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Anthony Braxton / James Fei:
Duet (Other Minds) 2021 (Other Minds)

Composed for a performance at the 2021 OM 25 Festival in San Fransisco between saxophonist & composer Anthony Braxton and saxophonist James Fei, "Composition 429" uses Braxton's new music system Lorraine, a combination of traditional notation and color-coded symbols of the composer's design to indicate specific sound types or performance techniques. ... Click to View


Alexander Schlippenbach von :
Globe Unity (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Wild, nearly unprecedented and an exhilarating direction in European Free Improvisation heard in the 1st recordings from 1966 of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity band, a 14-piece ensemble that included young saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Gerd Dudek & Kris Wanders, bassist Peter Kowald, bass clarinetist Willem Breuker, trumpeter Manfred Schoof, &c. ... Click to View


Alexander Schlippenbach von :
Globe Unity [VINYL] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Wild, nearly unprecedented and an exhilarating direction in European Free Improvisation heard in the 1st recordings from 1966 of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity band, a 14-piece ensemble that included young saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Gerd Dudek & Kris Wanders, bassist Peter Kowald, bass clarinetist Willem Breuker, trumpeter Manfred Schoof, &c. ... Click to View


Devin Waldman Brahja / Hamid Drake:
Mediumistic Methodology [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Evoking the spirit of a seance experienced by alto saxophonist Devin Brahja Waldman, the duo of Waldman and drummer Hamid Drake are captured live at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, beginning as a mysteriously delicate concert of intricately introspective playing and spiritual reflection, building to a free jazz drum & sax duo of powerful and enthusiastic release. ... Click to View


Aonghus McEvoy :
Under & Cracked [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Beautifully flowing acoustic avant folk under a diverse set of influences from the Dublin five-piece band led by acoustic and electric guitarist Aonghus McEvoy, with George Brennan on electronics, David Lacey on drums, Sean Maynard Smith on upright bass and Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh on viola, evolving their tracks from pastoral to edgy agitation or ecstatic drone. ... Click to View


Artur Malecki & The Creature Trio (w/ Chmiel / Aftyka):
Widoki (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Widoki, Polish for Views, is the debut album of the free improvising trio of Artur Malecki on drums, Michal Aftyka on double bass & electric bass and Przemylaw Chmiel on tenor & soprano saxophones, performing seven compositions from drummer Malecki and one collective improvisation, a strong and wide-ranging set of recordings from a band with a fresh perspective on creative jazz. ... Click to View


Cyprien Busolini / Bertrand Gauguet:
Miroir (Akousis Records)

An album of intensive listening through concentrated improvisation from the long-running collaboration of French improvisers, Cyprien Busolini on viola and Bertrand Gauguet on alto saxophone, both using unfaltering techniques as they metamorphose their instruments from delicate silence to forceful tones, oscillating and vacillating across two extended improvisations. ... Click to View


Tragic Assembly:
Blood Drains And Memories (Soul City Sounds)

The Durham, NC free improvising trio of Crowmeat Bob on alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet & guitar, Phil Venable on double bass and Charles Chance on drums notch up their playing, with Crowmeat Bob performing on both reeds and electric guitar as the band explores breaking down the barrier between subconsciousness and expression through collective improv. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani / Kyle Motl:
Quicksand (Nakatani-Kobo)

Innovative Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani met with bassist Kyle Motl (Peter Kuhn Trio) at Nakatani Kobo Studio, in New Mexico to record these two extended improvisations, the 1st creating an aural environment through ringing metal and bowed contrabass, the 2nd a set of agitated and disruptive interactions through incredible technical skill and expressive dialog. ... Click to View


Bun Itakura / Mishio Ogawa :
Stardust (Ultragash)

A flowing twilight electro-jazz cover of the standard "Stardust" from Japanese guitarist Bun Itakura and vocalist Mishio Ogawa, expanding the melody and Ogawa's phrasing with encompassing electronics and percussion from Takefumi Kobayashi; backed with an experimental "Mystery Making Factory" using paint brush, harmonic tone guitar, and mbira. ... Click to View


River People (Bucher / Countryman / Alegre / Hori):
Sol Expression (ChapChap Records)

Evoking images of Indigenous Filipinos through free improvisation, with titles referencing the rivers, rains and environment that define them, the multi-national River People quartet of Christian Bucher on drums, Johnny Alegre on guitar, Tetsuro Hori on bass and Rick Countryman on alto saxophone are captured in the studio in Manila for seven superb collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improviser and violinist Sana Nagano, with Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in their articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi [VINYL] (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improviser and violinist Sana Nagano, with Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in their articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Hal Russell / Joel Futterman:
The Chicago River [3 CDs] (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Late Chicago saxophonist, trumpeter & vibraphonist Hal Russell (NRG Ensemble) and legendary pianist Joel Futterman, also on curved soprano saxophone & Indian flue, are heard in the complete recordings from their two day concert for the victims of the 1992 Great Flood of the Chicago River, presenting a five part work of flowing free jazz force and currents of creative power. ... Click to View


Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
Chance and Change (Casco Records)

The free swinging Dutch piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on contrabass, synthesizer & objects and George Hadow on drums, in a set of buoyant and ebullient improvisations, a mix of composed and collective works that bring together tradition and freedom, melody and abstraction, while clearly enjoying their playful approach to creative jazz. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg :
Night Will Fade and Fall Apart [2 CDs] (thanatosis produktion)

The 6 piece Tya Ensemble of string, piano, percussion and vibraphone performs Swedish composer Magnus Granberg's beautifully delicate and dusky work, conceived from historic and recent song structures and written so that individual parts also may be performed as solo pieces, as heard in an extended ensemble version and four solo and one duo configuration. ... Click to View


Alex Zethson:
Residy (thanatosis produktion)

The Residy, or remains of a unique variation on JS Bach's Goldberg Variation no. 21, performed live by pianist Alex Zethson who maintains the structure, rhythmic movement and note order of Bach's composition, while dispersing the notes and intervals into two synths and an E-bowed grand piano to evoke these meditative and expansive interpretations. ... Click to View


Gareth Davis / Machinefabriek:
Standards (of Sorts) (Sublime Retreat)

Frequent collaborators Rutger Zyderveldt (Machinefabriek) and bass & contrabass clarinetist Gareth Davis join together for five "Standards" through electronics, synthetics and unorthodox reed work, transmuting their instruments as they create variations from a few notes, some of them "misremembered", from jazz and contemporary classical standards. ... Click to View


Amelia Cuni / Alex Mendizabal:
Stimmen Aus Himmel Und Holle (ANTS Records)

Translating to "Voices from Heaven and Hell", the meeting of two Berlin artists--Amelia Cuni, whose vocal work is described as in/voluntary singing; and Alex Mendizabal, a sound artist who here electronically manipulates the voice of Cuni--using texts from poet Erin Honeycutt as the two apply diverse, fascinating and sometimes unnerving approaches to voice, utterance and expression. ... Click to View


Various Artists:
Free Percussion/Water [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tsss Tapes)

Demonstrating the striking diversity modern solo percussionists present, the Italian tape label TSSS Tapes compiles an international set of solo works from explorers Tim Daisy, Jeph Jerman, Ted Byrnes, Wojtek Kurek, Clinton Green, Rie Nakajima, Emilio Berne, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan, Lucie Nezri, Karen Willems, Paolo Sanna, Li Qing, Carlos Godinho, and Rodrigo Vieira. ... Click to View


Dreamstruck (Crispell / Fonda / Sorgen):
With Grace In Mind (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Officially taking their group name from the title of their first album, The Dreamstruck trio of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums are heard in this innately lyrical and masterfully controlled, concise set of studio recordings, with compositions from each performer and two collective improvisations, a remarkable example of the modern piano trio. ... Click to View


Rempis / Reid / Abrams:
Allium (Aerophonic)

The second release from the Chicago chamber-oriented, collective free jazz trio of Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophone, Tomeka Reid on cello, and Joshua Abrams on bass, expanding on their highly concentrative and contemplative approach to group dialog, a powerfully assured and seemingly composed set of nine impeccable improvisations. ... Click to View


Seabrook / Cleaver / Cooper-Moore:
In The Swarm [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

The second album from guitarist Brandon Seabrook's Trio with Gerald Cleaver on drums & pulsating & punctuating electronics, Cooper-Moore providing massive and unconvential bass sounds on his Diddley Bow, and Seabrook himself playing banjo in inexplicably rapid and staccato runs or electric guitar with eccentric effects; rip-roaring, sometimes surreal, absolutely superb! ... Click to View


Horace Silver Quintet:
Live New York, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Recorded around the time of his most famous records, Song For My Father and The Cape Verdean Blues, lyrical hard bop/Blue Note pianist and composer Horace Silver's band is heard live at The Half Note in NYC and at "The Cork & Bib" on Long Island with his spectacular band including trumpeters Carmell Jones & Woody Shaw and saxophonist Joe Henderson. ... Click to View


Lionel Hampton Orchestra 1958:
The Mess Is Here, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

An influence on the next generation of small band and bop players, vibraphonist and Band Leader Lionel Hampton's programs included both crowd-pleasers and sophisticatedly complex sections, heard here in this 1958 studio recording from Stuttgart, Germany while touring Europe, Ghana and Israel with his exceptional band expanded by three German jazz musicians. ... Click to View


The Work:
The Worst of Everywhere [2 CDs] (Ultragash)

Originally released by Woof Records in 1982 on cassette, this double CD reissues an essential lo-fi document from The Work (Bill Gilonis, Mick Hobbs, Tim Hodgkinson and Rick Wilson) in live performances from gigs and rehearsals assembled in cut-up form, adding new pieces and expanding on others, joined at times by Catherine Jauniaux, Bob Ostertag, Chris Cutler, &c. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth :
39 / Part I - III (Hiddenbell Records)

39 tracks make up this compelling 3-part solo percussion work from Swiss improviser and composer Christian Wolfarth, using a game approach where some sequences are determined by the roll of a dice for note values, rest and tempo, Wolfarth performing on dead wood, a drum or 39 pine cones, augmented with recordings of stones, water, footsteps, church bells, &c. ... Click to View


David Ryan (Crosby / Innocenti / Lash):
Fields And Refrains (Aural Terrains)

A collection of three modified solo pieces and one collective performance with a minimalist aesthetic through compositions by David Ryan, performed by William Crosby on guitar, Luca Innocenti on church organ & Hammond organ and Dominic Lash on contrabass, each score allowing for interpretation and improvisation, particularly the final collaborative piece. ... Click to View


Sage Harlow J :
Variations Without A Theme (Drones Ongs) (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Australian sound poet and vocalist Sage J Harlow aka Sage Pbbbt, whose innovative vocal work takes inspiration from Tuvan and Mongolian overtone singing and Inuit throat singing, created this mysterious set of electroacoustic compositions on the unceeded lands of the Whadjuk People of the Noongar Nation, developing four works of spellbinding spectral ambience. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser:
7th Heaven (Between The Lines)

Based in New York at the time of this recording, Swiss trombonist and composer Samuel Blaser's quartet with Thomas Morgan on double bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums and Scott Dubois on guitar explore rhythmic and tonal approaches to improvisation, bridging modern compositional forms with traditional jazz in energetic playing of an engagingly relaxed mood. ... Click to View



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  John Cage / Apartment House 
  Number Pieces  
  (Another Timbre) 


  
   review by Jeph Jerman
  2022-09-06
John Cage / Apartment House: Number Pieces (Another Timbre)

During the last years of his life, John Cage composed four dozen works which have come to be known as the Number Pieces, due to their titles. Another Timbre has collected thirteen of these works, ably realized by Apartment House, into a beautiful 4-disc boxed set. If you have any interest in Cage's work whatsoever, it would be well worth your time to investigate this collection. Accompanied by a booklet of informative and detailed notes, taken as a whole it's a completely immersive experience.

Though Cage wrote number pieces for ensembles of varying sizes, from one to over a hundred players, those on offer here all feature medium-sized groups, the largest being fourteen instruments. They generally call for held single notes or novel aggregates, the timing of which are left to each individual player. The mechanics of their working are explained very clearly, along with their history and a brief analysis of each piece, in the notes.

So what do they sound like? Most are characterized by floating scrims of sound, brought into being with very little discernable attack. So little in fact, that it's often difficult to tell just what instruments are being played. They seem to appear over time, in an unhurried manner, slowly amassing into fogs of what Cage referred to as "anarchic harmony", an ever-present co-existence of sounds. There is no thematic development and hardly any sense of forward motion here, though there does seem to be a kind of tension which never really resolves. On disc one it can be difficult to know when one piece finishes and another begins, other than by the addition of new players and new instruments. Neither of these is a bad thing, and it's fascinating to witness the myriad groupings of overtones as they rise and fall.

"Seven", in the center of disc two, shakes things up a bit with the first inclusion of a conventionally played piano, striking short-lived clusters in expanding and contracting time, while chord clouds billow up around it.

Much of the percussion employed throughout is of the decidedly exotic persuasion. You'll be excused for thinking you're hearing a bit of weather or some traffic sound seeping in from outside. The sextet for percussion on disc three brings many of these sustained sounds to the fore, creating a rich, sonorous sound field. On the same disc's "Thirteen", the last number piece completed by Cage, we get a rather different approach. The played notes move much more quickly than in the other pieces, and the pitch range is much more limited. This is not to say that it sounds any more hurried than its companions, it's just slightly more compressed. There is more information given over a shorter period, and the sense of overlapping loops is more readily apparent.

Having recorded and produced this set is an amazing achievement in itself, let alone that it was done during a world-wide pandemic with all of its corresponding restrictions and uncertainty. As it was not always possible to get all of the players together in one room, overdubbing of separately recorded parts was sometimes employed. You'd never know it from the outcome, every piece sounds like it was played live.

Cage often expressed a desire to make things which were "useful" in some way. These beautiful pieces of music may go a long way in helping listeners change their minds; about what constitutes music, or listening, or just what it is that music is for. Which in turn may help to change minds about other things as well. I'd like to wholeheartedly thank Simon Reynell and the members of Apartment House for making them available to an ever more troubled world.



John Cage / Apartment House: Number Pieces
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Dreamstruck (
Crispell
Fonda
Sorgen):
With Grace In Mind
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



The Work:
The Worst
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Reid
Abrams:
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Cleaver
Cooper-Moore:
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