Ken Vandermark & Terrie Ex
""...Terrie was already bouncing towards Vandermark with a drumstick and too much energy that he needed to get rid of urgently. It was only a matter of seconds before the two gave their all, in that strange combination of seemingly incompatible tactics that somehow fit together. The rhythmic accents of Vandermark were razor-sharp and turbulent, and were executed with the same crackling energy that Hessels treated the strings with. The interaction was jumpy, constantly on the move, with a strong dash of humor (especially by an unleashed Hessels, who treated his guitar and the stage with a hammer (!)), but also an instinctive one; interaction that, despite enormous freedom, also led to a set that was as short as it was consistent.” (Guy Peters). "
Paal Nilssen-Love & Arto Lindsay
"During drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's July 2013 solo gig at Auido Rebel's Quintavant in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, he was joined on stage by Arto Lindsay performing on electric guitar and voice. The result is this album, presenting two improvisations from these powerful players. Of the performance Nilssen-Love writes: "The gig was organised by the guys running Audio Rebel i Rio... fantastic guys who´s also musicians. Gig was amazing and we we´re both drenched in sweat and we agreed that we have to do more... thankfully the recording was a success and I think Lasse´s done a good job mixing and mastering the music."
DKV Trio + Gustafsson / Nilssen-Love / Pupillo
"DKV is one of the tightest free-improvisation units you can imagine due to the use of written material on which they improvise extensively. It’s especially Hamid Drake’s rhythmic pulse – ranging from funky elegant grooves to free wildfire – that provides the fundamentals of this group. It’s almost a shock when “This Building is on Fire”, the first track, abruptly ends and Gustafsson, Pupillo and Nilssen-Love step into the arena, as if they were burying DKV under their wall of noise. If you listen closely however, you realize that both trios complement each other excellently. Nilssen-Love shows his wild and expressive side but Drake is a much too experienced and great a drummer to drown in this torrent. He sticks to his style, and the result is a highly energetic combination that also grooves like hell. - Martin Schray and Colin Green "Free Jazz Blog""
Paal Nilssen-Love & Håkon Kornstad
"This set recaptures the remarkable balance of order and freedom those 2002 gigs delivered, and is the third in a series of duos featuring Nilssen-Love. His solo percussion excursions are constantly absorbing and the singing sound of Kornstad springs vividly off the drum-patterns and feeds back new directions in turn. It's pretty much all uncompromising free-improv, though the final track (Arched Shape), has a more traditional jazz feel in Kornstad's fluently bucolic tenor sound worrying at something near a regular tune. The session often resembles an Evan Parker set. Like the Dutch drummer Han Bennink, Nilssen-Love is a free player who never loses swing. Jazz improv of a very high order."
Scrabbling At The Lock
The Ex + Tom Cora
"Judging from this album, it was a stroke of genius to match Tom Cora's earthy, aggressive cello with the bludgeoning force of The Ex at full throttle."
"You're thinking of The Ex and "the right to piss and shit in different colours"... Their music is dense and down-the-line, distantly allusive, subtle, grainy, open, full and proudly, alertly dissident."
"An intensely moving soundtrack for our times. "Scrabbling" has blood, sweat, tears and the sweetest sounding cello money can buy."
Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love
"This is Paal Nilssen-Love and Ken Vandermark's tenth album, and this time the duo have decided to look backwards at the last ten years of their career, although in a very unusual way. In collaboration with producer Lasse Marhaug they have gone through the numerous clips of live performances that exist on YouTube, unofficial documentation recorded and uploaded by members of the audience without the duo’s involvement. None of these clips were full concerts, neither were they recorded on professional gear, often containing artifacts that compresses and distorts the audio. The idea was to embrace the limitations of the format and to make a collage out of the material, but using only the audio and not the video from the recordings. By drawing inspiration from experimental cinema – especially the Structural film movement of directors like Michael Snow, Hollis Frampton and Tony Conrad – Marhaug set a rule of only 60 seconds from each clip should be used, and since the duo does not play short pieces the cuts would often be disruptive, cutting the music off in the middle of movements. The cuts were then assembled together not in a chronological manner, but rather what made sense musically, often jumping back and forth years in the process. The results was that this stylization doesn’t distance the listener from the music, but rather creates a viable document of activity, much in the same manner a film would - just with the screen off."
Ikue Mori & Maja S.K. Ratkje
"A recording of live performances which brought together two essential figures of the contemporary scene: an oustanding Norwegian composer and vocal artist Maja S.K. Ratkje and a celebrated improviser and composer, former DNA drummer, Ikue Mori. The common sound territory, created together by Mori and Ratkje, balances between quietly growing tension and powerful outbursts of unrestrained, relentless noise. Within this harmony, Ratkje takes adventurous excursions towards the borders and unknown facets of sound, using treated voice as well as an acoustic and electronic workshop, while Mori's thoughtful laptop provides a strong frame and a sense of deep focus. In these carefully crafted, long and nuanced compositions, both artists maneuver between meditative, ritual areas and irregular, elusive noise blots. The most astonishing element of this superb performance is the realization that even though the compositions are entirely intuitive, created without any previous planning, guidelines or negotations, the listener can sense a nearly palpable sense of deep connection and understanding between the artists. Their knowledge and keen, immediate communication create an invisible harness, which naturally directs the stream of improvisation. This engaging, exhaustive listen is a contemplative retreat and a daring, dizzying somersault at once'. Olga Drenda"
""This unconventional trio features Norwegians Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Lasse Marhaug (electronics), inceptive members of Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound. Exploring similar territory, Fire Room ventures further into the extremes of brutal cacophony and disquieting stillness.""
The Rempis/Daisy Duo
"Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy are two musicians whose work has helped to define an entire generation of Chicago improvisers. Having performed together since they both hit the Chicago scene in the fall of 1997, these two have joined forces on hundreds of performances and dozens of recordings with notable groups including Triage, The Engines, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Vandermark Five, and countless other ad hoc groupings. Their duo pairing has a similarly long history whose roots date back to the countless all-day/all-night workshop sessions that Daisy hosted in his garage practice space in the late 90’s, where these two rolled up their sleeves together for the first time, laying the foundation for a lengthy and fruitful set of collaborations. On this recording, a follow-up to their 2005 release “Back To The Circle” on the Okkadisk imprint, the two capitalize on these deep roots to produce an almost telepathic interaction in their improvisations. Never willing to settle into comfortable territory though, the two continue to push each other into new sonic realms, repeatedly pulling the carpet out from one another as the ground becomes too firm under foot."
"A collection of compositions and improvisations combining recent explorations with turntable manipulation, percussion and radio static with his expanding vocabulary as both a composer and improviser on the marimba."
Seven Storey Mountain V
"This album requires active engagement on the part of the listener. It’ll push you through your confusion into a place satisfyingly close to enlightenment. High volume and good speakers are heavily recommended."
"“Most obviously it establishes a space in which four distinct musical forces can explore potentialities… Collectively their experience encompasses jazz, free improvisation. Electronic noise, new music, and more; across Shelter’s nine tracks, late-night balladry rubs elbows with baleful funk and room-clearing power electronics” (Bill Meyer, The Wire) "Combining his recent duo work with Wooley and his powerful electronics heavy group Made to Break (which includes Stadhouders), the outcome, Shelter, is a forward thinking post-free Jazz/post punk/post rock milepost on the way to somewhere altogether new." (Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective) Named #3 Jazz / Improv record of 2017 by Bill Meyer in Magnet"
Terrie Ex & Ab Baars
"Dutch saxophonist Ab Baars and guitarist Terrie Ex last recorded together in 2000 for their "Hef" album, reuniting in 2015 in Amsterdam for this well-rounded and exhilarating duo album, with Ex on electric guitar and Baars on tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and shakuhachi, demonstrating both player's growth and continued joy in improvisation."