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Paul Lovens / Florian Stoffner:
Tetratne (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Captured live in Ljubljana during the 2019 "Sound Disobedience Festival", European Free Improv legendary drummer Paul Lovens co-composed this work with Swiss guitarist Florian Stoffner, "Tetra" referring to structures of 4, as in their 4-part improvisation with each player using all 4 limbs in a remarkable dialog of time, tone, technique, and nearly telepathic intention. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler:
Spirit Rejoice & Bells Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Revisiting two of the most essential and influential albums of saxophonist Albert Ayler's discography, both recorded in 1965 — Spirits Rejoice in a sextet and Bells in a quintet — both drawing from some of NY's finest players including Charles Tyler, Henry Grimes, Gary Peacock, Sunny Murray, Donald Ayler and Lewis Worrell, properly remastered to showcase Ayler's stunning conceptions in free jazz. ... Click to View


Tim Berne's Snakeoil:
The Deceptive 4 Live [2 CDs] (Intakt)

The long-established Snakeoil quartet led by New York saxophonist Tim Berne, with Matt Mitchell on piano, Oscar Noriega on bass and B-flat clarinet, and Ches Smith on drums & percussion, are heard live in three settings over two CDs — at Firehouse 12 in 2017; at IBEAM in New York in 2010,; and at Roulette in NY in 2009 — showing the band's evolution of expressive power. ... Click to View


Jackson / Baker / Kirshner:
So Glossy and So Thin [CASSETTE W/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

The second release for the Chicago trio of Keefe Jackson on tenor & sopranino saxophones, Jim Baker on piano & synthesizer, and Julian Kirshner on drums, following their 2016 album The Noisy Miner, are heard two performances a year apart at the Hungry Brain, each an extended exploration of remarkably compatible, creative and uniquely lyrical collective collaboration. ... Click to View


Pau Nasim (Lopez-Palacios / Serra):
Alusion (Creative Sources)

Taking their project name as a concatenation of their personal names, appropriate to the close improvisational bond shared by the Spanish drum and sax duo of Nasim Lopez-Palacios and Pau Torres Serra, who present a unique and idiosyncratic language on their instruments to create an engaging set of dialogs through energetically controlled yet never chaotic interaction. ... Click to View


J. Pavone String Ensemble:
Lost and Found [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Jessica Pavones String Ensemble with Pavone and Abby Swidler on violas, and Erica Dicker and Angela Morris on violins, are recorded live at Firehouse 12 in a set of Pavone compositions combining traditional notation and improvisation, with a focus on sustained collaborative playing and the application of ideas exploring the healing potential of sonic vibrations. ... Click to View


J. Pavone String Ensemble:
Lost and Found [CD] (Astral Spirits)

Jessica Pavones String Ensemble with Pavone and Abby Swidler on violas, and Erica Dicker and Angela Morris on violins, are recorded live at Firehouse 12 in a set of Pavone compositions combining traditional notation and improvisation, with a focus on sustained collaborative playing and the application of ideas exploring the healing potential of sonic vibrations. ... Click to View


Powerdove:
Bitter Banquet (fo'c'sle)

Keyboardist Annie Lewandowski (London Improvisers Orchestra, Fred Frith, Samech) composed this song cycle about ancient Greek figures in collaboration with David Yearsley, Theresa Wong and Russell Greenberg, poetic pieces contrasting traditional use of instruments with subtle experimental approaches in a unique and fascinating set of compositional strategies. ... Click to View


Lijiang Quintet:
Crossing A River By Rope (fo'c'sle)

A rare and exuberant exchange of sonic discourse between Chinese and American improvisers recorded in the Yunnan Province of China at the Lijiang Studio artist residency, in a uniquely voiced quintet with Theresa Wong on cello & voice, Lao Dan on saxophone & bamboo instruments, John McCowen on clarinet & recorder, Li Xing on electric & acoustic guitars, and Deng Boyu on percussion & found objects. ... Click to View


Horace Tapscott / The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra / Great Vocie of UGMAA:
Live At Lacma, 1998 [VINYL] (Dark Tree Records)

Formed in 1961 with the goal of preserving, developing and performing African-American music, pianist Horace Tapscott is heard in this well-recorded concert from 1998, his last public performance, at LACMA in Los Angeles with a 20 piece orchestra including sax, trombone, a 12 member chorus, three bassists, and 3 percussionists; a significant addition to Tapscott's catalog. ... Click to View


Slapp Happy:
Acnalbasac Noom [VINYL RSD] (Our Swimmer)

Acnalbasac Noom was Slapp Happy's second LP, recorded in 1973, and engineered by Kurt Grauner in Faust's legendary Wumme Studio using Faust as the Slapphappy house band; it was originally rejected by Virgin Records, who made the group re-record the album with different musicians as Casablanca Moon, though through time Acnalbasac is still the definitive and preferred edition. ... Click to View


Brodbeck / Bohm:
Weak Ties (Creative Sources)

Working in the Elektronisches Studio, in Basel, Switzerland, the duo of electronic artist and guitarist Volker Böhm and drummer/percussionist Benjamin Brodbeck, also employing sonic objects of indeterminate source, create a fascinating set of 9 sonic compositions driven by rhythmic interaction, using space and focused recording techniques in superbly timed dialogs. ... Click to View


Gorlinsky / Sysoev / Muller:
Universal Vitamin (Creative Sources)

An extended improvisation for acoustic instrumentation and voice using unusual and extended techniques, from the Russian trio of Alexey Sysoev on piano, Vladimir Gorlinsky on guitar & voice, and Christian Müller on clarinet, recorded at the Cultural Centre DOM in Moscow in 2019, cycling patiently from quietly expressive sections to chamber-oriented brightly active moments. ... Click to View


Sarah Hennies :
Casts [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Percussionist and composer Nick Hennies presents four tracks featuring sine waves paired with speech, vibraphone, hi-hat and voice recorded over several years in Austin, TX and Ithaca, NY, contrasting electronics and percussion with the starkness of the human voice. ... Click to View


Cryingsnice (Eric Hamelin / Chris Dadge):
All Greased Up For Nothin' (Bug Incision Records)

Frequent collaborators, Canadian drummer and experimentalist Eric Hamelin joins Chris Dadge, who more typically performs as a drummer/percussionist, in a duo with Dadge on violin, as the two create wonderfully active environments of sound that follow conceptual paths embracing electroacoustic methodology through two pieces performed live in the studio. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith:
The Observed Present (Evil Clown)

The debut of this reconfigured Boston-area trio drawn from the Leap of Faith lineup, starting with the core duo of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, with guest Eric Woods on synth and percussion, the trio using heavy percussion and electronics gear in a unique journey of extended freeform improvisation. ... Click to View


PEK Solo:
Schism (Evil Clown)

Approaching his solo work with new compositional strategies, multi-reedist and percussionist David Peck uses time and texture as the principal organizational elements in 9 pre-mixed recordings over which PEK was allowed more flexibility and freedom in instrumental choice during performance, using a vast collection of instruments in dramatic improvisations. ... Click to View


Robert Wyatt:
His Greatest Misses (Domino Record Co.)

Originally released in 2004 in Japan, this compilation covers songs from Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt's solo career, from albums back to Rock Bottom through Cuckooland, sequenced non-chronologically reflecting the depth of interest, excitement & pathos of his remarkable career, one of rock's most unconventional and brilliant songwriters and singers. ... Click to View


Robert Wyatt:
His Greatest Misses [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Domino Record Co.)

Originally released in 2004 in Japan, this compilation covers songs from Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt's solo career, from albums back to Rock Bottom through Cuckooland, sequenced non-chronologically reflecting the depth of interest, excitement & pathos of his remarkable career, one of rock's most unconventional and brilliant songwriters and singers. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman / Ike Levin Duo:
The Present Gift (IML Music)

A meeting in the studio in 2001 between frequent collaborators, pianist Joel Futterman, also performing on curved soprano saxophone & wooden Indian flute, and Chicago tenor saxophonist Ike Levin, also on bass clarinet and Brazilian Kalimba, beautifully capturing the extraordinary conversation of strongly articulated dialog between the two improvisers; impressive! ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman / Hilliard Greene / Federico Ughi:
Telepathic Mysteries Vol. 1 (577)

Referring to an improvisational style only possible after many years of collaboration, which they refer to as a "ghostly, boundary-pushing music between friends", this is the 4th sublime album from the quintet of Daniel Carter on reeds & trumpet, Patrick Holmes on clarinet, Matthew Putman on piano & keys, Hilliard Greene on bass, and Federico Ughi on drums. ... Click to View


Modern Jazz Quintet Karlsruhe / Four Men Only (Joos / Eichhorn / Zimmer / Buhler / Thellman):
Complete Recordings [3-CD BOX SET] (NoBusiness)

From 1968-73 the German Modern Jazz Quintet Karlsruhe of Herbert Joos on flugelhorn, Wilfried Eichhorn on sax & winds, Helmuth Zimmer on piano & percussion, Klaus Bühler on double bass, Rudi Theilmann on drums, and Wolfgang Czelusta on trombone, and then Four Men Only after Bühler left, were a force in the European Free Jazz scene, here in a 3-CD box collecting their works. ... Click to View


Quin Kirchner:
The Shadows and The Light [VINYL 2 LPs] (Astral Spirits)

Recorded over 2 days in a Chicago studio in configurations from duos to an octet, drummer Quin Kirchner provides the compositions on this double LP for 11 pieces, alongside works by Frank Foster, Phil Cohran, Sun Ra & Carla Bley, presented as a story or a journey of differing styles and forms, made cohesive by Kirchner's remarkable drumming and coherently diverse interests. ... Click to View


Chris Brown:
Retrospectacles [2 CDs] (fo'c'sle)

A fascinating 2-CD retrospective of the solo piano and computer work from 1990 to 2016 of San Francisco Bay Area experimental composer Chris Brown, whose work focuses on evolving paradigms of human-machine interaction through live signal processing, generative polyrhythmic textures, and a cohabitation of both formal control and indeterminacy. ... Click to View


Moritz / Ali / Costa :
Estuary (Neither/Nor Records)

After having collaborated in a variety of contexts for a few years, in 2017 Jonathan Moritz, Sean Ali and Carlo Costa started to perform regularly as a trio, over time honing a distinctive sound, using space through patient development, abstraction and textural playing and central tenets in their jazz-influenced improvisations, here in their first album. ... Click to View


String Theory:
Tin (Creative Sources)

The Portuguese String Theory ensemble led by violist Ernesto Rodridgues explores the element "Tin" in this live performance at CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, 2019, leading a 10-piece ensemble of strings — violin & violas, cellos, double basses, guitars and piano — through an extended improvisation of remarkably detailed yet controlled interaction. ... Click to View


Skrijelj / Rodrigues / Mira / Malmendier:
lluvia (Creative Sources)

A live performance at CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon in 2019 from the quartet of Emilie Skrijelj on accordion, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Tom Malmendier on percussion, Lluvia referencing Rain as the quartet quietly builds and releases tension through subtle cues, persistent figures, tonal innuendo and shades. ... Click to View


Gelber Flieder:
Olbaumgewachse (Creative Sources)

Gelber Lilac, or Yellow Lilac, is the electro-acoustic trio trio of Yves Arques (Tricentric) on objects & electronics, Joao Camoes (Open Field String Trio) on viola, and Luise Volkmann (Autochrom) on saxophone, presenting a romantic still life in improvisational colors and extended techniques, recorded live at La Petite Maison, in Paris in 2016. ... Click to View


Emily Davis / Christopher Riggs / George Romaine:
Extinction Burst (Bug Incision Records)

Chicago-based guitarist Christopher Rigg, founder of the Holy Cheever Church Records, developed this set of pieces called "extinction bursts", performed with Emily David on drums and George Romaine on piano, a work he refers to as "maximalist harsh free jazz wall", using a lurching and squealing guitar figure over which David and Romaine overlay slow progressions. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman:
Blues For My Brother (Creation Music)

Four solo imporovisations from pianist Joel Futterman, starting with the nearly 20-minute "Blues For Ronnie" dedicated to his brother Ronald, a lyrical and soulful work that reflects traditional blues and ragtimes forms within a modern perspective, alongside 3 other rich works of the strong technical and melodic skill that define Futterman's mastery and intentions. ... Click to View



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  John Cage 
  Ryoanji  
  (Hat[now]ART) 


  
   review by Brian Olewnick
  2011-10-24
John Cage: Ryoanji (Hat[now]ART)

Cage's "Ryoanji" (1983) was famously inspired by his visit to the Japanese rock and sand garden of the same name (Ryoan-ji, "Peaceful Dragon) in Kyoto in 1962. He remarked at the time that the fifteen stones arrayed in the sand could have been laid virtually anywhere and the effect, of tranquility and contemplation, would have been about the same. Scoring "Ryoanji" some 20 years later, he traced the outlines of fifteen stones on paper, the other variables (placement, pencil hardness, number of iterations, etc.) being determined via his trusty I Ching. It went through various permutations, ultimately allowing for any number of wind instruments (and voice) and percussion. The winds follow glissandi as they trace the arcs of the stone imagery, inevitably conjuring shakuhachi, though the precise sounds formed are up to the musician; the percussive parts are strictly notated and evoke Kabuki and Butoh dance.

The performers on this 1995 session, recently re-released, are Robert Black (contrabass), Eberhard Blum (flute), Iven Hausmann (trombone), Gudrun Reschke (oboe), John-Patrick Thomas (voice) and Jan Williams (percussion). For about an hour, the percussion (simultaneously struck muted gong and some fairly deep drum, it sounds like) tolls irregularly but consistently while the long tones, generally of a wistful if not mournful aspect, float above. The voice doesn't enter until about 22 minutes in but when it does, it casts a shadow to which the winds respond; matters become more agitated, as though a ghostly spirit had disturbed the premises. Soon, the vocal is multi-tracked, spirits swarm, but the garden's calm prevails and things settle back into timelessness. There are some especially lovely moments when the trombone plows into its depths, its bass purrs sounding very, very content.

The recording is fine, the performance sensitive. One can't ask for too much more just let it wash over you and transport you to that garden.



John Cage: Ryoanji
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