Rutger Zuydervelt – Sileen II

(Edition Wandelweiser) Sometimes the coincidences in one’s life appear so precisely charted to become momentous events that it’s hard to think of them as the ramifications of stochastic processes as they actually are. Take for example Sileen II, a work that acquired a completely different shape and complexion in the studio version as opposed to its genesis in 2016, fully orchestral and therefore influenced by the individual predispositions and physical strengths/weaknesses of the involved players (the whole story is narrated by the composer in the liners). Whereas the fruit of the original commission was a collective texture born from the … Continue reading Rutger Zuydervelt – Sileen II

Rene Lussier – Quintette

(Circum-Disc) The unyielding excellence of René Lussier’s output over several decades causes a lot of head scratching to this reviewer; in fact, the feeling here is that the Quebecoise composer, guitarist and daxophone virtuoso is still criminally underrated. A founding member of the equally unsung Conventum, one of the finest ever groups of RIO rootage, the man has been releasing rather extraordinary records such as Le Corps De L’Ouvrage and, especially, Le Trésor De La Langue. Add the partnerships with Fred Frith, Jean Derome, Robert Lepage, Chris Cutler, Tom Cora, Gilles Gobeil to mention just a handful. In spite of … Continue reading Rene Lussier – Quintette

Peter Evans / Weasel Walter – Poisonous

(ugEXPLODE) In a support video for this album, Peter Evans and Weasel Walter synthesize the genesis of each track via an amusing narration by a computerized voice, theoretically (and sarcastically) beneficial for “the many illiterate new-music fans”. This delivers a reviewer from the risk of falling into the trap of minute-by-minute chronicling which, in this case, would trigger a genuine nervous wreck. There are just too many shocks in Poisonous to single out, several of them unthinkable before the mandatory acceptance. An audience’s evolution is not inexpensive. Let’s talk of the studio work. After three hours spent playing their guts … Continue reading Peter Evans / Weasel Walter – Poisonous

Joe Morris / Do Yeon Kim – Macrocosm

(Glacial Erratic) While most everybody is aware of Joe Morris’ personality and collaborative researching, Do Yeon Kim’s name may not sound familiar. She is a young virtuoso of the gayageum: a stringed instrument to be played in a sitting position, its timbral character akin to that of guzheng, komungo and others less diffused wooden machines from Asia. As the first gayageum player to be admitted at New England Conservatory, Kim became active in contemporary improvisation under the auspices of Hankus Netsky, Anthony Coleman and Morris himself. The five tracks of Macrocosm encompass a whole gamut of techniques, colors and velocities. … Continue reading Joe Morris / Do Yeon Kim – Macrocosm

Paul Rogers / Olaf Rupp / Frank Paul Schubert – Three Stories About Rain, Sunlight And The Hidden Soil

(Relative Pitch) Considering the superabundant offer in today’s improvisation, we frequently find ourselves in the condition of evaluating textural/environmental settings whose content can be hard to decode without putting in the necessary work. Given that brains operate at different speeds, a whimper of “exclusively for musicians” usually comes from individuals refusing a deeper investigation of unsympathetic expressive forms. This rings especially true when the momentousness of an acoustic contingency equals the clangor of (apparent) mayhem. In this superbly titled effort, bassist Paul Rogers, guitarist Olaf Rupp and saxophonist Frank Paul Schubert introduce several crucial issues in that sense. In an … Continue reading Paul Rogers / Olaf Rupp / Frank Paul Schubert – Three Stories About Rain, Sunlight And The Hidden Soil

Günter Müller / Kurt Liedwart / Norbert Möslang – Ground

(Mikroton) Mikroton’s releases have been repeatedly pleasuring these ears, the artistic consistency virtually negating any chance of a less than satisfactory experience. On the other hand, it just takes a look at the label’s roster to realize that, in terms of impressiveness, a faux pas is unlikely. Ground is a fine example of Kurt Liedwart’s penchant for publishing material that responds to the strictest demands of exploratory profoundness. His electronic devices, in conjunction with Günter Müller’s iPods and Norbert Möslang’s marvelously defective circuits, reveal the nature of electro-acoustic investigations which contradict any risible speculation related to theoretical “harmonic laws” in … Continue reading Günter Müller / Kurt Liedwart / Norbert Möslang – Ground

Jason Alder / Thanos Chrysakis / Caroline Kraabel / Yoni Silver – Music for Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinets & Electronics

(Aural Terrains) I look back smiling at my initial correspondence with Thanos Chrysakis: a polite swapping of points of view in regard to an earlier Aural Terrains release I had not found entirely fulfilling at the time. Over the next ten years or so, the imprint has established itself as a “silently serious” repository of sonic inspections, frequently involving Chrysakis with esteemed representatives of diverse areas of improvisation. In this particular symposium the label honcho operates a laptop plus synthesizers, whereas his cohorts furnish the music with the strictly physical pneuma. The exact subdivision of the remaining roles reads: Jason … Continue reading Jason Alder / Thanos Chrysakis / Caroline Kraabel / Yoni Silver – Music for Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinets & Electronics