The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Greg Saunier / Mary Halvorson / Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 [VINYL] (Sound American/Pleasure of the Text Records)

Two essential Downtown New York improvisers--guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Ron Miles--are joined by drummer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof in response to Nate Wooley's request that the three expand the American Songbook in astouding instrumental versions of music by Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, The Partridge Family, John Williams, James P. Johnson, &c. ... Click to View


Large Unit: Fluku (PNL)

The 3rd album from Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's big band Large Unit, here in a 12-member configuration, adding saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts (Starlite Motel, Cortex) to the band, in an album centered on Nillsen-Love's penned title track "Fluku", and the equally impressive "Playgo", large complex works that showcase the group's collective and individual voices. ... Click to View


Large Unit: Selected Tracks 2013-2017 (PNL)

An excellent introduction to Norwegian percussionist and composer Paal Nilssen-Love's big band, Large Unit, through tracks showing the breadth of the band's ability in game pieces, ballads, a collaboration with Brazilian percussionists, live recordings from their 2015 North American tour and at Moers festival in Germany, and their first concert at Molde Jazzfestival in 2013. ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Paal Nilssen-Love : Nearby Faraway (PNL)

The 25 year collaboration of Norwegian free improvisers Frode Gjerstad on saxophones and clarinets and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, starting with Circulasione Totale Orchestra and best experienced in their duo recordings, here in an album dedicated to Frode's close friend and musical colleague, pianist and accordion player Elvin One Pedersen. ... Click to View


Konstrukt / Keiji Haino: A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

The Konstrukt free improvising band from Turkey, known for their collaborations with master musicians of a wide spectrum of approaches, joins forces with improvising Japanese psych guitarist, vocalist and sound artist Keiji Haino for two 3-part works of swirling sax, synth, sound and guitars, startling vocals, and hallucinatory rhythms. ... Click to View


Peter Hammill: From The Trees (Fie! Records)

Peter Hammill continues his immense solo career, intricately linked to his work with Van Der Graaf Generator, but more focused in intelligent lyrics, profound vocal layering, and fluid song structures, a unique voice who for more than 35 studio albums has developed an approach to songwriting and intellectual observation of subtle sophistication and detail. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis / Kurt Liedwart / Nuno Torres / Ernesto Rodrigues : Skiagraphia (Creative Sources)

Three label leaders come together for an album of free electroacoustic improvisation--Thanos Chrysakis (Aural Terrains); Kurt Liedwart (Microton); Ernesto Rodrigues (Creative Sources), with Nuno Torres on sax--for an extended dialog built of exotic and microscopic sound, string abberations, and reed abnormalities; exceptional. ... Click to View


Charlemagne Palestine : STTT THOMASSS '''''''DINGGGDONGGGDINGGGzzzzzzz ferrrr TONYYY'''''''' [CASSETTE] (Blank Forms)

In memory of the late polymath avant-garde artist Tony Conrad (1940-2016), longtime friend and coconspirator Charlemagne Palestine returned to the site of their first encounter for a tribute performance on what would have been Conrad's 77th birthday, performing on the bells at St Thomas's Church, in New York City for a rich album of ritualistic ringing and tones. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Pierre-Yves Martel / Eric Normand: Boule-spiel (Tour de Bras)

Quebec improvisers Pierre-Yves Martel on Viola da Gamba, objects, and feedback, Eric Normand on electric bass and snare drum, are joined by Berlin pianist Magda Mayas for two extended works of free improvisation, manipulating and contorting strings with an electroacoustic edge, dark ruminations of exquisite detail, patience, and adroit interaction. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler: Bells (White Vinyl 180gm) [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

Albert Ayler's 1965 ESP album originally released as a 1-sided clear vinyl LP, the single "Bells" song actually an amalgamation of his piece "Holy Ghost" which transitions into "Bells", here augmented with "Vibrations aka (tune Q)2", performed with brother Donald on trumpet, Charles Tyler on alto sax, Lewis Worrell on bass, and Sunny Murray on drums. ... Click to View


Irene Schweizer / Joey Baron : Live! (Intakt)

Two generations and two monumental masters of free improvisation from Europe and New York joined together at the unerhort!-Festival Rote Fabrik Zurich in 2015 to unleash this technically awesome and ebullient duo in a fantastic concert of dynamic power, lyrical insight, intense rhythmic support and counterpoint, and profound musical ideas; incredible! ... Click to View


Die Enttauschung (Axel Dorner / Michael Griener / Rudi Mahall / Jan Roder): Lavaman (Intakt)

The remarkable European Free Jazz quintet Die Enttauschung, crossing bop forms with modern creative approaches to jazz for over 20 years, take a new drummer--Michael Griener--and adds trombonist Christof Thewes, to join Rudi Mahall on clarinets, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Jan Roder on bass, for an exciting and upbeat album of succinct tunes that both revere and abuse jazz history in wonderful ways. ... Click to View


Trio Heinz Herbert (w/ Dominic Landolt / Ramon Landolt / Mario Haenni): The Willisau Concert (Live) (Intakt)

Textural improv of improbable grooves and tones driven by intense periods of interaction balanced with spatial sonic environments; adventurous and exuberant dialog caught live at the Jazzfestival Willisau, in Switzerland, 2016 from the trio of Dominic Landolt on guitar, Ramon Landolt on Hammond organ, synthesizer & samples and Mario Haenni on drums. ... Click to View


Aruan Ortiz : Cub(an)ism (Intakt)

Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz explores a range of musical idioms and styles, drawing on experiences from many phases of Ortiz' life in Cuba, Spain, France and the US, exploring cubist principles, faceting, and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements, as he presents 10 original compositions of passionate and playful music, performed with virtuosic skill. ... Click to View


Aki Takase / Paul Ayumi : Hotel Zauberberg (Intakt)

Pianist Aki Takase and violinist Ayumi Paul's 1st collaboration is an 18 movement suite for violin and piano blending composition and improvisation, with 11 movements from Takase and 5 written with Paul, plus Mozart's "K. 1 minuet in G major" and the Preludio movement from Bach's solo violin partita in E major; an absorbing set of recordings inspired by the writings of Thomas Mann. ... Click to View


Hans Hassler: Wie Die Zeit Hinter Mir Her (Intakt)

Swiss accordionist Hans Hassler stands above the (small) crowd of improvising accordionist in the breadth of his career, his ability to balance both lyrical, abstract, serious, and humorous aspects in his approach to the instrument, a true original in intent and ability to engage his listeners, in 15 original and diverse compositions recorded in 2017. ... Click to View


Pan-Scan Ensemble: Air And Light And Time And Space (PNL)

"Pan-Scan" refers to pan-Scandinavian, and the nine players on this thrilling and joyful recordings are all of that origin, performing live at Blow Out in Mir, Oslo, Norway in 2016, including both Lotte Anker and Ann Hogberg on sax, Thomas Johansson, Emil Stranberg and Goran Kajfes on trumpet, Sten Sandell on piano, and Paal Nilssen-Love and Stale Liavik on drums. ... Click to View


Xavier Charles / Michel F Cote / Franz Hautzinger / Philippe Lauzier / Eric Normand: Torche! (Tour de Bras)

An exceptional free improvising quintet of Montreal & Quebec improvisers--bassist Eric Normand, drummer Michel F. Cote, and bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier--with French clarinetist Xavier Charles and German trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, performing live during the 2016 Festival de Musique de Creation, creating fascinating commontion with incredible restraint. ... Click to View


Fraufraulein: Heavy Objects [CASSETTE] (Marginal Frequency)

The duo of Brooklyn electronics, field recording, bass guitar and french horn artists Billy Gomberg and Anne Guthrie, using musical and abstract sounds to create something between the concrete textures of field recording and spontaneous composition, presenting restrained yet detailed sound that engages the listener through transition and mystery. ... Click to View


Joda Clement / Mathieu Ruhlmann: Kindred (Marginal Frequency)

A unique cover of Brian Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain" using synthesizer, field recordings, electromagnetic feedback, treatments, objects, oscillators, shruti box, reel to reel, ukelin, guitar, piano, clarinet, cello and voice, from Joda Clement and Mathieu Ruhlmann joined by Cristian Alvear, Gregory Moskos, Alexandra Spence, Tim Clement, Judith Hamann and A.F. Jones. ... Click to View


Mars Williams presents (w/ Berman / Lonberg-Holdm / Baker / Kessler / Sandstrom / Hunt): An Ayler Xmas: The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas (Soul What Records)

Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams directs his Albert Ayler tribute band, Witches and Devils, to merge Ayler-esque compositions with Christmas songs, performed by Josh Berman (cornet) Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jim Baker (keys, viola), Kent Kessler (bass), Brian Sandstrom (bass, guitar, trumpet); an unexpected and welcome present for your free jazz festivities! ... Click to View


Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Unusual Words (Soul What Records)

A CD intended to sell at concerts from Mars Williams' own Soul What Records label, a studio recording in 2012 from the powerhouse trio of Chicago multi-reedist Mars Williams, in-demand Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, and Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, running the gamut from furious blowing to introspective interaction. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Mary Halvorson / Marc Ribot: ERR Guitar (Intakt)

Elliott Sharp's New York Studio zOaR was the meeting place for three New York guitarists--Sharp himself, Mary Halvorson, and Marc Ribot--who find common ground by blending a variety of approaches to the instrument in 12 excellent and generally succinct collective improvisations, stretching, bending, plucking and inexplicably effecting their guitars. ... Click to View


John Cage: Klang der Wandlungen [3 CDs] (Edition Rz)

An impressive triple-CD box with recordings of some late works by John Cage, including "Seventy-Four for Orchestra, 1992", "103 for Orchestra, 1991, part 1 & 2", In a Landscape fur Harfe", "Postcard From Heaven fur Eine Bis Zwanzig Harfen", and some of "The Harmony of Maine"; including a 32 page booklet with photos and liner notes by Jakob Ullmann. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey: L'ame Est Sans Retenue I [5 CDs] (erstwhile)

A massive work from composer Jurg Frey focused on the dynamic relationship between sound and silence, and how it can affect our perception of the silence in a frame of space and time, using environmental sounds of field recordings and silence to create a massive work over six hours, modifying pitch, rhythm, dynamics, texture, and overtone, here properly released on 5 CDs. ... Click to View


Michael Pisaro / Samuel Dunscombe / Steven Andrew Flato / Wen Liu / Celeste Oram / Johannes Regnier: Organ For The Senses (Marginal Frequency)

San Diego's Parkeology director Kate Clark and composer Samuel Dunscombe organized this concert to take advantage of the Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ, inviting local and regional experimental composers to develop works for the 5,017 pipe instrument, attracting artists like Michael Pisaro, Samuel Dunscombe, Steven Andrew Flato, Wen Liu, &c. ... Click to View


Jon Irabagon / Joe Fiedler / Todd Neufeld: In Formation Network (Nuscope)

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, trombonist Joe Fiedler, and guitarist Todd Neufeld met in April, 2017 in Mount Vernon at the Oktaven Audio studio to record these nine varied compositions, presenting a unifying trio sound and identity that reflects Chicago's Giuffre trio, but with a unique collective attitude as the trio employs a varied set of compositional strategies. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee: The Willisau Concert (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded in 1975 at the Swiss Willisau Jazz Festival, Joe McPhee's trio with John Synder on synth and Makaya Ntshoko on drums, and McPhee on tenor and sopranox sax, was Hat Hut's 2nd release and has been out of print since; Corbett vs. Dempsey asked McPhee what unavailable album he'd like to see in print, and this suberb album was his first choice. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : The Lost Eddie Chatterbox Session [2017 REISSUE] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Reissuing free improvising guitarist Eugene Chadbourne's 1977, San Francisco recording of compositions by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman, plus a few standards and originals, captured on an ailing quarter-track tape deck, but saved for the force of his playing, here restored, corrected, and remastered. ... Click to View


Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II [2017 REMASTER] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The 2nd volume in Sun Ra's "Discipline" series was recorded during the same sessions as 1972's Impulse release "Space Is the Place", with Sun Ra on electronic keyboards and Moog, and a large band including Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny Davis, Akh Tal Ebah, June Tyson, &c. ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales



  Sound in the Balance  

Amplify 2003: Elemental


By Nirav Soni (photo credit: Nirav Soni) 2003-03-25
:  () Why it has taken so long for me to write this review:

1. Naming

The very first problem for the sort of music that was played at the AMPLIFY festival is what to call it. Many have proposed names to encompass the range of approaches that musicians as diverse as Toshimaru Nakamura, Jason Lescalleet and Tim Barnes take to their instruments, but as of now, none really satisfy me. The one that I hear most often is "Electro-Acoustic Improv"; it is likely the most commonly used because of the discussion list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Electroacoustic/) of the same name. Jon Abbey, founder of Erstwhile Records at one time called what he releases "dangerous improv." He now prefers to use "balanced improv" to describe his curatorial decisions. Electroacoustic-improv doesn't apply to everything that it covers; during this festival the first set was entirely acoustic, with the musicians forgoing all electronics, even amplification. The acronym "EAI" also refers to the organization Electronic Arts Intermix, who are a group of people devoted to preserving the legacy of video and multimedia art. I'm tired of confusing the two. "Balanced improv" makes a little more sense to me about the means of producing of this music, and more about what happens to the space.

Maybe one could call this "room improv. " In his essay, "Towards an Ethic of Improvisation" (found in Treatise Handbook, London: Edition Peters, 1971) Cornelius Cardew says, "it is impossible to record with any fidelity a kind of music that is actually derived in some sense from the room in which it is taking place- it's shape, acoustical properties, even the view from the windows.....The natural context provides a score which the players are unconsciously interpreting in their playing."

When I read this quote, I understood why it seemed to me like the set that Greg Kelley and Bhob Rainey ( collectively comprising the band nmperign) played with Le Quan Ninh sounded like it could have been composed. The form that I heard in the playing was not that of a pre-determined score, but a conforming,RWD, TK an adaptation of personal style to circumstance, in this case the venue Tonic, on a frosty winter evening, with a very respectful audience. That one could detect this form within the music speaks volumes about the maturity of the players, and their immense discipline, focus and concentration

2. Profundity:

Amplify 2003: Elemental

Wednesday, Feb: 6th (Diapason Gallery)
Tim Barnes/Okkyung Lee/Toshio Kajiwara
Toshimaru Nakamura/Tetuzi Akiyama/Ben Watson

Thursday: Feb 7th (Tonic):
Lê Quan Ninh/Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey
Günter Müller/Keith Rowe
Tim Barnes/I-Sound
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura

Friday: Feb 8th (Tonic):
Keith Rowe/ Lê Quan Ninh
Günter Müller/Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey
Toshimaru Nakamura/Tim Barnes/Tetuzi Akiyama
Günter Müller/Lê Quan Ninh

Saturday: Feb. 9th (Engine 27):
Günter Müller /Tetuzi Akiyama
Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey/Jason Lescalleet
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura
On the Tuesday before the festival, Keith Rowe held a discussion at Columbia. Rowe introduced the talk with an excerpt from a work by Jean Cassanea de Mondonville, a French composer from the baroque period. After playing the music on a small stereo that betrayed the size of the music, he asked whether or not electronic music can approach the level of profundity that the piece by Mondonville did. During the discussion, I was the only person who mentioned religion (being a non-musician, I have a tendency to talk about other thing s in the way of my talking about music). It seemed to me that profundity is not a quality that music (or for that matter, anything, really) can possess; one instead has a relationship that is profound, with a piece of music, a painting, a cat, or a dish that only mom cooks just so.

Rowe mentioned Mark Rothko during the discussion, which got me to thinking about the relationship of the abstract and the profound. What strikes me upon reflection on all of the artwork I've come across by Rowe (which can be seen on a number of album covers, including his discs with AMM and on Erstwhile) is how so little of it is entirely abstract. His paintings certainly aren't, and one can easily look at his use of the radio as a way of distancing the listener from the sensual surface of the music. Rowe's radio brings the music towards the exterior, towards the social, but always in a tangential, distant, often fleeting way. He seems to be, both in his words and in his music, alluding to the ethical, to the engaged.


3. Performance

I was eagerly awaiting the Keith Rowe/Le Quan Ninh performance on the 8th after seeing such intense performances by both of them the night before. Upon reflection, it makes sense that the collaboration was less than harmonious. Where Rowe's sound-image recalls for me the moral and the conscientious, Ninh's style is very different. His performances were more about the erotics of the "surrounded bass drum". His playing is supremely graceful, precise, delicate, and extraordinarily sensual. One cannot help but reference the libidinal when you watch him rubbing his thumb across the skin of the drum.

It is entirely appropriate that it was Ninh who was touring with butoh dancer Yukiko Nakamura. Nakamura performed onstage during the during the first and last sets of the Tonic nights. I would comment about her role during the first show, with Ninh, Kelley and Rainey, but she spent the vas t majority very low to the stage, and thus obscured to me by a friend's head. I do recall that somewhere around a third of the way into the set, she dramatically rolled onto the floor, whereupon I completely lost sight of her. During the Müller/Ninh performance, she was completely visible. She went through a series of very, very slow movements, which made it seem like she was crumpling to the ground in slow motion. It was, however, bristling with tension and intensity, entirely in key with the tenor of the music.

I am generally critical of visual accompaniments to music, and, possibly because of that, my favorite person to watch play during the festival was Tim Barnes. Barnes is the perfect foil to Ninh. Where the latter is classical grace and fluidity, eminently measured and controlled, the former's gestures are more intently muscular, more about the grain of the kit; coarseness. Watching him slowly scrape the cymbals across his kit was pure pleasure, it had the same visual rhythm as a turnstile.

4.Günter Müller

I do not understand how this man is completely capable of making almost every situation I've heard him play in work. I've been worrying about how to write about what he does for weeks, and I give up now.


Instead of attempting to describe the music played, I ask you to accept this list of adjectives that I will append to the bottom of this review, in correspondence with the performance they apply to:

Lê Quan Ninh/Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey - open
Günter Müller/Keith Rowe- earthy
Tim Barnes/I-Sound- split
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura- still

Keith Rowe/ Lê Quan Ninh- discordant
Günter Müller/Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey- near
Toshimaru Nakamura/Tim Barnes/Tetuzi Akiyama- spare
Günter Müller/Lê Quan Ninh- thick

Günter Müller /Tetuzi Akiyama- long
Greg Kelley/Bhob Rainey/Jason Lescalleet- wide
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura- de e p

Relevant links:
http://www.l-m-c.org.uk/texts/rowe.html
http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem1751.html



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Thanos Chrysakis /
Kurt Liedwart /
Nuno Torres /
Ernesto Rodrigues :
Skiagraphia
(Creative Sources)



Large Unit:
Fluku
(PNL)



Peter Hammill:
From The Trees
(Fie! Records)



Konstrukt /
Keiji Haino:
A Philosophy Warping,
Little By Little
That Way Lies
A Quagmire
[VINYL]
(KARLRECORDS)



Greg Saunier /
Mary Halvorson /
Ron Miles:
New American
Songbooks,
Volume 1
[VINYL]
(Sound American/
Pleasure of the Text Records)



Trio Heinz Herbert
(w/ Dominic Landolt /
Ramon Landolt /
Mario Haenni):
The Willisau Concert
(Live)
(Intakt)



Irene Schweizer /
Joey Baron :
Live!
(Intakt)



Die Enttauschung
(Axel Dorner /
Michael Griener /
Rudi Mahall /
Jan Roder):
Lavaman
(Intakt)



Pan-Scan Ensemble:
Air And Light
And Time
And Space
(PNL)



John Cage:
Klang der Wandlungen
[3 CDs]
(Edition Rz)



Leap of Faith
Orchestra:
The Expanding Universe
(Evil Clown)



Elliott Sharp /
Mary Halvorson /
Marc Ribot:
ERR Guitar
(Intakt)



Mars Williams presents
(w/ Berman /
Lonberg-Holdm /
Baker /
Kessler /
Sandstrom /
Hunt):
An Ayler Xmas:
The Music of
Albert Ayler &
Songs of Christmas
(Soul What Records)



Tree Ear
(Strinning /
Troller /
Hemingway):
Witches Butter
(Clean Feed)



Eve Risser /
Kaja Draksler:
To Pianos
(Clean Feed)



Kullhammar,
Aalberg Zetterber &
Santos Silva:
Basement Sessions
Vol.4
(The Bali Tapes)
(Clean Feed)



Imaginary Numbers (McPhee /
Niggenkemper /
Solberg):
Imaginary Numbers
(Clean Feed)



Joao Camoes /
Jean-Luc Cappozzo /
Jean-Marc Foussat:
Autres Paysages
(Clean Feed)



Steve Swell (w/ Brown /
Hwang /
Ulrich /
Boston /
Pugliese):
Music for
Six Musicians:
Hommage a
Olivier Messiaen
(Silkheart)



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







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (44430)