Relative Pitch

“The disc begins with, "That Was For Albert 10," Golia's tenor wrapping around Bradford's smearing trumpet for a repeating fanfare over the free range drums of Cline and the rambling pulsations of Filiano. Suddenly, the band contracts into "straight" time playing, just ahead of a dual solo by the two horns. Bradford finally breaks loose for a few laps around the field before Golia erupts with a massive tenor solo full of long lines broken up by well-timed screams.
"Otolith" has a vaguely...

"Empiricism in the west" is a revelation, two amazing wind players - saxophonist, clarinetist and flautist Vinny Golia and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber - in a series of free improvising duos pushing their instruments into unusual and captivating territories.
The aim of this luxurious collaboration is to obtain a synergy of the sounds of all the instruments, keeping in mind all that the technique involves: circular breathing, search for dissonances, multiphonics, exaltation of acoustic dynamics...

“The veteran Guillermo Gregorio is back and this is the debut of a duo with the young double bass player Brandon Lopez. The clarinetist after having lived in the sixties in Buenos Aires and later moved to Chicago where for years he was an integral part of the local scene, now lives in New York and among the many and more recent collaborations, the meeting with Lopez is actually worth note. The listening between the two is superlative and the sound produced by clarinet and double bass is warm and...

“Out and unusual compositions from drummer Ben Hall and his sextet with Mick Dobday on electric piano & organ, Anthony Levin DEcanini on electronics, Ronnie Zawadi on percussion, John Dierker on reeds, Mike Khoury on viola & violin, and joined by Joe Morris on guitar, for 6 "Spines", free compositions using odd compositional structures leading to superb solo and group playing. Each Spine presents a unique sonic world, from aggressive playing to abstract and sonically fascinating interludes, with...

Mary Halvorson-guitar
Chris Speed-sax
Eivind Opsvik-bass
Tomas Fujiwara-drums

“Halvorson is a highly inventive composer and improviser, playful, yet fierce when she needs to be, with a knack for oblique melodies and rhythmic hooks which her crack New York quartet knock in and out of orbit.
Reverse Blue's ten tracks feature some genuinely lovely tunes alongside some ingenious twists, with Halvorson wrapping her fingers around pretty Baroque figures, Moroccan modes, wiggy...

“Mary Halvorson is involved in so many side projects it's hard to pick a favorite ; until now. Sifter, her trio with Kirk Knuffke (cornet) and Matt Wilson (drums), has created one of the most inviting discs of the year with its self-titled debut. The compositions are concise. The themes are hummable. The solos never venture too far from home, and yet conversely it's a highly adventurous recording.
This album is loaded with surprises, as on ‘Back and Forth,’ where the main theme goes up and...

Ig Henneman – viola
Jaimie Branch – trumpet
Anne La Berge - flute

“
Three eccentric sketching women who succeeded in converting the concert hall into a spectacle with a drowned diesel engine on a race track, although it did not turn into a crazy fair. No, it was primarily an ode to the ingenious freedom, an intensely varied and colorful performance that was permeated by fun and games, but one of the kind that made your feelers and imagination run wild by its fresh originality, abrasive...

“In the Sea’s eponymous new album for Relative Pitch features just a string trio, allowing the players to settle into a chamberlike collision of approaches. Double bassist Nicolas Caloia and violinist Joshua Zubot bring brio and care to Honsinger’s pieces, which draw from classical music, Italian folk, and his aforementioned slapstick aesthetic, loads of nonsensical singing alternately limning pretty melodies and harnessing pure chaos.
Improvisation and attuned interplay between the players define...

Tristan Honsinger-cello, voice
Antonio Borghini-double bass
Axel Dörner-trumpet
Tobias Delius-tenor sax, clarinet

“Tristan Honsinger, Axel Dörner, Tobias Delius and Antonio Borghini played their first concert as a quartet in the legendary Berlin venue “Miss Hecker” in 2010. The spontaneous meeting turned quickly into a working band named “Hook, Line & Sinker”. The combination of music, movement and theater, trademark of Honsinger’s work in the last 40 years, finds in this quartet a.

Hermione Johnson - solo prepared piano

“Auckland-based Hermione Johnson’s Tremble evokes the sound of a large Indonesian gamelan orchestra via the insertion of small chopstick-shaped rods at diverse angles, establishing different timbral zones, contraposed in imbricated, polyphonic textures. On “See My Permanent Face” she sets chime and gong tones against a cyclic pattern suggestive of a carillon of bells, later adding a fast moving harp sound and low muted strings. Many pieces employ like...

Virginia Genta - Amplified tenor and sopranino saxophones
Brandon Lopez - electric bass
David Vanzan - drums, percussion

“This release captures what is sure to become a legendary coupling. Genta and her long-time-partner-in-crime David Vanzan plus one Brandon Lopez, all amasse under the moniker Jooklo Trio. As you can imagine the meeting plays out like a stellar collision, their sonic masses caught in an accelerating spiral and merged in a blast of power and intensity. Amplification...

“Happy Jazz gathers the results of a studio gig in the fall of last year, but in usual Relative Pitch fashion additional details are few and ultimately secondary to the deliberate and distinctive nearly 80-minutes of music-making on offer.
The album title isn’t exactly an intuitive appellation describing the structured sounds the three players conjure together, but it does seem a fair summation of their shared mood from moment to moment in each other’s company. As with the scant annotative...

Anna Kaluza - alto saxophone
Jan Roder - double bass

“Anna and Jan first met in 2004 when they started playing together in different combinations as the Kaluza Quartet (with trombonist Christof Thewes and drummer Kay Lübke), trios with pianst Niko Meinhold or with drummer Michael Griener and various others. In 2020 they played their first duo concert on a boat in Berlin (Hosek Contemporary) and decided to continue with their work as duo. The same year they went to Christian Betz’ studio...

Joe Morris (guitar)
Tomeka Reid (cello)
Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet
Kyoko Kitamura (voice)

“Geometry of Distance is the sophomore album by Geometry. This recording follows their debut album, Geometry of Caves, released in 2018 from Relative Pitch Records. Seth Colter Walls of The New York Times called the quartet's first album a "vibrant new recording", Stereo Gum's Phil Freeman described it as "hardcore improvised music" and Dusted Magazine wrote, "The foursome behind the fifty-minutes.

“Google is a useful tool in the topical unpacking of Uncompahgre, an improvised conclave between cornetist Kirk Knuffke and clarinetist Ben Goldberg that makes the absence of other instruments inconsequential and even preferred. The album title derives from the Ute phrase for ‘muddied water’ and references a plateaued peak in the San Juan Mountains that is also the most elevated section of the Colorado River drainage basin. Geography and language aside, the instrumentation also directly recalls earlier...

“Two of the most fascinating musicians of the free improvisation scene are Ingrid Laubrock on sax and Tom Rainey on drums, partners in life and partners in music. Their musical universe is something special, one of resonance and emphasis, of intimate immediacy and deep restraint, rather than effects and spectacular outbursts.
Or to put it differently, the rawness of the duo setting is softened by the lyricism and accuracy of the playing. Laubrock's tone is warm and round as usual, while Rainey's...

“Recorded at the end of a 2014 US tour, Buoyancy is the second duo release from saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, a team who have collaborated on so many recordings that it’s really gotten hard to keep track of them all. Last year they played together on at least three records, including Laubrock’s Ubatuba project and the under-recognized trio album Hotel Grief (with Mary Halvorson).
What’s clear in this more intimate format is the undeniable rapport Laubrock and Rainey possess...

“This is a very intimate record; the recording makes it so. Recorded and mixed by Andy Taub, mastered by Weasel Walter, no less. Closely miked sax, Laubrock’s slightly hollow, dry tone, even austere, on the way to haunting. What you hear is breath, space, muted tonguing, a hint of the room echo, a squawk here, a gently laid tone there, a very personal saxophone. Rainey’s brushes are sweet, just enough, not too much. His cymbal touches and rim hits are measured, chasing after Laubrock, occasionally...

“Bass and flute represent significant tonal contrasts and here, flutist Jerome Bourdellon and world-renowned bassist, composer and improviser Joelle LEandre divulge innumerable perspectives and quite a bit of food for thought on these duets. However, Bourdellon employs bass clarinet and bass flute on two tracks, as no other instruments are nestled into the mid-sections of the program and the artists follow similar modalities to complement and support each other.
Each piece presents a different ...

“Contrabassist Joélle Leandre and West Coast woodwind player Phillip Greenlief work out 11 different compositions between their two respective instruments and voices on That Overt Desire of Object. The flexibility and space that each provides the other seems to be reflected in the line note comments about the negative effects of greed. The title is a variation of the Luis Bu±uel movie That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), with a playing field that appears a bit more level when compared to the bassist's...

“Leap of Faith is the duo comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones and flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic and voice. The ensemble is based in Boston and dates back to the early 90s. They utilize a huge arsenal of additional instruments to improvise long works featuring transformations across highly varied sonorities.”

Robbie Lee - sopranino saxophone, tuning forks with live electronics

“Robbie Lee is an improviser and sound creator in New York City, performing on an eclectic range of instruments, across the fringes of creative music in many scenes. On Prismatist he plays only two things: sopranino saxophone and tuning forks with live electronics. They are like two currents alternating through the album, a double helix of contrasting extremities. The sopranino, even higher than the soprano saxophone, twists...

James Brandon Lewis - Tenor Saxophone
Jaimie Branch - Trumpet
Luke Stewart - Bass
Anthony Pirog - Guitar
Warren Trae Crudup III - Drums

Being lucky enough to live in the surprisingly active cauldron of great music that is currently happening in DC, I have also been lucky enough to see James’ regular trio [James, Luke and Warren] several times because Luke is a DC’er and he makes it happen!
They are a very fine free jazz trio built on heads-style trio who have knocked m

Christian Lillinger-drums
Tobias Delius-tenor sax & clarinet

“In conversations Delius often mumbles, he sometimes gets lost in anacoluthons, just to use very elaborate and eloquent constructions in the next sentences. Lillinger, on the other hand, is someone who talks very rapidly, his sentences ricochet through the air. He throws in ideas, interrupts his thoughts, turns in another direction, just to be absolutely precise within a second. As a drummer his style is incredibly inventive and...

Brandon Lopez - bass
Steve Baczkowski - saxophones
Gerald Cleaver - percussion
Cecilia Lopez - synthesizer (track 5)

“Brandon Lopez works at the fringes of jazz, free improvisation, noise and new music. This collaborative powerhouse never lets up with underground sax hero Steve Baczkowski and Gerald Cleaver who is among the most agile and wide-ranging first-call musicians on the 21st century jazz scene.”

“The best free improvisation ensembles generally carry three characteristics: tremendous mastery by the individual instrumentalists, sympathetic listening, and instinctual timing. This quartet displays all three on this fantastic recording released by Relative Pitch. The group is comprised of Brandon Lopez (Brandon Lopez Trio, Xivaros, The Mess, Nate Wooley Quartet) on Contrabass, Matt Nelson (Battle Trance, GRID, tUnE-yArDs) on Tenor Saxophone, Andria Nicodemou (Leap of Faith, London Improvisers...

Cecilia Lopez - electronics
Brandon Lopez - bass
Gerald Cleaver - drums

“Fusing architecture, installation, and composition, in RED (db), two large woven wire nets hung from Roulette’s ceiling holding instruments creating a complex feedback organism. The suspended drums and double bass acted as resonant bodies intensified by the instruments simultaneously played in the space by percussionist Gerald Cleaver, bassist Brandon Lopez and Cecilia Lopez on electronics.”

Ramon Lopez – drums
Mark Feldman – violin

“One of the most prominent violin players, Mark Feldman, meets one of the most creative and innovative drummers, Ramon Lopez. The results of this magic encounter consists of seven tunes. Seven pearls of contemporary improvisation, where the synergy and energy, abstraction and melodic concept, lyricism and powerful expression unite forming a gigantic superposition.”-Maciej Lewenstein.

“The sound of the violin is a product of tension and release; the hair of the bow pulls back the violin’s string over and over again and, when the tension gets too great, it releases. The resulting vibration disturbs the air around it which travels in waves, exciting our ear drums and becoming sound. This confrontation of energy with air—the alternation of potential and kinetic energy—occurs over and over again in microcosm: catching, holding, tensing, and releasing. As listeners, however, we only...

“This offering could be depicted as a pulsating mist of near static incandescent vapor. Spiral Reflector starts things off with Lubelskis briskly bowed violin drone taking the fore, backed by Naces subtle volume swells and amplifier manipulation. Mazed finds the duo further probing at the veil. The modulated drones interweave in an unsteady interplay of dipping intonation that is both fascinating and disorienting. In Re/Fract/Ed Nace provides a subtle underpinning of persistent tremolo to Lubelskis gruff...

“The duo kicks off with 'all Jazz is free' ... we first hear Mahall's bass clarinet with a loopimg mid-register melody shadowed by rhythmic and, mostly consonant, comping by Schlippenbach. Soon, it isn't Mahall leading but Schlippenbach's jazz inflected streams of consciousness darting about. The duo proceeds in a good natured pursuit - handing off leads and supporting roles, intensifying as they go. Schlippenbach's rhythms get punchy, giving Mahall something to run into and bounce off in a new...

Clara Weil : vocals
Olivia Scemama : bass
Tom Malmendier : drums

“Vocals, bass, drums, Masked Pickle is three singular "voices" who express their ideas in a unique way, follow their flow but also like to break it, deconstruct the easy path of the sound by yelling, whispering, blowing, bawling, roaring, scraping, declaiming, knocking.”

Joanna Mattrey: viola, stroh violin

“Veiled is Joanna Mattrey’s first solo release. Joanna Mattrey is a violist active in both the new music and free improvisation communities who's playing often incorporates textural gestures, preparations, and electronic alterations. She is searching for moments of ceremony and ritual in a modern soundscape.
Mattrey has played with such luminaries as Marc Ribot and the Young Philadelphians, Mary Halvorson, John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, Nick Dunston and...

Magda Mayas - piano, composition
Angharad Davies - violin
Anthea Caddy - cello
Aimée Theriot - cello
Rhodri Davies - harp
Zeena Parkins - harp
Michael Thieke - clarinet
Christine Abdelnour - saxophone

“Magda Mayas composed this piece for an octet comprised of a who's who of the avant-garde. The score consists of 12 photos taken over an hour or so, observing the merging waters of the Rhône and the Arve rivers, the artificial wall dividing them, the earthy,

“Magda Mayas (Germany) performs on a 1970s manufactured clavinet with reedman Jim Denley (Australia), augmented by their use of field recordings, as they pay homage to a "marginalized corner" of Sydney, Australia on this experimental and irrefutably adventurous improv fest. Yet I wouldn't be so bold to suggest that this is easy listening but for the most part, it's relatively subdued.
The duo projects organic minimalism amid the sounds of nature and bizarre tone poems that move forward in....

Keir Neuringer-sax
Rafal Mazur-bass guitar

“The aptly named release Diachronic Paths by the free improvising duo of Keir Neuringer and Rafal Mazur continues the transformation discourses of their evolving musical language. One that is based on their dialogue of discovery.
Keir Neuringer, a Philadelphia-based saxophonist lived in Krak≤w and The Hague for a time and established a strong relationship with the Polish bassist Rafal Mazur.
Each piece presented here is an enervating...

“All things considered, this album is a fine specimen of no-frills, tendentially harsh improvisation revolving around a pair of fundamental axes. Cline and McDonas’ frequently altered tones ; at times one hardly distinguishes who is who, until the different techniques on keyboard and fretboard become evident ; match Wimberly’s percussive drive, which contributes to a further scattering of ‘centres’, either tonal or rhythmic. The level of musicianship is obviously high, integrating correlative schools...

Ava Mendoza – guitar

“Ava Mendoza plays these songs. She makes them sing. Her technique is impeccable, but her playing is astonishingly expressive. She doesn't just bend blue notes; she wads them up into a ball and throws them up against a wall. She manipulates raw lightning, giving us a sound that is fluorescent and powerful enough to leave a trace of ozone in the air. Mendoza knows what she does better than almost anyone else on the planet, which is tell stories with her guitar.”

Guro Skumsnes Moe – bass, voice
Håvard Skaset - guitar
Mette Rasmussen - saxophone
Ikuro Takahashi – drums

“Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen have since their first musical meeting in 2018 already toured Norway, Mexico and Japan together. Their 2019 album «Tolerancia Picante» sent them on a long and intense Japan tour where they collaborated and played with several important figures from the Japanese improv scene. In Sapporo they teamed up...

“I must confess this is my first exposure to Crothers' music. What is most attractive to me is the obscurity of her antecedents. With words, Crother's makes sure you know of her debt to Tristano. Sonically, there is additional debt to Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk and Andrew Hill. Certainly you'll hear others, though probably not any one clamouring atop the other. Whoever you hear, you will hear them assimilated by a consummate musician and wonderfully able operator of the instrument....

“The Zookeeper’s House, is Moondoc's first studio album in over a decade. It features a fantastic collection of players: trombonist Steve Swell, trumpeter Roy Campbell (in his final recorded appearance), pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Hilliard Greene, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker.
They’re not all heard together. Shipp appears on the disc-opening title track and the nearly 13-minute ‘One for Monk and Trane’; the horns are on ‘Little Blue Elvira,’ ‘For the Love of Cindy,’ and a version of Alice...

“'Blues for Katie' opens with Greene's simple figures and simpler variations allowing Moondoc space to breathe. No pyrotechnics in his blues, this is straight soul, almost dipping into a sound like southern gospel. It's a lovely opener and one that Moondoc lends to Greene for a quick solo with a few snapped strings before he closes the spiritual.
'Spiritual Melody (Swing Low, Deep River, Wade In the Water)' carries the gospel sound a bit further - no surprise, given the title. This is a more isolated..

“From the opener, "Hurricane Point," you're reminded of the Betty Davis quote from the 1950s movie All About Eve, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Morris' guitar shreds notes against the wall of rumbling bass and crush of battered drums. This opening salvo signals a take-no-prisoners session, or what Myles Boisen of Splatter Trio used to call, "club clearing music."
As intense as it is, the inner workings retain the undiluted Joe Morris guitar sound. His unique "language"...

“Using a multitude of extended picking techniques, moods, atmospheres, hell, even fully fleshed out novels were seemingly created in an instant. Some that he showed us early on were revisited, only twisted and turned inside out creating yet further ideas. My experience to all this was one of surrender, letting go and finally full engulfment into the sonic maelstrom. Spanish themes occasionally popped their heads up only to be quickly supplanted by what sounded like a vicious bowing technique of a...

“Automatos’ offers a parabolic curve structure where you can focus, starting from the opening, on very discrete elements of the ensemble - each instrument could be perfectly self-sufficient and this is not always true for every single part of a score if it has not been conceived as a solo piece - merging in a really dense and involving continuous. Fernandez is immediately terse, stinging with short phrases contrasted in the first half by the hoarse voice of Wooley and the initial far grating of Morris...

The album, recorded in 2001 in Cologne, Germany, is a tremendous soundscape that focuses on the micro: dings of the glockenspiel, muted thud of prepared piano, hiss of electronics, and scrapes of percussion, played in service to the macro musical arch.
The cast is an eye-catcher: Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, prepared piano, Tony Oxley providing percussion, Bill Laswell on bass, field recordings, electronics, Miroslav Tadic on guitars, Pat Thomas on cassette player, electronics, electric keyboard....

Keir Neuringer - saxophone
Shayna Dulberger - bass
Julius Masri - drums

“Dromedaries II presents four improvisations moving between 10 and 13 minutes. Opening improvisation ‘Both’ starts from a theme played by the bassist and repeated over. Drummer Masri joins by playing maniacal shifting patterns and on top Neuringer plays extended lines that quickly become increasingly intense. In the second part, the drummer is in the forefront with sequences of repeated patterns that gradually..

“There are obvious factors that set these two free improvisers apart. Courvoisier's approach is more steeped in contemporary classical music. But this does not prevent them from overcoming their differences and finding common ground. In fact, thry don't even need any time to size each other up. The pianist's blunt attack is immediately on display, and the saxophonist is quick yo put his screechy warbled tenor lines against her heavy and potent clusters and runs.
Patker's generous sound on the tenor...

Zeena Parkins: electric harp
Mette Rasmussen : alto saxophone
Ryan Sawyer: percussion

“Zeena Parkins, Mette Rasmussen and Ryan Sawyer in a new formation voicing string, breath and bell, harp, horn and drum speaking sparkling messages and hand-written letters of a Chain of New Hopes, back and forth, from the past and future dreams of a world in which efficiency would not be and will not be, the way to justice.”

“'Triplicates' is a series of improvisations between Zeena, playing her singular electric harp, and Jon Leideker, aka Wobbly, performing on mobile phones, tablets, booper, and mixer. Their outputs are routed to a series of simple listening devices, machines designed to sing along with the melodies they believe themselves to hearing, although they are often fascinatingly wrong.
It quickly becomes difficult to determine the boundaries of each participant’s contribution: acoustic source, electronic....