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William Parker: Flower In a Stained-Glass Window & The Blinking of The Ear [2 CDs] (Centering Records)

Two full-length albums--"Flower In a Stained-Glass Window" and "The Blinking of The Ear"--recorded in the summer of 2018 with two distinct groups, "Flower" dedicated to the inspiration of Martin Luther King features the vocals and narration of Leena Conquest; "Blinking" was recorded during Parker's 2018 residency at the Stone presenting his concept of universal tonality. ... Click to View


David Ware S. Trio: The Balance (Vision Festival XV +) (Aum Fidelity)

The fourth edition in Aum-Fidelity's DSW-ARC Series (David S Ware Archives), presenting an outstanding and incendiary David S. Ware concert, in trio with William Parker (bass) and Warren Smith (drums & percussion) caught live at the 2010 Vision Festeival, alongisde 4 studio tracks recorded in Brooklyn in 2009 during the recording of the Onecept album. ... Click to View


Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt: Brace Up! [VINYL] (Palilalia)

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Tashi Dorji: But a night that ends, as all nights end, when the sun rises [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Moone Records)

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Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton / Eric La Casa: Metro Pre saint-Gervais (Swarming)

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Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: Second First [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (That's Cool Records)

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Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: First Second [CASSETTE] (That's Cool Records)

Two studio recordings of objects, tapes, devices and guitar from the duo of Steve Jansen and Jeph Jerman, starting with seemingly random elements of sound that transform into rich soundscapes with subtle activity and extraneous, unidentifiable sound keeping the listener's curiosity and interest, as the two pieces slowly build in sonic richness and force. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium [VINYL 2 LPs] (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eliane Radigue: Jouet Electronique / Elemental I [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

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Christina Kubisch : Dreaming Of A Major Third (Edition Rz)

Christina Kubisch developed software to react to the variations in sunlight reflected on solar panels installed at an historic mill complex in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the sun's interactions driving pitch-shifted and envelope-altered samples from the original bells of that museum's clocktower creating a beautiful and illusory long-form recording. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air [VINYL 2 LPs + DOWNLOAD] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


The Dogmatics: Chop Off The Tops [VINYL] (Dogmatics)

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Georg Graewe / Damon Smith / Michael Vatcher: Unhesitating (Nuscope)

Drawing on collective improvisation and compositions from Carla Bley and Annette Peacock, the trio of pianist Georg Graewe, double bassist Damon Smith and drummer Michael Vatcher recorded this album of ferocious playing through rapid-fire interaction balanced with lovely free ballads, a reflection of their tremendous skill and their insightful approach to improvisation. ... Click to View


Achim Kaufmann: Mnemon (Nuscope)

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About Group (Mukai / Clervaux / Coxon / Thomas / Taylor): RAK [VINYL] (Treader)

The 2nd About Group album replaces drummer Charles Hayward with Rupert Clervaux, alongside Susumu Mukai on bass, John Coxon on electric guitar, Pat Thomas on piano & synth, and Alexis Taylor on synth & electric piano, using Coxon's simple and insistent guitar themes as a foundation for four extended group compositions containing a surprising collision of sounds and influences. ... Click to View


John Tchicai: John Tchicai With Strings [VINYL] (Treader)

Recorded during a rare visit to London in 2005 after the 2004 Coimbra Jazz Fest, The late Afro-Danish saxophonist, associated with Albert Ayler John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Don Cherry, performs with orchestral strings alongside guitarist John Coxon, trumpeter/percussionist Ashley Wales, and drummer Mark Sanders; exotic, beautiful and unexpected. ... Click to View


Bernard Parmegiani : Memoire Magnetique, Vol.1 [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

Covering the period of 1966-1990 of French Acousmatic composer and electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani, this 1st volume of "Memoire Magnetique" presents never-released commercial and secret music, 17 short but intensely creative compositions that reveal a wealth of compositional strategies composed for film and performance. ... Click to View


Francois Bayle: Electrucs ! [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

18 never-released recordings by French electro-acousti composer Francois Bayle including the title track, an "imaginary" soundtrack, and a piece for Bernard Parmegiani, released on the 60th anniversary of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), which joined with Institut National de l'Audiovisuel in 1975 to create INA-GRM, with Bayle at the head of the record label. ... Click to View


Clinamen Trio : Enclins (Creative Sources)

The French trio of Louis-Michel Marion on double bass, Jacques Didonato on clarinet, and Philippe Berger on viola are heard in a live recording at Radio France, on June 12th, 2017, freely improvising in understated and rich layers of harmonics and tone, actively subdued interactions in an extended excursion of introspective chamber-oriented improvisation. ... Click to View


Amu (Fujii / Tamura / Itani / Wildenhahn): Weave [CD & DVD] (Libra)

Mizuki Wildenhahn adds an unusual percussive instrument through dance to the multi-arts Amu quartet of Wildenhahn, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, pianist Satoko Fujii, and percussionist Takashi Itani, heard on the CD and seen on the DVD of this 2-disc set of their unorthodox and absorbing live performance at Kanagawa Prefectural Lake Sagami-ko Exchange Center in 2018. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Tuko Yamaoka plays the music of Satoko Fujii [2 CDs] (Libra)

A double CD of Satoko Fujii compositions, 56 short compositions from a series she started around 2005 to expand her skills as a composer, many of which fueled her many band's repertoires; in 2018 she asked respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka to record this set of compositions as part of her 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii : Diary 2005-2015 [Scorebook] (Libra)

A book of scores to accompany the double CD of 56 Satoko Fujii compostions titled "Diary 2005-2015", performed by respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka, released as part of Satoko Fujii's ambitious 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver: Songs Of The Wild Cave (RogueArt)

An extremely unique sax and drums album, as Rova leader Larry Ochs and New York drummer Gerald Cleaver take their tenor and sopranino saxophones, and drums and percussion, into the absolute darkness and stillness of the Portel Cave in the South of France, using the resonance and inspiration of the cave to record these seven incredible improvisations. ... Click to View


Wendy Eisenberg : The Machinic Unconscious (Tzadik)

Guitarist and composer Wendy Eisenberg leads her powerful Downtown trio with Trevor Dunn on bass and Ches Smith on drums as they present hard-edged work including a piece inspired by poet Alice Notley, blending experimental and rock forms into a strange brew of eccentric improvised pieces, with an angular menacing approach and a fury of irrepressible determination. ... Click to View


Adam Hopkins: Crickets (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Dustin Carlson (Carlson / Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker): Air Ceremony (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Benoit Delbecq / Jorrit Dijkstra / John Hollenbeck: Linger (Driff Records)

The long-running collaboration of Paris pianist Benoit Delbecq and Netherlands-born, Boston-area saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra is joined by Boston drummer John Hollenbeck, the pianist and saxophonist also picking up electronics and bass synth as they improvise over 10 concepts of movement through texture and distinctive approaches to their instruments. ... Click to View


Pandelis Karayorgis Trio (w/ Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal): Cliff (Driff Records)

Contrasting his concurrent piano trio album with Nate McBride and Luther Gray, "Pools", "Cliff" is a first encounter between Boston-area pianist and composer Pandelis Karayorgis and drummer Eric Rosenthal with double bassist Damon Smith, recently migrated from the West Coast, as the three present a concentrative album of collective improvisation revealing three masterful players. ... Click to View


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  Ryoko Akama 
  Places and Pages  
  (Another Timbre) 


  
   review by John Eyles
  2017-12-19
Ryoko Akama: Places and Pages (Another Timbre)

Written by the British-based, Japanese performer and composer Ryoko Akama, Places and Pages is "a collection of fifty text scores to be performed at random places". In late 2015, Ryoko and Chilean guitarist Cristián Alvear performed one of the pieces at a festival in Chile. Based on that experience, Ryoko felt the score needed to be developed further and realized in a context other than a concert situation. She wanted the scores' instructions to be worked upon in connection with the place of performance, making them more site-specific. This double-CD contains actualizations of forty-five of the resulting fifty, recorded at the INSUB studio or sites in Geneva, Switzerland, over ten days in June 2016. Despite each disc being close to its full capacity of eighty minutes, the album could not accommodate all fifty, so the other five are available online as free downloads. Alongside Ryoko herself, the actualizations were created by Alvear plus Switzerland's Cyril Bondi, d'incise, cellist Stefan Thut and clarinetist Christian Muller. Across the forty-five tracks, performances were given by every size group from solo performances (by all except Alvear) right up to several sextets, with duos being the most common and quartets the least.

Contents of the scores are neither provided with the album nor online, so it is impossible to judge the success of these pieces as realizations of them. In interview Ryoko has said that the group of musicians, who felt they had a lot in common and accepted each other's artistic characteristics, shared many friendly conversations but never predetermined in detail what they would do with score realizations. The end results are entirely consistent with that comment. Based on the personnel playing on any track — the only information given — it is practically impossible to predict how that actualization will sound. For instance, there is no certainty that a musician will be playing their usual instrument in their usual style, if at all. Another relevant factor was the time pressure that the musicians were working under. This resulted in some very brief tracks. For example, the album's shortest track, at five seconds, is a token solo piece by Ryoko herself. Track durations are unpredictable, too; the longest, at over twelve minutes, is a d'incise-Muller duo, but one of the sextet pieces lasts just seventeen seconds, barely long enough for each of the players to be heard once. The album's opening track, "CB", an enjoyable minute-long Bondi solo, features the percussive sound of stones being struck, and could easily be taken for a realization of Christian Wolff's Stones.

Taken together, the fifty realizations vary a great deal both in the style of playing and also in the volume of the sound; some feature the players alone, others include ambient sounds, included deliberately or otherwise. The pieces are diverse and surprising, sometimes by design and sometimes by happenstance. Interestingly, after the recordings were complete, Ryoko commented that she could not distinguish who had made what sound. It seems that each recording was a snapshot of a particular group at a particular time and place, resulting in a unique result that could never be reproduced exactly; while that is true of any performance, here it is far more pronounced than ever. Individually, the tracks make fascinating listening, but they were not designed to be heard together as a suite. Consequently, they can be heard in any order and be just as effective together. This means that each disc can be played on shuffle, giving enough permutations to provide a lifetime of listening. Recommended.



Ryoko Akama: Places and Pages
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