Ken Vandermark & C. Spencer Yeh
""But at the same time it’s not music that’s wry for wryness’s sake or diverse for diversity’s. Instead what Vandermark and Yeh manage to do in just under forty-five minutes is develop their own musical lexicon—challenging, harsh, playful, and emotional all at once—and with it shape a novel listening experience that asks no less than it gives.""
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."
""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."
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."
The Thing with Jim O'Rourke
""The Thing's discography is filled with uncompromising music and excellent collaborations. The addition of avant rock guitarist O'Rourke is a masterful addition to the list." - Free Jazz Blog"
Short Visit to Nowhere
Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet Plus Two
""Certainly when, among other things, the double bass line-up with Kent Kessler and William Parker also presents, the drum tandem Hamid Drake-Michael Zerang or the trio brass with Joe McPhee, Jeb Bishop and Roy Campbell. Where the road is so open for focusing on a crushing group sound, the Chicago Tentet opts for a more modest approach. Especially Brötzmann's more than forty-minute 'Stonewater' leaves a lot of room for 'smaller' passages. The Arabic beginning is a striking example of this. With the tumbling hand drum and the eastern singing style of Hamid Drake, on which Brötzmann releases his elaborate, clarinet-like tarogato.""
The Vandermark 5
"Using American jazzmen for their spiritual inspiration and the European model of free jazz improv, Vandermark and company have come up with something entirely their own: a solid, gritty, soulful funk and squall band who holds within their collective grasp the souls of Sun Ra, Steve Lacy, Albert Ayler, and James Brown's JBs."