New Releases from Cuneiform Records

John Surman-- Birdland; September 2, 2009 Phot...
John Surman– Birdland; September 2, 2009 Photo: Claire Stefani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Cuneiform Records:


Blue Cranes from Portland, Oregon, have developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations— marking off their unique microcosmic territory in “post-jazz” circles. Swim is a departure from Blue Cranes’ previous, and in some ways simpler, albums. Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. The heart of Swim lies in indelibly profound life events—the passing away of two dear friends, a serious injury, two weddings, and the birth of a child—events at tragic and uplifting extremes, both cathartic and celebratory.


Mats/Morgan occupy, or more aptly, create their own sphere in the transcontinental music scene, a zone wherein progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, experimental rock, electronica, and progressive pop overlap and intertwine. The double-CD set Radio Da Da/The Teenage Tapes compiles Mats/Morgan’s earliest works but with a difference: These albums have been lovingly remixed, remastered, resequenced, and overdubbed by Morgan Ågren himself—they are virtually new offerings. Everything comes from someplace, and the genre-defying breadth of styles, bracing ideas, and high level of musicianship will appeal to both longtime followers of the group and neophytes.


Morally outraged by the corporate greed that caused Europe’s (and America’s) 21st century economic collapse, shattering the public’s wellbeing and undermining democracy itself, Desolation Row finds avant-rock icon and philosophy PhD/writer Richard Pinhas returning to his philosophical roots and his stance behind political barricades. The album is as politically charged, musically radical and artistically potent as those he created during a prior era of socio-political change with his band Heldon. Desolation Row contains some of the elements we know and love from Pinhas—dense, subtly shifting banks of sonic bliss; sustained guitar tones, textures alternately dreamlike and nightmarish, and well-nigh elemental, pulsating rhythms.


São Paulo Underground isn’t just an international musical conspiracy. It’s an electronica-laced Tropicalia funhouse, a secret passage between Chicago’s volatile avant garde jazz scene and Brazil’s teeming creative capital, an intoxicating state of mind where Sun Ra lays down in a field of giant poppies with Ol’ Dirty Bastard to debate whether the Wizard of Oz is full of juke or jive. SPU, consisting of Rob Mazurek, Guilherme Granado and Mauricio Takara, delivers its fourth revelatory album Beija Flors Velho E Sujo. SPU is a power trio and a post-modern orchestra rolled into one, marked by glistening sonic textures, seductive eletronica beats, unabashedly beautiful melodies, an expansive improvisational palette and fiercely gleeful interplay.

S.O.S. [John Surman, Mike Osborne, Alan Skidmore] – LOOKING FOR THE NEXT ONE

S.O.S. were one of the great but under-documented ensembles in 70s British jazz, consisting of three genuine superstars of the ‘Brit-jazz scene’: Mike Osborne, Alan Skidmore and John Surman. Anyone expecting three saxes at once at all times will be very surprised when they hear the heavy, sequenced, synthesizer parts mixed with driving drums and blowing sax lines! Looking For The Next One, a compilation of rare and unissued studio sessions and live recordings. The live disc reveals S.O.S.’s penchant for connecting multiple compositions with open improvisations not heard on their studio output. This album will not only rekindle discussions about S.O.S.’s innovative music among connoisseurs, but introduce their exciting, virtuosic music to a new generation of listeners.