The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Keith Tippett: The Unlonely Raindancer (Discus)

Mujician pianist Keith Tippetts embarked on his first solo tour in 1979, capturing these concert recordings that were originally released in 1980 on vinyl on the Universe Label; long out of print, Discus has revived these extraordinary recordings, showing the incredible technical abilities, endurance, and quick-witted creative powers of this legendary improviser. ... Click to View


Eclectic Maybe Band: Reflections In A Moebius Ring Mirror (Discus)

The second album of Guy Segers' (Univers Zero) project in an eclectic ensemble of improvisers, rock musicians and experimetners, a genre-defying project of primarily instrumental work with interventions of song, merging acoustic & electric instruments with electronics, live improvisation with studio manipulation, to find new forms of mesmerizing music. ... Click to View


Michael Zerang: Asssyrian Caesarean [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

His first solo album in a career spanning back to 1976, Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang presents a diverse set of improvisations demonstrating the wealth of approaches he has developed over the year, including the use of vibrating drumhead surfaces, expressive friction passages, multiple timbre percussion, and straight up trap-set drumming; absolutely impressive. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi: In the past only geniuses were capable of staging the perfect crime (also known as a revolution) Today anybody can accomplish their aims... [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

The ninth album from the enduring trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi, recorded in 2015 at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe, with both Ambarchi and O'Rourke performing on drums and percussion, O'Rourke also using a Hammond organ and Ambarchi on flute, while Haino asserts himself on guitar, electronics and voice, in 2 groove-based pieces and 2 side-long epics. ... Click to View


Beck Hunters: Has It Been Found? (Discus)

UK Tenor saxophonist and bassoonist Beck Hunter (Feet Packets, Gated Community) leads his trio with Anton Hunter on guitar and Johnny Hunter on drums, their second album of confident, self-possessed free improvisation with both an assertive edge and excellent exploratory moments, a sense of humor and a serious intent, a great example of collective improv. ... Click to View


Frostlake: Ice & Bone (Discus)

The second album from multi-instrumentalist Frostlake (Jan Todd, also of Orchestra of The Upper Atmosphere), hallucinatory songs of layered vocals and the creative bass of Terry Todd in rich atmospheres with rich instrumentation and field recordings, sophisticated and absorbing music that draws its listeners into their beautiful, psychedelic dream states. ... Click to View


Somersaults (Olie Brice / Tobias Delius / Mark Sanders): Numerology of Birdsong (West Hill Records)

Having supported Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, Mikolaj Trzaska, Ken Vandermark, &c., the UK rhythm section of Olie Brice on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums joined forces for their own Somersaults trio with tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius (ICP), this second album an example of their buoyant, optimistically playful and melodically charged free improvisation. ... Click to View


Jeb Bishop / Alex Ward / Weasel Walter: Flayed (ugEXPLODE)

An assertive album of free improv bringing together players from New York (drummer Weasel Walters), London (clarinetist & electric guitarist Alex Ward), and Chicago (trombonist Jeb Bishop), their previous shared projects and cross-genre intentions in rock, hardcore jazz and other experimental forms leading to this wonderfully quirky and masterful album of excoriating free jazz. ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek: Desert Encrypts Vol. 1 (Astral Spirits)

The first volume in trumpeter Rob Mazurek's Marfa Trilogy, inspired by the desert surroundings of Marfa, TX where Mazurek held his first Desert Encrypts Festival, this album captured live with the superb quartet of Kris Davis on piano, Chad Taylor on drums, and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass, for 6 passionate and compelling works of modern jazz. ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek: Love Waves Ecstatic Charge (Astral Spirits)

One of three releases in Rob Mazurek's Marfa Trio, recorded in Marfa, TX, using 106 distorted still images and fragmented skipping sound from video shot at Abbaye Royal de Fontevraud, France in 2005, repurposed for this intense and wild sound work which processes the images through modular synth and computer, shaped by Mazurek's unique approach to sound. ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek: Psychotropic Electric Eel Dreams IV (Astral Spirits)

Recordings from the 4-channel sound composition for the ESS Florasonic installation series at Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, of Rob Mazurek's work using recordings of electric eels from National Institute of Research and Technology in Manaus, Brazil, combined with analog/digital synthesis to create works of beautiful undulating and radiant sonic textures. ... Click to View


Limbo Ensemble: Limbo (Creative Sources)

A fascinating confluence of improvisation and contemporary compositional approaches from this Spanish ensemble led by composer and drummer Nasim Lopez Palacios, using 5 reeds, trumpet, flute, piano, electric guitar, harp, double bass, drums and electronics in an extended work exploring space, tension and motion, with a beautiful build to catharsis. ... Click to View


Mark Hanslip / Emil Karlsen: Planish (Noumenon)

Saxophonist Mark Hanslip and drummer Emil Karlsen, two active figures on the UK free improv and jazz scene, in a sax & drum duo fueled by live performances, here in their first album of informed and exploratory dialog, five works that run the gamut from textural open playing to fiery free jazz, a solid first endeavor and addition to Karlsen's noumenon label. ... Click to View


Emil Karlsen: Flux (Noumenon)

Norwegian born drummer Emil Karlsen living in London presents his first solo drum album, and the first album on his Noumenon label, a series of 11 dynamic compositions and improvisations exploring extended techniques, timbre and textures, inspired as much by the likes of Cecil Taylor and Andrew Cyrille as by John Cage and Igor Stravinsky. ... Click to View


Susan Alcorn / Joe McPhee / Ken Vandermark: Invitation To A Dream (Astral Spirits)

An excellent album of informed free improvisation in the debut of this masterful trio of legendary musicians spread across the US--Joe McPhee on soprano sax & pocket trumpet [NY], Ken Vandermark on tenor sax & clarinet [Chicago], and Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar [Texas], a profound album from assertive to introspective playing in seven captivating collective improvisations. ... Click to View


Jonathon Crompton : Intuit (New Lab Records)

The debut as a leader for Australian saxophonist residing in Brooklyn, Jonathan Crompton, in a strong album of original compositions with astute arrangements over a diverse set of styles, moods and complexity, performed brilliantly with 4 saxophonist (Crompton, Ingrid Laubrock, Patrick Breiner & Patrick Booth), plus Adam Hopkins (bass) and Kate Gentile (drums). ... Click to View


Flying Luttenbachers, The: Shattered Dimension [VINYL 2 LPs] (God Records)

Weasel Walter is the constant in the no-wave influenced free improvising band Flying Luttenbachers, formed in 1991 and on hiatus since 2007; Walter reassembled the concept in 2018 for a tour in France, then again in 2019 with this lineup of saxophonist Matt Nelson, guitarist Brandon Seabrook and bassist Tim Dahl, recording this startling, demanding and excellent album. ... Click to View


Martin Archer : Another Fantastic Individual (Discus)

Reflecting on the Horweb Sax Quartet he was a member of during the 80s, UK improvising saxophonist Martin Archer uses AACM influences (and covers one Roscoe Mitchell piece) as he plays all parts of a series of "solo" saxophone recordings, layering his playing alone and in harmony, in call and response, and in insanely creative ways that never cease to engage his listeners. ... Click to View


Sfyria Trio: Rockefeller Concert [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Since 2016 Sfyria Trio is the Chicago/NY free improvising trio of Sam Decker (tenor saxophone, Shorve, Logan Strosahl Team, Green and Grass), Charlie Kirchen (bass, The Few, Rooms, Charlie Kirchen Quartet), and Matt Carroll (drums, Ohmme, Typical Sisters, Rooms), performing their unique improv idiom incorporating elements from a wide range of musical perspectives. ... Click to View


Pauline Oliveros / Guy Klucevsek: Sounding / Way [VINYL] (Important Records)

One of two reissues from the collaboration of Important Records and the Pauline Oliveros Trust, this album with accordionist Guy Klucevsek was originally self-released in 1986 on cassette, each side presenting a piece for two accordions, here with Guy Klucevsek's "Tremolo No. 6" on side A and Pauline's Oliveros' "The Tuning Meditation" on Side B. ... Click to View


Pauline Oliveros : Tara's Room [VINYL] (Important Records)

One of two reissues from the collaboration of Important Records and the Pauline Oliveros Trust, this solo accordion album from Pauline Oliveros self-released in 1987 on cassette is a rich album in the vein of her Deep Listening work, two rich and beautiful pieces using a just intonation accordion and her Expanded Instrument System in order to bend time and pitch. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith: First Principles (Evil Clown)

Performed by a core set of 7 players who frequent the Boston-area Evil Clown collective, this subgroup from the Leap of Faith Orchestra is caught live at Third Life Studios in Somerville, MA, in a drummer-less setting of rhythm from PEK's arsenal of percussive devices and instruments, in a diverse & extended work of transformations across highly varied sonorities. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : Solo Guitar Volume 3-1/3 [VINYL] (Feeding Tube Records)

The third of four volumes in Feeding Tube's series of solo albums from guitarist Eugene Chadbourne documents recordings made in Calgary, Canada in the 70s while he waited out Vietname & Nixon; Chadbourne programmed this volume to reveal material never heard before, improvised in a creative period of playing influenced by jazz, country, folk, blues and free experimental styles. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi: Simian Angel [VINYL] (Editions Mego)

Oren Ambarchi renews the focus on his unique approach to the electric guitar, joining with Downtown NY Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista on congas, shakers and berimbau, in a duo based on Ambarchi's explorative playing, also conjuring organ and piano tones, as each side-long piece take the listener on a journey of passionate playing of subtlety and warmth. ... Click to View


Klezmerson: The Book Beri'ah Vol 6-Tiferet (Tzadik)

This Mexican Klezmer groups with three percussionists, and a number of guests on this album, blends rock, jazz, and funk with Klezmer and Mexican styles, an unusual hybrid to take on the 6th Volume of John Zorn's Book Beri'ah, "Tiferet", combining flute and horns with guitar riffs as they take on Zorn's complex melodies and themes of irresistibly warm grooves. ... Click to View


Zion80 (John Zorn): The Book Beri'ah Vol 8-HOD (Tzadik)

Jon Madof's 10-piece Zion80 ensemble exploring the Jewish tradition through the lense of afro-beat, funk, rock and jazz takeJon Madof's 1Jon Madof's 10-piece Zion80 ensemble exploring the Jewish tradition through the lenses of afro-beat, funk, rock and jazz, takes on John Zorn's 8th volume of his Book Beri'ah in 9 lyrically upbeat and effusive compositions that are rhythmically exciting and charged by superb soloing, a great album of irresistible beats and euphoric melody.0-piece Zion80 ensemble exploring the Jewish tradition through the lense of afro-beat, funk, rock and jazz takes on John Zorn's 8th volume of his Book Beri'ah in 9 lyrically upbeat and effusive compositions that are rhythmically exciting and charged by superb soloing, a great album of irresistible beats and euphoric melody.s on John Zorn's 8th volume of his Book Beri'ah in 9 lyrically upbeat and effusive compositions that are rhythmically exciting and charged by superb soloing, a great album of irresistible beats and euphoric melody. ... Click to View


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Be Known Ancient/Future/Music (Spiritmuse Records)

Led by Chicago percussionist and AACM member Kahil El'Zabar and founded in 1981, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble releases this album of Afro-centric spiritual jazz, El'Zabar's voice drawing us into the compelling rhythms and grooves he and cellist Ian Maksin provide as foundations for baritone saxophonist Alex Harding and trumpeter Corey Wilkes' profound soloing. ... Click to View


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Be Known Ancient/Future/Music [2 LPS] (Spiritmuse Records)

Led by Chicago percussionist and AACM member Kahil El'Zabar and founded in 1981, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble releases this album of Afro-centric spiritual jazz, El'Zabar's voice drawing us into the compelling rhythms and grooves he and cellist Ian Maksin provide as foundations for baritone saxophonist Alex Harding and trumpeter Corey Wilkes' profound soloing. ... Click to View


John Zorn: Nove Cantici Per Francesco D'Assisi (Tzadik)

Inspired by the life and thought of the spiritual figure Saint Francis of Assisi, John Zorn composed these ten guitar trios as a suite to be performed during a residency at the Frick museum in New York City, with guitarists Julian Lage and Gyan Riley, heard on his previous "Midsummer Moons" album, joined by guitarist Bil Frisell; contemplative and lyrical music. ... Click to View


John Zorn: Encomia (Tzadik)

Stephen Gosling performs solo piano works by John Zorn, 3 impressionistic pieces in the tradition of Debussy and Ravel paying tribute to legendary ballet dancer Nijinsky, to author Novalis who is credited with inventing the prose poem, and 3rd century poet Nossis, and a duo for piano & violin with Chris Otto inspired by the art of Hilma af Klint and the writings of Sigmund Freud. ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Heard In

Reviews of artist releases:
cd's, books, magazines, &c.


  Mattin 
  Songbook #7  
  (Munster Records) 


  
   review by Phil Zampino
  2019-08-21
Mattin: Songbook #7 (Munster Records)

The first Songbook from sound artist Mattin was released in 2005, releasing 4 "Songbooks" within the first year, then taking a long break until 2014, when Songbook 5 was released. Three years later #6 was issued, and #7, the latest as of this review, in 2018. The concept behind the series initiated as "improvisation as a way or exposing structural clichés in pop/rock music" and "song structures to demystify the so-called spontaneity and freedom of improvisation."

The series had rough beginnings, presented as collections of off-the-cuff songs with little treatment, raw and fully on display; the reception to those albums seems to have been equally coarse. Mattin persisted, 2006's Songbook Volume 4 presented as a 5-piece band performing live in Tokyo, with the lineup of long-time collaborator Taku Unami on bass, Anthony Guerra on guitar, Jean-Luc Guionnet on sax, and Tomoya Izumi "shouting". The Squid's Ear's writer Kurt Gottschalk, reviewing the album in 2008, declared: It's cool, it's raw - your parents wouldn't like it, and your kids probably won't either.

To back this assessment, Mattin issued the following manifesto to coincide with the release:

1. Make up songs on the spot
2. The songs must have a beginning, a chorus, and an end
3. Record the songs directly into the internal microphone of a laptop computer
4. Use improvisation as a way or exposing structural and improvisational clichés in pop/rock music
5. Use song structures to demystify the so-called spontaneity and freedom of improvisation
6. Release the recordings on different labels and laugh at different peoples reactions

Mattin : Songbook #5 [VINYL] (Disembraining Machine )

The reviews for Songbook Volume 4 were more positive, and the series seems to have taken a turn, so it's surprising that the next album took six years to come about.

On Songbook 5 Mattin recruited five musicians (Alex Cuffe, Andrew McLellan, Dean Roberts, Joel Stern, and Mattin himself) to record five spontaneous "songs" of five-minute duration, each in response to five different concepts of five different five-word song titles. Mattin then recorded vocals for each as a form of singing lecture at The Victorian College of the Arts, where Mattin heard the music on headphones but the audience does not hear the music; he subsequently superimposed the vocals onto the songs. One can only imagine the unique and perhaps maddening qualities of that lecture, but the unusual process provided results unlike any other rock album.

Mattin: Songbook #6 [VINYL] (Munster Records, Insulin Addicted Records, Crudités Tapes)

Songbook 6 from 2013 is performed with Farahnaz Hatam, Pan Daijing, Colin Hacklander, Werner Dafeldecker, and Dean Roberts, a vicious mix of essentially no-wave rock and experimental music, six songs at exactly six minutes each covering topics of the conflicts, confusion and frustrations of our modern age. The number theme continues here, and the songs become more articulated even if difficult to follow, the music more controlled but not polished, and certainly not predictable. Dean Roberts writes: "Yes, there is rock, but it's so deformed that not even no wave could help you make sense out of it." It's rock with an experimental bent, using plenty of electronics, and little indication of who is doing what. It's a far cry from Songbook 1, but it's still crying with angst, confrontational, and with a Berlin-backing band, hearkening a bit to Einstürzende Neubauten and similar bands of foreboding sound and word.

Mattin: Songbook #7 [VINYL] (Munster Records)

Which finally brings us to this review: Songbook 7, recorded in 2017. From its humble roots, the Songbook series has become serious, and Mattin is using his songbooks as a solid platform for social commentary with an incredible band capable of shaping his intentions in sound. As he states, if previous Songbooks dealt with the tension between improvisation and song structure, this Songbook explores the tension between the individual and the collective, while contrasting historic moments against modern politics, comparing the present with the past, and exploring issues like the rise of fascism.

In an impressive septet with Lucio Capece (bass clarinet & sampler), Marcel Dickhage (voice, sampler & German texts), Colin Hacklander (drums), Farahanz Hatam (computer), Mattin (voice & English texts), Moor Mother (electronics) and Cathleen Schuster (voice, sampler & German texts), Mattin uses this Songbook to contemplate two moments as historical inspiration: the first 7 months of the 1917 Russian Revolution; and Germaine Berton, the anarchist who in 1923 was accused of murdering Marius Plateau, director of the far-right organization French Action League.

To do this Mattin blends spoken words and electronics, shards of rock, noise, and otherwise inexplicable sound, all in an unpredictable amalgamation. Several of the pieces initiate as narratives, with intense musical accompaniment building, pausing at times for spoken asides, and then thickening like a chaotic clash, reflecting the events described. There's room for individual improvisation, and Capece, Mother Moor and Hacklander stand out in throttled and energetic cries, each eventually subsumed by the sonic tempest and overshadowed by statements that whiplash the listener, bouncing from speaker to speaker and modified by an array of treatments. Altogether it's an excellent work that fuses disparate musical and sonic forms in emphatics ways to create an enveloping set of sonic environments that support the themes of the album.

Each recording on the LP is named for a successive month, each distinctive in the layering and density of sound. "January" is foreboding and thick with a cloud of sound, effected and robotic voices guiding and rebuking; "February" builds thicker, demanding, driving but taking narrative pauses, twists & turns; "March" & "April" are reserved, instructive, mysterious; "May" experimental, filled with space and innuendo, whispered voices, fractured bits of sound and quietly aberrant and swelling electronics. The music's unpredictability is its fascination; at times the listener is overwhelmed, at times perplexed, at times startled, at times soothed into complacency.

We are led to track 6, "June", which is an audio discussion of the album's objectives and degrees of success; this level of self-awareness reflects Mattin's serious exploration of his themes--this is not an album to take lightly, and his subjects are non-trivial issues that have vexed society for decades. The album ends in "July", returning to the work of the album with distressed and desperate cries from Mattin. Is it frustration at the cyclical nature of these issues and their failure to resolve, for people to escape control and fascism, to transform society to something lastingly better?



Mattin: Songbook #7
Is On Sale at Squidco!
Squidco




Comments and Feedback:



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Eclectic Maybe Band:
Reflections In(Discus)



Keith Tippett:
The Unlonely(Discus)



Michael Zerang:
Asssyrian Caesarean
[VINYL]
(Holidays Records)



Chester Hawkins :
Cops Need[USB mp3 & wav + pdf]
(Intangible Arts)



Limbo Ensemble:
Limbo
(Creative Sources)



Evan Parker /
Matthew Wright /
Trance Map+:
Crepuscule in Nickelsdorf
(Intakt)



Jeb Bishop /
Alex Ward /
Weasel Walter:
Flayed
(ugEXPLODE)



Rob Mazurek:
Desert Encrypts(Astral Spirits)



The Flying Luttenbachers:
Shattered Dimension
[VINYL 2 LPs]
(God Records)



Susan Alcorn /
Joe McPhee /
Ken Vandermark:
Invitation To A Dream
(Astral Spirits)



Jonathon Crompton:
Intuit
(New Lab Records)



Ethnic Heritage Ensemble:
Be Known Ancient/Future/Music
(Spiritmuse Records)



John Zorn:
Nove Cantici(Tzadik)



Zion80
(John Zorn):
The Book Beri'ah(Tzadik)



Barry Guy:
Blue Horizon. Barry Guy@70
(Live At[3 CDs]
(Listen! Foundation
(Fundacja Sluchaj!))



Agusti Fernandez :
River Tiger Fire
[4 CDs]
(Listen! Foundation
(Fundacja Sluchaj!))



Rempis /
Abrams /
Ra + Baker:
Apsis
(Aerophonic)



From Wolves To Whales
(Rempis /
Wooley /
Niggenkemper /
Corsano):
Strandwal
[2 CDs]
(Aerophonic)



Francois Carrier /
Alexander Hawkins /
John Edwards /
Michel Lambert:
Nirguna
[2 CDs]
(Listen! Foundation
(Fundacja Sluchaj!))



Evan Parker /
Eddie Prevost:
Tools Of(Listen! Foundation
(Fundacja Sluchaj!))







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (250007)