The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Greg Saunier / Mary Halvorson / Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 [VINYL] (Sound American/Pleasure of the Text Records)

Two essential Downtown New York improvisers--guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Ron Miles--are joined by drummer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof in response to Nate Wooley's request that the three expand the American Songbook in astouding instrumental versions of music by Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, The Partridge Family, John Williams, James P. Johnson, &c. ... Click to View


Large Unit: Fluku (PNL)

The 3rd album from Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's big band Large Unit, here in a 12-member configuration, adding saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts (Starlite Motel, Cortex) to the band, in an album centered on Nillsen-Love's penned title track "Fluku", and the equally impressive "Playgo", large complex works that showcase the group's collective and individual voices. ... Click to View


Large Unit: Selected Tracks 2013-2017 (PNL)

An excellent introduction to Norwegian percussionist and composer Paal Nilssen-Love's big band, Large Unit, through tracks showing the breadth of the band's ability in game pieces, ballads, a collaboration with Brazilian percussionists, live recordings from their 2015 North American tour and at Moers festival in Germany, and their first concert at Molde Jazzfestival in 2013. ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Paal Nilssen-Love : Nearby Faraway (PNL)

The 25 year collaboration of Norwegian free improvisers Frode Gjerstad on saxophones and clarinets and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, starting with Circulasione Totale Orchestra and best experienced in their duo recordings, here in an album dedicated to Frode's close friend and musical colleague, pianist and accordion player Elvin One Pedersen. ... Click to View


Konstrukt / Keiji Haino: A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

The Konstrukt free improvising band from Turkey, known for their collaborations with master musicians of a wide spectrum of approaches, joins forces with improvising Japanese psych guitarist, vocalist and sound artist Keiji Haino for two 3-part works of swirling sax, synth, sound and guitars, startling vocals, and hallucinatory rhythms. ... Click to View


Peter Hammill: From The Trees (Fie! Records)

Peter Hammill continues his immense solo career, intricately linked to his work with Van Der Graaf Generator, but more focused in intelligent lyrics, profound vocal layering, and fluid song structures, a unique voice who for more than 35 studio albums has developed an approach to songwriting and intellectual observation of subtle sophistication and detail. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis / Kurt Liedwart / Nuno Torres / Ernesto Rodrigues : Skiagraphia (Creative Sources)

Three label leaders come together for an album of free electroacoustic improvisation--Thanos Chrysakis (Aural Terrains); Kurt Liedwart (Microton); Ernesto Rodrigues (Creative Sources), with Nuno Torres on sax--for an extended dialog built of exotic and microscopic sound, string abberations, and reed abnormalities; exceptional. ... Click to View


Charlemagne Palestine : STTT THOMASSS '''''''DINGGGDONGGGDINGGGzzzzzzz ferrrr TONYYY'''''''' [CASSETTE] (Blank Forms)

In memory of the late polymath avant-garde artist Tony Conrad (1940-2016), longtime friend and coconspirator Charlemagne Palestine returned to the site of their first encounter for a tribute performance on what would have been Conrad's 77th birthday, performing on the bells at St Thomas's Church, in New York City for a rich album of ritualistic ringing and tones. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Pierre-Yves Martel / Eric Normand: Boule-spiel (Tour de Bras)

Quebec improvisers Pierre-Yves Martel on Viola da Gamba, objects, and feedback, Eric Normand on electric bass and snare drum, are joined by Berlin pianist Magda Mayas for two extended works of free improvisation, manipulating and contorting strings with an electroacoustic edge, dark ruminations of exquisite detail, patience, and adroit interaction. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler: Bells (White Vinyl 180gm) [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

Albert Ayler's 1965 ESP album originally released as a 1-sided clear vinyl LP, the single "Bells" song actually an amalgamation of his piece "Holy Ghost" which transitions into "Bells", here augmented with "Vibrations aka (tune Q)2", performed with brother Donald on trumpet, Charles Tyler on alto sax, Lewis Worrell on bass, and Sunny Murray on drums. ... Click to View


Irene Schweizer / Joey Baron : Live! (Intakt)

Two generations and two monumental masters of free improvisation from Europe and New York joined together at the unerhort!-Festival Rote Fabrik Zurich in 2015 to unleash this technically awesome and ebullient duo in a fantastic concert of dynamic power, lyrical insight, intense rhythmic support and counterpoint, and profound musical ideas; incredible! ... Click to View


Die Enttauschung (Axel Dorner / Michael Griener / Rudi Mahall / Jan Roder): Lavaman (Intakt)

The remarkable European Free Jazz quintet Die Enttauschung, crossing bop forms with modern creative approaches to jazz for over 20 years, take a new drummer--Michael Griener--and adds trombonist Christof Thewes, to join Rudi Mahall on clarinets, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Jan Roder on bass, for an exciting and upbeat album of succinct tunes that both revere and abuse jazz history in wonderful ways. ... Click to View


Trio Heinz Herbert (w/ Dominic Landolt / Ramon Landolt / Mario Haenni): The Willisau Concert (Live) (Intakt)

Textural improv of improbable grooves and tones driven by intense periods of interaction balanced with spatial sonic environments; adventurous and exuberant dialog caught live at the Jazzfestival Willisau, in Switzerland, 2016 from the trio of Dominic Landolt on guitar, Ramon Landolt on Hammond organ, synthesizer & samples and Mario Haenni on drums. ... Click to View


Aruan Ortiz : Cub(an)ism (Intakt)

Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz explores a range of musical idioms and styles, drawing on experiences from many phases of Ortiz' life in Cuba, Spain, France and the US, exploring cubist principles, faceting, and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements, as he presents 10 original compositions of passionate and playful music, performed with virtuosic skill. ... Click to View


Aki Takase / Paul Ayumi : Hotel Zauberberg (Intakt)

Pianist Aki Takase and violinist Ayumi Paul's 1st collaboration is an 18 movement suite for violin and piano blending composition and improvisation, with 11 movements from Takase and 5 written with Paul, plus Mozart's "K. 1 minuet in G major" and the Preludio movement from Bach's solo violin partita in E major; an absorbing set of recordings inspired by the writings of Thomas Mann. ... Click to View


Hans Hassler: Wie Die Zeit Hinter Mir Her (Intakt)

Swiss accordionist Hans Hassler stands above the (small) crowd of improvising accordionist in the breadth of his career, his ability to balance both lyrical, abstract, serious, and humorous aspects in his approach to the instrument, a true original in intent and ability to engage his listeners, in 15 original and diverse compositions recorded in 2017. ... Click to View


Pan-Scan Ensemble: Air And Light And Time And Space (PNL)

"Pan-Scan" refers to pan-Scandinavian, and the nine players on this thrilling and joyful recordings are all of that origin, performing live at Blow Out in Mir, Oslo, Norway in 2016, including both Lotte Anker and Ann Hogberg on sax, Thomas Johansson, Emil Stranberg and Goran Kajfes on trumpet, Sten Sandell on piano, and Paal Nilssen-Love and Stale Liavik on drums. ... Click to View


Xavier Charles / Michel F Cote / Franz Hautzinger / Philippe Lauzier / Eric Normand: Torche! (Tour de Bras)

An exceptional free improvising quintet of Montreal & Quebec improvisers--bassist Eric Normand, drummer Michel F. Cote, and bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier--with French clarinetist Xavier Charles and German trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, performing live during the 2016 Festival de Musique de Creation, creating fascinating commontion with incredible restraint. ... Click to View


Fraufraulein: Heavy Objects [CASSETTE] (Marginal Frequency)

The duo of Brooklyn electronics, field recording, bass guitar and french horn artists Billy Gomberg and Anne Guthrie, using musical and abstract sounds to create something between the concrete textures of field recording and spontaneous composition, presenting restrained yet detailed sound that engages the listener through transition and mystery. ... Click to View


Joda Clement / Mathieu Ruhlmann: Kindred (Marginal Frequency)

A unique cover of Brian Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain" using synthesizer, field recordings, electromagnetic feedback, treatments, objects, oscillators, shruti box, reel to reel, ukelin, guitar, piano, clarinet, cello and voice, from Joda Clement and Mathieu Ruhlmann joined by Cristian Alvear, Gregory Moskos, Alexandra Spence, Tim Clement, Judith Hamann and A.F. Jones. ... Click to View


Mars Williams presents (w/ Berman / Lonberg-Holdm / Baker / Kessler / Sandstrom / Hunt): An Ayler Xmas: The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas (Soul What Records)

Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams directs his Albert Ayler tribute band, Witches and Devils, to merge Ayler-esque compositions with Christmas songs, performed by Josh Berman (cornet) Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jim Baker (keys, viola), Kent Kessler (bass), Brian Sandstrom (bass, guitar, trumpet); an unexpected and welcome present for your free jazz festivities! ... Click to View


Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Unusual Words (Soul What Records)

A CD intended to sell at concerts from Mars Williams' own Soul What Records label, a studio recording in 2012 from the powerhouse trio of Chicago multi-reedist Mars Williams, in-demand Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, and Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, running the gamut from furious blowing to introspective interaction. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Mary Halvorson / Marc Ribot: ERR Guitar (Intakt)

Elliott Sharp's New York Studio zOaR was the meeting place for three New York guitarists--Sharp himself, Mary Halvorson, and Marc Ribot--who find common ground by blending a variety of approaches to the instrument in 12 excellent and generally succinct collective improvisations, stretching, bending, plucking and inexplicably effecting their guitars. ... Click to View


John Cage: Klang der Wandlungen [3 CDs] (Edition Rz)

An impressive triple-CD box with recordings of some late works by John Cage, including "Seventy-Four for Orchestra, 1992", "103 for Orchestra, 1991, part 1 & 2", In a Landscape fur Harfe", "Postcard From Heaven fur Eine Bis Zwanzig Harfen", and some of "The Harmony of Maine"; including a 32 page booklet with photos and liner notes by Jakob Ullmann. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey: L'ame Est Sans Retenue I [5 CDs] (erstwhile)

A massive work from composer Jurg Frey focused on the dynamic relationship between sound and silence, and how it can affect our perception of the silence in a frame of space and time, using environmental sounds of field recordings and silence to create a massive work over six hours, modifying pitch, rhythm, dynamics, texture, and overtone, here properly released on 5 CDs. ... Click to View


Michael Pisaro / Samuel Dunscombe / Steven Andrew Flato / Wen Liu / Celeste Oram / Johannes Regnier: Organ For The Senses (Marginal Frequency)

San Diego's Parkeology director Kate Clark and composer Samuel Dunscombe organized this concert to take advantage of the Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ, inviting local and regional experimental composers to develop works for the 5,017 pipe instrument, attracting artists like Michael Pisaro, Samuel Dunscombe, Steven Andrew Flato, Wen Liu, &c. ... Click to View


Jon Irabagon / Joe Fiedler / Todd Neufeld: In Formation Network (Nuscope)

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, trombonist Joe Fiedler, and guitarist Todd Neufeld met in April, 2017 in Mount Vernon at the Oktaven Audio studio to record these nine varied compositions, presenting a unifying trio sound and identity that reflects Chicago's Giuffre trio, but with a unique collective attitude as the trio employs a varied set of compositional strategies. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee: The Willisau Concert (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded in 1975 at the Swiss Willisau Jazz Festival, Joe McPhee's trio with John Synder on synth and Makaya Ntshoko on drums, and McPhee on tenor and sopranox sax, was Hat Hut's 2nd release and has been out of print since; Corbett vs. Dempsey asked McPhee what unavailable album he'd like to see in print, and this suberb album was his first choice. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : The Lost Eddie Chatterbox Session [2017 REISSUE] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Reissuing free improvising guitarist Eugene Chadbourne's 1977, San Francisco recording of compositions by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman, plus a few standards and originals, captured on an ailing quarter-track tape deck, but saved for the force of his playing, here restored, corrected, and remastered. ... Click to View


Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II [2017 REMASTER] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The 2nd volume in Sun Ra's "Discipline" series was recorded during the same sessions as 1972's Impulse release "Space Is the Place", with Sun Ra on electronic keyboards and Moog, and a large band including Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny Davis, Akh Tal Ebah, June Tyson, &c. ... Click to View


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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  Musical Activism: An Open Call  
By Marc Ribot

On tour in Europe during the first twelve days of the recent invasion of Iraq, I witnessed something close to bereavement among audience members at the apparent consent of most Americans to Bush's agenda of war and empire.

It was exhausting, in addition with all the other pressures of performance, to deal with expectations to represent "America" in this situation. Although it felt strange to speak about the war during performances - I'm a guitarist, not a lecturer - it felt even stranger not to. The one thing about which I felt certain was that the incredible level of anger and opposition I witnessed was no longer simply about one lousy political decision, but had become a critique of the legitimacy of the power of empire, and it wasn't going to stop when the war ended.

Indeed, it hasn't. It remains nearly impossible to get on stage without addressing (or failing to address) the context within which, whether we like it or not, our music is now heard.

This database project described below was conceived as a means through which artists and musicians will be able to say what needs to be said politically in the formats where it will do the most good, to help to change a political context which, simply put, has become intolerable.

We're inviting touring artists to participate in a pilot project version to be launched around February 1, 2004. Anyone can back out at any time, but expressions of interest/commitment (along with brief bios if possible) are needed to apply for grants to build the database.

Best regards, Marc Ribot Musicians Solidarity Database [correspondence may be sent to msolidarity@squidco.com]



WHAT: The Musicians Solidarity Database will connect internationally touring recording artists/musicians with anti-war and global justice organizations local to their touring dates.

The Database is an initiative of the Musicians Solidarity Network (MSN). Although open and useful to all artists regardless of origin or tour destination, the actual possibilities will probably reflect the current touring routes. The intent is for participating artists to be able to integrate whatever degree of activity on behalf peace/democracy/social justice organizations they feel able to commit to into their regular tour itineraries with a minimum of effort, and for the organizations to benefit from cultural support.

HOW: Touring artists enter their upcoming tour schedules, tech needs, and other necessary info and preferences into the database. Major peace/ democracy/social justice organizations access the info and cross-reference the dates of their planned events with touring artists' availability. The organizations then send the musicians/artists a set of proposals (for example: to speak or perform at a demonstration). The artist accepts whichever proposals they choose, and forward their acceptance along with whatever time or tech specs apply back to the organizations. The organizations confirm the date.

Even if tour schedules are too tight to allow for an artist's participation in outside events, artists can arrange, through the data bank, to make merchandise/ literature table space available to organizations they support.

Great care will be taken to make the data-base user friendly to both artists and organizations.

WHY?: An enormous divide has opened in political understanding between the US and most of the rest of the world, particularly in Europe. Most touring artists and musicians are already well aware of this.

But artists who speak out against Bush's agenda of war and empire, particularly in the US, run the risk of alienating fans or even being subjected to radio and other forms of blacklisting.

In Europe, things are different, at least for the time Being. Manu Chao's "Clandestino" was a hit because of, not in spite of, his close identification with the social forum movement. Whether this will always be true is difficult to say: the same forces that created Bush are also pushing Europe steadily rightward. But it's true now.

The database is a way to turn this political differential into a force for progressive change in the US, enable artists who want to be active to do so, provide organizations against war and for global justice with a constant stream of performing artist support, and build a global network of artists and activists.

It will help artists to limit the economic risks of activism by connecting them with activists and audiences who share their views.

For example, contact with non-US activists and anti-war audiences will enable US musical/cultural figures (and global cultural figures who wish to sell in the US market) to speak out. It's no accident the Dixie Chicks spoke out against the war while in Europe.

As more artists risk opinions outside the US mainstream, it will change the political math that has discouraged dissent by encouraging fans to question their mass-media enforced opinions. And contact between US audiences and European/international artists willing to speak out will help break the US media censorship of the depth of world opposition to war and empire.

Of course, the issues affecting us all aren't confined to the US: the same political/economic forces that put Bush in power in the US are alive and well in Europe and elsewhere. The problems are global and gestures of solidarity from touring musicians are needed to keep the spirit of opposition global as well.

A secondary benefit of the database involves musicians and artists rights issues. There are some issues of interest from anti-war, cultural, and labor perspectives. For example, the role of the Clear Channel monopoly in censoring opposition to the war, blacklisting anti-war artists, and even organizing pro-war demonstrations in the US is both an anti-war issue, and an infringement on artists' freedom of expression.

SPECIFICATIONS Filters, both passive/automatic and active/human will ensure that participating orgs are major and respected, and that participating artists are at a sufficiently professional level to be of use to them.

  • Access to the database will be strictly limited to approved organizations.
  • Contact between artists and organizations will take place within a database 'mailbox' so that artists/managers run no risk of having personal/business email accounts flooded with requests.
  • Whatever form of participation the artist chooses - be it a gig, a single song, or a brief statement - the database format will ensure that all necessary technical requirements and conditions are met, without extensive back and forth between artists, managers and organizations.
  • Artists will have access to full information about events they are being invited to participate in and about the organizations asking them to participate.
  • Artists' participation in the database will be confidential (although at this stage, we may need to list participating artists in grant applications) unless the artists themselves choose to make it public.



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

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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Thanos Chrysakis /
Kurt Liedwart /
Nuno Torres /
Ernesto Rodrigues :
Skiagraphia
(Creative Sources)



Large Unit:
Fluku
(PNL)



Peter Hammill:
From The Trees
(Fie! Records)



Konstrukt /
Keiji Haino:
A Philosophy Warping,
Little By Little
That Way Lies
A Quagmire
[VINYL]
(KARLRECORDS)



Greg Saunier /
Mary Halvorson /
Ron Miles:
New American
Songbooks,
Volume 1
[VINYL]
(Sound American/
Pleasure of the Text Records)



Trio Heinz Herbert
(w/ Dominic Landolt /
Ramon Landolt /
Mario Haenni):
The Willisau Concert
(Live)
(Intakt)



Irene Schweizer /
Joey Baron :
Live!
(Intakt)



Die Enttauschung
(Axel Dorner /
Michael Griener /
Rudi Mahall /
Jan Roder):
Lavaman
(Intakt)



Pan-Scan Ensemble:
Air And Light
And Time
And Space
(PNL)



John Cage:
Klang der Wandlungen
[3 CDs]
(Edition Rz)



Leap of Faith
Orchestra:
The Expanding Universe
(Evil Clown)



Elliott Sharp /
Mary Halvorson /
Marc Ribot:
ERR Guitar
(Intakt)



Mars Williams presents
(w/ Berman /
Lonberg-Holdm /
Baker /
Kessler /
Sandstrom /
Hunt):
An Ayler Xmas:
The Music of
Albert Ayler &
Songs of Christmas
(Soul What Records)



Tree Ear
(Strinning /
Troller /
Hemingway):
Witches Butter
(Clean Feed)



Eve Risser /
Kaja Draksler:
To Pianos
(Clean Feed)



Kullhammar,
Aalberg Zetterber &
Santos Silva:
Basement Sessions
Vol.4
(The Bali Tapes)
(Clean Feed)



Imaginary Numbers (McPhee /
Niggenkemper /
Solberg):
Imaginary Numbers
(Clean Feed)



Joao Camoes /
Jean-Luc Cappozzo /
Jean-Marc Foussat:
Autres Paysages
(Clean Feed)



Steve Swell (w/ Brown /
Hwang /
Ulrich /
Boston /
Pugliese):
Music for
Six Musicians:
Hommage a
Olivier Messiaen
(Silkheart)



Schlippenbach Trio
(Schlippenbach /
Evan Parker /
Lovens):
Warsaw Concert
(Intakt)







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