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Cecil Taylor Mixed To Unit:
Structures Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Bringing together two essential and impeccably remastered 1960's Cecil Taylor albums — Cecil Taylor Unit Structures and Cecil Taylor Unit Mixed — presenting both traditional influences and Taylor's unique approaches to modern jazz, featuring two septets with musicians including Jimmy Lyons, Henry Grimes, Archies Shepp, Ted Curson, Andrew Cyrille, Roswell Rudd, Sunny Murray, &c. ... Click to View


Archie Shepp:
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Revisiting two of Archie Shepp's 1969 recordings released on the BYG label as Blasé, and title track to Yasmina, three tracks featuring the vocals of Jeanne Lee, with four band configurations including Dave Burrell, Malachi Favors, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Sunny Murray, Philly Joe Jones, &c., beautifully remastered to bring to light Shepp's pan-stylistic impulses. ... Click to View


Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito):
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Futari (meaning "two people") is the stunningly beautiful debut album of pianist Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito, recorded in 2019 after a concert tour in Japan, the confluence of these similar instruments and the performer's technical mastery blending in introspective and active modes, adding rich sonic dimensions through preparations and extraordinary technique. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / Mototeru Takagi:
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Japanese free improvisation legend, soprano saxophonist Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝), having been a one-time member of Masayuki Takayangi's New Direction Unit, shows his affinity to guitarists in this 1987 live performance at FarOut, in Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan with UK free improvising guitar legend Derek Bailey, presenting four contemplative & intricate avant improvisations. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / Mototeru Takagi:
Live At Farout, Atsugi 1987 [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Japanese free improvisation legend, soprano saxophonist Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝), having been a one-time member of Masayuki Takayangi's New Direction Unit, shows his affinity to guitarists in this 1987 live performance at FarOut, in Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan with UK free improvising guitar legend Derek Bailey, presenting four contemplative & intricate avant improvisations. ... Click to View


Kassel Jaeger:
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Kassel Jaeger, aka François J. Bonnet, a leading figure in electroacoustic and electronic music, presents an extended work of rich and warm layers, slowly unfolding and shifting as both detailed and clouded events emerge and disappear, the consistency and pacing of the work an impressive testament to his compositional control and inspiration. ... Click to View


Joelle Leandre / Pascal Contet:
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A live concert at Area Sismica, Forlì, in 2019 between two masterful French improvisers--double bassist Joëlle Léandre and accordionist Pascal Contet-- each pushing each other in both melodic and abstract improvisations with occasional vocal asides, as they engage their listeners through surprising twists and turns as they explore the farthest reaches of their instruments. ... Click to View


Rob Hall / Chick Lyall:
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A set of lyrical, thoughtful and sometimes whimsical works from the Scottish-based duo of Rob Hall & Chick Lyall (Green Room Trio), who have been developing their musical language since 2003, merging a wide range of genres from Baroque chamber music to free jazz and folk idioms, their lack of boundaries lending itself to a uniquely diverse and embraceable music. ... Click to View


Mopcut (Konig / Desprez / Chen):
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"The trio MOPCUT claims to be a medium-length noise-style that covers the head and ears with a vertical bang and a horizontal wave. MOPCUT also argues that its sonic output is a popular style for all ages, genders and generations, but adds that ts soundscapes should be trimmed evenly all around the circumference so that the noise at the front reaches the inner eye while the waves on the sides cover (or almost fully cover) the ears.

You can trust this insightful advice. This trio - American vocal artist and analog electronics player Audrey Chen, known also as a cellist, a close collaborator of British vocal artist Phil Minton and half of the duo Beam Splitter with Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø; French electric guitar player Julien Desprez, leader of his own ensembles and member of Mats Gustafsson's Fire Orchestra and Eve Risser's White Dessert Orchestra, and Austrian drummer-synthesizer player-vocalist Lukas König, member of Viennese groups Kompost 3 and 5K HD- are going to spin your heads and ears so thoroughly until your inner eyes will not only absorb their wild soundscapes, but most likely may beg for more from this rare stuff. Obviously, by then you may lose all connection with real human languages and earth's gravity.

Accelerated Frames of Reference, the debut album of this trio, lasts only 32 minutes but you have to be in top shape - mental and physical one - in order to fully comprehend the series of ultra-accelerated sonic events that MOPCUT keeps creating. Chen rushes with her ultrasonic stream of consciousness, fragmented vocalizations as a shaman possessed by mysterious spells, and is always busy mutating and distorting her mad songs with vintage electronics. Desprez intensifies this troublesome and urgent atmosphere with imaginative, explosive noises and effects and König deepens these blistering attacks with disruptive, alien beats and noises of his own. MOPCUT chose to conclude with wild journey with the quiet and meditative "Soundspa". A peaceful farewell or a promise for more insightful messages from the MOPCUT spaceship?"-Eyal Hareuveni

... Click to View


Don Cherry:
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2020 reissue of trumpeter Don Cherry's '73 album recorded with & commissioned by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, with Carla Bley on piano, Charlie Haden on bass, and Ed Blackwell on drums, in compositions blending Eastern and Indian music with Western jazz. ... Click to View


Martin Blume / Lou Houtkamp / Steve Beresford:
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A superb concert of masterful collective improvisation captured live at LOFT Cologne in 2018 from the trio of Luc Houtkamp on tenor saxophone & clarinet, Steve Beresford on piano & objects, and Martin Blume on drums & percussion, in three extended improvisations, thoughtful work building to periods of powerful passion while maintaining a reflective introspectiveness. ... Click to View


In Layers (Marcelo Dos Reis / Onno Govaert / Kristian Martinsson / Luis Vicente):
Pliable (FMR)

Portuguese guitarist Marcelo Dos Reis and trumpeter Luís Vicente, Icelandic pianist Kristján Martinsson and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert release their 2nd album, moving from the studio to a live concert at Salão Brazil in Coimbra in 2018, performing six collective improvisations of explorative and technically advanced, cutting edge free improv. ... Click to View


MPT Trio (Mela / Paz / Trujillo):
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Influenced by both free jazz and Caribbean folk music, the NYC-based MPT Trio, led by Francisco Mela (Crash Trio, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz), presents a stylistically innovative sound on their debut album, presenting eight original pieces blending diverse musical traditions with contemporary & avant-garde jazz structures. ... Click to View


John Zorn:
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Two compositions by John Zorn for solo cello and two works for cello and rhythm section, performed by cellists Jay Campbell (JACK Quartet) and Michael Nicolas (Brooklyn Rider, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)), with drummer Ches Smith and bassist Jorge Roeder taking the rhythm chairs; exciting and innovative compositions in virtuoso performances. ... Click to View


John Zorn (Stephen Gosling):
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A suite of short pieces for solo piano subtitled "Images and Impressions for Piano", composed by John Zorn and performed by frequent Zorn interpreter Stephen Gosling, the works inspired by the sketches of English painter J.M.W. Turner, embracing influences including Ligeti, Scriabin, Bach, Glass, Debussy, Bartok, Berio, Feldman, Xenakis, Schoenberg &c. ... Click to View


Matthias Muller / Eric Normand / Petr Vrba:
Triche! (Tour de Bras / Circum-Disc)

A set of informed avant/abstract acoustic and electroacoustic improvisations recorded in the studio in Austria in 2019, from the transatlantic trio of Euro free jazz legend, trombonist Matthias Muller, Quebec bassist Eric Normand on electric bass, and innovative trumpeter Petr Vrba also deploying electronics, the trio's interaction focused on patient and inspired sonic detail. ... Click to View


Sun Ra:
Egypt 1971 [4 CDs] (STRUT)

Originally released in 3 LPs as Live in Egypt on Thoth Intergalactic and then as the Saturn albums Dark Myth Equation Visitation, Nidhamu & Horizon, this set reissues and expands the 1971 Sun Ra tour recordings: The Mena House Hotel in Giza; a concert at Hartmut Geerken's in Heliopolis; a live Cairo TV channel broadcast; and a concert at Cairo's the Ballon Theatre. ... Click to View


Sun Ra Arkestra:
Swirling [2 LPS] (STRUT / Artyard)

The first new Sun Ra Arkestra album in twenty years, recorded in Philadelphia under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allan, with long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune, Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchel, with new material and new renderings of classic Ra compositions. ... Click to View


Joshua Abrams' Cloud Script:
Cloud Script (RogueArt)

Double bassist Joshua Abrams provides the compositions for this studio album performed with Ari Brown on tenor sax, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gerald Cleaver on drums, an exceptional quartet of master improvisers who balance lyrical and soulful playing with explorative impulse, fueled by an empathetic responsiveness that only a long history of collaboration can engender. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmal Sextet (Dunmall / Pursglove / Foote / Saunders / Owston / Bashford):
Cosmic Dream Projection (FMR)

A studio project led by Paul Dumall on alto & tenor saxophones and alto flute, recorded while on touring hiatus during the pandemic, composing six passionate and melodically charged works performed by the brilliant sextet of Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Richard Foote on trombone, Steven Saunders on guitar, James Owston on bass, and Jim Bashford on drums. ... Click to View


Dunmall. Paul with Metcalfe / Owston / Jozwiak:
Unmasked (FMR)

The other side of Paul Dunmall's characteristic saxophone work is heard here on the alto flute, bringing Dunmall together with fellow flutist Neil Metcalf and the rhythm section of James Owston on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums for four exceptional improvisations that focus more on interaction and less on soloing, showcasing all four through sophisticated performance. ... Click to View


Trevor Taylor:
Oscillations 12 Tone Music For Jazz Quintet (FMR)

Exploring the jazz tradition through 12 tone serial tone row scales, along with graphic scores & other variations, from UK composer Trevor Taylor, also on drums & vibraphones, in a quintet with Shanti Paul Jayashina on trumpet, Josh Ison on saxophones, Dan Banks on piano, and Jose Canha on Double Bass, in a set of tunes that beautifully balance freedom and lyricism. ... Click to View


MoE w/ Mette Rasmussen / Ikuro Takahashi:
Painted (Relative Pitch)

During their 2019 Japan Tour, the collaboration of the Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen extended their trio with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi to record this energetic, rough and tumble album exploring the boundaries between free improvisation, skronky rock, and other confrontational, conceptual crossover forms. ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble:
Don Quixote (Evil Clown)

An epic journey through diverse improvisational approaches within a composed framework, using heavy percussion of unusual & world origins, electronics, rock/groove elements and prepared mixes created from samples, from the Boston duo of David Peck (PEK) on reeds & an arsenal of devices & sources, and Yuri Zbitnoff on drums & percussion, with narration points along the way. ... Click to View


Audrey Chen / Phil Minton :
Frothing Morse (Tour de Bras)

Two innovators of free vocal improvisation come together for a concert at Santa Chiara Nuova Church during the 2015 ImprovvisaMente festival in Lodi, Italy, setting aside Chen's cello and electronics to focus on pure voice interactions, each using their unique language and technique in a single 37 minute performance of intrepid, inexplicable and unique improv. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet :
Solo A La Decollation (Tour de Bras)

Emphasizing unusual aspects of the pipe organ, composer and typically reedist Jean-Luc Guionnet (Hubbub, Return of the New Thing) performs solo on the organ at the Church of the Decollation of Saint-Jean Baptiste in L'Isle-verte, Quebec, Canada, taking a sound-oriented approach to the instrument with a minimalist attitude through four extended performances. ... Click to View


Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra:
A Fire Side Chat With Lucifer (Modern Harmonic)

This reissue of the 1983 Saturn Research LP presents two aspects of the Sun Ra Arkestra, the first side with the 80's classics "Nuclear War" along with "Retrospect" and "Makeup"; the second side presenting the extended and more experimental "A Fireside Chat with Lucifer", a 20 minute well balanced, open framework that allows for both melodic soloing and extended free exchanges. ... Click to View


Lisbon Improvisation Players:
Motion (Clean Feed)

A precursor to his Motion Trio, this is a 2002 studio recording led by saxophonist Rodrigo Amado performing on baritone & tenor saxophones, with US West Coast saxophonist Steve Adams on soprano & tenor saxophones, Acacio Salero on drums, plus New York bassist Ken Filiano, improvising over six works that show the depth and mastery of each individually and collectively. ... Click to View


Susan Alcorn Quintet:
Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

An innovator in integrating pedal steel guitar into modern improvised music, Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn's quintet enlists a superb set of New York players--Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Formanek on double bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ryan Sawyer on drums--taking on a diverse set of Alcorn compositions. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Arnau Horta / Seijiro Murayama / Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
Installations [CD + 24 page booklet] (Swarming)

A fascinating set of stereophonic electroacoustic compositions based on the recordings and mixes used for four sound installations in four galleries in France, impeccably captured and creatively edited: Eric La Casa & Jean-Luc Guionnet; Michaële-Andréa Schatt & Eric La Casa; Seijiro Murayama & Eric La Casa; and Arnau Horta & Eric La Casa. ... Click to View



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  Thanos Chrysakis / Chris Cundy 
  A Certain Slant of Light  
  (Aural Terrains) 


  
   review by Darren Bergstein
  2020-10-08
Thanos Chrysakis / Chris Cundy: A Certain Slant of Light (Aural Terrains)

Multi-instrumentalist Chrysakis, via his Aural Terrains label and his band of erstwhile collaborators, has managed, year after year, to carve out a singular catalog amongst the nebulous genre of electroacoustic improvisation, by way of an experimental approach that prides itself on wild abandon masquerading as compositional rigor. This is a complex way of stating that Chrysakis and his numerous cohorts by now seem to work with near-telepathic abilities, able to effortlessly meld ideas and execution into a virtually seamless form that feels meticulously plotted out beforehand. The very act of 'improvising', whether utilizing tools acoustic, electronic, or hybridized, can sometimes have a garbage-can-down-the-stairs effect; noise and clatter being erected with little or no foundational underpinning, noise for noise's sake, communication between players nonexistent. Anyone can bang two objects together in a room and proudly proclaim it 'art', pleased with their kneejerk outbursts; whether or not the results can be classified as listenable, let alone 'music', is another matter altogether. Over a library of profound depth and substance, Chrysakis regularly proves that talent, imagination, and proficiency rule the day.

On this duo recording with clarinetist Chris Cundy, the Aural Terrains head honcho has at his disposal a seemingly endless supply of sounds coaxed from purely electronic devices, including laptop computer, synths, and a mysterious sound source listed as 'copicat tape echo'. Cundy's arsenal of instruments, in addition to clarinet, comprise a megaphone, zither, the ubiquitously coined 'objects' and some means of digital processor simply dubbed 'voice changer'. The sounds both artists devise, mark out, sculpt, and shape blur aesthetic boundaries to the point where only occasionally can individual components be recognized (Cundy's zither and megaphone are particularly apparent on the wonderfully oscillating "Part II"), but the integration of their sensibilities is the very bedrock informing these sometimes coarse, sometimes acrid, yet tonally-arresting compositions. On "Part III", Chrysakis ushers in Cundy's elaborate squawks and guttural exhortations with a series of Louis & Bebe Barron-esque blurbs and burbles, coating the radioactive landscape Cundy navigates with gleeful, exploratory broad strokes. At a bit over the three-and-a-half minute mark, Chrysakis dares to introduce what appears to be liquifying beats into the proceedings, but Cundy's wry playing doesn't let them develop beyond a few short baby steps; on an ever-developing, ever-morphing template, this is music that is restless by nature, the artists' aware that stasis boxes in their torrential flow of ideas, both keen on realizing substance rather than mere affect.

Surely what makes the appliqué of electronic instruments so important into a matrix such as this is the musicians's desire to revel in a world of unexperienced sound. Chrysakis has long realized this modus operandi as a matter of principle. In the company of the complimentary Cundy, his digital striations and lambent waveforms achieve an almost spiritual liftoff, something remarkably rare in the usually cold, distilled air of artificial aural environments. That the duo bridge the gap between emotionalism and intellectualism speaks volumes about their collective savvy, and of the utterly immersive nature of this consistently fascinating recording.



Thanos Chrysakis / Chris Cundy: A Certain Slant of Light
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