The Squid's Ear
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Seijaku: Last Live [2 CDs] (Doubtmusic)

Long form twisted blues from the Japanese Seijaku Trio of Keiji Haino (guitar, voice, violin & flute), Mitsuru Nasuno (bass) and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku (drums), performing live at Club Goodman in Tokyo in 2014, for an album of profoundly introspective and dark music. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Mitsuru Nasuno / Yoshimitsu Ichiraku: After Seijaku [2 CDs] (Doubtmusic)

The Seijaku Trio of Keiji Haino (electronics, guitar, voice), Mitsuru Nasuno (bass, electronics) and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku (electronics), recording 2 years after the "Last Live" album, in an epic voyage of meditative and intricate electronics performed live in Tokyo. ... Click to View


Shelton / Lonberg-Holm / Rosaly: Resounder (Singlespeed Music)

Half of Chicago's Fast Citizens sextet, Aram Shelton (sax), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello & electronics), and Frank Rosaly (percussion) recorded these free improvisations in the studio then post-processed them to enhance their intricate and unusual electroacoustic dialog. ... Click to View


Arnold Hammershlag : No Face, No Name (Skirl)

A rich, diverse and irrepressibly melodic album from trumpeter Arnold Hammershlag blending jazz with Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Latin influences, in a quintet with Sam Barfeld (violin), Wil Holshouser (accordion), Brian Glassman (bass) and Aaron Alexander (drums). ... Click to View


Anna Webber (w/ Matt Mitchell / John Hollenbeck): Simple (Skirl)

Saxophonist and flutist Anna Webber composed this album in isolation from her active Brooklyn life, balancing introspective material with complex rhythms and dissonant melodic sections performed by the outstanding work of John Hollenbeck (drums) and Matt Mitchell (piano). ... Click to View


Invisible Things: Time AS One Axis [VINYL] (New Atlantis)

Intensely heavy rock from guitarist Mark Shipping (U.S. Maple, Shorty) and drummer Jim Sykes (Parts & Labor, Grooms, 77 Boadrum), engineered by Martin Bisi in Brooklyn, in a sick record of thick and sophisticated rock with an ear toward sonic melodicism. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani : Gong (Nakatani-Kobo)

Compositions on fourteen gongs performed and recorded by Tatsuya Nakatani during the winters of 2014 and 2015, 6 untitled works of powerful tones evoked from these large instruments by bows and mallets, each slowly unfolding and enveloping the listener. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani & Michel Doneda: Duo (Nakatani-Kobo)

The long-running duo of US-based Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and French saxophonist Michel Doneda in an album merging superb technical skills and creative approaches in an almost telepathic dialog of surprising twists and turns. ... Click to View


Nakatani-Kobo Special: Nakatani/Doneda: Duo & Nakatani: Gong at one special price. (Nakatani-Kobo)

Buy both Kobo releases Nakatani/Doneda: Duo & Nakatani: Gong and save $4.00 ! ... Click to View


Stephen Haynes Quintet (feat Joe Morris / William Parker / Warren Smith): Pomegranate (New Atlantis)

An organic and rich album of broadly influenced creative jazz from NY cornetist Stephen Haynes, in a quintet extending his trio Parrhesia with guitarist Joe Morris and percussionist Warren Smith, adding bassist William Parker and tuba player Ben Stapp. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp + Scott Fields: Akra Kampoj (New Atlantis)

Using mostly unprocessed electric guitars, the duo of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields' latest release presents eight dueling guitar works using dynamic, angular tones and textures, from extremely aggressive work to clean avant-jazz with twisted technical intent. ... Click to View


Philippe Lauzier : Transparence (Schraum)

Quebec bass clarinetist and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier is an accomplished improviser and composer, here in his solo debut, an epic suite that finds untreated acoustic reeds mingling with textured overdubs and subtle feedback, music that is equally jarring and hypnotic. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : Above the Hidden Track An Endless Blaze (Aural Terrains)

Composer/performer Thanos Chrysakis in a studio electronic work, using a diversity of methods and approaches that imply his usual free improvisational approaches by creating a rich and elaborate sound world of distinctive, unique and often warped electronic sound. ... Click to View


Roel Meelkop: Oude Koeien (Herbal International)

Sound artist Roel Meelkop compiles various limited vinyl 7", 10" and lathe cut releases from Korm Plastics and related labels, along with one work made for this release, showing the variety of approaches and concepts Meelkop applies to his fascinating sound work. ... Click to View


Goh Kwang Lee: The Lost Testimony Of Rashomon (Herbal International)

A diverse set of electronic compositions from hauntingly beautiful to tormented soundscapes, composed by Goh Lee Kwang for a multimedia stage work based on Rashomon, a short story about moral ambiguity written in 1915 and based on a 1000-year-old Japanese tale. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg : How Deep is the Ocean, How High is the Sky? (Another Timbre)

Swedish composer Magnus Granberg (Skogen) places baroque instruments alongside prepared piano, objects and electronics in an exquisite 60-minute piece performed with an excellent set of performers including Cyril Bondi, d'incise, Eric Ruffing, Christoph Schiller, &c. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey : Grizzana and other pieces 2009-2014 [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

The Ensemble Grizzana (Ryoko Akama, Mira Benjamin, Richard Craig, Emma Richards, Philip Thomas and Seth Woods) performs a series of delicate and beautiful chamber pieces by Swiss composer and clarinetist Jurg Frey, who also performs on clarinet. ... Click to View


James Saunders : Assigned #15 (Another Timbre)

Leading contemporary music ensemble Apartment House perform a new piece developing out of James Saunders's long-term modular project '#unassigned'; the new piece, "assigned #15" creates a mesmeric, dense, jungle-like soundworld across its 45 minutes duration. ... Click to View


Burkhard Beins / Enrico Malatesta / Michael Vorfeld / Christian Wolfarth / Ingar Zach: Gluck (Mikroton Recordings)

The international percussion quintet of Burkhard Beins, Enrico Malatesta, Michael Vorfeld, Christian Wolfarth and Ingar Zach, using compositional and improvisational methods to create new forms of contemporary percussion music with a unique group aesthetic. ... Click to View


Taumatrop (Fages / Marquez): For John Ayrton Paris (Confront)

The duo of Ferran Fages on electronic devices and Eduard Maquez on percussion in a beautiful long-form drone, a drifting and haunting work that hangs off of slowly building crescendos which release to beautifully suspended sonic environments. ... Click to View


Matilda Rolfsson / Richard Sanderson / Mark Wastell: Live at l'Klectic (Confront)

The subtly complex trio of Richard Sanderson on amplified melodeon, dictaphones & small percussion, Mark Wastell on tam-tam & shruti box, and Matilda Rolfsson on percussion performing an extended improvisation live at The Horse Improv Club, l'Klectic, London. ... Click to View


Philippe Battikha : Invisible Backgrounds (Samizdat)

A beautiful solo album from Montreal/Brooklyn trumpeter Philippe Battikha, who also developed the field recordings over which he plays, joined on two tracks by double bassist Johan Fortune, in a melancholy and haunting album of emotionally rich soundscapes. ... Click to View


Sharon Sharrock : No Is No (Don't Fuck Around With Your Women) (Improvising Beings)

Two extended and frenetic works of improvisation with free vocals from Linda Sharock, in a sextet including Itaru Oki on trumpet, Mario Rechter on reeds & voilin, Eric Zinman on piano, Makoto Sato on drums and Yoram Rosilio on bass; demanding, complex and cathartic jazz! ... Click to View


Lucien Johnson / Alan Silva / Makoto Sato: Stinging Netttles (Improvising Beings)

The trio of New Zealand saxophonist Lucien Johnson, living in Paris, with the rhythm section of Alan Silva on double bass and Makoto Sato on drums for an expressive album of free jazz with inventive counterpoint and soulful playing in the Ayler tradition. ... Click to View


Forro Zinho / Zorn, John: Forro Zinho - Forro In The Dark Plays Zorn (Tzadik)

Forro is a NY East Village rock ensemble that reinterprets forro--traditional Brazilian folk music--using modern Downtown language, here taking on the compositions of John Zorn in rhythmically rich melodic approaches that's equal parts tribute and collaboration. ... Click to View


Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt: Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt (Tzadik)

A Canadian quintet led by double bassist Bret Higgins (Zebrina) merging latin, R&B, soul, film soundtracks, jazz and more into moody and infectious grooves, lyrical and upbeat music that borrows freely from a variety of world and folk styles in exuberant ways. ... Click to View


Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Ensemble: Crisis (Pi Recordings)

NY trumpeter Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers Ensemble, exploring the juncture between jazz and music of the Middle East through sophisticated and lyrically stunning music, here focusing on revolution, civil war, and sectarian violence; a culture's struggle for survival. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe: Stills And Stories (Random Acoustics)

German pianist and Euro Free Jazz stalwart Georg Graewe in his first solo release in more than a decade, a remarkable set of succinct compositions balancing astonishing technical skills with beautifully expressive playing, presented in several series of "stills" and "stories". ... Click to View


Ilia Belorukov / Harpakahylo / Patryk Lichota / Kim_Nasung: After (Nueni)

A short and succinct album of free improvisation from the Russian quartet of Ilia Belorukov (sax), Hapakahylo (drums, objects), Patryk Lichota (sax, objects), and Kim_Nasung (Guzheng), using unusual techniques to conjur unexpected audio environments. ... Click to View


Lali Barriere / Miguel A. Garcia : Espejuelo (Nueni)

The duo of Miguel A. Garcia on electronics and Lali Barriere on objects and no-input mixer for an album of investigative, detailed improvisation that's well paced and calmly complex. ... 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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