One of Squidco's most listened ears, Carl Kruger lists his Top 23 for 2023
Ahti & Ahti
The Finnish duo of Niko-Matti Ahti and Marja Ahti, merging musique concrète with narrative elements in an album titled Nokivesi (soot-water) that presents a two-part work using a collage approach to acousmatic sound and documentary elements of elderly people, through themed field recordings along with modular synthesizer and digital processing.
Bonney, Alex / Paul Dunmall / Mark Sanders
The Beholder's Share
Joining long-time UK improvising collaborators, saxophonist Paul Dunmall and drummer Mark Sanders is London performer and engineer Alex Bonney performing on trumpet, modular synthesizer and laptop, the trio recording in the studio for three conversations of lyrically inclined electro-acoustic improv, Bonney's synthetics adding an alien aspect to sophisticated dialog.
The Very Fabric
(Ftarri / Hitorri)
Impeccably recorded inside the Brønshøj Water Tower, in Copenhagen, Denmark, a highly resonant space built 100 years ago, where UK tenor and soprano saxophonist John Butcher continues his investigations into spaces with natural delay and decay, through 11 improvisations of discriminating pacing as he finds incredible beauty in floating and shifting tones and instrument errata; exquisite.
Costa, Carlo / John McCowen
Pianissimo Etc [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD]
Powerfully rich sounds from two NY-based instrumentalists — John McCowen on contrabass clarinet & Carlo Costa on bass drum & percussion — in a three-part work of acoustic improvisations, McCowen sounding deceptively electronic through overtones and masterful harmonic technique, while Costa's bass drum provides deep foundations as he mysteriously layers percussive distractions; phenomenal!
Day, Bryan / Dereck Higgins
San Francisco East Bay sonic artist and Public Eyesore/Eh? label-leader Bryan Day meets Omaha bass player and sound artist Dereck Higgins for four enveloping works of sound, sonically rich and epic journeys through terrains of identifiable musical elements and acousmatic curiosity, all with an ear to story-telling as the duo weave passages of fantastic elements.
Tines of Change
A foundational member of the early Downtown NY scene, now West Coast-based double bassist Mark Dresser expands the sonic properties of his instrument in 12 succinct and forceful improvisations, expanding 4- & 5-string basses through metal tines, bowed and plucked, along with magnetic pickups amplifying nearly inaudible sounds from the strings and the instrument; awe inspiring!
Emaille / dieb13 / Koch
An impressive set of recordings from the electroacoustic improvising trio of Camille Émaille on percussion, dieb13 on turntables and Hans Koch on soprano sax, clarinet & bass clarinet, recording live in Switzerland at Le Singe and at Poestremeis for eleven intricate exchanges of mystery and suspense using remarkable technique and patient attention to each player's contribution.
Gustafsson, Mats / Joachim Nordwall
Their Power Reached Across Space And Time-To Defy Them Was Death-Or Worse
Expanding on their decade-long collaboration with albums on Astral Spirits, Bocian and Confront (Ensemble Var), and both members of Fire! Orchestra, sound artist Joachim Nordwall on analog synth and tapes and reed & wind player Mats Gustafsson use extended approaches to their instruments through effects and close mic-ing to create powerful and hallucinatory sound worlds.
Hauser, Fritz / Pedro Carneiro
Pas de Deux
La Casa, Eric + Seijiro Murayama
Following their 2009 release of the same title, this album of primarily free improvisation is a well-paced presentation of two 3-movement works between Japanese percussionist Seijiro Murayama providing precise rhythmic abstractions, and French sound artist Eric La Casa using field recordings of recurring and curious sound sources plus objects to expand Muriyama's punctuations.
Ladisa, Stefania Strutture (w/ Adrian Northover / Marcello Magliocchi)
Two live performances at Sala Castello di Sannicandro di Bari and at Sala Auditorium Accademia Cinema Ragazzi in Bari, Italy from violinist & violist Stefania Ladisa's trio Strutture with drummer Marcello Magliocchi and saxophonist Adrian Northover (LIO, Remote Viewers, Runcible), using the resonance of the performances spaces in spacious free interaction.
Leandre, Joelle / Paul Lovens
Off Course !
Bringing together two masterful and legendary players from the European Free Improv scene -- French double bassist and vocalist Joëlle Léandre and UK drummer & percussionist Paul Lovens -- heard in this live performance at Les Temps du Corps, in Paris, free playing in two parts with an incredible sense of communication, timing, humor, virtuosity and finesse.
Forest Standards, Volume 3 [VINYL]
(Big Ego / Astral Spirits)
The third volume in West Coast/Montreal/Kansas guitarist David Lord's series exploring the concept of what makes a jazz standard, in ten beautifully warm and lyrically rich Lord compositions performed with Chad Taylor on drums & percussion, Christine Tavolacci on flute, David Tranchina on double bass and Nathan Hubbard on vibraphone, marimba & percussion.
Lytton, Paul / Erhard Hirt
Borne on a Whim: Duets, 1981
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)
The first release from Corbett vs. Dempsey drawing on the Paul Lytton Archives, this recording of electronic & acoustic improvisation from UK percussionist Paul Lytton and German guitarist Erhard Hirt was recorded in Belgium in 1981 for the German Po Torch label, founded in 1976 by Paul Lovens & Paul Lytton to release forward-looking forms of free improvisation.
Trying to strike a balance between composition and the challenges of being a young parent, Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek, created a series of short tracks that could be developed quickly with invited collaborators, a concept that worked so well that in little time he found 52 enthusiastic and diverse musicians to develop the expanse of this impressive collection.
Novembre (Hoang / Clerc-Renaud / Darrifourcq) + Marc Baron
Encore [2 CDs]
A fascinatingly structured album conceived by Romain Clerc Renaud and Antonin Tri Hoang, the first CD constructing a complex poetic form made up of multiple themes, from simple (Encore, Petit Matelot) to rapidly complex (LetCo, Klaxon), unfolding in unexpected ways; the 2nd CD restructured in the studio by Marc Baron, transforming the music into seven engrossing electroacoustic compositions.
Oxley, Tony / Stefan Holker
The New World
A meeting between two percussive collaborators from legendary UK improviser Tony Oxley and long-time collaborator and member of Oxley's Celebration Orchestra, Stefan Holker, the latter on acoustic percussion while Oxley performs in his inimitable style of close miking and effecting percussive objects, as the pair perform six Oxley compositions of tightly ringing, energetic activity.
Pisaro-Liu, Michael / Julia Holter
Tombstones: Live in Brooklyn
Six songs from Michael Pisaro's "Tombstones" project--experimental songs developed from recontextualized fragments of popular songs--heard in this 2012 Brooklyn recording directed by guitarist Jason Brogan, with Julia Holter (voice), Tucker Dulin (trombone), Andrew Lafkas (bass), Katie Porter (clarinet), Sam Sfirri (piano and melodica), and Ron Wiltrout (keyboard & percussion).
Rodrigues / Wassermann / Rodrigues
L'Age De L'Oreille
Ute Wassermann adds a unique expressiveness to this Berlin studio session, bringing her impressive talents as a free improvising vocalist along with her bird calls and objects, providing an unusual yet extremely complementary foil to the intertwined strings of the father/son collaboration of violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues; idiosyncratically wonderful!
Clarinetist Xavier Charles, accordionist Jonas Kocher and percussionist Toma Gouband join French improviser Joris Ruhl for this extended improvisation of multiphonics, textures and timbres, evolving from subtle harmonics into vast waves of sound, pausing to punctuate with pointillist interaction, then expanding into dramatic waves of sound before carefully fading away; sublime.
Skein (Kaufmann / Gratkowski / de Joode)
Spectra & Affrays
Describing their improvisation as a chemical reaction of positive and negative ions, the central trio of the ensemble Skein--Achim Kaufmann (piano), Frank Gratkowski (winds) and Wilbert de Joode (bass)--are heard in this incredible 2018 concert at Konfrontationen Festival as a septet with Tony Buck (drums), Richard Barrett (electronics), Liz Allbee (trumpet) and Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar).
Vicente-Sandoval, Dafne / Lars Petter Hagen
Minos Circuit / Transfiguration 4 [VINYL]
A split LP from two sound and electroacoustic artists: Paris bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval deconstructs the instrument itself using an electro-acoustic device that generates feedback, developing compositions from those explorations; and Norwegian Lars Petter Hagen revisits Richard Strauss's Metamorfosen through decay and fragmentation of its musical lines.
Werckmeister (Markus Eichenberger / Carl Ludwig Hubsch / Philip Zoubek / Etienne Nillesen)
An exceptional quartet of electroacoustic improvisers captured in concert at MUG Einstein Kultur in Munich, organized by the non-profit Offene Haken e.V. - Freunde der improvisierten Musik (Friends of improvised music), from Markus Eichenberger on clarinet, Carl Ludwig Hubsch on tuba, Philip Zoubek on synthesizer and Etienne Nillesen on extended snare drum.