Friday, July 6, 2018

Kukuruz Quartet - Julius Eastman Piano Interpretations (INTAKT RECORDS 2018)

Kukuruz started 2014 their involvement with Julius Eastman and his musical works. In 2017, their performance at documenta 14 in the Megaro Mousikis concert hall in Athens earned a standing ovation. They performed works by Julius Eastman: 'Evil Nigger', 'Gay Guerrilla', 'Buddha' and 'Fugue No. 7'. The recording of these compositions followed in November 2017 on four Steinway D pianos in the main hall of the historic Radiostudio Zürich. Composer, trombonist and scholar George E. Lewis, who knew Eastman personally and played with him, writes in the liner notes: „This brilliant recording by the Kukuruz Quartet constitutes an important new contribution to the growing corpus of performances of music by the composer, pianist, and singer Julius Eastman (1940-1990), who came to prominence in the experimental music scene of the 1970s and 1980s ... On this recording, the Kukuruz Quartet renders Eastman’s spirit of adventure audible and sensuous, exemplifying a new, creolized formation of contemporary classical music that is able to embrace a multicultural, multi-ethnic usable past and thinkable future that can affirm our common humanity in the pursuit of new music.“

1. Fugue no. 7 (1983) 08:22
2. Evil Nigger (1979) 21:33
3. Buddha (1984) 16:44
4. Gay Guerrilla (1979) 30:03

Philip Bartels: Piano
Duri Collenberg: Piano
Simone Keller: Piano
Lukas Rickli: Piano

Elliott Sharp Carbon - Transmigration at the Solar Max (INTAKT RECORDS 2018)

Elliott Sharp continues to publish exceptional projects with his Carbon ensembles. After the Carbon Quintet "Void Coordinates" and the three CD box "The Age of Carbon" with legendary recordings of the 80s, a new Carbon album is now being released on Intakt Records: 

"Transmigration at the Solar Max" with Zeena Parkins and Bobby Previte. Elliott Sharp writes: "Part cosmic turbulence and part roiling soundscape, "Transmigration at the Solar Max" travels through successively hypercharged zones, the musicians building their activities on and against shifting electro-acoustic drones and matrices of rhythm, unisons splitting and refracting.“

1. Analemma 13:27
2. Perihelion 10:38
3. Orrery 07:29
4. Aurora 12:53
5. Anthelion 09:32

Elliott Sharp: 8-String Guitarbass, Soprano Sax, Electronics, Samples & Textures
Zeena Parkins: Electric Harp
Bobby Previte: Drums

Joey Baron / Robyn Schulkowsky - Now You Hear Me (INTAKT RECORDS 2018)

Robyn Schulkowsky, New Music’s high priestess of percussion, and Joey Baron, one of the liveliest and most creative drummers in New York’s Downtown scene, come from very different avant-garde traditions. Yet in meshing their talents when they play, categories blur or rather dissolve. What they bring with them is a kind of oceanic experience. 

Joey Baron is at home in contemporary jazz. He is one of John Zorn’s favorite drummers and can often be heard alongside Bill Frisell; he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Jim Hall and Carmen McRae; and has also spanned the Atlantic in his recent work with Jakob Bro as well as made a CD in duet with Irène Schweizer on Intakt Records. Robyn Schulkowsky moved from the USA to Europe, where she collaborated on and brought to life the works of New Music’s greats. There is hardly a high-ranking avant-garde composer missing from the list: she has worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, Luciano Berio, Christian Wolff. From the very beginning she was a sound innovator. 

Now You Hear Me. Invocative, making the presence of a condition felt, appropriating and relinquishing – everyday reality and ritual. Now.

1. Castings 12:20
2. Passage 32:41
3. The Gaze 17:28
4. Just Listen 05:59

Joey Baron: Drums, Percussion
Robyn Schulkowsky: Drums, Percussion

Wayne Powers - If Love Were All (KABOCKIE RECORDS August 3, 2018)

Life goes by too quickly. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Wayne Powers recorded his last CD, “Plain Old Me” with his Los Angeles “Hoi Polloi” band in 1993. But simple math can be unforgiving. In the intervening quarter century, Powers’ life has been full with both the poignant and the joyous — as all lives are. Over the last few years, Wayne has been busy working on getting his “chops” backup with the idea of returning to the studio and giving voice to the last 25 years of life and love as he’s lived it and felt it. “I’ve got so much inside me still left unsung,” says Powers, “and so, with The Great American Songbook as my script, I’ve chosen some truly classic, compelling tunes which speak deeply to me and, hopefully, to you. Some you’ll know and a few you may not be familiar with — yet.”

The result is Powers’ personal yet universal saga of love lost and love found. We’ve all been there. Each tune on this album explores with authenticity a different aspect of an eternal story you’re sure to recognize. There’s a choice array of torch songs, or what Wayne and other crooners call ‘Saloon Songs’ — heartfelt ballads that will bring to mind a jukebox, wet quarters and soggy dollar bills in some dimly lit bar room. And then there are those uplifting tunes of love’s pure, unbridled joy. It’s all captured on this album. Wayne says, “I’m excited and honored to work with some top-flight jazz musicians on this live-in-studio recording: Ziad Rabie, Sax. Keith Davis, Piano. Ron Brendle, Acoustic Bass. Al Sergel, Drums.” This is a magical combination of talent that makes each of the 14 tunes sparkle and resonate in their own unique way. Powers invites you to “...share in the musical and lyrical truth, love and joy which we all brought to this special project, appropriately titled, “IF LOVE WERE ALL.”

The album will be available for digital download on most major online music platforms, as well as a CD  and as a limited edition 180-gram audiophile vinyl double LP.

1. Never Let Me Go - 2:51 Livingston/Evans
2. You’ve Changed - 3:14 Carey/Fischer
3.All Of Me-4:12 Simons/Marks
4. Body And Soul - 3:54 Green/Heyman/Sour/Eyton
5. Lush Life - 3:33 Strayhorn
6. When Your Lover Has Gone - 4:26 Swan
7. Willow Weep For Me - 4:22 Ronell
8. You Don’t Know What Love Is - 4:28 de Paul/Raye
9. If Love Were All - 2:29 Coward
10. Just in Time - 3:04 Styne/Green/Comden
11. East Of The Sun (West of the Moon) - 3:17 Bowman
12.IOnlyHaveEyesforYou-3:28 Warren/Dubin
13. Time After Time - 3:28 Cahn/Styne
14. Smile - 3:30 Turner/Parsons/Chaplin

Wayne Powers - vocals
Ziad Rabie - tenor sax
Keith Davis - piano
Ron Brendle - acoustic bass
Al Sergel - drums

272 State Route 94 South #1, Warwick, NY 10990-3363
Ph: 845-986-1677
“Specializing in Media Campaigns for the music community, artists, labels, venues and events.”

Naphta - Naphta and The Shamans (ASTIGMATIC RECORDS 2018)

After a well received debut album, ‘7th Expedition’ (Transatlantyk), numerous vinyl EP’s including Studio Barnhus, OMENA, Father And Son Records and Tapes, and several live acts, which have taken him to South Korea and Japan; Musician, DJ and Producer Naphta, a graduate of RBMA in 2011, returns with a new LP, “Naphta & The Shamans”. 

Naphta’s use of creative sampling is his foundation. Whilst recording his first LP, Naphta was gifted with samples sent by musicians from around the world. However, with the new album the creative process changed. The artist stepped away from sampling and turned to instruments, an electric and bass guitar, percussion, keys and drum machines. Despite his departure from sampling, influences from African, Jazz and Electronic music can still be heard, but these are secondary to the prominent presence of Psychedelic Rock. ‘Sending tracks around the Globe is interesting and leads to cool effects but this time I wanted to place emphasis on my interpersonal interactions with the musicians I collaborated with.’ - Naphta says. 

The result of this new approach is an exciting 10 track LP, where Purple Dubstep is mixed with Jazz, Psychedelic Rock is blended with UK Funky and Shamanic Dub is fused with Ambient. The LPs story is bound together by the first and last tracks, ‘Dim Daybreak’ and ‘Pale Dusk’ both featuring the vocals of Jaq Merner, lead vocalist of Kroki. 

‘I’m escaping from making music with the use of vocals, specifically lyrics, which can change at any time. However, in this case, Jaq sang abstract phrases, which helped to create and emphasise a sense of escapism, the key theme of the album.’  Naphta says 

A variety of genres are drawn upon to create the story of this album. ‘Explorer’s Judgement’ takes influence from Disco, Dubstep shapes ‘Stalking Knights’, Indie Rock is channelled in ‘Frozen Paths’ and Dub is featured in ‘Firelink Strine’. Here, Naphta cherry picks the elements from each genre which best fit his vision. ‘Recreating the past or paying homages isn't my main priority. Throughout my life, I have found that I've been accompanied by a variety of different music, and for this reason I strive to show diversity in my compositions.’ Naphta says. 

‘Naphta & Shamans’ is a thrilling album with an exciting, yet unexpected style, shape-shifting in sound. You may hear Shamanic percussion or the rhythmic sounds of the drum machines, but nevertheless you can still hear it's the same artist who recorded ‘7th Expedition’. ‘In contrast to my debut album, I didn't create a narrative to accompany the music. I decided to allow the music to tell the story through sound, and that's why the order of the tracks is so important. I want the listener to be able to follow a story, identify a main character and discover their fate. In some sense I have taken influence from the narration technique of Hidetaki Miyazaki, creator of the game series ‘Dark Souls’, which had a massive impact on me. The album is constructed with cyclic listening, everyone can discover something different and change the narrative - Naphta says. 

This album is the result of a collective effort. The ample list of contributors credited on the album reflect the many jam sessions held during its creation. Marcin Mrówka (Bluszcz) assisted with the development of compositions and production. Electric guitarist, Vojto Monteur and base guitarist ,Paweł Stachowiak both from EABS can be heard on some of the tracks. Also, Bartosz Kruczyński (Ptaki, Earth Trax) makes a guest appearance, just to name a few. The cover by Zbiok Czajkowski reflects an ambitious narrative. ‘I wanted something that would connect with psychedelia and also give a nod to Kitsch. Something along the lines of an Iron Maiden cover, specifically ‘World of Warhammer 40K, fantasy’. A cover which could suggest the story of the album, but not necessarily.’

. Dim Daybreak 04:57
2. Endurance 06:06
3. Thom's Beach 03:50
4. Jungle of Doom 04:05
5. Crystal Lizard 03:26
6. Frozen Paths 04:28
7. Stalking Knights 03:46
8. Firelink Shrine 03:10
9. Explorer's Judgment 04:53
10. Pale Dusk 03:28

Written, produced and mixed by Pawel ‘Naphta’ Klimczak (5 co-written by Marcin Mrówka) 

Naphta - guitar, bass guitar, drum programming, synths, percussion 

The Shamans: 
Jaq Merner - vocals (1, 10) 
Michał Szczepaniec - percussion, keys (1, 8) 
Marcin Mrówka - add. production (1, 2, 3), guitar (5) 
Kasia Konachowicz - percussion (2) 
Vojto Monteur - guitars (1) 
Paweł Stachowiak - bass guitar (7) 
Bartosz Kruczyński - add. production (8), synth (10) 
Grzegorz Staniek - drums (9) 
Kuba Kutera - guitar (9) 
Jan Stulin - synths (9)

EABS - Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) Live at Jazz Club Hipnoza (Katowice) ASTIGMATIC RECORDS 2018

At the invitation of Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice festival, Wrocław’s Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions septet releases a special concert album! A limited vinyl record contains a full performance which took place at Jazz Club Hipnoza last December. The band continues the tradition of Polish Jazz school whilst keeping up with the world renaissance of the genre. 

The debut album was surely quite an entrance into jazz scene. EABS have delighted both listeners and critics with their “Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda)” album which creatively develops the compositions of the most outstanding artist in the history of Polish jazz. Dozens of reviews have been written while the album has made it to most of the yearly recaps, winning numerous awards. It’s “the best thing that’s happened nationwide to Krzysztof Komeda’s legacy since Tomasz Stańko’s Litania”, as Bartek Chaciński’s noticed in his review for Polityka. 

The grand entrance has resulted in the proposal to release a concert album. EABS have made an effort to present Komeda’s compositions in yet another captivating way. At times they would make them more lirycal and at times more avant-garde, depending from the venue and the audience. In mid-December 2017, at a special invitation from the creators of Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice Festival, the band gave a performance which was being recorded. It was their 22nd performance after the May premiere of “Repetitions…”. All the experience they had gained during the tour resulted in an unforgettable concert at the Jazz Club Hipnoza in Katowice. 

“It turns out that Krzysztof Komeda’s finesse, once equal to Miles Davis’s modality magnified in Poland by Andrzej Wajda and Janusz Morgenstern, is perfectly understood by the EABS crew. Normally, a judgement like this can only be formed after a live performance, whereas in this case certain magic took over both the audience and the musicians from the start. It wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for a well-oiled machine that EABS had become before December 2017” – to quote Michał Margański, Polish Radio Three. 

The LP with the studio version of the album is sold out and, according to off-the-record information, is not going to be repressed. However, thanks to the cooperation of More Music Agency, organizers of Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice and Astigmatic Records, EABS’s publishers, band’s concert LP will be available for sale. This 180 gram double LP limited to 1000 copies is titled "Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) Live at Jazz Club Hipnoza (Katowice)". In order to make the performance even more energetic, the band played along with guest musicians and decided to exclude ballads from the setlist, supplementing it with two previously unpublished, over 10-minute suites - "Kraksa" and "Svantetic". 

Lauri Porra: Entropia (BIS 2018)

Great-grandson of composer Jean Sibelius, Lauri Porra began playing the cello at the age of six, but later switched to bass guitar. In addition to his work as a composer for orchestra, film and media, he is a member of the heavy metal band Stratovarius with which he has recorded four albums and performed concerts in over 60 countries. Highly versatile, Porra also leads his own Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble, combining musical styles ranging from rock and jazz to classical, electronic and film music. Entropia, his concerto for electric bass and orchestra, was premièred by the composer and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra at the concert that opened the 2015 season, Jean Sibelius s 150th anniversary year. On this recording, the concerto is preceded by the three-part Domino Suite, which features substantial solos for piano and jazz drum set. Always open to new collaborations, Porra has also worked with Finnish rapper Paperi T (Henri Pulkkinen) on Kohta, a piece commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The work also exists in an instrumental version and these two incarnations open and close the amply-filled release.

Kohta (2016)
01 Kohta 19'04

Domino Suite (2017) 17'04
02 Stasis 6'04
03 Domino 6'05
04 Surrender 4'55

Entropia (2015) Concerto for electric bass 28'06
05 I. 9'48
06 II. 6'23
07 III. 5'42
08 IV. 6'13

09 Bonus track: Kohta, instrumental version 18'59

Composer Lauri Porra
Performer Paperi T
Lauri Porra
Joonas Riippa
Aki Rissanen
Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Jaakko Kuusisto, conductor

Hoff Ensemble - Polarity (an acoustic jazz project) 2018

POLARITY has been conceived as a cohesive experience where the compositions themselves, the moments of spontaneous inspiration during performance and the natural sound world of the church acoustic all affect the final result. 

"The Elder" was composed in film director Ingmar Bergman's study on the island of Fårö. The ambience in Bergman's house and the view of the unending expanse of the Baltic Sea induced in me a sense of melancholy but also an almost ecstatic mood that resulted in what is really a homage to the legendary director.

The title track "Polarity" started out as an improvisation which I was working into a finished melody. We supplemented the ensemble’s palette of sounds by introducing an analogue synthesizer that grows in intensity, its sound filling the room with autonomous power. 

"Justice" is my emotional response to the experience of witnessing officialdom intervene in a family situation and how this affected all involved. "Innocence" and "Within" both have their take-off point in acutely vulnerable emotional conditions, where to show weakness can be experienced as a sign of strength. "Sacred" is based on a simple major and minor tonality, with the synthesizer and the coll'arco bass line central elements.

The character of "Euphoria" is elated – the spontaneous improvisation between the piano and drums driving the melody to a no-holds-barred level of energy. "Beginning", with its minimalistic calm, is in marked contrast; dark melancholy and gloom find release in a spirit of reconciliation. "Pathway" is a set of variations on a series of chords; the variations unfold with the piano and double bass taking on different roles as the piece develops. "Home" was originally composed as a backdrop to Knut Hamsun's poem "I ungdommens vår" (In the Spring of Youth) but has been fleshed out to a trio ballad. 

The idea to work on a project for a trio came to me a few years ago, but it is only recently that the idea has really begun to take form. The choice of musicians was not difficult, with Audun Kleive and Anders Jormin both having long track records on the Scandinavian jazz scene, and both still eager to explore and energize the established trio format. This is the first time the three of us have made a recording like this together, vacating the usual studio setting in favour of the acoustics of a church. My main goal is to create a specific identity for each album and to make the music come alive.

"My main goal is to create a specific identity for each album I make. This time I chose to involve Anders Jormin and Audun Kleive, two of Scandinavia's finest jazz artists. The result is Polarity, an album based on both new and older compositions of mine, recorded in a unique acoustic setting" — Jan Gunnar Hoff 2018

1 Innocence 5:07
2 Revamp 4:35
3 The Elder 6:45
4 Polarity 4:54
5 Beginning 3:14
6 Justice 4:53
7 Moving 3:42
8 Euphoria 2:43
9 Within 5:59
10 Sacred 3:01
11 Pathway 7:47
12 Home 5:55

Hoff Ensemble 
Jan Gunnar Hoff, piano 
Anders Jormin, bass 
Audun Kleive, drums

Go March - Chop Chop (September 28, 2018)

Here’s our new single ‘Chop Chop’. It’s an early taste of our new album ‘II’ which is out on September 28th.

You don’t hear much treadmill-friendly future-rock; the worlds of cerebral guitar soundscapes and sweaty circuit training rarely cross over. As the title of our new single might suggest, ‘Chop Chop’ is a call to action. Even recording it almost became a competition.

“’Chop Chop’ was a bit alien, it started with an old drum machine I had that was bigger than a computer,” recalls guitar wizard Philipp Weies. “I ran it through this filter and it went on for seven minutes, it got crazier and crazier and more distorted. Then our keyboardist, Hans, he found this sound, made it way faster, and we thought ‘whoa’ – then we had to keep up with the tempo.”

The finished track wound up as a nine-minute ever-expanding epic: put it on repeat and that’s the soundtrack for your next interplanetary 10k sorted. And there’s more to come, although not always in the same ballistic ballpark. ‘Chop Chop’ is an early taste of our second album, ‘II’, and though this first track is momentous, much of the hugely confident new offering pushes the trio’s sound beyond the thrust of that debut collection. ‘II’ is released on September 28th, and pre-orders are available via

Go March are Philipp Weies (guitars), Hans De Prins (synths) and Antoni Foscez (drums)