Brian Ruryk. Cycle of Fords.   While the ingredients in any recent Brian Ruryk release are basically the same—rapid-fire editing, rubbery cassette-tape contortions, anxious Sonny-Sharrock-on-amphetamines acoustic guitar scribblings, torrents of debris (aural and actual) flying across the stereo field—[...] Read more

Recordings Nick Storring Issue 107

ROVA Saxophone Quartet & Nels Cline Singers. The Celestial Septet.   The Celestial Septet combines two institutions of California’s experimental and improvised music, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet and guitarist Nels Cline’s instrumental trio with bass and drums, ironically named the Nels Cline Singers. This music is rooted in the free-jazz[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 107

Yannis Kyriakides. ANTICHAMBER.   Dutch-Cypriot composer Yannis Kyriakides is better known for his extended multimedia and music-theatre works, but the ten pieces collected on this double-CD demonstrate that writing for smaller ensembles affords him equally fertile ground for creative exploration. The album offers[...] Read more

Recordings Jason van Eyk Issue 107

Grutronic. Essex Foam Party. Essex Foam Party sees Grutronic, a free improvising collective, join forces with guests vibraphonist Orphy Robinson and sampler Paul Obermayer. Mixed among the moist pulses and triggered cross textures that characterize much of the music are interludes of keyboard comping and runs from[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 107

FURT. Sense.   Two methods of creation play out on this disc by FURT, the British electronic composition-performance duo of Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer. The track Uranus is a forty-six-minute studio composition developed over a two-year period. In contrast, Curtains, the second track on the CD,[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 107

Lori Freedman. Bridge. Bridge largely emulates the pattern of one of Freedman’s solo clarinet concerts, exploring the relationships between composition, interpretation, and improvisation. If composition and improvisation were once separated by a gulf, here they’re constructed as a continuously[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 107

The Element Choir. At Rosedale United.   Christine Duncan leads the most unlikely ensemble devoted to collective improvisation, Toronto’s fifty-one-voice Element Choir. The choir’s improvisation is strongly shaped by Duncan’s ongoing “conduction.” In performance, members respond to a series of[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 107

Kyle Brenders. WAYS.   Saxophonist-composer Kyle Brenders has assembled a sextet from among Toronto’s community of improvising musicians to perform an extended composition called Ways. Five segments of the work are heard here (Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8) so the recording explicitly resists the notion of[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 107

Burkhard Beins. Structural Drift.   Conceived, created, recorded, and mixed during a three-month residency in Worpswede, Germany, composer-improviser Burkhard Beins’ CD Structural Drift uses found sounds along with custom-made electronics, an e-bow zither, various percussion, and synthesizer to reflect Worpswede[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 107

Rainer Wiens. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.   More frequently heard playing guitar and prepared guitar in the context of jazz and improvised music, Rainer Wiens performs here on kalimbas—African thumb pianos possessing a distinctive metallic resonance—which are heard prominently at the beginning and end of this unusual[...] Read more

Recordings Stuart Broomer Issue 106

Birgit Ulher. Radio Silence No More.   Hamburg-based trumpeter Birgit Ulher uses her improvisational prowess to shape this program, treating as full partners the extended drones and blurry hisses that emanate from a stand-alone radio and its speaker. On the nine mid-length tracks here—all with the suffixes ‑welle or ‑[...] Read more

Recordings Ken Waxman Issue 106

Toca Loca. P*P.   Toca Loca is a kick-ass ensemble with some of the heaviest performers in new music: Gregory Oh, piano and voice; Simon Docking, piano and voice; and Aiyung Huang, percussion and voice. All of them deserve kudos for this ambitious project of taking on pop music in the context of peer-to-[...] Read more

Recordings Allison Cameron Issue 106