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Robbie Avenaim / Chris Abrahams / Jim Denley:
Weft (Relative Pitch)

The Australian trio of percussionist Robbie Avenaim, keyboard player Chris Abrahams performing on a Waldorf Q+ Synthesiser and bass flutist Jim Denley, all compatriots in a variety of groupings, in an extended studio improvisation of spacious textures and rapidly understated percussive elements aptly, titled for the weaving and cris-crossing threads on a loom. ... Click to View


Sergio Armaroli / Fritz Hauser:
Angelica (Leo Records)

Performed at the Angelica Contemporary Music Festival in Bologna, Italy in 2019 and recorded with superb fidelity, drummer/percussionist Fritz Hauser joined with xylophonist Sergio Armaroli for an enthralling performance that balances chamber jazz forms with fully free exploration, avant yet embraceable as two interact in exquisite and authoritatively unhurried ways. ... Click to View


John Brennan Wolf:
Nitty Gritty Ditties (Leo Records)

33 songs in 74 minutes performed by Dublin composer, performer, improvisor, pianist and organist John Wolf Brennan, covering an elective and huge cross-section of styles and genres, from composers including Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, The Rolling Stones, Lars Hollmer, Tom Waits, Cornelius Cardew, Bela Bartok, Paul McCartney, John McLaughlin, &c! ... Click to View


Kontrabassduo Studer-Frey:
Zip (Leo Records)

Naming each track for the teeth of a different type of zip-fastener (curved, triangular, saggitate, &c) Swiss double bassists Daniel Studer and Peter K. Frey improvise a fascinating set of interlocking and intersecting abstractions, recorded livat at Kronen Galerie, in Zurich as the two celebrated their 20th anniversary as a duo through a series of 10 half-hour concerts. ... Click to View


Christer Bothen :
Ambrosia [3 CD BOX SET] (thanatosis produktion)

Swedish contrabass clarinetist Christ Bothen in six extended works, the first and third disks a series of solo works using incredible technique and concentration, the 2nd disc a large work in an ensemble with fellow deep reediss Hans Koch & Per Texas Johansson, double bassist Vilhelm Bromander, pianists Kristine Scholz & Tisha Mukarji, and a spectral narrative from Sofia Jernberg. ... Click to View


New Old Luten Quintet:
Tumult! (Euphorium)

A tumultuously wonderful free jazz epic recorded in Leipzig in 2013 from original New Old Luten founders, saxophonist & clarinetist Enrst-Ludwig Petrowsky and drummer Christian Lillinger, the band configured as a quintet with Elan Pauer taking on the piano role plus percussives, and the dual and powerful double bassists Edwards and Robert Landfermann. ... Click to View


Axel Dorner / Elan Pauer / Christian Lillinger:
Dirn Bridge (Euphorium)

Four impressive free improvisations of tremendous mastery and advanced and unusual technical skill from the trio of Axel Dorner on trumpet, Elan Pauer on piano & percussion and Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion, performing at naTo, in Leipzig, Germany in 2013, augmented in one track by John Edwards knocking on the venue door. ... Click to View


Tibor Prettschnoder / Neues Leipziger Streichquartett :
The Largo And The Lame (Euphorium)

Ominous and dense with layers of strata intended for nighttime listening, the German quartet of Axel Dorner on trumpet & electronics, Matthias Lorenz on cello, and both Robert Landfermann and John Edwards on double bass recorded these four tremendous electroacoustic improvisations at their live performance at naTo in Leipzig, Germany in 2013. ... Click to View


Jason Kahn:
Days Falling [VINYL 2 LPs] (Editions)

After riding through his city of Zurich to the Kunstraum Walcheturm studio in 2020, Jason Kahn was struck by the quiet aspects of the usually busy city, now quelled by pandemic; entering the studio feeling the desolation and strange sense of peacefulness in the midst of so much tragedy and suffering, he recorded these "songs" of passionate free vocal improvisations and acoustic guitar. ... Click to View


Jean Jones Claude (JC) :
Drones - 5th And Tibetan Bowls For Barre (Kadima)

Jean Claude "JC" Jones seamlessly merges two violins from Ariel Lanyi & Ilan Volkov, bass from Hagai Bilitzky and his own performance on bass & lap style spanish plugged-in guitar and tibetan bowls, creating 13 beautifully contemplative drones that weave distinctive tones and timbres and rich resonance; dedicated to Barre Phillips & Francois Lagarde. ... Click to View


Jean Jones Claude (JC):
Give It Your All - Wild Guitar Musings 2 (Kadima)

Active and informed improvisations on acoustic guitar from Jean Claude "JC" Jones, label leader of the Kadima Collective and also known as a double bassist, though his roots are in the guitar, which has returned to with vigor since 2016, preforming on lap-style prepared and prepared spanish guitar, heard here in 13 concise pieces titled by single words. ... Click to View


Jos Smolders:
Bagatellen [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (esc.rec.)

Inspired by Jeroen Diepenmaat's Xerox collage art book, "co//age co//py", sound artist Jos Smolders developed these tracks as a response through 9 brief works and one larger construction, intersecting voice, synth, sax, piano and field recordings in a mix of oddly and abruptly sliced sound offset with periods of beauty; a compellingly curious album. ... Click to View


Alexey Kruglov / Carolyn Hume / Paul May / Oleg Yudanov:
Last Train From Narvskaya (Leo Records)

Ganelin Trio saxophonist joins with the UK improvising duo of pianist Carolyn Hume & drummer Paul May, with percussionist Oleg Yudanov rounding out this sophisticated quartet of chamber-oriented collective free improvisation, their studio debut alternating three concise conversations with two extended works, each unfolding in great detail through expressive technique. ... Click to View


Sergio Armaroli / Giancarlo Schiaffini / Harri Sjostrom:
Duos & Trios (Leo Records)

A series of trios and duos between Italian vibraphonist Sergio Armaroli, trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini and saxophonist Harri Sjöström performing on soprano and sopranino, the three developing a compositional language based around phrases and propositions applied toward the creation of events through notes and timbre intended to create moods and sensations. ... Click to View


Gregg Belisle-Chi :
KOI - performing the music of Tim Berne (Relative Pitch)

After hearing Matt Mitchell's solo piano album performing the music of saxophonist Tim Berne, Brooklyn-based acoustic guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi asked himself how Berne's compositions would sound on his own instrument, reaching out to the composer himself for guidance as he went into the studio to interpret and record these 10 Berne compositions. ... Click to View


Robert Dick / Nicola L. Hein:
Structures of Unreason (Shhpuma)

Taking guitar and flute into very strange territory informed by vast experience and technical skill, NY flutist Robert Dick and electric guitarist Nicola L. Hein create truly unique and dramatic sound worlds, sometimes tense, sometimes beautiful, but always fascinating in momentum and expression, unique musical structures that refuse to be easily categorized; extraordinary! ... Click to View


Colonna / Miranda / Spera:
N-EST (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Ten collective improvisations and Steve Lacy's "Blues for Alda" from the Italian trio of Marco Colonna, who typically performs on clarinet but here also on bass clarinet, alto saxophone and flute, with the rhythm section of Dario Miranda on double bass and Fabrizio Spera on drums, in a wonderfully astute album of highly cultivated and sincere discourse. ... Click to View


Francisco Mela feat. Matthew Shipp / William Parker:
Music Frees Our Souls, Vol. 1 (577 Records)

A member of pianist McCoy Tyner's Trio and Joe Lavano's Quartet, New York drummer Francisco Mela's own career as a leader is heard in this energetic trio album with two of NY's finest--pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker--recording in the studio in Brooklyn in 2020 for two extended and powerful collective improvisations and a brief "Dark Light". ... Click to View


Jessica Ackerley / Daniel Carter:
Friendship: Lucid Shared Dreams and Time Travel (577 Records)

Developed over outdoor sessions performed during the summer of 2020 around NYC, this is the first release from the duo of multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter and acoustic guitarist Jessica Ackerley, their warm collaboration heard in effortless interactions inspired by the dream-like, meditative approach in both improvisers playing; lovely. ... Click to View


Devin Gray / Jessica Pavone / Wendy Eisenberg:
Universal Dwellings (Rataplan Records)

... Click to View


Melaine Dalibert :
Night Blossoms (elsewhere)

French composer & pianist Melaine Dalibert's 6th solo album, works developed using an algorithmic approach to composing, such as retrograde sequences or cellular automaton, generating beautifully delicate patterns that he performs on instruments chosen for their tonal qualities, David Sylvian adding electronic coloring to the pieces "Yin" and "Yang". ... Click to View


Pierre Gerard:
Pieces Of Apparatus (A New Wave of Jazz)

In the same character as a Wandelweiser/Jürg Frey work, guitarist Pierre Gérard offers up five minimalistic or reductionist improvisations, sparse works that follow the patterns of his mind and his improvisatory method, allowing his thoughts to linger and follow a music that is curiously compelling; an idiosyncratic companion to a quiet evening or afternoon. ... Click to View


Frisque Concordance (Georg Graewe / John Butcher / Wilbert De Joode / Mark Sanders):
Distinct Machinery [2 CDs] (Random Acoustics)

The second incarnation of Frisque Concordance, formed in 1992 by Georg Graewe & John Butcher and currently the quartet of Butcher on tenor & soprano saxophones, Graewe on piano, Wilbert de Joode on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums, in a 2-CD set, the first a superb studio set recorded in Vienna in 2017, the second a live concert at the 2018 Konfrontationen Festival in Nickelsdorf. ... Click to View


Jauniaux / Charles / Mariage :
L'amour (Ayler)

Three consummate improvisers--Catherine Jauniaux on voice, Xavier Charles on clarinet and Jean-Sebastien Mariage on electric guitar--met at la Muse en Circuit in Alfortville, France after touring, recording this authoritative version of their profound and extended work, which uses lyrics excerpted from Marguerite Duras' 1971 cinematic novel L'amour. ... Click to View


Natsuki Tamura :
Koki Solo (Libra)

"Koki" translates to "rare in ancient times," referring to ones 70th birthday, a milestone that trumpeter Natsuki Tamura achieves this year, providing proof that such an age is no longer rare, nor that it has affected the tremendous creative and physical powers that Tamura applies to his playing, as heard in this inventive solo album on trumpet, piano, voice and even pots & pans! ... Click to View


Martin Kuchen:
Det Forsvunnas Namn [VINYL] (thanatosis produktion)

Using baritone and alto saxophones, speakers and an iPod, Swedish improviser Martin Kuchen (Angles, Exploding Customer, UNSK, Looper, &c) takes his listeners on a demented tour of extended technique and curiously unexpected sounds from the saxophone, focusing on textures and non-abrasive approaches to create an abundance of unexpected and oddly engaging, concise improvisations. ... Click to View


Disquiet (Kurzmann / Brandlmayr / Jernberg / Williamson):
Disquiet [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Recorded at the Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen Festival 2018 and formed by Austrian musician Christof Kurzmann, the quartet of Kurzmann performing on lloopp and voice, Sofia Jernberg on voice, Martin Brandlmayr on drums and Joe Williamson on double bass question the political situation of the European refugee crisis in a brilliantly emotional and inspired performance. ... Click to View


Matthias Muller / Ricardo Tejero / Vasco Trilla:
Implositions (Orbit577)

The first release from the Barcelona-based trio of Matthias Muller (trombone), Ricardo Tejero (saxophone), and Vasco Trilla (percussion), the band examining "physics, metaphysics, and the root causes of tension that hold our world together" through fully improvised improvisation using unusual voicing, textures, modes of expression and techniques. ... Click to View


Arvind Ganga / Riccardo Marogna:
Ballads From The Wrecked Ship (A New Wave of Jazz)

A uniquely voiced duo album from Netherlands improvisers, electric guitarist Arvind Ganga and sax & bass clarinetist Riccardo Marogna also performing on electronics, taking their dialog into unusual territory while maintaining a clear thread on jazz-influenced modes, creating an exotic combination that often takes unexpected narrative turns; fascinating. ... Click to View


Arcane Device:
Nodes (pulsewidth)

Using feedback systems that he has developed over more than three decades, along with samples, noises and eurorack modular synthesis, New York sound artist David Lee Myers, aka Arcane Device, releases his 20th album of active electronic interactions, astonishing music with a clarity of purpose and innately optimistic approaches to free form and rhythmic sonic experimentation. ... Click to View



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  Youjin Sung/Simon Rose 
  Map of Dreams  
  (Creative Sources) 


  
   review by Ken Waxman
  2021-07-20
Youjin Sung/Simon Rose: Map of Dreams (Creative Sources)

A cross-cultural East-meets-West duo project, the sounds on Map of Dreams still evolve without a touch of exotica. That's because the charts being followed don't depend on terrestrial geography but are firmly rooted in improvisation. Product of Berlin's fertile scene for exploratory sounds, the disc links British academic and baritone saxophonist Simon Rose, who has played with the likes of Steve Noble, with Korean gayageum player Youjin Sung, a member of the Asian Art Ensemble. A 12-string zither, the gayageum player uses both hands to change pitches while other strings are plucked. The unique timbres that result means that at points Sung seems to be playing a guitar, a double bass, a dulcimer or a banjo.

Not that Rose's output is wedded to conventional reed output either. Opening "Pandora", the first track and onwards, it appears as if many timbres could be vibrated from either instrument. Then a subterranean blast during the introduction clearly identifies reed overblowing as concentrated scrapes across the entire string set reveal gayageum textures. Soon afterwards though, Sung's string clips and twangs push into banjo territory, though any Bluegrass allusions are swiftly dispelled by atonal reed buzzes and snarls. That paradigm is followed throughout the disc. Rose's multuphonic command means that whiny altissimo split tones are heard as frequently as floor shaking bellows, with the scoops and squeaks sometimes following one another by split seconds. Similarly string strums or saxophone pumps are equally capable of creating a paced continuum so that the other player can stretch timbres still further.

Although the interaction between the two can be as fast and furious as anything in which Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel are involved in cinematically, the session has quieter moments as well. "The Place where the moonlight stays" and "Tomb of the waterbird" for instance introduce restrained melodies and intermittent asides; although both eventually inflate to reed bites and tongue slaps plus concentrated string strums.

Overall the key to this CD's achievement is that the players are agnostic in terms of influences, sticking instead to the flexibility offered by unfettered free music.



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