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The Necks: Vertigo (Northern Spy)

The Necks 18th album finds the trio of drummer/percussionist Tony Buck, bassist Lloyd Swanton and pianist/keyboardist Chris Abrahams in a vertiginous 44 minute dark excursion punctuated by cliff hanging moments through homemade instruments and unusual textures. ... Click to View

The Necks: Vertigo [VINYL] (Northern Spy)

The Necks 18th album finds the trio of drummer/percussionist Tony Buck, bassist Lloyd Swanton and pianist/keyboardist Chris Abrahams in a vertiginous 44 minute dark excursion punctuated by cliff hanging moments through homemade instruments and unusual textures. ... Click to View

Raoul Bjorkenheim / eCsTaSy: Out Of The Blue (Cuneiform)

Ecstatic modern improvised music from electric guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheims quartet with drummer Markku Ounaskari, bassist Jori Huhtala, and saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen, in their second album blending complex time signatures with beautiful sonic environments. ... Click to View

Evan Parker: The Snake Decides [REPRESS] (psi)

Re-issuing UK improvising saxophonist Evan Parker's stunning 2003 solo release on soprano sax, recorded in 1986 in St. Paul's Church, Oxford by the late Michael Gerzon--"a giant in the field of audio"--using the natural resonance of the space augments Parker's stunning technique. ... Click to View

Evan Parker / Schlippenbach / Lytton: America 2003 [2 CDs] REPRESS (psi)

Concert recordings from the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and the Seattle Asian Arts Museum from the trio of Evan Parker (sax), Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano) and Paul Lytton (percussion), 2 CDs of stunning and surprising improv from three masters of the form. ... Click to View

Thomas Heberer / Achim Kaufmann / Ken Filiano: Interstices (Nuscope)

... Click to View

Kevin Drumm / Jason Lescalleet: Busman's Holiday (erstwhile)

A meditation on the inner mental environments that one encounters and endures during times of work-related travel, intended as a distraction in airports, bus stations, train stations, subway terminals, reflected in literal and abstract sound, in a mix of patience and terror. ... Click to View

Takahiro Kawaguchi / Utah Kawasaki: Amorphous Spores (erstwhile)

Unusual sound work from the Japanese duo of Takahiro Kawaguchi and Utah Kawasaki (Astro Twin), using self-made instruments and electronics to create unexpected sonic emissions that follow curious paths that are separated by periods of quiet or textural sound. ... Click to View

Zs (Hillmer / Fox / Higgins): XE (Northern Spy)

Sam Hillmer's NY based Z's in a trio format, with Hillmer on sax & electronics, Patrick Higgins on guitar & electronics, and Greg Fox on percussion & electronics, for an album of energetic and often abstracted beats, hyperkinetic electronics, and strange tonal music. ... Click to View

Van Hove / Jacquemyn / Smith: Burns Longer (Balance Point Acoustics)

European Free improvising legend Fred Van Hove performing on piano and accordion with two bassists--fellow Belgian Peter Jacquemyn, and West Coast bassist Damon Smith--for an album of dizzying flights and growling bass turning convention on its side in sensational ways. ... Click to View

Trot A Mouse (Simon Jermyn): Pictorial Atlas Of Mammals (Skirl)

With Tom Rainey on drums, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor saxophone, Mat Maneri on viola and leader Simon Jermyn on 6 string electric bass, Trot a Mouse's 2nd album is a sophisticated NY band blending lyrical and free approaches to a diverse set set of modern creative jazz compositions. ... Click to View

Kenny Wheeler / John Taylor: On The Way To Two (CamJazz)

A tribute to the passing of both trumpet and flugelhorn Kenny Wheeler and long-time collaborator, pianist John Taylor, in a subtle conversation of two partners of superb skill and taste "suggesting, agreeing, mildly disagreeing, but never at cross purposes". ... Click to View

Midnight Doctors: Through A Screen And Into A Hole (Ourodisc)

A long-term studio project/mutant big band merging collage, scored pieces, structured improvisations, cut-up jams, hi- and lo-fi textures, electroacoustic work, and location recording into large and wonderfully unpredictable compositions with few boundaries. ... Click to View

Midnight Doctors: (Ourodisc)

A long-term studio project/mutant big band merging collage, scored pieces, structured improvisations, cut-up jams, hi- and lo-fi textures, electroacoustic work, and location recording into large and wonderfully unpredictable compositions with few boundaries. ... Click to View

Musicworks: #123 Fall 2015 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

Features: The Expanding Universe of Yamantaka // Sonic Titan; Yamantaka // Sonic Titan; The Retro Aesthetic of Le Revelateur; JOYFULTALK (Drip Audio); Muuixx; Hard Rubber Orchestra; Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville; Allison Cameron and Contact; plus live and recorded reviews. ... Click to View

Komuna// Warszawa: plays Luc Ferrari Tautologos III (Bolt)

A fascinating rendering of Ferrari's Tautology--everyday activities enacted in gesture, noises, words, &c.--used as a framework for a chamber work where the performers recorded their parts independently, which were then overlapped and played alongside Ferrari's tapes and narration. ... Click to View

Kare Kolberg : Attitudes (Bolt)

Kare Kolberg was a pioneer of electroacoustic music in Norway, having written the first Norwegian work for computers in 1973; this CD presents froms from 1969-2003 written for the Polish Radio Experimentral Studio blending and expanding on concepts of concrete music. ... Click to View

MIRT: Solitaire (Bolt)

Tomek Mirt resurrects the memory of the Norwegian composer Arne Nordheimie through this five part work of slowly shifting electronics, tense atmospheres, and gentle murmurs, detailed work that reveals its meditative depth through repeated listenings. ... Click to View

Goh Kawng Lee / Julien Ottavi: Pukul Berapa? (Herbal International)

Goh Lee Kwang performing on a no input mixer meets Julien Ottavi on TamTam, bass drum and a computer running Puredata and Apodio 10 for an album of electronic improvisation recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Nantes, France that balances agressive and meditative sound. ... Click to View

Christopher Riggs / Carl Testa: Sn (S to the power of n, or Sⁿ) (Gold Bolus Recordings)

New Haven instrumentalist Carl Testa and Chicago guitarist Christopher Riggs in a large composition for prepared electric guitar and live electronic processing that references Ashley, Stockhausen and Braxton while manipulating one's sense of time, space, and memory. ... Click to View

Steerage: Entropy Is What The State Makes Of It (Caduc)

An album of tones and tonal environments from Barry Chabala and A.F. Jones, using guitars and effects to create slowly moving sound punctuated with unusual sounds of unknown origin; rich and curiously non-specific sound that lives in the back- and foreground. ... Click to View

Cecil Taylor : Garden, 2nd Set (Hatology)

The second set of Cecil Taylor's superb live set at Grosser Saal Volkshaus, in Basel, Switzerland in 1981, performing solo over five improvisations, presented for the first time in the original concert sequence. ... Click to View

Anthony Braxton : Quartet (Santa Cruz) 1993, 2nd Set (Hatology)

Remaster of the exhilarating second set from saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton's concert at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA, 1993, one of 7 nights performing with the quartet of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Mark Dresser on bass, and Gerry Hemingway on percussion. ... Click to View

Claudio Sanna : Ammentos (Hatology)

Sardinian pianist Claudio Sanna, versed equally in the classical, jazz, and electroacoustic traditions, in his debut recording of 8 original compositions blending composition and improvisation, revealing an enthusiastic and curious approach to music. ... Click to View

Uwe Oberg : Work (Hatology)

German pianist Uwe Oberg (Lacy Pool, Uwe Oberg Quartet, Kooperative New Jazz) in a solo album performing works of Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk and his own original work, applying a diverse set of approaches rooted in jazz tradition. ... Click to View

Anthony Braxton / Derek Bailey: First Duo Concert (London 1974) (Emanem)

A much-need reissue of the 1974 Emanem LP presenting saxophonist Anthony Baxton, also on flute, with guitarist Derek Bailey on acoustic and electric, performing at London's Wigmore Hall for twelve duets of a diverse, playful, and accesible character. ... Click to View

Veryan Weston / Jon Rose / Hannah Marshall: Tuning Out [2 CDs] (Emanem)

Improvised pieces for tracker action organs and strings recorded in five English churches from the trio of violinist Jon Rose, Veryan Weston on tracker action organ, and cellist Hannah Marshall, inviting the public to re-imagine the nature of pitch relationships. ... Click to View

Steve Lacy Quintet: Last Tour (2004) (Emanem)

The Steve Lacy Quintet's final tour with vocalist Irene Aebi, trombonist George Lewis, bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch, performing live in Boston for an impressive set punctuated with words from Burroughs, Waldman, Kaufman, Creeley & Schelling. ... Click to View

Larry Ochs: The Fictive Five (Tzadik)

West Coast multi-reedist and founding member of the Rova Sax Quartet Larry Ochs leads this impressive free improvising quintet patterned after the New York Contemporary Five, with the superb lineup of Nate Wooley, Harris Eisenstadt, Pascal Niggenkemper, and Ken Filiano. ... Click to View

John Zorn: James Moore Plays The Book Of Heads (CD/DVD) Of A Film By Stephen Taylor (Tzadik)

Zorn's "The Book of Heads" is performed by guitarist James Moore, heard on CD and seen in a DVD by Stephen Taylor, using prepared guitar to interpret Zorn's hermetic language of meticulously notated sounds inspired by contemporary classical extended techniques. ... Click to View


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  Frank Lowe Orchestra 
  Lowe and Behold  
  (Musicworks (1978)) 

   review by Michael Rosenstein
Frank Lowe Orchestra: Lowe and Behold (Musicworks (1978))

Frank Lowe's Lowe and Behold provides a snapshot of a particular intersection of New York improvisation in the late '70s - AACM/St. Louis-BAG transplants Philip Wilson, Joseph Bowie and John Lindberg; free jazzers Lowe, Billy Bang, "Butch" Morris and Arthur Williams; and young upstarts John Zorn, Polly Bradfield, Eugene Chadborne and Peter Kuhn. (Until the "Twins Version" of "Lacrosse" was unearthed for the Parachute Years box, this was Zorn's earliest appearance on record.) Captured live in October of 1977, this long-out-of-print gem captures a scene in a state of flux. Here were musicians working out ideas that would work their way into conductions, game theory pieces, and the free jazz large ensemble vocabulary. But this was raw music that was in transition from aggressive assaults rooted in the Fire Music of the '60s toward articulated strategies for ensemble improvisation. Lowe provided loosely architected forms for orchestral playing; stabbing themes that were exploded in conversational sub-groupings. The tenor player guides this 11-piece ensemble across four pieces, threading together ferocious quartets, churning ensemble playing, and guerilla interaction, stoked along by Wilson's locomotive drive. Side one plays from the loft jazz lexicon, with aggressive settings for Lowe, Bowie, Lindberg, and Wilson. But even there, the frayed interjections of Chadborne's guitar add a definite twist. The first side ends with the compact "A Hipster's Dream," featuring the growling smears and lithe leaps of Peter Kuhn's clarinet. (Where has Kuhn disappeared too?)

The two pieces on side two head off into a different direction. Here, the ensemble is fractured and catapulted into clashing duets and trios, and it is here that Zorn stands out, his clipped pops and shredded cries bristle through, splintering the propulsive momentum of Lowe's tenor squalls. On the final piece "Heavy Drama," there is an elastic three-way tension between Zorn, Bang, and Morris, that edges toward the textures that Zorn, Chadborne, and Bradfield were charting out on the early game theory pieces at around the same time. There is always a tendency to find tidy lineages and epiphanal breakthroughs, but things rarely work out so neatly. This meeting isn't a radical jumping off point for Zorn. He and a steadily expanding circle of players were already breaking away from the language of free jazz and diving into jump-cut structures. This recording serves as one of the few extant documents of the some of the other settings they were participating in during that transition. But it is far more than an historical curiosity and still stands up well over twenty five years later. Let's hope some industrious label digs this one up for reissue.

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