The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Jorgensmann / Del / Ramond / Kugel:
At the Fields Edge (Not Two)

Taking its album title and the titles for three compositions from poems by Laura Winter, the German jazz quartet led by clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann with Christopher Dell on vibes, Christian Ramond on double bass and Klaus Kugel on drums present an advanced example of modern creative, chamber-oriented collective free jazz with a stunning level of communication. ... Click to View

Wandering The Sound Quintet (Satoko Fujii / Guillermo Gregorio / Natsuki Tamuyra / Rafat Mazur / Ramon Lopez):
What Is...? (Not Two)

The first Wandering The Sound album in 2018 was the trio of Argentinian reedist Guillermo Gregorio, Spanish drummer Ramón López and Polish bassist Rafał Mazur, here extended to a quintet with pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura for a 2019 concert at Alchemia in Poland, a masterful example of free improv based on a poem by Ikkyu Sojun, a Zen master from the 15th century. ... Click to View

Katarsis4 (Bizys / Janonis / Pancerovas / Jusinskas):
Live At The Underground Water Reservoir (NoBusiness)

Using the natural resonance of the Liepkalnis underground water reservoir in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Katarsis4 saxophone quartet of Arminas Bizys, Algirdas Janonis, Danielius Pancerovas and Kazimieras Jusinskas merge free improvisation, both melodic and of extended tetechniques, with composed forms and folk music, capturing this extended work of beguiling and powerful music. ... Click to View

Katarsis4 (Bizys / Janonis / Pancerovas / Jusinskas):
Live At The Underground Water Reservoir [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Using the natural resonance of the Liepkalnis underground water reservoir in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Katarsis4 saxophone quartet of Arminas Bizys, Algirdas Janonis, Danielius Pancerovas and Kazimieras Jusinskas merge free improvisation, both melodic and of extended tetechniques, with composed forms and folk music, capturing this extended work of beguiling and powerful music. ... Click to View

J Spaceman / J Coxon:
Play The Red Krayola Live 1967 [VINYL] (Treader)

J Spaceman and J Coxon play the music of avant rock band The Red Krayola! through two guitars, feedback, metronomes and a music box, recording during preparation for a joint performance by J Spaceman and J Coxon as part of: Art and Language: Letters to The Jackson Pollock Bar in the Style of The Red Krayola, Lisson Gallery New York, October 2019. ... Click to View

Rob Frye:
Exoplanet [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

A sparkling album of electronics, synths and drums from Chicago composer and improviser Rob Frye, performed with cohorts from previous bands including Cooper Crain, Nick Ciontea, Daniel Quinlivan (all of Bitchin Bajas), along with improvisers Quin Kirchner, Ben Lamar Gay, Macie Stewart, &c; upbeat and sometimes introspective works of wonder and psychedelic excitement. ... Click to View

Alberto Pederneschi :
Microcosmo (FMR)

Using prepared drums drums, objects, voice, and Kalimba, Italian drummer Alberto Pederneschi presents eight solo works recorded in the studio, an unhurried but authoritative set of pieces that merge composed and improvised sections, drawing and evoking a narrative sense in coherent arrangements and intimate story telling. ... Click to View

Gintas K:
Variations in a​-​moll for a granular synthesis [CD + DOWNLOAD] (esc.rec.)

Six variations in Lithuanian sound artist and composer Gintas K's work composed during an art residency in MoKS (, Estonia, each variation between 8 to 12 minutes long evolving interactions between granulated and continuously shifting computer generated sounds, thick electronics that leaves space amidst the synthetics to create digestible and intriguingly compelling works. ... Click to View

Always There, Somewhere [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (esc.rec.)

Frond, aka Richard Bultitude, is a UK sound artist who creates rich soundscapes of guitar, synthetics, field recordings and other ethereal elements, the mix of live instrumentation over drone and ambient environments adding warmth and personality to beautifully crafted works, each exuding a sense of inner calm through innately melodic music replete with detail. ... Click to View

Musica Elettronica Viva:
Spacecraft [VINYL] (Our Swimmer)

One of the original innovators in electroacoustic improvisastion, the Italy-based group Musica Elettronica Viva with the core of Alvin Curran, Fredrick Rzewski, and Richard Teitelbaum are heard live at the Academy of Arts, in Berlin, Germany, on October 5th, 1967 in a sextet format using contact mics, electronics, trumpet, amplified gas plate, moog, voice and saxophone. ... Click to View

Free Music Quintet (Raaymakers / Van Der Locht / Somer / Rikkers / Courbois):
Free Music 1 And 2 [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

This forward-thinking Dutch quintet led by percussionist Pierre Courbois released this album in 1968, recording their percussion-centric and enthusiastic collective free jazz at the farm of vibraphonist Erwin Sommer, with trumpeter Boy Raaymakers, saxophonist Peter Van DEr Locht and bassist Ferdinand Rikker'; a passionately joyful and impressive example of European Free Jazz. ... Click to View

Lowell Davidson Trio:
Lowell Davidson Trio [VINYL] (ESP-Disk)

A reissue of pianist Lowell Davidson's 1965 ESP trio release with percussionist Milford Graves and bassist Gary Peacock, Davidson's only studio recording with a fascinating display of out riffs and progressions in a Cecil Taylor mode, propelled by a fantastic rhythm section, making this album both a document and a profound example of new directions in improvisation. ... Click to View

Joe Morris / Damon Smith:
Gusts Against Particles [VINYL] (Open Systems Records)

The first concentrated duo of two improvisers who have worked together in other groupings since 2006 finds guitarist Joe Morris and double bassist Damon Smith recording a set of five extended and technically stunning conversations, a mesh of texture and motion of charged creative drive, merging their strings and often inexplicable technique to create thrilling dialogs. ... Click to View

Don Cherry New Researches Feat Nana Vasconcelos:
Organic Music Theatre Festival de Chateauvallon 1972 [2 CDs] (Blank Forms)

Trumpet player Don Cherry and Swedish visual artist Moki Cherry began a collaboration in the 1960s to create a warm and affirming space for creative music that became known as Organic Music Theatre, here in the very first performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in France in a quintet with Nana Vasconcelos, Christer Gouirand & Doudou Gouirand. ... Click to View

Don Cherry:
The Summer House Sessions [2 CDs] (Blank Forms)

In July 1968 trumpeter Don Cherry assembled a group of Swedish musicians--Bernt Rosengren (sax & winds), Tommy Koverhult (saxophone & winds), Leif Wennerström (drums), Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass), Jacques Thollot (drums) & Kent Carter (bass)--recording their session with the intention of a releasing an album that never happened, the tapes now re-discovered 50 years later and finally available! ... Click to View

Magda Mayas' Filamental (w / Davies / Caddy / Theriot / Davies / Parkins / Thieke / Abdelnour):
Confluence (Relative Pitch)

Composed by pianist Magda Mayas for an octet of superb avant improvisers including Rhodri Davies, Zeena Parkins, Michael Thieke, Angharad Davies, &c. and performed live at the 2019 Music Unlimited 33, in Wels, Austria, this extended work uses a graphic score to interpret 12 photographs taken over an hour observing the merging waters of the Rhone and the Arve rivers. ... Click to View

Nova Naturo (Someone Good)

Drawing inspiration from mythologies surrounding ideas of rebirth, Haco's unique sense of ambience within song structures creates beautiful environments of rich detail and encompassing warmth, performed with an eclectic group including improvising guitarist Manuel Adnot, pianist Tetsuji Matsuo, Stabilo (Speaker Gain Teardrop), Tarnovski (Gurun Gurun), and Keiichi Sugimoto (Vegpher). ... Click to View

Plan Kruutntoone:
Wat Doen De Handen [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (esc.rec.)

The fifth album from Amsterdam avant rock band Plan Kruutntoone led by Hans Visser on guitar, banjo & voice, and drummer/percussionist Chris Müller, is a diverse set of recording that bring a sense of isolation and introspection, including spoken word pieces with Samuel Beckett text fragments, and a string quartet composed by Hans Visser; unique and singular. ... Click to View

Michael Marcus:
Stone Jump (Not Two)

Michael Marcus composed these lyrical jazz works to create a message about "New York City realities", recorded in two studio sessions with Marcus on soprano & tenor sax, octavin, A clarinet & tarogato, along with Denton Darien on piano, John Austria on Fender Rhodes, Tyler Mitchell on bass, Warren Smith on drums & percussion, and Lawrence Feldman on alto flute. ... Click to View

Heather Frasch / Ryoko Akama:
Linking (Ftarri / Meenna)

US sound artists Heather Frasch and UK Ryoko Akama, who together run the mumei journal exploring the relationship between text and sound, in works commissioned by Bruno Duplant based on written texts, each interpreted, recorded and edited by the other using objects, field recordings, electronics, cello & voice, with one piece from Frasch and two versions from Akama. ... Click to View

Seijiro Murayama :
Mi-Tai (Ftarri / Hitorri)

Eight improvised performances on percussion from Paris-based drummer/percussionist Seijiro Murayama recorded in 2019 using acoustic sources from snare drums, mallets, brushes, voice, steel tables, gong and voice, captured in four locations around France and in Mishima City, Japan, each exploring new compositional methods and ways to improvise within them. ... Click to View

The Residents:
Leftovers Again?!?: Limited Edition [VINYL RSD] (CRYPTIC CORPORATION)

Following the enthusiastic critical and commercial response to their pREServed reissue series, which has produced hundreds of previously unheard recordings from the band's master tape archive, The Residents now explore the original multitrack tapes for their seminal 1970s output, sixteen never before heard alternate versions, unreleased curios and long-forgotten oddities. ... Click to View

Mats Gustafsson / Joachim Nordwall:
Shadows of Tomorrow b/w The Brain Produces Electrical Waves [7'' VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

After their duo album A Map of Guilt and many albums together under various Fire! groupings, Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and electronic artist Joachim Nordwall face off again for a limited 7" single: two simmering dialogs, remarkable counterpunches of rumbling synthetics, instrumental noise, pulsating bass tones, heavy breath and terrifying innuendo! ... Click to View

Vasco Trilla / Liba Villaecchia:
Asebeia (FMR)

Asebeia (ἀσέβεια) was a criminal charge in ancient Greece for the "desecration and mockery of divine objects", for "irreverence towards the state gods" and disrespect towards parents and dead ancestors; here it is also the informed and diverse, freely improvised duo of Spanish improvisers, saxophonist Liba Villavecchia and drummer/percussionist Vasco Trilla. ... Click to View

With Drums [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (esc.rec.)

Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) invited 41 drummer/percussionists including Tony Buck, Vasco Trilla, Tim Barnes, Greg Stuart, Cyril Bondi, &c. to take part in a project by recording a few short fills or phrases, which Zuydervelt used as "Lego Bricks" to build a series of short rhythmical collages, the results being 24 diverse and fascinating compositions. ... Click to View

#139 Spring/Summer 2021 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

Spring/Summer issue of Canada's premiere new music magazine, including an 11-track CD of music from the artists covered in each issue, with articles: Sobey Art Award wubber Lou Shppard; a 30-page section exploring climate emergency through nine sound and music artists; Brooklyn-based composer and violist Tanya Kalmanovitch; Ashley Au; James Goddard; David Psutka; &c. &c! ... Click to View

Pek Solo:
A Quartet of Peks - Unifications (Evil Clown)

Boston free improviser, composer, reed player and multi-instrumentalist PEK (David Peck) quadruples himself on this album with four continuous tracks of one PEK each playing many instruments, using a broad palette comprised of woodwinds, percussion, electronics, and strings, each recorded pass filling in space and playing counterpoint to previously recorded tracks. ... Click to View

Oier Iruretagoiena :
Kulakantu (Nueni)

Four pieces from Oier Iruretagoiena (Tusuri, Larraskito Audio Dissection Unit) using computer generated sound of an abstract nature, with irregular rhythms and intersections in harmonics and feedback, actively reserved and avoiding extremes while creating a cohesively curious collection of quirky, aberrant, cranky and surprisingly compelling connected sounds. ... Click to View

Koen Nutters:
Intervals, time and space between [2 CDs] (Meenna)

Three versions of composer Koen Nutters piece "Intervals, time and space between," performed in Berlin, Switzerland and The Netherlands in 2019 by Ensemble Post-music and DNK Ensemble with special guests Stefan Thut, Luke Martin, Thea Mesirow and Aaron Foster Breilyn, the work open to interpretation as a construction kit for each player to build their own version. ... Click to View

Joelle Leandre:
Beauty / Resistance [3 CD BOX] (Not Two)

Live concert recordings at Alchemia club in Krakow captured during the Krakow Jazz Autumn Festival 2019 while double bassist Joëlle Léandre held residence, 3 CDs presenting first a quartet with Zlatko Kaucic on drums & percussion, Mateusz Rybicki on clarinets and Zbigniew Kozera on bass, then one disc in a duo with Zlatko Kaucic and another with guitarist Rafal Mazure. ... Click to View

  •  •  •     Join Our Mailing List!

The Squid's Ear
Facebook: Squidco Sales

Heard Out

Reviews of live performance

  Michael J. Schumacher/Shadows & Light 

  (Merkin Concert Hall) 

March 13, 2003
   review by Kurt Gottschalk

I arrived 10 minutes late to find Schumacher and company already performing. Asking an usher what time they began, I was told "Officially 8 o'clock, but they've been playing since 7:30."

The group, Schumacher on piano and computer, Tim Barnes on percussion, Kato Hideki on bass and Toshio Kajiwara on turntables and electronics, were playing Schumacher's "Room Piece," or more specifically "Room Piece New York 2003," the latest in the series of site-specific, multi-channel sound constructions Schumacher has been exploring for close to 10 years. If the intention was to create the room's presence before it was infiltrated with audience, I reckoned, I should pay attention to the room.

I stood in the lobby, the doors open so I could hear the music, and waited for a slightly-later-than-I old girlfriend to arrive. Without too serious of overtones, we'd agreed to go to a concert in the room where we'd first met about three years before during a concert where Joe McPhee had also played. A few nights later, I introduced myself to her at yet another Joe McPhee concert, a private show in an artist's studio. I was one of two people able to find wine during the intermission that night, and shared my plastic cup with her. In the colonialist way couples can have, we always thought of McPhee as ours.

Also in the room, in all of the above rooms in fact, was crotchety Squid's Ear critic Soup Dujour, who on the more recent of the nights at Merkin handed my ex a review for the magazine, scrawled on the back of a flyer (an approach to writing I often use myself). Thinking it was a note for her, she smiled and furrowed her brow, reading his take on a recent White Out gig as we scrambled for our seats, seeking to avoid yet another person who'd shared all of the room experiences.

I remembered Dujour being in the room upstairs from the concert hall the first night I met the woman who was now my ex. She came over to us at the reception. I didn't have the nerve to speak to her, and he pushed her away with his social frankness. I thought about how three years seems both forever and flighting. I thought about how we wouldn't have met if the woman we rushed to avoid on this night hadn't invited her to that second concert three years ago. I thought about how, after 10 years in New York City, there can be so many past and unspoken stories in a dark room, as we all sit facing the same direction.

I thought of all of this because I was under the impression that I was to be aware of the room I was in, that the music wasn't a performance so much as the soundtrack to a shared experience, albeit an experience that wouldn't have happened were it not for the soundtrack itself. Had the performance began 15 minutes late (as per the avant audience's social contract) rather than 30 minutes early, I thought, I would have read the program notes so thoughtfully provided at concerts uptown. I might then have been instructed on the relationship the music was to have with the room, I thought, and perhaps to the audience, to myself, as well. I wouldn't have felt lost, I told myself, although I shouldn't feel lost because after all the performance had begun early; it wasn't like missing the beginning of a movie. It was the artist's intention that I miss the beginning. Still, with a little more information going into the concert, I would probably have been less likely to be scribbling thoughts about Merkin concerts past on the back of a flyer for another Merkin concert (left in the lobby more than three months before the show it advertised!).

I reflected on my changing musical tastes over the last few years, perhaps as a way to return my concentration to the thoughtful, actually quite interesting music being performed. It was interesting, I considered, that three years ago, when last I saw McPhee at Merkin, I would probably have had little interest in the music to which I was supposed, was trying, to listen to. Interesting that my ex, who's not been around to follow me on more recent excursions into electronics and noise, was more excited about the McPhee show, which of course brings us back to the beginning of why we were there, although McPhee wouldn't play until the end.

Had I been able to read a program, had I not felt as if I had missed the beginning of something I was supposed to miss the beginning of, I would likely have been more attentive to what the group was doing. I wondered if that might, in fact, run counter to what the composer had in mind, or if it even mattered. I focused. There was actually quite a bit of information being imparted from the stage, and from speakers placed around the room. "This was not the wallpaper ambience of Lucier's "I Am Sitting in a Room," I wrote on the back of the three-months-early flyer. (I was pleased later, when I had the opportunity to read the program, to see that Schumacher expressly says that he does not consider this ambient music, although he offered little guidance in how it should be received or in fact what one should do while listening.) Electronics gurgled. Hideki's bass droned and Schumacher played bright (if occasional) chords over the surprisingly sprightly soundscape. Barnes' tympani was ebullient and Kajiwara's electronics loosely wove the elements together.

The group played about 90 minutes, half of which I witnessed and only a fraction did I pay close attention to. I wondered how much attention I was supposed to have paid. I wondered how, or even if, I'd be able to review the performance.

Between sets, Dujour approached us, and handed me a note, a review he'd already written of the performance. His reviews are short. He's smart that way. Here's what he wrote:

"A 6 hr concept condensed into 90 minutes - with all the sublimities + pitfalls of electro-acoustic music - all the clicks, rasps, gurgles, buzzes, birdsong + groans - with, as usual, an almost complete lack of differentiation between voices w/the exception of Schumacher's piano + on occasion T.B.'s percussion (for the most part to low in the mix) - an - a - melodic one (long) movement symphony w/computer as conductor."

- sd

Soup trusts me, or relies on me, to clean up his reviews a bit. After handing it to me, he said "Put 'It lulled me' at the end."

In reviewing Shadows & Light's record for All About Jazz last year, I described it as beautiful music which, for me, would forever be inextricably linked to the World Trade Center attacks (the album was recorded upstate on September 11, 2001, and with full knowledge, according to the liner notes. of the events transpiring 100 miles south of their studio). As such, I don't play the record often and couldn't say if they performed the same material on this night (why should they, and for that matter how could they?). The music they played at Merkin had the resonance, the depth of spirit I recall from the record, but with an added joyousness. It's 18 months and two days later, and even if we're on the brink of another mass murder (this time at the other end of the barrel but no less horrific for that fact), we were all, in that room, at that moment, alive. McPhee sang and spat through his flugelhorn. Joe Giardullo humbly punctuated on bass clarinet. Mike Bisio balanced the two with his bass and drummer Tani Tabbal, who often can seem misplaced if not altogether outclassed, kept light and airy rhythms moving underneath. Giardullo also created remarkable soprano sax overtones, dueting wonderfully with McPhee (also on soprano) and nearly matching Roscoe Mitchell's dexterity on the instrument, then vamping beautifully on oboe (an instrument he'd be wise to exploit more in this cluttered world of saxophonists doubling on bass clarinet).

In contrast to Schumacher's surround sound, this quartet played without amplification, offering instead their honest acoustics. If their record was the shadows, this was the light.

After the show, my ex and I went to a diner. I had spinach pie and she had a vodka.

Comments and Feedback:

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


Recent Selections @ Squidco:

Mats Gustafsson /
Joachim Nordwall:
Shadows of Tomorrow b/w
The Brain
Electrical Waves
[7'' VINYL w/
(Astral Spirits)

Julius Eastman:
(Sub Rosa)

James Lewis Brandon /
Red Lily Quintet (
w /
William Parker/ Chad Taylor /
Kirk Knuffke /
Chris Hoffman):
Jesup Wagon
(Tao Forms)

Spontaneous Music Ensemble:
Question And
Answer 1966
[2 CDs]
(Rhythm and Blues)

Rosa Barba /
Chad Taylor:
In a Perpetual
Now of Instantaneou
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Joelle Leandre:
Beauty /
[3 CD BOX]
(Not Two)

Jimmy Giuffre (
w /
Bley /
Free Fall
Clarinet 1962,
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Paul Dunmall:
Awakening Expectations

Isotope Ensemble:
(Creative Sources)

Elisabeth Harnik /
Michael Zerang:
Dream Disobedience
(Not Two)

Cranes: Matthias Muller /
Eve Risser /
Christian Marien:
Formation < Deviation
(Relative Pitch)

Hugo Ball (
Jaap Blonk /
Bart van der Putten /
Pieter Meurs /
Damon Smith):
Six sound Poems
1989 & 2013
[2 CDs]
(Balance Point Acoustics /

Sean Ali:
A Blink in
the Sun
(Neither/Nor Records)

Roscoe Mitchell /
Sandy Ewen /
Damon Smith /
Weasel Walter:
A Railroad Spike
Forms The Voice

Zhao Cong :
Rotating, Rotating

Parrinha /
Moimeme /
A Silent Play
In The Shadow
Of Power
(Creative Sources)

Lucia Martinez /
Agusti Fernandez /
Barry Guy:
Bosque de Niebla
[2 CDs]
(Listen! Foundation (
Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Thomas Heberer /
Joe Fonda /
Joe Herenstein:
(Listen! Foundation (
Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Paul Bley Trio:
Touching & Blood,
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Donald Miller:
(Vin Du
Select Qualitite)

Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear

The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?

The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !

  Copyright © Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (399)