AMN Reviews: Kyoko Kitamura’s Tidepool Fauna – Protean Labyrinth (2018; Bandcamp)

Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura is best known for her collaborations with Anthony Braxton, as well as her leadership role in his Tri-Centric Foundation. Thus, it can be easy to overlook her non-Braxton solo and group work, of which Protean Labyrinth is the latest example. Here, she is joined by Ingrid Laubrock on sax, Ken Filiano on bass, and Dayeon Seok on drums for eight tracks of guided improvisation.

Two characteristics of the album are immediately discernable. First is Kitamura’s wordless vocal approach. She rambles, scats, and shouts throughout, varying in emotion from playful to plaintive and many places in between, changing styles and pitch with ease. The second is the overall use of space by the group. Laubrock, Filiano, and Seok are restrained, not filling each quiet moment with notes.

That is not to say that there isn’t any virtuosity herein or that the album does not have a full sound. Filiano, in particular, gives his bass a workout from time to time but also provides subtle atmospherics. Similarly, Seok artfully combines busy unpredictability with a controlled finesse. Laubrock, of course, is wonderfully expressive while taking less of a leading role than one might expect from a purveyor of her instrument. The bottom line is that this quartet functions as a group with Kitamura as ostensible – but non-obvious – leader.

A high point is Slide, which features a wistful three-note theme worked through by Kitamura and Laubrock. Filiano stays in the mostly background with bowed drones, and Seok provides fractured beats. Kitamura expands upon the expressive theme with mournful cries and the rhythm section builds to a frenetic interlude, but the piece as a whole remains surprisingly understated.

Despite the instrumentation, this is not jazz. Nor does it groove, or set forth clear melodies. Instead, Kitamura and company offer an emotionally and intellectually satisfying excursion into a world of instrumentals with voice. Each minute of the recording overflows with ideas. Needless to say, this is one of the more compelling releases of the year.

Protean Labyrinth will be released on August 10.

AMN Reviews: William Parker – Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics (2018; Gotta Let It Out)

William Parker is a legendary bassist and composer who is virtually impossible to not come across when exploring the New York creative music scene. It is not often that he eschews his instrument of choice, but on Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics, he joins three like-minded individuals (Jeff Schlanger, Anne Humanfeld, and Leonid Galaganov) in a waterphone quartet.

What is a waterphone you ask? According to Wikipedia, it is a “type of inharmonic acoustic percussion instrument consisting of a stainless steel resonator bowl or pan with a cylindrical neck and bronze rods of different lengths and diameters around the rim of the bowl.” A small amount of water is usually placed in the bowl. The result is an instrument that can be played for percussion or bowed. It produces shimmering, alien sounds that have been widely used in movies (especially in the horror genre).

Here, Parker and his friends explore the sounds and techniques of waterphones for nearly 70 minutes. There is no shortage of banging, clanging, and ringing that together build up an impromptu rhythm section. But even more interesting are the contributions from bowing and rubbing. These metallic squeaks, squeals, and wails provide for a discomforting affair. Not exactly haunted house music, but that label is not far off.

By and large, this is a free improv album, albeit one with rather unique instrumentation and sound. Parker and company rarely stick to any particular rhythm for long, and there are no melodies per se. Instead, each track is a series of loosely related motifs and phrases that build upon each other into a surprisingly cohesive whole. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that all of the diverse sounds on the album come from just one type of instrument, rather than a roomful.

One of the more interesting and singular releases of 2018.

Cuneiform Records Artists on Tour

Source: Cuneiform Records.

June 6 – The Saint – Asbury Park, NJ
June 7 – Mercury Lounge – NYC, NY
June 8 – The Boot & Saddle – Philadelphia, PA
June 9 – Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
June 11 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
June 14 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
June 15 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA
June 17 – The Sidewinder – Austin, TX
June 20 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
June 21 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
June 22 – Bootleg Theater – LA, CA
June 23 – Cafe Du Nord – San Francisco, CA
June 24 – Art Boutiki – San Jose, CA
June 28 – Hi Fi Music Hall – Eugene, OR
June 29 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
June 30 – Barboza – Seattle, WA

June 4 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT [with Free Salamander Exhibit]
June 5 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO [with Free Salamander Exhibit]
June 6 – Record Bar – Kansas City, MO [with Free Salamander Exhibit]
June 7 – 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN [with Free Salamander Exhibit]
June 8 – The Frequency – Madison, WI [with Free Salamander Exhibit]
June 9 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL [with Free Salamander Exhibit]

June 21-23 – Alternative Guitar Summit – NYC, NY [The Alternative Guitar Summit, founded in 2010 by guitarist-composer Joel Harrison, is a yearly festival of daring, inventive players who emphasize new and unusual approaches to the guitar]

June 16 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
June 18 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY

June 7 – Les Atheneennes Festival – Geneva, Switzerland

THUMBSCREW [Michael Formanek – Tomas Fujiwara – Mary Halvorson]
June 14 – San Francisco Jazz Festival – San Francisco, CA [double bill with Julian Lage Trio]
June 16 – Gold Lion Arts – Sacramento, CA
June 18 – Kuumbwa Jazz – Santa Cruz, CA
June 20 – PDX Jazz – Portland, OR
June 21 – Earshot Festival – Seattle, WA
June 22 – Vancouver Jazz Festival – Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 23 – Skin and Bones – Kelowna, BC, Canada
June 26 – Creative Alliance at The Patterson – 3134 Eastern Ave – Baltimore, MD
June 27 – Bop Stop @ The Music Settlement – Cleveland, OH
June 28 – Ziggy’s – Ypsilanti, MI
June 29 – City Of Asylum – Pittsburgh, PA
June 30 – City Of Asylum – Pittsburgh, PA

Dan Phillips Upcoming Chicago Area Dates

Source: Dan Phillips.

Chicago Edge Ensemble
Dan Phillips – Guitar
Jeb Bishop – Trombone
Mars Williams – Saxophones
Krzysztof Pabian – Bass
Avreeayl Ra – Drums
July 6th Sugar Maple Milwaukee WI
July 7th Sanctuary One Sprint Center Rockford IL
July 8th Arts and Literature Lab Madison WI
July 12th Elastic Arts Chicago IL

Dan Phillips Quartet
Dan Phillips – Guitar
Jeb Bishop – Trombone
Bill Harris – Drums
Krzysztof Pabian – Bass
July 9th Elastic Arts Chicago IL

Dan Phillips Quartet
Dan Phillips – Guitar
Jim Baker – Keyboards
Bill Harris – Drums
Krzysztof Pabian – Bass
July 18th Cafe Mustache Chicago IL

Fluid Radio Reviews

Source: Fluid Radio.

Fábio Caramuru – Ecomúsica | Aves

Xu – Whisper My World

William Basinski: Union Chapel Session

Ben Chatwin – Staccato Signals

Michael Cutting – Stills

Silent Vigils – Fieldem

Michael Pisaro – Shades of Eternal Night

Chihei Hatakeyama – Scene

Deep Learning – Soft Confidence



May 30, 2018
George Hurd Solo, Spectrum
George Hurd

May 30, 2018
Party Knüllers, Spectrum
Fred Lonberg-Holm Ståle Liavik Solberg

May 30, 2018
Fred Lonberg-Holm, Pascal Niggenkemper, Ståle Liavik Solberg, Spectrum
Fred Lonberg-Holm Pascal Niggenkemper Ståle Liavik Solberg

May 28, 2018
Cooper-Moore Solo, Roulette

May 28, 2018
Fly or Die, Roulette
Jaimie Branch Anton Hatwich Lester St. Louis Chad Taylor