AMN Reviews: Lina Allemano Titanium Riot – Squish It! (2017; Lumo Records)

Toronto-based trumpeter Lina Allemano can be so understated at times that it takes multiple listens to unwind just what she is doing in both a compositional and a performance sense. And perhaps that is the appeal of this album, a companion her other band’s recent effort Sometimes Y (review). The overlap between the groups only consists of Allemano herself and drummer Nick Fraser. Accompanying them is Rob Clutton on bass and Ryan Driver’s analog synth. Thus, on Squish It!, her Titanium Riot features a degree of non-traditional instrumentation (the synth) for what is ostensibly a modern jazz recording. And let’s be clear that “modern” means, outside, creative jazz, not unlike what is coming out of the corresponding New York, Chicago, and Southern California scenes.

Allemano’s subtlety is in play on Squish It Now, a 10-minute piece with a long, unstructured interlude that waivers on the edge of perception. Similarly, Squish It Nicely delivers an atmospheric, free-improv in a busy, but low-volume manner that eventually builds to a punctuated crescendo. Squish It Forever covers corresponding ground but adds a degree of tension as well. In sharp contrast, the album also features its share of aggressive rhythms with Allemano and Driver not so much providing melodies as textures.

In particular, Allemano’s breathy playing combined with Driver’s unusual synth-work (think non-stop effects rather than discernable patterns) make Squish It! a compelling release. This is a group that has a lot to say but doesn’t have to raise their voices to make a statement. The result is a thoughtful and introspective album – a thinking person’s counterpoint to the demands of a busy world.

AMN Reviews: Mary Halvorson Quartet – Paimon: The Book Of Angels Volume 32 (2017; Tzadik)

John Zorn’s Book of Angels consists of 300 pieces and has been released on 32 albums over the last 12 years. This offering is supposed to be the final of the series, featuring the last 10 unrecorded compositions. Aside from its status as a conclusion of sorts, Paimon is also of note for Zorn’s choice of performers: guitarist Mary Halvorson with her longtime collaborator Tomas Fujiwara on drums, veteran Drew Gress on bass, and another well-respected guitarist, Miles Okazaki.

The juxtaposition of Zorn’s klezmer-based circular melodies and Middle-Eastern twang with Halvorson’s note bending is the highlight of the album. Zorn’s writing develops the main themes of each piece, but Halvorson and the group work within these loose confines, not afraid to step out from time to time. In particular, Halvorson and Okazaki engage in an interplay, whether doubling one another’s lines, trading off lead and rhythm roles, or ripping through contrapuntal motifs. They focus on acoustic and un-distorted electric gear, given the album a lightness that belies its dense structure. Gress and Fujiwara both contribute in their well-established and understated manners. Fujiwara in particular fits in so well that he is easy to ignore, though once you pay close attention to his playing, you will realize how much he carries the album’s twisted rhythms.

Paimon covers a breadth of space while maintaining a consistent feel and approach. It is neither truly klezmer nor jazz. While steeped in traditional styles, it is not a conservative album. Halvorson and company tease going outside, but never approach actual free improvisation. The album is an exercise in the familiar and the strange, and for that reason alone it is more than worth your time.

Newsbits: King Crimson Scores / Ryoji Ikeda / Tim Berne / Mary Halvorson Plays Zorn’s Book of Angels

Tim Berne

The complete scores to King Crimson‘s Thrak are available.

Ryoji Ikeda oversaw a performance for 100 car stereos.

Tim Berne has released an album of his 1983 tour with Paul Motion, Herb Robertson, and Ed Schuller.

Tzadik has released the final of John Zorn‘s Book of Angels series, this one featuring the Mary Halvorson Quartet.

The Art Ensemble Of Chicago At Cafe Oto Reviewed

Source: The Quietus.

Living in close proximity to Cafe Oto for the past nine years has been a horizon-expanding, genre boundary-obliterating experience that has yielded many mind-blowing musical evenings, from the perennially returning Sun Ra Arkestra to the Joe McPhee, Colin Stetson, Linda Sharrock, William Parker, Hamid Drake and Charles Gayle, to name but a few. Until this residency though, I had remained an Art Ensemble of Chicago neophyte. With the AEC approaching their 50th anniversary in 2019 and the only original members being saxophonist Mitchell and ‘sun percussionist’ Famoudou Don Moye, I wasn’t sure of what to expect.

Chicago Scene: October 22-27, 2017

English: Mars Williams performing live at Doub...

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Sunday, October 22nd 2017

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($20-$15)
Chicago Composers Orchestra + Chicago Latino Music Festival
Clarice Assad, Dalia Chin — music by Clarice Assad, Pablo Chin, Gustavo Leone, Elbio Barilari, Raimundo Penaforte

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Talibam! : Matt Mottel, Kevin Shea, with Audrey Chen
Dave Rempis Solo : Taralie Peterson, Ben Billington

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont ($10 suggested donation) (wheelchair-accessible)
Invisible Guy : Ben Goldberg, Michael Coleman, Hamir Atwal

Monday, October 23rd 2017

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444 (wheelchair-accessible)
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Jim Baker, Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt

Wednesday, October 25th 2017

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($15-$10)
Ensemble Dal Niente — music by Sarah Nemtstov, Simon Løffler, Alex Temple, George Lewis

Thursday, October 26th 2017

7:00PM-8:30PM at the Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Ln, Northbrook IL, 847.272.6224 (Free)
Sound Exploration Series
NbN Trio : Nomi Epstein, Billie Howard, Nora Barton

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Dave Rempis, Matt Piet, Tim Daisy

Friday, October 27th 2017

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($15-$10)
Mara Rosenbloom Chicago Ensemble, with Jason Stein, Mike Reed

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:,,,,,,,,,,,