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Vertical Squirrels (Fischlin, Heble, Melville, Warren): Time of the Sign (Ambiances Magnetiques)

An incredibly informed instant-composing ensemble drawing on free jazz and post rock sensibilities with nods to Indian ragas, jazz-inflected minimalism, Zappa-esque bouts of sonic anarchy, and German rock music from the 1970s, captured live at Toronto, Guelph and Hamilton, Canada in 2012.

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product information:

UPC: 771028122127

Label: Ambiances Magnetiques
Catalog ID: AM_221
Squidco Product Code: 20265

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Canada
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live in performance in Toronto, Guelph and Hamilton, Canada in June 2012.


Jane Bunnett-flute soprano sax

Larry Cramer-trumpet

Daniel Fischlin-guitar, percussion, synthesizer

Ben Grossman-hurdy gurdy

Ajay Heble-piano, melodica

Lewis Melville-bass, baritone sax, pedel steel, percussion, homemade instruments

Scott Merritt-guitar, ukulele, electronics, voice

Ted Warren-percussion, voice

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Artist Biographies:

"Ben Grossman is a Canadian hurdy-gurdy player, percussionist, composer and improviser. He performs both as a soloist and as part of various ensembles. Ben's work is featured on over 80 CDs. He has also been recorded for film soundtracks, radio dramas, as well as for television shows and commercials.

Grossman was part of the music team awarded the 2005 Golden Sheaf Award in the Best Original Music Non-Fiction category for the Ali Kazimi film, Continuous Journey. He has performed live with the Toronto Consort, Ensemble Polaris, La Nef, BT, Loreena McKennitt, (amongst others) and in various solo and ensemble improvisational events. Grossman's first solo album, Macrophone was released in 2007 and features a unique two CD form for simultaneous, aleatoric playback.

Grossman has presented hurdy-gurdy workshops and lessons with Valentin Clastrier, Matthias Loibner, Maxou Heintzan and Simon Wascher. He currently focuses on his efforts in applying the hurdy-gurdy to early, traditional, experimental and ambient music. His goal is to explore the wide range of sound possibilities of this acoustic synthesizer."

See also Ben Grossman website

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Falling From the Ground Up 5:46

2. This Is (Not What This Is) 3:59

3. Dhwani... Avartana (Sound Stir Fusion) 10:30

4. The Fruit Flies' Demise 0:54

5. Swamp Code 4:53

6. Time of the Sign 5:33

7. The Fragile Are Thirsty 3:23

8. Moondog 5:22

9. Small Hurts Gather 1:35

10. Avec (et sans) le vent 4:49

11. Butterflies Drink the Dead 3:56

12. Strange Beautiful 4:25

13. Signal Hill 9:18
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Called an "an unclassifiable blast of fresh air" by the Montreal Mirror, with their album Hold True (Accroche-toi) chosen as one of the top ten offerings in 2010, the music of the Vertical Squirrels is group-improvised, live in the moment, and draws on a potent mixture of free jazz and post rock sensibilities with nods to Indian ragas, jazz-inflected minimalism, Zappa-esque bouts of sonic anarchy, and German rock music from the 1970s. Like the music they play, the Vertical Squirrels came together through a mixture of chance and perseverance. Long-time collaborators Daniel Fischlin, Ajay Heble, and Lewis Melville started playing together as a group upon the arrival in Guelph of multi-talented drummer/percussionist Rob Wallace, in 2008, later adding acclaimed drummer Ted Warren to the mix in 2011.

Time of the Sign comes after two critically acclaimed albums, Hold True (Accroche-toi) with Montreal's magnificent label Ambiances Magnétiques and Winter's Gate (BarCode Free). Recent performances at the Sound Symposium in Newfoundland and Ottawa's Sound Changes saw the band playing to its strengths creating organic soundscapes and incendiary, energy-driven improvisations that consistently defy genre, as well as maintaining a constant interest in the role of music in community building and social change.

Time of the Sign marks the band's commitment to collaborations with other improvising musicians (Jeff Bird, Jane Bunnett, Dave Clark, Gary Diggins, Ben Grossman, Dong-Won Kim, Scott Merritt, etc.) as part of its desire to expand musical possibilities and immerse itself in new harmonic textures, rhythmic compunctions, melodic diversions, and spatial orientations. A unique voice on the Canadian instrumental scene with constantly mutating sonic risk-taking at the core of their musical practice, the Vertical Squirrels' Time of the Sign shows the group instant-composing richly textured melodies and harmonies and deploying the orchestral possibilities of the singular guest voices featured on the album."-Ambiances Magnetiques

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Musique Actuelle
Quartet Recordings
Toronto Area Improvisation
Ambiances Magnetiques
Canadian Composition & Improvisation

Search for other titles on the label:
Ambiances Magnetiques.

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