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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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  The Magic I.D. 
  till my breath gives out  
  (erstwhile records) 

   review by Phil Zampino
  2008-03-02
The Magic I.D.: till my breath gives out (erstwhile records)

Erstwhile Record's first foray into "pop" music won't strike many as being in a pop mold, but it does extend the understated forms of electro-acoustic music into more embraceable yet still abstract song territory. lowercase song forms, you think? Not completely, but there are so many tonal and minimal aspects to this album that the comparison has to be made. It's probably more accurate to say that this blends the sensibility of minimal ea-improvisation with the avant/minimal compositional world, adding a song sensibility that understands and plays with popular form. The pieces have a strong use of dynamics and harmonics, with unconventional repetition and rhythm, a detached but clear vocal style, wielded with a subtle hand that implies the concentrative interaction of improvised music in conjunction with strong compositional skills.

Michael Thieke is perhaps best known for his work with on the Creative Sources label, alone and in a quartet with label leader Ernesto Rodrigues; he's also a part of The International Nothing, another fascinating minimalist recording group which, not surprisingly, has all of the players on The Magic I.D. at one point or another. Clarinetist Kai Fagaschinksi has worked with vocalist and electronics artist Christof Kurzmann on their excellent duo record under the name Kommando Raumschiff Zitrone, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, covering the Roberta Flack number of the same name, along with other songs of delicacy and a hint of space's massive vacuum. Kurzmann has also recorded with John Butcher on The Big Misunderstanding Between Hertz and Megahertz. Margareth Kammerer is also heard as a vocalist on Otomo Yoshihide's ONJO New Jazz Live Series 1 & 2.

"True Holiday" opens till my breath gives out with a Kafka-esque quality of distant despair in the dual tonal clarinet work of Thieke and Fagaschinski. They practically birth the album in long coloured tones that suddenly break into Kammerer's impassive vocal, telling us that she can prove that we've met before. In fact, in an over-the-shoulder way, one almost shivers to feel that they've been listening to this song for years without ever noticing it. That implication is prominent, a distantly familiar soundscape and subdued words, ideational tales that carry an isolable openness; they simply make sense when you finally hear them.

"Martin Fierro" is the most song-like of the album, backed by the strumming guitar of Margareth Kammerer. It's a pretty piece in its way, and acts as a bit of relief from the remote intensity of the balance of the songs. "Loopstuck" shows the stylistic border for this band, coming close to silliness in its plaintive sing-song quality, ultimately brought back by Kammerer's entrance with the warmly pale abstraction that makes these pieces work. "Wintersong" is an extraordinary example of what this band is capable of, Kurzmann's voice carrying a European pathos in a song that parallels the starkness of winter with the colourless march of nation states. The song evokes an Art Bears sensibility while only needing a hint of their instrumentation. The intensity of tones and their intersection makes a sort of pure tension that hunches your shoulders as though something were about to drop out of the sky, using urgent siren-like dissonance, disturbed thumping sounds, and electronically pulsing panic buttons. When the music breaks free of the instrumental section for the final lyric it leaves you expecting winter to wrap its frozen arms around you, a superb example of how less can be so much more.



The Magic I.D.: till my breath gives out
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Peter Brotzmann The Octet:
Machine Gun
[VINYL]

(Cien Fuegos)



Peter Brotzmann The Octet:
Machine Gun -
Alternate Takes
[VINYL]

(Cien Fuegos)



Amado /
Mcphee /
Kessler /
Corsano:
A History
Of Nothing

(Trost Records)



Amado /
Mcphee /
Kessler /
Corsano:
A History
Of Nothing
[VINYL]

(Trost Records)



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

(Treader)



Derek Bailey:
Aida
[VINYL 2 LPs]

(Honest Jons Records)



Joelle Leandre :
A Woman's Work
[8 CD BOX SET]

(Not Two)



John McCowen:
4 Chairs In
Three Dimensions
[CASSETTE]

(Astral Spirits)



Matthew Lux's
Communication Arts Quartet:
Contra/Fact
[VINYL]

(Astral Spirits)



Ghost Trees Big Band:
Goodyear
[2 7-inch VINYL RECORDS]

(Future Recordings)



Samara Lubelski /
Bill Nace:


(Relative Pitch)



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

(Tzadik)



Clifford Thornton
Memorial Quartet, The
(McPhee /
Lazro /
Foussat /
Sato):
Sweet Oranges

(Not Two)



Derek Bailey /
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(Otoroku)



Francois Carrier /
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Beyond Dimensions

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Paul Dunmall /
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Frode Gjerstad /
Hamid Drake /
William Parker:
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DKV Trio
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Evan Parker /
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Frode Gjerstad /
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