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Axis/Another Revolvable Thing is the second installment of Blank Forms’ archival reissues of the music of Japan’s eternal revolutionary Masayuki Takayanagi, following April is the cruellest month, a 1975 studio record by his New Direction Unit. Comprised of recordings of a September 5, 1975 concert by the New Direction Unit at Yasuda Seimei Hall in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the two-part set showcases Takayanagi in deep pursuit of what he began calling “non-section music” after leaping beyond the confines of his prior descriptor “real jazz.” The quartet of Takayanagi (guitar), Kenji Mori (reeds), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) deftly explores the twin poles of Takayanagi’s spacious “gradually projection” and explosively virulent “mass projection” concepts across six pieces, titled Fragments I - VI. Originally issued in two individual LP volumes in rearranged order, this CD edition presents the Another Revolvable Thing concert in chronological sequence for the first time, with “gradually projection” pieces on the first disc and “mass projection” eruptions on the second.As part of his liner notes for the original records (newly translated for this edition), noted Japanese free jazz critic Teruto Soejima wrote:"New Direction Unit performances always emit the smell of blood. Fresh blood, never blood that is old or crusted. This is not the desiccated shell of music, it's sound through which pumps the blood of living human beings. Blood that seethes, that flows and counterflows, that blazes, runs, rises and congeals, blood that vomits and spurts. Vivid, scarlet blood. The ultimate beauty that Takayanagi aims at, is it not the color of this blood?Blood calls out to blood. For these four musicians, playing together means feasting on each other’s blood. It is also a summoning to a secret blood oath, to the creation of solidarity with the audience. In the moment, truly, the situation and beauty are instantaneously unified. To borrow the title of a movie by Kōji Wakamatsu: blood is redder than the sun." --- 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. 

Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit – Axis​/​Another Revolvable Thing 2CD

Silvia Tarozzi, inspired by the poet Alda Merini and her studies with composer Garret List, worked with intimate personal history to write songs of love, motherhood, and the mystery hidden behind the curtain of everyday life. Over the course of nearly a decade, Tarozzi practiced setting the poetry of Alda Merini to music and then replacing it with her own to reflect her own life experiences. As a result, ‘Mi specchio e rifletto’ feels both poetic and earnestly autobiographical.A longtime collaborator of Eliane Radigue and a talented free improvisor, Tarozzi inspires as sensitive awareness while echoing progressive music forebearers. Past masterpieces reverberate throughout: the gentle chamber explorations of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the science fiction of Franco Battiato’s 'Fetus', the abstract free jazz flourishes of Maria Monti’s 'Il Bestiario', the sweetness of Caterina Caselli’s 'Primavera'.As a solo performer, Tarozzi has collaborated with composers Eliane Radigue, Pascale Criton, Cassandra Miller and Martin Arnold. In duo with Deborah Walker, and as a member of Ensemble Dedalus, she has worked with Christian Wolff, Jürg Frey, Michael Pisaro, Catherine Lamb, Sébastien Roux, and many others. She previously released Philip Corner 'Extreemizms: early & late' on Unseen Worlds in 2018.  --- Silvia Tarozzi, voice, violin, keyboards, piano, casio sk-8, midi keyboards, slide guitars, accordion, field recordingsEdoardo Marraffa, tenor and sopranino saxDomenico Caliri, electric and acoustic guitarDeborah Walker, celloEnrico Lazzarini, double-bassVincenzo Vasi, electric bassCaterina Romano, flute, piccoloJessica Colarelli, clarinetTiziano Popoli, pianoValentina Malanot, voiceMusic and lyrics by Silvia TarozziRecorded and pre-mixed by Enzo Cimino between December 2015 and February 2016 at Vignola (home studio) and Bologna (SoundLab studio) and by Tiziano Popoli in January 2019 at Vignola (Popoli home studio), Italy.Mixed and mastered by Bob Drake between June 2016 and October 2019 at Studio Midi-Pyrénées, La Borde Basse (Caudeval), France.“Mi specchio e rifletto” and “Anna”, mixed by Silvia Tarozzi in April 2019.

Silvia Tarozzi – Mi specchio e rifletto

Ballads of a troubadour from Gobi Desert in Central Asia. Wang Xiao was born in Karamay, Xinjiang in 1966. His parents are oil exploration workers. From childhood, he followed his parents to live and grow up in the wilderness of Gobi Desert. In 1989 he quit his oil field job and started traveling as a troubadour. He has lived in Tibet for 10 years and now resides in Yunnan. “In my memory, there is no ‘home’ concept, just keep moving from place to place”. The album is clearly not “indie city folk”, nor is it “world music”. However, after years of immersion in the vein of Central Asian culture, the influence of traditional music from various Central Asian regions is obvious. The whole album is dark and deep, like the rocks in the desert. The occasional overtone singing plays well with the dombra tone, the musician is seeking the divine nature of the universe. “Folk singers in the past were poets and sorcerers themselves. They could only sing after divination and sacrifice, or by helping people to predict diseases, fortunes, planting and family affairs. Folk singers should be the ones who atone for the lives.”The symbolic and poetic lyrics are also an important part for the album. With Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava), Edward Sanderson and Josh Feola's help, we included the full Chinese lyrics with English translation, it will help the listener to have a better understanding of Wang Xiao’s music.The album was recorded in the winter of 2007 in Beijing. “At that time, it was just me, Wu Junde and Wu Tun to do this recording. They bought me some wine, we drank them and recorded the album (dombra and vocal) for only two hours, then I went back to Tibet right after.” Wu Junde and Obul added tanbur, mouth harp, more vocals and percussions afterward. “We didn’t feel it’s a very good album at first. The tempo is not always right because we didn’t use a metronome, but as you listened to it for a long time, it was great. It's a record that can't be repeated, because it's made at one go, and it's very straight.”Previously self-published as CDr in 2010, now we reissue this album as a Ten Year Anniversary Edition, with new graphic design and a bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016. All tracks are carefully remastered by our friend Cyril Meysson.“Black Horse River, for me, is my real motherland.” – Wang Xiao“His voice is original, it’s a blend of a shaman and the characteristics of the nomadic people. His way to play dombra is unusual, not with the finger but a plectrum, that makes the music fiercer and more rhythmic. Wang Xiao spent many years in Lhasa, he also put the rhythm of the monks chanting into his music, all these make his works dialoguing with the sun and the earth, it contains the essence from the land and the passing time.” - Zhang Zhi 張智(旅行者樂隊)“I came up with the nickname ‘Folk shaman’. I met Wang Xiao back in 2002-2003, when he was still a rock-n-roll young guy in Shenzhen, but his mental state was like channeling with a shaman or a minstrel. It may have something to do with his life experience, mysterious and unique.” - Wu Junde --- Music/Lyrics/Vocals: Wang Xiao(Except "Wild Geese" Lyrics by Sa Dao & Wang Xiao, "Cover Song" Original singer Li Shirong, Music/Lyrics by Lei Zhenbang, rearranged by Wang Xiao)Dombra: Wang Xiao (Track 1-10)Guitar: Wu Junde (Track 1)Mouth Harp: Wu Junde (Track 5)Chorus: Wu Junde (Track 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Tanbur: Wu Junde (Track 4,8)Percussions: Obul (Track 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Recorded by Wu Weiyi in Beijing, China, winter 2007, previously self-released in 2010(Except bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016)Remastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2019English lyrics translated by Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava)Proofread by Edward Sanderson & Josh FeolaCover art: Wang Yuanqing, Photography: Li Ming, Design & Layout: ruò tánSpecial thanks to Wu Tun & Wu Junde

Wang Xiao – The Son of Black Horse River (Ten Year Anniversary Edition)

Chinese free improvisation saxophonist / flutist 老丹 Lao Dan's debut saxophone solo album (previously released in cassette format, sold-out) reissue in 6-panel Digipak CD format, with new artwork. These recordings are from Qinglongdong Tunnel in Hangzhou, China. All natural cave reverbs, the free improvisation of Lao Dan's alto saxophone and the sound of the passengers and the cars were recorded, as every functioning individual."Lao Dan is a monster improviser. I'd never heard of him and I was completely swept away by his powerful playing and concept.""I have this feeling Lao is a soldier that cannot be silenced."Lao Dan is a freelance musician and wind instrument player, who started learning sax at the age of 8 and later turned to Dizi.During 2002 to 2006, he studied dizi in Beijing. In 2007, he was admitted with the highest score to Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), majoring in Dizi. During college, he served as the principal Dizi player of Youth Chinese Orchestra of SYCM.From 2012, he started his research on wind instruments from all over the world, including Jew's harp, Didgeridoo, Bansuri, Bamboo Sax, Duduk, etc. Lao Dan blends his own thoughts into the traditional way of playing Dizi, in which he pays a lot of attention on details of freedom, mood, thought and space. With plenty of performing and recording experience, Lao Dan has been experimenting more on his music since 2014. Based on Dizi and sax, adding various wind instruments and with new elements such as experiment, noise and improvisation, his music has been improved to a more substantial and creative level. He has also been actively cooperating with artists worldwide, including the legendary Japanese drummer Sabu Toyozumi.In 2013, he formed the music group Red Scarf with Deng Boyu and Li Xing, covering a variety of music genres including progressive rock, thrash metal, avant-garde jazz, funk metal and punk rock, and released their eponymous debut album in 2016.In May 2017, Lao Dan finishde recording his first Dizi solo album “Zhui Yun Zhu Meng (追云逐梦)” and it was ready to be released under Modern Sky World Music. In June, he joined a four-country avant-garde saxophone project raised by Japanese label Armageddon Nova, where his own composition “Self-destructive Machine (自毁机器)” is issued.  --- Lao Dan / alto saxophone, chinese flute --- Recorded by 老丹 at Qinglongdong Tunnel, Hangzhou, China23 August & 25 December 2017Mastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2018Photography by 饒依爾 Rao Eer & 若潭 ruò tánTranslation by 呂立揚 Li-YangLayout by 若潭 ruò tán

Lao Dan – Functioning Anomie

Black Truffle’s documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier’s works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross (recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, for whom it was composed, on Black Truffle 033). Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier’s works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behaviour of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. Titled Arc, for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where Double Helix, for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier’s excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier’s continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work.2CD release presented in a deluxe 4-panel digipak with cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier plus a 16-page booklet with live photos. Disc 2 of this release includes the bonus Adaptions for the Ever Present Orchestra featuring two pieces (“Two Circles” and “Braid”) that are not included on the vinyl version. Mastered by Rashad Becker. Design by Lasse Marhaug.

Alvin Lucier – Works for the Ever Present Orchestra

2LP / 2CD

Continuing Black Truffle’s series of releases documenting the recent work of legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier, String Noise presents three major works for violin solo and duo composed between 2004 and 2019. Lucier has developed his compositions in close collaboration with many instrumentalists over the years; the three works presented here are performed by the violinists for whom they were originally written, Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris, who together make up the innovative violin duo String Noise, and have premiered works by a plethora of major figures in contemporary music. The long-form compositions presented here continue Lucier’s life-long exploration of acoustic phenomena, drawing on aspects of some of his most well-known compositions and extending them into new instrumentation. Tapper (2004) extends the experiments with echolocation – gathering information about an environment by listening to the echoes of sounds produced within it – that Lucier began with his classic 1969 work Vespers, where performers explore a space equipped with hand-held pulse oscillators. Here, the same principle is put into practice for solo violin, the body of which the performer taps repeatedly with the butt end of the bow while moving around the performance space. The result is a subtly shifting web of echoes and resonances produced by the reflection of the sharp tap off the surfaces of the room (in this case, the Drawing Center in New York). In Love Song (2016), two violinists are connected by a long wire stretched between the bridges of their instruments, causing the sounds played on one violin to also be heard through the other. As the two violinists play long tones using only the open E string, they move in a circular motion around the performance space, thus changing the tension of the wire, which creates a remarkable array of variations in pitch and timbre ranging from ghostly wavering pitches reminiscent of a singing saw to near-electronic tones. In Halo (2019), one or more violinists walk slowly through the performance space in a zig-zag pattern while sustaining long tones. As in Tapper, the consistent sound production reveals the sonic properties of the environment. As the title of the piece suggests, the outcome is a shimmering halo of sound produced by the reflection of the violin’s extended tones off the walls and ceiling of the performance space (in this case, Alvin's home).  

Alvin Lucier – String Noise

Saltern presents its fifth release, Charles Curtis: Performances & Recordings 1998-2018, the first comprehensive collection of recordings surveying the career of renowned, American cellist Charles Curtis. Selected by Curtis and Tashi Wada from recordings spanning the past two decades, the collection offers a broad, inclusive view of Curtis’s activities across the diverse worlds of music he inhabits, containing rare, unreleased recordings, and never-before-released music by Terry Jennings, Richard Maxfield, Éliane Radigue, Alison Knowles, and Curtis. The wide-ranging scope of this release speaks not to a musical restlessness, but to a genuine spirit of inquiry, as these areas of activity for Curtis have existed concurrently in dialogue, not simply in succession, for decades. Over two hours of music by composers and artists with whom Curtis is closely associated including Éliane Radigue, Guillaume de Machaut, Tobias Hume, Silvestro di Ganassi, Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman, Anton Webern, Olivier Messiaen, Alison Knowles, Richard Maxfield, and Curtis himself. --- “Underpinning everything [Curtis] has achieved is a deep communion with, and a profound technical understanding of, the stuff of sound itself.” – Philip Clark, The Wire Produced by Tashi WadaAdditional mixing by Anthony BurrMastered by Stephan Mathieu Second edition of 500. Liner notes by La Monte Young, Spencer Gerhardt, Curtis, and Tashi Wada. Custom packaging and screen printing by Alan Sherry.

Charles Curtis – Performances & Recordings 1998​-​2018

"Bassist Joëlle Léandre and pianist Elisabeth Harnik have only been playing together since 2016 but this debut CD – a recording from their third ever performance – reveals a duo who have already developed a highly simpatico and sophisticated approach to spontaneous composition that draws equally on elements of free improvisation and contemporary classical music. Rather than the waxing and waning 40 minute set that presently constitutes a lot of live recordings, there is an adroit attention to form in operation here, as the duo present half a dozen perfectly shaped and finely delineated miniatures, ranging from six to 11 minutes long. For much of the time, Léandre favours a high, tightly controlled arco full of fragile harmonic overtones that often sounds more like a cello than a double bass. When Harnik responds with pellucid splashes and rippling hazes, the two are capable of creating sustained moods of gentle wonder and delicacy. Léandre adds an element of enigma with her slightly off-mic vocalising: somewhat absent-minded, more overheard than performed, it´s ephemeral, transitory and soothing in its wordless calm, evoking the private musings of a washerwoman at work or a nursing mother cooing her love. One almost feels compelled to lean in and strain the ears, searching for fleeting meaning in her mysterious mutterings.Many of the pieces are so balanced and sensitively executed that they possess a kind of inevitability. Call it perfection if you prefer. By contrast, the more abstract and experimental gambits gleefully ride a puckish unpredictability: the scritch-scratch of agitated piano strings and polystyrene squeak slotting into Léandre´s multiphonic gossamer arco textures; dirge-like dabs of unhurried bass with arachnoid scuttlings in the body of the piano. But, even at its furthest extent, this music emanates a warmth, a patience and, yes, as the title suggests, a tenderness that´s rarely heard." - Ken Vandermark --- Elisabeth Harnik / piano Joëlle Léandre / double bass --- Mastered by Jean-Marc Foussat. Artwork by Lasse Marhaug.

Leandre-Harnik – Tender Music

"Atlantis is an exhilarating listen, equally thanks to its fierce free jazz and brightly textural abstraction" Antonio Poscic, The WIRE, Feb 2020 Following closely on the heels of his ravishing solo album Tomorrow is Too Late, Stockholm-based synthesist and improviser John Chantler switches gears to unleash the stunning second album by his trio with saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Steve Noble, Atlantis. Chantler is well-known for his solo electronic work, which frequently explodes richly layered ambient soundscapes into visceral explosions and thrilling physicality, to say nothing of his imaginative experimentation with the organ, heard in radically transformed mode on the recent solo recording. But Chantler is equally invested in real-time improvisation and he’s developed a dazzling rapport and sound world with Wright and Noble, two of England’s most distinctive, active, and turbulent figures in spontaneous music over the last couple of decades. The pair has worked together in numerous contexts over the years, but it took Chantler to create an ongoing context for them, and since forming in 2017 the trio’s rigour and level of communication have steadily expanded.“My fantasy idea in the beginning when I wanted to do this trio was thinking about taking Derek Bailey’s role in the Topography of the Lungs trio,” he says, referring to the classic 1970 album with Evan Parker and Han Bennink. “That’s not what happened, but that was my way of imagining how I could make the synthesizer have the kind of range and ability to both comment on stuff and guide and push in certain ways, like Derek did in that group. That remains a kind of ambition even if aesthetically it doesn’t feel very close to that, but that’s how I first thought about what my role would be.” Indeed, Chantler serves as a pesky interrogator, his serrated tones and viscous globules cutting through the kinetic din dished out by Wright and Noble, and on the new album his integration is more fully realised to the point where it’s often impossible to decipher where the output of one musician ends—the sibilant bowed cymbals of Noble or the feedback-laced lines of Wright—and the pushback of another begins.The album was cut and mixed in a single day with in-house engineer Janne Hansson at Stockholm’s legendary Atlantis Studio, a facility made famous by the chart-topping albums recorded there by Abba in the 1970s, when the place was known as Metronome. Prior to entering the studio the trio spent an exhausting, all-in week rehearsing at the arts space Fylkingen—where they also played a show—in addition to playing a handful of gigs in Norway. Locked in, they discovered much different acoustic qualities at Atlantis from what they’d previously encountered. “There’s a very specific sound at the studio, and we’d been playing for a week together at Fylkingen, so we started to develop a thing that really works in that room, and then you move somewhere else, and the drums in particular sounded really different, and in some ways they had a bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll kind of feeling.” explains Chantler. Responding to that radically different, reverb-soaked ambience, he and Wright took advantage of a pair of matching Fender tube amps, charging their individual signals to match the booming, resonant sprawl of Noble’s pinpoint clatter.Compared to the group’s debut album Front and Above—a live recording of the trio’s very first performance at London’s Café Oto—which Chantler edited to emphasise the sparser expanses of the raucous, performance, the new album reveals a more open-ended spectrum, from delicate to crushing. Noble’s beautifully metallic rustling and throbbing snare bombs hang pregnantly in the air, and Chantler and Wright thicken the atmosphere with twinned abstractions, alternately ethereal and punishing. The transitions between calm and chaos are sometimes seamless, sometimes abrupt, but the full landscape transports the listener to another realm regardless of how ferocious or gentle the attack may be. As strong as the trio’s first album was, Atlantis marks a massive step forward. “The more you play together the more it starts to cohere into some kind of specific language,” says Chantler. “You start to understand the point of what a particular constellation might be.” With Atlantis there’s little doubt these three improvisers know exactly what the point of it all is, which thrillingly means that many new paths in the future have opened up.  --- John Chantler / synthesiser Steve Noble / drums Seymour Wright / alto saxophone --- RECORDED AND MIXED AT ATLANTIS GRAMMOFON AB, STOCKHOLM 24 JANUARY 2018ENGINEER: JANNE HANSSONMASTERING: STEPHAN MATHIEUPAINTINGS: LESTER WRIGHT RECORDING SESSION MADE POSSIBLE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS

John Chantler / Steve Noble / Seymour Wright – ATLANTIS

LP / CD