Music Reviews from the Staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House


December 16, 2017
Ten Excellent Records of 2017
In 2017, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House made a concerted effort to investigate music as it was released, as opposed to indulging in a predisposition to mine troves of music many decades old. In this review, they highlight ten exciting records containing various strains of non-idiomatic improvisation released in 2017.


Verisimilitude - Tyshawn Sorey
Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog #: PI70
Country: United States
Release Date: July, 2017
Media: cd entry
Collaborators: Christopher Tordini & Corey Smythe
We are only beginning to become acquainted with the sublime composition and improvisation of Tyshawn Sorey. This album appealed to us greatly and we put it at the top of the list.


Lily - Isabelle Duthoit & Franz Hautzinger
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Catalog #: RPR1060
Country: United States
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Media: cd entry
This album was released in spring of 2017 but we didn't listen to it until more recently. Our anticipation for this album was spurred on by this amazing youtube video. The addition of the trumpet adds a collaborative element to the improvisation. Even without the visual component, the visceral impact of the vocal performance is clearly communicated.


Solo: Reflections And Meditations On Monk - Wadada Leo Smith
Label: TUM Records
Catalog #: TUM CD 053
Country: Finland
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Media: cd entry
This album made us think of Steve Lacy and his albums of solo interpretations of the compositions of Thelonious Monk that appeared on Soul Note in the late 1980's and early 1990's. This album of trumpet solos is a wonderful complement to and very much in the same spirit as Lacy's soprano saxophone solos of Monk tunes.


Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds - Nicole Mitchell
Label: For Practically Everyone Records
Catalog #: FPE 012CD
Country: United States
Release Date: spring, 2017
Media: cd or lpx2 entry
Collaborators: avery r young, Kojiro Umezaki, Renée Baker, Tomeka Reid, Alex Wing, Tatsu Aoki & Jovia Armstrong
We have a soft spot in our hearts for musical interpretations of science fiction narratives, especially when they are blended with the pursuit of social justice. A review of this album appeared on the blog of the Poison Pie Publishing House on May 22, 2017.


En'Ma-O - Emiko Ota, Makoto Kawabata & Julien Omeyer
Label: Earn Your Ears
Catalog #: EYE-17CD0101
Country: France
Release Date: March 25, 2017
Media: cd entry
Of the recordings featured on this page, this is the noisiest. It includes an hour plus improvisational jam in which the enlightening role of feedback is embraced.


The Creeping Garden Original Soundtrack - Jim O'Rourke
Label: Arrow Academy
Catalog #: FCD1435/C
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Media: blu-ray + dvd + cd entry
The staff of the PPPH have a deep fondness for myxomycetes. This soundtrack of electronics suits the subject matter in a way we had not anticipated. A blurb about this release appeared on the blog of the Poison Pie Publishing House on April 6, 2017.


Bells for the South Side - Roscoe Mitchell
Label: Edition of Contempory Music (ECM) Records
Catalog #: ECM 2494/95,
Country: Germany
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Media: cdx2 entry
Collaborators: Craig Taborn, Kikanju Baku, Jaribu Shahid, Tani Tabbal, William Winant, James Fei, Tyshawn Sorey, Hugh Ragin
We enjoyed this collection of trios, of varying composition, which provides a kind of broad introduction to the music of Roscoe Mitchell.


M Z M - Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins & Miya Masaoka
Label: Infrequent Seams
Catalog #: IS1015
Country: United States
Release Date: August 11, 2017
Media: cd or flac entry
A delightful record in which three veteran musicians make very girlish music together.


Crop Circles - Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Catalog #: RPR1045
Country: United States
Release Date: January 26, 2017
Media: cd entry
This disc features piano and guitar duets performing coordinated maneuvers in a fluid space between free improvisation and free jazz. It is at moments jaunty and at other times contemplative.


Wichlinghauser Blues - Hans Reichel
Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catalog #: CvsD | CD033
Country: United States
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Media: cd entry
The only reissue to be included on this top ten list, this release contains Hans Reichel's debut album on FMP from 1973. A review of this album appeared on the blog of the Poison Pie Publishing House on May 27, 2017.


Two Peripherally Related Additions to the 2017 List!!!


Al Nge Taa - Jan Galega Brönnimann, Moussa Cissokho, Omri Hason
Label: CPL-Music
Catalog #: CPL012
Country: Germany
Release Date: July 29, 2016
Media: cd entry
This is our favorite album released in a previous year that we first heard in 2017. We were motivated to purchase it based on this youtube video. The studio album surpassed our wildest expectations. Some songs on this disc we have listened to fifty times or more.


Music of the Polygonola - Various Artists
Label: Applied Vibro-Acoustics, Inc.
Catalog #: NSAVA-0001
Country: Japan
Release Date: summer, 2017
Media: cd entry
An instrument designed to sonically determine if cantaloupes are ripe was diverted into musical expressions. A review of this album appeared on the blog of the Poison Pie Publishing House on July 10, 2017. This album was also included in our comprehensive review of The Music of Keiji Haino in the Year 2017.


More music reviews from the Poison Pie Publishing House