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Peter Brotzmann The Octet : Machine Gun [VINYL] (Cien Fuegos)

One of the exemplary albums of European free jazz originally issued on Peter Brotzmann's on BRO label in 1968, aggressive but astute music from now-legendary players Brotzmann, Evan Parker & Gerd Dudek on tenor sax (Brotzmann doubles on baritone sax), Peter Kowald on bass, Fred Van Hove on piano, Buschi Niebergall on bass, and two drummers - Han Bennink and Sven-Ake Johansson. ... Click to View


Peter Brotzmann The Octet : Machine Gun - Alternate Takes [VINYL] (Cien Fuegos)

First time issued on vinyl: alternate takes from the essential "Machine Gun" album on Brotzmann's BRO label in 1968, aggressive but astute music from now-legendary players Brotzmann, Evan Parker & Gerd Dudek on tenor sax (Brotzmann doubles on baritone sax), Peter Kowald on bass, Fred Van Hove on piano, Buschi Niebergall on bass, and two drummers - Han Bennink & Sven-Ake Johansson. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / Jamie Muir: Dart Drug [VINYL] (Honest Jons Records)

A reissue of the 1981 Incus LP of guitarist Derek Bailey with one-time King Crimson percussionist Jamie Muir ("Larks Tongues in Aspic"), also a member of Bailey's Music Improvisation Company, an album of hovering harmonics from Bailey's feedback amidst Muir's kitchen-sink collection of items that creates a unique and riveting complement to Bailey's playing. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey: Aida [VINYL 2 LPs] (Honest Jons Records)

Extending UK improvising guitarist Derek Bailey's 1980 solo album on his own Incus label with a full additional album of solo guitar recordings from the BBC in the same year, giving a fuller story of Bailey's development of his self-defined non-idiomatic improvisation, wonderfully commanding playing of great technical skill and clear intention. ... Click to View


Amado / Mcphee / Kessler / Corsano: A History Of Nothing (Trost Records)

Following up their 2015 Not Two album "This is Our Language", the quartet organized by tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado with Joe McPhee on soprano saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on double bass, and Chris Corsano, a superb album of intense communication and soloing from a collective that merges free and lyrical playing, from ballads to full-on fury. ... Click to View


Amado / Mcphee / Kessler / Corsano: A History Of Nothing [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Following up their 2015 Not Two album "This is Our Language", the quartet organized by tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado with Joe McPhee on soprano saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on double bass, and Chris Corsano, a superb album of intense communication and soloing from a collective that merges free and lyrical playing, from ballads to full-on fury. ... Click to View


Spring Heel Jack / Wadada Leo Smith / Pat Thomas / Steve Noble: Hackney Road [VINYL] (Treader)

The Spring Heel Jack duo of guitarist and multi-instrumentalist John Coxon and keyboard & electronics player Ashley Wale are joined by UK improvising masters Pat Thomas on synth, keyboard & theremin, Steve Noble on drums, and US legend Wadaa Leo Smith on trumpet for a six "Scene" album of staggeringly intense improvisation over rich soundscapes; superb. ... Click to View


Fay Victor's SoundNoiseFunk (feat Joe Morris): Wet Robots (ESP)

SoundNoiseFUNK is New York free vocalist Fay Victor's quartet with Sam Newsome on soprano sax, Joe Morris on electric guitar and Reggie Nicholson on drums, a great collective group of leaders who perfect support Fay's wordless vocals and pointed statements, the title "Wet Robots" refererring to technology that is useless to help in an apocalyptic age; essential. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.:: Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part 1 (Important Records)

Two long sides of "blissed-out, super tight Acid Mothers Temple jams that somehow stretch into the future while staying strongly rooted in the group's celebrated psychedelic history" performed with AMT regulars Cotton Casino (voice), Kawabata Makoto (guitar), Higashi Hiroshi (keys), Mitsuru Tabata (guitar), Staoshima Nani (drums), and S/T Wolf (bass). ... Click to View


Buck Curran: Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, known for the psych-folk duo Arborea with Shanti Deschaine, in his second solo album of mostly instrumental acoustic guitar work, rich, reflective and confident work that fits in a John Fahey mode, with Adele Pappalardo providing vocals on one track, and Nicolo Melocchi playing Basuri Flute on another. ... Click to View


Joelle Leandre : A Woman's Work [8 CD BOX SET] (Not Two)

A thorough overview of bassist and vocalist Joelle Leandre's recent work in a boxed set of 8 CDs and a 16 page booklet of essays, photos and credits, each CD bringing a unique grouping from Les Diaboliques to duos with Mat Maneri, Fred Frith, Lauren Newton, & Jean-Luc Cappozzo, plus one solo disc and a quartet with Zlatko Kaucic, Evan Parker and Augusti Fernandez; magnificent. ... Click to View


Samara Lubelski / Bill Nace: (Relative Pitch)

Issuing on CD the duo album of violinist Samara Lubelski and guitarist Bill Nace, originally released on Nace's Open Mouth label early in 2018, presenting a series of psychedelic textural works, Lubelski creating vibrant and reiterating structures that Nace uses as a foundation for swells and expressive emanations; hypnotic and mesmerizing. ... Click to View


Irene Aranda / Johannes Nastejo / Nuria Andorra: Inner Core (Relative Pitch)

Referencing geothermal physics in the titles of their improvisations, these three Spanish improvisers create a riveting and radical set of experimental works, with Irene Aranda working inside and out of the piano, Johannes Nastejo extending and adapting his double bass, and percussionist Nuria Andorra using an arsenal of metallic and percussive objects. ... Click to View


Matthew Lux's Communication Arts Quartet: Contra/Fact [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Chicago bassist Matthew Lux (Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra) in an album of effusive and spiritual percussive grooves under electronic and acoustic leads, performed with Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, electronics and percussion, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, percussion, mellotron and more, and Jayve Montgomery on various woodwinds, samples and percussion. ... Click to View


Andrew Barker / Daniel Carter : Polyhedron [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Four duos from New York multi-reedist, wind and brass improviser Daniel Carter and drummer/percussionist Andrew Barker, dedicating each of four pieces to each player's past collaborators--Roy Campbell, Sabir Mateen, William Parker and Charles Water--through informed dialog that push each player into passionate territory with strong lyrical affinity. ... Click to View


John McCowen: 4 Chairs In Three Dimensions [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Using only acoustic techniques and recording live, New York clarinetist and contrabass clarinetist John McCowen (Tweak Bird, Wei Zhongle) draws out an incredibly impressive array of harmonic difference tones, interference beats and inexplicable sound from these typically monophonic instruments, using circular breathing to create long drones and aberrant textures. ... Click to View


Liudas Mockunas / Jacek Mazurkiewicz / Hakon Berre: Live In Warsaw [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Lithunian reedist Liudas Mockunas, Polish bassist and electronicicst Jacek Mazurkiewicz (3Fonia, Warsaw Improvisers Orchestra, Modular String Trio) and Norwegian drummer Hakon Berre (Aram Shelton, Susana Santos Silva) are captured live in Warsaw at Mozg in 2015 for three exploratory improvisations with Mockunas on clarinet, soprano & tenor saxes. ... Click to View


Luke Stewart: Works for Upright Bass & Amplifier [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Bassist and sound artist Luke Stewart is a Washington, CD stalwart, a member of a variety of improvised and rock bands and active in Sonic Circuits, and also an Artist-In-Residence at Union Arts and Manufacturing; this solo work uses the resonant feedback of an amplifier with unusual double bass technique to coax a fascinating journey that accompanied his 2017 art exhibit. ... Click to View


Ghost Trees Big Band: Goodyear [2 7-inch VINYL RECORDS] (Future Recordings)

The hard-working duo Ghost Trees of saxophonist Brent Bagwell and drummer Seth Nanaa, extended their group to a 10-piece band of interesting orchestration--piano, vibraphones, sax, pedal steels guitar, bass, cellos and violas--taking over the Charlotte, NC Goodyear building to present their interesting compositions blending conceptual composition and improvisation. ... Click to View


Ghost Trees: The Fascination [VINYL] (Future Recordings)

Recording in Asheville, NC, the Ghost Trees Duo of Seth Nanaa on drums and Brent Bagwell on tenor sax release their 3rd album as a clear vinyl LP, 11 inventive dialogs of expressive and energetic jazz born from fifteen years working together, from the trio The Eastern Seaboard to their own hard-working duo and recent Ghost Tree Big Band project. ... Click to View


Jose Lencastre / Jorge Nuno / Pedro Santo : 08.30/18.09/10.10/10.18 (Creative Sources)

Three free improvisations from the Lisbon, Portugal trio of Jorge Nuno on electric guitar, Jose Lencastre on alto saxophone and Pedro Santo on drums, four pieces titled for the length of their dialog as they explore spacious sound sculpting and energetic free playing, a nicely balanced set of work that transition with finesse between ardor and tranquility. ... Click to View


Wilkinson / Edwards / Noble: 3 Of A Kind [VINYL] (Bo Weavil Recordings)

Recorded live at IKLECTIK, in London, 2017, the trio of Alan Wilkinson on alto and baritone saxophones and bass clarinet and the rhythm team of John Edwards on double bass, and Steve Noble on drums, perform a steaming and cathartic free jazz informed by decades of experience and a fierce energy and determination that only masterful players like these can create. ... Click to View


Clifford Thornton Memorial Quartet, The (McPhee / Lazro / Foussat / Sato): Sweet Oranges (Not Two)

An absolutely fitting and exceptional tribute to late trumpeter & trombonist Clifford Thornton from a quartet of NY and European free jazz musicians, particularly Joe McPhee who recorded with Thornton and cites him as an influence, plus Daunik Lazro (sax), Makoto Sato (drums) and Jean-Marc Foussate (synth), recorded live at Nickelsdorf's Konfrontationen Festival 2017. ... Click to View


Okkyung Lee: Cheol-Kkot-Sae (Steel.Flower.Bird) (Tzadik)

Cellist Okkyung Lee explores her Korean roots in an amazing long-form composition combining electronics, improvisation, composed melodies and noise with Korean traditional music, performed with the superb ensemble of John Edwards (bass), Ches Smith (drums), John Butcher (sax), Jae Hyo Chang (Korean percussion), Song Hee Kwon (Pansori singing), and Lasse Marhaug (electronics). ... Click to View


David Behrman: Music With Memory [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

Unreleased pieces from David Behrman focused on his '70s work with microcomputers: "Interspecies Smalltalk" commissioned by John Cage and Merce Cunningham, performed with Takehisa Kosugi (violin) & David Behrman (electronics); an early version of "Leapday Night", here performed with Werner Durand on saxophone; plus "All Thumbs" for 2 electrified mbiras. ... Click to View


Chantal Acda / Bill Frisell: Live at Jazz Middelheim (Glitterhouse)

New York improvising guitarist Bill Frisell recording with Dutch/Belgian chanteuse Chantal Acda (Sleepingdog) at the 2017 Jazz Middelheim Fest, in Antwerp, Belgium, which they agreed to do based on mutual satisfaction of their collaboration on Acda's studio album "Bounce Back" that year, resulting in a wonderfully compatible concert of rich and beautiful music. ... Click to View


William Parker: Voices Fall From The Sky [3 CD BOX SET] (Aum Fidelity)

William Parker developed these works presented in three complementary albums titled "Voices Fall From The Sky", "Songs", and "Essence", bringing together new compositions with long unavailable or new versions of previous pieces, performed in various configurations from solo to large ensemble, the songs reflecting freedom, compassion, anti-oppression, anti-violence, a love of nature, spirit and creation; essential elements in Parker's optimistic oeuvre. ... Click to View


Szilard Mezei Septet: Hajnali APN (FMR)

Serbian violinist and composer Szilard Mezei's septet in a recording for KCNS Novi Sad from 2015, three tracks of contemporarily orchestrated free improvisation performing three extended Mezei compositions, sophisticated works with effortlessly elaborate structures affording his septet opportunity in group interplay and well-developed soloing, a great achievement. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi / Kassel Jaeger / James Rushford: Face Time [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

The 2nd release from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, and James Rushford in two side-long pieces, simmering stews of electronic smears, pitched-down animal moans, and mysteriously emotive microtonal organ chords, crossed with elements twisted from dub and techno alongside unusually treated percussive elements; chilling and disturbed music. ... Click to View


Luc Ferrari: Atelier De Liberation De La Musique [VINYL] (Alga Marghen)

Six recordings from Luc Ferrari's Atelier De Liberation De La Musique, a collective he created together with Martin Davorin Jagodic (electric piano), Philippe Besombes (synthesizer), and Alain Petit (sax, clarinet & flute) in 1975 for a series of performances at the Galliera Museum in Paris to take place within an audio-visual labyrinth. ... Click to View


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   review by Brian Olewnick
  2004-06-17
psi - Black American Flag  (Evolving Ear);
Ernesto Diaz-Infante/Chris Forsyth - as is stated…before known  (Evolving Ear)
Chris Forsyth/Chris Heenan - Chris Forsyth/Chris Heenan  (Reify);

Guitarist Chris Forsyth’s presence is the only real unifying link between these discs, which are otherwise relatively disparate in approach. psi is a trio comprised of Forsyth, electronicist Jaime Fennely and percussionist Fritz Welch, exposed here in two longish improvisations, one recorded in the studios of Columbia University's WKCR, one live in Brooklyn. The radio station track (oddly titled “Headfirst Into the Flames” though it sounds little like a Last Exit tribute) is all harsh sputters and raw scrapings, Welch’s percussion notable for its up-frontness; almost every sound he creates is etched vividly into the foreground. Aside from that, the piece is rather routine, three musicians making interesting noises but not particularly gelling into anything larger. The second track fares much better as the trio sets up subtle, intersecting and overlapping drones and percussive lines, all within a similar intensity level, swirling and evolving inside a limited sonic space, providing some exquisite tension. It peaks about 10 minutes in, subsiding in lovely fashion to some delicately (and tonally) strummed guitar over shuffling clatter from Welch and intermittent, ominous hums from Fennely. Quickly, Forsyth lurches into some fuzz-drenched work and is echoed by the electronics; now we pick up some Last Exit, psi crunching and grinding its way through a few minutes of brain-ravaging meltcore improv. Once again, they recalibrate and settle into a relatively lush, less troubled ambience, a small, insectile area abuzz with bowed cymbals, gentle guitar and pesky blats of static. Just as you think the piece is going to unwind in languor and quietude, Forsyth leads a hard-picked charge and rallies the troops for a brief but exciting free-for-all to cap things off.


The duo recording with Ernesto Diaz-Infante (on acoustic guitar) is made up of eleven pieces of relatively short length that do, in fact, come off as “songs.” There’s just enough of a hint of rhythm and of recurring structure, not to mention a fairly soft-edged attack, that you can barely imagine a vocal emerging from the haze. Often, effects are dropped, as on the lovely “how little observed…half a mile distant” and the two wander briefly into Loren Connors territory, strumming as gently as they are off-kilter, evoking an enchanting avant-folk sensibility. Forsyth is just as likely to intentionally throw sand into the gears, interjecting staticky pops and crackles, a healthy gambit lest things get too smooth. A little Fahey sneaks in too, especially in some of the more languid pieces like “some years since,” where Diaz-Infante acts as quasi-tambura to Forsyth’s more abstract explorations. The longest song, “some weeks of close scrutiny” is perhaps also the strongest, a very attractive balance achieved between pastoral, acoustic ruminations and granular, “a-musical” electronics. (as is stated…before known) is a fine, understated album, one that should appeal to listeners fond of the abovementioned musicians as well as, say, Burkhard Stangl.


The final disc finds Forsyth teaming with multi-reedist Chris Heenan, here playing alto saxophone, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. Integrating reeds into contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation has been an ongoing challenge, one that is rarely met with much success as the musicians are generally unable to cast aside the “baggage” accrued (in all likelihood) from years of jazz or jazz-influenced playing, something that ill fits the current format. Heenan deals with this conundrum in pretty convincing fashion, especially on the lower clarinets that allow him to dwell more often in the purely sonic aspects of the winds as opposed to the history that, despite all best intentions, tends to percolate up on the alto. As on the prior disc, Forsyth remains subdued, occupying generally tonal zones or layering waves of static, constructing fairly lush matrices for Heenan to weave amongst. There’s a lull of sorts in the middle of the disc as matters get perhaps a bit too relaxed, but the first couple of tracks, “I am not a technologist” and “I listen” as well as the final “I like the way you use language” (leaving aside the odd use of titular “I’s” in a duo recording) are fascinating, intricately evolving works.


All three discs are solid recordings. At his best, Forsyth provides some of the finer free improv emanating (at least partially) from a New York-based musician this side of Sean Meehan in quite some time.





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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Peter Brotzmann The Octet:
Machine Gun
[VINYL]

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