Keep Your Options Open II (Option Mixtape 2017)
"In celebration of the 2018 OPTION season, Experimental Sound Studio has released a special, limited edition mixtape CD that highlights some of the best improvisers working today from around the world. This compilation showcases the breadth and diversity of improvised and creative music with rising starts like Lea Bertucci, Katinka Kleijn, Ben LaMar Gay, Matchess, The Few and Charmaine Lee as well as veterans of free jazz (Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy, Jeremiah Cymerman, Curt Newton, and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten). These live sets from the 2017 OPTION season were beautifully mixed and mastered by our head engineer, Alex Inglizian. By purchasing a mixtape, you are supporting Experimental Sound Studio, the OPTION programming, and keeping creative music alive and thriving in Chicago. All proceeds go to the Option Series and the musicians involved in the mixtape. "
Knknighgh (Minimal Poetry For Aram Saroyan)
"You will experience a beautiful set of improvised and composed music, dedicated to and inspired by the poetry of Aram Saroyan. Regardless if you pick out all of the composed parts or some of it or none at all, or if know and like the poetry of Aram Saroyan or not, this album is a beautiful piece of art that you should listen to carefully, maybe with your earphones on and a glass of wine at your side. -Daniel Böker, Free Jazz Blog"
Known / Unknown
Paul Lytton / Nate Wooley
"Both musicians explore the outside possibilities of their respective instruments and both utilize electronics to further disassemble the sound. The sound tends toward small gestures, magnifying silence and echoey reverberations. -Mark Corroto, All About Jazz"
Evans / Fernandez / Gustafsson
"As an archeological project, this recording is a rare artifact, documenting the collaboration of three important improvisers whose technique is paraded on each track. Sometimes they choose to walk a minimalist line, Fernández exploring the piano's insides—much of the time mimicking a percussionist—while Gustafsson and Evans play with breathy sounds. In other spots, Gustafsson delivers his now-patented shout-smack saxophone punch and Evans brings his growling rumbles. Without the persistence of beat or the bounds of meter, the trio is free to exercise some serious kopros noise-making, Some may think these challenging sounds merde, others an instant archaeological treasure."
Soun Soun, La Tradition Mandingue
""Lanaya is an instrumental trio from Bamako, Mali. They play music rooted in a centuries old tradition, in which the stories and sagas of Mali are musically preserved. The musicians are part of a professional caste, the griots or jalis. From generation to generation the knowledge is passed on; they are the keepers of the culture. The Ex met Djibril through Dutch master drummer Han Bennink, who played in Mali with, among others, Toumani. They invited Djibril for a tour in October '97. It was so amazing that in November '98 The Ex asked the whole group to come over, and it seemed like a good idea to release their first CD for that occasion." –Terp Records"
"The albums starts “Faster Then It Would Be” featuring a free blowing Vandermark on tenor saxophone, quickly joined by a bowing Kessler and a more subtle, colouring Drake; working their way into a funky groove initiated by Vandermark, promptly supported by Drake and Kessler. From here, the trio really joins as a unit and weaves threads of free and groove into a polyrhythmic web propelling Drake into a contagious solo. Following Drake’s solo, toe-tapping continues when Vandermark adds a catchy melody that develops into the climax of the piece. To clear satisfaction of the audience and this listener, well-earned applause. “20th Century Myth” finds Hamid Drake solo, searching for other worlds on his drum kit. He is a real adventurer, taking us all around the world musically. Free phrases intertwine with tribal rhythm and world music. After 5 minutes, he settles and is joined by a gentle Vandermark, and supported by a deep bowing Kessler. The track continues into a pulsating rhythm initiated by Vandermark and collectively develops and fades into a deeply wailing free blues. “Uncontrolled Writer” finds Vandermark on clarinet squealing through high registers, overtones and harmonics before settling with gentle cymbals and plucked strings. Vandermark quickly switches back to saxophone and is propelled into a groove by Drake’s brushwork that is – all too – briefly interrupted for a nice pizzicato solo on double bass by Kessler. The trio joins forces and finishes off the set with a catchy climax, answered with loud cheers and applause by the audience. This is a really tight record by masters of free music that have been all over the scene for the past 25 years. Highly recommended. You should own the record, if only for the second track. - Martin Sekelsky (Free Jazz Blog) "
Dave Rempis Solo
"Getting beyond the sublime Strayhorn opener, the recording opens up to some brilliant possibilities. "Linger Longer" is a Philip Glass-like workout of circular breathing. The bookend cover of Eric Dolphy's "Serene" allows Rempis to unpack his suitcase, one that travels from Coleman Hawkins to Ornette Coleman. -Mark Corroto, All About Jazz"
Anne-James Chaton & Andy Moor
"Moor has a beautiful sound and his playing is very to the point. He paints fantastic abstract musical textures that go very well together with the voicework by Chaton. In a piece like Frequencies with extreme manipulations, it becomes hard to distinguish who is doing what. A very satisfying work of conceptual art. —Vital Weekly"
Two Slices Of Acoustic Car
"Recorded on 18 April 1997 at Andra Books & Records, Stockholm. Limited edition of 500. credits released January 1, 1997 Guitar, Composed By – Christian Munthe Layout – Cecilia Kusoffsky Mastered By – Niklas Billström Photography By – Gudrun Rösnes*, Harald Hult Reeds, Composed By – Mats Gustafsson"
Let the World Cry (Duets)
"Featuring duets with Shaine Scarminach, Eugene Chadbourne, Dave Rempis, and Fred Lonberg-Holm"
Letter to a Stranger
Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love
"Vandermark and Nilssen-Love make a mighty team: both musicians are incredibly fast and facile, and they're equally comfortable whether they're exploring chaos or silence. It's a pleasure to witness such strong musical intelligence at work and play, and altogether Letter to a Stranger is a treat, a powerful CD full of courageous and inventive music. -Florence Wetzel"
Paal Nilssen-Love & Peter Brötzmann
"This album is one long spontaneous improvisation, and the musicians are able to flex the sense of time and space, with Brotzmann moving through the gamut of instruments he uses which provides a wider range of hues and textures for their performance and the drummer meets him every step of the way, and it is the interaction that they develop that is the most special part of the music, and the two men are egoless in placing the music before themselves and develop a startling and vibrant performance."
Light and Shade
Tim Daisy & Ikue Mori
"Light and Shade is the latest release by Chicago based composer and percussionist Tim Daisy. A selection of material recorded on various instruments reconstructed, reimagined, and remixed by NYC based electronic musician Ikue Mori. A remote collaboration shaped during a unique moment in time."
"The entire record was freely improvised, and the relatively lengthy pieces (averaging ten minutes apiece) do not compromise at any level. You wouldn't want to play this as background music, unless you're uncannily adept at multitasking."
"Curiously, when timbre follows texture during these fully-rounded performances on Hoxha, Rutherford’s slide work and use of mutes at points takes on a gutbucket, traditional jazz coloration, not too distant from the solos of his older contemporary Free Jazzer Roswell Rudd. Trad Jazz was popular in the United Kingdom when Rutherford was coming up and while he, unlike Rudd, was likely never a recorded Dixielander, the fearless technique and casual joy of those older bonemen could influence anyone, even if by osmosis."
Live at Area Sismica
"In two sets, Lean Left is creating a non stop celebration of instant music with blissful grins and playful energy, rattling and shaking at right angles with one furious swing after the next."
Live at Big Apple in Kobe
"The word ‘Mahobin’ means ‘thermos bottle’ but also ‘magic bottle’ in Japanese, and the magic made at the club that retained its passion throughout meant that this fledgling group had lived up to both meanings of the name. -S. Victor Aaron, SomethingElse Reviews, Oct 2018"