saxophonist Colin Fisher, best known for his group I Have Eaten The City, with his collective quartet of NY players Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxophones + clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on upright bass, and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion, for three extended and exploratory improvisations of exemplary creative insight. ... Click to View


Michael Attias : Echos La Nuit (Out Of Your Head Records)

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Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction (Out Of Your Head Records)

Brooklyn-based composer, bassist, and writer Nick Dunston in his debut album, blending jazz, contemporary, chamber and avant forms, in a uniquely voiced quintet with Louna Dekker on Vargas on flutes & piccolo, Ledah Finck on violin & viola, Tal Yahalom on guitar, and Stephen Boegehold on drums, in a sophisticated album of concisely fascinating compositions. ... Click to View


Sound of the Mountain w/ Tetuzi Akiyama / Toshimaru Nakamura: amplified clarinet and trumpet, guitars, nimb (Mystery & Wonder)

Sound of the Mountain is an independent label led by Montreal-area improvisers Elizabeth Millar (clarinet) and Craig Pedersen (trumpet), who traveled to Tokyo in 2017 for several concerts and this spectacular and unique recording session at GOK studio in Kichijoji with ea-improvisers Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar) and Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board). ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble: Proteus IV (Evil Clown)

The Boston-are duo of reedist PEK and percussionsit Yuri Zbitnov cover a wide range of sonorities, always with the presence of Gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and many other metallic sounds and the horns of PEK, here in a sci-fi epic, with Eric Woods on modular synth and Englephone, Mike Gruen on bass, and Joel Simches with real-time signal processing. ... Click to View


Frank Rosaly (w/ Blonk / Boye / Farha / Pfiffner / Bishop / Broste / McBride / Diaz / Fernandez / Guerra / Rodriguez): Todos de Pie! (Kontrans)

Examining the music of Puerto Rico through a very personal relationship, drummer Frank Rosaly assembled a group of percussionists along with trombonists Jeb Bishop & Nick Broste, bassist Nate McBride, pianist Ben Boye wind player Cameron Pfiffner, and Dutch avant-free vocalist Jaap Blonk, all using electronics and voice as they push the boundary of genre and concept. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Sergio Sorrentino: Spilla' (ANTS Records)

'Spilla' means 'to play' in the language of Neapolitan musicians, and playing here are NY guitarist and composer Elliott Sharp and Italian guitarist Sergio Sorrentino, presenting world premier recordings of 4 works recorded live in Vercelli, Italy: two improvisations and two graphic scores performed on electric guitar with incredible technique and passion. ... Click to View


Werner Durand : Schwingende Luftsaulen 2 (ANTS Records)

A beautifully hypnotic album of saxophone, accompanied by Pan-Ney, Shruti Box and Organ, recorded in overdubs by composer/wind player Werner Durand in this 2nd chapter of his trilogy focused on the Pan-Ney, a self-built instrument for repetitive foundations, as Durand draws on elements of nature, mythology, dance, religion, literature and folklore. ... Click to View


Jessica Pavone String Ensemble: Brick and Mortar (Birdwatcher Records)

After six years of composing primarily for solo viola, NY violist and violinist Jessica Pavone formed the J. Pavone String Ensemble as an extension of the sonic discoveries of her solo music, exploring tactile experience that expand on the themes of her solo work while also integrating a deeper understanding of the effects sound has on the listener. ... Click to View


Aurora Nealand / Steve Marquette / Anton Hatwich / Paul Thibodeaux: Kobra Quartet [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Quietly lurking as it prepares to attack, this Kobra is the free improvising quaret of Aurora Nealand on accordion, alto saxophone, voice & objects, Steve Marquette on acoustic & electric guitars, Anton Hatwich on bass, and Paul Thibodeaux on drums, captured live at Chicago's Hungry Brain during the Instigation Festival for a mysterious 2-part "New Omens" and some "Telly Attire". ... Click to View


Koenjihyakkei: Angherr Shisspa Revisited (Skin Graft)

A new edition of Koenjihyakkei's landmark fourth album, blending progressive rock, jazz fusion, symphonic rock and neoclassicism with the energy of hardcore punk, the volume of metal and the attitude of Rock In Opposition, from Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, Sakamoto Kengo on bass, Kanazawa Miyako on keyboards Yamamoto Kyoko on voice, and Komori Keiko on reeds. ... Click to View


Koenjihyakkei: Angherr Shisspa Revisited [VINYL] (Skin Graft)

A new edition of Koenjihyakkei's landmark fourth album, blending progressive rock, jazz fusion, symphonic rock and neoclassicism with the energy of hardcore punk, the volume of metal and the attitude of Rock In Opposition, from Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, Sakamoto Kengo on bass, Kanazawa Miyako on keyboards Yamamoto Kyoko on voice, and Komori Keiko on reeds. ... Click to View


String Theory: 3 of 9 Dimensions (Evil Clown)

String Theory is the extended string section of the Leap of Faith Orchestra, with David Peck (PEK) on reeds, Glynis Lomon on cello, and in this performance at Outpost 186 in Cambridge, MA, joined by violinist Elinor Speirs and pianist Eric Zinman, the latter also playing inside the piano with mallets, while Peck and Glynis add cymbals and wood & metal instruments. ... Click to View


PEK Solo: Closed & Open Universes [2 CDS] (Evil Clown)

Evil Clown mastermind David Peck (PEK) in a double album of solo work, 1st pure solo, then in a long work accompanied by his own prepared mixes, using clarinets, saxophones, English horn, goat horn, tarota, bamboo, Chistmas & alto flutes, slide whistles, sheng, Melodica, Akai Wind controller, moog subsequent, gongs, brontosaurus & tank bells, Englephone, and delay. ... Click to View


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  Cornelius Cardew 
  Treatise  
  (Mode Records) 


  
   review by Brian Olewnick
  2009-03-15
Cornelius Cardew: Treatise (Mode Records)

Cardew wrote 'Treatise', a 193 page graphic score containing extraordinarily beautiful, calligraphic-style images but no performance instructions whatsoever, between 1963 and 1967. There were performances of selected portions from 1964 on by members of England's avant-classical community as well as musicians from AMM (of which Cardew was a member) and others. Its profoundly open-ended but structurally subtle nature proved to be fertile ground for a vast number of approaches. Very early on, for instance, John White was reading the notation in a "perverse" manner (i.e., interpreting a rising line as a downward musical arc, a square shape as relating to a circular object, etc.).

The disc at hand presents one of the first attempts at a performance of 'Treatise' in its entirety and therein lays the central problem. The QUaX Ensemble was a quintet under the direction of Petr Kotik and they undertook this adventure in Prague in 1967. The essential instrumentation, though each musician played a multitude of items, was Kotik on flute, Pavel Kondelík on tenor saxophone, Jan Hynčica on trombone, Josef Vejvoda on percussion and Václav Zahradnik on piano. Several seem to have had experience in jazz, notably the tenor player; the inflections are readily apparent throughout. The total playing time of the 2-disc set is 127 minutes, making it a certifiably lengthy affair until you do the division and realize we're talking about an average of 40 or so seconds per page.

True, as noted above, there are no rules. Aside from the presumed implication of the two empty staves that run along the bottom of each page, there's not even an indication that it need be read in a musical manner at all. Its pages range from entirely blank (p. 141) to extravagantly baroque (p. 183, for example), gorgeously drawn and, often, highly evocative. To many people, including this writer, the idea that one could essentially "skim" through it seems to totally miss the point. One can imagine doing so as a kind of exercise; Fred Frith has had students race through at 30 seconds per page in, if you will, a "Naked City" rendition. But to approach 'Treatise' seriously (if, indeed, such is one's desire), would seem to require some amount of time spent dealing with not only each page, but that page's relationship to all the others, to the overall structure of the work, even to its relationship to corresponding parts of the Wittgenstein work to which its title refers. A performance of all 193 pages should, one might guess, take upwards of a day.

That being said, one has the choice of approaching this particular recording either with 'Treatise' in mind, in which case its main value is simply as a historical document; a valuable one, to be sure, but not a particularly compelling interpretation. Or, one can simply listen to it as a controlled improvisation, where it succeeds to a somewhat greater degree. Especially for its time, compared to quasi-similar music (regardless of source or inspiration) being created, say, by Roscoe Mitchell or the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, it's right near the vanguard of sound-production and free improvisation. There's a jazz element, certainly, one you wouldn't hear in AMM, as well as unison lines that would seem unlikely to crop up in a truly improvised performance, but also plenty of silence and "noise", including some radio captures. At times, the music flows nicely, the contributions both imaginative and well considered. The appearance of a (presumed) Czech folk song, humorously sung with piano accompaniment, shows that the musicians were more than willing to stretch boundaries beyond academic seriousness. Often, however, there's a sense of awkwardness, of discontinuity, something that could well be part and parcel of the score's interpretation, so it's difficult if not impossible, at least without further detailed input from the participants (unfortunately lacking in this release), to make value judgments if that's the case; one can only say, "I enjoyed it" or not. Overall, this listener found it more "interesting" than profound or deeply felt. Cardew fans will want to hear it as a reading of "Treatise" early on in its lifespan but they may not find themselves returning here very often to glean additional insight.



Cornelius Cardew: Treatise
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