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Evan Parker / Pat Thomas / John Russell / John Edwards / Alex Ward / Alison Blunt / Benedict Taylor / David Leahy / Kay Grant: Mopomoso Tour 2013 | Making Rooms [4 CDs] (Weekertoft)

An excellent 4-CD set from a UK tour of the long-running London monthly concert series Mopomoso, featuring improvisations from various grouping of John Russell, Evan Parker, John Edwards, David Leahy, Pat Thomas, Alison Blunt, Benedict Taylor, Kay Grant & Alex Ward. ... Click to View

Alvin Curran: Natural History [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

The first-ever vinyl issue of Alvin Curran's 1983 cassette release, a composition of organized field recordings, a major work he describes as a series of "still lifes" from 20 years of recordings with an engrossingly diverse set of curious and concrete sounds - amazing! ... Click to View

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Originally released in limited edition of forty copies for a solo/duo show with Jason Lescalleet in 2013, this 10" release remasters the original release, a disorienting and melodic album of tape loops and dark ambient drone. ... Click to View

Bushman's Revenge: Jazz, Fritt Etter Hukommelsen (Rune Grammofon)

The Norwegian trio of guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, drummer Gard Nilssen, and bassist Rune Nergaard in their 8th Bushman's Revenge album, bridging free improvisation and 70s style prog-oriented rock, non-histrionic, outstanding instrumental music with great depth. ... Click to View

Bushman's Revenge: Jazz, Fritt Etter Hukommelsen [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

The Norwegian trio of guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, drummer Gard Nilssen, and bassist Rune Nergaard in their 8th Bushman's Revenge album, bridging free improvisation and 70s style prog-oriented rock, non-histrionic, outstanding instrumental music with great depth. ... Click to View

Bushman's Revenge: Bushman's Fire [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Live recordings at Cafe Mono in Oslo, Norway of the extended edition of Bushman's Revenge, the trio of guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, drummer Gard Nilssen, and bassist Rune Nergaard with David Wallumrod on Hammond Organ and Kjetil Moster on saxophone. ... Click to View

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CD edition of the first set performed by the trio of Peter Brotzmann, Steve Noble and John Edwards at Cafe OTO in January 2010 during Brotzmann's first residency at the venue, and the first time this trio had played together. ... Click to View

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Tim Stine Trio The: Tim Stine Trio [CASSETTE with DOWNLOAD CODE] (Astral Spirits)

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The title reflecting violinist Angharad Davies' Welsh Roots, this duo with inside pianist Tisha Mukarji furthers the collaborations of these improvisers, recording in St Catherine's Church in South London, using the acoustics of the space to shape the form of their music. ... Click to View

Illogical Harmonies (Chang / Majkowski): Volume (Another Timbre)

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Bryn Harrison : Receiving the Approaching Memory (Another Timbre)

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Sergio Merce: Be Nothing (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

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John Cage : Branches (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The Ensemble Daswirdas performs John Cage's "Branches" composition, which is based on a previous work, "Child of Tree", but here each performer plays an 8 minute variation of that work, which is performed on amplified pods, cacti, and other plant materials. ... Click to View

Radu Malfatti: Radu Malfatti (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Austrian trombonist and composer presents two works: a solo piece for trombone comprised of a series of detached sonic events; and a work performed with the Wandelweiser String Quartet, using bowing and blowing techniques to create punctuations of unusual sound. ... Click to View

Wilmington Sound Orchestra: Play Russolo (Bad At Raving Foundation)

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Nate Wooley: Argonautica (Firehouse 12 Records)

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Peter Evans: Lifeblood [USB Drive] (More Is More)

Trumpeter Peter Evans' first solo release in over 5 years, presenting two demanding and impressive live performances from 2015/16, during Evan's residency at Roulette, and at Bop Stop in Cleveland, presented on a USB credit card drive in mp3 and wav formats, with liner notes. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet (Long Song Records)

First meeting of Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and New York bassist Joe Fonda, initiated at the suggestion of Fonda, recorded in Portland, Maine at the Dimensions in Jazz Series, a beautifully recorded and intimate duo of superb dialog between two seasoned improvisers. ... Click to View

Bertrand Denzler / Antonin Gerbal / Alex Dorner: Le Ring (Confront)

Having performed in duos previously, this trio came together at Festival Noise No. 5, at Theatre Le Ring, in Toulouse, the sound of the group is a "malleable space in which the musicians generate small or bigger shapes, simple and complex sounds, irregular and mechanical rhythms." ... Click to View

Forebrace (Ward / Sassi / Horro / Doulton): Steeped (Relative Pitch)

Blending jazz and rock forms with frenetic excitement and masterful control, multi-reedist Forebrace quartet with Roberto Sassi (electric guitar), Santiago Horro (electric bass) and Jem Doulton run the gamut on exultantly virtuosic improvisation, here recording live at Cafe Oto. ... Click to View


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  Morton Feldman 
  (Mode Records) 

   review by Kurt Gottschalk
Morton Feldman: Trio (Mode Records)

The Japanese experimental guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama has commented that he felt compelled to make mid-tempo, moderate volume music because everyone around him was working in extremely loud or extremely quiet sounds. The need to rebel, in a sense, forced him into breaking old ground.

It's a similar position to the one Morton Feldman found himself in a half century earlier. With the minute having been explored a generation earlier by Anton Webern, and with his peers seemingly more than willing to adhere to the dictates of the LP, Feldman began to grow interested in creating exceedingly long works. (The similarity doesn't end there, either. As much as Feldman's compatriot John Cage is celebrated, in many ways it's Feldman the formalist, with his use of sound and silence is extremely deliberate an exhibition of ego, as Cage might accuse who is a truer progenitor of the new school of minimalist improvisation.)

To cite the man himself (as quoted in Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman, published by Exact Change in 2000):

My whole generation was hung up on the 20- to 25-minute piece. It was our clock. We all got to know it and how to handle it. As soon as you leave the 20- to 25-minute piece behind, in a one-movement work, different problems arise. Up to one hour you think about form, but after an hour and a half it's scale. Form is easy just the division of things into parts. But scale is another matter. You have to have control of the piece it requires a heightened level of concentration. Before my pieces were like objects; now they're like evolving things.

Trio for violin, cello and piano was composed in 1980, is among Feldman's first experiments in extended duration, and is seen as marking the beginning of his late period works, from 1979 until his death in 1987. And while it's all too easy in discussing Feldman to get preoccupied with on clock-watching, the roughly two-hour Trio was followed in 1984 by the four-hour For Philip Guston and the oft-cited six-hour String Quartet No. 2. But what matters, of course, is not how long the theater is rented out for but what's done with it once you're there. Central to the Trio (and to Feldman's ideas about use of scale) is the fact that the piece is a single movement; There's no time open for a regrouping of wits or a realigning of motifs. It is a singular expression. Rather than boldly announcing the next thematic variation, then, Feldman is constantly in flux, working within palette and pace, making subtle realignments and shifts in emphasis.

In that sense, the use of repetition is far from an elongating device. The instrumentalists get locked into patterns in unison, in succession, or sometimes in isolation not to create scale but to explore it, as if to say "We couldn't have a mountain were it not for each of these stones."

At the same time, however, there's a curious irony to Feldman's mountain climbing. The composer also wanted to eschew the dramatic underpinnings of concert music (notably that of Boulez), and yet it's the drama of his extended works that make them so majestic, so mountainous. For duration without drama, see (for example) Warhol's film Empire, a work of a very different emotive impact than the Trio. Feldman's long pieces, in other words, are far from drones. They are filled with suspense. And in fact, the Trio is filled with murder-mystery string swells. Certainly the composer isn't responsible for the projections of pop culture, but at the same time it's hard to imagine that in 1980 Feldman wouldn't have recognized the baggage Bernard Hermann had attached to stabbing violins. And indeed, suspense is Feldman's mojo. His pace allows ample time to wonder what will happen next. No Mozartian filigrees here! The music is, literally, suspended in time.

Mode's 2006 recording of the performance by violinist Marc Sabat, cellist Rohan de Saram and pianist Aki Takahashi is gorgeously warm and intimate. The only shame is that, with Feldman having despised the confines of the LP side, the 105-minute performance should be spread across two CDs. With the possibility of DVD-audio release, technology is finally catching up to Feldman's vision.

Morton Feldman: Trio
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