September 17, 2020:
Squidco has been extremely busy the last couple of weeks, from the first of 3 Record Store Day sales to our own Labor Day Sale. In the midst of that we've added 50 new albums to our catalog from labels including Astral Spirits, Balance Point Acoustics, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Discus, Black Truffle, Zeitkratzer, Fundacja Sluchaj! (Listen! Foundation), Libra, Toxo, Two Room, ezzthetics by Hat Hut Ltd, and Inner Arts Initiative. It's been an exciting beginning to the unofficial start of fall, and our ears are filled with new sounds! Thanks to all the customers who have participated in our sales events, it really makes us happy to spread so much music around the globe! The next event will be the 2nd Record Store Day on September 26, where we'll have a few new additions of RSD releases, and our own offers to help make the day special. With a lot of dreary news from around the world it's great to have so much bright music to offset it, I'm not sure what I would do without it.
A Summer of Reissues:
Perhaps this year of all we're spending a lot of time looking back and how we got where we are. With free improvisation, the recording legacy of early CDs starting primarily in the 60s is now enormous, and the decades intervening have allowed us perspective. We can identify seminal recordings, and artists who influenced or redirected the thoughts and concepts of a generation of musicians to come.
Last year we saw some essential reissues from US artists like Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, Anthony Braxton and Sun Ra, from UK/European artists like Derek Bailey (particularly the Company series reissued by Honest Jon's Records), Keith Tippett, and Ian Brighton, and from Japanese and Asian improvisors like Masayuki Takayanagi and Kaoru Abe. We also received some wonderful first issues of older material like the Sam Rivers series on NoBusiness, or Dark Tree's Horace Tapscott issues.
This year we've continued to see a great stack of reissues, from the rebranded ezzthetics by Hat Hut, Ltd. and Corbett vs. Dempsey. These alongside first issues like ezzthetic's Coltrane in Graz CDs, and the continuing Sam Rivers series. I've written quite a bit about the ezzthetic releases, but not enough about the superb work that Chicago's Corbett vs. Dempsey label has been doing. For several years CvsD has found obscure yet essential albums, many of which have been trading for incredibly inflated prices, and remastered and reissued them. The majority of these have been issued with their original intentions, including artwork and album sequencing. Their meticulous work is incredibly important, and while I disdain the concept of conservancy of the jazz idiom in the consideration of its continuing evolution, theirs is the best approach to allowing us to look backward while facing forward. Given CvsD's parallel series of new and innovative music, and their never-issued series bringing forgotten moments of history to life, I have nothing but praise for their efforts.
Here's are this summer's Corbett vs. Dempsey reissues.
Schlippenbach Quartet: Three Nails Left (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Remastered and with the original cover, the expanded Schlippenbach Trio of pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Evan Parker on soprano & tenor, and drummer percussionist Paul Lovens, with German double bassist Peter Kowalds, a stellar group captured in two incredibly inventive concerts at Third New Jazz Festival Moers and at Quartier Latin in 1974 & 1975.
Graves, Milford / Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert, 1966 (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Originally issued in two volumes on their own SRP Records in 1966 & 67 as In Concert At Yale University and Nommo, the duo of drummer/percussionist Milford Graves and pianist Don Pullen are heard live in in this excitingly energetic and revelatory concert at Yale University, redefining the roles of their instruments during the most exploratory period of free jazz.
Sun Ra And His Solar-Myth Arkestra: The Solar-Myth Approach (Vol. 1 & 2) [2 CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Originally issued on the BYG label as a 2 volume set, these albums present a variety of tracks from various undocumented sessions in New York and Philadelphia in the 1960s, with similar personnel in the makeup of the Arkestra during this time, here fully remastered and presented as a 2-CD set including a bonus track correcting an original mastering problem; essential Ra!
Peter Kowald Quintet: Peter Kowald Quintet (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
First ever CD reissue of the only band under bassist Peter Kowald's own name, remastered; originally released by FMP in 1972, this is exemplary European Free Jazz from one of the orignal innovators in a quartet with Peter Kowald on tuba, bass, & alphorn, Gunter Christmann and Paul Rutherford on trombones, Peter van der Locht on alto saxophone, and Paul Lovens on drums.
Wachsmann, Phil : Writing In Water (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
UK-based violinist Phillip Wachsmann, an essential player bringing contemporary approaches of indeterminacy, conceptualism and electroacoustics to the early community of improvisers and experimentalists, in a reissue of his 1984 Bead Records album, presenting his astute and sophisticated live solo performance for violin and electronics at the Actual Festival in July 1984, London.
While I'm at the subject of reissues, a couple of other essential reissues have joined our catalog this summer. For my ears, one of the most exciting is the reissue of Evan Parker and Augusti Fénandéz' first encounter in Barcelona, 1994: Tempranillo by Fundacja Sluchaj! (Listen! Foundation). The sheer mastery and enthusiasm of their duo is as exciting by modern standards as it was when recorded. Having personally never heard this music, which was released on a Spanish label that never made it to any store I shopped in, I'm grateful to have my ears exposed to it.
Evan Parker / Agusti Fernandez: Tempranillo (Fundacja Sluchaj!)
Reissuing this astonishing 1995 studio recording, capturing the first encounter between two legendary free jazz performers--UK saxophonist Evan Parker on tenor and soprano saxophones and pianist Augustí Fernández--in an 8-part dialog of mercurial speed balanced with moments of passionate introspection, resissued with new mastering restoring this essential meeting.
Another fascinating reissue is Tony Oxley's February Papers, originally issued on the Incus label in 1977 and long out of print; so rare is the original that copies sell for over $100 USD. What I find interesting about this album is, in retrospect, you can see how Oxley's mind is fervently seeking new methods of expression in a variety of settings. The album is a collection of groupings, from solo to quartet, with essential players including Barry Guy, Ian Brighton, and Philipp Wachsmann. I also find his piece for Evan Parker amusingly compelling, as he emulates Parker's smears and unusual saxophone utterances through electronics.
Oxley, Tony: February Papers (Discus)
Reissuing percussionist and electronic innovator Tony Oxley's 1977 Incus album, collecting works from Oxley's evolving approaches, including a quartet with bassist Barry Guy and violinists David Bourne & Philipp Wachsmann; a trio with Barry Guy and Ian Brighton on electric guitar; and solo pieces including a piece for Evan Parker emulating his sound through electronics.
The last reissue I'll mention is Klanggalerie's issue of Semantics, with Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, Samm Bennett. This was a Downtown NY supergroup of sorts, bringing together essential players from The Knitting Factory scene for a very open-minded set of recordings that embrace improv, jazz, and rock in natural ways. Personally I was excited to see this reissued as it's been a treasured LP in my collection since it was first issued. During the 80s, before I had moved to NYC and was living in Central NY, I would visit the city as frequently as possible. All three of these performers were among those who most interested me, and I saw all three in a wide variety of settings during this time. We have carried albums from all three for as long as Squidco has been in business, and they are an essential part of the music I hoped to focus on with our catalog when I started our service. I find this album as interesting and captivating now as I did then, a great reflection on the state of the Downtown scene in the 80s, but also still vital to the current time.
Semantics (Elliott Sharp / Ned Rothenberg / Samm Bennett): Semantics (Klanggalerie)
An excellent example of the 80s Downtown NY approach to improvisation from the trio of wind player Ned Rothenberg on alto & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet & flute, Elliott Sharp on guitar, bass & violin, and Samm Bennett on drums, percussion & electronic drums, all in the height and excitement of the new music being developed and performed in NYC in the 1980s; awe-inspiring!
Last, a couple of the aforementioned Asian Improv reissues. In particular, the Takayanagi New Direction Unit brings together the original material in a single 2-CD release, allowing the listener to hear the entire scope of their 1957 concert.
Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit: Axis/Another Revolvable Thing [2 CDs] (Blank Forms)
Reissuing the 1975 album of Japanese guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi's New Direction Unit with Kenji Mori on reeds, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass & cello, and Hiroshi Yamazaki on percussion, in a 2-CD set of the band's open-minded free-flowing and conceptual improvisation series "Fragments", captured live at Yasuda Seimei Hall in Tokyo, Japan and presented in performance order.
Abe, Kaoru / Sabu Toyozumi: Banka [VINYL] (NoBusiness)
NoBusiness continues their essential 70's reissue series of renowned Japanese free improvisers, here in an LP and extended CD edition of the live duo of percussionist Sabu Toyozumi and saxophonist Kaoru Abe on alto, soprano & sopranino saxophones, the LP presenting their 1978 concert at Gaja, Hatsudai in Tokyo, the CD extended with a live set at Minor, Kichijoji the same year.
On The Air:
As sometimes happens, patterns appear in the music we add to our catalog, often for no particular reason. Such is the case with the sound of radio, particularly the extraneous and unusual inter-frequency sounds heard across channels of local and shortwave radios. Three recent albums of note use the radio as sources.
The first is from the mysterious Opening Performance Orchestra, who use John Cage's 1956 Radio Music as a jumping-off point for a 72 minute performance piece recorded in 2018. Using historical radio sets from the Tesla Museum in Trest's collection of early and significant radio sets manufactured from 1935 to 1961, they create a tapestry of radio sound and fragments, a sculptured storm of static and aural shards that invokes a sense of history and enigma.
The second is the collaboration of electric harpist Zeena Parkins, working from Mills College in CA, with Chicago sound experimenter Jeff Kolar. Their work uses a variety of synthetic and radio sounds juxtaposed with acoustic sounds, creating a diverse set of audio experiments. Here the radio is less in the foreground than the other two albums mentioned here, but is an essential part of their audio project.
The third has been mentioned before in this forum, but is worthy of mention again. The first of 3 anticipated volumes from Tod Dockstader's Aerial project, using shortwave and other radio sounds, transformed into vast canvasses of sound. The work is inspired, developed over a decade and a half, and obviously a passionate pursuit of the late electroacoustic composer. I am eagerly awaiting up the 2nd and 3rd volumes!
Opening Performance Orchestra: Radio Music Extended (Based on John Cage's Radio Music) (Sub Rosa)
Taking their lead from John Cage's 1956 Radio Music, the Opening Performance Orchestra in collaboration with the radio & a/v device archive at the Tesla Museum in Trest, present this 72-minute piece from a private live performance in July 2018, the 7 members of the Orchestra plus 2 guest operating 13 historical radio sets, dating from between 1935 and 1961.
Parkins, Zeena / Jeff Kolar: Scale (Two Rooms Records)
Commissioned by choreographer Jennifer Monson, the collaboration of Downtown NY electric harpist and sound artist Zeena Parkins and Chicago sound artist Jeff Kolar explore the intersection of acoustic phenonema against electronic, synthetic & radio sounds, inspired by the timing of natural phenomena like ocean currents and daylight emergence; fascinating.
Dockstader, Tod: Aerial 1 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Important Records)
The first in a 3-part series of vinyl releases for Tod Dockstader's "Aerial 1-3", his major work of electronic drone environments developed over 15 years, using over 90 hours of shortwave radio sources, cross signals and fragments, creating vast atmospheric clouds from which emerge voices, mutated conversations and unexpected patterns; amazing!
Some Beautiful Vibes:
We added two albums from NY vibraphonist Chris Dingman in the last month, both on the Inner Arts Initiative label. The first is his trio with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tim Kelper. I've been a fan of Dingman's music, from his own albums and from his work with Steve Lehman and Harris Eisenstadt. Of the latter, in our previous location while we had space for performances, Eisenstadt brought his group with both Dingman and Nate Wooley to perform. As an enthusiast of all three players, I was thrilled to have them perform, and the concert they performed was exceptional. After the concert, Squidco staff and I were interested in Dingman's playing and his vibraphone, and he volunteered a tour of the instrument and demonstrated some techniques. It's one of the memories from that set of concerts that I enjoy the most, as Dingman was so warm and accommodating to our interest.
All that said, the new trio album is a marvel of melodic playing that is inspired without being sweet or sentimental. Dingman's interest in West African music reveals itself, woven into a modern context, leading to extraordinary soloing. Dingman doesn't release group albums under his own name frequently, perhaps enhancing the value of each; I've certainly enjoyed the music on this release, which has made it into my personal rotation at home.
Chris Dingman (May Han Oh / Tim Kelper): Embrace (Inner Arts Initiative)
Finding rich warmth in NY vibraphonist Chris Dingman's melodic and optimistic compositions, several inspired by Dingman's interest in West African music traditions, performed in a trio with bassist Linda May Han Oh (Pat Metheney) and drummer Tim Keiper (Cyro Baptista, David Byrne); an inspiringly lyrical album with exceptional soloing and improvisation interplay.
Along with the new trio album, Dingman released a box set that has a story so achingly beautiful that it's worthy of reflection here. In 2018 Dingman's father Joe was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. A 2-year life expectation suddenly decreased during the summer, and his father underwent hospice care with a 2-week expectancy. Their relationship was close, Joe having become a jazz enthusiast after his son started learning the form in his teens. They went to concerts together, including traveling to New York to visit the Village Vanguard, and to Yoshi's in Oakland. Concerned for his father's struggle in his final weeks, Dingman setup his vibraphones in the basement below his father's room where he underwent hospice care, and started improvising. The nights were Joe's most difficult, and during this time Dingman improvised and recorded these beautiful pieces, soothing yet pleasingly intricate and warm. In the hope of providing the same music for others in need, he has released the music he recored for his father in this box set, titled The Peace Project. It is perhaps the most urgent reason I have ever known to create something so beautiful and heartfelt, a tribute to Dingman's love for his father and his own warm character wanting to ease another's suffering.
Chris Dingman : The Peace Project [5-CD BOX] (Inner Arts Initiative)
Vibraphonist Chris Dingman set up his vibraphones next to the bedroom where his father was under hospice care from a rare heart ailment, setting an atmosphere of calm and compassion to help soothe, heal, and carry him through his final challenges, released here as a 5-CD set of 5 hours of ethereal sounds through poignant melodies, swirling textures, and undulating pedal tones.
Slightly Less Shameless Self-Promotion:
I invoked my own audio project CHANGES TO blind to respond to the recent governmental actions against the Black Lives Matter protests from our "law-and-order" president. Our leader calls out anti-fascists, or those who oppose fascism, as terrorists, and my fear is that "law-and-order" here aligns closer to despotism and police state than it does to maintaining the peace and supporting legitimate protest and dissenting voices.
100% of the proceeds from this piece will be donated to the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign.
Your Truth Lies [Bandcamp]
Squidco Publishing Roundup:
Last, a few updates to our site and The Squid's Ear over the last couple of weeks. You can always see the latest additions to our catalog as they enter our Just In Stock Section, meaning that we physically have an album and are able to ship it with an order. You can also see recent restocks of previous items at our Recently Restocked page. You can see a list of the releases we're anticipating on our upcoming releases page, where you can request that we inform you via email of any release that you're interested in, with no obligation to purchase.
September 14, 2020: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Ernesto Rodrigues / Nuno Torres / Abdul Moimeme - Aura (Creative Sources) by Jeph Jerman.
September 15, 2020: New @ Squidco:
Milford Graves/Don Pullen -The Complete Yale Concert, 1966 [CD] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Schlippenbach Quartet -Three Nails Left [CD] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Peter Kowald Quintet -Peter Kowald Quintet [CD] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Evan Parker/Agusti Fernandez -Tempranillo [CD] (Fundacja Sluchaj!)
Ivo Perelman/Arcado String Trio -Deep Resonance [CD] (Fundacja Sluchaj!)
Chris Dingman (May Han Oh/Tim Kelper) -Embrace [CD] (Inner Arts Initiative)
Chris Dingman -The Peace Project [5-CD BOX] (Inner Arts Initiative)
Plan Kruutntoone/Reinier van Houdt -Pas Maar Op, Want Deze Tas Is Van Zorro (En Zorro Houdt Van Mij) [CD] (esc.rec.)
Plan Kruutntoone/Reinier van Houdt -Pas Maar Op, Want Deze Tas Is Van Zorro (En Zorro Houdt Van Mij)[VINYL] (esc.rec.)
No Base Trio -No Base Trio [CD] (Setola Di Maiale)
Kidd Jordan/Alvin Fielder/Joel Futterman Trio -Live At The Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 [CD] (CLM)