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William Parker: Flower In a Stained-Glass Window & The Blinking of The Ear [2 CDs] (Centering Records)

Two full-length albums--"Flower In a Stained-Glass Window" and "The Blinking of The Ear"--recorded in the summer of 2018 with two distinct groups, "Flower" dedicated to the inspiration of Martin Luther King features the vocals and narration of Leena Conquest; "Blinking" was recorded during Parker's 2018 residency at the Stone presenting his concept of universal tonality. ... Click to View


David Ware S. Trio: The Balance (Vision Festival XV +) (Aum Fidelity)

The fourth edition in Aum-Fidelity's DSW-ARC Series (David S Ware Archives), presenting an outstanding and incendiary David S. Ware concert, in trio with William Parker (bass) and Warren Smith (drums & percussion) caught live at the 2010 Vision Festeival, alongisde 4 studio tracks recorded in Brooklyn in 2009 during the recording of the Onecept album. ... Click to View


Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt: Brace Up! [VINYL] (Palilalia)

The first studio release after a series of live albums, the duo of Chris Corsano (drums) and Bill Orcutt (guitar), are heard recording in Brussells for 12 fierce, technically excellent, and powerfully fervent instrumentals as the two change up direction and intensity in a wealth of creative impulses played with exuberant enthusiasm in a wild ride. ... Click to View


Tashi Dorji: But a night that ends, as all nights end, when the sun rises [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Moone Records)

Guitarist Tashi Dorji's two part work is pieced together in a non-linear/non-hierarchical form where every segment balances fragile and intense playing, his improvisations reflecting eastern and western approaches, with fragmentary passage that resolve into tightly focused playing that imparts a wonderful sense of lyrical and emotional depth. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton / Eric La Casa: Metro Pre saint-Gervais (Swarming)

A reissue of the 2002 Chloe label album, where Jean Luc Guionnet on alto saxophone, Dan Warburton on violin, and Eric La Casa on microphones use the ambiance of the Paris Pre Saint-Gervais metro station as the starting point for free improvisations, using their surrounding as inspiration while they record a most unusual album of urban sound and discourse. ... Click to View


Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: Second First [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (That's Cool Records)

Two live performances of objects, tapes, devices and guitar from the duo of Steve Jansen and Jeph Jerman, each recording from a live performance, "Second" captured at a "homecore" performance during the 2016 Idea Festival in Houston, TX, and "First" recorded at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, TX during the same festival; consuming and stunning journeys in sound. ... Click to View


Jeph Jerman / Steve Jansen: First Second [CASSETTE] (That's Cool Records)

Two studio recordings of objects, tapes, devices and guitar from the duo of Steve Jansen and Jeph Jerman, starting with seemingly random elements of sound that transform into rich soundscapes with subtle activity and extraneous, unidentifiable sound keeping the listener's curiosity and interest, as the two pieces slowly build in sonic richness and force. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eli Keszler: Stadium [VINYL 2 LPs] (Shelter Press)

Rapid beats, quirky percussion, drifting bass and unusual tones, Eli Keszler's 9th solo album was inspired by his move from Brooklyn into Manhattan, as the creative drummer fuses environments of avant-jazz and electronica into 12 understated pieces, developing embraceable and warm soundscapes over which he reveals an astonishing stream of restless, rhythmic dexterity. ... Click to View


Eliane Radigue: Jouet Electronique / Elemental I [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

Composer Eliane Radigue's "Jouet Electronique" (1967) for feedback on magnetic tape and "Elemental I" (1968) for feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape, recorded at Pierre Henry's Studio Apsome; "Jouet Electronique" applies studio modifications to feedback from microphones and speakers; "Elemental I" explores recordings of water, fire, air and earth. ... Click to View


Christina Kubisch : Dreaming Of A Major Third (Edition Rz)

Christina Kubisch developed software to react to the variations in sunlight reflected on solar panels installed at an historic mill complex in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the sun's interactions driving pitch-shifted and envelope-altered samples from the original bells of that museum's clocktower creating a beautiful and illusory long-form recording. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey): The Other Side Of Air [VINYL 2 LPs + DOWNLOAD] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


The Dogmatics: Chop Off The Tops [VINYL] (Dogmatics)

The second album from the duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski (The Magic I.D., Interational Nothing) has the duo decelerating for a an intimate examination of tone and harmonics through perfectly placed notes and subtly extreme technique, creating sublime sonic environments that hover and dissolve; beautiful. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe / Damon Smith / Michael Vatcher: Unhesitating (Nuscope)

Drawing on collective improvisation and compositions from Carla Bley and Annette Peacock, the trio of pianist Georg Graewe, double bassist Damon Smith and drummer Michael Vatcher recorded this album of ferocious playing through rapid-fire interaction balanced with lovely free ballads, a reflection of their tremendous skill and their insightful approach to improvisation. ... Click to View


Achim Kaufmann: Mnemon (Nuscope)

With special attention to space and density, German pianist Achim Kauffman's solo piano album presents a set of 14 original compostions, from extremely active and technically astounding playing to inquisitive and beautifully contemplative work, a mature and fascination reflection that includes 4 works inspired by the poetry of Gabriele D.R. Guenthler. ... Click to View


About Group (Mukai / Clervaux / Coxon / Thomas / Taylor): RAK [VINYL] (Treader)

The 2nd About Group album replaces drummer Charles Hayward with Rupert Clervaux, alongside Susumu Mukai on bass, John Coxon on electric guitar, Pat Thomas on piano & synth, and Alexis Taylor on synth & electric piano, using Coxon's simple and insistent guitar themes as a foundation for four extended group compositions containing a surprising collision of sounds and influences. ... Click to View


John Tchicai: John Tchicai With Strings [VINYL] (Treader)

Recorded during a rare visit to London in 2005 after the 2004 Coimbra Jazz Fest, The late Afro-Danish saxophonist, associated with Albert Ayler John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Don Cherry, performs with orchestral strings alongside guitarist John Coxon, trumpeter/percussionist Ashley Wales, and drummer Mark Sanders; exotic, beautiful and unexpected. ... Click to View


Bernard Parmegiani : Memoire Magnetique, Vol.1 [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

Covering the period of 1966-1990 of French Acousmatic composer and electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani, this 1st volume of "Memoire Magnetique" presents never-released commercial and secret music, 17 short but intensely creative compositions that reveal a wealth of compositional strategies composed for film and performance. ... Click to View


Francois Bayle: Electrucs ! [VINYL] (Transversales Disques)

18 never-released recordings by French electro-acousti composer Francois Bayle including the title track, an "imaginary" soundtrack, and a piece for Bernard Parmegiani, released on the 60th anniversary of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), which joined with Institut National de l'Audiovisuel in 1975 to create INA-GRM, with Bayle at the head of the record label. ... Click to View


Clinamen Trio : Enclins (Creative Sources)

The French trio of Louis-Michel Marion on double bass, Jacques Didonato on clarinet, and Philippe Berger on viola are heard in a live recording at Radio France, on June 12th, 2017, freely improvising in understated and rich layers of harmonics and tone, actively subdued interactions in an extended excursion of introspective chamber-oriented improvisation. ... Click to View


Amu (Fujii / Tamura / Itani / Wildenhahn): Weave [CD & DVD] (Libra)

Mizuki Wildenhahn adds an unusual percussive instrument through dance to the multi-arts Amu quartet of Wildenhahn, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, pianist Satoko Fujii, and percussionist Takashi Itani, heard on the CD and seen on the DVD of this 2-disc set of their unorthodox and absorbing live performance at Kanagawa Prefectural Lake Sagami-ko Exchange Center in 2018. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Tuko Yamaoka plays the music of Satoko Fujii [2 CDs] (Libra)

A double CD of Satoko Fujii compositions, 56 short compositions from a series she started around 2005 to expand her skills as a composer, many of which fueled her many band's repertoires; in 2018 she asked respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka to record this set of compositions as part of her 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii : Diary 2005-2015 [Scorebook] (Libra)

A book of scores to accompany the double CD of 56 Satoko Fujii compostions titled "Diary 2005-2015", performed by respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka, released as part of Satoko Fujii's ambitious 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver: Songs Of The Wild Cave (RogueArt)

An extremely unique sax and drums album, as Rova leader Larry Ochs and New York drummer Gerald Cleaver take their tenor and sopranino saxophones, and drums and percussion, into the absolute darkness and stillness of the Portel Cave in the South of France, using the resonance and inspiration of the cave to record these seven incredible improvisations. ... Click to View


Wendy Eisenberg : The Machinic Unconscious (Tzadik)

Guitarist and composer Wendy Eisenberg leads her powerful Downtown trio with Trevor Dunn on bass and Ches Smith on drums as they present hard-edged work including a piece inspired by poet Alice Notley, blending experimental and rock forms into a strange brew of eccentric improvised pieces, with an angular menacing approach and a fury of irrepressible determination. ... Click to View


Adam Hopkins: Crickets (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Dustin Carlson (Carlson / Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker): Air Ceremony (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View


Benoit Delbecq / Jorrit Dijkstra / John Hollenbeck: Linger (Driff Records)

The long-running collaboration of Paris pianist Benoit Delbecq and Netherlands-born, Boston-area saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra is joined by Boston drummer John Hollenbeck, the pianist and saxophonist also picking up electronics and bass synth as they improvise over 10 concepts of movement through texture and distinctive approaches to their instruments. ... Click to View


Pandelis Karayorgis Trio (w/ Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal): Cliff (Driff Records)

Contrasting his concurrent piano trio album with Nate McBride and Luther Gray, "Pools", "Cliff" is a first encounter between Boston-area pianist and composer Pandelis Karayorgis and drummer Eric Rosenthal with double bassist Damon Smith, recently migrated from the West Coast, as the three present a concentrative album of collective improvisation revealing three masterful players. ... Click to View


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  Freedom of Suppression  

A week of copyright infringement in New York City


By Urania Mylonas 2002-12-30
Concert photos by Urania Mylonas
Food chain Barbie photo by Tom Forsythe


Mark Hosler
"Illegal art?" John Filker, a New York-based photographer and painter grew incredulous when asked what he thought about using someone else's work without permission. "It's wrong! You can't just copy someone else's work and then add your name to it! You can't use another artist's images or other work without their approval. That's not right." But when asked about using corporate images or sounds illegally, his response was far different. "Oh, well it's OK to fuck with corporations, it's not like a corporation is an artist" he said.

Even an employee for a large advertising agency in New York City, who works in the art department (but didn't want her name or firm to be disclosed), didn't seem to mind that the Illegal Art Festival, which had its New York run from November 13 to December 6, and was organized by Stay Free! magazine, was making use of some of the corporate images that her company might have made. "This sounds like great fun," she said. "I'm tired of large restaurant chains using my good work. Let someone else use it and turn it into real art!"

Christian Marclay
So is stealing from the "big guys" OK? Is it fine to make art out of corporately owned culture? Or someone else's work? Artists like Mark Hosler of the audio-collage group Negativland would tell you it is OK. He might even say that it's not stealing, that it's "transformative re-use," as he called it in a recent lecture at Anthology Film Archives. Using fragments of one thing to create another, potentially more interesting, work is a part of artistic freedom and shouldn't be silenced, Hosler said. What the Illegal Art Fest is exploring is the illegal use of images or sounds; mostly corporate or at least owned by corporations like record labels, toy companies and other media giants, and how they are being reinterpreted by artists.

In a society where creativity is to be rewarded but free and open access to ideas -- from music to journalism to art -- allowed, a conflict can arise, leaving lawyers to sort out questions of ownership and compensation. What are the copyright issues and who do copyrights really protect anyway? And, in the case of illegal use of images or sounds, who is actually getting hurt by the copyright laws?

At a recent short film showing at Anthology Film Archives, Hosler presented some (very) illegal short films he and the other members of Negativland made for some of their recordings. The screenings included a short called Gimme the Mermaid, which was made with help from Disney animator Tim Maloney, who created the film using Disney's equipment after hours. Mermaid combines the sound of a music industry lawyer with the voice of the Little Mermaid and Negativland's cover of Black Flag's "Gimme Gimme Gimme," Former Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn was part owner of SST Records, the label that tried to force Negativland to pay the entire legal costs associated with a lawsuit brought on by Island Records regarding illegal use of a song by Irish megastars U2, which almost broke the band financially.

The U2 piece also included unauthorized a recording of Casey Kasem, a bootlegged outtakes from his American Top 40 show in which, during a dedication to a dead dog called "Snuggles," he cursed the sound engineer and insulted the band U2, saying, "these guys are from England and who gives a shit?" The piece -- featuring manipulated and deconstructed segments of the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- was called "U2: Special Edit Radio Mix" and included on of Negativland's album "Negativland: U2," an album that U2's label, Island Records, thought looked a little too much like an actual U2 album since the letter "U" and the numeral "2" were featured far more prominently than Negativland's name. The 15-minute long album had barely been arrived in stores when Island Records slapped the group and SST with a lawsuit. And while Kasem didn't file a lawsuit, he and his lawyers did threaten Negativland with one if they tried to release the track again or in any way use the unauthorized outtakes of Kasem from the show.

This move may have seemed hypocritical, however. While being interviewed during a concert that was part of a protest against nuclear weapons testing outside Las Vegas in 1992, Kasem was asked about the Negativland record, and he wasn't going to take action against the band and that he was against censorship.

"No, I'm not going to complain about it, it's a free country and we have the First Amendment, so...no problem," he said. "I'm against censorship of any kind...Nobody should be censored."Negativland chronicled the saga in their book Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2.

Legal actions aside, the song was one of the first, and certainly one of the most prominent, of a wave of art that steps on the toes of copyright control.

At CB's 313 Gallery in New York City, artists and photographers made creative use of corporately owned imagery. One of them, Tom Forsythe, stuffed the beloved Barbie doll in a blender and a martini glass and messed up her hair for good measure in his series of photographs entitled Food Chain Barbie. Forsythe received a letter from Mattel claiming the series of images he had posted on his Web site infringed on its copyright and trademark. Forsythe wasn't making any money from the images and decided to fight the case with help from the ACLU. A federal court ruled in favor of Forsythe and Mattel immediately appealed. A decision is pending in May, 2003. Freedom of expression is OK, but don't mess with Barbie.

Canadian copyright laws are even stricter than in the US and while our neighbors to the North enjoy other freedoms, fair play, the Canadian equivalent of fair use, does not allow for parody, as artists Diana Thorneycroft and Michael Boss discovered when their series of drawings Man, Dog, Husband & Wife, Dinosaur, Man with Large Nose, Mouse -- which portrays Marge and Homer Simpson, Barney Rubble, Burt of Sesame Street, Barney the Dinosaur, Goofy and Mickey Mouse in various stages of bondage and victimization -- was rejected by Gallery 1CO3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the advice of the gallery's lawyer. The artists eventually showed their work at another gallery in Winnipeg and have not been sued as of yet.

While Thorneycroft and Boss were subverting known cartoon characters to bring to light the face of violence, Brooklyn-based artist Heidi Cody wrote the word "subvert" in letters from corporate logos. The piece is part of a larger work called The American Alphabet and not only has she not heard complaints from those corporations, but some advertising agencies have even paid Cody to use the letters, seemingly allowing some freedom of expression and perhaps freedom to profit.

When artist Kembrew McLeod decided to copyright the term "Freedom of Expression," he got his wish and 10 years of exclusive use of the term for his zine. McLeod, with the help of a friend posing as the publisher of an imaginary punk rock magazine also called Freedom of Expression, pretended to sue the magazine and even had a lawyer send a cease and desist letter to the "offending magazine." McLeod was later interviewed by a local paper, which quoted the frustrated copyright holder as saying "I didn't go to the trouble and expense of trade marking 'Freedom of Expression' to have someone else come along and think they can use it whenever they want."

Luckily for most artists, McLeod was just kidding, since freedom of expression and freedom to express yourself using many, many samples, was the thing at a night of music that was part of the Illegal Art Fest at Tonic in the Lower East Side.

Musicians and sound manipulators put on performances that would be a copyright lawyer's dream (or nightmare, however you choose to see it).The experimental music duo Spin-17 used noisemakers, toy horns, and electric pianos, a turntable playing sounds from science fiction movies like Godzilla and recordings from space shuttle launches. Motoko Shimizu sang from operas, while Ed Chang played guitar during their performance. "No genre is safe and the boundaries between art and doleful indulgence are blurred," the duo writes on their Web site.

The Thimbletron, an invention created by the one-man band Evolution Control Committee, could be considered the ultimate indulgence for an artist who likes to use samples. The group claims to have discovered the science of Thimbletronium, as well as its relevant subatomic particle, Superdupertron, and to begin the show, Mark Gunderson donned Thimbletron: a pair of gloves with wires and thimbles attached which trigger samples from a laptop when touched together. After applying olive oil to the thimbles "for conduction purposes," Gunderson, with his wild white hair and white jumpsuit, pressed his fingers together, but no sounds ca m e out. Afte r much fumbling and the further application of olive oil, the device sprang to life and the sounds ranging from AC/DC and Dan Rather to instructional records and meal menus pumped out of the speakers.

The quirky band is better known for their controversial single "Rocked By Rape", which features samples of Rather and resulted in a lawsuit against them by CBS and the record being pulled. Even in cases where a song might be protected as parody or freedom of expression, artists can scarcely defend their work against deep-pocketed corporations and their Philadelphia lawyers.

Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University, said copyright laws have reached a level of control where even an educator, wanting to use a three-second clip from "The Simpsons" is required to pay $25,000 for the privilege.

"The problem is their insane rules are now being applied to the whole world," Lessig said in a speech he gave this past summer at the Open Source Convention in California. "This insanity of control is expanding as everything you do touches copyrights."

But is having a low profile, like Evolution Control Committee, the only way to get around the radar screen of the lawyers and avoid paying hefty usage fees? Are artists like Beck, Public Enemy and Beastie Boys and countless other "mainstream" artists who have the money to pay for rights (and lawyers) the only ones who can use sampling in their music? Not as long as Negativland and Evolution Control Committee and other "underground" artists continue to keep the samples and the music and humor coming, in hopes that the next piece of mail isn't another subpoena, but a fan letter.



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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Chris Corsano /
Bill Orcutt:
Brace Up!
[VINYL]
(Palilalia)



William Parker:
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Stained-Glass Window &
The Blinking of
The Ear
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The Tops
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Francois Bayle:
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Vol.1
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