The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Sara Schoenbeck :
Sara Schoenbeck (Pyroclastic Records)

A document of bassoonist Sara Shoenbeck's collaborations recorded between 2019-2021 in recording studios across North America, showing the inspired curiosity she brings to improvisation through a diverse set of duos performed with Harris Eisenstadt, Nicole Mitchell, Nels Cline, Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Mitchell, Mark Dresser, Wayne Horvitz, Peggy Lee and Robin Holcomb. ... Click to View


Courvoisier / Halvorson:
Searching For The Disappeared Hour (Pyroclastic Records)

The second collaboration between pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and guitarist Mary Halvorson, six years after Crop Circles and a product of their tours together and the result of their both writing compositions specifically for their duo project, showing a level of communication that allows incredible inventiveness and moments of poignant exchange; exceptional. ... Click to View


William Parker (Parker / Carter / Drake):
Painters Winter (Aum Fidelity)

A 2nd season from composer, improviser & bassist William Parker, after his 2000 Thirsty Ear release Painter's Spring, this new trio album with drummer Hamid Drake, wind player Daniel Carter performing on trumpet, flute and reeds, and Parker himself on bass, trombonium & shakuhachi, paint the season with sound as they celebrate the winter through visionary jazz music. ... Click to View


Friedrichsschwerdt:
Gay - Wir Saunawirt (Euphorium)

The curious album of Friedrich Kettlitz, co-founder of Euphorium_Freakestra, reciting his poems (in German) set in 25 miniature recordings, also performing on english worker's flute, pling, metal kettle, felt head mallet, temple bell, in a duo with Oliver Schwerdt on piano, as well as small percussive devices, voice, slide whistles, a zither, and little cubic cardbox. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Parrinha / Hencleeday / Valinho:
Flat Music (Creative Sources)

Two extended acoustic improvisations of reductionist approaches recorded in the studio in Parede, Portugal in 2021 from the quartet of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Bruno Parrinha on bass clarinet, Andre Hencleeday on piano and Joao Valinho on percussion, guided by a poem from Rodrigues as they slowly and exquisitly explore a "Closed Window" and an "Open Window". ... Click to View


Florian Wittenburg :
Kranenburg Tree (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Using a metasynth, a software instrument that allows the user to draw or paint music, and a photograph of a small tree observed at a former train station in the German town of Kranenbur, composer Florian Wittenburg generates complex sound structures from the simple structures of the tree's branches used as a template for four rich sonic sketches. ... Click to View


Eva-Maria Houben :
3 Trios (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

"Trios" refers to the relationship of two keyboards and the pedals of an organ, as performed by accomplished American composer Carson Cooman as he patiently unfolds Eva-Maria Houben's three minimal compositions exploring the relationships between three melodic lines or three-tone chords, presented on the Organ Probsteikirche St. Ludgerus, in Billerbeck, Germany. ... Click to View


Aaron Breylin Foster / Luke Martin:
Recursive Retent (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Excerpting part of an eight-hour performance recorded over an amplified live environment of a text score for two pianists using one piano, each positioned at the opposite registers of the piano, one player creating a block of note phrases using intervals of a 2nd or 3rd with each note allowed to decay before the next, repeated by the other player following a set of rules. ... Click to View


Leo Genovese:
Ritual (577 Records)

Essentially a piano trio, Portuguese pianist and composer Leo Genovese leads his trio with Demian Cabaud on bass and renowned drummer Jeff Williams (Lookout Farm, Dave Liebman), also joined by Argentinian vocalist Nadia Larcheron for four pieces, Genovese's compositions using interesting structures that balance warmly lyrical and experimental approaches to modern jazz. ... Click to View


Ming Bau Set (feat Gerry Hemingway / Vera Baumann / Florestan Berset):
Yakut's Gallop (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Meeting regularly since 2018, these three Luzern, Switzerland improvisers have developed a shared language of collective creative improv, the best known of the three being drummer & percussionist Gerry Hemingway working with two younger generation musicians, acoustic & electric guitarist Florestan Berset and vocalist Vera Baumann, here in their first wonderfully paced album. ... Click to View


Whit Dickey / William Parker / Matthew Shipp:
Village Mothership [VINYL] (Tao Forms)

An exemplary piano trio of compatriots who have collaborated in configurations since the 1980s--drummer Whit Dickey, bassist William Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp--three New York legendary free players in their first record as a trio since 1992's Circular Temple, here in six studio group improvisations demonstrating their easy confidence in profound collective conversation. ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp:
Codebreaker [VINYL] (Tao Forms)

A fascinating solo piano record from New York free improvising luminary Matthew Shipp, a contemplative album that surprised even the pianist himself as he thoughtfully dissected harmonics to wring melodic fragments that bring sense to discursive streams of thought, his playing both investigational and charming, drawing an unlikely comparison to Bill Evans. ... Click to View


Andrea Parkins:
Two Rooms From The Memory Palace (Infrequent Seams Records)

Using piano, synthesizer, electronic feedback, field recordings and amplified objects, sound artist Andrea Parkins' long-cycle installation composition explores time and space in an 8-channel, multi-room work designed so that adjacent acoustical spaces respond to each other, creating shifting and unexpected sonic juxtapositions; CD package include a link to "The Third Room". ... Click to View


New Old Luten Trio:
Short Night [3'' CD] (Euphorium)

A 3" CD-EP of the New Old Luten Trio, expanded into a quintet by the addition of two double bassists--John Edwards and Robert Landfermann--to the lineup of Euro Free Jazz reedist Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, pianist Elan Pauer (aka Oliver Schwerdt) and drummer/percussionist Christian Lillinger, in the warm-up set before the concert yielding the album Tumult!. ... Click to View


Konstrukt feat. Thurston Moore:
Turkish Belly [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

A blistering set of improvisations featuring two electric guitarists--Konkstrukt's own Umut Caglar and NY Sonic improviser Thurston Moore--performing live at SalonIKSV in Istanbul, Turkey, blurring acoustics and electronics as the quintet creates intrepid environments for an intense journey in free improvisation, howling and biting along the way. ... Click to View


Vanessa Rossetto / Lionel Marchetti:
The Tower (The City) (erstwhile)

Three distinct compositions from the collaborative work of sound artists Vanessa Rossetto and Lionel Marchetti, the first a wonderfully complex work of musique concrète and acousmatic sources guided by the composers' instincts; "The Tower" expands their concepts through the addition of 18 voices, while the final track features the violin of Anouck Genthon. ... Click to View


Michael Pisaro-Liu :
Revolution Shuffle [2 CDs] (erstwhile)

Alarmed by the warning signs of social deterioration, political overreach and planetary damage warning of an imminent need for revolutionary change, composer and sound artist Michael Pisaro-Liu sought and plundered references in sound from historic and current sources, producing 53 tracks that are arranged to tell a story in a mosaic form; an incredible achievement. ... Click to View


Simulacrum:
Hyperreality (Evil Clown)

An offshoot of the Boston-area collective Metal Chaos Ensemble featuring multi-reedist PEK, also on percussion & electronics, Eric Woods on analog synth and Bob Moores on space trumpet, guitar and electronics, with guests Grant Beale on guitar & electronics and William Middlemiss Jr on guitar and electronics, in an electronic and clamorous extended improvisation. ... Click to View


Arcane Device:
n28 [2 CDS] (pulsewidth)

The darker side of David Lee Myer's Arcane Device project, six lettered works from his Noisewall Sessions 2020-2021, using feedback and controlled glitch, delicate noise and drone in long-form extended improvisations; six incredible sonic journeys, each copy of the 2-CD album a in an individual and numbered monoprint package, each copy unique from the other. ... Click to View


Arcane Device:
Ruins (No Rent)

Four mysteriously untitled and extended works of electronics subtitled Impressions From the Next Era, using feedback, aberrant sound, glitch, rich synthetics, bi-directional sound and indescribable sonic sources to fuel David Lee Myer's latest in his long-running and essential listening project Arcane Device; shimmering, inscrutable, and awe-inspiring. ... Click to View


Big Bad Brotzmann Quintet:
Bambule! (Euphorium)

An intense concert of collective European Free Jazz in two extended improvisations recorded at naTo in Leipzig, German in 2019 from the quintet of Peter Brotzmann on tenor saxophone, clarinet & tarogato, Oliver Schwerdt on grand piano, percussion & little instruments, John Edwards and John Eckhardt on double bass, and Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion. ... Click to View


Ornette Coleman :
New York Is Now & Love Call, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

An overlooked chapter in Ornette Coleman's recording career, these two Blue Note albums recorded in NY in 1968 and issued in '68 & '71 feature the innovative alto saxophonist joined by West Coast tenor saxophonist recently moved to NYC, Dewey Redman, and Coltrane sidemen, drummer Elvin Jones & bassist Jimmy Garrison, for two sessions of inventive and accomplished free jazz. ... Click to View


New York Contemporary Five:
Copenhagen 1963, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Originally released in 1964 on The Sonet label as Volumes 1 & 2, this CD remasters this exceptional 1963 concert of original material and pieces by Ornette & Monk, complete in sequence as performed at Jazzhaus Montmarte in Copenhagen with Archie Shepp on tenor saxophone, Don Cherry on cornet, John Tchicai on alto saxophone, Don Moore on double bass and J.C. Moses on drums. ... Click to View


Keith Tippett / Julie Tippetts / Philip Gibbs / Paul Dunmall:
Mahogany Rain (577 Records)

Originally recorded in 2005 for a small 100-copy release, the single extended track on Mahogany Rain offers an hour of mesmerizing improvisational sound, sparsely composed and deeply experimental and performed by Keith Tippett on piano & percussion, Julie Tippetts on xylophone & voice, Philip Gibbs on guitars, and Paul Dunmall on soprano & tenor saxophones. ... Click to View


Josh Sinton:
b. (FiP recordings)

The third solo saxophone record from Brooklyn improviser Josh Sinton, and his first recorded solely on the baritone saxophone, an instrument for which Sinton explains he has dedicated half his life, heard in this remarkably diverse set on the lower horn that he approaches lyrically, technically, emotionally and with startling singularity. ... Click to View


Krokofant w/ Stale Storlokken / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten:
Fifth (Rune Grammofon)

As on their prior album Q, the Nordic Krokofant free improvising jazz/rock trio of Axel Skalstad on drums & vibes, Tom Hasslan on guitar and Jorgen Mathisen on saxophone are joined by bassist Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten (The Thing) and Stale Storlokken (Elephant9, Supersilent), cementing their lineup as they forge adventurous and spectacular playing on this Fifth album. ... Click to View


Sex Magick Wizards:
Your Bliss My Joy (Rune Grammofon)

The sophomore release from this Norwegian instrumental rock band, with all members of the quartet coming from an improvisation/jazz background that fuels their diverse interests in the rock format, from blistering runs, dark blues grooves and even a nod to Swedish folk jazz; a dynamic album of great technical playing but more importantly, a strong commitment to rock. ... Click to View


Michelangelo Decorato / Leo Cicala:
Thauma (Creative Sources)

An introspectively lovely and reflective album of electroacoustic composition through minimal electronics, piano, samples and electronics, from the collaboration of Italian sound artists Michelangelo Decorato and Leo Cicala, with trumpeter Luca Calabrese joining on one piece; sophisticatedly languid, alluring and detailed ambient music. ... Click to View


Pascal Battus / Michel Doneda:
Miracle (Potlatch)

Dovetailing and combining the rich harmonics of Michel Doneda's soprano and sopranino saxophone with Pascal Battus' rotating surfaces--mechanisms from small consumer electronics and their like put in motion and in contact with resonators and vibrators--this French improvising duo create fascinatingly shifting, unusual textures and sonic environments. ... Click to View


Attitude! (Tang / Ishito / Wu):
Pause & Effect [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

Combining free jazz and post-punk rock forms with pointed commentary about issues of race, gender, the pandemic, and political autonomy, through provocative vocal works expressing modern angst, from three Asian-American female performers living in NYC: tenor saxophonist Ayumi Ishito, drummer Wen-Ting Wu, and activist and Tiananmen Square survivor Rose Tang on voice, guitar & piano. ... Click to View



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  Jaap Blonk 
  Irrelevant Comments  
  (Kontrans) 


  
   review by Dave Madden
  2018-12-13
Jaap Blonk: Irrelevant Comments (Kontrans)

Sound Poetry is slice of the anti-art / anti "there is absolute truth" campaign of Dadaism. Tearing down the focus on significance (of words), Sound Poetry emphasizes meter, rhythm and, most importantly, how the syllables sound coming out of a body. Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Zang Tumb Tuum (produced circa 1912) is a collage of words and characters that sometimes resemble ransom notes, other times Bauhaus era sculptures, with each passage printed in a commanding way. Hugo Ball's Karawayne (1916) is contoured and reads in a linear manner, but the font on the written page drastically revises from line to line. Blago bung / bosso fataka / , son.

Having explored, torn down and endeavored for decades to mine new veins in this ambiguous maelstrom, Jaap Blonk continues his approach of syllabic breakdown and remix merged with vocal manipulation and swathes-to-blips-to-blasts synthesis. First a composer, second a vocalist with a CV too long to list Blonk is more Blago / snort / bung / wHOOOSHSHSHSSHSHS / blorp / spin / fizzle / bosso fataka / snork / gasp / purr / than his predecessors.

"Yeah Poo Wop" begins the set in a Tom Waits meets Hell Boy growling slur of vowels and feedback (some guitar clawing through underneath) a la Black Metal skits...if Black Metal folks did skits. "Boring Conversation" seems performed by a turntablist's kid who snuck downstairs to play with his dad's toys; gurgles, scratches and almost-words swirl around in a pitch-altering, hyperactive, boiling stew. Though starting off with a bent, Theremin-like drone loop, "Circular Deprivation" soon retires into a bellows of snores, heavy breathing and backward growls that pumps under sporadic six-string noodles. Blonk approximates a human choir (think a parlor version of Ligeti's Lux aeterna) on "Dirges (For Hugo Ball)," though the angelic tenors are gradually swallowed by sinister, ritualistic chant and whatever demon the latter conjured; the first group escapes the belly of the beast, though remains a bit shakier, worse for wear.

The title track takes a jazz lounge act, replaces piano with shimmering, digitized bells, the drums with a woodpecker and jackhammer, and locks the singer in a box, hence the woody knocking. "Raadgevingen voor de jonge maker" ("Advice for the Young Creator") is a lecture delivered by a skipping CD on a deck whose batteries need replacing. "Interesting Conversation" sounds as a punctuating, pointillistic discussion between squeaking couch cushions that have mastered sympathy, tte--tte banter and correct grammatical cadence points (sort of the way R2-D2 shows sadness or elation depending on the descent or ascent of tone).

The interesting macro aesthetic supposed throughout Blonk's music here and in his other works is the strive to divorce emotion from the most intimate instrument, the mouth (and throat, sinuses etc.), and then use it to humanize electronic analogs. This tenuous balance should normalize the music in a Communistic "everything is equally valued," but the result is an inverted Frankenstein. Use your imagination to qualify that statement.

Despite an alignment to Dada's "The meaning resides in its meaninglessness," Jaap Blonk is no rube, and his careful, sensitive realization of his work didn't just fall out of the sky. He is the model of experimentation, and, like any great experimentalist, has most assuredly failed enough to figure out things that engage both himself and an audience. For veterans such as he, "First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak" (Epictetus) is a better mantra for these Irrelevant Comments.



Jaap Blonk: Irrelevant Comments
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


William Parker (
Parker /
Carter /
Drake):
Painters Winter
(Aum Fidelity)



Courvoisier /
Halvorson:
Searching For
The Disappeared Hour
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Andrea Parkins:
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The Memory Palace
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Whit Dickey /
William Parker /
Matthew Shipp:
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