Roebke, a key player in the ever expanding Chicago scene, can be heard in Mike Reed's People, Places and Things, The Jeb Bishop Trio, Jason Adasiewicz Rolldown, Jason Stein's Locksmith Isadore, and bands led by Keefe Jackson and Aram Shelton. Born in Great Britain but now claiming Amsterdam as his home, Delius is a regular member of the ICP Orchestra, Available Jelly, and Sean Bergin's MOB. He also leads his own quartet and has a steady duo with bassist Wilbert de Joode.
The eight improvised tracks presented here are an audiophile's dream. The deft tactile recording captures every breath, vocalization, and stroke. We hear saxophone keys fingered and bass strings pulled, plucked, caressed, and grazed. Roebke and Delius are satisfied to apply a coolheaded, imperturbable sound here. They promenade each piece without conflicts. The music draws from a traditional sound like Lester Young or Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus or Oscar Pettiford, refurbished for a 21st century context by applying extended technique and freedom from strict song forms.
Masami Akita & Kiyoshi Mizutani
If Masami Akita, aka Merzbow had a Teo Macero, he would be a household name. Well, at least he would be an improvised music lover's homestead favorite.
It wasn't until after the death of Miles Davis that Sony Records began releasing all the raw studio material the trumpeter recorded for albums like In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969), Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), and A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1970). Sometimes, hearing the final product players like John McLaughlin and Chick Corea could barely recognize their studio work. Miles, actually more like producer Teo Macero, took pieces and parts of studio sessions, snipped, cut, and looped tape (manually because there were no digital studios back then) to assemble the now famous LPs.
Merzbow's LPs, CDs, digital downloads, and cassettes skip the middle man. He provides the material raw. Without a Teo Macero, his music is noise, and noise is the genre he dominates as an innovator. He has collaborated with Mats Gustafsson, Balázs Pándi, Mike Patton, Sonic Youth, Lasse Marhaug, Richard Pinhas, Elliott Sharp, and Jamie Saft.
Of late, he has released the session tapes that have become the stuff of his earliest releases. While his music is always unprocessed, these sessions provide a bone-chilling and often mind-numbing assault of uncooked din. Duo follows the box compilations Merzbient in CD (Soleilmoon, 2010) and in LP (Soleilmoon, 2012), Merzphysics and Merzmorphosis (Youth Inc., 2012).
The 10-CD box and limited edition box with a bonus CD, Duo, delivers source tapes for the SCUM cut-up LPs Merzbow released in the1980s. Recorded between 1987 and 1989, Merzbow then was a collaboration between Masami Akita (the man we now know as Merzbow) and fellow noise artist Kiyoshi Mizutani. These sessions are a significant piece of the Merzbow story, in that they expand and flesh out the experimentation of Akita in those early years. Duo has, of course plenty of harsh feedback sections that are meditatively worthy. In those years, before laptop and digital performance, the pair utilized a plethora of instruments from drums to guitars, radios, metal boxes strung with piano wire, and audio mixers. The sounds are comparable to John Zorn's Parachute Years 1977-80 (Tzadik, 1997), but much (much) more harsh. Interspersed between the noise are some rocked out sections that could be mistaken for Thurston Moore's music, a nice blues guitar duet, and some percussive jamming. All of which makes this, perhaps the most accessible Merzbow release (that's not any oxymoron) to date.
Rachel Musson/ Liam Noble/ Mark Sanders
An early flicker of recognition for saxophonist Rachel Musson happened in the year 2000 with the release of drummer Federico Ughi's The Space Within (SLAM). Her blip in the world of recorded music was just two tracks, but the significance was indeed profound. She surfaced again with her own quintet Skein with Flight Line (F- IRE, 2010).
Her music begins with Sonny Rollins circa 1961 on the Williamsburg bridge as she deals with the tsunami that was Ornette Coleman, John Gilmore, and John Coltrane, then branches outward embracing the European influences of the horn.