The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Paul Bley Trio:
Touching & Blood, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Reissuing two essential and innovative piano trio albums: Paul Bley Trio's 1965 album Touching with Bley on piano, Kent Carter on double bass and Barry Altschul on drums, plus the title track from the 1966 Bley album Blood with Altschul and Mark Levinson taking the double bass roll, performing compositions by Paul Bley, Carla Bley and Annette Peacock. ... Click to View


Fire! Orchestra / Krzysztof Penderecki:
Actions (Rune Grammofon)

"Actions For Free Jazz Orchestra" was originally written by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki for the New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra, assembled by Don Cherry for the occasion and conducted by composer himself; this new extended reading and conduction of the score from 2018 was originated and directed by Mats Gustafsson, a powerful update and expansion of the original work. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Mark Sanders:
Unity (577)

Despite countless collaborations in a variety of settings, UK saxophonist Paul Dunmall and drummer/percussionist Mark Sanders have never recorded one of the most straight-forward of pairings — the saxophone and drum duo — correcting their omission with his superb album of exploratory and exuberant dialogs, five tracks showing the skill and kinship between the two. ... Click to View


Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints:
Other Worlds (Greenleaf Music)

Referencing Wayne Shorter ("Footprints") and the lyrically free playing of Shorter's 60s influences, this 3rd album led by tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas, with the powerful support of pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Joey Baron, was recorded following a week at New York's Village Vanguard in January 2020. ... Click to View


Donald Miller:
Transgression!!! [VINYL] (Vin Du Select Qualitite)

Legendary Borbetomagus guitarist Donald Miller takes a step back to give his listeners an unexpected album of 12-string acoustic guitar instrumentals, something that would fit well in the Imaginational Anthem series through informed pick and slide work, an embraceable album of unique guitar styles and creative rambles through avant and abstract folk & blues forms. ... Click to View


Motorpsycho:
Kingdom of Oblivion (Rune Grammofon)

The productive and excellent work of Norwegian rock band Motorpsycho, releasing an album a year for 30+ years, continues with this superb example of long form and diverse approaches to the rock medium, the core trio of Saether (bass, vocals, mellotron, &c), Hans Magnus Ryan (guitar, sax, vocals) and Tomas Jarmyr (drums) extended by Reine Fiske on guitar and Ola Kvernberg on percussion. ... Click to View


Motorpsycho:
Kingdom of Oblivion [2 LPs CLEAR] (Rune Grammofon)

The productive and excellent work of Norwegian rock band Motorpsycho, releasing an album a year for 30+ years, continues with this superb example of long form and diverse approaches to the rock medium, the core trio of Saether (bass, vocals, mellotron, &c), Hans Magnus Ryan (guitar, sax, vocals) and Tomas Jarmyr (drums) extended by Reine Fiske on guitar and Ola Kvernberg on percussion. ... Click to View


Motorpsycho:
Kingdom of Oblivion [2 LPs] (Rune Grammofon)

The productive and excellent work of Norwegian rock band Motorpsycho, releasing an album a year for 30+ years, continues with this superb example of long form and diverse approaches to the rock medium, the core trio of Saether (bass, vocals, mellotron, &c), Hans Magnus Ryan (guitar, sax, vocals) and Tomas Jarmyr (drums) extended by Reine Fiske on guitar and Ola Kvernberg on percussion. ... Click to View


Squid:
Bright Green Field (Warp Records)

Blurring the boundaries of popular rock, composed and electro/experimental/ea forms, with hints of The Ex, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem and their own happily quirky sound, Squid was formed in Brigton by Ollie Judge (Drums & Lead Vocals), Louis Borlase (Guitars), Arthur Leadbetter (Keys, Strings & Percussion), Laurie Nankivell (Bass & Brass) and Anton Pearson (Guitars). ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio:
Ding Dong. You're Dead (Rune Grammofon)

A scorching album of instrumental rock bridging avant, prog and jazz/rock forms, from the inspired and burning Norwegian band led by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen and her trio with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad; reference John McLaughlin, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, or just focus on the powerhouse that is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio:
Ding Dong. You're Dead [VINYL] (Rune Grammofon)

A scorching album of instrumental rock bridging avant, prog and jazz/rock forms, from the inspired and burning Norwegian band led by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen and her trio with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad; reference John McLaughlin, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, or just focus on the powerhouse that is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. ... Click to View


Ulrich Mitzlaff :
Transparent - fluorescent sound fibres (Creative Sources)

German cellist and pianist living in Lisbon, Ulrich Mitzlaff recorded these two solo works titled "transparent — fluorescent sound fibers" #1 & #2 in 2015 and 2020, each voiced for extended and unusual instrumental technique in an interaction with percussive objects, the first from 2015 performing on cello, the second from 2020 performed on piano. ... Click to View


Welcome To Silkeborg (Varela / Trinite):
Alba (Creative Sources)

A live recording without an audience and the start of the Welcome To Silkeborg project between Lisbon improvisers Tiago Varela (Equinox Quartet, Isotope Ensemble) on melodicas & voice, and Monsieur Trinité (Equinox Quartet, IKB, Potlatch, Variable Geometry Orchestra) on percussive objects, their first encounter finding the two in a relaxed dialog of creative conversation. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio:
Moon on the Lake (Libra)

Pianist Satoko Fujii introduces a new trio with two younger and very active musicians on the Japanese jazz scene--bassist Takashi Sugawa and drummer Ittetsu Takemura--recording in 2010 at Pit Inn in Tokyo for their 3rd live date together, performing five lyrical Fujii original compositions, including "Aspirations" from her album with Leo Smith & Ikue Mori. ... Click to View


Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue:
Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses (Pi Recordings)

An articulate and important collection of songs devoted to the marginalized voices of women around the world from NY vocalist Jen Shyu, performed in a masterful quintet with Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mat Maneri on viola, Thomas Morgan on bass, Dan Weiss on drums, Shyu singing and performing on percussion, piano, Taiwanese moon lute, and Japanese biwa. ... Click to View


Guillermo Gregorio / Damon Smith / Jerome Bryerton:
Room of the the Present (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Two performances of Chicago reedist and composer Guillermo Gregorio's graphic score "Moholy 2", inspired by the artwork of László Moholy-Nagy, recorded in two conductions at the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago in 2007 & 2008 by the trio of Gregorio on clarinets & alto sax, Damon Smith on double bass, and Jerome Bryerton on percussion, cymbals and drums. ... Click to View


Space Quartet (Toral / Antunes / Morao / Torres):
Directions (Clean Feed)

An exploration of space, not outer, but the space we give to each other, the space between events and the space between musical expression, as composed by electronic artist Rafael Toral, using acoustic & electronic feedback and amplification with his quartet of Hugo Antunes on double bass, Nuno Mora on drums & percussion and Nuno Torres on saxophone & electronics. ... Click to View


Innanen / Pasborg / Piromalli:
This Is It (Clean Feed)

The Hammond organ takes the lead sound on this straight-up, melodically grooving and fast-paced album, with compositions coming mostly from Finnish saxophonist Mikko Innanen performed in this trio with French organist Cedric Piromalli and Danish drummer Stefan Pasborg; an album that puts one foot in the history of 60's jazz and one foot firmly in the creative present. ... Click to View


IKB:
Limosa Limosa (Creative Sources)

IKB, a ten-piece reductionist electroacoustic ensemble of strings, reeds, guitar, computer, percussion, piano, drums & objects, continues their exploration of exotic animal species with this 2020 live performance at O'Culto da Ajuda in Lisbon, Portugal, long-billed shore bird Limosa through detailed, restrained and remarkable expression. ... Click to View


Michael Sarian / Matthew Putman:
A Lifeboat (Part I) [VINYL] (577)

The first of two planned volumes of studio improvisations between Brooklyn trumpeter & flugelhorn player Michael Sarian and keyboardist Matthew Putman, recorded in Sarin's home studio during the 2020 pandemic, allowing freedom in exploration as they sought out cadences, rhythms and melodies, this 1st volume presenting the finest of their investigations. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman / Ike Levin:
Live In Chicago (JDF/CLM )

An almost hour long "Rhizome" of free improvisation and a brief "Renewal" from the duo of Joel Futterman on piano and Ike Levin on tenor sax & bass clarinet, performing live at Constellation in Chicago in 2017, for a wonderfully evolving work of suspense, release, technical brilliance and exuberant expression, a dialog that only two such frequent collaborators can evoke. ... Click to View


Ian Power:
Diligence (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Two works for solo instrumentalists by Baltimore composer Ian Power, both written in 1984: "mahrem bir eser | a private work" using microtonal harmonics and electronic noise, performed by cellist Mariel Robers and recorded in 2016 at Brandeis Univeristy; and "swathe" using overtone and microtone performed by clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich and recorded in NYC in 2019. ... Click to View


Anthony Braxton :
12 Duets (DCWM) 2012 [12 CD Box Set] (New Braxton House)

Newly Distributed in 2021: 12-CD set presenting Braxton in dialogue with three distinctive duet partners: violinist Erica Dicker, vocalist Kyoko Kitamura and bassoonist Katherine Young. Recording dates: August 14 & 15 (Kyoko Kitamura), August 21 & 22 (Erica Dicker), August 28 & 29 (Katherine Young). ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Nate Wooley:
Polarity (Burning Ambulance Music)

Tight interaction in an incredible weaving of creative ideas and technical prowess from the duo of tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and trumpeter Nate Wooley, the two New York-based improvisers recording in the studio in Brooklyn in 2020 for ten dialogs, a perfect distillation of their work together after four CDs in larger group efforts; captivating. ... Click to View


Courvoisier / Rothenberg / Sartorius:
Lockdown (Clean Feed)

Recording in the studio in Switzerland, the trio of Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, Ned Rothenberg on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet & Shakuhachi, and Julian Sartorius on drums & percussion perform a mix of compositions, with 3 from Courvoisier and 1 by Rothenberg, and 4 collective improvisations; a unified and accomplished album of diverse approaches to free improv. ... Click to View


Cortex (Hoyer / Nilssen / Alberts / Johansson):
Legal Tender [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Seriously joyful and consequential "avant-garde party music" from the Norwegian Cortex quartet of Ola Hoyer on double bass, Gard Nilssen on drums & percussion, Kristoffer Berre Alberts on saxophone, and Thomas Johansson on trumpet, in their 6th album of irresistible, upbeat free jazz. ... Click to View


Dominique Pifarely Quartet (w/ Rayon / Chevillon / Merville):
Nocturnes (Clean Feed)

Following his ECM album Trace Provisoire, violinist Dominique Pifarély's new album with his quartet of Antonin Rayon on piano, Bruno Chevillon on double bass and Francois Merville on drums, expands on the merging of compositional and improvisational form in this set of Pifarély compositions, alongside two co-written with Bruno Chevillon and two with Antonin Rayon. ... Click to View


Jonas Cambien Trio (w / Roligheten / Wildhagen):
Nature Hath Painted The Body (Clean Feed)

Cleverly complex yet melodically embraceable, the trio of Beligan pianist residing in Norway, Jonas Cambien's trio with Andre Rolighete on tenor and soprano saxophone and drummer Andreas Wildhagen perform eleven original Cambien compositions, a mix of astute, joyful and irrepressibly creative approaches to jazz and free improvisation. ... Click to View


Hearth (Silva / Rasmussen / Rave / Draksler):
Melt (Clean Feed)

Meeting for the 1st time at the 2016 October Meeting in Holland, the quartet performance there of Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Mette Rasmussen on alto sax, Ada Rave on tenor sax & clarinet and Kaja Draksler on piano, inspired the formation of Hearth to develop soundscapes focusing on moods and textures, as heard in these six rich, explorative collective improvisations. ... Click to View


Andre Fernandes (w/ Sambeat / Campos / Heliodoro / Pereira):
Kinetic [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Active Lisbon guitarist and producer André Fernandes formed the band Kinetic to perform the lyrically upbeat and sophisticated works of composers he admires--David Binney, Ohad Talmor, Akiko Pavolka, Sara Serpa, Perico Sambeat and Xan Campos--in a band that includes saxophonist Sambeat and pianist Campos, along with bassist Frederico Heliodoro and drummer João Pereira. ... Click to View



  •  •  •     Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Facebook: Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Claire Chase 
  Density 2036 (2013-2015) & (2016-2017)  
  (Corbett vs. Dempsey) 


  
   review by Brian Olewnick
  2021-05-04
Claire Chase: Density 2036 (2013-2015) & (2016-2017) (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

These are the first two volumes, comprising four discs, of a massive project conceived by flutist Chase to extend through the year 2036. She has commissioned many dozens of new works in honor of the 100th anniversary of the seminal modern flute composition by Edgard Varése, 'Density 21.5'.

While it's impossible to know, should the project last through its completion, what the range of composers will be, one presumably gets at least a taste of it here. I think of it as wide-ranging within a certain ambit, one that might be described, not entirely seriously, as the "Bang On A Can" esthetic, an organization with which Chase has collaborated. That is to say, a premium placed on complexity, professional dexterity and an at times ungainly blend of academicism and street influences as opposed to what one might think of as a post-Cage/Wandelweiserian approach more concerned with placement of sounds in space, interpretive freedom on the part of the performer and an de-emphasis on technique. That said, Chase also extends her requests to composers from the jazz lineage and genre-straddling ones like Pauline Oliveros, so it's quite possibly far too early to make any predictions. Incidentally, the works chosen are by no means only for solo flute, encompassing over-tracking, electronics and collaborations with other musicians.

CD 1 (2013-2014) opens with 'Pessoa' by Marcos Balter, for six bass flutes. It begins in lovely fashion, a solo bass flute echoing shakuhachi forms, spare and floating, joined midway through by a small choir of flutes offering appreciative commentary. Things grow complex, the flutes eddying and swirling, always gently — a beautiful work. 'Luciform', by Mario Diaz de Leon, for flute and electronics, is one of those problematic ones for this listener — an intricate dance between the flute and dizzying electronic effects that seem a bit dated and unnecessarily hurried and dense. Bravura, but more éclat than substance. This is followed by two works from Felipa Lara, 'Meditation and Calligraphy' for solo bass flute and 'Parábolas na Caverna' for solo amplified flute. The former offsets plangent tones, sometimes imbued with subtle overtones, and harsher, sharp breath attacks; a short, strong piece evoking an uneasy stroll. The second is an expansive piece, the amplification seeming only to serve as an audio-sharpener, the attacks varied, running through perhaps a few too many variations to maintain a consistent feeling, but the playing intense and heartfelt enough to compensate. Each of Lara's compositions is impressive in its own right. George Lewis has been working with electronic accompaniments to acoustic instruments for a good many decades by now and his 'Emergent' is an excellent showcase for his approach. Utilizing the software he developed to allow for a responsive accompaniment of a human instrumentalist, the work begins like a furious territorial squabble between songbirds, for its duration fluttering back and forth from this aerial encounter, to much lower, almost sub-aquatic burblings and more probing interactions. Again, quite impressive, both in performance and conception. Du Yun's intriguingly titled 'An Empty Garlic', for bass flute and electronics, has its ruffles but is also gentle and fairly melodic in parts, certainly somber, with Chase singing softly through the flute, almost a lament. The disc concludes with a very fine reading of the project's inspiration, Varése's 'Density 21.5', incisive and vibrant.

Dai Fujikura's 'Lila' begins the second disc (2015). Scored for solo flute, bass flute and contrabass flute, it's in sections that span tour-de-force playing, quietly contemplative work (very attractive and, again, echoing shakuhachi music) and a third that kind of fluidly slips between these poles while edging sideways into other areas. The following two pieces, Francesca Verunelli's 'The Famous Box Trick' and 'Limn', bu Nathan Davis, both employ bass flute and electronics, the latter also calling for contrabass flute. The Verunelli is fluttery and ethereal for a while, before plummeting earthward, then splaying out in a complex welter of buzzes, sizzles and drones. 'Limn' opens things out a bit, airy though full of activity, much of it semi-vocalized, spat or otherwise breathily rasped by Chase, the lower flute and electronics often providing a thick, underlying bed. Subtitled 'a monodrama for solo flute', Jason Eckhardt's 'The Silenced' is more a compendium of extended techniques all too commonly heard for decades. The late Pauline Oliveros wrote 'Intensity 21.5: Grace Chase' specifically for Claire Chase (Grace was her grandmother), scoring it for speaking flutist, percussion and her live effects processing program known as the Expanded Instrument System (here played by Levy Lorenzo). It's an expansive work, with multiple plies flung out into space. Many of these are vocalizations — sputtered, whispered, moaned, cackled — perhaps testing the receptiveness of many a listener for whom such extended vocal techniques can be perceived as overweening and even embarrassing. For this listener, the results were mixed: the pure sonic aspects, the contrast in "blocks" of sound were inherently enjoyable enough, luxurious even, to provide a counterweight to any discomfort afforded by the baroque vocal gymnastics.

Disc 3 (2016) contains five pieces, all involving the flute(s) in the company of other instruments or programs. Suzanne Farrin's 'The Stimulus of Loss', is written for glissando flute (on which the mouthpiece is capable of sliding) and Ondes Martenot. The instruments mesh beautifully and complementarily. The lines they trace are delicate and bending, flexing gently but with firm spines — a lovely work. In recent years, both Tyshawn Sorey and Vijay Iyer have been striving to bridge the divide between jazz and contemporary "classical" music, the latter especially in his monumental 'Pillars' from a couple years back. Here, Sorey performs in duo with Chase on 'Bertha's Lair', and indeed much of the time, it resembles a vigorous, if tightly controlled, improvisation. Heard either way, as a written work or improvised, the pair succeeds in producing an exciting, vibrant performance; one would hope to hear more of this collaboration. Iyer's 'Five Empty Chambers', uses pre-recorded music from Chase (contrabass, alto, C-flute, piccolo and ocarina) and, via computer, fashions a rhythmically complex and percussive work. It achieves a nice, spikiness and sizzle, but again is perhaps more effects-driven than substantial. 'Gama XV: Piece for Two Speaker Dresses', by Pauchi Sasaki, utilizes, in a way difficult for this listener to picture, "speaker dresses" (plus violin, vocals and electronics) which seem to be just that, speakers worn as dresses, their output processed by the composer. Whatever the particulars, the work is breezy and dreamy, somehow evoking George Crumb, very refreshing and immersive. The disc closes with a very complex work from Richard Beaudoin, 'Another Woman of Another Kind', scored for flute and eight voices (sung by Roomful of Teeth) with texts by Paul Griffiths. The approach to the vocals varies widely, from rhythmically shouted, to choral-like singing, quavering microtones, spoken numbers and much more, some of it self-referential. The performances are very strong and confrontational, effective in that sense, if the overall structure seems somewhat unwieldy; this listener went back and forth, drawn in at times, put off by its in-your-face insistence at others.

The entirety of the fourth disc (2017) is given over to Marcos Balter's 'Pan', an eight part suite for speaking/singing flutist and large ensemble (Chase overdubbing the ensemble parts, largely percussive). While it might take some doing to parse out the specifically Pan-related aspects, there is a sense of a kind of agitated idyll brought forth, a distant, mythical soundscape of panpipes, winds and soft chimes, interrupted by occasional violence. Balter's palette is varied, even touching on something close to minimalism in 'Pan, Echo'. The vocalizations, as is often the case, can sound a bit routine (in an extended technique sense; you've likely heard similar over the years), but the piece as a whole is cohesive and texturally imaginative, conjuring into being its own world, which is no mean feat.

For any given listener, a project this extensive will necessarily involve hits and misses but Chase and the works she's commissioned, to these ears, score pretty highly. I should also add that, apart from being wonderfully performed, all of the pieces here are gorgeously recorded, using an apparently new system called Constellation, from Meyers Sound. The next fifteen years should be interesting....



Claire Chase: Density 2036 (2013-2015) & (2016-2017)
Is On Sale at Squidco!
Squidco




Comments and Feedback:



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

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Paul Bley Trio:
Touching & Blood,
Revisited
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records Ltd)



Donald Miller:
Transgression!!!
[VINYL]
(Vin Du
Select Qualitite)



Barry Altschul's
3Dom Factor
(feat. Jon Irabagon /
Joe Fonda):
Long Tall
Sunshine
(Not Two)



Squid:
Bright Green Field
(Warp Records)



Paul Dunmall /
Mark Sanders:
Unity
(577)



IKB:
Limosa Limosa
(Creative Sources)



Satoko Fujii
Tokyo Trio:
Moon on
the Lake
(Libra)



Ivo Perelman /
Nate Wooley:
Polarity
(Burning Ambulance Music)



Cortex
(Hoyer /
Nilssen /
Alberts /
Johansson):
Legal Tender
[VINYL]
(Clean Feed)



Jonas Cambien Trio
(w /
Roligheten /
Wildhagen):
Nature Hath
Painted The Body
(Clean Feed)



String Theory:
Musique Placide
(Creative Sources)



Chrome Hill
(Lerheim /
Nymo /
Lofthus /
Arntzen):
This Is
Chrome Hill
[VINYL]
(Clean Feed)



Evan Parker
Electro-Acoustic
Ensemble:
Warszawa 2019
(Listen! Foundation
(Fundacja Sluchaj!))



Lucio Miele:
Kalpa
(Creative Sources)



Axel Dorner /
Toshimaru Nakamura:
In Cotton
and Wool
(Ftarri)



Roberto Miranda
Home Music Ensemble
(Bradford /
Carter /
Newton /
Tapscott /
&c):
Live At
Bing Theatre:
Los Angeles, 1985
(Dark Tree Records)



Bob Drake:
Planets & Animals
(Recommended Records)



Magnus Granberg w/
Miki Maruta,
Ko Ishikawa,
Toshimaru Nakamura:
Come Down to Earth
Where Sorrow Dwelleth
(Meenna)



Bertrand Denzler /
Antonin Gerbal:
Sbatax
(Umlaut Records)



Sergio Merce:
En Lugar
De Pensar
(Edition Wandelweiser)







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 © Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (11489)