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Yong Yandsen / Christian Meaas Svendsen / Paal Nilssen-Love:
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Chinese Buddhism defines "Hungry Ghosts" as beings who are driven by intense emotional needs in an animalistic way, an apt description of this trio's dynamic and often bristling collective free jazz, with Malaysian saxophonist Yong Yandsen and Norwegians, Christian Meaas Svendsen on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, performing live in Kuala Lumpur, 2018. ... Click to View


The MacroQuarktet :
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NYC Downtown mainstays, trumpeters Dave Ballou and Herb Robertson, are heard in a full concert at The Stone in NYC in 2007 with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey, concentrating their work in the Satoko Fuji Orchestra and Orange Then Blue into their own quartet, this their first performance together their energy, inventivenss and enthusiasm is on full display. ... Click to View


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Since 2015, composers-performers-conductors Anna Webber and Angela Morris have brought their compositions and playing skill to their Webber/Morris Big Band, 18 stellar New York improvisers integrating improvisation and composed material in unorthodox ways & with extra-musical sources, heard here at Roulette in Brooklyn in 2018 and at Buckminster Forest in 2019. ... Click to View


Adrian Waade Loseth :
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Norwegian violinist Adrian Løseth Waade's first release as a leader is this melodically-inclined album of brightly evocative improvisation, buoyant strings and creative rhythmic drive with Waade providing all compositions, performed with Kjartan Laereid Gullikstad on guitar, Bardur Reinert Poulsen on bass, and Simon Olderskog Albertsen on drums. ... Click to View


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London drummer & percussionist Andrew Bain leads a quartet with Alex Bonney on electronics & live processing, Peter Evans on trumpet & flugelhorn, and John O'Gallagher on alto sax, through two improvisations performed live at The Hexagon, Midlands Arts Centre, in Birmingham, UK in 2017, challenging idiom, genre & instrumental boundaries in a thorougly modern jazz ensemble. ... Click to View


Karl Evangelista (w/ Alexander Hawkins / Louis Moholo-Moholo / Trevor Watts):
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Filipino guitarist Karl Evangelista translates the name of the seminal South African sextet Chris McGregor Group's album "Very Urgent" to the tagalog equivalent--"Apura!"-- recording in London with McGregor group drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo and kindred soul Trevor Watts on saxophones, plus luminary pianist Alexander Hawkins, for a sophisticated album of exemplary collective improv. ... Click to View


Don Dietrich:
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Recorded in 2019 as part of the OPTION series in Chicago, this is only Borbetomagus saxophonist Don Dietrich's second solo album, which is surprisingly his first solo performance, using an amplified tenor sax modified by effect pedals on a wild and boisterously harrowing performance of free improvisation by one of the preeminent practitioners of noise jazz. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey (Davies / Correa / Chang / Thut):
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Two solo installation works from Wandelweiser composer Jürg Frey--"Paysage d'échos" in Aarau, Switzerland, in 2009; and "Equilibre fragile" in in Aarau in 2014--plus Frey's "Streichtrio" performed by Angharad Davies (violin), Johnny Chang (viola) and Stefan Thut (cello); and a solo piano work, "Eyot", performed by Antonio Correa. ... Click to View


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Liberty Ellman:
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Guitarist/composer Liberty Ellman's album takes its name from the four deserts--Atacama in South America, the Gobi in China, the Sahara in Egypt, and the "White Desert" of Antarctica--in seven sophisticated compositions performed with Steve Lehman on alto sax, Stephan Crump on bass, Damion Reid on drums, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, and Jose Davila on tuba. ... Click to View


Whit Dickey (w/ Nate Wooley / Matthew Shipp):
Morph [2 CDs] (ESP)

Two albums released together as a single-priced 2-CD set, NY drummer, composer and free improviser Whit Dickey leads two groupings: on Reckoning, a duet with frequent collaborator, pianist Matthew Shipp; and Pacific Noir, a trio with Shipp and trumpeter Nate Wooley; both superb examples of modern jazz with creative inventiveness and virtuouso execution. ... Click to View


Pauline Oliveros / Alan Courtis:
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An unreleased 2009 concert from the Deep Listening Institute's Dream Festival, performed virtually via collaborative software between American electronic innovator and Deep Listening artist Pauline Oliveros on accordion and expanded instrument system, and Argentinian experimental musician Alan Courtis (Reynols) on unstringed guitar, objects and live processing. ... Click to View


Tod Dockstader:
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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! ... Click to View


Bernard Parmegiani :
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Alvin Lucier:
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Continuing Black Truffle's series documenting the recent work of legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier, the duo String Noise of violinists Conrad Harris & Pauline Harris Kim present three long-form compositions exploring acoustic phenomena, including echolocation ("Tapper"), inter-violin resonance ("In Love Song") and sustaining long tones ("Halo"). ... Click to View


Patrick Shirioshi :
Descension [VINYL] (Thin Wrist)

A layered work of solo saxophone, electronics and noise from LA free improviser Patrick Shiroishi, the work often dark and primal contrasted with warmly passionate playing, in a work that reflects on the history of concentration camps for Japanese-American citizens during World War II, and on the current struggles of minorities around the globe; cathartic. ... Click to View


Bill Orcutt / Michael Morley:
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Reissuing on LP their 2016 limited cassette on the Land and Sea label of a performance by guitarists Michael Morley (Dead C) and Bill Orcutt (Harry Pussy, solo) at the L/S gallery in Oakland, Orcutt on a Fender Telecaster without effects and Morley on a modified 2006 Squire Telecaster made in Indonesia, in a conversation merging clear and crenulated playing. ... Click to View


David Behrman / Paul Demarinis / Fern Friedman / Terri Hanlon / Anne Klingensmith:
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Originally released in 1981 as a 3-track 7", this collaborative project recorded at Mills College by David Behrman, Paul DeMarinis, Fern Friedman, Terri Hanlon and Anne Klingensmith is presented for the first time in its entirety, a quirky performance art work based on texts by Friedman and Hanlon in which female narrators comically embody a series of iconic roles. ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble:
The Riddle Of Steel (Evil Clown)

This Boston-area collective ensemble explores chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments, heard in this 2019 recordings with three horns, doubled percussion and electronics, analog synthesis, and driving drum and bass work from Yuri Zbitnov and Mike Gruen, leveraging the Evil Clown arsenal of percussive devices as they perform an extended improvisations covering a wide scope of sonority and concept. ... Click to View


Brian Marsella:
Gatos Do Sul (Tzadik)

Pianist and composer Brian Marsella leads an all-star octet including Cyro Baptista, Mark Feldman, Jon Irabagon performing Marsella's lyrical and upbeat compositions inspired by classical, jazz, and folkloric Brazilian music and influenced by composers from Ernesto Nazareth, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Pixinguinha to Baden Powell and Egberto Gismonti; irrepressible! ... Click to View


Bill Laswell (incl. Pharoah Sanders / Herbie Hancock / Chad Smith):
Against Empire (Mod Reloaded)

Four rich and soulful pieces of electric jazz with an often Mwandishi-feel, from bassist Bill Laswell in a 9-piece ensemble of outstanding improvisers: Pharoah Sanders on sax, Peter Apfelbaum on sax, flute & keyboards, Herbie Hancock on electric piano, and 5 drummer/percussionsts--Jerry Marotta, Chad Smith, Hideo Yamaki, Satoyasu Shomura and, Adam Rudolph. ... Click to View


Charles Ives E.:
Another Songbook (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Conductor Sebastian Gottschick presents an additional selection of songs and chamber music works from composer Charles Edward Ives that reflect this broad range, 20 mostly brief and innovative works composed between 1898 and 1921, blurring the boundaries between genres through unusual motifs, themes, gestures and phrases that appear in new vocal and/or instrumental contexts. ... Click to View


Sebastian Gottschick :
Notturni (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Seven works composed in the 21st century by Sebastian Gottschick, who arranges and conducts the Ensemble Fur Neue Musick Zurich, configured as an ensemble with percussion, a sextet, a chamber ensemble with baritone and soprano, and performing himself solo on viola; sophisticated and modern works that employ complex tonality, timbre and playing techniques. ... Click to View


Turbulence:
Friction Coefficients (Evil Clown)

Saxophonist & flutist Bonnie Kane (W.O.O.) joins the Turbulence group, the extended horn section of the Leap of Faith Orchestra from Boston area collective Evil Clown led by David Peck (PEK), a concert that was live-streamed to Youtube during the Covid-19 Pandemic in February 2020, in a sextet with four reedists, two trumpeters, electronics, drums & extensive percussion. ... Click to View


Futterman / Levin / DuRoche:
Timeless Memories (JDF/CLM )

Bringing together exemplary jazz musicians from three cities--Virginia-based pianist Joel Futterman, Bary Area multi-reedist Ike Levin, and Portland, OR percussionist Tim DuRochse, for two sets of dynamic collective free jazz with a lyrical intent, joyfully spontaneous music that unfolds in ways that appear composed through the compatibility and familiarity of each artist. ... Click to View


Joel Futterman / Alvin Fielder / Ike Levin Trio:
Live At The Blue Monk (Charles Lester Music)

A burning live album presenting two sets of collective free jazz at Portland, Oregon's Blue Monk in 2006 from the trio of frequent collaborators Alvin Fielder on drumsn, Joel Futterman on piano, soprano sax & wooden flute, and Ike Levin on tenor saxophone & bass clarinet, a concert of great range, from explosive freneticism to introspective spaciousness. ... Click to View


Joe Morris :
Instantiation: Switches (Glacial Erratic)

The 4th in improving guitarist and composer Joe Morris' Instantiation series, where each part is unique, composed with specific notated and operational components such that it impossible to perform any of them the same way twice; performed with two active Boston improvisers, trombonist Eric Stilwell (hear on Joe Morris Trio "Value") and cellist & bassist Brad Barrett. ... Click to View


Kyle Bruckmann:
Triptych (Tautological) (Carrier Records)

Performing on oboe, English horn and live electronics, West Coast double-reedist Kyle Bruckmann presents three extended solo works of deep electroacoustic binding, each dedicated to a writer, artist or musician: "A Spurious Autobiography for John Barth (2015)"; "An Extruded Introversion for Blixa Bargeld (2016)"; and "A Fuzzy Monolith for James Turrell (2015)". ... Click to View


Dave Douglas (w/ Joey Baron / Dave Adewumi / Matt Stevens / Fabian Almazan / Carmen Rothwell):
Dizzy Atmosphere - Dizzy Gillespie at Zero Gravity (Greenleaf Music)

Trumpeter Dave Douglas' tribute to the great trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, exploring the many facets of the great Be-Bop progenitor's work, including the more experimental side of his discography, performed with a band of great lyrical NY jazz musicians: Dave Adewumi on trumpet, Matt Stevens on guitar, Fabian Almazan on piano, Carmen Rothwell on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. ... Click to View


Kaffe Matthews:
Foreigner [VINYL] (Objects Limited)

Recording with an Italian ELKA 400 electric accordion organ, pioneering electronic and sound aritst Kaffe Matthews presents two sonification of the word F O R E I G N E R, reflecting on her experience regularly moving from country to country, dealing with varying borders and governmental laws, by organizing sound in clusters that attempt to cross a compositional line. ... Click to View



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  Maja Bugge 
  No Exit  
  (Discus) 


  
   review by Dave Madden
  2019-05-07
Maja Bugge: No Exit (Discus)

Sometimes it's cool to read about the construction and thoughts surrounding a piece, or that a rare, unique, unusual instrument was involved in the realization of a musical work. However, the peek-behind-the-curtain you find in artist program notes can serve as a footnote on a standalone-amazing result or serve as a crutch for incomplete or otherwise lackluster output; at worst, it's an excuse of "you just don't get it" when the case is often that the artist was so enthralled with the concept that the point is lost in translation. What I'm critiquing is without metric other than personal taste, but I base it on broad experience with charlatans and geniuses, the naÔve, geniuses who become charlatans for cash, vice versa, and my own personal attempts to fool people early in my career.

Each of Norwegian cellist Maja Bugge's pieces, per her own words, is directed by the location of a performance. That is, she follows "...a dialogue between the cello and a site, a text, an image, a movement, a space." No Exit was captured in Britain's longest and deepest canal tunnel (Standedge Tunnel) during the 2017 Marsden Jazz Festival. Discus provides further elucidation of how the music was shaped by the history and acoustics of the site, the carving of century-old stones, boats that have travelled through the tunnel, and so on.

Again, denying the legitimacy of an artist's inspiration and interpretation thereof is a ridiculous argument. Who am I to judge another person's opinion about what they feel? But listening to No Exit is a let-down after knowing the aforementioned brouhaha (perhaps the recordings of John Butcher plus Akio Suzuki plus cave ambiance spoiled me). Instead of some type of organic melding, here are moments of jaunty sailor song quotes and the idiosyncratic rhythms that go with them (think any pirate movie that involves a bar scene, which I believe is an accurate slice of pirate life), water dripping on stones vaguely heard in the background, occasional straight patterned tapping on the cello body, a relatively aggressive passage of string strikes and snaps, a few spacious pauses with fey pizzicato bits (imitating spiders on the walls?)

It isn't until the title track finale that the music gains a little weight. Bugge flexes and demonstrates a bit more potential of the cello with growls and less pitch-focused gestures. However, the bulk of No Exit swims in a sweetness and lyrical fantasy that isn't anything particularly impassioned.

Maybe I had to be there. Maybe this work is an astute description of local historical happenings to which I'm not privy. Maybe I'm being a petulant, stubborn pain in the ass, but the music here feels more interloping than esteemed collaboration.



Maja Bugge: No Exit
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