Nate Wooley | Hugo Antunes | Chris Corsano | MALUS | No Business Records

An often inspired study in post-noise atmospherics, Malus brings together three pioneering improvisers in their late thirties. Nate Wooley deploys vocalisation and extreme extended technique to turn his trumpet into a hissing steam engine and a bubbling cauldron, channelling electricity to create groggy lo-fi textures. Chris Corsano is in a reflective, exploratory mood, dragging objects across amplified skins to create queasy high-pitched drones and dull metallic rings. Double bassist Hugo Antunes steadies the ship while Wooley and Corsano scramble up the rigging, yet he’s far from conventional: hear him loom into orbit on ‘Seven Miles From The Moon’, carving monolithic obsidian slabs out of deep space silence. The trio’s sense of timing, texture and space is impeccable. In ‘4 Cornered’, a manic Wooley declaims over Corsano’s accelerating scuttle before Antunes walks the muttering trumpeter home. Wooley’s compositional nous, meanwhile, radiates in the Andalucian blues ‘Gentleman of Four Outs’. — Stewart Smith Continue reading

Bruce Eisenbeil Sextet | Inner Constellation Volume One | Nemu Records

Don’t let the corrosive guitar that begins Bruce Eisenbeil’s extended “Inner Constellation” fool you into thinking you’re about to hear a psychedelic rave-up or some proto-fusion. Once bass and drums join in, followed by violin and horns, it’s apparent “Inner Constellation” (a 45-minute work recorded in one long take, meant to be listened to straight through from beginning to end, notwithstanding 27 individual track numbers and the enigmatic inner titles) is an example of what’s still sometimes called “free jazz” or “creative improvised music,” terms that ceased being meaningful as long ago as the 1970s, when composition asserted itself as a force to be reckoned with in the jazz avant-garde. There are numerous passages here that sound collectively improvised, and as many others that sound preplanned. Happily, because Eisenbeil’s writing is so open-ended and the members of his sextet give themselves over to it so completely, you’re never quite sure where composition ends and improvisation begins, or when the two overlap— a measure of Eisenbeil’s success. — Francis Davis Continue reading

Nate Wooley | Christian Weber | Paul Lytton | Six Feet Under | No Business Records

Six Feet Under (2009 [2012], NoBusiness): Trumpet, bass, drums, respectively. Lytton is the best known, one of the major drummers of Europe’s avant-garde, but Wooley has been prolific since 2002, even more so since he started releasing records under his own name in 2009 (AMG lists eight, missing this one — an LP release limited to 300 copies, so I’m glad to have received my CDR). Scratchy, lots of low volume, high pressure maneuvers, making the few sections where the trumpet breaks loose all the more impressive. —Tom Hull Continue reading

Pete Robbins’s Unnamed Quartet | Live in Brooklyn | Not Two Records

The experience of playing completely improvised music can completely run the gamut. When the performance isn’t working Ifor reasons that are only somewhat predictable), there are few situations that are more uncomfortable and less enjoyable. But when the music really IS working, ifs a feeling of privilege and of pleasure that can otherwise be hard to come by. Particularly in New York, musical collaborations come and go all the time, and often their longevity or the frequency with which they showcase their work don’t necessarily correspond to how compelling the music might be. The group heard on this recording had only performed a handful of times (and only in front of a handful of people) when this concert was documented. But the fact that I felt moved to have this gig recorded is testament to the special nature of this lineup of musicians. It is truly rare to stumble upon a group where each of us can be so comfortable being both active and re-active, primary and complementary. This is a function of the respect that each of us has for one another as creative agents, sponges for sonic information, and partners in crime. I hope the music is as enjoyable to listen to as it was to create. — Pete Robbins Continue reading