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Hermann Nitsch: Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

Austrian avant-garde musician and multimedia artist performed these powerful and mesmerizing solo organ drone works during the 2013 "Shut up and listen" festival in in the Jesuit church of Vienna, releasing the 4 recordings with an 8-page booklet of art and an essay from Nitsch himself, with mastering by Martin Siewert. ... Click to View


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String Theory [Boston, USA]: Condensed Phases of Matter (Evil Clown)

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Junk & The Beast (Petr Vrba / Veronika Mayer): Trailer (Mikroton Recordings)

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Kurt Liedwart : Tone (Mikroton Recordings)

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String Theory [PORTUGAL]: Gravity (Creative Sources)

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Christian Wolff / Eddie Prevost: Uncertain Outcomes [2 CDs] (Matchless)

Two concerts of experimental improvisation from two of giants of conceptual improvisation and composition, recorded at IKLECTIK in London in 2015 and at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire in 2016; with superb pacing and brilliant execution, these dialogs between keyboard and percussive instruments explore unique sound worlds with depth, inquisitiveness, and a sense of wonder. ... Click to View


Borbetomagus: A Pollock of Sound [DVD] (Taping Policies)

The first feature documentary of the Borbetomagus free improvising noise trio of Don Dietrich, Jim Sauter and Donald Miller, alongside a live concert at Instants Chavires, Montreuil in 2009; documentary interviews and footage include Byron Coley, drummer Chris Corsano, guitarist Thurston Moore, Japanese noise unit Hijokaidan, and Switzerland's Voice Crack. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith: Unbounded Sets (Evil Clown)

Two live recordings of the Boston area Leap of Faith quintet of David Peck (reeds and winds, percussion), Glynis Lomon (cello, percussion), Dan O'Brien (winds, percussion), Zach Bartolomei (sax, percussion), and Yuri Zbitnoff (drums and percussion), captured in Somerville in 2016 and New York City in 2017, for detailed, assertive, unique approaches to improv. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe / Mark Sanders: Affretando (Confront)

Working together since 1995 as a duo, and in The George Graewe Quintet, the Frisque Concordance Quartet, and in groupings with Evan Parker, Gail Brand, Paul Dunmall, and John Edwards, heard here at the essence of their collaboration, captured live at the 21st Jazz Cerkno Festival in Sloveniain, 2016, for a sophisticated and intricate dialog of lyrical free improvisation. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Ulrike Brand / Olaf Rupp : Traintracks, Roadsides, Wastelands, Debris (Creative Sources)

Three string improvisers--Ulrike Brand on cello, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, and Olaf Rupp on electric guitar--approach their instruments from all angles excepting the most traditional ones, from scraping and granulating to creating resonant sonic environments, an apt reflection of a journeying musician, enhanced by text and images in the CD package. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth / Jason Kahn: Percussion / Voice (Confront)

An absorbing album of percussion and voice from the working duo of Christian Wolfarth on drums and percussion, and Jason Kahn on voice, for two extended improvisations of cathartic vocal expression and assertive rhythmic and reflective percussive accompaniment, balancing eccentric and mesmerizing sound in gripping and compelling ways. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler: Botenstoffe (Confront)

A series of duo recordings between saxophonist, clarinetist and cornet player Udo Schindler and pianists, all recorded at Schindler's Salon for Sound and Art at Krailing, Germany between 2013 and 2016, with Claudia Ulla Binder, Masako Ohta, Elisabeth Harnik, Katharnia Weber, and Lisa Ullen; song titles taken from SONDAGEN (Soundings) in memory of poet Thomas Kling. ... Click to View


Deep Tide Quartet (Archer / Macari / Cole / Shaw): See One, Do One, Teach One (Discus)

Originally a studio project, The UK Deep Tide Trio of Martin Archer on sax, Kim Macari on trumpet, Laura Cole on piano and Walt Shaw on percussion & live electronics evolved into a performing organization based on the strength of their open-ended approach to free jazz and improvisation, heard here balancing melody and structure in well-paced and thoughtful improv. ... Click to View


Orfeo 5 (Blezard / Bourne / Jafrate with Prince / Oliver / Kane): In The Green Castle (Discus)

Orfeo 5 are Shaun Blezard on electronics, Keith Jafrate on saxophone, Matt Bourne on keyboards & cello, Tamlin Cook on guitar, Mary Oliver doing spoken word, and Simon Prince on saxophone & flutes, blending jazz, improv, folk, dub, sound art and electronica to create evolving, improvised narrative music that create a sense of place and journey. ... Click to View


Eckard Vossas 4 (Vossas / Fields / Henkel / Nabatov): Conference Of Analogies (Creative Sources)

A live concert of collective free improv recorded at Cologne's Loft from electronic from Eckard Vossas leading his impressive quartet of Brad Henkel, Simon Nabatov and Scott Fields, Vossas performing on synth, electronics, Kyma Sound System, and Continuum Fingerboard, pianist Nabatov also on Crackle board, Henkel on trumpet, and Fields on electric guitar. ... 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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