"This particular recording was made over two nights in December of 2012 live at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge as part of trombonist Jeb Bishop’s 50th birthday celebration, and it does a great job of showing these tactics at work. Although in this context – a packed weekend house at a more traditional “jazz” venue - the band opted to begin each improvisation with one of their tunes, you can hear them employ these arrangement tactics over and over once they make it through the first lap. So although you’ll hear a couple of the same compositions performed from one night to the next, that material is sandwiched in between the other pre-composed material in drastically different ways with no pre-conception or roadmap of what might come next. "
McPhee / Brötzmann / Kessler / Zerang
"While the players can (and do) perform volatile energy jazz here, their preference is for music that's dissectible enough for the players to be distinguished in parts and direction. The breadth and power of these four players comes through with an exhaustive clarity in this crisp and vigorous live recording."
Hands Up! You're Free
"Maybe in bursts, where the undertow doesn't need to be ribbed with volume, this record represents the real Ex, the complex, hyperfast, mobile scourge of convenient ignorance and partyline stupidity."
"1. Masani Cisse ... a rich nobleman, a very important person, close to god. Began very poor, making a living cutting and selling firewood. One day he saw a big dead tree. Long long time ago a rich warrior, a king, stranded at the tree, dying. A ghost promised him to guard the money at the tree. Masani Cisse started to cut. After three times, the ghost appeared and asked what he was doing. "I'm hungry," Masani answered. The ghost answered that he could do anything because the money was there in the spirit of the king. "If you are really hungry, you can take the money. But some things you are not allowed to do with it. You can not seduce women from someone else with it, for example." The story of Masani Cisse runs parallel with the beginning of the kora. The founder of the kora is called: Moussa Boulouge... "
Mats Gustafsson Nu Ensemble
"“The NU ensemble is back again! After some years of contemplation, recharging and reforming. In attack mode… in poetry mode… in love mode. A forever-changing beast. From the first installment of the ensemble back in the early 90’s, this ensemble has always been about the now, the instant now. NU. How to deal with and combine both freely improvised music and compositional methods and ideas. In the moment. Nothing radically new in that, but a very important process with lots of new perspectives to explore and joy to be shared!” Mats Gustafsson, from the liner notes"
History Is What's Happening
"Musically, they sound like a rather more melodic version of Crass; politically, they are a lot harder and their lyrics are excellent... An unashamed political manifesto."
Hit The Ground Running
"On the traumatic day after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on November 8th, 2016, a recording session had been scheduled at Elastic Arts in Chicago for a new trio. Two members of the trio – Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy, had been working together in various contexts in the Chicago improvised music scene for years. They were invited by up-and-coming piano wunderkind Matt Piet to be a part of an ongoing series of first meetings that he’d released on his Amalgam imprint. (This recording soon came out as Cure For The Quotidian) The feeling in the room, in the city of Chicago, and around much of the United States was dark in a way no one had ever before experienced. The music that came out that day was an honest and direct expression of that energy. Afterwards, Piet threw out the idea of a benefit concert to coincide with the new “president’s” inauguration. Daisy spearheaded the charge, and put together a stellar event at Elastic Arts on January 21st, 2017, the same day as the monumental Women’s March that took place around the world. The concert featured a solo set by Darin Gray, the debut of Ken Vandermark’s new quintet Marker, the duo of Ben Lamar Gay and Ayana Contreras, and this trio. The energy of that evening was indescribable – the packed room felt defiant yet loving, angry yet calm, fearful yet fully empowered to take on the new reality of the unimaginable political situation in our country. And the music from each group reflected those feelings in a different and powerful way. "
Homework 1: (For Muhal Richard Abrams, Curtis Mayfield & Dinah Washington)
"As part of the special edition Marker live box set "Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1", we are happy to release Systems vs. Artifacts digital album of Homework 1. Recorded by Dave Zuchowski at The Hungry Brain, Chicago on February 18, 2018. Mixed and mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio. "