The Squid's Ear
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Sylvain Daniel / Gregoire Galichet / Matthieu Metzger: Killing Spree (Ayler)

Saxophonist Matthieu Metzger takes us on the dark side in a "Killing Spree" with electric bassist Sylvain Daniel and drummer Gregoire Galichet, 9 pieces of demanding improvisation that share a Naked City or Court of the Crimson King energy fueled by awesome technical prowess. ... Click to View


Birgit Ulher / Leonel Kaplan: Stereo Trumpet (Relative Pitch)

Recordings of two German trumpeters--Birgit Uhler and Leonel Kaplan--both using extended techniques and modern instrumental language, splitting their recordings between the left and right channels for clarity in their fascinating and unconventional dialogs. ... Click to View


Roscoe Mitchell (with Craig Taborn / Kikanju Baku): Conversations I (Wide Hive)

The trio of AACM legend Roscoe Mitchell on sax and flute, Craig Taborn on piano, organ and synth, and Kikanju Baku on drums & percussion, in the first of two "conversational" albums of advanced and dynamic improv in a forceful and captivating set of group compositions. ... Click to View


Microtub: Star System [VINYL] (Sofa)

A 3-dimensional graphic scores performed using microtonal tubas from the trio of Robin Hayward, Martin Taxt, and Kristoffer Lo, using the Hayward Tuning Vine that visualises the harmonic space implicit within the microtonal tuba. ... Click to View


Michael Duch Francis: Tomba Emmanuelle [VINYL] (Sofa)

Michael F. Duch's solo album for the double bass is named for the tomb in Emanuel Vigeland Museum, Oslo where this piece commissioned by nyMusikk Bergen was recorded, exploring different registers, timbres and acoustic effects in relation to the space it is being performed in. ... Click to View


Bruckman / Diaz-Infante / Shiruba / Stackpole: Grand Mal (pax)

Bay Area free improvisers Ernesto Diaz-Infante (acoustic guitar), John Shiurba (electric guitar), Karen Stackpole (percussion) and Kyle Bruckman (oboe, english horn & suona), crossing acoustic and electronic boundaries in unpredictable improvised collective compositions. ... Click to View


Arcane Device: Noise Matrix Mantras / Modular Waves [2 CDs] (pulsewidth)

After more than 20 years David Myers revives Arcane Device with this 2 disc set, applying his fascinating approach to feedback and electronic music through 14 live tracks using a noise matrix, and 4 larger works using modular waves. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi: Quixotism [VINYL] (Editions Mego)

With collaborators from Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA, "Quixotism" presents guitarist Ambarchi's 5 part work, built on a foundation of pulsing double-time electronic percussion, with abstracted sonic additions punctuating and building a dream-like aural environment. ... Click to View


Romannis Motte: Another Journey (Mystery School Records)

A collection of 8 synth-driven ambient cosmic voyages from Romannis Motte using Roland JX8P, Roland RS-5, Alexis QS7, Alexis Micron, Korg PE1000, Crumar DS-2, iPad running NanoStudio, Korg iMS20, 0-iPolySix, Access Virus A. ... Click to View


Detail: Stevens / Pedersen / Gjerstad: First Detail [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad started the forward thinking free improv group Detail in 1981 with Eivin One Pederson on keys and SME legend, drummer John Stevens; this live recording of the original lineup is a fantastic document of the roots of this important band. ... Click to View


Trevor Wishart: Red Bird: A Political Prisoner's Dream [VINYL] (Sub Rosa)

A reissue of Trevor Wishart's 1978 release on the York Electronic Studios, exploring the interpolation by technological means between the human voice and natural sounds, in this work examing four classes of sounds: birds; animal and body sounds; machines; and words. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke: Behold [VINYL] (Editions Mego)

The second collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke, Ambarchi on guitar and drums and O'Rourke on synth and piano, recording in Tokyo between 2012 and 2013, for two side long works that use subtle minimalism and building structures of sound. ... Click to View


Spunk: Adventura Botanica (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian quartet SPUNK joins forces with modern dance exponent Odd Johan Fritzoe to create a sound and movement work celebrating Darwin's trip to Madagascar where he developed the theories of evolution, heard here in a studio rendering. ... Click to View


Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus: Bonita [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian free vocalist Sidsel Endresen and guitarist Stian Westerhus expand on their concert recording "Didymoi Dreams" by taking their concepts into the studio for a live all-improvised set of recordings of unique, unusual, edgy, and telepathic music. ... Click to View


Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus: Bonita (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian free vocalist Sidsel Endresen and guitarist Stian Westerhus expand on their concert recording "Didymoi Dreams" by taking their concepts into the studio for a live all-improvised set of recordings of unique, unusual, edgy, and telepathic music. ... Click to View


Albatrosh: Night Owl (Rune Grammofon)

The young Norwegian jazz duo of pianist Eyolf Dale and saxophonist and clarinetist Andre Roligheten, who have played together since meeting in 2006 at the age of 17, in their 5th album, a wonderfully upbeat set of original compositions that push both players while delighting listeners. ... Click to View


Albatrosh: Night Owl [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

The young Norwegian jazz duo of pianist Eyolf Dale and saxophonist and clarinetist Andre Roligheten, who have played together since meeting in 2006 at the age of 17, in their 5th album, a wonderfully upbeat set of original compositions that push both players while delighting listeners. ... Click to View


Motorpsycho: Demon Box [4 CD/DVD BOX] (Rune Grammofon)

Motorpsycho's breakthrough 1993 2 LP album on the Norwegian Voices of Wonder label is reissued as a quality 4 disc box set: 2 CDs with the original album in its entirety; a CD of the 2 following EPs ("Mountain" & "Another Ugly"); a CD of outtakes; and a live DVD. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis / Chris Cundy / James O'Sullivan: Asphodels Abide (Aural Terrains)

Sophisticated and interactive electroacoustic improvisation from the trio of Chris Cundy on bass clarinet, James O'Sullivan on guitar, and Aural Terrains label leader Thanos Chrysakis on laptop, synth and radio, performing the six part "Asphodels Abide". ... Click to View


Machinefabriek: Loos (self-released)

A live performance at Ephemere, Studio Loos in The Netherlands from Rutger Zuydervelt, AKA Machinefabriek, in a set that mixes his sources with recordings from the room, creating a dynamic and vibrant recording that ranges from subtle near-silence to thick electronic excitement. ... Click to View


Nickolas Mohanna : Phase Line (Run/Off Editions)

Digital sound processing oscillating through a variety of media saturated sources including electronic billboards, kiosk stations, traffic control devices and other city environments, knotted into sculptural arpeggiation by sound artists Nickolas Mohanna. ... Click to View


Chris Dadge: Pith [3-inch CDR] (Bug Incision Records)

Bug Incision label leader Chris Dadge steps away from his drums for a live performance at Pith Gallery in Calgary, using field recordings and amplified objects to create intriguing and compelling environments of concrete sound, tinted from a percussionist's perspective. ... Click to View


Chris Dadge : Bin 15 [3-inch CDR] (Bug Incision Records)

Percussionist Chris Dadge recorded these two drones using amplified cymbals, violin, and snare drum inside a replica of a Saskatchewan-prairies-style grain silo erected by artist Mark Lowe at the 2011 Calgary Folk Festival. ... Click to View


Benoit Hughes: Crescent Road [3-inch CDR] (Bug Incision Records)

Autodidact Benoit Hughes recorded these improvisations to a mini-disc recorder on auto-volume, adding unusual sonic qualities to inventive playing on the piano and half-clarinet, where the physical ambiance mixes with his unbridled machinations. ... Click to View


Roger Turner & Otomo Yoshihide: The Last Train (Fataka)

UK free improvising drummer Roger Turner meets Japanese guitarist Otomo Yoshihide at the Hara Museum, Tokyo in the winter of 2013 for a performance that balances introspective improvisation with assertive and authoritative playing for a captivating and dynamic album. ... Click to View


Harris Eisenstadt (w/ Moore, Schoenbeck, Dresser): Golden State II (Songlines)

Live recordings at the 2014 Vancouver International Jazz Festival from drummer Harris Eisenstadt's excellent and lyrical Golden State chamber jazz ensemble, here as a quartet with Michael Moore on clarinet, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, and Mark Dresser on bass. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Peter Brotzmann / Jim O'Rourke: Two City Blues PT 2 (Trost Records)

One of two sets recorded on one intense night at Tokyo's Shinjuku Pit Inn from the trio of Japanese improvised rock legend Haino Keiji, European Free Jazz saxophone master Peter Brotzmann, and versatile American composer and musician Jim O'Rourke. ... Click to View


Mattin : Songbook #5 (Disembraining Machine )

Mattin takes 5 spontaneous 5-minute songs from 5 musicians, and a 25 minute concert structured by 5 instructions based on those song titles, then records vocals for the 5 songs as a singing lecture, then superimposes all 3 to create the five 5-minutes songs on this album. ... Click to View


Hong-Kai Wang and Mattin: Collapsing Ourselves (Mount Analogue)

A unique album of self-aware conversation from Hong-Kai Wang and Mattin, who record themselves responding to their own dialog, addressing those responses to the audience and adding their reaction to the final recordings, creating an abstract spoken ambiance. ... Click to View


Sun Ra Arkestra, The: Live in Nickelsdorf 1984 [VINYL 4 LP BOX] (Trost Records)

A sturdy 4 LP box set documenting Sun Ra's 1984 European Tour, here performing live in Nickelsdorf, Germany at Jazzgalerie, for an ebullient set of Sun Ra originals and standards with the Arkestra including John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Eloe Taylor, James Jackson, &c &c. ... Click to View


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

   review by Michael Rosenstein
  2003-08-20
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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