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Butcher / Prevost:
High Laver Levitations Vol 1: Unearthed (Matchless)

Long-time collaborators and iconoclastic improvisers, drummer Eddie Prévost and saxophonist John Butcher, met at All Hallows Church, in High Laver, Essex in 2023, using the natural ambience of the space to capture these three improvisations, Prévost playing primarily on a drum kit and both in a more jazz-oriented sax and drum duo, extended by both players' exceptional technique. ... Click to View

Charbin / Prevost:
The Cry of a Dove Announcing Rain (Two Afternoon Concerts at Cafe OTO) (Matchless)

Two unfolding, extended sets from a 2022 concert at Cafe OTO by AMM legendary percussionist Eddie Prévost and French pianist based in London, Marjolain Charbin, the pianist playing inside and out her of instrument augmented by objects, Prévost creating sonic environments through cymbal bowing and scraping, as the duo evolve into high motion and withdraw into suspenseful beauty. ... Click to View

Eddie Prevost / NO Moore / Henry Kaiser / Binker Golding / Olie Brice:
The Secret Handshake with Danger Volume Two (577 Records)

The 2nd volume of the UK/US West Coast quintet of legendary AMM drummer Eddie Prévost, guitarist Henry Kaiser, N.O. Moore on "guitarisism", Blinker Golding on saxophone and Olie Brice on double bass, merging free jazz and free improvisation in a rollicking album of electric jazz recorded in London, adding two more exhilarating "Doors" of quick shifting improv. ... Click to View

Jessica Pavone:
Clamor (Out Of Your Head Records)

With a septet of women improvisers and contemporary performers, composer and violinist Jessica Pavone's long-form collective improv compositions are titled after innovations made by women throughout history to circumvent obstructions to their freedoms, revealed through string and bassoon orchestration that balances harmony, dissonance, drone and disruptive experimentation. ... Click to View

ZYFT (Felixbrodt / Taubenfeld / Zwerver):
Triangle Moments (Creative Sources)

The sophomore release for the acoustic free improvising Amsterdam trio of Ziv Taubenfeld on bass clarinet, Henk Zwerver on guitar, and Maya Felixbrodt on viola, upping the intensity in a set of abstract improvisations of an active nature using unorthodox and extended techniques; upbeat and often exciting collective discourse that leads to great moments of individual expression. ... Click to View

Ernesto Rodrigues / Nuno Torres / Guilherme Rodrigues / Eric Bauer / Stephen Flinn:
Letters to Milena (Creative Sources)

Referencing the book Letters to Milena (Briefe an Milena) by Franz Kafka of his intense love affair with Czech journalist & writer Milena Jesenská, through four lettered parts of a subtly sophisticated set of improvisations by Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Nuno Torres (alto sax), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Eric Bauer (electronics) and Stephen Flinn (percussion). ... Click to View

Junji Hirose / Kazuo Imai / Darren Moore:
Be Quiet!!! (Meenna)

The catalyst for this album is Australian drummer based in Singapore Darren Moore, whose 2022 tour of Japan took him to Tokyo where he performed with legendary Japanese free improvisers, Kazuo Imai on electric guitar and Junji Hirose on tenor saxophone, this album recorded in GOK Studio, the session anything but Quiet!!!, but definitely energetically charged and assertive. ... Click to View

Jurg Frey / Apartment House:
String Trio (Another Timbre)

Reworking a piece for string trio originally commissioned by the Concertgebouw Brugge and premiered by the Goeyvaerts Trio as part of the 2019 SLOW Festival, this new version expands on the original composition to bring elegant calmness and clarity to the work, performed by UK's Apartment House members Mira Benjamin on violin, Bridget Carey on viola and Anton Lukoszevieze on cello. ... Click to View

Toshimaru Nakamura / David Lee Myers:
Elements (Surface World)

Two like-minded electronic sound & feedback artists, David Lee Myers, aka Arcane Device from NYC and Toshimaru Nakamura from Japan, use feedback matrices & modular electronics (Myers) and No-input Mixing Board (Nakamura) in a remote collaboration of alien overlays, sonic extensions and disruptive digressions through 12 complex and varying compositions. ... Click to View

Phillip Gayle:
Mammoth Flower (Public Eyesore)

A psychedelic set of recordings based around the guitar work of Philip Gayle, improvised, recorded, and layered into diverse experiments in sound and performed on banjo, bass, cello, door, guitars, mandolin, percussion, piano, toy piano, voice, ukulele and waterphone, with guests including saxophonist Shogo Ohshima and vocalists Shizka Ueda, Omusubisan and Fuuchan. ... Click to View

No Nation Trio (Nuno / Faustino / Valinho):
Habitation (Phonogram Unit)

Presenting concentrative and contemplative free improvisation from the Portuguese trio of Jorge Nuno on acoustic guitar, Hernâni Faustino on double bass and João Valinho on drums & percussion, recording in the studio for a 4-part and cohevise set of improvisation through muscular plucking, rich bowing, abstracted string progressions and mysterious drums & percussion; fascinating. ... Click to View

Myra Melford's Fire And Water Quintet:
Hear The Light Singing High (RogueArt)

Drawing inspiration from the same set of Cy Twombly drawings as her previous release, For The Love Of Fire And Water, and with nearly the same ensemble — Myra Melford on piano, Mary Halvorson on guitar, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor saxophones, Tomeka Reid on cello and here Lesley Mok on drums — Melford presents five brightly original and sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View

Zoh Amba / Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt:
The Flower School (Palilalia)

An enthusiastic and well-balanced studio recording in San Francisco from the trio of Zoh Amba on tenor saxophone, Chris Corsano on drums and Bill Orcutt on electric guitar, following Amba & Corsano's duo tour of the West Coast; this is a first meeting between Amba & Orcutt, who perform as a duo on two tracks, including a guitar duo with Amba on acoustic. ... Click to View

Art Ensemble of Chicago:
Tutankhamun [VINYL] (Org Music)

Reissuing and remastering this exceptional 1969 album from avant-garde jazz pioneers Art Ensemble of Chicago as Lester Bowie (trumpets, horns & bass drum), Joseph Jarman saxophones, reeds, winds keys), Roscoe Mitchell (saxophones, reeds, winds, sirens, bells & whistle), and Malachi Favors (bass, banjo & sitar), adding two bonus tracks: "Tthinitthedalen" Parts 1 & 2. ... Click to View

Jose Lencastre (Lencastre / Zingaro / Lai / Almeida / Sousa):
Common Ground (Phonogram Unit)

An exquisite album of chamber-oriented free improvisation that naturally merges contemporary and jazz forms while underpinned by swinging grooves, each player expressing passion and abstraction to create unique sonic combinations, from Jose Lencastre on alto saxophone, Carlos Zingaro on violin, Clara Lai on piano, Goncalo Almeida on double bass and Joao Sousa on drums. ... Click to View

Teufelmuzik (Creative Sources)

Portugal's suspenseful reductionist improvising ensemble, blending acoustic and electronic instruments in delicately detailed motion, heard in this live recording at SMUP in Parede from Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Nuno Torres (sax), Bruno Parrinha (bass clarinet), Luisa Goncalves (piano), Flak (electric gutiar), Joao Madeira (bass), Carlos Santos (analog synth) and Jose Oliveira (percussion). ... Click to View

Maria Valencia:
Compendio de Alofonias Abisales (Relative Pitch)

Part of Relative Pitch's extraordinary solo series, fascinatingly creative improviser from Bogota, Colombia, multi-reedist Maria Valencia, was inspired by old naturalist manuals, imagining these 16 succinct improvisations where each piece reveals moments of nature in locations between the town of Sutatausa (Colombia) and the mountains of Banff (Canada). ... Click to View

Jean-Marc Foussat / Urs Leimgruber / Carlos "Zingaro":
L'Aile D'Icare (Fou Records)

A remarkable journey in free improvisation and free form electroacoustic improv from the trio of Jean-Marc Foussat on synth & effected voice, Urs Leimgruber on soprano & tenor saxophones and Carlos Zingaro on violin, three masterful improvisers who employ unusual sonic palettes and remarkable technique in a carefully controlled conversation drawing on diverse styles. ... Click to View

Merche Blasco / Lucie Vitkova:
Anette [2 CDs] (XI Records)

An unusual pairing of effected accordion and a 3D printer from Czech accordionist living in NY, Lucie Vitkova, also performing on harmonica, Korg Volca Bass and Moog, and NY multimedia artist Merch Blasco, the album titled for the name of Blasco's 3D printer "Anette", which also printed the thimble-microphones she wears on her fingers to capture parts of this performance. ... Click to View

Seamus Cater:
A History of Musical Pitch (Another Timbre)

Investigating the experimental legacy of Victorian polymath Alexander J. Ellis, author of the 1880 paper, The History of Musical Pitch, composer Seamus Cater uses 74 tuning forks tuned to represent Elliss research of just ratios of 480Hz, in three compositions focusing on the most consonant tones of the system, and balancing them through minimalist chamber work from a 7-piece ensemble. ... Click to View

Rob Brown Quartet (Brown / Swell / Lightcap / Taylor):
Oblongata (RogueArt)

Having met in William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra, long-time collaborators Rob Brown (saxophone & flute) and Steve Swell (trombone), along with Brown's longest improvising partner, double bassist Chris Lightcap, join with drummer Chad Taylor for an exemplary album of modern creative jazz through five Brown compositions and 4 collective improvisations. ... Click to View

Jason Adasiewicz :
Roy's World [VINYL] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Titled for the film by Rob Christopher — Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago, — whose soundtrack includes segments of this album, vibraphonist and composer Jason Adasiewicz's lyrically upbeat album is performed in a quintet with Chicago mainstays, Jonathan Doyle on saxophones, Josh Berman on cornet, Joshua Abrams on bass and Hamid Drake on drums. ... Click to View

Longhand (Tony Wilson / Peder Long) with special guests Jesse and Josh Zubot:
Plays Long (Drip Audio)

Vancouver mainstay, guitarist and composer Tony Wilson leads Longhnad, performing the energetically twising and turning, genre-spanning music of composer and saxophonist Peder Long, a mentor to Wilson while studying at Malaspina College, in a band with Vancouver collaborators Russell Sholberg (bass), Skey Brooks (drums), Jesse Zubot (violin) and Joshua Zubot (violin). ... Click to View

Sick Boss (JP Carter/ Zubot / Lee / Schmidt / Meger / Gaucher):
Businessless (Drip Audio)

A wild improvising band from Vancouver in their 3rd release of episodic compositions based around instrumental rock forms, six "sick" and wide-ranging pieces that blend rock, jazz, chamber music and inventive forms in magnificent way, from JP Carter on trumpet, Joshua Zubot on violin, Peggy Lee on cello, Cole Schmidt on guitar, James Meger on bass, synths and Dan Gaucher on drums. ... Click to View

Josh Zubot Strings:
Strings (Drip Audio)

The debut of Vancouver & Montreal violinist Joshua Zubot's string ensemble with fellow violinists Jesse Zubot & Meredith Bates, cellist Peggy Lee and acoustic bassist James Meger, performing ten Zubot compositions informed by his involvement in diverse musical styles, each allowing room for improvisation as he takes the string ensemble into unique and unorthodox territory. ... Click to View

Marion Brown:
Gesprachsfetzen & In Sommerhausen (Moosicus)

Working with German jazz and "third stream" musician, vibraphonist & composer Gunter Hampel, New York alto saxophonist Marion Brown is heard in two live recordings from 1968 & 1969 in Munchen, Germany and Wurzburg, in quintet and sextet configurations with superb supporting musicians including Steve McCall (drums), Ambrose Jackson (trumpet), Daniel Laloux (bass) and Jeanne Lee (voice). ... Click to View

Mark Wastell:
Pre-Existing Commitments (Hundred Years Gallery)

During cellist and Confront label-leader Mark Wastell's 2022 residency at the East London Hundred Years Gallery he recorded four solo recordings, using his acutely creative approach to the strings in unique ways for each recording, which he then layered in the studio without edits to create this wildly and often psychedelically stochastic orchestral work. ... Click to View

Madison Greenstone :
Resonance Studies in Ecstatic Consciousness (Relative Pitch)

Exploring the resonant properties inside a Bb clarinet caused by overtones, overblowing and other unusual reed techniques, Switch~ Ensemble clarinetist Madison Greenstone generates ten studies of extreme yet tremendously controlled anomalies on the single reed, each piece a masterwork of control in the extremities of unexpected sonic expression. ... Click to View

Turbulence Orchestra:
Trapped In A Whorl (Evil Clown)

Turbulence is the extended horn section for the Boston collective Leap of Faith Orchestra, along with guests on other instruments, here in a large ensemble performance with Bonnie Kane (sax), Dennis Livingston (flute & winds), John Fugarino, Bob Moores & Eric Dahlman (trumpets), Duane Reed (double bell euphonium), with the rhythm section of John Loggia (drums) and Scott Samenfeld (bass). ... Click to View

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  Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere 
  Theta Six  

   review by Nick Ostrum
Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere: Theta Six (Discus)

The Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, composer and Discus label owner Martin Archer. Theta Six is their sixth and most recent release. For the uninitiated (as I was until very recently), the Orchestra leans toward the kosmische Musik side of prog, maybe along the lines of Tangerine Dream ambience but with a bigger band, more acoustic instrumentation, more rock, and a strange astro-orientalist bent. The result is an otherworldly blend of the liquid, the sparkling and the tenebrous.

And, it flows. Theta Six has some jarring and scattered stretches, which inevitably melt into more lyrical and celestial territory. "African Lady Pilot" is a standout in this stylistic corner. It has a heavy touch of acid jazz and a lot of Middle Eastern-space/futurism. Some pieces, such as the closer "Message Parlour-For Alan", lean more heavily into the effects, a fluttering, crossed inter-dimensional radio transmission. "Spinshift" and "Marabaraba", the 9th and 10th tracks, are united by an infectious low-end groove, a floating melody and haunting, monochrome vocals that draw elements from new wave pop and drum and bass/low-fi glitchy lounge back-beats. Much of Theta Six and especially this section would fit seamlessly into the soundtrack of some uber-hipster coffee shop. But a closer listen would dispel any assumption that this is meant for the background. So much is going on in the undercurrents. Sounds and tunes peak in and out. The playing is refined and restrained, yet surprisingly full, even in its sparse moments.

I was not sure what to make of this album at first listen. The music is complex and variegated, but the execution and production are so slick. If one's attention wanders, it might miss how eerie and rich sections of this Theta Six are, or how well-crafted this album really is. Even so, a superficial listen will hear a fine album. If the listener concentrates, however, they will hear the vision, the nuances and the myriad stylistic inputs so effectively harnessed in this proggy piece of concept art. Just listen to those early reeds that lend melody and strange time-bending, cosmic mood to the first track, "Forced Orbit". The force and vision are certainly strong with this one.

Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere: Theta Six
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:

High Laver Levitations
Vol 1:

The Cry
of a Dove
Announcing Rain (
Two Afternoon Concerts
at Cafe OTO)

Toshimaru Nakamura/
David Lee Myers:
(Surface World)

Jessica Pavone:
(Out Of Your Head Records)

Jurg Frey/
Apartment House:
String Trio
(Another Timbre)

Zoh Amba/
Chris Corsano/
Bill Orcutt:
The Flower School

Art Ensemble
of Chicago:
(Org Music)

Eddie Prevost/
NO Moore/
Henry Kaiser/
Binker Golding/
Olie Brice:
The Secret Handshake
with Danger
Volume Two
(577 Records)

Myra Melford's
Fire And Water Quintet:
Hear The Light
Singing High

Rob Brown Quartet (

Jason Adasiewicz :
Roy's World
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Marion Brown:
Gesprachsfetzen & In Sommerhausen

Longhand (
Tony Wilson/
Peder Long)
with special guests
Jesse and Josh
Plays Long
(Drip Audio)

Josh Zubot Strings:
(Drip Audio)

Sick Boss (
JP Carter/ Zubot/
(Drip Audio)

Tomas Fujiwara (
(Out Of Your Head Records)

Scott Clark:
Dawn & Dusk
(Out Of Your Head Records)

Catherine Lamb:
Parallaxis Forma
(Another Timbre)

Daniel Carter/
Ayumi Ishito/
Eric Plaks/
Zach Swanson/
Jon Panikkar:
Open Question
Vol. 2
(577 Records)

Chris Cutler:
In A Box
[10 CD/
(Recommended Records)

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