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Articles by John Eyles

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Two major releases from Ferran Fages

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The Barcelona-born guitarist, turntablist, electronicist, improviser and composer Ferran Fages has been releasing albums since the turn of the millennium. If his profile has not been as high as it might have been that may be because many of those albums have not been credited to him but to ensembles of which he is a member such as Cremaster, Atalón and Octante; in such groupings he has tended to be featured on turntables or electronics rather than guitar.

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Diatribes: Echoes & Sirens

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This four-track, forty-one-minute vinyl LP is the follow-up to Diatribes' 2015 Aussenraum LP, Great Stone/Blood Dunza, and completes a dub-influenced trilogy that began with Augustus (INSUB, 2013). Unlike those two albums which featured the basic duo version of Diatribes, on Echoes & Sirens Cyril Bondi and d'incise are joined by electric bassist Raphael Ortis and a horn section of alto and tenor saxophones, trumpet and trombone. As bass and horns were often key ingredients of classic dub, these added elements ...

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Two contrasting releases from Charlotte Hug on the Fundacja Słuchaj! label

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For many followers of improvised music, their first experience of Switzerland's Charlotte Hug was around the turn of the millennium, as a viola player, an instrument on which she was classically trained. In collaborations such as the all-female trio with Maggie Nicols and Caroline Kraabel, or the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), she soon gained a reputation as a striking performer who was not shy of deploying innovative or experimental playing techniques. Gradually, the picture of Hug was filled ...

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Fourth Page: The Forest from Above

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It is a pleasure to welcome this new album by the quartet Fourth Page. After a flurry of activity in 2011, during which they released three albums, including their previous Leo recording, Blind Horizons, the group stayed together until 2013. Following a four-year break to work on other projects (during which guitarist-vocalist Charlie Beresford and pianist Carolyn Hume recorded with classically-trained cellist Sonia Hammond), the original foursome, with bassist Peter Marsh and drummer Paul May, reunited and recorded this album ...

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New releases from Jürg Frey, Clara de Asis and Stefan Thut

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If you were told that a record label's latest batch of three albums were by Jürg Frey, Clara de Asis and Stefan Thut, and then asked to identify the label, which one would you be most likely to choose? Many in-the-know music fans might be likely to opt for Another Timbre or maybe Wandelweiser or INSUB, none of which is the correct answer. In fact, albums by those three musicians constitute the second batch of releases from the Elsewhere label, ...

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Trio Blurb: W

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Trio Blurb--the combination of Maggie Nichols' voice, Mia Zabelka's violin and voice, and John Russell's guitar--first came together in 2010 at the Alpenglow II--Styria meets UK festival in London. In June 2011 they played together at The Vortex, where the guitarist hosts his long-running monthly improv music club, Mopomoso. The results of that Vortex performance were released in 2013 by the Austrian Extraplatte label. Prior to that release the trio was unnamed but when Zabelka asked for some info for ...

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Alex Ward Item 10: Volition (Live at Café Oto)

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Although he was already a member of a lengthy list of ensembles, led by himself or others, when composer, improviser, clarinetist and guitarist Alex Ward put together his Item 10 band he had new ideas in mind; the ten musicians would be a pool from which ensembles of various sizes could be drawn for different musical ends. In choosing the personnel of past groups Ward has shown an excellent knowledge of the players at his disposal from different backgrounds and ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

John Butcher

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In the Building a Jazz Library article on Evan Parker, it says that seasoned Parker followers would describe him as the finest improvising saxophonist of his generation. Curiously, many of those same people would use exactly that phrase about John Butcher. The simple explanation for this apparent contradiction is that we are talking about two generations; Parker (born 1944) is a member of the “first generation of free improvisation" (along with Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, John Stevens, Paul Rutherford, Barry ...

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Another Timbre completes its Canadian Composers Series

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In the spring of 2017, Another Timbre released the first five recordings of a ten-disc series dedicated to Canadian composers. The discs were accompanied by a booklet that contained interviews with each of the eight composers (eight not ten, because two of the composers have two discs each in the series). It demonstrated that the eight were a disparate group in terms of their country of birth, country of residence, age, musical style and experience. Despite that, those first five ...

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Arve Henriksen: The Height of the Reeds

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For the year 2017, Hull, a northern port on the east coast of England, was selected as the UK City of Culture. This led to the city commissioning or organising a series of artistic and cultural events throughout the year. One such event was the commissioned work “The Height of the Reeds" which celebrated the long seafaring relationship between Hull and Scandinavia. Composed by the Norwegians Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang, for three months from April ...

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Magnus Granberg: Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide

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In recent years Magnus Granberg has become so prevalent that it is surprising to note his first CD did not come out until 2008, a limited-edition release with the ensemble Skogen. After a stuttering start, recordings came regularly after his first Another Timbre recording, Ist Gefallen in Den Schnee (2012), attracted glowing reviews. Now, Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide is Granberg's seventh Another Timbre album in as many years. Across the previous six, he has employed ensembles ranging ...

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Two on Umlaut Records with bassist Sébastien Beliah

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The Paris-based double-bassist and composer Sébastien Beliah has quite a history, being in smaller ensembles such as Wark (alongside alto saxophonist Marc Baron, tenor saxophonist Antoine Daures and percussionist Guillaume Dommartin), R.Mutt (with alto saxophonist Pierre-Antoine Badaroux and percussionist Antonin Gerbal) and Un Poco Loco (with tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Geoffroy Grombone and trombonist Fidel Fourneyron), and also in much larger bands like ONCEIM, Umlaut Big Band--see him in the YouTube clip below--and Ensemble Hodos, which he directs. Two 2018 releases on ...