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Myra Melford Trio: Alive In The House Of Saints CD 2 (Hatology)

The much-anticipated 2nd volume in pianist Myra Melford's series of live performances, "Alive In The House Of Saints" with bassist Lindsey Horner and Reggie Nicholson, documenting sublimely beautiful and innovative playing with her trio of Lindsey Horner on bass and jaxx legend Reggie Nicholson on drums, performing live in two concerts in Germany in 1993. ... Click to View


Michael Adkins Quartet (w/ Russ Lossing / Larry Grenadier / Paul Motion): Flaneur (Hatology)

Much is made of Canadian saxophonist Michael Adkin's mid-tempo approach to jazz, heard here in his 3rd album, "Flaneur", which translates to "stroller" or "saunterer", an apt description of the lyrical, unhurried yet technically adept and sophisticated approach taken by his quartet with Russ Lossing on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Paul Motian on drums. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser Trio (w/ Marc Ducret / Peter Bruun): Taktlos Zurich 2017 (Hatology)

With a history of work in Switzerland, NY and Berlin, trombonist Samuel Blaser brings his multi-national trio with avant improvising guitarist Marc Ducret and Dutch drummer Peter Bruun to the stage of the Taktlos Festival in Zurich, Switzerland in 2017 for a set of extended improvisations, all three players displaying a unique language of incisive and fascinating free jazz. ... Click to View


Markus Eichenberger / Daniel Studer: Suspended (Hatology)

Swiss compatriots with a long history of creative approaches to improvisation, double bassist Daniel Studer and clarinetist & bass clarinetist Markus Eichenberger join together for a studio album recorded at Radio Zurich in 2016, an album of furtive tension and suspense, each track named for a motion or subtle action that they carefully describe. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / William Parker / Federico Ughi: The Dream [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

This album was developed to present Daniel Carter, typically a wind/reed/trumpeter player, on an album that included his piano playing, which then advanced by adding the goal of both Carter and long-time collaborator, drummer Federico Ughi, to record with bassist William Parker, who rounds out this excellent trio on bass, tuba and shakuhachi. ... Click to View


Sabir Mateen (w/ Steve Swell / Matt Lavelle / Matthew Heyner / Michael Thompson): Prophecies Come To Pass [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Saxophonist Sabir Mateen's NY based Shapes, Textures, and Sound Ensemble with Steve Swell on trombone, Matt Lavelle on trumpet, Matthew Heyner on bass and Michael T..A. Thompson on drums, runs though a gamut of post-bop and collective, creative jazz forms with energy, incredible dexterity, and tremendous group interplay, a great example of the modern spirit of jazz. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Demian Richardson / Matthew Putman / David Moss / Federico Ughi: The Gowanus Recordings [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A unique collective jazz album drawing on science and math in 5 improvised works from the New York quintet of Daniel Carter on alto & tenor sax, clarinet and trumpet, Demian Richardson on trumpet, Matthew Putman on piano, Dave Moss on upright bass, and Federico Ughi on drums, in a limited edition LP with a download code; superlative playing in rich layers of interaction. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Federico Ughi: Extra Room [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

For more than 15 years multi-reedist, wind and trumpet player Daniel Carter and drummer Federico Ughi have collaborated in live performance and on record, here showing the results of their work in this duo album, the vinyl edition of their exceptional 2013 CD release that shows their melodic and technical sides, their jazz roots and their warm camaraderie. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman / Hilliard Greene / Federico Ughi: Telepathic Alliances [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Recording in Brooklyn, the quintet of Daniel Carter on alto, soprano & tenor saxophones, Patrick Holmes on clarinet, Matthew Putman on piano, Hilliard Greene on bass, and Federico Ughi on drums bring together players of a very different backgrounds who share a nearly telepathic level of communication through free improv, in an album graced with Carter's poetry. ... Click to View


Donald McKenzie II Sturge Anthony (w/ Nels Cline, Arnold Lee, Melvin Gibbs, David Hofstra, Vernon Reid, CX Kidtronik): Silenced [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A six track album from drummer Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II written about the abuse of force from those charge to protect us, in a serie of duos with amazing performances from guitarist Nels Cline, saxophonist Arnold Lee, bassist Melvin Gibbs, bassist Dave Hofstra, guitarist Vernon Reid, and drummer/keyboardist CX KIDTRONIX; disturbing and important work. ... Click to View


Federico Ughi (Ughi / Irwin / Snyder / Adu / Swanson): Heart Talk [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (577)

New York drummer Federico Ughi in a band with long time collaborator David Schnug on sax, Mike Irwin on trumpet, and Jeff Snyder on electronics, more of a creative jazz album than electric, with Leila Adu on vocals and Zach Swanson on bass on 2 tracks each; informed, intelligent and lyrical free improvisation from a tight-knit group of superb players. ... Click to View


Gabriele Meirano / Xu Fengxia: New Vintage Sessions [CDr + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A collaboration between the China based Italian pianist Gabriele Meirano and the Berlin based Chinese musician Xu Fengxia, a pioneer in combining Chinese music with improvisation, who first played together when Peter Brotzmann invited them to join him in a trio concert at the Shanghai Art Center in 2011, in a duo that fuses Far East sounds and the blues. ... Click to View


Grant Weston Calvin / Lucas Brode: Flying Kites [CD + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A powerful recording that features heavy, intricate and deep grooves from Philadelphia Grant Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman's Prime Time) on drums, percussion and synths and Lucas Brode on guitars, effects and loops, a great album of creative improvisation that blends fusion-oriented playing balanced with modern sound collage and atmospheric moments. ... Click to View


Gabriele Meirano / Federico Ughi: Coordinate Orientali [CD + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A duo between two Italian born improvisers--New York based drummer and 577 Label leader Federico Ughi, and pianist Gabriele Meirano, active in the London jazz club scene for more than a decade--for an album of insightful free jazz in a dialog that shows both thoughtful and challenging moments in an open-minded, ultimately lyrical conversation between two like-minded players. ... Click to View


Nick Mazzarella / Tomeka Reid: Signaling (NESSA)

A fully and freely improvised duo from Chicago artists Nick Mazzarella on alto saxophone and Tomeka Reid on cello, using flowing and long lyrical lines with an unhurried sense of depth and richness even in the most complicated of runs, and playful inventiveness throughout, opening the album with a tribute to the duo work of Julius Hemphill and Abdul Wadud. ... Click to View


Amy Denio: The Big Embrace (Spoot)

Her 10th solo album is a welcome addition to composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio's catalog, introducing 16 new songs, instrumental works, and general quirky superlative work that looks at life with a sharply optimistic eye and a joyful melody in her heart, taking delight in the banal and focusing criticism on the inane; wonderful! ... Click to View


David Myers Lee: Ether Music (Starkland)

Best known for his work under the name Arcane Device in the 80s and 90s, New York sound artist David Lee Myers carves a unique path in electronic and what he refers to as "feedback music", developing unique approaches and instruments to generate distinctive forms of electronic music, here in a 10 track album of stunningly beautiful and mysterious sound. ... Click to View


Sainct Laurens (Pierre-Yves Martel / Philippe Lauzier): Volume 2 [VINYL] (Etrons)

Using circular breathing and continuous sound, the Montreal duo of clarinetist and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier and Pierre-Yves Martel on viola da gamba, objects, feedback is a concentrative album of understated but definitive sound that develops with a profound level of precision and control, using suspense, tension, release and confidence in each other's unusual dialog. ... Click to View


Pierre Labbe : parlures et parjures (Malasartes)

Montreal multi-wind instrumentalist Pierre Labbe (Les Projectionnistes, L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus, Papa Boa) leads an insanely talented and quirky quartet with guitarist Bernard Falaise, drummer Pierre Tanguay, and narrator/storyteller Michel Faubert, creating a captivating album that transcends language in it's superb pacing, development, and artistry. ... Click to View


Cordame: Satie Variations (Malasartes)

Montreal's six-piece Cordame and composer Jean Felix Mailloux arrange and interprets 18th century composer Erik Satie's work "17 Variations" in celebration of his 150th birthday, adding a lilting swing and beautiful features allowing the orchestration of piano, harp, violin, cello, double bass, and percussion to improvise over these enduring melodies. ... Click to View


Hubert Zemler : Pupation of Dissonance (Bolt)

Hubert Zemler is a classically educated percussionist who works with symphony orchestras and improv, here performing 3 works, his own 4-part "Pupation of Dissonance", revealing an incredible knowledge and exultation in approaches to solo percussion, alongside Steve Reich's "Music for Pieces of Wood" and Per Norgard's study in drifting pulses and overlapping accents, "Waves". ... Click to View


Lisbon String Trio with Karoline Leblanc: Liames (Creative Sources)

One of five live collaborations with The Lisbon String Trio of violist Ernesto Rodrigues, cellist Miguel Mira, and bassist Alvaro Rosso, Quebec pianist Karoline Leblanc accompanying on the piano as the 4th string in this open-minded equation of slowly intersecting improvisation creating an unusual tapestry of sound that ebbs and flows in exceptional ways. ... Click to View


Autochthon: A (Creative Sources)

Autochthon refers to indigenous language or people, tied to their land; here the trio of Hartmut Osswald (reeds & things), Stefan Scheib (prepared double bass) and Wolfgang Schliemann (drums and objects) perform a native language of their own through improvisation in this interesting concert at Freejazz Festiva in, Saarbrucken, Germany in 2016. ... Click to View


Henry Cow: Vol. 4 & 5: Trondheim (Recommended Records)

Perhaps the most exceptional of the "road' albums from the Henry Cow Box Set, this 1976 Trondheim concert found the band missing bassist John Greaves and singer Dagmar Krauss, so instead of their set list they shut off the lights and gave the audience pure improvisation using EA and concrete approaches, heard in spectacular detail in Bob Drake' remaster. ... Click to View


Tandaapushi: Borromean Rings (JVTLANDT)

The second album from this Norwegian electric improvising power trio, using dark rhythmic grooves over which guitar, electric piano, amplified objects, no-input mixing board, and pianet emerge, creating hypnotic states that lead to exultant moments through sinuous melody, building and releasing intensity while maintaining a consistent gauzy undertone. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / William Parker): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 1 Titan (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and New York pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this first volume of 6 albums brings the two together with frequent collaborator William Parker for a 6 part work, fittingly dedicated to Saturn's largest moon, "Titan". ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek: Chimeric Stoned Horn [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD + 3D GLASSES] (Astral Spirits)

The 2nd part of Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek's Astral Spirits series that started with "Vortice of the Faun", Mazurek performing on piccolo trumpet, electronics, voice, and percussion in a detailed journey, released alongside Mazurek's art opening "Constellation Scores" at URDLA, the cover showing two 3-D prints and the package comes with glasses to view them. ... Click to View


Ab Baars & Terrie Ex: Shifting Sands (Terp Records)

Dutch saxophonist Ab Baars and guitarist Terrie Ex last recorded together in 2000 for their "Hef" album, reuniting in 2015 in Amsterdam for this well-rounded and exhilarating duo album, with Ex on electric guitar and Baars on tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and shakuhachi, demonstrating both player's growth and continued joy in improvisation. ... Click to View


Ab Baars & Terrie Ex: Shifting Sands [VINYL] (Terp Records)

Dutch saxophonist Ab Baars and guitarist Terrie Ex last recorded together in 2000 for their "Hef" album, reuniting in 2015 in Amsterdam for this well-rounded and exhilarating duo album, with Ex on electric guitar and Baars on tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and shakuhachi, demonstrating both player's growth and continued joy in improvisation. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : Equinox (Aural Terrains)

A remarkable album of electronic composition from sound experimenter and improviser Thanos Chrysakis, ten stunning compositions that explore a diverse set of tones across a broad spectrum of rich deep timbre and beautiful high frequency ringing, bell-tones at times taking the focus, at others providing a rotating basis for ethereal experiments; sophisticated and engaging! ... 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:


Myra Melford Trio:
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Saints CD 2
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Gabriele Meirano /
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Coordinate Orientali
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The Dream
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



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w/ Steve Swell /
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Matthew Heyner /
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(577)



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