Sonomu Reviews

From Sonomu:

Chris Herbert, Diluted (CDR Low Point)
I am in no way well versed in the genre of field recording, but I have heard my share. The most famous name that comes to mind is Chris Herbert´s countryman Chris Watson; then there is Dallas Simpson, also from the UK, whose unadorned field recordings came as refreshing countryside walks on a… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:29, 05 Feb 2009

Matthew Florianz, Maalbeek (H/S Recordings)
I would choose to classify the music of Matthew Florianz as ambient traditionalist or rather, “originalist”, in the sense that he maintains an unsettling, sombre tone throughout his work, restricts his palette, and like Brian Eno and Harold Budd before him, creates atmospheres and “landscapes”… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:21, 05 Feb 2009

Cisfinitum, Tactio (Mechanoise Labs)
Wherein the very acoustics of the cathedral of St. Petri in Bremen are as important as the instruments being played. Evgeny Voronovski has been purveying dark ambient for more than a decade now under the nom-de-musique Cisfinitum. He may well be the only ambient artist with a nationalist intent… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:16, 05 Feb 2009

Lepenik, Grete vor dem Haus (CDR Chmafu Nocords)
This compact disc nestles cozily on a square of dark blue cloth in a little cardboard box together with a couple of non-descript black and white photos, like a family heirloom forgotten in some drawer. (Robert) Lepenik plays his piano excruciatingly slow, the notes ocassionally tweaked and… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:30, 02 Feb 2009

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Sonomu Reviews

From Sonomu:

Aidan Baker, I Fall into You (Basses Frequences)
The newly-remastered version of a set originally recorded by Aidan Baker on a simple four-track cassette and released on CDR label Public Eyesore in 2002. Cleverly and deservedly re-released to reach the growing audience for Aidan Baker´s quality material. The delicate looping and sophisticated… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:07, 30 Jan 2009

Various Artists, Music for Museums (2 CD Kwan Yin)
Like Brian Eno´s ground-breaking but seldom-used “Music for Airports”, this two CD set was designed for play not only in a specific site – the museum – but in specific rooms in that structure – the lobby, gallery, bookshop, cafe, and even the bathroom. The printed instructions (again echoing Eno)… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:03, 30 Jan 2009

Laurent Jeanneau, Soundscape China (Kwan Yin)
A crazy quilt of sounds from mainland China. “A mix of original field recordings, ethnic minorities in Yannun, TV, scratched Chineses CDs”, often long, unbroken chunks, processed in 2001 and 2002 by Laurent Jeanneau, also known as Kink Gong. Morning exercise programes, instructions and political… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 08:01, 30 Jan 2009

John R. Carlson, Recollections (3″ CDR Parvoart)
Same evocative cover photography, same Bechstein C piano, all the same parameters as his first three-inch release some months earlier on this label (and reviewed here:, but now with Oliver Sonntag adding percussion on two tracks. Nothing has been prearranged… [read]
Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 07:55, 28 Jan 2009

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Maggie Nicols / Fred Frith / Susan Alcorn in Houston

Maggie Nichols
Image via Wikipedia

From Nameless Sound:

Sunday, February 15, 2009, 8 pm

DiverseWorks Artspace,
1117 East Freeway, Houston, TX 77002
(click here for directions/map)

$13 general admission / $10 students and seniors; everyone under 18 gets in for free

Maggie Nicols (UK) – voice
Fred Frith (UK/San Francisco) – guitar
Susan Alcorn (Baltimore) – pedal steel guitar

With a background in jazz, dance, and theater, Maggie Nicols became an early pioneer in the European free improvisation scene when she joined John Stevens’ Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the late 1960’s. The Scottish-born performer would soon develop into one of the most unique and innovative vocalists in avant-garde music. Nicols is an artist of distinct individuality. Her agile and wordless improvisations are countered by the devilish sense of humor that she displays when she ad-libs speech into her pieces. Maggie Nicols is an active teacher and leader of workshops that fuse her experiences
in music, improvisation, theater, yoga, and activism. Though she is a veteran (she began her career in the early 60’s) and is recognized as the pioneer in her field, Nicols has only ever performed a few times in the United States. For more information on Maggie Nicols, go to

A wide ranging talent and prolific artist, Fred Frith first gained attention in the early 1970’s as guitarist for the pioneering English avant-garde rock band Henry Cow. Frith has distinguished himself as a guitar player, composer, improvisor, and collaborator. His versatility brings different approaches to his instrument depending on a particular playing situation (i.e., the prepared ‘table-top’ approach or the conventional guitar approach). The range of his collaborators gives an indication as to the scope of his talent and style. A short list of Frith’s partners includes: Derek Bailey, Lol Coxhill, Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Zeena Parkins, Tom Cora and John Zorn (Frith was the bass player in Naked City). Fred Frith is currently a professor of composition, contemporary performance, and improvisation at Mills College in Oakland. For more information on Fred Frith, go to

Perhaps the world’s premiere avant-gardist on her instrument, Susan Alcorn has taken the steel guitar far beyond its traditional role in country and western swing music. Well-known among steel players for her virtuosity and authenticity in a traditional context, Susan Alcorn first paid her dues in Texas country & western bands. Soon she began to expand the vocabulary of her instrument through her study of modern classical music (Olivier Messiaen and Krystof Penderecki), avant-garde jazz (John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman), and world music (Indian rags, South American songs, and gamelan orchestra). As a composer, Alcorn has proven to be visionary. Her
pieces reveal the complexity of her instrument and her musical experience, while never straying from a very direct, intense, and personal musical expression. Alcorn recently moved to Baltimore from Houston. For more information on Susan Alcorn, go to

This concert is part of Nameless Sound’s Andrew Mark Ladd Memorial Concert Series.

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Pitchfork Reviews

Cover of
Cover of Evening Star

From Pitchfork:

Fripp & Eno – No Pussyfooting / Evening Star
DJ Shadow – The 4-Track Era Bundle
Don Caballero – Punkgasm

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AMN Best of 2008

Well, here it is, another best of list that you probably should not take too seriously. The top ten of 2008 along with a pile of runners up.

Top Ten:

Stephen Haynes / Taylor Ho Bynum – Double Trio
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Lil Tae Rides Again
William Parker – Double Sunrise Over Neptune
Anthony Braxton – Quartet (Moscow) 2008
Daniel Carter – Chinatown
Mary Halvorson – Dragon’s Head
William Parker Quartet – Petit Oiseau
Vladimir Bozar n Ze Sheraf Orkestar – Universal Sprache
John Zorn / Lou Reed / Laurie Anderson – The Stone: Issue Three
Steve Swell / Rivers of Sound Ensemble – News from the Mystic Auricle

The Rest:

Bang on a Can – Brian Eno: Music for Airports Live
Beat Circus – Dreamland
James Blackshaw – Litany of Echoes
Box – Studio 1
Rob Brown – Crown Trunk Root Funk
Copperhead Trio – Labyrinths
Cynic – Traced in Air
Bill Dixon – Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra
Harris Eisenstadt – Guewel
The Empty Cage Quartet – Stratostrophic
Fulminate Trio – Fulminate Trio
Jeff Gauthier / Goatette – House of Return
Frode Gjerstad – A Sound Sight
Dominique Grimaud – Les Quatre Directions
I Heart Lung – Interoceans
Peggy Lee Band – New Code
Daniel Levin – Fuhuffah
Byron Metcalf / Mark Seelig / Steve Roach – Nada Terma
Szilárd Mezei – As You
David Parsons – Surya
Rob Price – I Really Do Not See the Signal
Kurt Rosenwinkel – The Remedy – Live at the Village Vanguard
Stray Ghost – Losthilde
The Thing – Now and Forever
Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer – Cold Peace Counterpoints
Yitzhak Yedid – Oud, Bass, Piano Trio

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Stockhausen, Ligeti, Cage and Berio at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Image by sheilaellen via Flickr

This modern classical performance is reviewed.

Tuesday night the L.A. Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series brought works by three acknowledged masters of post-WWII avant-garde music (and one fantastic runner up) to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Most of these pieces were older than your dad, and their influence on all the greats of modern music, including everybody from Philip Glass to Radiohead to Brian Eno to the Beatles, is an established fact. Yet hearing these composers in the squeaky-clean Disney Hall felt like seeing a whore in church.

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Frith’s To Sail To Sail Reviewed

From the Chattanooga Pulse:

Over 40 years, Fred Frith has had a mind-bogglingly fruitful musical career as a multi-instrumentalist, being a member of revered art-rock bands Henry Cow and Art Bears, the avant-garde power trio Massacre, and the multi-tasking improv trio Skeleton Crew. Best known for his guitar playing, he’s sought by many for his impressive chops and imagination to match, and Frith has played with everyone from Brian Eno to Richard Thompson to John Zorn to the Residents; it’s a career so remarkable that a documentary, Step Across the Border from 1990, was made about him. Frith’s latest solo album,

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Releases Reviews

DMG Newsletter November 21st, 2008

Hector Zazou
Image via Wikipedia

From DMG:

John Brackett’s book on John Zorn! David Byrne/Brian Eno together again! Zorn Film 22! J Spaceman/Matt Shipp! Charles Gayle 3 live 2007! Tamura/Fujii duet and Satoko Fuji NY Orchestra! Gebhard Ullman‘s Basement Research! A new Umezu Kiki Band CD! Herb Robertson MacroQuarktet!

Wu Fei! Peggy Lee! McCauley/Cline/Jenkins! John Esposito! John Escreet! Drumbo! Kaufmann/Dresser Eisenstadt! Christian Fennesz! Dave Fox/Bruce Eisenbeil! Hector Zazou! Xenakis! Chrome! Glass! Cage! Tyranny! …. Super-Rare vinyl Rarities! …and much more!

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