Music Reviews from the Staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House


December 11, 2022
Ten Splendid Records of 2022
In this review, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House high-light ten records released in the past year to which we have repeatedly listened. So much excellent music appeared in 2022, that this year it seemed harder than ever to select just ten. Suffice it to say that this is not (by far) an exhaustive list, but these ten records really jumped out at us and demanded our attention.


Aeriform - Crush String Collective
Label: Barkhausen Recordings
Catalog #: BHR003LP
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Release Date: February 14, 2022
Media: cd or digital download entry entry

Aeriform is a new album by Crush String Collective, which is, on this record, composed of seven women who have expanded the classical string trio to include two violins, two violas and three cellos. The impact of this expansion on the music is more than simply a doubling of the instruments. Far from it, it is no hyperbole to say that Aeriform does for the classical string trio what The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet (Free Jazz, 1961) did for the traditional jazz quartet. In both cases, without loss of discipline, the tradition is exploded and the possiblities of the kind of music that such an ensemble can create is transformed.

We loved this album when we heard it in January. It presaged a year of exciting music for us, so we kick off our end-of-the-year list with it.

The full review of Aeriform was posted January 22, 2022.


Canto - Emanuele Maniscalco, Francesco Bigoni & Mark Solborg
Label: ILK Music
Catalog #: ILK338
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Release Date: June 3, 2022
Media: vinyl, compact disc or digital download entry entry

In recent years we have become deeply enamored with the music of Emanuele Maniscalco in various ensembles. Canto, the third release in a trio with Francesco Bigoni (saxophone +) & Mark Solborg (guitar +), elevates the wonderful subtlety of his his jazz esthetics to new heights.

The full review of Canto was posted June 24, 2022.


Gyotaku - Tomomi Kubo & Ferrán Besalduch
Label: Call it Anything Records: social media & Bandcamp
Catalog #: CIA-11
Location: Badalona, Spain
Release Date: June 15, 2022
Media: cd or digital download entry entry

Everything fell into place on this record. First, we love listening to musicians who are new to our ears for the first time. On Gyotaku, we were previously familiar with neither Tomomi Kubo nor Ferrán Besalduch. Second, we love eclectic instruments and the electronic tones of the Ondes Martenot were an unexpected delight. Third, the improvised partnership between Ms. Kubo & Mr. Besalduch on saxophone was nothing short of thrilling. We should have put all of the first three records listed here in the top spot, as some kind of three-way tie of music absolutely not to be missed.

The full review of Gyotaku was posted August 30, 2022.


The Monkey In The Abstract Garden: Over Mountains - Alexandra Grimal & Benjamin Lévy
Label: Nunc.
Catalog #: NUNC.032
Location: France
Release Date: September 2, 2022
Media: digital download entry entry

French saxophonist, vocalist and composer Alexandra Grimal released a "singer/songwriter" double album, in collaboration with Benjamin Lévy (électronique), a third release in The Monkey In The Abstract Garden series. These songs are intimate and lovely. The interaction between voice and electronics maintain a healthy tension between melody and dissonance. The end-of-the-year list from the Poison Pie Publishing House doesn't usually include music with lyrics but this album was too good to omit.

The full review of The Monkey In The Abstract Garden: Over Mountains was posted September 24, 2022.


Organism - Copenhagen Clarinet Choir
Label: År Og Dag
Catalog #: AD10
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Release Date: September 1, 2022
Media: 12" vinyl or digital download entry entry

The music generated by this clarinet sextet spans many axes, both jazz and contemporary classical, both improvised and composed, both melodic and chaotic. We note here that there are a disproportionate number of releases from Copenhagen in this year's list. (Organism is not the last one.) Whether this is due to coincidence or rather to Copenhagen being an especially active hotbed of creative, improvised music is left for the reader to decide.

The full review of Organism was posted September 9, 2022.


Bricolage III - Biliana Voutchkova & Tomeka Reid
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Catalog #: RPRDL008
Location: New York
Release Date: November 4, 2022
Media: digital download entry entry

To our knowledge, this is the first recording featuring a collaboration between Bulgarian violinist Biliana Voutchkova & American cellist Tomeka Reid. The title "Bricolage" means "a creation from a diverse range of available things". We suppose then that the music is to be regarded as an example of bricolage and that the available elements were a violin, a voice and a cello. Ms. Voutchkova had a number of duets released on Relative Pitch this year and Ms. Reid appeared on several notable albums in 2022 as well. (See the full review for more details.) We pick this combination of the two for our top ten list. We also celebrate the recognition of Ms. Reid's creativity as acknowledged by her being named a MacArthur Fellow for the class of 2022.

The full review of Bricolage was posted November 23, 2022.


Mnemosyne - Orsa
Label: Barefoot Records
Catalog #: BFREC069LP
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Release Date: March 7, 2022
Media: 10" vinyl or digital download entry entry

The range of landscapes of acoustic territory that can be visited by a duet of alto saxophone and electric guitar is vast. On this record, listeners accompany Maria Dybbroe and Alfred Lykke as they paint a musical travelogue of a journey through diverse destinations. We thought Mr. Lykke's guitar sympathetic to Ms. Dybbroe's soulful saxophone.

The full review of Mnemosyne was posted April 17, 2022.


Back, Before - Great Waitress
Label: Splitrec
Catalog #: splitrec 30
Location: Sydney, Australia
Release Date: September 16, 2022
Media: compact disc, digital download entry entry

In the 2021 version of this top ten list, we were really taken with Confluence by Magda Mayas' Filamental. In 2022, we further explored the musical activities of Ms. Mayas and discovered a trio that she has been a part of for more than a decade. Great Waitress includes Monica Brooks on accordion, Laura Altman on clarinet and electronics and Magda Mayas on piano. We listened to four records of creative and dynamic improvisation by this trio. The latest of these recordings, Back, Before was released in September, 2022, giving us the happy excuse to include it here.


Astragaloi - Dave Rempis, Elisabeth Harnik & Michael Zerang
Label: Aerophonic Records
Catalog #: AR034
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Release Date: April 1, 2022
Media: compact disc, digital download entry entry

There were a couple albums featuring Dave Rempis released in 2022 on Aerophonic Records that we really enjoyed. This saxophone/piano/drums trio is a recording of a live show that spans a great range of jazzy improvisation. It is (at least) the second live document for this group. It has a spontaneous energy, auto-catalytic creativity and a collective exuberance from three long-time practioners of their trade.


My Lord Music, I Most Humbly Beg Your Indulgence In The Hope That You Will Do Me The Honour Of Permitting This Seed Called Keiji Haino To Be Planted Within You - Keiji Haino
Label: Black Editions
Catalog #: BE-1004
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Release Date: March 14, 2022
Media: double lp, digital download entry entry

Since 1995, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House have maintained An Unofficial Keiji Haino Website. In that time we have listened to more than 270 records by this icon on the Japanese underground, including about half a dozen hurdy gurdy solos. So, it is hard to expect that another hurdy gurdy solo album is going to move the needle much. However, the musical traits that made the first hurdy gurdy solo by Haino in 1995 so arresting have not diminished with the aging of Mr. Haino, who is now 70. This is a beautiful record that has received Black Editions high-quality treatment, which will meet with the approval of the most demanding vinyl fetishist. At last count Haino already had nine new releases for 2022, all of which bear almost no resemblance to each other. To be sure, this is not the only jewel among them but as polyphonic drones go, this is as good as it gets.




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