The Squid's Ear
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Brotzmann Peter / Fred Hopkins / Rashied Ali: Songlines [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Emphasizing the lyrical aspects of free jazz, the superb trio of Peter Brotzmann on alto & tenor sax and taragato, Fred Hopkins on bass, and Rashied Ali on drums, recorded this album in 1991, now remastered to bring this exceptional music back to the foreground. ... Click to View


LOK 03+1 (Schlippenbach / Takase / DJ Illvibe / Lovens): Signals [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Percussionist Paul Lovens joins the Lok 03 trio of Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano), Aki Takase (piano), and DJ Illvibe (turntables) for the follow-up to their 2005 debut, here in an extended album of playfully unexpected improv from four masterful players. ... Click to View


St. Francis Duo (Stephen O'Malley / Steve Noble): Peacemaker Assembly [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Guitarist Stephen O'Malley meets UK free improvising drummer Steve Noble in Philadelphia PA to record this mammoth duo of sound and drone guitar with active, deep drumming, for a mesmerizing album of intense sound and rhythm. ... Click to View


Nacka Forum (Kajfes / Kullhammar / Berthling / Osgood): We Are The World (Moserobie Music)

Nacka Forum, the Scandinavian quartet of Jonas Kullhammar on sax and other winds, Goran Kajfes on trumpet & cornet, Johan Berthling on double bass and Kresten Osgood on drums, in their 5th studio album of lyrical free jazz of massive technical and creative skill. ... Click to View


Nacka Forum (Kajfes / Kullhammar / Berthling / Osgood): We Are The World [VINYL] (Moserobie Music)

Nacka Forum, the Scandinavian quartet of Jonas Kullhammar on sax and other winds, Goran Kajfes on trumpet & cornet, Johan Berthling on double bass and Kresten Osgood on drums, in their 5th studio album of lyrical free jazz of massive technical and creative skill. ... Click to View


Martin Kuchen & Landaeus Trio: The Pity Of It All [VINYL] (Moserobie Music)

Pianist Mathias Landaeus's trio with Johnny Aman on bass and Chris Montgomery on drums are joined by saxophonist Martin Kuchen (Angles, &c) for a limited edition LP of superb jazz merging free and lyrical elements for a tremendous modern jazz album. ... Click to View


Jonas Kullhammar & The New Kids On The Rock: [VINYL] (Moserobie Music)

A demo album so good it had to be released: saxophonist Jonas Kullhamar (here on the Braithophone) leads a quartet with exceptional young Swedish jazz musicians Johan Graden (piano), Vilhelm Bromander (bass), and Konrad Agnas (drums); irresistible grooves with a great vibe! ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi / Stefano Pilia / Massimo Pupillo: Aithein [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

Oren Ambarchi (guitar/drums), Stefano Pilia (guitar), and Massimo Pupill (bass) team up for an instrumental trip bridging post-rock, drone, and improvisation, a dark journey that draws the listener into increasingly muscular playing as the ferocity of the music builds. ... Click to View


GGRIL (Grand Groupe Regional d'Improvisation Liberee): Geste (Tour de Bras)

Eric Normand's Quebec based 12-piece GGRIL (Grand Groupe Regional d'Improvisation) in an album of 5 improvisations and a piece by percussionist Danielle P. Roger; creative, wonderfully creative music with eclectic instrumentation that's simultaneously challenging and fun. ... Click to View


Nigero: Lunras Negras [CASSETTE] (Small Scale Music)

Vocalist and guitarist Geraldine Celerier Eguiluz leads this Montreal string ensemble with voice and percussion through free improvisation that integrates musicians, language, friends, and accomplices in creating unique and explorative song environments. ... Click to View


The Wire: #387 May 2016 [MAGAZINE + CD] (The Wire)

"Matt Krefting meets US folk maven Marissa Nadler... Daniel Spicer travels deep into Manchester's improv underground... Maverick Icelandic super conductor Ilan Volkov takes the Invisible Jukebox test... and more. Plus The Wire Tapper 40! The next volume in our series of underground music anthologies will be attached to the cover of every copy of the May issue - 20 new tracks from DJ Stingray, Susanna, Supersilent, The Library Of Babel and more." ... Click to View


Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up: Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi Recordings)

Henry Threadgill's tribute to friend, composer-conductor Lawrence D. Butch Morris, in a detailed 4-part work with an excellent set of improvisers: Henry Threadgill, Jose Davila, Jason Moran, Christopher Hoffman, David Virelles, Roman Filiu, Curtis Macdonald, and Craig Weinrib. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / John Tilbury: Playing with a Dead Person [VINYL] (Bolt)

Despite their desire to record together, UK improvisers, guitarist Derek Bailey and pianist John Tilbury, never quite worked it out; so Tilbury instead took these solo Bailey recordings into the studio and improvised to them, making Bailey the dead leader of their duo. ... Click to View


Illtet (Ladd / Parker / Sorey ): Gain [VINYL WITH DOWNLOAD] (RogueArt)

Crossing NY and Chicago artists, the quartet of Mike Ladd on vocals & synth, Jeff Parker on electric guitar, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, trombone & electric piano, and HPRIZM/High Priest on synth create thought-provoking spoken environments of intense improv. ... Click to View


Astral Colonels (Anthony Pateras / Valerio Tricoli): Good Times in the End Times (Immediata)

Anthony Pateras & Valerio Tricoli worked 7 years transforming pianos, organs, harpsichords, tape machines and synthesizers into an expansive sonic otherworld that celebrates the "End of Times" in three parts; a meticulous and fascinating work. ... Click to View


Extended Pianos (Fox / Griswold / Pateras): Switch On A Dime (Immediata)

Extended Pianos employ stochastic improvisations, live analogue processing, feedback experiments, atmospheric tape composition, and ultra-physical episodic structures to manipulate prepared piano performance in real time, creating an exceptional and engrossing work. ... Click to View


Licht-Akiyama Trios: Tomorrow Outside Tomorrow (Editions Mego)

Alan Licht on guitar and electronics and Tetuzi Akiyama on guitar explored the lines that divide improvisation, composition, folk, blues, and experimental music in this Tokyo recording from 2014, two large works, the title track featuring Rob Mazurek on cornet. ... Click to View


The Ex: The Ex at The Bimhuis (1991-2015) [2 CDs] (Ex Records)

A double CD with booklet, posters and articles, compiling almost 25 years of live performances from the improvising and intelligent Netherlands rock band The Ex, 12 concerts with guests including Ab Baars, John Butcher, Wolter Wierbos, Han Bennink, Getatchew Mekuria, &c. ... Click to View


eRikm: Doubse Hysterie (Monotype)

A 6 part work based on immersive listening with a smartphone featuring a GPS and audio headphones made during a train trip across the Arc Jurassien, developed into 6 rich and detailed compositions, performed with violinist Julia Eckhardt and cellist Silvia Platzer. ... Click to View


Kevin Drumm : The Back Room [VINYL] (Monotype)

Kevin Drumm released this originally on a CDR in 2012 to be sold on tour, now released properly on vinly LP, 5 tracks of intensive sound, glitch and feedback from one of the modern masters of noise. ... Click to View


Leif Elggren: Das Baank [VINYL] (Fragment Factory)

A solo album from veteran Swedish artist Leif Elggren, a sound and symbolic record as a powerful statement on the limits of social and political absurdity and corruption in our present time, and commenting on repression, violence, fear and power. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Painted Bird (Tzadik)

Crossing heavy improv with jazz, classical, world music and more, Zorn's latest compositions are handled by the ensemble of John Medeski (organ), Ches Smith (congas, Voudun drums), Kenny Wollesen (vibes), Kenny Grohowski (drums), and Matt Hollenberg (guitar). ... Click to View


Cyro Baptista: Bluefly (Tzadik)

A pop-infused psychedelic trip featuring Cyro with a huge lineup of superb musicians, lyrical improvisation with latin and world influences, with Baptista taking vocals over his eclectic and melodically embraceable music; a beautiful album to return to frequently. ... Click to View


Dave Douglas High Risk: Dark Territory [VINYL] - Record Store Day Release (Greenleaf Music)

A collection of new music from the creative electronic-inspired ensemble High Risk headed by NY trumpeter Dave Douglas, exploring the intersection of creative improvisation and modern electronic music production in lyrical and unexpected ways. ... Click to View


Nate Wooley / Ken Vandermark: All Directions Home (Audiographic Records / Pleasure of the Text Records)

Live recordings from Milwaukee's Sugar Maple in 2015 of the dynamic and amazing duo of NY trumpeter Nate Wooley and Chicago saxophonist Ken Vandermark, a tour-de-force of technical and melodic playing showcasing both players and their nearly telepathic high-speed improv exchange. ... Click to View


Ken Vandermark / Paal Nilssen-Love: The Lions Have Eaten One of the Guards (Audiographic Records)

The continuing adventures of European drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark, this album was recorded live in Antwerp Belgium in 2013, showing the powerful technical skills of both players and their euphorically great approach to free improv. ... Click to View


Ben Goldberg / John Schott / Trevor Dunn: Almost Never (Nuscope)

Clarinetist Ben Goldberg leads a trio with electric guitarist John Schott and Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn for a lyrical and beautifully reserved album of improvisation that uses a subtly spacious approach to creating environments for informed interchange. ... Click to View


John Cage: Empty Words (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

John Cage's "Empty Words" (1974) is drawn from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau, written in four parts: Part I omits sentences, Part II omits phrases, and Part III omits words. Part IV, which omits syllables, leaves us nothing but a virtual lullaby of letters and sounds. ... Click to View


Antoine Beuger : Two . Too (For Erwin-Josef Speckmann) (Edition Wandelweiser Records )

Jurg Frey on clarinet and Irene Kurka on soprano vocals perform Wandelweiser composer Antoine Beuger's extended composition "Two"; then the duo of Rhodri Davies on harp and Ko Ishikawa on sho are layered on the first recording, creating a refreshingly new take on the piece. ... Click to View


Olive / Owen (Tim Olive / Ben Owen): 63-66 (845 Audio)

Recording in Brooklyn in 2014, this collaboration between Olive and Ben Owen presents four tracks of electronic improvisation using shortwave radio, oscillators, paper, contact microphones and magnetic pickups, creating a mysterious and well-paced album of sound experimentation. ... 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.




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Internet Radio, MusicWorks, Blossom Toes & Rational Diet!
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In Brief: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Kato Hideki, People Like Us
Ground-Zero's Early Releases Reviewed
Bark! Lacy! Massacre! Death Ambient!
May 14, 2007 New Squidco Shipping Rates
Ambiances Magnetiques @ The Stone, NYC
Emanems and Androids
Cleanfeeding from Portugal to Montreal
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John Wall, Sonic Arts
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AECO: Fifth Decade
The Squid's Ear 1st Or So Anniversary
Cheek to Cheek Misdemeanors - NYC's Cabaret Laws: Infracting Cheek to Cheek
Musical Activism: An Open Call
The Upside of Dowloading
Ameri-chord: Johnny Cash Remembered - Skip Heller - Amer-chord - Johnny Cash & June Carter
The Zorn Non-Interview - Ah, John, We Hardly Knew Ye
Hope for the Snowballs - The 2003 Jazz Journalists Association Awards
A Stone Turned - Irving Wilson Stone, 1922-2003
Knit One, Pearl Zero
Support Live Strangers - An Open Invitation for New Yorkers to Take a Freakin' Chance, or a Chastisement
London's Burning - Marc Ribot


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