The Squid's Ear
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Robert Ashley: In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men And Women [REISSUE] (Cramps)

Robert Ashley's minimal masterpiece centers on John Barton Wolgamot's experimental poem "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women," consisting of one sentence repeated over and over, only changing names inserted into the sentence with each iteration. ... Click to View


Full Blast (Brotzmann / Pliakas / Wertmuller): Risc [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Full Blast, the long-running trio of Peter Brotzmann (reeds), Marino Pliakis (electric bass) and Michael Wertmuller (drums), recording in the studio for an album of seven masterful free improvisations of strong technical and powerfully intense playing. ... Click to View


Michiyo Yagi / Lasse Marhaug / Joe McPhee / Paal Nilssen-Love: Soul Stream (PNL)

A intensely introspective album of free improvisation from frequent collaborators, reed and trumpter Joe McPhee, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, electronic artist Lasse Marhaug, and Japanese koto player Michiyo Yagi, performing live at GOK Sound in Tokyo, 2013; beautiful. ... Click to View


Edi Olvitt (Robert / Stokart / Chkifi): LOLO (Creative Sources)

Citing their influences as Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, John Zorn, and Steve Lacy, the Brussels-based bassless jazz trio of Quentin Stokart (guitar), Mathieu Robert (sax), and Nicolas Chkifi (drums) play lyrical and intelligently restrained music. ... Click to View


Matthieu Prual: Inside Walks (Creative Sources)

A unique approach to solo reeds and winds from French multi-reedist Matthieu Prual, also on flute and ORLA Keyboard, maintaining lyrical and comprehensible approaches with strong technical skills in captivating and succinct statements, truly excellent work. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Greenlief / Swafford: Sidereus Nuncius (Creative Sources)

An extended and far-ranging acoustic free improvisation from the trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Phillip Greenlief on tenor sax, and Tom Wafford on violin, recorded live at the Gallery 1412 during the Seattle Improvised Music Festival of 2006. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / Michael Bisio / Whit Dickey: Soul (Leo)

The long running duo of NY pianist Matthew Shipp and Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman forms the basis for this excellent quartet, with mainstays Michael Bisio on bass and Whit Dickey on drums, in an expressive and soulful album that balances enthusiasm and brilliant restraint. ... Click to View


Peter Frey K. / Daniel Studer: Zurich Concerts: 15 Years of Kontrabassduo Studer-Frey [2 CDs] (Leo)

A stunning example of modern creative improv from the duo of bassists Peter Frey and Daniel Studer, in concert with configurations of duos, trios and one septet, with performers including John Butcher, Hans Koch, Magda Mayas, Jacques Demierre, Gerry Hemingway, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Chris Corsano / Massimo Pupillo: Via Combusta [VINYL] (Trost Records)

A dark and powerful album of drums, percussion, and electric bass from the duo of Italian bassist Massimo Pupillo (Zu) and NY drummer Chris Corsano, both using a myriad of percussive and electronic strategies to create soundscapes that keep the listener on the edge of their seat. ... Click to View


Arashi (Sakata / Berthling / Nilssen-Love): Semikujira [VINYL] (Trost Records)

A free blowing session from the trio of Japanese saxophonist, clarinetist and vocalist Akira Sakta, double bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, a furiously intense album fueled by a scorching rhythm section and Sakata's urgent playing. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp: Corpo (Leo)

After many years working together in the vital Downtown NY scene, saxophonist Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp take their playing the next step after their previous duo "Callas", in thoughtful improv that expresses in both their mutual language and masterful skills. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Karl Berger: The Hitchhiker (Leo)

The second CD that NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman has recorded with Ornette alumni Karl Berger, the first with Berger on piano, and here on vibraphone, opening new aspects of sound to the commanding dialog between these two friends and seasoned improvisers. ... Click to View


John Butcher / Michael Duch: Fjordgata (Confront)

A live recording at the Jazzfest Trondheim, Trondelag Senter for Samtidskunst, in May 2015 from the freely improvising duo of John Butcher and contrabassist Michael Duch, a superb extended concert of incredible reed technique and concept anchored by Duch's flexible bass work. ... Click to View


Konstrukt / Peter Brotzmann / Huseyin Ertunc / Dogan Dogusel / Barlas Tan Ozemek: Eklisia Sunday [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

2011 recordings of the Turkish free jazz quartet Konstrukt of Korhan Futaci (sax), Umut Caglar (electric guitar), Ozun Usta (double bass, djembe, gong, bells) and Korhan Arguden (drums) augmented with additional bass, guitar, piano, and featuring saxophonist Peter Brotzmann. ... Click to View


Terry Riley: The 3 Generations Trio (Angelica)

Recorded during the 2013 Angelica Festival at Teatro Comunale, Terry Riley's 3 Generations Trio bring Riley on synth, piano and Indian influenced vocals together with son Gyan on guitar and Tracy Silverman on electric violin for an immersive and meditative performance. ... Click to View


Christian Wolff : Angelica Music (Angelica)

Taken from 2 concerts during the 2013 Angelica Festival in Santa Caterina, with the Apartment House Ensemble, percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky, and Wolff himself; compositions include several "Excercises", his "Duo for Violins", and a variation on a Morton Feldman work. ... Click to View


Carlos Costa: Door of No Return (Aural Terrains)

Double-bassist Carlo Costa, originally from the Canary Islands and who has worked with Tim Berne, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingar Zach, Wade Matthews, &c. in a solo album of solid and unusual bass technique including plucking, bowing and scraping, in his 9-part series of "Doors". ... Click to View


Mannfred Werder : 2003 [3 CDs] (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Pushing the envelope on minimalism, Manfredd Werder's 3 scores for "2003" present just 6 tones, the instructions telling 3, 2 or 1 performers to play a pitch or sound for 3-7 seconds twice during the performance; realized by Erik Carlson, Stephanie Richards, and D. Edward Davis. ... Click to View


The Wire: #391 September 2016 [MAGAZINE] (The Wire)

Silver Apples (Keith Moline meets New York's indomitable electro-punk duo); Steve Lehman; Noura Mint Seymali; Milan's electronicists: Die Schachtel, Nicola Ratti, Attila Faravelli, Giuseppe Ielasi, Enrico Malatesta; Invisible Jukebox: Suzanne Ciani; plus reviews, essays, comix, &c. ... Click to View


Paal Nilssen-Love : News From the Junkyard [VINYL] (PNL)

Assembling a wide range of percussive instruments accumulated through world travels, from Korean gongs to scrap metal sheets from Ethiopia, Paal Nilssen-Love presents an intense and wide-ranging solo percussion tour-de-force, recorded in Oslo by frequent collaborator Lasse Marhaug. ... Click to View


Bourne / Davis / Kane: Broken Light (Confront)

A live recording at Belfast's Sonic Arts Research Centre during the Translating Improvisation: Beyond Disciplines Beyond Borders colloquium, from the intrepid improvising trio of Matthew Bourne (piano), Steve Davis (drums) and Dave Kane (double bass). ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Joe Morris: Blue (Leo)

Referencing the color "blue" rather than the blues themselves, the duo of New York tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and Joe Morris on acoustic guitar present free improvisations balancing technical and melodic musings, an intimate and thoughtful album of concentrative playing. ... Click to View


XT (Seymour Wright / Paul Abbot): Pah' (Pleasure of the Text Records)

The duo of Paul Abbot on drum kits, percussion & computer, and Seymour Wright on alto saxophone and feedback, in a massive edge-of-your seat live recording from London's Cafe Oto in 2015, a mix of brutal and beautiful playing with unexpected and surprising twists. ... Click to View


William Hooker Duo feat. Damon Smith: Triangles of Force [CASSETTE] (Balance Point Acoustics)

An improvised performance of solos and duos of subtlety and power for a live soundtrack to the 1920s silent film "The Symbol of the Unconquered" (Oscar Micheaux), by NY drummer William Hooker and West Coast bassist Damon Smith, here on computer and 7-string electric upright. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : ΜΑΓΜΑ / MAGMA (Monochrome Vision)

An extended electroacoustic piece recorded in 2011 and named as an apt description of the bubbling, dense and intense flow of sound Chrysakis generates using electronic devices, acoustic sounds and field recordings, an absorbing work of audio flux and percolation. ... Click to View


Sylvia Ocougne / Chico Mello: Musica Brasileira Descomposta (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The Brazilian duo of Silvia Ocougne and Chico Mello, residing in Berlin, create a sonic collage of traditional popular and contemporary elements influenced by both Berlin and Brazil, using the unusual orchestration of instruments including tuba, matchbox, clarinet, &c. ... Click to View


Jason Kahn: For Voice (Confront)

Two concert improvisations for unamplified voice recorded in Canberra, Australia at the 2015 SoundOut Festival and in Tokyo, Japan at the Kid Ailack Art Hall in 2014, using extended vocal techniques and leveraging the room acoustics and social space between Kahn and the audience. ... Click to View


Staplerfahrer / Bonehole: Excessive Extension [CASSETTE] (Bicephalic)

Part of a series of 8 split release cassettes, hand-painted & numbered; this release presents the Dutch sound artist Steffan de Turck (Staplerfahrer) reworking material recorded in a duo with Jos Smolders; and 2 tracks from Korean sound artist Noizaki Eum Kyeong (Bonehole). ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Evil In Oslo [VINYL 2 LPs + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Dramatic and technically spectacular instrumental rock from the trio of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen on guitar, Ellen Brekken on bass, and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums, performing live in Oslo at John Dee and Buckley's in 2015, captured with great energy and fidelity. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov / Mark Dresser / Dominik Mahnig: Equal Poise (Leo)

Live at the LOFT in Cologne, Germany, the trio of German-based Russian pianist Simon Nabatov with NY Downtown double bassist Mark Dresser and relative newcomer Dominik Manhig on drums, expressive collective improvisation using edgy techniques in impressive dialog. ... Click to View


Uwe Oberg / Silke Eberhardt: Turns (Leo)

Playful, joyful and absolutely commanding performances from the duo of German pianist Uwe Oberg and Silke Eberhard on alto sax and clarinet, performing both live and in the studio on original compositions and pieces by Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, and Annette Peacock. ... Click to View


Uwe Oberg: Twice, At Least (Leo)

Live recordings from 2012 & 2015 by German pianist Uwe Oberg performing a mix of original compositions and work by Monk, Bley, Lacy, & A. Peacock, balancing melodic and exploratory playing with passionate conviction backed by masterly skills and impeccable pacing. ... Click to View


Pauline Oliveros / Roscoe Mitchell / John Tilbury / Wadada Leo Smith: Nessuno (Angelica)

The unexpected and open-minded quartet of Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, John Tilbury and Wadada Leo Smith performing live in Italy at the Angelika Festival in 2011, presenting the three part improvised work "Nessuno"; delicate, virtuosic, rewarding music from 4 masters. ... Click to View


Social Insects (Koch / Badrut): Social Insects II (Confront)

Sparse yet intently focused interaction with unusual timbre and technique in the 2nd release from the working duo of Hans Koch (Koch-Schutz-Studer) and Gaudenz Badrutt (strom), pairing reeds and electronics in micro-world improvisations that delight in subtlety. ... Click to View


Biliana Voutchkova / Ernesto Rodrigues / Micha Rabuske: 77 Kids (Creative Sources)

Exploratory free improvisation with an emphasis on strings from the trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Biliana Voutchkova on violin, and Micha Rabuske on flutes & sax, collective conversation with scraping and overblowing mutating their sound in interesting and curious ways. ... Click to View


Stones Of Contention : Stones Of Contention (Citystream)

Sicilian pianist Tommaso Vespo assembled the multinational sextet of Antonio Aiella (bass), Noel Taylor (clarinet), Antonio Longo (drums), Nicola Hein (guitar), Ricardo Teje (saxophone), and Tommaso Vespo (piano), blending lyrical jazz, chamber, and free improvisation. ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Black Stabat Mater (Rune Grammofon)

Another strong instrumental rock album, blending heavy prog, free jazz and psychedelia with forceful and technically excellent guitar work from leader Mollestad, backed by fellow Norwegians Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums; keeping the 70s alive! ... Click to View


Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Black Stabat Mater [VINYL] (Rune Grammofon)

Another strong instrumental rock album, blending heavy prog, free jazz and psychedelia with forceful and technically excellent guitar work from leader Mollestad, backed by fellow Norwegians Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums; keeping the 70s alive! ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Jon Rune Strom / Paal Nilssen-Love: Steam In the Casa (PNL)

A live recording from the Casa Del Popolo club in Montreal, Canada, named because Gjerstad was upset that Air Canada had messed up his sax in transit, which he played regardless; his frustration pushed him into an overwhelmingly amazing set of smoking free jazz! ... Click to View


Large Unit: Ana (PNL)

Drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's Large Unit recorded this ecstatic, Brazilian influenced material in 2015 after a mammoth European and North-American tour, hours after their performance at the 2015 Oslo Jazzfestival with an extended line-up with Brazilian percussion players. ... 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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