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Recently @ Squidco:

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


Orphax / Machinefabriek: Weerkaatsing (Moving Furniture)

"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)

A great collection of short film soundtracks and pieces that appeared on compilation albums and out-of-print CDRs, including the "Nerf" EP, the tracks for the book "Things That A Mutant Needs To Know" by Reinaldo Laddaga, and 3 soundtracks of which two are for a short movie and one for a video installation, alongside tracks from other compilations. ... Click to View


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

Bizarre, disruptive, aberrant sound from twisted experts in the field Lambs Gamble, comprised of George Cremaschi on bass & electroncis, Fritz Welch on drums, percussion and voice, and Eric Boros (Vialka) on electronics and voice, recording in Switzerland for a fantastic album of intelligent abnormality. ... Click to View


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

In 1986 saxophonist Elton Dean toured Brazil with his quintet of Harry Beckett on trumpet, Liam Genockey on drums, Marcio Mattos on bass, and Paul Rutherford on trombone, capturing this exemplary band at Radio Culture Sao Paulo, the tapes now transferred by Michael King and mastered by Martin Davidson, presenting the entire concert for the first time. ... Click to View


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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  Free Music Missionary or Professional Juggler  

Evan Parker Discusses Four Decades in Free Improvisation


By Marc Chenard
Photo by Martin Morissette 2003-06-19

Call it 'free jazz', 'free music', or 'European Improvised Music' if you want, but one thing is for sure: it is as vibrant nowadays, if not more than when it was first thrust upon the transatlantic music scene a little less than forty years ago. As enduring as its history has been over there, it is now spanning the Great Divide and reaching not only a steadily growing audience but an increasingly younger one at that. Of its most heralded practioners, British tenor and soprano saxophonist Evan Parker is clearly one of its leading figures and, at 59, his commitment to this art form has never flagged. Two summers ago, during the debut edition of a festival of improvised music held in Montreal, Evan Parker visited the city for the first time in 15 years. Between two evening performances, one solo, the other with a pair of live electronics players, he spoke at length of the music he has been unerringly devoted to for the last 35 years, sharing some insights on its checkered history while expatiating, so to speak, on a few of the fineries of his own artistic practices and beliefs. Evan Parker

Marc Chenard: In 1997, veteran Belgian pianist Fred van Hove made an interesting point when I asked him to contrast the state of improvised music now from the early days of the 1960s: for him it used to be like jumping off a cliff, but now it's more like finding your way through a jungle. Do you agree with that statement? Since you too are a 'first generation' free improviser, you have seen this music change considerably over time.

Evan Parker: To me jumping off a cliff speaks of an uncertain voyage with a messy and most likely painful end to it. But wandering through the jungle doesn't really speak of any direction, so you may not know where you're going and be lost. I'm not quite sure I follow that. This music certainly has a history to it and we play as much in reference to it as our to own current activities. Now this calls into question the issue of stylistic or aesthetic coherence, and how we can keep something fresh while keeping it true to a certain way of thinking, or line of development. Yes, I've been called a 'first generation' free improvisor, but it's really hard to say where or when this music really started, and while it may be true in a certain context, it's not really the case when you look at the bigger picture.

M.C.: Speaking of things historical, London in the late '60s was really a fulcrum of sorts, and one place in particular played an important role in the emergence of the British free music scene, that being the Little Theater. How did you get involved?

E.P.: The late drummer John Stevens just invited me to play there, and it was really his fiefdom. He had the ear of the owner (Jean Pritchard was her name), and she'd been operating an after-hours hangout for actors who, by the way, weren't that crazy about the music. So it must have been a struggle for John to keep her straight, so to speak, but he had the social skills to do that.

M.C.: At that same period, you would also get to know other European free improvising musicians from the continent, like bassist Peter Kowald [who died last year, after this interview took place].

E.P.: Peter came to London in fact, but we never played at the Little Theater. He joined me and John at a time when our group (i.e. the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, or SME for short) was reduced to just a duo. We were working at a small folk club called 'Les Cousins', which interestingly enough was operated by the blues musician Alexis Korner. At that time, he had this duo with a guy called Victor Brocks, and they had this sort of idealistic notion of playing a very free kind of blues while were doing a very free kind of jazz. So we'd each do a set thentry to play together at the end of the week... but that didn't go on for too long. So we played there with Peter over the Summer of '67. Late that year, Peter invited me to come to this music workshop that the radio producer Joachim-Ernst Behrendt was putting together for the South German radio in Baden Baden. But I only got in because John Tchicai decided to cancel at the last minute. It's on that occasion I first met Peter Br÷tzmann and Gunther Hampel, as well as Don Cherry, Marion Brown and Jean ne Lee.

M.C.: So I gather this session was what lead up to the now 'seminal' recording "Machine Gun"?

E.P.: Right. And Br÷tzmann also introduced me to Alex von Schlippenbach (around 1970), but that was after getting to know Willem Breuker, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. Kowald, on the other hand, was responsible for bringing me together with Irene Schweizer and Pierre Favre, and we worked for a couple of years together, and did that one recording for Wergo in '69. Sometimes they played just as a trio, or I'd join them when they could afford bringing me over. I was now getting better acquainted with the German scene, and thanks to an invitation from Jost Gebers (the now soon to retire producer of FMP Records in Berlin), a larger version of SME performed there, which had Dave Holland, Derek Bailey, Trevor Watts, John and myself.

M.C.: So it was John who was responsible for bringing you and Derek together.

E.P.: In effect, because he was playing occasionally at the Little Theater club with that trio called 'Joseph Holbrooke', the one with Gavin Bryars and Tony Oxley. But Gavin left to study in America, so it was from there that we started playing together. It was also around that time that we did that record for ECM (" Music Improvisation Company"). Come to think of it, it's really a complicated period to re-construct, because there were so many contacts happening at the same time.

M.C.: Among those contacts, there were the Blue Notes, that legendary South African band who settled in London for a while. They, too, had quite an effect.

E.P.: Sure, their approach was so different, but it was not like we were trying to learn their music only; they were just as interested by our free playing as we were by theirs. I remember doing a gig with the pianist Chris McGregor and the drummer Louis Moholo, just playing completely free, and that was probably around or before 1970. The trumpeter Mongezi Feza also did the same, and Dudu Pukwana, the sax player, would go to Holland to play with Misha and Han. To this day, Louis is still the happiest when he plays free.

M.C.: I can imagine there were a lot of sessions going on during the day, but were there many more venues to bring this to the public?

E.P.: Well, the Little Theater was pretty much the place, but there was also a short period, of about a year and a half or two, when Ronnie Scott's club kept its original Gerrard Street locale while starting up its new one right across on Frith Street. It was probably more jazzy on the average, like Mike Westbrook's bands, Chris McGregor, John Surman and Mike Osborne, with John Stevens and myself usually slotted on a midweek evening. Mike also had a place of his own called 'Peanuts' and that was further East, near Liverpool Street. His own people mostly played there, but he would farm out gigs to others as well. So you could say it was pretty healthy back then, but I think we need to have a few more Peanuts-type places happening now. I'm always encouraging bass players and drummers to do this, because they're the natural ones for this type of thing.

M.C.: In contrast to that period, how does London compare nowadays? It is happening?

E.P.: Absolutely! There are hundred of musicians now and it's impossible to keep up. There's a whole generation of people in their20's and younger now ready and eager to pursue this music. Take for example, the bassist John Edwards (who plays with Jah Wobble), he's still quite young and very much involved in this scene.

M.C.: Interestingly enough, this renewed interest in improvised music is not only a local phenomenon, but a more international one as well. Take, for instance, the United States: It's blossoming there as well, both in terms of musicians and audience.

E.P.: There's a surge, that's for sure... and I hope it carries on like this! Let's see, here we are in June, and I've been over four times already, a record for me. But the interesting thing is that I don't even initiate these contacts. They come from people inviting me. And they come not only from New York or other major cities, but from more remote places, too.

M.C.: On the first night of your stay here, you played a solo saxophone concert, and this has been very central to your art over the last 25 years. But until only recently, you would only play soprano in solo contexts, how come?

E.P.: I've always thought of myself as being a soprano player who doubles on tenor rather than the other way around. Actually, when I switched from alto to tenor way back when, there was a time I was only playing soprano. Nowadays, in certain contexts, like with drums, I only play tenor, but it's taken time for that to happen. And after playing just soprano in solo contexts, that too is changing.

M.C.: It worked out to about half and half in the performance. What also struck me is the fact that your tenor language is moving closer than ever to your soprano language, whereas in the past it seemed you made a conscious effort to keep both of these as separate as possible. What interests me here is to find out how you are working on translating the concepts of the soprano to the tenor.

E.P.: That's quite new for me, indeed, and it does seem they're overlapping more than ever. With the techniques I've developed to control certain possibilities on one horn, it's as if I can reverse the roles of the two hands when I'm trying to translate these over to what I could call the "physics of the tenor." You see, it all has to do with how broken air columns work. Now this may well be a broad generalization, but I could say that the soprano is a closed column broken in the left hand while the tenor tends to be more of a left hand position modified by the right hand. Now this might sound impenetrable to anyone who doesn't play the saxophone, or maybe even for those who do, but it means something to me. You could say that it has to do with the ways in which the keys fall under your hand, the weight distribution and the fingerings as well, because a lot of this stuff depends on getting up to a certain speed.

M.C.: I imagine you have to practice a lot to keep this up.

E.P.: These days, I'm not practicing as much as I should, because I'm too busy, traveling and what not. But one can do a lot of conceptual practicing as well, something like mental arithmetic where you're thinking of intervallic patterns. For instance: to go through sequences of alternating minor thirds and fourths, or semi-tones and flat fifths, from bottom to top and knowing where to go down when you run out of instrument. The eight or ten hour practice day is long in the past for me, but there were times when I was only doing that because work was so scarce.

M.C.: After 25 years of solo concerts and having built such a language, do you have a feeling of living too much by it? Are there times where you'd like to break away from it?

E.P.: That calls to mind the title of a book by Doris Lessing and that is Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. I guess it's a prison I've chosen to live in. Of course, you can choose to do something different, but that's rather easy to juststand up and do something nobody expects. I find it more interesting to do what people expect and then still surprise them, or myself for that matter. For the moment, I am finding things and recombining them in interesting ways. I like that feeling of capturing people's ears and taking them on a journey. I can be a guide only if I go down some paths I already know myself. After all, it's not much good having a guide who doesn't know his way through the jungle...



continued...




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