UK guitarist Ray Russell has written "Distant Land" and teamed with Cuneiform Records to raise funds for Kabul Small Animal Rescue, who are evacuating their animal rescuers and animals from Afghanistan. All of Russell's and Cuneiform's proceeds from downloads of "Distant Land" on Bandcamp go to Kabul Small Animal Rescue via War Paws. Download your copy NOW, as this project is of limited duration: no downloads will be available after September 5th, when Russell and Cuneiform Records give the Kabul Small Animal Rescue donations to War Paws.
COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 ON
CUNEIFORM RECORDS: MUJICIAN
File under: FREE JAZZ / IMPROVISATION
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog #: Cuneiform Rune 492
Format: CD, Digital
Keith Tippett – piano Tony Levin – drums Paul Dunmall – soprano and tenor saxophones, bagpipes Paul Rogers – 7-string acoustic bass
listen / share:
For over 20 years, MUJICIAN set a gold standard for intuitive, highly spiritual, and near-clairvoyant communication within an improvising ensemble. Composed of four of the biggest names in the European jazz and improvised music community
- PAUL DUNMALL, TONY LEVIN, PAUL ROGERS, and KEITH TIPPETT –
this “super group” was nonetheless a true cooperative, a collective critically praised for its sensitive interplay and coherent voice.
10 10 10 is MUJICIAN's last studio recording, the quartet's last recorded performance before Tony Levin's and Keith Tippett's untimely deaths.
“This is a band that breathes life together,” noted Coda, “The magic level of response and the creation of mood and event between players is masterful, inspiring…”. In recent years, a groundswell of interest in improvisation has resulted in myriad groups of varied skill attempting this art; Mujician, however, stood apart.
Mujician formed in England in 1988, after Paul Dunmall assembled Keith Tippett, Tony Levin, and Paul Rogers to play a gig on July 11, 1988. Impressed by how well they worked together, the four musicians decided to form an ongoing, leaderless cooperative ensemble. The group decided to call itself ‘Mujician’, a name that Tippett had used in the early ‘80s for a solo piano series. The term ‘mujician’ derived from Tippett’s daughter Inca’s mispronounciation of her father’s profession as a small child. All four musicians liked what ‘mujician’ evoked; in Tippett’s words: “a combination of magic and music…[and] also the word “mu” contained in it as well, which some people regard as a sacred word.”
Whether on record or in performance, the quartet always worked within the simple-yet-vast idea of completely free improvisation, always adhering to their one ground rule of never discussing music prior to playing it.
Mujician at Pisa, l/r: Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers, Tony Levin
Paul Dunmall recalls:
“In 2010 Mujician did a short tour organised by to celebrate Tony Levin's 70th year. Whilst on tour, on 10th October, Mujician were recorded in the Victoria Room at the University of Bristol Music Studios by the great engineer Jonathan Scott. Little did we know this would be the last time we would record, as Tony Levin passed away a few months later.
Mujician were together for 22 years, and in that time we played throughout Europe, Canada, Russia, South Africa and many concerts in the UK. In 2020 Keith Tippett died after a long illness.
I believe that Mujician was one of the great groups in jazz history. It wasn't just a free jazz group; it covered so many areas that I think all we can say is it played outstanding music.”
– Paul Dunmall, 2021
preorder Mujician 10 10 10 on Bandcamp:
"With Mujician, the rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected. Their music is affirmative but never trite and it seems to embrace virtually all musical and emotional possibilities...group members are almost prescient in their knowledge of each other's moves, and even though very little on this date is scripted, there is always an impression of common purpose.
Simply put, this is spontaneous, interactive jazz at its best." – William Tilland, AllMusic
File under: BRIT-JAZZ, FREE-JAZZ, OUT JAZZ
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog #: Cuneiform Rune 3354
Format: Digital (download & Bandcamp streaming)
Harry Beckett – trumpet and flugel horn
Gary Windo – tenor sax and flute
Darryl Runswick – bass
Alan Rushton – drums
Ray Russell – electric and acoustic guitars, and piano
All titles written and arranged by Ray Russell.
Recording by Bob Auger – an unassuming poet.
Produced by Ray Russell and Bob Auger.
Cover painting by Ray Russell.
Master tape transfer by Ray Russell.
If, as Mailer said, Picasso is medically good for your eyes, then Russell
is medically good for your ears – Charles Shaar Murray
A reissue of UK free-guitar pioneer Ray’s fifth album, first released in 1973, and the last of his 70s free classics.
share/ listen to "These That I Am" from Secret Asylum
He (the Mulla Nasrudini) had gone to China, where he gathered a circle of disciples, who he was preparing for enlightenment. Those who became illuminated immediately ceased attending his lectures. A party of his undeveloped followers, desiring more illumination, travelled from Persia to China to continue their studies with him. After their first lecture, he received them.
‘Why Mulla,” one of them asked,“do you lecture on secret words which we (unlike the Chinese) can understand?’
They are namidanam and hichmalumnist! They mean in Persian merely “I Don’t know” and “Nobody knows”. '
‘What would you have me do instead – lie my head off?’, asked Nasrudin.
File under: CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL, MINIMALISM, NEW AGE, AMBIENT Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog #: Cuneiform Rune 3355 Format: Digital (download & Bandcamp streaming)
All compositions by David Borden
David Borden, Synthesizers
Ellen Hargis, Soprano
Les Thimmig, Soprano Saxophone
Gabriel Borden, Electric Guitar
share / listen to "Snow Gorge with Full Moon" from Cayuga Night Music:
A reissue of Borden's 1993 tribute to Cayuga Lake's awe-inspiring beauty.
Contemporary American classical music blending synth-minimalism and new age ambiance, transcendent vocals and visionary composition.
David Borden: "I got the idea for these pieces after several years of running at night along the railroad tracks that follow the east shore of Cayuga Lake. I simply walked across the street from where I lived, at 1191 East Shore Drive, and ran north. In less than half a mile I was in deserted, barely accessible terrain. On the west is the lake and West Hill. Directly to the east are sheer, moderately high cliffs which now and then give way to rolling hills, gorges, and a few summer cottages. This was during the 1980s and in the early morning hours there was a sense of isolation and wonder.
My favorite time to run was between 2:00 and 3:00 am; I did it in all seasons and weather conditions. I sense that this ideal state of affairs is ending as the Ithaca-Lansing area is becoming over- developed; more and more docks appear, a marina, and homes closer to the lake’s edge and along the top of the cliffs. Already more than one of my favorite meditation spots has disappeared as trees are cut down and brush is cleared away. It’s fortunate for me that these pieces were composed before my inspirational scenes became too cluttered with man-made objects or disappeared altogether.
THE COMING OF WINTER Along the lake, winter usually starts during the first week in November. From mid-September through October the inevitable changes take place. Leaves fall, most birds leave, vacationers take their boats out of the water and insects become quiet except for a few crickets that prevail until late October. Finally the smell of wood smoke returns and I can see my breath as I run. The terrain is mine again, as city people lock up their summer cottages. The first snowfall assures me that things will be wonderfully quiet and chilly for months to come.
LAKE ICE Toward the end of winter, when there is still no plant life except for the pines, and no sounds of insects, large snow-dusted chunks of ice idle in the lake and thousands of smaller chips undulating in the wind-tossed water make a high soft clatter near the shore. Every once in a while I stop running to listen to the ice chips and watch the white rafts float wherever the wind carries them. The starlight, moonlight and distant city light reflected from the clouds combine to give each patch a color profile all its own. Occasionally a Canada goose shouts its approval.
SNOW GORGE WITH FULL MOON I usually run north for two and one half miles, rest for a short time, or meditate. If I have only rested, I run the return route south for a mile, and then meditate at this small, exquisitely beautiful gorge. Unless it’s the middle of summer, there’s usually a moderate trickle of water flowing down. In winter, a small amount of water is usually flowing under the frozen cascades. From December through March, snow collects on the frozen mantle. Sometime in March, the full moon lines up with the gorge (I have to check the moon rise times) and presents one of the most trance-inducing sights I’ve ever witnessed. When this happens, I don’t meditate, but simply stare for a long time, until the earth’s rotation moves me and the gorge away from the moon; then I continue my run homeward.
FIREFLIES The third week of June around the summer solstice is the best time to see fireflies on the lake. After running twenty minutes or so, there is a slight curve, then a segment of track about forty yards long; on each side, a border of trees and bushes. I was startled one night to arrive inside this corridor suddenly surrounded by hundreds of fireflies, each pulsing off and on at different rates and intensities. At the end of this segment of track I sat down and watched the light show for about half an hour. I did this every night for a week, then the population of fireflies thinned out and continued to do so for weeks. It became my annual private light show. This piece is dedicated to my late friend, the renowned entomologist and “father of chemical ecology” Tom Eisner.
NORTHERN LIGHTS Spring and Fall seem to be the best seasons for this phenomenon.
Although these lights in the sky do occur in the Finger Lakes area, they are not a common sight. The first thing I notice is a black, eerie, electric curtain that cloaks the northern end of the lake horizon; midway in the sky above are various colors that reach toward the apex of the sky. The colors vary from electric shades of yellow-green to blue mixed with red. When the curtain begins to dissipate, stars are visible behind transparent windows of color. The border between the black curtain and the colors resembles millions of undulating bristles. It all fades gradually back into the night; some kind of cosmic smoke.
CRICKET DREAMS Towards the end of fall, most insects fall silent except for the crickets whose numbers keep dwindling until there are only a few left. One year, there was one lone cricket left, making sounds at a particular junction on my jogging trail near Myer’s Point. This was surprising because it was starting to get really cold. Nonetheless, this lone cricket persisted. It wasn’t until the end of the first week in November that the sometimes tentative cricket sounds stopped. This poignant sound has remained with me ever since. I still wonder whether it was the persistence of consciousness or resistance to the coming long winter sleep that kept this life form producing its natural sounds.
MIST VISIONS One night in late October, the temperature dropped twenty degrees. The moon was almost full and I could see my breath for the first time in months. I decided to take a walk instead of run because my knee was bothering me. The first thing I noticed was how silent it was because the dip in temperature had silenced the insects. Then I saw what seemed like smoke toward the middle of the lake. The cooler air coming in contact with the warmer water was causing condensation, releasing the vapor into the night air. As I continued walking north, the mist continued to rise a little higher with the passing minutes; this appeared to happen only at the lake’s midpoint along a continuous line in a north-south direction. Over a period of an hour the mist changed slowly but dramatically to suggest different ghostly, slowly moving shapes, enhanced by the bright light from the moon. At first it looked like a small amount, then like a grayish-white bank of flames in slow motion. As the flames grew higher, angel-like figures emerged every twenty feet or so, eventually spouting undulating white wings of various sizes. Then, the angels slowly merged into a hazy, semi-transparent tree line on the water. I suppose it stayed like that for hours. I went home to bed with beautiful visions in my head.
FOG, STARS, TRAIN, WEST HILL LIGHTS During the early morning hours, gazing across the lake, there are countless lights of different colors and intensities; some steady, some flashing. Above all, the lake is always present, reflecting the lights across two miles of water and extending out of sight, northward for forty miles. Sometimes it’s so foggy the lake is barely visible, and there are no lights to be seen, just the fuzzy whites and greys of the fog itself. Once in spring, the fog was very thick, but lifting. It made the lights from the hospital into a hazy, other worldly presence. While I was staring at it, a truck stopped suddenly above me on the slope, and I could hear the driver get out; he didn’t leave until the fog lifted and things looked normal again. Once, on my return trip, running, a bright spiral suddenly unfolded in the sky and dissolved into glowing smoke. It turned out to be a satellite burning ejected fuel before re-entry. On another occasion, over West Hill, an intensely white glowing round object one tenth the size of the moon suddenly appeared out of nowhere and except for a brief rush of air, silently traversed the sky southward surely going thousands of miles an hour before abruptly turning southwest and disappearing over the horizon. The next day’s newspaper reported a meteor instead of a flying saucer. Then there are the shooting stars, the distant street lights, ambulances, cars, buoys, occasional yachts, airplanes, the usual thousands of stars, and the moon throwing a gentle golden spotlight on the lake before the earth’s rotation affects a scene change. Once in a while, the train appears, projecting its bright searchlight into the mix. In this last piece of the series as in the first one, the running is musically audible. Just listen."
File under: CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL / MODERN COMPOSITION
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog #: Cuneiform Rune 3356
Format: Digital (download & Bandcamp streaming)
Compositions by David Borden
David Borden - synthesizers and samplers
Martin Davids - electric violin
share / listen to "Smart Hubris" from Smart Hubris
"The title SMART HUBRIS (2005) was derived from and is an anagram of Ritsu/Brahms. Violinist Ritsu Katsumata asked me to write a piece for her using the violin part from Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 3 in d minor, Op. 108. Ritsu is primarily a performer on electric violin, so composing this piece for her, accompanied by synthesizers, was a natural choice. Ms. Katsumata was also familiar with my work as a performer with Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co., my synthesizer ensemble.
Johannes Brahms composed the violin part and I composed everything else. The idea of borrowing material from other composers and adapting it to one’s own use has been a part of music history from the beginning. In Composers at Work by Jessie Ann Owens, composer Heinrich Isaac (C. 1445-1517) is noted for his technical mastery of working with pre- composed melodies by leaving the original untouched while adding florid voices around it. Bach lifted bass lines from Handel (The Goldberg Variations) and transcribed and transformed concertos from Vivaldi. Charlie Parker kept the harmonic content of tunes by composers like Gershwin, Cole Porter and others while supplying new melodies or heads for them which totally transformed their character while giving him the needed harmonic context for improvisation.
K216.01 (2003) is, like much of my work from that era, a polyphonic composite utilizing a melodic part from another composition. In this case, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major. While there are precedents for this kind of work, it has not been in vogue since the 15th century outside of the Baroque Chorale-based pieces. Also, this is a more radical approach since it does not alter the original part in any way. These works receive their inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s definition of synergy ( . . . behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately) and by the work of painters Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein and George Deem. Close starts with a photograph whose content and structure he then transforms into a unique painting. Some of Lichtenstein’s work (like Femme Au Chapeau) is based entirely on paintings from history. George Deem has based many of his paintings on Vermeer’s work. In addition his Art School series quotes various aspects of paintings from many artists throughout history. In all cases this method forces the use of techniques different from those normally at the artist’s command. The results are surprisingly different from the catalysts. I hope this is the case with these musical works as well. "
released JULY 23, 2021 three albums
from the '90s Downtown NY Scene
by NO SAFETY alternative rock / art rock / avant-progressive band
featuring CHRIS COCHRANE, ZEENA PARKINS,
& other key Downtown denizens
Thirty years ago, there was a different virus in the headlines, and police violence barely made the news. It was different, unsafe times that produced No Safety. But we might need them now more than ever.
No Safety only released three albums during their half dozen years as one of the most vibrant bands in the maelstrom of Downtown experimentalism. Cuneiform Records is reissuing in digital format their 2nd and 3rd albums, both from the '90s – Spilland Live at the Knitting Factory – and releasing a newly discovered album, Live in Italy 1994, which significantly adds to the band's legacy. There’s an ambiguity to the anger in No Safety’s songs, an uncertainty that makes the songs all the more salient, and makes the sentiments still relevant today. It sometimes feels as if No Safety would be writing protest songs if they could only figure out where to start. There’s just too much to deal with. No Safety disappeared without the heralding it deserved. Now, for a momentary flash, they’re back.
In an evolving COVID-19 world, these dates are ALL tentative. Please check with venues, close to the concert date, to confirm. We're ecstatic that live concerts are resuming in many locales, and look forward to music venues and concert halls opening worldwide, when health and safety measures allow.
“[Desertion Trio] hits the sweet spot between Neil Young's exploratory Crazy Horse jams and a spaghetti western soundtrack." – NPR
Philly's Desertion Trio (Nick Millevoi / Johnny DeBlase / Jason Nazary) celebrate Numbers Maker – their 3rd album and 1st disc on Cuneiform – with a post-pandemic live show in DC, Cuneiform's home town.
October 23 - Rhizome DC - 6950 Maple St NW - Washington DC 20012 [Record Release Show!]
GHOST RHYTHMS A remarkable, eclectic and electric "Jazz and beyond" large ensemble, Ghost Rhythms perform across France in 2021, celebrating their upcoming new disc on Cuneiform, Spectral Music, their sixth release and their second on Cuneiform.
The exuberant Swiss jazz/ pop/ beyond group - named after the American triple-Gold Medal winner at the 1904 Summer Olympics - are one of the most active groups on the European festival and club circuit, top-notch live performersceaselessly honing their skills.
Both guitarist Anthony Pirog and cellist Janel Leppin, together and separately, have long been an important and active part of Washington D.C.’s new-music scene. Besides recording together, they've also recorded with other ensembles and toured internationally. Their duo music alternately charms and challenges, with music that draws from classical, experimental, jazz, rock and electronic traditions to transform into a soundworld uniquely theirs. Here they perform with another well-known figure on DC's jazz and avant-music scenes: bassist Luke Stewart.
September 19 - Out Music In Outer Space - 3840 Bladensburg Rd - Cottage City, MD
Janel & Anthony with Luke Stewart
doors at 5:00 / music at 6:00
[with Luke Stewart Silt Trio (Cuneiform's latest signing) and Chad Taylor Trio]
Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics.
When Covid pandemic lockdowns began in 2020, Henry Kaiser began curating & presenting a weekly series of pre-recorded music videos exclusively on Cuneiform's YouTube Channel for music lovers isolating at home. These "live" concerts are taped beforehand and not streamed - Henry discusses the process in aGuitar Moderne interview, "The New "Live"". Many videos in the series depict duets and larger bands, despite the program being called the "Henry Kaiser Weekly Solo Series". While many depict new or recent performances, other videos in this series are vintage footage of performances not available elsewhere (The Valentines' 1994 concert in the Fukuoka Dome).
After lockdowns began to lift In April 2021, the series celebrated its one-year anniversary and converted to a monthly format, which continues. All 52 videos from the Henry Kaiser's Weekly Series and everything in the current Monthly Series are archived & available on Cuneiform's YouTube Channel. We invite you to visit Cuneiform Record's YouTube Channel to see the videos that Henry present on the first of every month.
"Twenty-first century big-band music doesn’t get more exciting
and impressive than this." – Jazz Times
An astounding 18 piece jazz ensemble of five woodwind players, four trumpeters, three trombonists, two keyboardists, guitar, violin, bass and drums, led by arranger, composer & saxophonist Ed Palermo, one of America's most singular arrangers who draws on jazz, pop and rock tunes for his top-notch band. There are a number of ensembles performing the music of Frank Zappa, one of the greatest American composers of the 20th century, but no one does it with the ease, skill and originality that Ed and his band do! ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The ED PALERMO BIG BAND returns to the live stage!
October 2 - The Falcoln - 1348 Rte 9W - Marlboro, NY 12542
November 22 - Irridium - 1650 Broadway - New York, NY
December 20 - Irridium - 1650 Broadway - New York, NY
May 27, 2021 - Zappa Union - Cosmopolite - Oslo, Norway
One of France's major experimental musicians and a key figure in the development of electronic rock, guitarist and electronic musician Richard Pinhas will perform in 2021 in France and beyond in various groupings.
September 2 – Festival Exhibitronic – Strasbourg, France
[Richard Pinhas performing duo with Duncan Pinhas, and then with Palo Alto]
November 27 - ScenaSonica - ExConvento di San Francesco - Pordenone, Italy
[performing in a 15th century convent now dedicated to concerts and exhibitions]
December 18 – La Maroquinerie – 23 rue Boyer, Paris, France
[presented by magazine/ revue Gonzaï ]
Listen to & buy releases by Richard Pinhas & friends on Cuneiform:
"Schnellertollermeier marries brutality to avant-garde rock and jazz. A classic power trio from Switzerland, the band plays with punk fury and dazzling technical dexterity to create booming, bone-rattling music that stalks, confronts and astonishes." – The Wall Street Journal
Brutal-jazz power trio Schnellertollermeier doesn't compromise. Their fresh and uncompromising mix of jazz, punk, rock, sound and free improvised music, combined with great musicianship, interplay and intense energy, has awed audiences at festivals of jazz, rock, pop and experimental music worldwide. In celebration of their new release on Cuneiform, the album 5, they tour Northern Europe this coming Fall 2021.
October 1 - ISC Club - Neubrückstrasse 10 - Bern, Switzerland
October 2 - Le Singe - Untergasse 21, Biel, Switzerland
"The album...is startling, music that verges on "free" yet..the beat is so powerful.. [it] will change your idea of "power trios." ...this is music teeming with ideas, interactions, inventive solos, intelligent writing, and more. Such an auspicious recorded debut for the Chad Taylor Trio..." – Steptempest
The Chad Taylor Trio perform live for the first time since The Daily Biological, their internationally acclaimed debut album, was released April 24, 2020 on Cuneiform during the Covid 19 pandemic.
September 19 - Out Music In Outer Space - 3840 Bladensburg Rd - Cottage City, MD
doors at 5:00 / music at 6:00
[with the Luke Stewart Silt Trio and Janel and Anthony (with Luke Stewart)]
Support live music and in-person music classes as venues and schools begin to reopen,
while you continue to enjoy music at home
ACTIVITIES ONLINE !
Music can make a positive difference in our lives, and help us survive in evolving and uncertain times. We're thrilled to see the world of live music beginning to reopen. Concerts calendars are resuming in many places, and we at Cuneiform are enjoying seeing music and people in person, outside, most often at our fave local venue, Rhizome DC. Globally, some music venues and festivals and festivals are allowing concerts inside, and larger crowds outside, for vaccinated audiences. Schools are reopening, and in-person music classes are resuming. We are sooon pleased to be able to experience live music again.
But we'll continue to also enjoy music at home, and we hope that you continue to enjoy recorded music as well on your technology of choice. You can explore tracks from nearly 500 recordings released by Cuneiform Records since 1984 on cuneiformrecords.com, our website, or on our Bandcamp, SoundCloud or YouTube sites, and also watch recordings of recent and vintage concerts that we regularly post on YouTube.
Cuneiform Records has a treasure chest of interesting music to serve as soundtrack, inspiration and solace during these evolving and challenging times. We have a mammoth catalogue of releases by some of avant music's most esteemed icons as well as young rising stars, available for purchase at the Cuneiform Records Bandcamp store and at one of our sister companies, Wayside Music. Your CD and LP purchases support indie musicians, indie labels, and small businesses.
• Visit our internet store, WaysideMusic.com(established 1980!), to purchase music from ALL your favorite labels!
We also have a ton of FREE entertainment for your enjoyment on several online platforms:
• Enjoy hours on Cuneiform Records' YouTube CHANNEL: free music videos, videos of live shows, & samples from 400+ adventurous releases! And we've expanded our video content during the pandemic, most notably with an ongoing video series curated and produced by guitarist Henry Kaiser.
• Media professionals: find music to LICENSE from Cuneiform for movies, ads etc via our sister site TheMusicOutpost.com.
• Were you forwarded this email from a friend? If so, make sure you sign up for the Cuneiform NEWSLETTER to get this monthly newsletter in your email box, in addition to receiving notices for Cuneiform's weekly "$5 Friday" offers – Cuneiform selects a special album from its archive each weekend, to be sold in download format via Bandcamp, that weekend only, for $5.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN SEPTEMBER, ONLINE!