March 20, 2017:
Caught up with new releases, which were flooding in through the door for the last couple of weeks after a heavy purchase cycle. That's slowing down and I'm catching my breath a bit, and getting back to this blog.
On purchases, here's what's on its way to us:
On Ernesto Rodrigues' Creative Sources:
Martini / Wooley / Lobo: Legacy of Ashes
STRING THEORY (ensemble): Gravity
IKB ENSEMBLE: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
Variable Geometry Orchestra: Maat Mons
Siwula / Nuno: Waterscapes
Muller / Schindler: Quiet Notes and The Fascination of What's Complex [2 CDs]
CONCEPT: Schindler / Schmoliner: Blaublatt
Shibolet / Dorner: erlichsich
Koch / Rodrigues: nostalghia
Lopes / Lonberg-Holm: the pinneaple circumstances
Brand / Rupp: shadowscores
Ayelet Lerman: 7 steps
On Martin Archer's Discus label:
Archer / Clark / Grew / Hunter: Felicity's Ultimatum
Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere: θ2
Trevor Watts and Stephen Grew Duo: All There Is
On Christian Wolfarth's Hiddenbell label:
Wolfarth, Christian: Spuren [VINYL]
Peter Conradin Zumthor: Grunschall [VINYL]
On Jason Kahn's Cut label:
Jason Kahn: Songline [VINYL 2 LPs]
Jason Kahn: Monadds [VINYL]
On Libra (we already received the magnificent Trouble Kaze CD on Helix Circum-Discm while these are on their way to us:
Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo + KAZE: Peace
Trouble Kaze (Fujii / Agnel / Tamura / Pruvost / Lasserre / Orins): June
Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand
On Pi Recordings:
Okazaki, Miles: Trickster
And on Yoni Kretzmer's OutNow label:
Daniel Sarid Trio
I'd like to relate an interesting and concerning story about a PayPal payment we sent recently. The Squid's Ear has paid its writers for each review posted since we first started publishing. It's surprisingly unusual to do so, the typical payment being the music that is being reviewed, but we recognize the hard work and depth of knowledge that goes into a quality review, and it's allowed us to retain excellent writers.
One of the payment we made recently went to Italy, for the review of the Portugese trio of Rodrigues / Area / Torres / Gris and their album Aleph. It's a rich album of electracoustic improv, one long track of collective free playing, and one shorter track. I find the work beautiful and rich, as did the writer in his review.
Everything seemed simple enough until I sent the payment for the review. When I sent it I wrote the terse comment "Qasar, Erb, Aleph" referring to the 3 albums that he had reviewed. Since I've been sending payment for about a dozen years to this writer I thought nothing of it. However, the next day I received an email from PayPal with this note:
"To comply with government regulations, PayPal is required to review certain transactions. The payment you sent is currently being reviewed and we will complete this process within 72 hours. This review only involves this transaction and does not affect the use of your PayPal account."
Again, I didn't give it much thought, but wrote the writer to let him know that the payment was going to be delayed for reasons I didn't understand. The day after that I did understand, as I received this chilling demand to
1. Purpose of payment XXXXXXXXXX attempted on February 27, 2017
in the amount of $XXXXX, including a complete and detailed
explanation of the goods or services you intended to purchase. Please also
explain the transaction message: "Aleph."
I'll repeat: Please also explain the transaction message: "Aleph." Aleph is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. That was the clue I sought. Somehow my payment, and the title of this beautiful album, were snared in an international terrorism sweep of words that apparently trigger that kind of thing. Of course I replied with a link to the album, an explanation of my relationship to the writer, and a link to The Squid's Ear. I slept a bit less soundly that night.
The next day the review was complete, the payment was sent, and the transaction was complete. Except for the lingering concern that something as simple as the first letter in the Arabic alphabet would bring the hounds sniffing. These are troubling times that we live in, but I never for a moment considered that something as creative, international, and cooperative as this music would come under suspicion. I suppose I'm to feel that this is all good, that Big Brother is watching out for the common good. Instead I feel like I need to watch each step, and that innocuous statements can lead to unwanted inspections of a business dedicated to freedom. It's a strange dichotomy.
The individual CDs from the Henry Cow Live Box Sets are now being released individually. We're still waiting for volumes 5 & 6 to be sent from the UK, but in the meantime 6 CDs of absolutely amazing recordings are available, and the live DVD at Vevey in 1976. If you're a fan of the studio albums but haven't heard Volume 1: Beginnings, you should definitely start there!
March 15, 2017: New @ Squidco:
Henry Cow -Vol. 1: Beginnings
Henry Cow -Vol. 2: 1974-5
Henry Cow -Vol. 3: Hamburg
Henry Cow -Vol. 7: Later and Post-Virgin
Henry Cow -Vol. 8: Bremen
Henry Cow -Vol. 9: Late
Henry Cow -Vol. 10: Vevey 1976
Here are the recent announcements on Squidco's homepage:
March 15, 2017: New Review @ The Squid's Ear: Guilherme Rodrigues / David Area / Guillermo Torres / Tomas Gris - Aleph (Creative Sources) by Massimo Ricci.