The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Ensemble 5 (Geisser / Blumer / Staub / Morgenthaler / Dell):
The Human Factor (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

The long-running quartet of percussionist Heinz Geisser, bassist Fridolin Blumer, pianist Reto Staub and trombonist Robert Morgenthaler have for years extended their 4-tet with a 5th guest, here asking vibraphonist Christopher Dell to join them in the studio after a successful live performance in the spring of 2022, capturing this spectacular, wide-ranging example of collective improvisation. ... Click to View

Kenny Dorham:
Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia To Matador - Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Revisiting and remastering two essential albums from New York hard bop trumpeter Kenny Dorham, a tremendous musican who died much too young but left a legacy of 20 albums as a leader, here in his 1956 Blue Note album in a sextet that included Bobby Timmons and Kenny Burrell, and his 1963 United Artists Jazz album in a quintet with Jackie McLean, Bobby Timmons, Teddy Smith and JC. Moses. ... Click to View

Silvan Schmid / Tom Wheatley / Eddie Prevost:
The Wandering One - High Laver Levitation Volume 2 (Matchless)

A live recording of freely improvised improv captured at All Hallows Church in High Laver, Essex in 2023 from the trio of AMM drummer and Matchless label-leader Eddie Prévost, Zürich and Maastricht trumpeter Silvan Shmid, and London double bassist Tom Wheatley of the group Widdershins, heard in three investigative conversations of great creative drive. ... Click to View

Natsuki Tamura / Jim Black:
NatJim (Libra)

Right out of the gate one feels the energy and excitement between Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and NY drummer Jim Black, each pushing the other through strong instrumental character and outrageous technique over nine Tamura compositions recorded in the studio in Switzerland, their first recording in 25 years since their 1999 Buzz Records album White and Blue. ... Click to View

Joe Mcphee / Ken Vandermark:
Musings of a Bahamian Son: Poems and Other Words (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

27 concise poems written and read by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, punctuated by 9 musical interludes between McPhee on soprano sax and Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark on clarinet and bass, fortifying McPhee's captivating words that mix life observations among jazz references to Dolphy, Monk, Brötzmann, Coleman, &c.; a truly embraceable "book" of poetry. ... Click to View

Birgit Ulher:
Split Friction - Audiovisual Works [BOOK] (Private)

Published on the occasion of Birgit Ulher's exhibition Split Friction at Errant Sound in Berlin from November 24-26, 2023, an interdisciplinary project spanning the intersection between exhibition, video, performance, concert and sound installation, documented in this 96 page full-color book with images from the installation, graphic scores, and essays in English & German. ... Click to View

STHLM svaga:
Plays Carter, Plays Mitchell, Plays Shepp (thanatosis produktion)

The Swedish free jazz septet STHLM svaga work at the liminal edges of delicate improvisation and song, for this album commissioning works from Archie Shepp, Ron Carter and Roscoe Mitchell, Carter traveling to Stockholm to provide guidance on his composition "Desert Lament"; the band also performs Coltrane's "Jupiter" and Per Henrik Wallin's piece "Winter Rhapsody". ... Click to View

Bob Drake:
The Room In The Tower (Crumbling Tones)

A great set of 11 succinct songs and instrumentals from multi-instrumentalist, prog icon Bob Drake of Thinking Plague, The Science Group, VRIL, and Peter Blegvad fame, vignettes that play with pop formats in insidious ways around recurring Drake themes including a Planet of Dogs, three rustic tales, and a perturbing room in the tower, all noted in a colored foldout poster with lyrics. ... Click to View

Space (Ullen / Bergman / Lund):
Embrace the Space (Relative Pitch)

A startlingly exciting album of piano trio jazz from three creative innovators, in the followup to the 2022 debut of the Swedish Space Trio of Lisa Ullen on piano, Elsa Bergman on double bass and Anna Lund on drums, recording in the studio for eight collective improvisations of extremely well matched, highly interactive and exhilarating modern improv. ... Click to View

Yedo Gibson:
Conic Tube (Relative Pitch)

Born in São Paulo, Brazil and working in Amsterdam and Lisbon, and also part of the London Improvisers Orchestra, Yedo Gibson unleashes an album of solo improvisation on the soprano and tenor saxophones, his "conic tubes" which he uses to express the potential to change environment and energy through technically impressive, expressive playing. ... Click to View

Rodrigues / Rodrigues:
Intenso como o Mar (Creative Sources)

With the nearly telepathic communication that only a father & son duo could have, Lisbon violist and Creative Sources label leader Ernesto Rodridgues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues recorded these two string improvisations live at Cossoul in Lisbon during the "Esta Noite Improvisa-se", a melding of remarkable technique, concentration and profound expression. ... Click to View

Violaine Gestalder :
Furtive (Creative Sources)

With an impressive resume in improvised and contemporary forms, French saxophonist Violaíne Gestalder presents three major conceptual works for multiple players, using studio layering to perform all parts herself on soprano sax, voice & effects, a comprehensive, yearning, powerful and often mysteriously beautiful album that draws on her skills as a composer, improviser and experimenter. ... Click to View

Loris Binot / Violaine Gestalder :
Loris Binot & Violaine Gestalder (Creative Sources)

A contemplative and building collection of electroacoustic improvisations from French alto & soprano saxophonist Violaine Gestalder, augmenting her horn with effect pedals, and pianist Loris Binot, using preparations, magnetic bows and electronics to create sustained and percussive elements, recording in the CIM auditorium in Bal-Le-Duc, France for five rich and fascinating dialogs. ... Click to View

Gabriel Vicens:
Mural (Stradavarius )

Reflecting on the slow decay of Roman and Egyptian murals, New York City-based, Puerto Rican-born composer, guitarist, visual artist and No Base Trio member, Gabriel Vicéns, presents a collection of chamber works including two piano trios, a wind quintet performed by Nu Quintet, cello & violin and violin & piano duos, a solo piano work, and a sextet conducted by David Bloom. ... Click to View

Archetypes (Evil Clown)

One of the more electronic/ea ensembles from the Boston area collective led by David Peck, Simulacrum is an offshoot of Metal Chaos Ensemble, the core being Peck on reeds, percussion & electronics, Eric Wood on analog synth and Bob Moores on space trumpet & guitar, joined by Michael Caglianone (sax), Faruq Hassan (sampler), and Michael Knoblach (percussion). ... Click to View

Leap Of Faith:
Cyclic Models (Evil Clown)

A larger ensemble for the Boston-area collective Leap of Faith of David Peck on clarinets, saxophones & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, here extended with two horns, three strings, and drums including Cecil Taylor bassist Albey OnBass, plus John Fugarino on trumpets & brass, Tor Snyder on guitar and Eric Rosenthal on drums & percussion. ... Click to View

Giant Size (Love Earth Music)

Eight distinctive works for electronics and sound from the alter ego of Roger H. Smith, using noise, percussive elements and unusual synthetics, layered around static and arpeggiated rhythms and punctuated with strange asides, the works run from 3:14 to 18:37 and were developed over a year and half; an excellent introduction to the sonic diversity Chefkirk revels in. ... Click to View

Midnight Only (RJ Myato / Jabe Ledoux):
Midnight Only (Love Earth Music)

An album of dense electronics, drums and gongs from Vermont drummer and experimenter Jabe Ledoux, aka Jo Bled, and Pittsburgh noise artist RJ Myato, co-founder of NNN Coalition and curator of Enforced Existence label, in three works from assertive jumbles of sound, to buzzy drones with muted percussion and ending with an ocean of blurred and swooping harmonics. ... Click to View

Liba Villavecchia Trio (Reviriego / Trilla) + Luis Vicente:
Muracik (Clean Feed)

Trumpeter Luís Vicente joins the Spanish saxophonist Liba Villavechia's Trio with double bassist Alex Reveriego and drummer Vasco Trilla for a studio album of four Villavecchia compositions, and one each from Reviriego and Vicente, propelling the band into hard swinging free improv balanced with introspective abstraction and sonic extensions; masterful. ... Click to View

TGB (Carolino / Frazao / Delgado):
ROOM 4 (Clean Feed)

Twenty years of activity and advancement is heard in this fourth album from the dynamic tuba power trio of tubist Sergio Carolino, guitarist Mario Delgado & drummer Alexandre Frazao, an electric jazz unit of deep power and drive, on this album leaving behind cover tunes that included Deep Purple and Thelonious Monk to focus on compositions from each band member. ... Click to View

Ghost Trees:
Intercept Method [VINYL 2 LPs] (Future Recordings)

Appropriately recording in New Jersey in the Van Gelder Studios, the North Carolina sax & drum duo of Brent Bagwell and Seth Nanaa stand in the shadows of Coltrane & Ali or McHenry & Cyrlle on their fourth release, a 2-LP, 180gm red-vinyl album of swinging, structured free jazz with a lyrically inclined outside attitude; twelve tracks of concise and compelling dialogs. ... Click to View

Garcia / Moimeme / Reviriego / Rodrigues / Santos:
Mars Reveri (Creative Sources)

An intense album of pyschedelic and subliminally detailed electroacoustic improvisation from the Portuguese quintet of Miguel A. Garcia on electronics, Abdul Moimeme on guitar & metals, Alex Reviriego on double bass, Ernesto Rodrigues on piano harp & viola and Carlos Santos on electronics, a powerful live set recorded in 2018 at Le Larraskito Kluba in Rekalde, Bilbao. ... Click to View

Eventless Plot:
Structures (Creative Sources)

Three configurations of delicately detailed, reductionist electroacoustic improv from the Greek Eventless Plot trio of Vasilis Liolios (inside piano, e-bow piano, objects & psaltiri), Yiannis Tsirikoglou (objects, guitar, MAX/MSP) and Aris Giatas (piano), in one piece as a trio, then with guest Chris Cundy on bass clarinet, and a third with Louis Portal on percussion. ... Click to View

Karin Johansson / Lisen Rylander Love:
Arter [VINYL] (Havtorn Records)

The Swedish title translating to "Species", the contemplatively elegant interactions between pianist Karin Johansson and tenor saxophonist Lisen Rylander are named for extinct species of animals and plants, as the two improvise over the loss of species that disappear from the earth every year, their wistful music augmented through preparations, kalimbas, live electronics and percussion. ... Click to View

Peter Van Huffel's Callisto:
Meandering Demons (Clean Feed)

A step into a darker world than Gorilla Mask from the debut of baritone saxophonist Peter Van Huffel's bass-less quartet Callisto with Lina Allemano on trumpet, Antonis Anissegos on piano & electronics and Joe Hertenstein on drums, a solid jazz quartet that shies from cliché in devilishly deep collective interplay fostered by Van Huffel's inventive compositions. ... Click to View

Dave Douglas:
Gifts (Greenleaf Music)

A new book of compositions and four interesting interpretations of Billy Strayhorn songs from trumpeter Dave Douglas' premier of a new quartet with tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and two members of the post-rock trio Son Lux — guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang — in a lyrically embraceable and sophisticated album dedicated to the gifts of life and music we all share. ... Click to View

Sean Ono Lennon :
Asterisms (Tzadik)

The chameleonic styles of Sean Ono Lennon are in full force on this instrumental record, merging rock, jazz, experimental and cinematic styles in captivating ways, performed with the spectacular ensemble of Devon Hoff (bass), Yuka Honda (electronics), Johnny Mathar (drums), João Nogueira (Wurlitzer), Ches Smith (drums), Michael Leonhart (trumpet) & Mauro Refosco (percussion). ... Click to View

Matt Mitchell:
Illimitable [2 CDs] (Obliquity)

"100% improvised, one take, no edits" from New York pianist Matt Mitchell's solo album in four extended improvisations of impressive detail and creative direction, eschewing any particular style while crossing many, Mitchell's technical skills making complex passages clear even when he names them as abstruse, an impressive accomplishment and an absorbing album of solo piano improv. ... Click to View

Steph Richards (w/ White / Takeishi / Cleaver / Jaffee) :
Power Vibe (Northern Spy)

Using a democratic compositional concept of cues that any of the musicians can employ to redirect all players into new structures, leading to exemplary improv from the core quintet of Steph Richards on trumpet & flugelhorn, Joshua White on piano, Stomu Takeishi on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drumset, plus Max Jaffe replacing Cleaver on drums & sensory electronics for one live track. ... Click to View

John Zorn:
The Hermetic Organ Volume 12 - The Bosch Requiem (Tzadik)

Part of composer, saxophonist and organ improviser John Zorn's 70th birthday celebration, this 12th volume in his The Hermetic Organ series finds Zorn performing on the two organs at the Grote Kerk (Great Church) in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, first solo and then with John Medeski, in a tribute to the 15th century proto-Surrealist painter Hieronymus Bosch. ... 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.

  Gustafsson, Mats 
  Hidros 9 Mirrors + The Hidros Series Overview  
  (Trost Records) 

   review by Phil Zampino
Gustafsson, Mats: Hidros 9 Mirrors + The Hidros Series Overview (Trost Records)

After finishing the cataloging on Mats Gustafsson's latest in his Hidros series, Hidros 9, I took the time out to make sense of the series, which started in 1997 when Gustafsson formed his Nu Ensemble, or more properly, Nu-Ensemblen, with a work for nine improvisers, tape and conductor. Commissioned by The Swedish Broadcasting Corporation P2, this started in motion a set of morphing concepts and ensemble structures to interpret Gustafsson's evolving concepts. It's not clear if the title of the series derives from the Greek mythological create Hydra,a mythical serpent with many heads, but it's an apt description of the diversity expressed in each performance.

Each Hidros is developed with a specific configuration of performers, and Gustafsson has access to some of the finest improvisers and contemporary performers. Check the participants of the first Hidros as a prime example:

Axel Dörner - trumpet
Gunter Christmann - cello, trombone
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba, cimbasso, aluminium tube
Mats Gustafsson - soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, fluteophone, French flageolet, conducting
Fredrik Ljungkvist - tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet
Fred Longberg-Holm - cello
Sten Sandell - piano, prepared piano, pipe organ
Barry Guy - bass
Raymond Strid - drums

At the time the comparison was made to the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, and it's an easy stretch to see Gustafsson expanding the working band Gush with Sten Sandell and Raymond Strid into a similar organization, particularly finding Barry Guy among the ensemble players.

Hidros 2 is the least documented of the series, first presented in 1999 and presented as a graphic score at his 2019 for a performance at Trondheim of a new work titled Hidros o.T.; I personally would be fascinated to hear a recording of Hidro 2, but to my knowledge there are no recordings of that work.

In contrast, Hidros 3, dedicated to Patti Smith, is well documented, recorded live October 9th, 2000 at Ystads Konstmuseum during Kulturbro 2000 and performed with Sonic Youth in a 9-part work for voice, processed voice, and contrabass sax. The guitar-heavy version is unique to the series, and Kim Gordon's voice adds an unusual character to the concept.

Hidros 4 happens the next year, performed live at Culturen, Västeräs, Schweden, May 10, 2001 with another exceptional electroacoustic version of the ensemble. Returning are Axel Dörner and Per-Ake Holmlander, the complement brining stellar improvisers including Carlos Zingaro, Thomas Lehn, Paul Lovens, Daunik Lazro and Wilber de Joode. This album is available as a digital-only release on Trost, and is well worth adding to the collection; I hope one day it, as with Hidros 2, will be released on CD, or in a box set collecting all the Hidros series.

Mats Gustafsson - saxophone
Axel Dörner - trumpet
Sebi Tremontana - trombone
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba
Daunik Lazro - saxophon
David Stackenäs - guitar
Thomas Lehn - live electronics
Carlos Zingaro - violin
Wilber de Joode - bass
Paul Lovens - drums

Hidros 5 is a bit of a mystery, performed in 2004 in a concert at Blæst, Gustafsson with the Trondheim Improvisation Ensemble in a performance of three works by Gustafsson: "PLUGS" (2000), "Hidros 5" (2003) and "Bird Notes" (2002/03). Again there appears to be no recording of this entry in the series, or explanation for why Nu Ensemble is replaced with the Trondheim Improvisation Ensemble, which was a then-new ensemble that may have been represented by as many as 30 musicians.

Hidros 6 takes the subtitle Knockin' in another large ensemble of 13 players, including Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Peter Evans and Dieb13. This version was recorded i2013 at Manggha, Krakow, and exists on CD, as 2 LPs and in a complete 5-CD version.

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten-Bass
Jon Rune Strøm-Bass
Christer Bothén-Bass Clarinet, Guimbri
Paal Nilssen-Love-Drums
Mats Gustafsson (tracks: A to D)
Agustí Fernández-Piano, Organ
Mats Gustafsson-Saxophone [Slide Sax], Tenor Saxophone [Tenor Sax], Bass Saxophone [Bass Sax], Electronics, Piano [Piano Mate], Conductor [Conduction], Composer
Joe McPhee-Trumpet [Pocket Trumpet], Tenor Saxophone [Tenor Sax], Organ [Space Organ]
Peter Evans-Trumpet [Trumpets]
Per-Åke Holmlander-Tuba
Kjell Nordeson-Vibraphone [Vibes], Drums, Idiophone [Flexatone], Glockenspiel
Stine Janvin Motland-Vocals

Hidros 7, subtitled Zap and dedicated to Frank Zappa, completed a set of performances In Stockholm, Poznan, Krakow, Warsaw And Wels Unlimited in 2016, first premiered in Sardinia. There doesn't seem to be a recorded version, but there is a YouTube video of the Wels Unlimited version in Austria:

From the video, the lineup was:

Mats Gustafsson-slide and baritone sax, conductor
Mariam Wallentin-voice
Anders Nyqvist-trumpets
Joe McPhee-trumpet, alto sax and space organ
Agustí Fernández-piano and organ
Kjell Nordeson-vibraphon
Per Äke Holmlander-tuba
Jon Rune Strøm-bass
lngebrigt Håker Flaten-electric bass
Paal Nilssen-Love-drums

Hidros 8, subtitled Heal, was recorded in 2016 at DE Studio, in Antwerp, Belgium, on November 23rd, 2016, but not released on record until 2022 on Trost Records. Here the lineup was:

Anna Hogberg-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
Mats Gustafsson-baritone saxophone, conduction
Susana Santos Silva-trumpet
Per Ake Holmlander-tuba
Hedvig Mollestad-guitar
Christof Kurzmann-lloopp, voice
Massimo Pupillo-bass
Gert-Jan Prins-drums, electronics
Ivar Loe Bjornstad-drums

A long break ensues until 2022, with Hidros 9, Mirrors, recorded at the Avant Art Festival, in Warsaw, Poland, on October 1st, 2022. Another large ensemble and very rich with electronics, this recording has Gustafsson only in the conduction role, but ably made up for by saxophonist Colin Stetson, and adding improvising rock guitarist Hedvig Mollestad to the mix.

Anders Nyqvist-trumpets
Colin Stetson-amplified bass saxophone
Hedvig Mollestad-guitar
Per-Ake Holmlander-tuba
Jerome Noetinger-revox tape machines
Mats Gustafsson-conductor
Eira Bjornstad Foss-violin
Matilda Rolfsson-bass drum
Lars Ove Fossheim-guitar
Michael F. Duch-bass
Ovind Engen-cello
Kyrre Laastad-drums, electronics
Nicolas Leirtro-bass
Daniel Formo-organ, prepared piano
Ida Lovli Hidle-accordion
Teoniki Rozynek-violin
Dominika Korzeniecka-bass drum
Szymon Wojcik-guitar, electronics
Rafal Rozalski-bass
Magdalena Bojanowicz-cello
Qba Janicki-drums, electronics
Pawel Romanczuk-bass
Barbara Drazkov-organ, prepared piano
Zbigniew Chojnacki-accordion

No doubt there are twists and turns that I've missed in my research, but I've been thrilled in my investigation as I've explored the evolution of Gustafsson's project. Last week we announced the latest Gush release with Sten Sandell and Raymond Strid, and the same week we added Hidros 9 we also added his EE Opus One album with his Ensemble E, another unique approach to unusual improv & contemporary ensembles. Alongside the many renderings of Fire!, his project with Johan Berthling, or The Thing with Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love, Gustafsson continues to be one of the most innovative and fascinating figures of the international improv community. Personally I'm eager for Hidros 10, and everything he releases inbetween!

Gustafsson, Mats: Hidros 9 Mirrors + The Hidros Series Overview
Is On Sale at Squidco!

Comments and Feedback:

The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !

  Copyright © Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (861)