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Christoph Erb / Jim Baker / Frank Rosaly: ...Don't Buy Him A Parrot... (Hatology)

Saxophonist and bass clarinetist Christoph Erb travels between Europe and Chicago, here in a trio with Chicago mainstays, pianist Jim Baker and drummer Frank Rosaly, for an intense and fierce album of collective improvisation captured live at their second-only encounter on the stage of the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago in 2014. ... Click to View


Paula Shocron / German Lamonega / Pablo Diaz: Tenzegridad (Hatology)

Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the trio of Paula Shocron on piano, German Lamonega on double bass, and co-founder of her Nendo Dango Records label, Pablo Diaz on drums, for an exciting album of free jazz with lyrical intent and great technical skills, an unexpected gem from an part of world not well known for free improvisation. ... Click to View


David Stackenas : Bricks (Clean Feed)

An amazing solo CD of free improvisation from guitarit David Stackenaus, showing incredible technique and melodic intent, equally at ease when exploring tonality and melody or abstract noisy textures; compelling and impressive playing! ... Click to View


Tristan Honsinger / Nicolas Calioa / Jesse Zubot: In The Sea (Relative Pitch)

The transatlantic string trio of Amsterdam-based cellist Tristan Honsinger (also on voice) with Montreal free improvisers violinist Joshua Zubot and double bassist Nicolas Caloia in an album of informed improvisation that bring an upbeat approach to authoritative dialog which is bot sharp-witted and irreverent, but never less than engaging. ... Click to View


Christian Lillinger / Tobias Deluis: Dicht (Relative Pitch)

Berlin-based improvisers Christian Lillinger on drums and Tobias Delius on tenor sax and clarinet in an album of powerful rhythms, instant melodies, and quick-witted responses, bridging a generation of experience in dialog and give and take that works well head on and in reserve, a great encounter from two modern and active creative players. ... Click to View


Isabelle Duthoit / Franz Hautzinger: Lily (Relative Pitch)

French free vocalist Isabelle Duthoit met world traveling improviser and Zeitkratzer trumpeter Franz Hautzinger in New York City to record these highly unusual duos, using extreme techniques and inexplicable intent to create 9 uniquely aberrant accompaniments to your most subtle and strange dreams; reference Phil Minton, Axel Dorner, Freddie Kruger. ... Click to View


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"Weerkaatsing is the first collaboration by Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) and Sietse van Erve (Orphax), both active players in the Dutch experimental electronic music field, in an album of mesmerizing sound and drone work, with one composition from each artist reworking a track from the other's previous work, and one new collaborative piece. ... Click to View


Machinefabriek: Assemblage (Zoharum)

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Lambs Gamble: Farewell Body Bags [VINYL] (Discombobulate)

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Elton Dean Quintet: Welcomet - Live in Brazil, 1986 (Ogun)

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Jean-Luc Guionnet + Eric La Casa: Reflected Waves [60 pages 21x25 cm + DVD video 1h48mn] (Passage d'encres)

Eric La Casa and Jean Luc Guionnet recorded this conceptual work in Melbourne, Australia, combining different scales of time, space, & attention, with different working strategies to create a gallery installation, and this book & DVD package exploring the acoustic phenomenon of "standing waves" to engage with the physical relationship between sound and space. ... Click to View


Anthony Pateras : Blood Stretched Out (Immediata)

A dramatic work for solo piano, exploring sound phenomena in fast repetitions that generate whirlpools of overtones, "Blood Stretched Out" is the primary track on composer & pianist Anthony Pateras' first solo album in 10 years, paired with "Chronochromatics", recorded live at The Loft in Cologne as part of the Plush Music Festival in 2013. ... Click to View


Jerome Noetinger / Anthony Pateras / Synergy Percussion : Beauty Will Be Amnesiac Or Will Not Be At All (Immediata)

Anthony Pateras was commissioned to compose this work by Synergy Percussion for their 40th birthday in 2014, performed with a six piece ensemble including electronic artist Jerome Noetinger, using the same instrumentation as Xenakis' "Pleiades" of more than 100 orchestral percussion instruments, including Xenakis' 17-pitch microtonal metallophones. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa : Paris Quotidien [CD+60 page booklet of photos & text] (Swarming)

Eric La Casa documents his home environment in Paris through audio investigation and field recordings, creating 3 large works that reveal the properties, singularities, banalities and features of his audio environment in perspective to his status as a citizen of the city, presented in a gatefold CD package with a color 60-page booklet of photos and text. ... Click to View


Electric Bird Noise: The Spider / The Christ Child / The Crow (Silber)

Guitarist Brian McKenzie is known best for his dramatic rock persona, where his multi-instrumental approach to song-writing shows great skill; on this album, McKenzie gets down to the guitar itself, with loops, effects and electronics creating a cohesive set of 9 pieces that maintain an edgy, discordant approach to enthralling sound. ... Click to View


Ezio Piermattei : Tre Madri Ludopatiche [CASSETTE] (Discombobulate)

Using an eclectic set of audio tools, objects, voice and electronics, Ezio Piermantel creates a bizarre sound world of concrete and inexplicable sound that fascinates the listener in a strange non-narrative that still manages to tell a story in sound and noise; truly unique. ... Click to View


Flamingo Creatures: Fisch Versucht Das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate)

Ten tracks of unusual electroacoustic experiments from the duo of Ronnie Oliveras and Ruth Maria Adam, using sound boxes and a variety of instruments to create a psychedelic yet embraceable set of recordings that leave the listener scratching their head but still grounded by tangible music, albeit in the strangest of settings. ... Click to View


Mike Majkowski : Days and Other Days [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Following double bassist Mike Majkowski's previous Astral Spirts cassette "Neighbouring Objects", this vinyl release is Majkowski's 7th solo album, here using analog synthesizer, percussion, piano, vibraphone, samples, and field recordings to create an amazing sonic universe through sound, tone, timbre, deep cogitation and mutant interjections. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth : Spuren [VINYL] (Hiddenbell Records)

The two parts of "Spuren" from Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth cover each side in an album of concentrative timbre and strategy, evoking continuous sounds that are diverted into unexpected avenues, drawing the listener into trance-like states with rich resonance, tone, and malleable rhythms, then surprising with unforseen audio twists. ... Click to View


Peter Zumthor Conradin : Grunschall [VINYL] (Hiddenbell Records)

Percussionist Peter Conradin Zumthor presents a stunning debut solo album, capturing one of the truly independent voices in the Swiss musical landscape in a 7-part contiguous work recorded at Radio Studio 1 in Zurich with a great feeling for form, distances and dynamics, as an incredibly focused, virtuosic, creative and deeply felt story is told. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee / Damon Smith / Alvin Fielder: Six Situations (Not Two)

Frequent collaborators, West Coast double bassist Damon Smith and AACM charter member Alvin Fielder on drums travel north to join free improv saxophone legend Joe McPhee at Roulette in New York City in 2016, recording this excellent example of informed free improvisation. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Miguel Mira / Nuno Torres / Eduardo Chagas / Antonio Chaparreiro / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Carlos Santos / Jose Oliveira : Jadis La Pluie Etait Bleue (Creative Sources)

The second volume of the project heard in the previous Creative Sources album, "Suspensao", here in a 9-piece electroacoust ensemble with viola, cello, doublebass, alto sax, trombone, piano, electric guitar, computer and percussion, suspenseful lowercase music that unfolds in mysterious, beautiful and rewarding ways. ... Click to View


Various: 910 Noise Presents (910 Noise)

A compilation of sound artists within the 910 area code, the North Carolina coastal region including Wilmington, NC, the home of Squidco, with artists including Carl Kruger (Caucasians, Baby Daddy), Grant Stewart as subterrene, Ryan Lewis in Food World and Baby Daddy, Phil Zampino (CHANGES TO blind), Jason Ward, August Traeger, and Authorless. ... Click to View


Christiane Bopp / Jean-Luc Petit: L'eorce Et La Salive (Fou Records)

A uniquely voiced dialog between two skilled improvisers -- Christiane Bopp on trombone and Jean-Luc Petit on bass clarinet & soprano sax -- bringing experience and technique to improvisations that push their instruments into extreme territory yielding fantastic and original language while keeps their listeners on the edge of their seats. ... Click to View


Irene Kepl: SololoS (Fou Records)

Heard in our catalog on albums from Improvising Beings and Another Timbre, here we have a stunning solo album of improvised violin from Viennese violinist Irene Kepl, showing a great range of style and technique while keeping the music playful and interesting, invoking a quote from Trisha Brown: "Dancing on the edge is the only place to be." ... Click to View


Maria Capurso Luisa / Jean-Marc Foussat: En Respirant (Fou Records)

A live recording at POP in Berlin between synth and electronics player Jean-Marc Foussat and vocalist and electronicist Maria Luisa Capurso, subverting the voice through electronics and effects to create wildly encompassing sound environments that contrast Foussat's synthetics with the organic quality of the human voice; rich, hallucinatory, wonderful. ... Click to View


Christof Kurzmann / Mats Gustafsson: Falling And Five Other Failings [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Two versatile and innovative improvisers, Mats Gustafsson on saxophones and Christof Kurzmann on electronics and voice, extracted improvisations recorded in the studio to create the 7 parts of this rich, pulse-based and intensely understated work about Falling and Failing. ... Click to View


Johan Berthling / Martin Kuchen / Steve Noble: Threnody, At The Gates [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Urgent and inspired free jazz from the Swedish/UK trio of Martin Kuchen on tenor and soprano sax, flute and retardophone, Johan Berthling on double bass, and Steve Noble on drums and percussion, recording a series of "Gate" improvisations, anguished laments of power and pulchritude. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann / Heather Leigh: Sex Tape (Trost Records)

The second album between European Free Jazz legend Peter Brotzmann and US-born, Scottish residing pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh, performing live at Music Unlimited Festival, in Wels, Austria in 2016 for a biting yet intimate set between the two, both players on fire as they weave long sinuous lines in an emotional and often brutal orgy of sound. ... Click to View


Ned Rothenberg / Hamid Drake: Full Circle - Live in Lodz (Foundation Listen)

Two legendary improvisers, Downtown New York multi-reedist and shakuhachi player Ned Rothenberg met Chicago drummer Hamid Drake at Ciagoty I Tesknoty, in Lodz, Poland in 2016 to record this effusive, extraordinary live concert of improvised music, demonstrating both enormous instrumental skill while imparting wonderfully upbeat energy; outstanding! ... Click to View


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  Max Johnson Quartet 
  The Prisoner  
  (NoBusiness) 


  
   review by Marc Medwin
  2015-02-04
Max Johnson Quartet: The Prisoner (NoBusiness)

Bassist Max Johnson continues down a path of excellent releases with his homage to the 1960s eponymous Sci-Fi show. He is joined in this new quartet iteration by Ingrid Laubrock on tenor, violist Matt Maneri and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and these versatile musicians bring their many gifts to bear on a fascinating and varied septet of compositions.

The pieces straddle any historical and stylistic lines that can be imagined, in both micro and macrocosm. Take "No. 48 Living in Harmony," just as a convenient example, which moves from a stretch of neo-Baroquean chamber music toward what sounds like a mixture of Spontaneous Music Ensemble pointillism and Noah Howard's middle 1960s work for ESP. Much of what may at first seem a historical disconnect is due to the complex relationship between the strings and wind players, who often inhabit a very different stylistic space from Fujiwara. Far from fragmentation however, the tension proves fertile, allowing for some beautiful counterpoint and stylistic interplay as the volume slowly increases. The track's pre-composed melodic material is distributed throughout, appearing with powerful import at strategic moments, a mixture of modality and chromaticism that adds another layer of historical complexity.

Unlike a lot of "free jazz," much of which is really not very free at all, The American/European dichotomy comes in the service of some extraordinary dynamic contrast. Restraint is often the order of the day, but this does not mean a lack of energy — far from it! Even the quietest moments are suffused with import and anticipation, so that those moments of fire that finally erupt take on special significance. The music is challenging, but there is always something to hold on to — a pregnant pause, a sustain, a repeated phrase, a snatch of melody rife with harmonic implication that disappears just as quickly. Most of all, a certain sense of mystery pervades everything, and this may be the disc's most winning aspect as the music progresses and the extremes between tension and resolution are traversed.



Max Johnson Quartet: The Prisoner
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