Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Brotzmann/Van Hove/Bennink

Cien Fuegos CF-002


Another massively necessary high quality reissue of primo Peter Brotzmann material, this time 1975’s classic Tschus. Here Brotzmann switches between clarinet, alto, tenor and bass sax and vocals while Fred Van Hove is on piano and accordion and Han Bennink uses drums, cymbals, accordion, clarinets, floors, walls, megaphones etc. It’s a ferociously inventive set, a tour-de-force of the boundless possibilities of free improvisation rescued from the hands of musical conservatives, moving from vamping/rasping runs through triumphal brass work through rusty, proto-Industrial free form blow-outs. Simply fantastic, on 180g vinyl in a limited pressing and with gorgeous high-quality sleeves. Highly recommended.  

The Nearer The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat

Cien Fuegos CF-005


Beautiful archival reissue of this classic document from this ferocious, short-lived trio led by saxophonist Peter Brotzmann: bassist Harry Miller and drummer Louis Moholo were key players in the South African free jazz diaspora. Miller played widely, jamming with everyone from King Crimson through Willem Breuker, and he was the founder of Ogun Records, another key artist-run independent free jazz label. Moholo was part of the legendary Blue Notes and the Brotherhood Of Breath and played with almost every interesting European free thinker. The combination of Brotzmann on bass clarinet, soprano, alto and tenor sax and the rollicking South African rhythm section was truly one of the greatest of Brotzmann’s career and it’s a tragedy that there aren’t more recordings from this singular hook-up. It’s not all balls-to-the-wall force by any means, Miller in particular was a very inquisitive player, sounding odd aspects of the bass and worrying tiny textural details that means Peter can really get into the exploration of this abstract sandpaper textures that he loves so much. And when they do take off, Moholo comes on like a goddamn freight train. Still a classic side, originally released on FMP in 1979, this beautifully restored edition comes in a run of 750 copies on 180g vinyl. Highly recommended!

Peter Brotzmann
Solo + Trio Roma

Victo #122/123


Stunning double CD set that presents phenomenally powerful solo and trio live blow-outs from the Wildman of European free improvisation: both sets were recorded on consecutive days at the Victoriaville fest in 2011. The solo set is just gorgeous, re-connecting Brotzmann’s thunderous saxophone style with the heart of the jazz tradition, moving from a glorious, weeping reading of “Never Too Late But Always Too Early” through to “Frames Of Motion” which features a lift from Harry Barris’s “I Surrender Dear” and a stunning rendition of Ornette Coleman’s classic “Lonely Woman”. It’s a true tour-de-force, by turns achingly emotional and explosively exhilarating. But it’s the second set that really seals the deal. Here he’s paired with two-thirds of the Hairy Bones quartet, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and electric bassist Massimo Pupillo. Pupillo is on absolutely devastating form, propelling the group through a single seventy minute piece that barely relents, riding metal crescendos with alla the bombast and psychedelic steel of prime Fushitsusha. Brotzmann is absolutely in his element, riding the torrential percussive waves with a mile-wide tone and some of his most raucous and soulful testifying. Indeed this even outdoes the Last Exit live jams in terms of the ultimate marriage of ferocious free rock and wild fire music stylings, even outgunning The Blue Humans in terms of maximum velocity freedom. If you’ve ever dreamt of Peter Brotzmann fronting Fushitsusha (and who hasn’t?!) then this is pretty much your dream date. At 71 years old Brotzmann has never sounded better and is making some of the most radical and sublime music of his lifetime. Can’t possibly recommend this mind-blowing set enough, truly has to be heard to be believed!

Globe Unity Orchestra
Und Jetzt Die Sportschau: Globe Unity ‘75

Trost TR-116


Amazing limited release of a staggering live blow-out from the premier improvising big band of the era, Alex Von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra: this is a wild combination of rollicking big band vamps and all-out brass blurt, dedicated to Evan Parker and recorded by Conny Plank in his studio in May 1975. The line-up is phenomenal, with the addition of Hans Reichel on supremely weirdo guitar as well as heavyweights like Peter Brotzmann, Manfred Schoof, Kenny Wheeler, Rudiger Carl, Evan Parker, Gerd Dudek, Albert Mangelsdorff, Paul Rutherford, Peter Kowald, Schlippenbach, Buschi Niebergall and Paul Lovens. An essential addition to the weirdo shelf of killer free jazz 7s, highly recommended. 

Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet featuring Mike Pearson
Be Music, Night: A Homage To Kenneth Patchen

Jazzwerkstatt 002


A beautiful big band set from Brotzmann’s late Chicago Tentet w/a tribute to the visionary poet/artist Kenneth Patchen: recorded in Chicago in 2004, this is a stand-out Tentet performance, alterrnating between massed weeping brass laments and joyous explosions of folk melody, bringing to life the odd happy/sad dynamic of Patchen’s poetry and pictures. Mike Pearson reads from Patchen’s work accompanied by factions of the group, running an umbilical all the way to Patchen’s own readings with Charles Mingus. This is a real one-off in Brotzmann’s catalogue, connecting with beat culture and playing in a way that feels closer to instant composition than free improvisation per see. Beautiful readings, magical settings, a phenomenal one-off – highly recommended!

Peter Brotzmann/Marino Pliakas/Michael Wertmuller
Full Blast

Jazzwerkstatt 001


Ass-whooping live set from the Full Blast trio, recorded in Cologne in 2006: Brotzmann’s work with electric bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmuller extends his work with Last Exit in that it combines an almost metal/No Wave attack with a fluid non-stop dynamic and a feel of electric blues. Brotzmann has always favoured electric bassists – Bill Laswell, Massimo Pupillo – and there’s something about the unyielding aspect of the instrument that acts as a propulsive metal backbone for some of Brotzmann’s most hurricane testifying. It’s not all form destroying force – there are passages of sublime beauty, with Brotzmann’s gentle, ballad style that crops up more often in his solo work given a new sense of epic scale by Pliakas and Wertmuller’s time bombs – but it’s when the trajectory of the trio is most in sync that the set really tears through the wall. If only Sonny Sharrock was still around to join them! Highly recommended.

Peter Brotzmann/Peeter Uuskyla/Peter Friis Nielsen
Noise Of Wings

Jazzwerkstatt 056


Killer trio studio session, with Brötzmann forsaking the kind of sobbing mile-wide vibrato that dominates much of his work with Die Like A Dog for some viciously focussed beams of concrete noteage across tenor saxophone, tarogato and clarinet. The Scandinavian backline of electric bassist Nielsen and drummer Uuskyla nail it to the floor with the kind of rock/groove flex of the Last Exit and Purple Trap rhythm sections, giving the whole set a kind of Contortions/No Wave-style zag, while Brötzmann rounds on their asses like a PCP-huffing goat gobbling sherbet. Seven studio tracks and a bonus live blow-out recorded in Sweden in 2001. 

Only The Devil Has No Dreams

Jazzwerkstatt 013


Massive trio set from three of the heaviest modern reedists: Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark: recorded live in Berlin in 2007, the set sees Brotzmann on tenor and alto sax as well as tarogato and b-flat clarinet, Gustafsson on baritone sax, fluteophone and slide-sax and Vandermark on tenor sax, baritone and b-flat clarinet. The music is oddly affecting, with the lack of any accompanying rhythm instruments giving it a loose, organic feel and an odd orchestral grandeur. Brotzmann plays with that mile-wide vibrato that became so distinctive later in his life and his soloing is particularly beautiful here, recalling the pained blues of Never Too Late But Always Too Early. Gustafsson and Vandermark are super inventive, and at points they push the music into a weird almost-Moondog style avant classical realm. But when the three players are blasting on all cylinders it feels like the heavy metal hallelujah choir blowing open the gates of heaven. Packaged with the jewel case inside a card slipcase, this is a beauty, recommended!

Peter Brotzmann/John Edwards/Steve Noble/Jason Adasiewicz
Mental Shake

Otoroku ROKU-010


CD document of this outrageously high-energy date from Cafe Oto in August of 2013 that sees Brotzmann’s amazing duo with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz combined with his trio with UK heads John Edwards and Steve Noble to generate the kind of a-historical power-visions that would run an umbilical all the way back to the MJQ while formulating a real-time juggernaut dreaming the future. Adasiewaicz and Noble really do sound great together, with the vibes adding a certain alien musicality to Noble’s punked/non-flowing approach to swing. Edwards was apparently wrestling with a broken in-house double bass and a faulty amplifier all night but this somehow only adds to the drama and breakneck invention, at points sounding like he has stepped inside the bass and is fighting his way back out. Brotzmann is on fiery, lyrical form, shredding reeds and chasing the sound to polyphonic peaks while moving between alto and tenor sax, clarinet and taragoto. A fitting 10th release for Cafe Oto’s Ototroku imprint, with full colour offset print sleeves, very highly recommended!

Mats Gustafsson & Yoshimi
Words On The Floor

Smalltown Superjazz STSJ-114


Duo set from eviscerating European free-punk saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Yoshimi of The Boredoms with a great avant-prog feel that is somewhere between Joan La Barbara, Univers Zero, Jeanne Lee/Jimmy Lyons and those early Amy Sheffer discs. Which means it works a whole other form of subtle magic than you might expect from the previous lung-feats of these too. Not to say that at points they don't tear each other heads off and dribble down their throats. It's just that between there and here there's a whole lot of evocative mystery that is pitched towards the more liminal vectors of your brain, resulting in long passages of sustained, barely-there eeriness. Which is more than great. Gustafsson plays slide sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, alto fluteophone and electronics, Yoshimi plays voice and electronics.

Mats Gustafsson
Mat G Plays Duke E

Qbico Epsilon

One-Sided Art Edition LP

One-sided art edition LP in a run of 99 copies, because of the handmade nature the corners are slightly dented. This one presents a bunch of disparate – and often barely recognisable - approaches to the work of Duke Ellington by powerhouse saxophonist Mats Gustafsson that range from soft, melodic re-thinks that squeeze spectral nuance from elastic melodic fragments through overloaded electronic assaults, the sound of syncopated valves and all-our grunt/thunder aggression. Gustafsson plays tenor sax and live electronics.

Mats Gustafsson

Utech URLP-072


Stunning new LP/CD set from free European saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, dedicated to the memory of his late mentor the saxophonist Bengt Nordstrom: Nordstrom is best known for producing Albert Ayler’s first recording, Something Different!!!!!!, and he was also a talented saxophonist, playing solo free improvised saxophone as early as 1962.  For Bengt, Gustafsson moves to a plastic Grafton alto sax, the same one favoured by Nordstrom, making this a unique entry in his back catalogue. The sound is breathy, muted, with a soft muffled tone that sounds at points like Frank Lowe or Marion Brown and Gustafsson’s playing is oddly lyrical, ripping through staggered scales and sounding single note fanfares in a way that is utterly compulsive. The rigour is still there, the deconstructive vision, but this one feels somehow more affirmative, a classic solo record in the mode of Braxton’s For Alto and Kaoru Abe’s Live At Gaya series. On white vinyl in an edition of 500 copies with a bonus CD edition of the album bundled alongside it. Highly recommended!

Mats Gustafsson & Thurston Moore
Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar

Otoroku ROKU-07


Killer live set from Thurston and Mats in an edition of 1000 copies: recorded live at London’s Cafe Oto, Vi Ar Alla... takes of where Thurston’s signal recording with Don Dietrich and Jim Sauter, Barefoot In The Head, left off, with Mats using reeds and electronics to demolish Thurston’s wild, bass heavy divebombs. Indeed, the pair get into some major gravity-defying/gridlocked drone work, with the sound of overloaded amplifiers and air raid tones giving way to long passages of lyrical feedback and levitating horns. On 180g vinyl. 

Free Fall
The Point In A Line

Smalltown Superjazz STSJ-142


New trio recordings from Ken Vandermark on clarinet, Havard Wiik on piano and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on doublebass that conjure the spirit of Jimmy Giuffre’s legdnary 60s trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow. Recorded in Chicago by Jason Ward, post-production by Ward, Vandermark and Bob Weston of Shellac.