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Christoph Erb / Jim Baker / Frank Rosaly: ...Don't Buy Him A Parrot... (Hatology)

Saxophonist and bass clarinetist Christoph Erb travels between Europe and Chicago, here in a trio with Chicago mainstays, pianist Jim Baker and drummer Frank Rosaly, for an intense and fierce album of collective improvisation captured live at their second-only encounter on the stage of the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago in 2014. ... Click to View


Paula Shocron / German Lamonega / Pablo Diaz: Tenzegridad (Hatology)

Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the trio of Paula Shocron on piano, German Lamonega on double bass, and co-founder of her Nendo Dango Records label, Pablo Diaz on drums, for an exciting album of free jazz with lyrical intent and great technical skills, an unexpected gem from an part of world not well known for free improvisation. ... Click to View


David Stackenas : Bricks (Clean Feed)

An amazing solo CD of free improvisation from guitarit David Stackenaus, showing incredible technique and melodic intent, equally at ease when exploring tonality and melody or abstract noisy textures; compelling and impressive playing! ... Click to View


Tristan Honsinger / Nicolas Calioa / Jesse Zubot: In The Sea (Relative Pitch)

The transatlantic string trio of Amsterdam-based cellist Tristan Honsinger (also on voice) with Montreal free improvisers violinist Joshua Zubot and double bassist Nicolas Caloia in an album of informed improvisation that bring an upbeat approach to authoritative dialog which is bot sharp-witted and irreverent, but never less than engaging. ... Click to View


Christian Lillinger / Tobias Deluis: Dicht (Relative Pitch)

Berlin-based improvisers Christian Lillinger on drums and Tobias Delius on tenor sax and clarinet in an album of powerful rhythms, instant melodies, and quick-witted responses, bridging a generation of experience in dialog and give and take that works well head on and in reserve, a great encounter from two modern and active creative players. ... Click to View


Isabelle Duthoit / Franz Hautzinger: Lily (Relative Pitch)

French free vocalist Isabelle Duthoit met world traveling improviser and Zeitkratzer trumpeter Franz Hautzinger in New York City to record these highly unusual duos, using extreme techniques and inexplicable intent to create 9 uniquely aberrant accompaniments to your most subtle and strange dreams; reference Phil Minton, Axel Dorner, Freddie Kruger. ... Click to View


Orphax / Machinefabriek: Weerkaatsing (Moving Furniture)

"Weerkaatsing is the first collaboration by Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) and Sietse van Erve (Orphax), both active players in the Dutch experimental electronic music field, in an album of mesmerizing sound and drone work, with one composition from each artist reworking a track from the other's previous work, and one new collaborative piece. ... Click to View


Machinefabriek: Assemblage (Zoharum)

A great collection of short film soundtracks and pieces that appeared on compilation albums and out-of-print CDRs, including the "Nerf" EP, the tracks for the book "Things That A Mutant Needs To Know" by Reinaldo Laddaga, and 3 soundtracks of which two are for a short movie and one for a video installation, alongside tracks from other compilations. ... Click to View


Lambs Gamble: Farewell Body Bags [VINYL] (Discombobulate)

Bizarre, disruptive, aberrant sound from twisted experts in the field Lambs Gamble, comprised of George Cremaschi on bass & electroncis, Fritz Welch on drums, percussion and voice, and Eric Boros (Vialka) on electronics and voice, recording in Switzerland for a fantastic album of intelligent abnormality. ... Click to View


Elton Dean Quintet: Welcomet - Live in Brazil, 1986 (Ogun)

In 1986 saxophonist Elton Dean toured Brazil with his quintet of Harry Beckett on trumpet, Liam Genockey on drums, Marcio Mattos on bass, and Paul Rutherford on trombone, capturing this exemplary band at Radio Culture Sao Paulo, the tapes now transferred by Michael King and mastered by Martin Davidson, presenting the entire concert for the first time. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet + Eric La Casa: Reflected Waves [60 pages 21x25 cm + DVD video 1h48mn] (Passage d'encres)

Eric La Casa and Jean Luc Guionnet recorded this conceptual work in Melbourne, Australia, combining different scales of time, space, & attention, with different working strategies to create a gallery installation, and this book & DVD package exploring the acoustic phenomenon of "standing waves" to engage with the physical relationship between sound and space. ... Click to View


Anthony Pateras : Blood Stretched Out (Immediata)

A dramatic work for solo piano, exploring sound phenomena in fast repetitions that generate whirlpools of overtones, "Blood Stretched Out" is the primary track on composer & pianist Anthony Pateras' first solo album in 10 years, paired with "Chronochromatics", recorded live at The Loft in Cologne as part of the Plush Music Festival in 2013. ... Click to View


Jerome Noetinger / Anthony Pateras / Synergy Percussion : Beauty Will Be Amnesiac Or Will Not Be At All (Immediata)

Anthony Pateras was commissioned to compose this work by Synergy Percussion for their 40th birthday in 2014, performed with a six piece ensemble including electronic artist Jerome Noetinger, using the same instrumentation as Xenakis' "Pleiades" of more than 100 orchestral percussion instruments, including Xenakis' 17-pitch microtonal metallophones. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa : Paris Quotidien [CD+60 page booklet of photos & text] (Swarming)

Eric La Casa documents his home environment in Paris through audio investigation and field recordings, creating 3 large works that reveal the properties, singularities, banalities and features of his audio environment in perspective to his status as a citizen of the city, presented in a gatefold CD package with a color 60-page booklet of photos and text. ... Click to View


Electric Bird Noise: The Spider / The Christ Child / The Crow (Silber)

Guitarist Brian McKenzie is known best for his dramatic rock persona, where his multi-instrumental approach to song-writing shows great skill; on this album, McKenzie gets down to the guitar itself, with loops, effects and electronics creating a cohesive set of 9 pieces that maintain an edgy, discordant approach to enthralling sound. ... Click to View


Ezio Piermattei : Tre Madri Ludopatiche [CASSETTE] (Discombobulate)

Using an eclectic set of audio tools, objects, voice and electronics, Ezio Piermantel creates a bizarre sound world of concrete and inexplicable sound that fascinates the listener in a strange non-narrative that still manages to tell a story in sound and noise; truly unique. ... Click to View


Flamingo Creatures: Fisch Versucht Das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate)

Ten tracks of unusual electroacoustic experiments from the duo of Ronnie Oliveras and Ruth Maria Adam, using sound boxes and a variety of instruments to create a psychedelic yet embraceable set of recordings that leave the listener scratching their head but still grounded by tangible music, albeit in the strangest of settings. ... Click to View


Mike Majkowski : Days and Other Days [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Following double bassist Mike Majkowski's previous Astral Spirts cassette "Neighbouring Objects", this vinyl release is Majkowski's 7th solo album, here using analog synthesizer, percussion, piano, vibraphone, samples, and field recordings to create an amazing sonic universe through sound, tone, timbre, deep cogitation and mutant interjections. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth : Spuren [VINYL] (Hiddenbell Records)

The two parts of "Spuren" from Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth cover each side in an album of concentrative timbre and strategy, evoking continuous sounds that are diverted into unexpected avenues, drawing the listener into trance-like states with rich resonance, tone, and malleable rhythms, then surprising with unforseen audio twists. ... Click to View


Peter Zumthor Conradin : Grunschall [VINYL] (Hiddenbell Records)

Percussionist Peter Conradin Zumthor presents a stunning debut solo album, capturing one of the truly independent voices in the Swiss musical landscape in a 7-part contiguous work recorded at Radio Studio 1 in Zurich with a great feeling for form, distances and dynamics, as an incredibly focused, virtuosic, creative and deeply felt story is told. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee / Damon Smith / Alvin Fielder: Six Situations (Not Two)

Frequent collaborators, West Coast double bassist Damon Smith and AACM charter member Alvin Fielder on drums travel north to join free improv saxophone legend Joe McPhee at Roulette in New York City in 2016, recording this excellent example of informed free improvisation. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Miguel Mira / Nuno Torres / Eduardo Chagas / Antonio Chaparreiro / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Carlos Santos / Jose Oliveira : Jadis La Pluie Etait Bleue (Creative Sources)

The second volume of the project heard in the previous Creative Sources album, "Suspensao", here in a 9-piece electroacoust ensemble with viola, cello, doublebass, alto sax, trombone, piano, electric guitar, computer and percussion, suspenseful lowercase music that unfolds in mysterious, beautiful and rewarding ways. ... Click to View


Various: 910 Noise Presents (910 Noise)

A compilation of sound artists within the 910 area code, the North Carolina coastal region including Wilmington, NC, the home of Squidco, with artists including Carl Kruger (Caucasians, Baby Daddy), Grant Stewart as subterrene, Ryan Lewis in Food World and Baby Daddy, Phil Zampino (CHANGES TO blind), Jason Ward, August Traeger, and Authorless. ... Click to View


Christiane Bopp / Jean-Luc Petit: L'eorce Et La Salive (Fou Records)

A uniquely voiced dialog between two skilled improvisers -- Christiane Bopp on trombone and Jean-Luc Petit on bass clarinet & soprano sax -- bringing experience and technique to improvisations that push their instruments into extreme territory yielding fantastic and original language while keeps their listeners on the edge of their seats. ... Click to View


Irene Kepl: SololoS (Fou Records)

Heard in our catalog on albums from Improvising Beings and Another Timbre, here we have a stunning solo album of improvised violin from Viennese violinist Irene Kepl, showing a great range of style and technique while keeping the music playful and interesting, invoking a quote from Trisha Brown: "Dancing on the edge is the only place to be." ... Click to View


Maria Capurso Luisa / Jean-Marc Foussat: En Respirant (Fou Records)

A live recording at POP in Berlin between synth and electronics player Jean-Marc Foussat and vocalist and electronicist Maria Luisa Capurso, subverting the voice through electronics and effects to create wildly encompassing sound environments that contrast Foussat's synthetics with the organic quality of the human voice; rich, hallucinatory, wonderful. ... Click to View


Christof Kurzmann / Mats Gustafsson: Falling And Five Other Failings [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Two versatile and innovative improvisers, Mats Gustafsson on saxophones and Christof Kurzmann on electronics and voice, extracted improvisations recorded in the studio to create the 7 parts of this rich, pulse-based and intensely understated work about Falling and Failing. ... Click to View


Johan Berthling / Martin Kuchen / Steve Noble: Threnody, At The Gates [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Urgent and inspired free jazz from the Swedish/UK trio of Martin Kuchen on tenor and soprano sax, flute and retardophone, Johan Berthling on double bass, and Steve Noble on drums and percussion, recording a series of "Gate" improvisations, anguished laments of power and pulchritude. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann / Heather Leigh: Sex Tape (Trost Records)

The second album between European Free Jazz legend Peter Brotzmann and US-born, Scottish residing pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh, performing live at Music Unlimited Festival, in Wels, Austria in 2016 for a biting yet intimate set between the two, both players on fire as they weave long sinuous lines in an emotional and often brutal orgy of sound. ... Click to View


Ned Rothenberg / Hamid Drake: Full Circle - Live in Lodz (Foundation Listen)

Two legendary improvisers, Downtown New York multi-reedist and shakuhachi player Ned Rothenberg met Chicago drummer Hamid Drake at Ciagoty I Tesknoty, in Lodz, Poland in 2016 to record this effusive, extraordinary live concert of improvised music, demonstrating both enormous instrumental skill while imparting wonderfully upbeat energy; outstanding! ... Click to View


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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


London's Burning's

Joe Strummer's Last Call and What NYC Musicians Could Learn

by Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot photo: Peter Gannushkin

Many here mourned the death last December of Joe Strummer. The former Clash guitarist, a true voice of punk resistance, died in London from a congenital heart disease at age 50. Virtually unreported in the US media was Strummer's history of support for labor, including his recent work with the Fire Brigades Union during their fight for a decent national contract. The firefighters showed their gratitude in turn at Strummer's funeral- the procession down Ladbroke Grove was led by a firetruck. As his body was carried into the chapel, twelve uniformed members of London's Fire Brigades stood guard in silent tribute.

Andy Gilchrist, the 39-year-old head of the Fire Brigades Union, was a Clash fan, and claimed to have been first politicized at their 'Rock Against Racism' concert in 1978. Eighty thousand people showed up at that concert in Hackney, a working class neighborhood of East London, to show their disgust at the National Front racist affiliations of certain established British rock figures, and to rock to the Clash.

But the firefighters' prescence at Strummer's funeral wasn't just nostalgia: Gilchrist has gone on to lead the first U.K. union to seriously challenge the anti-labor policies of Tony Blair's deceptively titled "New Labor" government. In mid November 2002, Strummer played a solidarity benefit for the union at Acton Town Hall. Former Clash bandmate Mick Jones also showed up- their first reunion performance in 19 years- and joined Strummer for the encore,"London's Burning." As he left the stage, Strummer shouted- "Give 'em money. And give the nurses and the teachers money too."

Strummer's final public shout, and the solidarity performance that preceded it, were broadcast again and again on UK television following his death. Although the negotiations are still unresolved, the support of Strummer and other musicians has been critical in generating publicity and political support for the union.

The musicians playing NYC's clubs and concert venues are well situated to play a similarly constructive role here. Benefit concerts, public statements of support by well known musicians, the extension of discounted club and concert tickets to striking union members- all could go a long way towards ending the isolation imposed on workers in labor conflicts by an almost exclusively anti-union local press.

Of course, many of the musicians who could potentially participate are royaltied recording artists. If the AFM wants to ask for the solidarity of these musicians, it could begin by extending a bit of solidarity of its own by ending the shameful lack of protection for royaltied artists in the current American Federation of Musicians phono agreement contracts (under the current phono agreements, royaltied artists receive only one session payment per song, a pittance in an era when artists may work on a 12-song cd for months and over 90 percent of artists never recoup any artist royalties. Incredibly, artists working under union contract can often be ordered by the record company into unlimited revisions of songs without being entitled to any additional pay).

The union could redesign the health and pension plans to reflect the needs of royaltied artists, and unite with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to make sure that all band members are represented under benefit plans. The solidarity of royaltied artists might also come in handy closer to home if the union ever hopes to solidify its strength in the recording field. But solidarity has to involve real mutual support, not just its rhetorical gesture.

Rock artists too, are often masters of the gesture. Many prefer the ubiquitous and easily marketed gesture of resistance to the risks of actually connecting with the world.

Joe Strummer was a musician, recording artist, and rock rebel whose opposition went beyond hollow rhetoric, phony gestures of resistance, and a rad haircut. We could use more like him.


This article was written for the Local 802 paper Allegro and will appear in an upcoming issue. It was based in part on an interview with Chris Salewicz, author of Punk : The Illustrated History of a Music Revolution.



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