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Morgan Evans-Weiler / Michael Pisaro: Lines And Tracings (Another Timbre)

Two compositions, one by composer Michael Pisaro and performed by the electroacoustic ensemble "Ordinary Affects" including violinist Morgan Evans-Weiler, then an acoustic composition from Evans-Weiler himself performed with violin, clarinet, cello, harpsichord and piano; both exquisite works that draw out tone and time in patiently unfolding fluidity. ... Click to View


Ferran Fages : Un lloc entre dos records (Another Timbre)

Submerging the listener into the immediacy of pure perception through the economy of materials and atemporality, Catalan guitarist Ferran Fages presents the 3rd piece of his trilogy for guitar and sinteones, referencing Feldman, Lucier and Szlavnics as he specific tunings for the guitar accompanied by pure resonating sinetones used as memory vehicles or shadows. ... Click to View


Viola Torros: Catherine Lamb & Johnny Chang: Viola Torros / Catherine Lamb / Johnny Chang [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

4 compositions from violist/composers Catherine Lamb & Johnny Chang, the 1st focusing on the mysterious compositions of Vedic-era composer Viola Torros, exploring monady, melody and harmony; the second, one composition each from Chang performed with the Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble, and from Lamb using the secondary rainbow synthesizer she developed with Bryan Eubanks. ... Click to View


Mark Taylor R. : Aftermaths (Another Timbre)

Works for solo piano by Mark R Taylor, beautifully played by Teodora Stepancic, the first CD release by a remarkable but neglected English composer whose piano works present a metrically rhythmicized exploration of a generative spectrum, here featuring works dating between 1979 and 2018 and performed by Serbian pianist Teodora Stepancic. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis / Sue Lynch / James O'Sullivan / Joe Wright : Iridescent Strand (Aural Terrains)

Very much in an AMM mold of electroacoustic improvisation, this album of intense cooperation and sonic depth presents five sections numbered by Roman numerals, performed in the studio by the adept and investigative quintet of Thanos Chrysakis on computer & synthesizers, Sue Lynch on reeds, James O'Sullivan on guitar, and Joe Wright on sax & dynamic feedback system. ... Click to View


Lisa Cameron / Sandy Ewen: See Creatures [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Essentially two guitarists with some very unusual outboard equipment and an odd oceanic attitude, as West Coast/NY transplant guitarist Sandy Ewens meets Austin, TX lap steel guitarist Lisa Cameron, both using objects, percussion and feedback to create a remarkably diverse set of deep sea and nautical sounds, a semblance of sailing on a very temperamental vessel. ... Click to View


Cyril Bondi & d'incise: Mem, Aleph & Lassis performed by The Pitch & Bondi / d'incise / Majkowski [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Two distinct version of this 2018 composition by organist Cyril Bondi & sound artist d'incise, based on three fragments of Michel-Richard De Lalande "Lecons de Tenebres", on one side performed by trio The Pitch of Boris Baltschun (organ), Koen Nutters (double bass) and Morten J. Olsen (vibes), and on the other side by Bondi, d'incise, and bassist Mike Majkowski. ... Click to View


DeDionyso / Meek / Rico: From The Land of the Wicked King [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

A joint release between Noel Meek's New Zealand label Called God In The Music and Astral Spirits, the trio of Meek himself on electronics, Arrington de Dionyso on saxophone and Rodrigo Rico on drums are caught live at Gallery 1412 in Seattle, WA in 2017 for a freely improvised album of controlled chaos among intensely wicked and mischievous electroacoustic improv. ... Click to View


Gerrit Hatcher: Parables for the Tenor [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

An extremely intimate album of solo saxophone improvisation from Chicago tenor saxophonist, improviser, and composer Gerrit Hatcher, known for his work with Mars Williams, Julian Kirshner, &c., in his second solo album, playing music that can be embraced and understood while sharing both vulnerabilities and conviction & strength on the horn. ... Click to View


Machinefabriek: Sahara Mixtape [CASSETTE+DOWNLOAD] (Machinefabriek)

Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek, presents 33 pieces made for the score of the VPRO-produced documentary series Sahara, in which Bram Vermeulen explores political turmoil, social issues and cultural heritage in the Sahara region, here in a beautifully heterogenous album presenting upbeat rhythmic, melodic, and lyrical music balanced by moody dark sonic environments. ... Click to View


Michael Foster / Steve Swell / Brandon Lopez / Weasel Walter: Throes are the Only Problem (Ugexplode)

Listed in Jazz Right Now's "Best Records of 2017", the New York City based quartet of Michael Foster (saxophones), Steve Swell (trombone), Brandon Lopez (bass) and Weasel Walter (drums) presents four collective free jazz improvisations, powerfully dynamic playing using masterful skill and extended techniques to convey the essence of the form. ... Click to View


Christiane Bopp : Noyau de Lune (Fou Records)

A tour-de-force of solo improvisation from French trombonist Christiane Bopp, flawlessly captured by sound engineer Jean Marc Foussat, as Bopp transforms her instrument through technical skill, lyrical ability, and unusual technique, creating virtual duets, furtive expression, and thundering emotion, an absolutely impressive example of modern trombone language. ... Click to View


Weasel Walter : Skhiizm (Ugexplode)

Drummer Weasel Walter turns to his love of furious metallic music in this intimidating album of chaotic, noisy skronk rock in a solo album played on guitars, drums and electronics accompanied by distorted grunts that add a disturbing layer to the madness; aggressively skillful and demanding, intended to be played LOUD, with a take-no-prisoners, no-apology attitude. ... Click to View


John Zorn: SALEM, 1692 (Tzadik)

NY Composer John Zorn and Dowtown luminary John Zorn's instrumental quartet of Trevor Dunn on bass, Kenny Grohowski on drums, Julian Lage on guitar, and Matt Hollenberg on guitar in their second album of fiery improvisation, focusing on the Salem Witch Trials of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692 through superlative playing and passionate improvisation; burning! ... Click to View


Davis / Mitchell / Ortiz / Shipp: New American Songbooks, Volume 2 [VINYL] (Sound American/Pleasure of the Text Records)

The 2nd volume of Sound American's "New American Songbooks" turns from the 1st volume's group approach to the singular voices of 4 masterful pianists--Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruan Ortiz, and Matthew Shipp--as they interpret the music of traditional hymns, Carla Bley, filmaker/composer Ed Bland, and bandcamp era composers Ryan Power & Christopher Weisman. ... Click to View


Rudy Royston: Flatbed Buggy (Greenleaf Music)

The third album from drummer Rudy Royston features his new chamber-like quintet featuring Gary Versace (accordion), John Ellis (woodwinds), Hank Roberts (cello) and Joe Martin (bass) playing music inspired by Royston's upbringing in Texas, lyrical and sophisticated modern jazz from a drummer frequently called upon by jazz masters Bill Frisell, JD Allen, or Dave Douglas. ... Click to View


Parker / Bishop / Karayorgis / McBride / Gray: The Diagonal Filter (Not Two)

Uniting masterful players from across the East Coast into the Boston area, with Boston pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, Boston native/Chicago-based bassist Nate McBride, DC drummer Luther Gray, North Carolina/Chicago-based trombonist Jeb Bishop, and Chicago guitarist Jeff Parker, in a strong album of lyrical free jazz with compositions from all five players. ... Click to View


Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade: Stomping Off From Greenwood (Greenleaf Music)

Returning to his native Chicago after a stint in NYC, saxophonist Greg Ward (Tortoise) formed this new group with Matt Gold and Dave Miller (guitars & effects), Matt Ulery (bass), and Quin Kirchner (drums), recording this impressive album of modern jazz: lyrical, funky and perfectly paced, engaging but never indulgent, with unexpected compositional twists and turns. ... Click to View


Dave Holland Feat. Evan Parker / Craig Taborn / Ches Smith: Uncharted Territories [3 LPS] (Dare2 Records)

Reuniting bassist Dave Holland with saxophonist Evan Parker, a longtime friend from their early days in London, and joined by Craig Taborn on piano and electronics, and Ches Smith on percussion, as the group performs as a quartet and also in a variety of permutations of duo and trio configurations, in a set of rich and informed dialogs of masterful skill. ... Click to View


Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: After Caroline [VINYL] (Northern Spy)

The fourth release from Chicago bass clarinetist Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore, a trio with Jason Roebke on bass and New York drummer Mike Pride, playing modern creative jazz with a twisted melodic sense through Stein's original compositions, alongside one collective comoposition and John Coltrane's "26-2", a great example of 21st century jazz. ... Click to View


Quinteros / Gallio / Elgier / Von Schultz: Mokita (Creative Sources)

Cellist Cecilia Quinteros formed this free jazz quartet with Christoph Gallio on soprano and alto saxophones, Alex Elgier on piano and Marcelo Von Schultz on drums, recording in Buenos Aires, Argentina for four spectacular improvisations with idiosyncratic language on their instruments and unbridled enthusiasm in their playing, even in introspective moments. ... Click to View


Judson Hurd: Trouble Will Cause (A True Crime Documentary) (Bad Architect Records)

The original motion picture soundtrack for a true crime documentary about the Lawson Family Murders on Christmas Day in 1929 from pianist and sonic experimenter Judson Hurd, presenting six tracks that accompany the movie through dark and mysterious passages of keys, synth and percussive tones; the profits of each copy sold will benefit victims of Hurricane Florence. ... Click to View


Sandy Ewen / Weasel Walter: Idiomatic (Ugexplode)

Uniquely voice free improvisation from the duo of guitarist Sandy Ewen, rejecting effects in favor of extended techniques and non-standard approaches that employ Ewen's simple preparations made with ordinary objects, and Walter's applying unconventional rhythmic strategies and live electronic processing, resulting in 3 detailed and unexpected dialogs. ... Click to View


The Gate (Peck / Blancarte / Osborne): Island Virus (Tubapede)

NY Tuba-driven trio The Gate led by Dan Peck on tuba & effects, with Tom Blancarte on upright electric bass and Brian Osborne on percussion, in a studio album of shorter pieces exploring the dark side of the huge brass instrument and the band's dark, enormous sound, with tongue-in-cheek titles like "Black Bird of Death Spewing Death Puke"; ominously impressive. ... Click to View


Timespine (Sa / Kilma / Trips): Urban Season (Shhpuma)

Resonant and upbeat exploratory free improvisation in the 2nd album from the Portuguese trio of Dead Combo guitarist To Trips, and String Theory members, Adrian Sa on zither, field recordings & reactive software and John Klima on electric fretless bass, in beautifully rambling melodic work with unusual sonic environments and asides, an appealing and absorbing album. ... Click to View


Ikue Mori / Christian Ronn: Chordis et Machina [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Resipiscent Records)

A sublime album contrasting the physical acoustics of upright, grand and prepared pianos with elusively slippery electronics, plus some Buchla and Serge synthesizer additions, as New York electroacoustic improviser Ikue Mori and Danish experimenter Christian Ronn meet at the Elektron Musik Studion (EMS) in Stockholm to record this wonderfully hallucinatory album. ... Click to View


Peter Evans / Weasel Walter: Poisonous (Ugexplode)

"Poisonous" is an auditory hallucination created with simple tools--acoustic trumpet and drums--from NY free improvisers Peter Evans and Weasel Walter, presenting seven pieces of forceful, modern abstraction, blurring the lines between composition and improvisation in a display of impeccable technical skill, mindboggling energy, and wonderfully twisted inspiration. ... Click to View


Michael Foster / Michael Zerang / Katherine Young: Bind the Hand(s) That Feed (Relative Pitch)

Captured at Elastic in Chicago, the free improvising trio of Katherine Young on bassoon & electronics, Michael Zerang on percussion, and Michael Foster on soprano & tenor saxophones, use contrasting timbres and techniques throug wind instruments, percussion and electronics to create unusual and captivating dialog, evolving with great composure, a sense of wonder, and mastery. ... Click to View


Antoine Chessex : Subjectivation [VINYL] (Fragment Factory)

Using material from solo live performances in San Francisco, Berlin, Zurich and London between 2010 and 2015, composer and sound artist Antoine Chessex developed the two compositions of this album, extracting his electroacoustic altered saxophone work and developing them into larger works that bridge extreme and psychoacoustics approaches with great sonic depth. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet / Thomas Tilly: Stones, Air, Axioms / Delme [VINYL 2 LPs] (Fragment Factory)

The 3rd phase of French sound artists Jean-Luc Guionnet & Thomas Tilly's art and research project, recorded at the Center for Contemporary Art at La Synagogue de Delme and joined by percussionist Will Guthrie, bagpiper Claude Grandjean, and violist Cyprien Busolini, creating a remarkably diverse installation of audio frequencies, voices, instrumental sections, rhythms and silence. ... Click to View


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  Doneda/Leimgruber/Rowe 
  The Difference Between a Fish  
  (Potlatch) 

   review by Brian Olewnick
  2003-03-18
Doneda/Leimgruber/Rowe: The Difference Between a Fish (Potlatch)

The saxophone finds itself in a problematic position in much contemporary, freely improvised music. It has a strong tendency to carry a huge amount of baggage. A great deal of that "baggage", of course, is part of a beautiful tradition, but placed in a context where the non-idiomatic is prized, that history can become something of a stumbling block toward achieving the desired transparency of content. For some reason, reed players seem to be affected more than brass. Trumpets and trombones can merge more seamlessly with strings or electronics, perhaps because they lack the innate human cry that is part and parcel of the saxophone and which human ears tend to conceptually isolate. Keith Rowe is acutely aware of this issue and, almost quixotically, has insisted on working in projects with saxophonists, seeking a happy medium or, better still, looking to influence reed players to shed more and more of their historical weight. Michel Doneda would seem to be a prime candidate, someone who has already reduced his soprano to, as has been described previously, more a metallic tube with holes in it than a musical instrument. Urs Leimgruber, though capable of relatively extreme playing, appears somewhat more wedded to the tradition.

This disc consists of two lengthy tracks, one recorded in 2001, the other in 2002. In both, Rowe, as has been his wont in recent year, virtually disappears as an active musical participant, instead filling the role of "canvas". I'm reasonably certain that he would have liked his collaborators to follow him to this point (and then, maybe, out of it) but the difficulties quickly become apparent. Doneda does, in the first piece, rein himself in a bit, concentrating on breathy hisses more often than reedy notes, but still he sets himself apart from the group sound, unable to recede from the foreground. Leimgruber fares even less well, offering the sort of trills he produces in performance with Joelle Leandre; they might work wonderfu lly there, they sound intrusive here.

Oddly enough, though recorded earlier, the second track works a bit better, though largely for the deep area Rowe explores during its latter half. The saxophonists appear to have been farther behind in their "lessons" (maybe they were revolting against Rowe's dictum!), placing themselves even further up front, steering the trio into a relatively mundane, though by no means unaccomplished, type of free improv that has been heard quite often over the last 20 or so years. Again, it's not bad music-it's a far sight better than much out there-but Rowe is aiming at vastly different prey, something he seems to allude to almost directly as he sends his guitar plummeting into the abyss for the last few minutes of the piece (reminding me, strangely enough, of parts of the original Fripp/Eno recordings). Though the experiment can't be deemed an unqualified success, its failures (and the reasons for them) are fascinating enough to easily warrant a listen by those interested in this type of problem.





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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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Sue Lynch /
James O'Sullivan /
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Iridescent Strand
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