The Squid's Ear
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Okkyung Lee / Bill Orcutt: Live at Cafe OTO [VINYL] (Otoroku)

Two string players who have developed distinctive improvisation styles--cellist Okkyung Lee and guitarist Bil Orcutt--meet for their first encounter at London's Cafe Oto, for an exultant and sophisticated duo showing intense skill and strong conversational powers. ... Click to View


Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso: Takanehishigu [VINYL] (Otoroku)

UK drummer/percussionist Roger Turner in his first meeting with Japanese Noh flutist Yukihiro Isso, an accomplished improviser who has performed with Cecil Taylor, Peter Brotzmann, John Zorn, &c., for a unique and fascinating conversation bridging two traditions. ... Click to View


Asiq Nargile : Yurt Yeri [VINYL] (Otoroku)

Nargile Mehtiyeva aka Asiq Nargile, the only female Asiq living and performing in the ethnic Azeri region of Georgia, performs on the long-neck lute, or saz, accompanying herself on voice, in an ecstatic live performance at London's Cafe Oto in 2014. ... Click to View


Jungle: Mat Walerian / Matthew Shipp / Hamid Drake: Live at Okuden [2 CDs] (ESP)

... Click to View


Brooklyn Express, The (Fonda / Tononi / Cavallanti / Swell / Robertson): No Time Left! (Long Song Records)

Long time collaborators, Italian saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti and drummer Tiziano Tononi, travelled to NYC to record with friends new and old, the results of which are this dynamic free jazz album recorded with Steve Swell (trombone), Herb Robertson (cornet) and Joe Fonda (bass). ... Click to View


Emanuele Parrini : The Blessed Prince (Long Song Records)

Violinist Emanuele Parrini leads his quartet with Dimitiri Grechi Espinoz on alto sax, Giovanni Maier on double bass, and Andrea Melani on drums, performing Parrini's 3 part "The Blessed Prince", and original compositions from bassist Maier; lyrical and innovative modern jazz. ... Click to View


Friction (Akinobu / Minoru / Reck): Zone Tripper (Tzadik)

Friction, one of the most important and longest running underground bands in Japan, is currently the trio of Reck (bass, guitar & vocals), Iami Akinobu (guitar) and Sato Minoru (drums), in a hard-edged album of original songs and remixes; demanding and powerful modern rock. ... Click to View


Nova Express Quintet / John Zorn: Andras: The Book Of Angels Volume 28 (Tzadik)

The 28th release in John Zorn's Book of Angels series, performing the Masada song books in distinct groupings, brings together the all-star NY group of Cyro Baptista, Joey Baron, Trevor Dunn, John Medeski, and Kenny Wollesen blending jazz, Afro-Cuban bop, Exotica, and more. ... Click to View


New Zion Trio & Cyro Baptista: Sunshine Seas [VINYL] (Rarenoise Records)

The third album from Jamie Saft's New Zion Trio with Brad Jones on bass, Craig Santiago on drums, and Vanessa Saft on vocals, finds the trio joined by percussionist Cyro Baptista for an album of compelling dub and grooves with an upbeat spiritual pulse. ... Click to View


David Fiuczynski : Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam! [VINYL] (Rarenoise Records)

Dedicated to both composer Olivier Messiaen and hip-hop record producer J Dilla, David Fiuczynski uses non-Western tuning to show the connections between exotic bird calls and J Dilla's 'flam beats' while referencing Messiaen, Gagaku, and other Pan-Asian ingredients. ... Click to View


Kuhn / Sewelson / Cleaver / Roland: Our Earth / Our World (pfmentum)

Multi-reediest Peter Kuhn in a trio with saxophonist Dave Sewelson, bassist Larry Roland, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, performing live at Arts For Arts Our Earth/Our World series music series in 2015 for three extended and free improvisations of masterful skill and joy. ... Click to View


Ken Vandermark : Site Specific [2 CDs + BOOK] (Audiographic Records)

2 CDs and a book of photos documenting solo work from Chicago improviser Ken Vandermark performing on clarinet, tenor, and baritone sax in 4 sites--a house, a cavern, a train trestle, and a skate park--dedicating the performances to musicians, Buster Keaton, and Jay Adams. ... Click to View


The Artaud Beats : Logos (Recommended Records)

After performing at Jean-Herve Peron's 2010 Avant Garde Festival, Yumi Hara (keys, violin & voice), Geoff Leigh (winds & electronics), John Greaves (bass & piano) and Chris Cutler (drums & percussion) present their first studio album mixing open-minded composed and improvised music. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi / Kassel Jaeger / James Rushford: Pale Calling [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

The first collaboration between Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger and James Rushford presents two side-long recordings of slowly cycling electronics, distracted vocal mumbles and often unidentifiable field recordings, a layered and mesmerizing haze of obscured audio stratum. ... Click to View


Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval : [2 CDs] (Potlatch)

An intense and dynamic album of unusual electroacoustic improvisation from the duo of Pascal Battus performing on rotating surfaces, styrofoam, paper, plastic objects, and microphones, and Dafne Vicente-Sandoval performing on bassoon, microphones and mixing board. ... Click to View


Serocki Kazimierz : Pianophonie (Bolt)

Two works for piano and orchestra from Polish composer Kazimierz Serocki, recorded for Polish Radio in Krakow in 1973 with Jerzy Witkowski on piano (Forte e piano) and for Great Polish Radio in Katowice in 1979 with Szablocs Esztenyi on piano ("Pianophonie"). ... Click to View


Barbara Majewska Kinga / Emilia Sitarz: play Franz Schubert Winterreise (Bolt)

Barbara Kinga Majewska and Emilia Sitarz interpret Franz Schubert's "Winterreise" (Winter Journey), a song cycle of 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller, exposing new tensions and new interrelations existing in Schubert's cycle in unexpected and unusual ways. ... Click to View


Joanna Sokolowska Halszka: plays Franz Schubert Winterreise (Bolt)

Vocalist Joanna Halszka Sokolowska interprets Franz Shubert's "Winterreise", a 19th century work setting the poems of Wilhelm Muller to music, recorded in a single take on a winter night in Warsaw, Poland at the Komuna Theater, a fragile and unique take on this famous work. ... Click to View


Antoine Beuger: Keine Fernen Mehr (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Antoine Beuger introduces this album with a short poem by Amy Lowell in reference to the larkspur, in two discs with 17 tracks on each of Beuger whistling, quietly and with a silence and patience of intense concentration emerging from near silence. ... Click to View


Frey . Beuger / Duo Contour : Duos (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The duo Contour of Stephen Altoff (trumpet) & Lee Forrest Ferguson (percussion) perform Antoine Beuger's "dedekind duos" dedicated to mathematician Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind; and Jurg Frey's "22 Sachelchen" or "small things", 22 focused miniature compositions. ... Click to View


Tom Johnson: Counting Keys (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

John McAlpine performs composer Tom Johnson's beautiful piano cycle "Counting Keys", using mathematical progressions to create the structure of its 5 movements; plus 8 parts from his "Organ and Silence for Piano"; and two other compositions using mathematical processes. ... Click to View


Oki Itaru / Leena Circus: Zanshin (Improvising Beings)

The Leena Circus trio of Antoine Letellier on sax, trumpet & guitar, Nicolas Moulin on guitar, and Guillaume Arbonville on drums, joins with trumpeter Itaru Oki for an album of open-ended and downright psychedelic free improvisation, a superb achievement in creative music. ... Click to View


Francois Carrier / Michel Lambert: Kathmandu (FMR)

Originally intended as a trio recording, when the 3rd player missed the Nepal Jazzmandu Jazz Festival, saxophonist Francois Carrier and drummer Michael Lambert carried on as a duo, these recordings from two sets displaying their impressive "freely melodic" approach to improvised music. ... Click to View


Dganit Elyakim : Failing Better (Aural Terrains)

Using electronics and voice, composer & sound artist Gtanit Elyakim presents a diverse set of compositions in collaboration with other acoustic, voice and electronic artists, a superb debut for an artist interested in aspects of the human and the digital paradigm. ... Click to View


Kawaguchi / Olive / Oshiro: Airs (845 Audio)

Using guidelines related to form, time, sound sources and density, the trio of Tim Olive on magnetic pickups, Takahiro Kawaguchi and Makoto Oshiro on self-made instruments, recorded these compositions live, named for the atmosphere of the recording environment. ... Click to View


Howard Stelzer : The Case Against (Monotype)

Howard Stelzer's 6th full-length solo album of composed cassette-tape music, using cassette recording made in New England, fed into a complex set of effect processors, to create a steadily enveloping deep-water/deep-space dive of rich, encompassing sound. ... Click to View


Kamil Szuszkiewicz : Robot Czarek (Bolt)

Using saxophone and electronics in unusual ways, Warszawa composer Kamil Szuszkiewicz's 9 movement "Robot Czarek" is described as a "sound cartoon", using unusual punctuation of voice and effected interactive instrumental interjections to tell his libretto's unusual tale. ... Click to View


Jorge Queijo / Hiroki Chiba / Yoshio Machida: Luminant (Amorfon)

Live recordings of the trio of Yoshio Machida on steelpans and gamelan, Hiroki Chiba on double bass and electronics, and Jorge Queijo on drums & percussion, performing live at Foxhole and Apollo in Tokyo, 2015, free improvisation with Eastern attitudes and European propulsion. ... Click to View


Richard Youngs : plays Parallel Winter (Bolt)

UK guitarist and vocalist Richard Youngs, also on zither, suggested performing his large song work "Parallel Winter" on the first day of his Warszawa tour of Poland, a piece that changes in length based on location and environment, here in an extended and contemplative version. ... Click to View


Baby Rap: Voice Performance By Babies (Amorfon)

Amorfon continues their exploration of the "voice" of babies, started with "Kindermusik: Improvised Music by Babies" and expanded here as 14 babies are recorded in a single take, expressing themselves before the learning of language, volume, timbre and speech intervals. ... 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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