The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Binker Golding / John Edwards / Steve Noble:
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UK saxophonist Binker Golding (Binker & Moses) in a new trio with the powerful rhythm section of frequent collaborators, double bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble, in a powerful album of free playing with titles referencing Coltrane, conveying a strong sense of both 60s and modern free playing throughout, propelled by tight and near-telepathic interaction. ... Click to View


Mako Sica / Hamid Drake (feat Tatsu Aoki / Thymme Jones):
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Phill Niblock:
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Beatriz Ferreyra :
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GRM alumnus and collaborator with Pierre Schaeffer & Francois Bayle, French electroacoustic, acousmatic and musique concrete composer Beatriz Ferreyra is heard in five works from 40 years of compositions, astonishing works of embraceable, radical, strange and inspired sound, including the amazing "Mad Man's Song" and works dedicated to Bayle & Bernard Bashet. ... Click to View


Bruno Duplant:
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Two beautifully subtle works for an ensemble of strings and electric piano from French composer Bruno Duplant, realized by the Boston-based Ordinary Affects ensemble or Jordan Dykstra, Morgan Evans-Weiler, JPA Falzone, Luke Martin and Ashley Frith, the first a quintet and the second a string quartet, creating illusory affects of motion and space through abstraction. ... Click to View


David Birchall / Adam Fairhall / Michael Perrett / Yoni Silver / Otto Willberg:
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Three fully free studio improvisations recorded in Manchester from the quintet of David Birchall on electric guitar, Adam Fairhall on accordion, Michael Perrett on bass clarinet, Yoni Silver on bass clarinet and Otto Willberg on double bass, all masterful performers using a wealth of creative approaches to create unusual motion in rich sonic interaction. ... Click to View


Mara Kolibri / Fredi Proll:
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A diverse set of conversations between Austrian improvisers, drummer/percussionist Fredi Pröll (Trio Now!, Lull) and free vocalist Mara Kolibri, recording in the studio for seven concise and far-ranging dialogs, from cantankerous interactions to controlled incoherence of absurdly implied vocalization punctuated with creative percussive reaction, often returning to lyrical jazz-influenced moments. ... Click to View


Fluke-Mogul / Liberatore / Mattrey / Mendoza :
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Brainhack Musicbox (Bobrytsky / Lisovsky / Boldenko):
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Each track named after a mythical Scottish character, the Ukrainian trio of Stanislav Bobrytsky on modular synth, Pavlo Lisovsky on tenor saxophone and Anton Boldenko on viola create a music merging free jazz principles with modular synthetic drone, creating an orchestral sound that still elucidates the detail of their uniquely orchestrated, rich sonic explorations. ... Click to View


Amalgamated (Bengsten / Newell / Klampe / Richards):
To (Aubjects)

Crossing experimental sound and rhythmic approaches that blend elements of electronic music, krautrock, noise, electronica and indescribable sonic environments, the quartet of Cory Bengtsen, Bob Newell, Phillip Klampe and Mike Richards are heard in their 6th full-length release, an embraceable and well-paced album of compelling beats and sonic surprises. ... Click to View


John Butcher / Dominic Lash / John Russell / Mark Sanders:
Discernment (Spoonhunt)

An album of perceptive free improvisation recorded live at London's Cafe OTO from the quartet of John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxophones, Dominic Lash on double bass, John Russell on guitar and Mark Sanders on drums & percussion, three "discerning" and one "discerned" dialogs of discriminating sophistication that only four such masterful and experienced musicians can convey. ... Click to View


Dominic Lash Quartet (w / Carmona / Tejero / Ward):
Limulus (Spoonhunt)

Honing their conversation in their third release as a band, British double bassist Dominic Lash's Quartet with Javier Carmona on drums & percussion, Ricardo Tejero on alto saxophone and Alex Ward on electric guitar are heard live at Cafe OTO in London, Lash providing all compositions and arrangements over six wide-ranging, edgy and innovative improvisations; outstanding! ... Click to View


Consorts:
Distinctions (Spoonhunt)

Composer Dominic Lash's Consort ensemble explores the possibilities of combining sustained-tone music, guided & free improvisation, and the relationship between acoustic and amplified sound, heard in this evolving, extended concert at Café Oto on Lash's 40th birthday, in a unique mix of acoustic & electronic instruments that even includes an amplified kitchen sink! ... Click to View


Mototeru Takagi Quartet:
Live At Little John, Yokohama 1999 (NoBusiness)

Three reed & wind players and a drummer from Japanese saxophonist Mototeru Takagi's collective free improvising quartet with fellow saxophonist Susumu Kongo, Nao Takeuchi on tenor sax plus flute & bass clarinet, and drummer Shota Koyama, recorded live in 1999 at Little John in Yokohama, Japan for three well-paced conversations of weaving winds and rhythmic intervention. ... Click to View


Itaru Oki Quartet:
Live At Jazz Spot Combo 1975 (NoBusiness)

Late Japanese free jazz trumpeter and flute player Itaru Oki, one of the significant and early free jazz players in Japan in the 1970s, moving to France in the mid-70s to seek more opportunities to play, recorded this concert at Jazz Spot Combon as part of his farewell tour, performing with winds player Yoshiaki Fujikawa, bassist Keiki Midorikawa ad drummer Hozumi Tanaka. ... Click to View


Bob Bellerue (feat. Brandon Lopez / Luke Stewart / Jessica Pavone):
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A fascinating work for free chamber music in feedback environments devised by sound artist Bob Bellerue and employing the talents of improvisers Brandon Lopez & Luke Stewart (double bass), Jessica Pavone (viola), Gabby Fluke-Mogul (violin) and Ed Bear (baritone sax), Bellerue performing on electronics, unattended instruments, feedback, suling gambuh, junk metal & cymbals. ... Click to View


Christian Ronn / Bob Bellerue :
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Beautiful long-form drones and harmonic interactions develop and are then shaken up with sonic deformations and collisions, returning to beautiful environments and then reversed once again, from the duo of sonic explorers Bob Bellerue and Christian Ronn, recording in Copenhagen using organs, electronics, winds, and feedback to create these wonderfully alien domains. ... Click to View


David Myers Lee:
Reduced to a Geometrical Point (Cronica)

Using feedback matrices, oscillator banks and multi-processing, NYC sound and feedback artist David Lee Myers, A.K.A. Arcane Device, references the quote from metaphysics scholar Frithjof Schuon--"You must detach your life from an awareness of the multiple and reduce it to a geometrical point before God"--which he manifests in four focused works of rich, slowly evolving sound. ... Click to View


PEK Solo:
Completeness for Flutes and Double Reeds (Evil Clown)

Boston improviser and multi-instrumentalist David Peck (PEK) in a solo album using his Quartet of PEKs formats, improvising in the studio through four layers, presenting the final installment of a triptych of albums constrained to one or two woodwind instrument families - this one for flutes and double reeds, along with nadaswaram, shenai, goat horn, dizi, bass tromboon, &c &c. ... Click to View


PEK Solo:
Complex and Real Dimensions (Evil Clown)

Before initiating the live improvisation that makes up Complex & Real Dimensions, reedist and multi-instrumentalist David Peck built a foundation track including electro-acoustic instruments created by Tim Kaiser, particularly the loop-capable "Large Spring Box", creating tone, timbre and interludes over which PEK passionately performs. ... Click to View


Evan Parker Electroacoustic Quartet:
Concert in Iwaki (Uchimizu Records)

Requested to organize a Japanese tour focused on the electroacoustic aspects of Evan Parker's work, the saxophonist distilled his larger Electracoustic Ensemble to the quartet of himself, Paul Lytton on percussion & live electronics, Joel Ryan on computer and Lawrence Casserley on signal processing, heard here in the resonant space of the Iwaki City Art Museum in Fukushima. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii:
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A stunning sound collage made from recorded fragments of Fujii's studio piano, captured inside and out using traditional piano sonorities and preparations that often microscopically detail the instrument, then edited into two electroacoustic compositions of startling and unexpected expansiveness and wonder; a unique and fascinating release in Fujii's large oeuvre. ... Click to View


Flying Luttenbachers, The:
Negative Infinity [VINYL] (ugEXPLODE / GOD Records)

Adhering to the tenets of "Dissonance, Speed, Aggression, Weirdness, and Singularity", Weasel Walter leads his Flying Luttenbachers in their 15th album of no wave, punk jazz & brutal prog, Weasel switching to guitar and yielding the drum chair to Sam Ospovat, as the band rips through ridiculously complex twists and turns, even taking on Albert Ayler's strange '66/'67 musical suites. ... Click to View


Forbes / Young / Walter:
Hard Living (ugEXPLODE)

Merging Tiger Hatchery's tenor saxophonist Michael Forbes and bassist Andrew Scott Young and newly arrived to NYC Flying Luttenbacher leader & drummer Weasel Walter, for classic hardcore free jazz of articulate and demanding improvisation; this a recently unearthed studio recording from 2010, captured two years after their first encounter in a quartet with Jeb Bishop. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Carvalho / Rodrigues / Valinho:
Eclipse (Creative Sources)

Emulating a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse in two evolving improvised chamber works that take the quartet of Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, Mariana Carvalho on piano, Joao Valinho on percussion and Ernesto Rodrigues (switching from viola to harp & deploying electronics) through mysterious soundwork that move from darkness to light in detailed and subtle ways. ... Click to View


Four Letter Words (Piet / Wark / Harris):
Pinch Point (Amalgam)

The first fully improvised album from the Chicago trio of Jake Wark on tenor saxophone, Matt Piet on piano and Bill Harris on drums, recording at Experimental Sound Studios in 2018 for seven numbered and concise improvisations, running the gamut from rapidly active yet controlled interaction and investigatory conversations of confident expression and creative drive. ... Click to View


Yoon-Ji Lee :
Padong (zOaR Records)

Five compositions from Yoon-Ji Lee, whose work employs unconventional and nonlinear structures that focus on quick transformations of language, noise, texture, and tonal color, here with five works, one performed by JACK Quartet & Mivos Quaret, a work for solo Saenghwang, a solo piano work, a string quartet, and a mixed chamber ensemble. ... Click to View


Ciao Ciao Cello:
Quiero Ver A Ese Monstruo (zOaR Records)

The Berlin-based trio of guitarist Beat Keller performing on feedbacker electric guitar & acoustic guitar, innovative tuba improviser Jack Adler-McKean and Spanish vocalist & performance artist Lorena Izquierdo Aparicio take on their monsters in five unique and disturbing improvisations recorded in the studio, as they "dance on the fine line between terror and joy". ... Click to View


Elliot Sharp :
Binibon (Henceforth)

A modern spoken opera by NY composer Elliott Sharp and librettist/narrator Jack Womack (Terraplane) with several narrators, reflecting the events surrounding a 1981 killing in New York's East Village, set in a darkly instrumental soundtrack developed by Sharp using guitars, saxophones, clarinets, synthesizers, bass, percussion, drums programming and samples. ... Click to View


GPS Trio (Chris Pitsiokos / Luke Stewart / Devin Gray):
Blast Beat Blues (Rataplan Records)

Hard-edged NYC free jazz in a limited EP CD release from the trio of alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos, bassist Luke Stewart and drummer & composer Devin Gray, who explains that the music reflects "the modern world we're all trying to live in, with that odd mix of the comfortable and uncomfortable", as heard in the edgy and dynamic power of his group. ... Click to View



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  Goth Pop, The Ocean and Radio Shack  

The Unique Sensibilities of Marianne Nowottny


By Florence Wetzel 2003-06-20

Marianne Nowottny's name doesn't sound like you might expect: she pronounces it "Mah-ri-AH-na," not "Maryann. " The same could be said for her music, which critics in publications as disparate as The New York Times, The Wire and Tiger Beat have praised and attempted to describe. Magnet said that Nowottny's music is "like if André Breton wrote Harlequin romances." The writer meant this as a compliment, and it's as good a description as any, but Nowottny doesn't fit into a box; there's no easy recipe for her music.

Marianne Nowottony
[Photo Courtesy: Abaton Book Company]
For those unfamiliar with Nowottny's music, her new Camera Obscura release Illusions of the Sun is a good place to start. It's the 20 year old's seventh release (not counting several dozen live cdrs, videos and limited edition singles). The CD has seven audio tracks as well as a twelve-minute, three-song video. Six of the tracks were recorded at the WNYC-FM studios in New York City in 2001, another at CBGB's Gallery in 2002, and the multimedia portion was filmed at Signal 66 in Washington, D.C. in 2000. In all the tracks, Nowottny sings her original lyrics and accompanies herself on harmonium, piano, and Radio Shack keyboards.

Part of Nowottny's uniqueness is due to her ability - and courage - to allow her voice to explore its full range, from primal growl to operatic soprano to lilting pop. Combined with this wide spectrum of sound is her unusual phrasing: she stretches and compacts words in ways that make the listener hear anew. Repeated listening to Illusions of the Sun - with and without the provided lyrics as a guide - reveals deeper pleasures; as one becomes accustomedto Nowottny's unique phrasing, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, and one can even identify known elements.

"I always listen to music, and in my songs I can hear little parts that come from different pop songs," she said. "The hooks are twisted, tortured, bent, and then fit into my own songs somehow."And it's not just pop that surfaces in her music: listeners hear elements of Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Diamanda Galas, Nico, and Sun Ra.

Other such luminaries count themselves among her fans.

"When I first heard Marianne's singing I was floored by the timelessness of her sound, simultaneously ancient and in the future," said guitarist Elliott Sharp, who has performed and recorded with the young songwriter. "It's tapped into the same strain that one hears in country blues, in Transylvanian gypsy music, and in fado."

But Nowottny did not grow up hearing these musicians and styles; her songs just came out that way. And the songs on Illusions of the Sun are also remarkable for their lyrics. Nowottny has been writing poetry for years, and her lyrics are highly original, as well as emotive and thought-provoking. In "Grey City" (recorded August 2001, but eerily reflecting the events of the next month), Nowottny writes, "I make believe just to relieve/the shrapnel sewn to my sleeve." Most of her songs concern romance and the many permutations of lost, found, and disappointed love. Reflecting on these songs, Nowottny said "For years I did self-indulgent, ultra-personal teen angst stuff. If I do sit and contemplate this music now, it makes me feel weird." Teen angst it may be, but funneled through Nowottny's sensibility it's heartfelt ("He's probably dead now/He's probably dead someway somehow") and sometimes mischievous ("Paisley or paramecium/Love or lust?"). It's music you can listen to while crying your heart out on your bed or concentrate on for its own reward.

Illusions of the Sun is Nowottny's first release on the Australian label Camera Obscura. Her previous work came out on the Abaton Book Company imprint, a label located in Jersey City and run by Mark Dagley of former Boston art band Girls, and his wife, playwright Lauri Bortz. It's fortunate to have talent, and it's equally fortunate to have people nurture and present your work in a way that preserves your integrity. Since meeting Nowottny in Newton, NJ in 1998, Dagley and Bartz have been her friends and champions, and they have produced a generous catalogue of Nowottny material, including her first release Afraid of Me (1999), Manmade Girl (2001), and SHELL! (2000), Nowottny's duet with her friend Donna Bailey. There's also limited editions of CDs, MP3s, and vinyl, as well as over fifty performance videos. Nowottny, Dagley, and Bortz also share a playful sense of humor, which is evident in Abaton's wide array of Marianne merchandise, which includes Marianne pick-up sticks, a teddy bear called Bearianne Nowottny, and - why not? - Breath of Marianne, which is exactly that, a bottle of her breath.

Nowottny's open-hearted creativity expresses itself in many mediums: music, poetry, painting, sculpture, clothing design, and modeling. It's refreshing to encounter such a genuinely artistic spirit, and as The New Jersey Herald astutely observed, "She may have such a solid following because [her music] is so original and somehow may strike a chord in others, nudging them not to be afraid of themselves, of their innate originality."

The songwriter's gifts flowered in soil that might seem particularly unsuitable for artists: suburban-rural southern New Jersey. "There's strange people down in southern New Jersey; they really took my mind for a spin," she said. "I believed in the goth thing, and there were a lot of goth hicks where I was. I thought the rest of the world was like this too." But no matter the company, Nowottny found solace and beauty in the Jersey Shore landscape. "It's really scenic where I grew up; I lived in a little house by a lake, and there were nice places to be by myself in nature. I went to the ocean every day, and I still dream of it." The unique combination of goth, spinning minds, the Atlantic ocean, and Radio Shack became part of Nowottny's development, fodder for creative expression.

Although Nowottny has received a great deal of attention since a very young age, she is remarkably levelheaded, with a healthy dose of skepticism. "When I was 16 the weird fetish was to call me a teen rocker. I didn't buy into it, and it pissed me off because I thought I was all grown up: 'I'm a woman, leave me alone!' And the main thing people said about me was 'This is really great, but too bad no one cares.' And that contradicts itself. It was sad to me, but I understand it as well - I wasn't making music to make money."

She is inspired by contemporary artists who have found a larger audience without compromising their unusual sound. "The group Einstuerzende Neubauten has a big fan base, and their symbol is everywhere," she said. "And Coldplay has ambient dark songs that are becoming hits."

She has been presenting her music at various East Coast venues since 1999. Currently she's studying at William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ; college as well as a part-time job have curbed her performing schedule, but come fall she will probably be playing out again. In the meantime, she continues creating and absorbing music. "I think about music and songs a lot in my car, and I even have a tape recorder there," she said. "I'm listening to a lot of pop engineer constructed R&B hits, bubblegum gangster music like Missy Elliott, who's amazing. Ashanti's music inspires me - I love the downbeat, and it's a happy-go-lucky, sophisticated, city-woman kind of music. I'm also listening to Fleetwood Mac from the Rumours period - I like the song 'Dreams' a lot."

There's no telling how Nowottny's external and internal influences will reflect in her future music, but however it translates, music lovers - and music connoisseurs - will surely reap the benefits.

Currently she's on the margins of mainstream music, but Nowottny recognizes that with different instrumentation and presentation she could attract a wider audience. It's an opportunity that interests her, but doesn't necessarily drive her, she said. "Music is taking a turn in evolution, but it can't appeal to a mass audience when it's lacking the basic recipe of beats and bass. My dad is tone deaf, but if a song has beats and bass, he'll listen to it. What would change is me, putting my music into something that more people can listen to."

But then, she added, "people who listen to pop music don't give a shit about art."



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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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