The Squid's Ear

Marco Von Orelli / Max E. Keller / Sheldon Suter: Blow, Strike and Touch (Hatology)

Marco Von Orelli / Max E. Keller / Sheldon Suter:
Blow, Strike and Touch

Orphax / Machinefabriek: Weerkaatsing (Moving Furniture)

Orphax / Machinefabriek:
(Moving Furniture)

Thollem / Mazurek: Blind Curves and Box Canyons (Relative Pitch)

Thollem / Mazurek:
Blind Curves and Box Canyons
(Relative Pitch)

ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Kyle Bruckmann & Henry Kaiser: Steve Lacy's Saxophone Special Revisited (Clean Feed)

ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Kyle Bruckmann & Henry Kaiser:
Steve Lacy's Saxophone Special Revisited
(Clean Feed)

Steve Noble / Yoni Silver: Home (Aural Terrains)

Steve Noble / Yoni Silver:
(Aural Terrains)

Martin Archer: Story Tellers (Discus)

Martin Archer:
Story Tellers

Harris Eisenstadt: Recent Developments (Songlines)

Harris Eisenstadt:
Recent Developments

Hamid Drake / Sylvain Kassap: Heads or Tails (Rogue Art)

Hamid Drake / Sylvain Kassap:
Heads or Tails
(Rogue Art)

The Runcible Quintet: Five (FMR)

The Runcible Quintet:

The Elks (Kai Fagaschinski / Liz Allbee / Billy Roisz / Marta Zapparoli): This Is Not the Ant (Mikroton)

The Elks (Kai Fagaschinski / Liz Allbee / Billy Roisz / Marta Zapparoli):
This Is Not the Ant

The Squid's Ear
Op-Ed: (Opinions and Editorials from the Squid's Ear)

The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at
written by
independent writers.


Recent Selections @ Squidco:

John Cage:
Klang der Wandlungen
[3 CDs]
(Edition Rz)

Leap of
Faith Orchestra:
The Expanding
(Evil Clown)

Elliott Sharp /
Mary Halvorson /
Marc Ribot:
ERR Guitar

Mars Williams presents
(w/ Berman /
Lonberg-Holdm /
Baker /
Kessler /
Sandstrom /
An Ayler Xmas:
The Music of
Albert Ayler &
Songs of Christmas
(Soul What Records)

Tree Ear
(Strinning /
Troller /
Witches Butter
(Clean Feed)

Gard Nilssen's
Acoustic Unity :
Live in Europe
[3 CDs]
(Clean Feed)

Eve Risser /
Kaja Draksler:
To Pianos
(Clean Feed)

Kullhammar, Aalberg Zetterber
& Santos Silva:
Basement Session
(The Bali Tapes)
(Clean Feed)

Imaginary Numbers
(McPhee /
Niggenkemper /
Imaginary Numbers
(Clean Feed)

Joao Camoes /
Jean-Luc Cappozzo /
Jean-Marc Foussat:
Autres Paysages
(Clean Feed)

Steve Swell
(w/ Brown /
Hwang /
Ulrich /
Boston /
Music for
Six Musicians:
Hommage a
Olivier Messiaen

Schlippenbach Trio
(Schlippenbach /
Evan Parker /
Warsaw Concert

Spontaneous Music
[2017 REISSUE]

(Sinton /
Ajemian /
Slow Learner

Sista Maj:
Series Of
Nested Universes
[2 CDs]
(Space Rock Productions )

Leap of
Faith Orchestra:
(Evil Clown)

Hollis Taylor:
Absolute Bird
[2 CDs]
(ReR Megacorp)

Matthew Lux's
Communication Arts Quartet:
(Astral Spirits)

Tomas Fujiwara :
Triple Double
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Mary Halvorson:
Away With You
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear

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  The Squid's Ear 1st Or So Anniversary  

The Squid's Ear celebrated its first anniversary back in January with a concert at the Issue Project Room in Manhattan's East Village. Ron Anderson, Anthony Coleman and Gary Lucas played energetic, beautiful and unusual solo sets. At the time, we thought we were on the heels of putting out a new issue marking our first year of publication as well.

Ah well, what can we say? We could complain about having to work freelance gigs to support ourselves while we build what is destined to be a vast empire writing about and selling adventurous music. We could lie and try to cover what feels like time wasted when we should have been working. Or we could just invite you to keep reading for another year, as we continue to strive to provide thoughtful and interesting interpretations of the best music in the world.

But what plans we had! Wonderous new features were slated to be unveiled as we passed our first birthday. The first of those is our new Forum, running the popular PHPBB forum software, making us a bit more interactive. More is in store, but you, gentle reader, shall have to stick with us to see what that will be.

We're proud of what we've done, however, and deeply indebted to the writers who have made this, we hope, a stop along the route of trying to keep up with under recognized sound art.

It's an unusual model we've built, but one we like. Our initial arguments about whether we should be a quarterly or bimonthly magazine were eclipsed by practicality and we landed right in the middle, putting out five 'issues' in 2003, and at the same time updating the site weekly with cd reviews and New York City performance reviews. We suppose we're a weekly that comes out as often as it can. And for that effort, we were proud to be awarded the Dr. Johannes Rosenberg (post) Award and Medal for Services Rendered to Contemporary Music, which carries with it a grant 50,000 East Marks in unmarked notes (sadly uncollectable).

And so, you think, is there anything you can do? Without doubt. We're hungry for more writers, people interested in covering regional scenes around the world, writers with unusual ideas for feature articles or just people to help us keep up with the tide of cds we get for review. If you're more a consumer than a writer, please consider making our shop, Squidco, a regular stop on your cyber strolls. Money coming into the store helps keep the magazine alive. And please, don't hesitate to write us at for information on ad rates.

If nothing else, write to us at and tell us what you think. What have you liked? What have you hated? What would you like to see more of? We get a little lonely, but we like what we do. And we ain't going away, so you might as well make us what you want us to be.

  AECO: Fifth Decade  

Time wins every time. The clock eventually beats the best of us, even those who seem to exist outside of it. Malachi Favors Maghoustut was one such man. He claimed to be 43,000 years old. He claimed at one point actually to be getting younger. We might have smiled, but at the same time we knew that if anyone could pull it off...

But the strong, stoic bassist of the venerable Art Ensemble of Chicago succumbed on January 30, after what had already been a hard few years for the mighty AECO. Before losing their bassist, trumpeter Lester Bowie passed away, and not long before that saxophonist Joseph Jarman had left the gold to devote himself to Buddhist studies. Over the last decade, they put out some of their weakest, and some fine but roundly ignored, records. With Jarman returning between the deaths of Bowie and Favors, the band missed its chance to be the original quintet, and couldn't seem to get off shaky ground.

Still - or maybe because of that - it was unnerving when the line-up for their weeklong stint at Iridium was announced. The weeklong stint at the upscale midtown Manhattan club was booked prior to Favors' death, and the thought of replacement members seemed an affront. They'd tried bringing in new members after Bowie's death - Chicago saxophonists Fred Anderson and Ari Brown both gigged with the group - but settled into the fine Favors/Roscoe Mitchell/Famadou Don Moye trio that recorded the excellent Tribute to Lester for ECM. And while there's something not just appropriate (the band hadn't added a member since Moye joined in 1969) but intriguing about the Art Ensemble as a twin-sax trio, there was something inspiring about seeing them as a full quintet again.

With members borrowed from Mitchell's Note Factory - bassist Jaribu Shahid and the talented young trumpeter Cory Wilkes - the group was confident and strong for the Iridium gigs. They weren't the same band, but they have been at least four different bands over the years, even when their membership wasn't in flux. They ended the opening night with Jarman alone onstage, singing a cappella 'This music comes to you/With love/The sound is the sound of life.' Malachi Favors was the ancient, but certainly wouldn't have stood in the way of the future.

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