Music and Book reviews

Browsing: Improvisation

Improvisation
Across the Top

Artist/s: Paul Cutlan, Brett Hirst, The NOISE
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Tall Poppies TP211
www.tallpoppies.net
Reviewed by

Across the Top is a convincing synthesis of European art music influences and jazz-informed improvisation. Paul Cutlan, one of Sydney’s leading improvising saxophonists, provides compositions that he performs with great sensitivity alongside bassist Brett Hirst and string quartet The NOISE…

Improvisation
Alister Spence and Raymond MacDonald. Stepping Between the Shadows

Artist/s: Alister Spence, piano and prepared piano; Raymond MacDonald, alto and soprano saxophones
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Rufus Records, RF095
Reviewed by

Two musicians improvising together can be imagined as a Venn diagram, where the distinct ‘musicalities’ (think personalities expressed through music) of the individuals partially converge in moments of shared experience. This is not to suggest, however, that improvisers working in…

Improvisation
Avocado

Artist/s: Peter, Farrar, alto saxophone; Dale Gorfinkel, miscellaneous instruments; Staunch Nation and Disco 4, electronic sound sources
Category: Improvisation
Label: Splitrec
www.splitrec.com
Reviewed by

Farrar’s eruptive outpourings of clean angles and nasty tones in brilliant patterns or cubistically organised disarray are startling and often thrilling.

Improvisation
Begin

Artist/s: Alister Spence, Joe Williamson and Christopher Cantillo
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Alister Spence Music (ASM003)
alisterspence.com
Reviewed by

This is the first release from the new trio of Australian pianist Alister Spence, Canadian bassist Joe Williamson and Swedish drummer Christopher Cantillo. Meeting at the crossroads of jazz and free improvisation, the musical sympathy and connection between Spence, Williamson…

Improvisation
Cat’s Squirrel

Artist/s: Merzbow and Oren Ambarchi
Category: Improvisation, Noise
Label: Hospital Hill (HHCD04130740)
www.hospitalhill.com.au
Reviewed by

Cat’s Squirrel presents two of the world’s finest purveyors of noise music, in duo format for the first time. The legendary Merzbow (real name Masami Akita), Japan’s lord of noise, joins Australia’s loudest and heaviest noise guitarist, Oren Ambarchi. This…

Experimental Music
Colophony

Artist/s: Jon Rose, Meinrad Kneer, Richard Barrett
Category: Experimental Music, Improvisation
Label: Creative Sources Records CS229
Reviewed by

This is a European collaboration of free improvisers by Australian violinist Jon Rose, who also plays tenor violin, with Meinrad Kneer, a German double bass player based in Amsterdam, and UK composer/improviser Richard Barrett. Barrett divides his time between London…

Improvisation
Fluid to the Influence

Artist/s: Chris Abrahams, piano, organ, synthesizers
Category: Improvisation
Label: Room 40 (RM464)
Reviewed by

“One of Australia’s most distinctive improvisational voices has created another finely woven and memorable collection.” But don’t automatically expect this music to be defined by meditative, shimmering beauty. Then again, it depends how you define ‘beauty’. Perhaps this idea, the…

Experimental Music
Giraffe Solos

Artist/s: John Encarnacao
Category: Experimental Music, Improvisation
Label: Psychopajama Records #PJ 4911/ PJ4911CD
Reviewed by

Giraffe Solos is a collection of wholly improvised pieces performed on a prepared steel string acoustic guitar. To help contextualize this, the latest release from John Encarnacao, it may be helpful to consider a little background on the link between…

Electronic Music
History Goes Everywhere

Artist/s: The Australysis Electroband. Roger Dean, leader, piano, computer; Sandy Evans, saxophones; Greg White, computer; with Hazel Smith, text, performer, the Blue Bus
Category: Electronic Music, Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Tall Poppies TP234
Reviewed by

“Modernist Manchester project pursued way Down Under.” This is modernist music and then some, related in places to jazz and in others to Schoenberg et al, and post-serial music. I love it. Not everyone will but that’s okay by me,…

Comprovisation
Improvisations and Comprovisations

Comprovisation (combining composition and improvisation) is an increasingly prominent feature of contemporary music, with exponents drawn from a range of backgrounds, including art music, jazz, and other commercial and contemporary music domains. Indeed, the act of comprovisation can offer a…

Classical
Kinetic Conversations

Artist/s: Keith Humble (piano, electronic instruments), Bert Turetsky (contrabass)
Category: Classical, Improvisation, Music, New Music
Label: Move MD 3352
Reviewed by

Keith Humble (1927-1995) distinguished himself as a composer of concert and electro-acoustic music, as a brilliant interpreter of new music and as an educator. This collection of recordings with legendary American contrabassist, Bertram Turetsky, represents another side of Humble’s versatility,…

Experimental Music
Malign

Artist/s: Forenzics. Matthew Syres (guitar and effects), Joe Cummins (trumpet and electronics), Dirk Kruithof (guitar and fretless bass), John Wilton (drums)
Category: Experimental Music, Improvisation
Label: Self-release, CD and digital download
https://forenzics.bandcamp.com/album/malign
Reviewed by

Forenzics is a Sydney-based collective of improvising musicians with a changing line-up of members and collaborators around the core group of Matthew Syres (guitar), Joe Cummins (trumpet and electronics) and Dirk Kruithof (guitar, bass). In this, their fourth album, the…

Improvisation
Memory Night

Artist/s: Chris Abrahams, piano
Category: Improvisation, Jazz
Label: Room 40 RM453
Reviewed by

Chris Abrahams’ third solo recording on Brisbane-based Lawrence English’s Room 40 label is a radical departure from his previous piano-based releases on the label, Thrown and Play Scar, insofar as we are mid-way through the third of four tracks before…

Big Band
Monash Art Ensemble

Artist/s: Monash Art Ensemble and the Australian Art Orchestra
Category: Big Band, Improvisation, Jazz, Music
Label: JazzHead, Head171
Reviewed by

The Monash Art Ensemble is the fruit of the collaboration between members of the Australian Art Orchestra and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, playing the music of Paul Grabowsky. The composer’s liner notes describe the bringing together of…

Electronic Music
Multi-Piano 1978-2012

Artist/s: Roger Dean
Category: Electronic Music, Improvisation, New Music
Label: Tall Poppies Records TP225 (2 discs) 2012
Reviewed by

This retrospective of Roger Dean’s work as an improvising pianist covers samples of work created from 1978 to 2012 from a variety of sources including recording sessions, live performances, live performances using pre-recorded material and studio-based editing/remixing exercises. Dean employs…

Improvisation
Neighbouring Objects

Artist/s: Mike Majkowski, bass
Category: Improvisation
Label: Astral Spirits
http://monofonuspress.com/store/astral-spirits-batch-5
Reviewed by

Bassist-improviser Mike Majkowski presents another highly refined and impressively performed exploration of (mostly) solo bass on Neighbouring Objects. The playing here is so focused and the territory explored is so rich and resonant that one gets the feeling of being deeply embedded…

Classical
Open Polar Sea. Works by Col Fuhler, Salvatore Sciarrino, Morton Feldman, Damien Barbeler, Daniel Blinkhorn and Anna McMichael

Artist/s: Anna McMichael, solo violin, with Col Fuhler on one track
Category: Classical, Electronic Music, Experimental Music, Improvisation, New Music
Label: unsounds 46u (digital download)
http://unsounds.com/shop/open-polar-sea
Reviewed by

Not so long ago, the fashion was for completeness in CD recordings: the complete works of Morton Fledman for violin and piano, for example. In the past several years, however, we have seen a growth in the popularity of the…

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