Ken Vandermark, Michael Snow
"Although he is best known as a groundbreaking experimental filmmaker, one of the architects of structural cinema, and visual artist, Michael Snow has been active as a musician since the 1950s. A brilliant keyboardist and occasional trumpeter, Snow was a key figure in Toronto’s improvised music scene, performing and recording with the ensemble CCMC, and as an improvising pianist he’s worked in myriad contexts with many of the world’s leading free players. Saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Ken Vandermark first learned about Snow as a film student in Montreal, where the classic work Wavelength confounded and fascinated him. In 2015, Vandermark and Snow performed together for the first time as a duet, resulting in three astounding long-form improvisations. Their entire duo performance is released here, with an early painting by Snow adorning the cover."
Early Bird Gets
"The Early Bird Gets is the debut album by this working trio, comprised of journeyman Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis alongside two of the brightest talents in a younger generation of improvising musicians. Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician whose virtuosity knows no bounds, currently one of the most in-demand bassists on the New York jazz and improvised music scene. Percussionist Ryan Packard counters that depth with his own breadth of interests, working in contemporary classical ensembles, indie rock bands, and jazz groups alike around Chicago, not to mention his doubling abilities on electronics. These two together provide a formidable rhythm section that can veer from hard-driving grooves to luscious soundscapes with total ease. As a trio, these three have put forth a work that may be the “jazziest” project any of them are involved with; a result that even the band members found surprising. But after honing their sound through live gigs in 2017 and early 2018, it became apparent that their free-improvised conversation kept returning to a similar destination: a three-way exploration of rhythm and tempo that left them working solidly within the jazz tradition. Not the one fixed into predictable sylistic corners, but the one defined by a spirit of boundless curiosity and exploration. A tradition they stretched back and forth like so much taffy. "
East by Northwest
Ken Vandermark & Nate Wooley
"What struck me immediately about the show was just how full and vibrant of a sound they were able to create with just the two horns. No doubt a great deal of this had to do with their compositional approach - melodies and counter melodies stretching out the musical fabric between them, creating an atmosphere as much as actual notes and tones - but then toss in the sheer virtuosity of their playing and it is quite an ear opening experience. I picked up the CD at the show and am pleased to report that what I heard from the stage is captured wonderfully on this album (Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective)"
Een Rondje Holland
The Ex Orkest
"Rock bands and orchestras -- here's a worrisome cliché usually signaling the beginning of the end for a group of musicians getting too full of themselves or already on the nostalgia bandwagon. Of course, none of that applies here, for two main reasons. The first one is the Ex -- not your run-of-the-mill punk band, this Dutch institution has always been keen on collaborating with wide-ranging artists. The second reason is the orchestra convened here: 20 of Amsterdam's finest and most daring experimental musicians, from Palinckx's singer Han Buhrs to members of the ICP Orchestra (and of course all then-current members of the Ex, including Luc Ex). Obviously, Een Rondje Holland is not for every Ex fan, but those fond of the group's previous collaborations with Buhrs, Han Bennink, or Tom Cora will probably find it at least interesting. On the other hand, followers of the Dutch avant-garde scene who are usually put off by the Ex's punk rock but enjoy the ICP Orchestra, Splinks, or even Palinckx should definitely give this album a try."
"There was nowhere to hide during this recording session, every note staring back at its creators with fearless eyes. And the resulting musical tension is palpable, as the band tosses ideas up into the air between them, and sets them spinning off into the ether, each one on their own unique path. credits "
Experiments With a Leaf
John Butcher & Andy Moor
"Experiments with a Leaf is a live recording from October 2013 in Berne, Switzerland, where the duo was playing in a cathedral. The large natural echo in the great space somehow glued the sounds together without the music resorting to a wash of reverberated noise... As a duo, they have no agenda or pre-planned aesthetic: both musicians simply work with their wide and contrasting knowledge of sound and music, and their fine responsiveness to each other and to their surrounding"
Chalachew Ashenati & Ililta Band
"Chalachew Ashenafi, the legendary Gondar azmari (1966-2012) did some tours with The Ex in recent years. A traditional player, but also forward, funny and stubborn. These are his last recordings ever. Astonishing strong music."
ozemarie Heggen & Terrie Ex
"Two musicians from very different musical backgrounds. Terrie as electric guitarist of The Ex and improviser, and Rozemarie, double bassist, as a performer of contemporary music and improviser. After a shared experience in the Ex Orkest, a further cooperation seemed clear and resulted in this CD. Openness, intuition, intensity, joy are a few of the basic elements which made the special connection that have taken them both to a different level of music-making. Exploring new territory can definitely be heard in their playing. The eleven improvisations on "Fiets" are little stories, experiences you might have while doing a very Dutch thing; making a ride on your bicycle (fiets). Have a good listen!..."