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reviews

This category contains 1071 posts

Larry Willis & Paul Murphy - Foundations

Murphy Records
This review is from new contributor Dominic Fragman, a drummer and student of Paul Murphy’s. Look for more of his writing in these pages soon. - CA
Innovation requires unimaginable knowledge, ability and devotion. It is no easy feat to move away from the convenience of a pre-existing groundwork to serve a unique concept. [...]

Phill Niblock - Touch Strings

Touch
Following 2006’s monumental 3-CD set Touch Three, amid the uppermost pinnacles in Phill Niblock’s career, the latest bulletin by the Indiana dronemeister - who forces the aficionados to settle for just a double helping this time - is completely dedicated to string instruments, both electric and acoustic. The release was repeatedly postponed, generating the sort [...]

David Sylvian - Manafon

Samadhisound
Blemish must have marked a mini-seismic ‘event’ for David Sylvian when it was recorded over a six week hiatus, marking a departure from his normal precision in the studio. The songs were stark, aching confessionals that recalled the work of the late modernist Samuel Beckett in the honest nature of their ruminations on everything [...]

Jon Mueller – Physical Changes

Table Of The Elements
Percussionist and composer Jon Mueller’s discerning creativity does not rule out a willingness to put the listener’s ears through the ordeals. His music is often bewilderingly violent, yet retains a pumping nucleus connecting it with all that matters in life, good or bad: bodily functions, natural phenomena, ecologic disasters, contagious enthusiasm. The [...]

Barry Guy & Mats Gustafsson - Sinners, Rather than Saints

No Business LP 6
Sinners, rather than Saints is only the fourth meeting on record of English bassist-composer Barry Guy and Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson over almost two decades, and for that alone this vinyl-only release on Lithuanian imprint No Business should be more than a curio. The duo format is an interesting one, which [...]

Stanley Schumacher / Musikmacher Productions

In spite of the huge quantity of recordings that I get to listen to on a monthly basis, this triplet of discs represents my very first encounter with Stanley Schumacher’s output. A technically advanced trombonist also utilizing the voice (who actually began with the euphonium), Schumacher has covered several roles in his career, which comprises [...]

Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble - Congliptious

Nessa NCD-2
While a hallmark of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, wide-open spaces and atomistic sound-rhythms (frequently on found “little instruments”) are an incomplete picture of how AACM groups were aesthetically manifest. Certainly, space was endemic to groups like the Creative Construction Company and records like Joseph Jarman’s As If It Were the [...]

Tomas Korber/ Phil Julian — Herbe Zeiten

CNVR20
Here’s a duo we should all be interested to hear — two musicians I’d suppose have to be pretty amiable, given the number and variety of collaborations with others, in recent years. Phil Julian’s among the more active musicians in Britain 2.0’s steadily growing pool of thoughtful players — and he’s been active for [...]

Gato Barbieri - In Search of the Mystery

ESP 1049
ESP-Disk’ has long been a haven for the under-recognized in left field music, documenting valuable works by artists as diverse as saxophonist Marzette Watts and psych priestess Erica Pomerance. In a few cases, artists who released their debuts on ESP went on to some degree of commercial success, usually well-removed from their initial [...]

Two On Nonvisualobjects

HERIBERT FRIEDL – Recherche_00
An analogue synthesizer (Yamaha CS-40M) and field recordings are the lone origins for this new outing by Heribert Friedl, who in Recherche_00 continues to intensify his interest in exploiting the inherent qualities of a single instrument, as he did with the cimbalom (or “hackbrett”) in Trac[k]_T (also on Nonvisualobjects). The composer refers [...]

Ronnie Sundin — Seven Year Silence (Fangbomb)

FB1011
Based in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo, trained artist and DIY noisenik, Ronnie Sundin, was given the sobriquet of “Sweden’s most silent man” on the basis of his two previous releases – Morphei on the label Hapna in 2002, and later Hägring on the experimental noise label, Antifrost. In each of these releases, Sundin was [...]

Tarab — Take all the ships from the harbour, and sail them straight into hell.

23five014
Oscillation, metal scraping on metal, dragged, large space, little sounds, pushing and pulling, drawing sounds from a well, giving way to a larger atmosphere, looks upwards, the movements made in the space, following ears and eyes, sense of touch, crunching and crackling, ebbs and flows, capturing dead industry, utilising abnormal machinery, thousands of automatons, mechanical [...]

Ombak - Framing the Void

Ombak
It’s long been the case that one doesn’t need to be in New York (or Chicago, or Berlin) to make a name for oneself in improvised music. Still, it seems like only recently that a fair number of regional outfits have gained the niche notoriety frequently reserved for the cosmopolitan. Richmond, Virginia’s Fight the [...]

John Hicks - I Remember You

HighNote 7191
During his first several decades in jazz, pianist John Hicks was one of the undisputed dynamos on his instrument. Leaders like Art Blakey and Betty Carter relied on his abundant energy and versatility to stoke their more exploratory bands. Hicks passed away in 2006 and his last few years were marked by solo recitals [...]

ap’strophe — objects sense objectes (Etude)

Etude019
Ferran Fages continues his investigation of the acoustic guitar, and here Dimitra Lazaridou Chatzigoga joins him for the ride as the duo, “ap’strophe.” Chatzigoga plays a trebly, dobro-sounding zither, and Fages, maybe having settled upon what he needed from his instrument, does a slow about-face from what we heard on last year’s al voltant [...]

Two from Cathnor

The new Vignettes imprint on Cathnor is a line of minidiscs, each documenting single performances by artists in both one-time and enduring combinations. Keeping pace with musical developments in this moment of informational and artistic hypertrophy isn’t easy, and Richard Pinnell is giving improvisers a terrific opportunity to actually, you know, put out records. Shocking [...]

Joe McPhee — Angels, Devils & Haints (CjR)

CjR-7
In the many years that I’ve known Craig Johnson, his appetite for music — the kind one would expect to find among college students, debating the merits or lineage of any particular artist into the wee hours — remains insatiable, relieved perhaps by an expansive and steadily growing music and film collections, a neatly [...]

Pavel Borodin - Speak Easy: The Loft Concert (DVD)

Panrec
Cologne’s Loft has become a hunting reserve for Pavel Borodin’s shooting of improvising artists (pun intended). After last year’s excellent documentary on Elliott Sharp, The Velocity Of Hue (for which, reports the director, no willing label was found for distribution – a shame, given the quality of that particular work), we’re now able to watch [...]

Jeph Jerman, the latest

Jeph Jerman and Tom Cox — if/when
if/when comes housed in a compelling handmade box containing mushroom prints, the cd itself, and various organic matter. A profitable collaboration that involved Tom sending various recordings to Jeph who then reconstituted and playfully juggled them into their individual selves. I highly recommend looking inside this box as the [...]

Mary Halvorson, Reuben Radding & Nate Wooley - Crackleknob

hatOLOGY 622
In Brooklyn, as with Chicago, improvising enembles are comparable in number to tadpoles teeming in a pond. It’s a condition of the creative explosion that continues to sustain both communities. Nate Wooley, Reuben Radding and Mary Halvorson are poster people for the idea that diversification staves off artistic stasis. A thick chunk of the [...]