Szilárd Mezei Túl A Tiszán Innen Ensemble – Citromfa

(FMR) Artists keeping their output’s level consistently high despite a release schedule of an album per week or so are extremely rare. Violist and composer Szilárd Mezei is one of them, as evidenced by the large quantities of creative brightness characterizing the man’s multifarious projects. I honestly can’t recall a Mezei recording that didn’t stir my interest, but with Citromfa there’s an added degree of somewhat melancholic admiration of ancient East-European sounds and memories communicating more to this reviewer than those linked to his own birthplace, which is artistically weak (in spite of smart political facades) and desperately uninterested in … Continue reading Szilárd Mezei Túl A Tiszán Innen Ensemble – Citromfa

Jim Denley / Eric Normand – Plant II

(Tour De Bras) Jim Denley (flute, alto sax, objects) and Tour de Bras label honcho Éric Normand (electric bass, objects) do not believe in mere descriptions or pseudo-philosophical explanations to justify an improvisation. Released one year after a first collection of duets (Plant, on Smeraldina-Rima), Plant II offers five joint studies in the dissection and/or enhancement of the humming + buzzing + rattling + squealing properties of mechanisms set in motion via unorthodox tampering. Let’s be clear from the start: the respect of predetermined “aesthetic laws” — possibly tending to an immediate agreement with someone’s ears — is not a … Continue reading Jim Denley / Eric Normand – Plant II

Simon Nabatov / Barry Guy / Gerry Hemingway – Luminous

(NoBusiness) I am thinking of the responsibilities of an accomplished improviser. An inborn ability of handling an infinitude of acoustic circumstances to synthesize the “feel of the instantaneous” while still respecting a series of norms; social norms, if you will. The necessity of keeping the ego in check; sensibly understanding when restraint is preferable to emphasis; and, in that regard, the development of a high-yielding intercommunication with equally gifted performers. To all of the above, add the obvious need of involving an eager audience in what’s being expressed; or, in the worst case scenario (not infrequent in large-scale jazz festivals), … Continue reading Simon Nabatov / Barry Guy / Gerry Hemingway – Luminous

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