October 19, 2017:
It's been rather quiet here, the explanation being that I was away in Atlanta for a week. During that time JM & I had a chance to hang out with former Squidco employee Levi Erik, catching up with his film work and talking about upcoming audio projects. It was a nice break, but a lot of Squid work piled up while away... This year has had more breaks and interruptions than I would have preferred, this trip being the only one planned; the other trips were because of my father's cancer, and the biggest interruption was the move of Squidco to our (admittedly much nicer) office. Lacking insightful comments, I'll only mention that regular updates will start again, and that we have some truly great music coming our way over the next few months. Meanwhile, head over to our In Stock section to see the first wave of new releases added today.
October 19, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Mat Maneri / Evan Parker / Lucian Ban - Sounding Tears (Clean Feed) by John Eyles. http://www.squidsear.com/a.cgi?a=1987.
October 10, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Albert Ayler Quartet: Copenhagen Live 1964 (hatOLOGY) by Jeph Jerman.
October 10, 2017: New @ Squidco:
Wadada Smith Leo -Najwa
Wadada Smith Leo -Solo - Reflections And Meditations On Monk
Aki Takase/Alexander von Schlippenbach -So Long, Eric! Homage to Eric Dolphy
Steve Noble/Yoni Silver -Home
Various Artists -Asian Meeting Recordings #1
Jim Black Trio -The Constant
Fred Frith/Barry Guy -Backscatter Bright Blue
Fred Frith Trio -Another Day in Fucking Paradise
Lotte Anker/Fred Frith -Edge Of The Light
Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach/Evan Parker/Lovens) -Features
October 6, 2017:
One of the things I do when activating a record is link it to related albums, typically by artists, label, instrumentation. Creative Sources has been branching out as the label grows in stature, and one of the interesting aspects of linking their albums is finding like-minded labels, which has become a more diverse list of late. A good examples is the new Isotope Ensemble: Yttrium album, which linked to albums on labels Clean Feed, FMR, Jacc Records, NoBusiness, Shhpuma, and Tour de Bras. The music we sell, collect, and obsess over is all about linking like-minded artists and labels, finding connections between groups and artists that one might not expect, leading to more exploration and discovery. It's part of the joy of the job, and one of the reasons we take the time to link albums. I hope it's as useful to our customers as it is to me.
Isotope Ensemble: Yttrium (Creative Sources)
I ordered the latest round of Astral Spirits cassettes, one of which (Rob Mazurek's Chimeric Stoned Horn) will also be available on CD, the first from the label. I still consider CDs a "current" format, but they're slowly but surely becoming a legacy format like the cassette and LP, so it makes sense that Astral Spirits would include the format with this release. That said, anyone interested in high fidelity, library building, and resale potential has stuck with the CD format as the best physical release format, surpassing downloads and streaming services. It remains our best selling format, with LPs following, particularly those that include download codes.
That said, I've started listening to the 6 new releases with personal interest, the trio of Tatsuya Nakatani, Kawabata Makoto, and Henna Chou. Nakatani has performed at Squidco many times and, after many cocktails, I'm honored to call him a friend. This grouping with Acid Mothers Temple Makoto and cellist Chou brings out the best in all three, Nakatani providing dark and varied backgrounds and interventions over which Makoto and Chou freely improvise. Astral Spirits declares it stunning, and I have to agree.
Something to think about: while reading industry news following about Tom Petty, who's surprisingly young death leaves a gap in real roots rock, I was struck by the then-complaint about pricing his 1981 album Hard Promises, a vinyl LP that sold at $8.98, though his label was pushing for $9.98. The article points out that the album price would be the equivalent of more than $28.00 in today's dollars. This strikes home for us at Squidco, as we face challenges from downloads and streaming services while we focus on physical media. Record stores have closed en masse over the last decade and labels are releasing less copies of physical media. One of the primary reasons for that is that there's no real profit in selling music. We're still selling music around 1980s prices, with the exception of import albums and high-grade vinyl, all of which have meager mark ups. This isn't as much a complaint, as we fight and struggle with inventory to make sure we survive, but an observation that physical media has not kept up with inflation, and that it remains an amazing value, and a resalable one at that. In a perfect world we'd all have more money in our pockets and we'd think that $25 for a CD was acceptable, allowing musicians, distributors and stores more breathing room and desire to release. Sadly that's not reality...
"Its success led to the next impasse. MCA planned to make Mr. Petty's next album, "Hard Promises,"  a flagship of what it called "superstar pricing": $9.98 (more than $28 in today's dollars) rather than $8.98. Mr. Petty, among other tactics, threatened to title it "The $8.98 Album," and the price did not rise."
A few updates from the last week or so.
October 4, 2017: New @ Squidco:
Mark Dresser -Modicana [VINYL]
Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh/Ken Filiano/Royal Hartigan -Live at the Magic Triangle [VINYL]
Andrew Lamb/Warren Smith/Arkadijus Gotesmanas -The Sea of Modicum [VINYL]
Yedo Gibson/Hernani Faustino/Vasco Trilla -CHAIN
TON-KLAMI (Midori Takada/Kang Tae Hwan/Masahiko Satoh) -Prophesy of Nue
Liudas Mockunas -Hydro [VINYL]
James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing -Baby Talk
James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing -Baby Talk [VINYL]
Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra -The Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 [2 10-INCH VINYL RECORDS]
Faust -Fresh Air
October 3, 2017: New @ Squidco:
Cortex -Avant-Garde Party Music
Slow Is Possible (Pontiifice/Figueira/Fonseca/Clemente/Santos Dias/Sousa) -Moonwatchers
Roligheten (Roligheten/Loseth/Strom/Nylander) -Homegrown
Travassos -Life Is A Simple Mess [BOOK + CD]
Dre Hocevar -Surface Of Inscription
Der Verboten (Loriot/Chessex/Piromalli/Wolfarth) -Der Verboten
Various Artists -I Never Meta Guitar Four
Big Bold Back Bone (von Orelli/Lopes/Travassos) -In Search Of The Emerging Species [VINYL]
Matthieu Donarier/Santiago Quintans -Sun Dome
Jonas Cambien/Adrian Myhr -Simiskina
Eric La Casa -AIR.ratio
October 2, 2017:
Catching up after a week away is always a challenge, as music continues to flow in whether I'm here or not. On top of that, we're still catching up with a wealth of Portugal's Creative Sources albums, and also Switzerland's Intakt label.
Today starts with Creative Sources, run by violist and visionary Ernesto Rodrigues. What started as a label to get his unique approach to collective improvisation - understated, mysterious, detailed, and sonically charged - has become an amazing resource for European outsiders, and insiders who want to push their own envelope.
One great example from his label is the duo of German trombonists Matthias Muller & Matthias Muche, MM Squared Session. These are known players on the EFI scene, Matthias Muller (b 1971) a regular compatriot to players like John Edwards, Mark Sanders, George Lewis, Johannes Bauer, Jeb Bishop, Tobias Delius, Olaf Rupp, Paul Lovens, Toshimaru Nakamura, Clayton Thomas, Michael Vorfeld, Axel Dörner. His peer, Matthias Muche (b 1972) is another serious player on the scene, part of James Choice Orchestra, Das Mollsche Gesetz, Nils Klein Tentett, Schäl Sick Brass Band and with Mischa Mengelberg, Larry Ochs and Robyn Schulkowsky, and he's also a media artist and a found member of Zeitkunst. The point being that these two players have immersed their live in alternative approaches to jazz and improvised music, and this album allows them a degree of freedom to take two trombones into a conversation of massive technique and creative approach honed over decades. It's a wild, entertaining, and unusual album that might make conventional listeners question the player's sanity, which is exactly why we here at Squidco find it so interesting.
Because we've taken on so many Creative Sources releases at one time, it's hard for me to separate the most exciting from the merely excellent; honestly, most of the albums on the label have good reason to be released. Claudia Binder's playing style shows a nimble mind interested in a variety of approaches. Nikolaus Gerszewski score, or as he describes, a basis for a process, is so incredibly well exectued by himself and a core of Creative Sources familiar artists that's it's easy to forget how much brilliance feeds the resulting tapestry of sound. The duo of Georg Wissel and Tim O'Dwyer,bot on alto saxophone with preparations and split in the stereo image to make it coherent for the listener, is an incredible example of like-minded players with different approaches weaving their sounds in technical and sonically amazing ways. The lower register dialog of Ugo Boscain on contrabass clarinet and double bassist Fred Marty, recording in the beautiful harmonics of the Church of Gauriac in Gironde, France, another incredible duo example of wonderful approaches to their instruments, from lyrically lovely moments to absolutely intense interaction using the resonance of the church to create overwhelmingly absorbing moments. And a personal favorite from my affinity to double bassist Daniel Studer, the trio Irniger-Studer-Ulrich, performing live in Switzerland, bringing two generations of players together in music descended from European Free Improvisation in both creative and lyrical ways, with tremendous collective improvisation and revelatory soloing.