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Since its debut on two releases from 2011 and 2012 (the live Hit & Run with Joe Talia and the studio Audience of One), the epic structured improvisational piece ‘Knots’ has formed a staple of Oren Ambarchi’s live performances. Like a jazz musician searching for ever-new ways to play a standard, the guitarist has repeatedly brought the piece to life in a variety of settings ranging from guitar/drums duets to a large ensemble replete with string section, with each iteration bringing with it new variations of tone, intensity and character. Knotting presents the entirety of a beautifully-recorded set performed by Ambarchi and the astonishing Australian- French drum virtuoso Will Guthrie in Geneva in February 2019. Beginning with a delicately played but rapid and insistent ride cymbal rhythm over which Ambarchi layers his signature shimmering Leslie cabinet guitar tones and eventually building, as the piece always does, to a peak of caterwauling harmonic fuzz and thundering drums, the recording also shows the pair taking risks and pushing the piece into new directions, especially in Guthrie’s willingness to let the central pulse momentarily die away or only barely be implied as his main focus of attention turns to instantaneous responses to the subtle rhythmic suggestions of Ambarchi’s shuddering guitar tones. Ambarchi’s performance also demonstrates the ever-evolving nature of his relationship with the guitar, making space for some of the more harmonically uneasy yet subtly lyrical playing (in a tone calling to mind the 80s guitar-synth work of Pat Metheny or Bill Frisell) that has emerged in his recent solo work. Ending with a remarkable coda where Guthrie’s bells and cymbals suddenly transforms the performance into something like Tibetan temple music, Knotting is an essential snapshot of the workof two musicians not content to repeat themselves.

Pre-order. Stock due aprox 18.6.19 Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi (1932 - 1991) was a maverick Japanese guitarist, a revolutionary spirit whose oeuvre embodied the radical political movements of late ‘60s Japan. Having cut his teeth as an accomplished Lennie Tristano disciple playing cool jazz in the late ‘50s, Takayanagi had his mind blown by the Chicago Transit Authority’s “Free Form Guitar” in 1969 and promptly turned his back on the jazz scene by which he was beloved, going as far as to call his former peers and admirers “a bunch of losers” in the press. Takayanagi had found a new direction, an annihilation of jazz and its associated idolatry of hegemonic American culture. Aiming his virtuoso chops towards the stratosphere, Takayanagi dedicated himself to the art of the freakout, laying waste to tradition left and right, most notably via the all-out assault of his aptly-named New Direction for the Arts (later New Direction Unit) and collaborations with like-minded outsider saxophonist Kaoru Abe. His innovations on the instrument parallel those of Sonny Sharrock and Derek Bailey and paved the way for the Japanese necromancy of Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, but even at its most limitless hurdling Takayanagi’s playing is propelled by the dexterous grasp of his foundations, to which he paid tribute with elegant takes on flamenco and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman.” In the autumn of his life, Takayanagi’s solo Action Direct performances made him one of the first guitarists, alongside but independent of Keith Rowe, to use tabletop guitar for pure noise improvisation. Culled from 1975 sessions by the Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit, April is the cruellest month was originally slated for release on ESP-Disk before the pioneering free jazz label’s untimely demise that year, eventually being released on a 1991 CD in Japan. Part of the period of Takayanagi’s career which he termed “Non-Section Music,” one can only imagine how its unholy racket might have altered an international understanding of Japanese noise had the LP reached American shores upon its inception. On “We Have Existed” and “What Have We Given?”, the classic lineup of Takayanagi with Kenji Mori (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) prove that free improvisation was thriving well beyond Western Europe with a set of dilapidated, spacious clanging, Takayanagi’s squalling feedback and Mori’s Eric Dolphy moves undulating atop the joyous clamor. The cataclysmic “My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart” is another story altogether. With the vertiginous abandon of a jet engine, the unit immediately launches into an unrelenting sidelong barrage of frenzied, blistering noise. Infernal sheets of contorted sound find the berserk instrumentalists hopelessly entangled as they urge the explosion deeper and deeper into ecstatic oblivion. Takayanagi’s finely honed guitar abuse, Ino’s demonic squirming, and Mori’s ferocious reed attack occasionally rise above the din only to subsumed once more by the maelstrom. And then, twenty minutes later, it’s over as quickly as it began. Rivaled in intensity only by John Coltrane’s The Olatunji Concert, Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun, and Dave Burrell’s Echo, April is the cruellest month finally, deservedly sees the light of day on the vinyl format for which it was originally conceived, marking the first issue of Takayanagi’s music outside of Japan.

Written in Woodstock between August 1979 and September 1980 and dedicated to Stockhausen, Composition 96 is a piece for orchestra and four slide projectors intended, says Braxton, "to celebrate the composite inter-relationship between dynamic symbolism and positive world change."  Composition 96 is, says Anthony Braxton, a key work in his music's evolution. This is true both on the structural level, where 96 is "a point of definition" in his development of "multiple line musics"; and on the spiritual or "vibrational" (to use Braxton's term) level where it is the second in his series of "ritual and ceremonial" pieces in which he employs "correspondance logics" to explore music's links with colour, shape, symbol, gesture, astrology and numerology. The visual components of Composition 96 are based on "12 symbols from various world culture religions and/or mystical teachings" (the remaining 4 symbols being created by various combinations of the original 12).  --- The Composers and Improvisors Orchestra are: Denny Goodhew / alto saxDeborah De Loria / bassScott Weaver / bassRay Downey / bass clarinetMarlene Weaver / bassoonMarjorie Parbington / celloPage Smith-Weaver / celloScott Threlkold / celloPaul Pearse / clarinetBill Smith / clarinetBob Davis / english hornDenise Pool / fluteRebecca Morgan / fluteNancy Hargerud / fluteRichard Reed / french hornMotter Dean / harpAileen Munger / oboeLauurri Uhlig / oboeEd Hartman / percussionMatt Kocmieroski / percussionJulian Priester / tromboneScott Reeves / tromboneDave Scott / trumpetJames Knapp / trumpetRick Bynes / tubaBeatrice Dolf, Betty Agent, Jean Word, Sam Williams / violaJeannine Davis, Julian Smedley, Libby Poole, Mathew Pederson, Becky Liverzey, Jeroen Van Tyn, Mary Jacobson, Sandra Guy / violin --- Written for 37-piece orchestra and four slide projectors by Anthony Braxton. Recorded by the Composers and Improvisors Orchestra at the Cornish Institute, Seattle, Washington, May 30, 1981 and dedicated to the master composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.  Conducted by Anthony Braxton. Published by Synthesis Music. Produced by Leo Feigin. Remastered by Alan Mosley.

"Tim Feeney seeks to explore and examine the timbral possibilities inherent in everyday found and built objects. He treats his percussion setup as a friction instrument, using bows, scrapers, and rosined drumheads to capture and amplify frequencies that go unheard when an object is struck with a traditional mallet. He supplements this acoustic console with an electronic instrument, arranged from mixers, contact microphones, and effects pedals, that synthesizes and alters the spectral characteristics of low-fidelity tones, feedback, and noise. Tim worked for years within Boston’s timbral improvising community, a group of musicians interested in unstable sounds and silences, exploring austere#combinations of sound and the otherworldly ripple effects that pulse through#a silent space and alert ears. He has performed with musicians including thereminist James Coleman, cellist/electronic musician Vic Rawlings, pianist Annie Lewandowski, tape-deck manipulator Howard Stelzer, trumpeter Nate Wooley, sound artists Jed Speare and Ernst Karel, saxophonist Jack Wright, the trio Meridian (with percussionists Nick Hennies and Greg Stuart), and#the trio ONDA (with vocalist Ken Ueno and violinist Hillary Zipper. His concerts have been held at experimental spaces such as the Red Room in#Baltimore, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knitting Factory New York, and the Stone, as well as the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC-Berkeley, the Stanford#Art Museum, Princeton University, and Dartmouth College." --- Performed and recorded by Tim Feeney in Berkshire, NY, and Tuscaloosa, AL, 2010-2013.