The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Satoko Fujii: Solo (Libra)

A stunning album of solo performances, the first of 12 monthly releases from Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii celebrating her 60th birthday, in an impressive set of seven original compositions illustrating her incredible skills in both profoundly beautiful and technically spectacular playing both inside and out of the piano, an exceptional start to the series. ... Click to View


Kaze (Fujii / Tamura / Pruvost / Orins): Atody Man (Libra)

The fifth album from the French and Japanese quartet Kaze, initiated by drummer Pter Orins, with two trumpeters--Christian Pruvost and Natsuki Tamura--and pianist Satoko Fujii, all using extended and unusual techniques as they perform innovative compositions from Fujii, Orins, and Tamura with a balance of serious and playful approaches; brilliant. ... Click to View


Fire!: The Hands (Rune Grammofon)

The genre-defying trio Fire! with Mats Gustafsson on saxophones & electronics, Andreas Werliin on drums, percussion and effects, and Johan Berthling on upright and electric bass, blend heavy and dark elements of free improvisation, free rock, free blues, sound and noise, and sampled overlays in their latest, cultured and crude album of brooding and gripping music. ... Click to View


Fire!: The Hands [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

The genre-defying trio Fire! with Mats Gustafsson on saxophones & electronics, Andreas Werliin on drums, percussion and effects, and Johan Berthling on upright and electric bass, blend heavy and dark elements of free improvisation, free rock, free blues, sound and noise, and sampled overlays in their latest, cultured and crude album of brooding and gripping music. ... Click to View


Lisa Mezzacappa : Glorious Ravage (New World Records)

San Francisco Bay Area composer, acoustic bassist, and bandleader, Lisa Mezzacappa used the 1872 writings of British world traveler Isabella Bird "I am doing what a woman can hardly ever do ..." as the basis for lyrics for her adventurous ten-part "panoramic song cycle for improvisers, with Fay Victor handling the vocals with a stellar ensemble of modern improvisers. ... Click to View


George Lewis: Assemblage (New World Records)

Composer George Lewis leads an ensemble that bridges compositional and improvisation skills through four large compositions written between 2012 and 2014 using the concept of "assemblage," a pragmatic, material, non-teleological approach to composition on four differing themes, yielding fascinatingly complex yet diverse, thrilling and embraceable results. ... Click to View


Daniel Levin / Chris Pitsiokos / Brandon Seabrook: Stomiidae (Dark Tree Records)

A collective trio of vanguard improvisers and frequent New York collaborators, Daniel Levin on cello, Chris Pitsiokos on alto saxophone, and Brandon Seabrook on electric guitar, a working band captured here in the studio at Firehouse 12 for a powerful set of idiosyncratic and exhilarating improvisations with tracks and the title named for a family of deep sea fish. ... Click to View


Jaap Blonk / Terrie Ex: Thirsty Ears (Terp Records)

Ex guitarist Terrie Ex improvises with Dutch sound poet and electronicist Jaap Blonk for 9 stories and sonic works, using unusual phonetic interpretations in strange stories with electronic asides and interventions, a truly unique album drawing on the evolution of their duo since 2012 that includies performances in Ex's Ethiopian "Soundpoetry" series of concerts and workshops. ... Click to View


Plan B (Joe Mcphee / James Keepnews / David Berger): From Outer Space [VINYL with DOWNLOAD] (Roaratorio)

Spinning an unusual story, the trio of saxophonist and pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee, guitarist and laptop artist James Keepnews, and drummer David Berger envision the first encounter between alien life and a delegation of earthlings, while giving a nod to jazz's original man from another planet, Sun Ra, with a side-long suite dedicated to him. ... Click to View


Rutger Zuydervelt (w/ Ilia Belorukov / Rene Aquarius): The Red Soul (Sofa)

Music for the movie "The Red Soul" by Jessica Gorter, a chilling and fascinating look at the legacy of Josef Stalin, from an electroacoustic trio of Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) editing and processing the playing of saxophonist Ilia Belorukov and percussionist Rene Aquarius, a dark and muted set of 14 emotional tracks that reflect a dark history. ... Click to View


Lasse Marhaug: Void [7"] (BeCoq)

Two dark works of sound creating a mysterious chasm of drones, pulsations, electronic stretches, and mysterious percussive engines, a strange pair of recordings that definitely fit the title of this 7" record from Norwegian sound experimenter Lasse Marhaug. ... Click to View


Makoto Kawabata / Richard Pinhas / Tatsuya Yoshida: (Bam Balam Records)

Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Richard Pinhas (Heldon), and Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), modern and prolific explorers in the 21st century evolution of so-called progressive rock, reunite at the Studio Condorcet in Toulouse (France) to record a series of fiery improvisations and experimentations blending free noise, blues, and psychedelia. ... Click to View


Makoto Kawabata / Richard Pinhas / Tatsuya Yoshida: (Bam Balam Records)

Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Richard Pinhas (Heldon), and Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), modern and prolific explorers in the 21st century evolution of so-called progressive rock, reunite at the Studio Condorcet in Toulouse (France) to record a series of fiery improvisations and experimentations blending free noise, blues, and psychedelia. ... Click to View


Dominik Karski : GLIMMER Flute o'clock (Bolt)

... Click to View


Cortex: Avant-Garde Party Music [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Cortex propels their persuasive, groove oriented approach to jazz with this swinging album that blends free jazz styles with great hard bop, in line with a band like The Thing, this Scandinavian group wants to make your body move without indulging in excess or pandering, instead following a muse that's solidly in the exuberant free jazz tradition. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton: Music For David Mossman (Intakt)

David Mossman is the founder of The Vortex Jazz Club in London, where in January 1983 the British trio of Evan Parker on sax, Barry Guy on bass, and Paul Lytton on drums recorded their first album together on the Incus label, "Tracks"; returning now, 43 years later, to pay tribute to the club and to record this absolutely impressive album of commanding free improvisation. ... Click to View


Amok Amor: We Know Not What We Do (Intakt)

An edgy, technically spectacular, inventive and slightly twisted jazz quartet of German-based free improvisers Christian Lillinger (drums), Petter Eldh (bass), Wanja Slavin (sax), with NY trumpeter Peter Evans (Mostly Other People Do the Killing) on trumpet, for 9 innovative compositions that thrill, amuse, and keep you on the edge of your seat. ... Click to View


Jurg Wickihalder / Barry Guy / Lucas Niggli: Beyond (Intakt)

A working trio formed from 3 generations of free jazz players dedicated to performing and recording, Jurg Wickihalder (sax), Barry Guy (bass) and Lucas Niggli (drums) spent two days at the Loft in Cologne, Germany recording this album of virtuosic skill and joyful playing, effortlessly passing from lyrical to abstract sections with always a song in their collective heart. ... Click to View


Eskelin / Weber / Griener: Sensations of Tone (Intakt)

Taking their title from a 19th century text by Hermann von Helmholtz on acoustics and perception of sound, the trio of NY saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, German drummer Michael Griener, and Swiss bassist Christian Weber present a a series of improvised pieces alternated with early jazz compositions, juxtaposing both approaches to highlight their similarities and the differences. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / William Parker): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 1 Titan (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and New York pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this first volume of 6 albums brings the two together with frequent collaborator William Parker for a 6 part work, fittingly dedicated to Saturn's largest moon, "Titan". ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / Bobby Kapp): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 2 Tarvos (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and New York pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this second volume brings the duo together with legendary drummer Bobby Kapp, who's nimble and relaxed approach showcases himself and the duo of Pereleman Shipp with grace. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Whit Dickey): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 3 Pandora (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman and NY pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this 3rd volume brings David S. Ware's (or Shipp's Trio) rhythm section the studio for a turbulent and ultimately fiersome album of free improv that only such long relationships can invoke. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / Michael Bisio): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 4 Hyperion (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman and NY pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this 4th volume celebrating that partnership adds another long-term compatriot, NY bassist Michael Bisio, for a 10 part series of improvisations exploring a diverse set of approaches. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Whit Dickey): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 5 Rhea (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman and NY pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this 5th volume celebrating that partnership brings the duo together with bassist William Parker and drummer Whit Dickey, where the long-term bonds of all 4 players push each to great heights. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 6 Saturn (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman and NY pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this 6th volume bring us back to the core, evoking the planet Saturn in a 10-part series of duos between these two masterful players, showing fire and angular playing in mid-tempo exploration. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / Andrew Cyrille): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 7 Dione (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman and NY pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this 7th and final volume brings legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille together with the duo in a subtle album propelled by Cyrille's authoritative rhythms and superb interaction of all three players. ... Click to View


Myra Melford Trio: Alive In The House Of Saints CD 2 (Hatology)

The much-anticipated 2nd volume in pianist Myra Melford's series of live performances, "Alive In The House Of Saints", documenting sublimely beautiful and innovative playing with her trio of Lindsey Horner on bass and jazz legend Reggie Nicholson on drums, performing live in two concerts in Germany in 1993. ... Click to View


Michael Adkins Quartet (w/ Russ Lossing / Larry Grenadier / Paul Motion): Flaneur (Hatology)

Much is made of Canadian saxophonist Michael Adkin's mid-tempo approach to jazz, heard here in his 3rd album, "Flaneur", which translates to "stroller" or "saunterer", an apt description of the lyrical, unhurried yet technically adept and sophisticated approach taken by his quartet with Russ Lossing on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Paul Motian on drums. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser Trio (w/ Marc Ducret / Peter Bruun): Taktlos Zurich 2017 (Hatology)

With a history of work in Switzerland, NY and Berlin, trombonist Samuel Blaser brings his multi-national trio with avant improvising guitarist Marc Ducret and Dutch drummer Peter Bruun to the stage of the Taktlos Festival in Zurich, Switzerland in 2017 for a set of extended improvisations, all three players displaying a unique language of incisive and fascinating free jazz. ... Click to View


Markus Eichenberger / Daniel Studer: Suspended (Hatology)

Swiss compatriots with a long history of creative approaches to improvisation, double bassist Daniel Studer and clarinetist & bass clarinetist Markus Eichenberger join together for a studio album recorded at Radio Zurich in 2016, an album of furtive tension and suspense, each track named for a motion or subtle action that they carefully describe. ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales



  Goth Pop, The Ocean and Radio Shack  

The Unique Sensibilities of Marianne Nowottny


By Florence Wetzel 2003-06-20

Marianne Nowottny's name doesn't sound like you might expect: she pronounces it "Mah-ri-AH-na," not "Maryann. " The same could be said for her music, which critics in publications as disparate as The New York Times, The Wire and Tiger Beat have praised and attempted to describe. Magnet said that Nowottny's music is "like if André Breton wrote Harlequin romances." The writer meant this as a compliment, and it's as good a description as any, but Nowottny doesn't fit into a box; there's no easy recipe for her music.

Marianne Nowottony
[Photo Courtesy: Abaton Book Company]
For those unfamiliar with Nowottny's music, her new Camera Obscura release Illusions of the Sun is a good place to start. It's the 20 year old's seventh release (not counting several dozen live cdrs, videos and limited edition singles). The CD has seven audio tracks as well as a twelve-minute, three-song video. Six of the tracks were recorded at the WNYC-FM studios in New York City in 2001, another at CBGB's Gallery in 2002, and the multimedia portion was filmed at Signal 66 in Washington, D.C. in 2000. In all the tracks, Nowottny sings her original lyrics and accompanies herself on harmonium, piano, and Radio Shack keyboards.

Part of Nowottny's uniqueness is due to her ability - and courage - to allow her voice to explore its full range, from primal growl to operatic soprano to lilting pop. Combined with this wide spectrum of sound is her unusual phrasing: she stretches and compacts words in ways that make the listener hear anew. Repeated listening to Illusions of the Sun - with and without the provided lyrics as a guide - reveals deeper pleasures; as one becomes accustomedto Nowottny's unique phrasing, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, and one can even identify known elements.

"I always listen to music, and in my songs I can hear little parts that come from different pop songs," she said. "The hooks are twisted, tortured, bent, and then fit into my own songs somehow."And it's not just pop that surfaces in her music: listeners hear elements of Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Diamanda Galas, Nico, and Sun Ra.

Other such luminaries count themselves among her fans.

"When I first heard Marianne's singing I was floored by the timelessness of her sound, simultaneously ancient and in the future," said guitarist Elliott Sharp, who has performed and recorded with the young songwriter. "It's tapped into the same strain that one hears in country blues, in Transylvanian gypsy music, and in fado."

But Nowottny did not grow up hearing these musicians and styles; her songs just came out that way. And the songs on Illusions of the Sun are also remarkable for their lyrics. Nowottny has been writing poetry for years, and her lyrics are highly original, as well as emotive and thought-provoking. In "Grey City" (recorded August 2001, but eerily reflecting the events of the next month), Nowottny writes, "I make believe just to relieve/the shrapnel sewn to my sleeve." Most of her songs concern romance and the many permutations of lost, found, and disappointed love. Reflecting on these songs, Nowottny said "For years I did self-indulgent, ultra-personal teen angst stuff. If I do sit and contemplate this music now, it makes me feel weird." Teen angst it may be, but funneled through Nowottny's sensibility it's heartfelt ("He's probably dead now/He's probably dead someway somehow") and sometimes mischievous ("Paisley or paramecium/Love or lust?"). It's music you can listen to while crying your heart out on your bed or concentrate on for its own reward.

Illusions of the Sun is Nowottny's first release on the Australian label Camera Obscura. Her previous work came out on the Abaton Book Company imprint, a label located in Jersey City and run by Mark Dagley of former Boston art band Girls, and his wife, playwright Lauri Bortz. It's fortunate to have talent, and it's equally fortunate to have people nurture and present your work in a way that preserves your integrity. Since meeting Nowottny in Newton, NJ in 1998, Dagley and Bartz have been her friends and champions, and they have produced a generous catalogue of Nowottny material, including her first release Afraid of Me (1999), Manmade Girl (2001), and SHELL! (2000), Nowottny's duet with her friend Donna Bailey. There's also limited editions of CDs, MP3s, and vinyl, as well as over fifty performance videos. Nowottny, Dagley, and Bortz also share a playful sense of humor, which is evident in Abaton's wide array of Marianne merchandise, which includes Marianne pick-up sticks, a teddy bear called Bearianne Nowottny, and - why not? - Breath of Marianne, which is exactly that, a bottle of her breath.

Nowottny's open-hearted creativity expresses itself in many mediums: music, poetry, painting, sculpture, clothing design, and modeling. It's refreshing to encounter such a genuinely artistic spirit, and as The New Jersey Herald astutely observed, "She may have such a solid following because [her music] is so original and somehow may strike a chord in others, nudging them not to be afraid of themselves, of their innate originality."

The songwriter's gifts flowered in soil that might seem particularly unsuitable for artists: suburban-rural southern New Jersey. "There's strange people down in southern New Jersey; they really took my mind for a spin," she said. "I believed in the goth thing, and there were a lot of goth hicks where I was. I thought the rest of the world was like this too." But no matter the company, Nowottny found solace and beauty in the Jersey Shore landscape. "It's really scenic where I grew up; I lived in a little house by a lake, and there were nice places to be by myself in nature. I went to the ocean every day, and I still dream of it." The unique combination of goth, spinning minds, the Atlantic ocean, and Radio Shack became part of Nowottny's development, fodder for creative expression.

Although Nowottny has received a great deal of attention since a very young age, she is remarkably levelheaded, with a healthy dose of skepticism. "When I was 16 the weird fetish was to call me a teen rocker. I didn't buy into it, and it pissed me off because I thought I was all grown up: 'I'm a woman, leave me alone!' And the main thing people said about me was 'This is really great, but too bad no one cares.' And that contradicts itself. It was sad to me, but I understand it as well - I wasn't making music to make money."

She is inspired by contemporary artists who have found a larger audience without compromising their unusual sound. "The group Einstuerzende Neubauten has a big fan base, and their symbol is everywhere," she said. "And Coldplay has ambient dark songs that are becoming hits."

She has been presenting her music at various East Coast venues since 1999. Currently she's studying at William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ; college as well as a part-time job have curbed her performing schedule, but come fall she will probably be playing out again. In the meantime, she continues creating and absorbing music. "I think about music and songs a lot in my car, and I even have a tape recorder there," she said. "I'm listening to a lot of pop engineer constructed R&B hits, bubblegum gangster music like Missy Elliott, who's amazing. Ashanti's music inspires me - I love the downbeat, and it's a happy-go-lucky, sophisticated, city-woman kind of music. I'm also listening to Fleetwood Mac from the Rumours period - I like the song 'Dreams' a lot."

There's no telling how Nowottny's external and internal influences will reflect in her future music, but however it translates, music lovers - and music connoisseurs - will surely reap the benefits.

Currently she's on the margins of mainstream music, but Nowottny recognizes that with different instrumentation and presentation she could attract a wider audience. It's an opportunity that interests her, but doesn't necessarily drive her, she said. "Music is taking a turn in evolution, but it can't appeal to a mass audience when it's lacking the basic recipe of beats and bass. My dad is tone deaf, but if a song has beats and bass, he'll listen to it. What would change is me, putting my music into something that more people can listen to."

But then, she added, "people who listen to pop music don't give a shit about art."



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Lisa Mezzacappa :
Glorious Ravage
(New World Records)



Fire!:
The Hands
(Rune Grammofon)



Fire!:
The Hands
[VINYL + CD]
(Rune Grammofon)



Jaap Blonk /
Terrie Ex:
Thirsty Ears
(Terp Records)



Satoko Fujii:
Solo
(Libra)



Kaze
(Fujii /
Tamura /
Pruvost /
Orins):
Atody Man
(Libra)



Lasse Marhaug:
Void
[7"]
(BeCoq)



Anthony Braxton :
Sextet
(Parker) 1993
[11-CD BOX SET]
(New Braxton House)



Amok Amor:
We Know Not
What We Do
(Intakt)



Evan Parker /
Barry Guy /
Paul Lytton:
Music For
David Mossman
(Intakt)



Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp
(w/ William Parker /
Whit Dickey):
The Art Of
Perelman-Shipp
Volume 5 Rhea
(Leo)



Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp :
The Art Of
Perelman-Shipp
Volume 6 Saturn
(Leo)



Cortex:
Avant-Garde
Party Music
[VINYL]
(Clean Feed)



Myra Melford Trio:
Alive In
The House Of Saints
CD 2
(Hatology)



Gabriele Meirano /
Federico Ughi:
Coordinate Orientali
[CD + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Daniel Carter /
William Parker /
Federico Ughi:
The Dream
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Sabir Mateen
(w/ Steve Swell /
Matt Lavelle /
Matthew Heyner /
Michael Thompson):
Prophecies Come To Pass
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Donald McKenzie II
Sturge Anthony
(w/ Nels Cline,
Arnold Lee,
Melvin Gibbs,
David Hofstra,
Vernon Reid,
CX Kidtronik):
Silenced
[CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Sainct Laurens
(Pierre-Yves Martel /
Philippe Lauzier):
Volume 2
[VINYL]
(Etrons)



Henry Cow:
Vol. 4 & 5: Trondheim
(Recommended Records)







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (38433)