The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Paint (Hot Cup)

The first release by the piano trio configuration of Mostly Other People Do the Killing and features bassist/composer Moppa Elliott, pianist Ron Stabinsky, and drummer Kevin Shea, with each composition named after a small town in Pennsylvania that contains a color, and the town of "Paint, PA" lent its name to the title, with one apt Duke Ellington cover. ... Click to View

Moppa Elliott : Still, Up In The Air (Hot Cup)

Solo double-bass improvisations from Mostly Other People Do the Killing bassist and leader Moppa Elliot, consisting of sequences of contrasting themes, or musical cubism in the spirit of Picasso and Braque, presenting 7 of 14 sequences where the improvisation is a series of disparate musical ideas that transition rapidly in an attempt to disrupt the linear progression of thematic development. ... Click to View

Leandre / Minton: Leandre / Minton (Fou Records)

Phil Minton started as a trumpeter and became one of free improv's most outside vocalists; Joelle Leandre is a double bassist who also performs free vocal improv; this is their first recorded collaboration, and it's an unusual and wonderful album of heavy tone improvisation, plucked and bowed, and a masterfully odd free association of vocalisation. ... Click to View

Talibam! : Endgame Of The Anthropocene [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam!'s 1st cinematic album of through-composed ecogothic geosonics, the "soundtrack to 2048's despotic nationalism and crumbling international infrastructure, underscoring an eco-mercantilistic tragedy and the desperate plundering of the last pristine landscape on Earth" from NY's duo of Matt Mottel on mini moog and synths, and Kevin Shea on drums, and midi mallet percussion. ... Click to View

Talibam! / Matt Nelson / Ron Stabinsky: Hard Vibe [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam! with Matt Mottel on sax, Kevin Shea on drums, Matt Mottel on Fender Rhodes and synth and Ron Stabinsky on organ take inspiration from Herbie Hancock's 70's electronics, Miles Davis' "On the Corner" and Albert Ayler's New grass in compositions that transforms aspects of rhythm changes into a disciplined sequence, a new take on psychedelic jazz. ... Click to View

Crys Cole / Oren Ambarchi: Hotel Record [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

A double LP and the second release from the duo of Crys Cole and Oren Ambarchi, also romantic partners, as they explore their relationship through sound and voice, each side presenting a unique approach to their collaboration while maintaining a certain somnambulist feeling over rich guitar and organ work, and other unfathomable sound. ... Click to View

Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Thinking Out Loud (Trost Records)

The third album from this international trio of powerful improvisers--Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, and Chicago/NY saxophonist Mars William-- in four odysseys that take the listener from introspective playing to out and out blowing, using technique to serve their incredible dialog. ... Click to View

Sven-Ake Johansson / Alexander Von Schlippenbach : Schraubenlieder [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Drummer Sven-Ake Johansson is also a poet, writer and visual artist; here he joined forced with Alexander von Schlippenbach in 1988 to record these songs, never previously released, sung in German and English, for a set of 9 fascinating narrations that engage the listener independent of language, as von Schlippenbach improvises with prodigious technique. ... Click to View

Annette Peacock & Paul Bley: Dual Unity (Bamboo)

Reissuing the debut album by vocalist Annette Peacock and pianist Paul Bley recorded during their first European tour in 1970, in a quartet with compatriots Mario Pavone on bass and Laurence Cook on drums, Bley using an early Moog synthesizer; unique and original avant jazz. ... Click to View

Paul Bley Trio: Closer [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Paul Bley's 2nd ESP album from 1966, a lyrical and lush trio setting with material mostly from Carla Bley, one Ornette Coleman number, and one from Annette Peacock, with Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on percussion, exploratory free jazz that uses melodic intention in assertive but not aggressive aways; a classic. ... Click to View

Pharoah Sanders : Quintet [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Pharoah Sanders' 1965 debut release on ESP, in a quinet with Jane Getz on piano, William Bennett on bass, Stan Foster on trumpet and Mavin Pattillo on percussion, decidedly a jazz album from this outside player known for his association with John Coltrane in his freeist moments, here bridging lyrical and avant worlds with powerful playing. ... Click to View

Wadada Smith Leo: Najwa (Tum)

Paying tribute to musicians whose vision paved the way for modern creative players to use new approaches, language and philosophy in improvisation, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's band with four guitarists, electric bass, drums and percussion dedicates five incredible compositions to Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Billie Holiday. ... Click to View

Wadada Smith Leo: Solo - Reflections And Meditations On Monk (Tum)

An intimate album of solo trumpet from Wadada Leo Smith, performing compositions by Thelonious Monk, Smith professing in an essay in the accompanying booklet that he was motivated to become a composer by Monk above other contemporaries for his ideas of composition and bands; his admiration and love of Monk's work is clear in this beautifully lyrical album. ... Click to View

Aki Takase / Alexander von Schlippenbach: So Long, Eric! Homage to Eric Dolphy (Intakt)

Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase assembled an ensemble of Dolphy interpreters that includes bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall, saxophonist Tobias Delius, vibraphonist Karl Berger, trumpeter Axel Dorner, trombonist Nils Wogram, &c, for a fresh take on compositions from one of free jazz's most iconic composers, Eric Dolphy, captured live in Berlin, 2014. ... Click to View

Steve Noble / Yoni Silver: Home (Aural Terrains)

The two-headed snake on the cover of this album aptly describes the sublimely sinuous and dark interplay between London free jazz drummer Steve Noble and bass clarinetist Yoni Silver, their 4-part improvisation taking on sinister elements of exceptional cymbal techniques, unusual drum tones, and extended lower register tones and high harmonics; excellent. ... Click to View

Various Artists: Asian Meeting Recordings #1 (Doubtmusic)

Otomo Yoshihide started The Asian Meeting Festival in 2005 to foster creative interaction between Japanese and other Asian musicians, since 2014 curated by DJ Sniff, and here in the 2017 edition at GOK Sound, in Tokyo, Japan with a who's-who of players including Yoshihide, Ryoko Ono, Ko Ishikawa, Son X, KEITO, Yuji Ishihara, Yuen Chee Wai, &c. &c. ... Click to View

Jim Black Trio: The Constant (Intakt)

A beautiful example of the modern piano trio, led by in-demand drummer, Jim Black, with Elias Stemeseder the pianist and Thomas Morgan on bass, in a lyrical album that uses Black's compelling and elusive drumming on 9 original Black compositions and one unexpected standard, as all three deliver complex playing that sounds accessible and engaging, a true achievement. ... Click to View

Fred Frith / Barry Guy: Backscatter Bright Blue (Intakt)

Both bassist Barry Guy and guitarist Fred Frith are key artists of Switzerland's Intakt label catalog, but surprisingly the two have never shared a stage together; Intakt had a feeling about their pairing and brought them into the studio, this superb duo album being the result in 10 brilliant tracks intertwining acoustic double bass and electric guitar. ... Click to View

Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (Intakt)

Proclaiming that he nothing more in mind then getting together with a couple of formidable musicians, guitarist Fred Frith and Mills College alumni Jordan Glenn on drums and Jason Hoopes on electric and double bass take their listeners through 13 connected pieces that reference rock, jazz and ea-soundscape in an impressive album from a remarkable new group. ... Click to View

Lotte Anker / Fred Frith: Edge Of The Light (Intakt)

An intimate dialog between frequent collaborators, UK guitarist Fred Frith and Copenhagen saxophonist Lotte Anker, both players listening carefully as they interact in a fragile dialog of profound technique and inventive approach, using texture and nuance to create unusual and captivating interchanges that demonstrate how compatible these two very different instruments can be. ... Click to View

Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Features (Intakt)

The long-standing Schlippenbach Trio with Evan Parker on saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums presents 15 concise "Features", improvisations of great depth and diversity, from the beautifully stark solo piano that opens the album to intense collective interactions, avoiding excess in deference to the profound expression of an inspiring group chemistry. ... Click to View

Mark Dresser : Modicana [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Double Bassist Mark Dresser, a mainstay of the Downtown NY scene as an improviser and composer, and also prominent on the US West Coast and as an international touring artist, releases a powerful album of distinctive solo playing, both technically and melodically, with 2 tracks caught live at the Umea Jazz Festival and others recorded at the University of California, San Diego. ... Click to View

Bobby Bradford / Hafez Modirzadeh / Ken Filiano / Royal Hartigan: Live at the Magic Triangle [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A live concert at Amherst, Massachusetts in 2016 as part of the Magical Triangle Jazz Series from the quartet of legendary cornetist Bobby Bradford, Turkish saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh on tenor, in-demand New York bassist Ken Filiano, and percussionist/drummer Royal Hartigan, the band performing two Bradford compositions, with one each from Filiano, Modirzadeh and Hartigan. ... Click to View

Andrew Lamb / Warren Smith / Arkadijus Gotesmanas: The Sea of Modicum [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Captured live at the 2016 Vilnius Jazz Festival, the free jazz trio of saxophonist Andrew Lamb and percussionists Warren Smith and Arkadijus Gotesmanas provide a unique orchestration, with the percussionists building rhythmic structures over which AACM alumni Lamb's powerful saxophone work emerges; a great album of solid exploratory free jazz. ... Click to View

Yedo Gibson / Hernani Faustino / Vasco Trilla: CHAIN (NoBusiness)

A fiery and energetic album of masterful free jazz from Brazilian saxophonist Yedo Gibson, Portuguese-Brazilian drummer and percussionist Vasco Trilla, and Portuguese bass player Hernani Faustino (Red Trio, K4 Quadrado Azul), recording in the studio for 6 dynamic dialogs that uses a variety of approaches and references to free jazz and creative improv. ... Click to View

TON-KLAMI (Midori Takada / Kang Tae Hwan / Masahiko Satoh): Prophesy of Nue (NoBusiness)

Ton-Klami was an influential Japanese free improvising band active in the 90s, and leading to the solo careers of percussionist Midori Takada, pianist Masahiko Satoh, and saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan; here the band is heard in a 1995 live concert recorded at Design Plaza Hofu in Yamaguchi, Japan, recorded by Chap-Chap Records but never released. ... Click to View

Liudas Mockunas : Hydro [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Lithuanian reedist Liudas Mockunas in an unusual record of clarinet and saxophone improvisations, from solo work of powerful technique to pieces using water prepared instruments to create a wealth of bubbling and aberrant sound on the instrument, side A presenting the 7 part "Hydration Suite", Side B the 3 part "Rehydration", and "Dehydration". ... Click to View

James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View

James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View

Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra: The Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 [2 10-INCH VINYL RECORDS] (Art Yard)

A double 10" featuring unreleased and rare Sun Ra recordings, including a live track from Paris in 1983, two unreleased cuts from the "Disco 3000" concert tapes, a quartet session with Sun Ra on the Crumar Mainman synth, and three selections from the Sub-Underground series of Saturn LPs, including a ballad and new material from "Live at Temple" and "What's New". ... Click to View

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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)
  • 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.

    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," [1981] 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 Drner. His peer, Matthias Muche (b 1972) is another serious player on the scene, part of James Choice Orchestra, Das Mollsche Gesetz, Nils Klein Tentett, Schl 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.


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