Started by John Bisset in 1996, the first release presenting highlights from the third Relay event held in North London the previous year. The catalogue lists around 20 CDs, featuring the London Electric Guitar Orchestra (L.E.G.O.), Burkhard Beins, John Bisset, Rhodri Davies and Alex Ward.
Around 12 releases (one LP, CDs and singles) for this small French label that mixes rock, noise and other things alongside improv. Occasional appearances by Daunik Lazro but the standout for free improvisation has to be Idiome 1238.
Run by Mike Lintner, the label has released a wide range of improvised and experimental music featuring US and European musicians with a catalogue of around 35 releases in early 2005. There is an abbreviated list of around 10 releases on this site, featuring John Butcher, Joëlle Léandre, Barre Phillips, Anthony Braxton, Biggi Vinkeloe and Scott Rosenberg.
Label started in 2001 by Michel Henritzi, with the first two releases focusing on the 'new wave' Japanese improvisers.
Formed by Trevor Watts and John Stevens, there were only three releases before the musicians went their separate ways, with Watts continuing with Arc Records.
A small independent label from Berlin begun in March 2003 by Marcus Liebig. The catalogue comprises less than 10 CDs, the early releases being four small CDRs placed in a single cover, the others using the same sized package but single CDs. Musicians include Burkhard Beins, Alessandro Bosetti, Gregor Hotz, Kai Fagaschinski, Mark Wastell, Phil Minton, Michel Doneda.
A mix of improvised music with noise, electronica and other things, sometimes within the same release, all on CDRs of quite limited editions (99 to 160). The (less than 10) releases on this site feature, in particular Nikos Veliotis and Mark Wastell.
14 recordings are in the catalogue, and, though in the early days the format varied between CD, LP and cassette, all later releases were on CD. Set up in 1988 by John Butcher, in assocation with Phil Durrant and John Russell in order to release Conceits. The emphasis was on free improvisation although structured improvisation was included on Acta 5 and occasional related projects focus on 'new music'. Principal musicians: John Butcher and Chris Burn solo, in a variety of group situations and including Phil Durrant and John Russell, Veryan Weston, and one of the last recordings of John Stevens with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. The label is no longer releasing CDs though some stock of existing releases remains. John Butcher began a new label, Weight of Wax, in 2004.
A Lebanese label, launched from Beirut in June 2005 'to publish the unpublishable in the Lebanese artistic scene'. The catalogue comprises two releases: a trumpet solo from Mazen Kerbaj and a quartet from Mazen Kerbaj, Christine Sehnaoui, Sharif Sehnaoui and Ingar Zach
Run by Niklas Billstrom, this small Swedish label - around 25 CDs in total - focusses on a wide variety of genres: new music encompassing contemporary classical, improvisations and jazz; 16th/17th chamber music; poetry and music; and Swedish folk music and songs. For free improvisation the main musicians are Sten Sandell, Raymond Strid, Paul Pignon and Lokomotiv Konkret.
Run by Helma Schleif, this new label started in early 2002. The label name is intended as an acronym based on 'a love's labour' and/or 'a lioness' love', drawn from an admiration of Agnès Varda's films, especially 'A lion's love'. The intention is to continuously present marking stones of free improvised music. The catalogue consisted of 12 releases by winter 2005. Musicians include Tony Oxley, Wolfgang Fuchs, Hans Reichel, Alan Davie, Schlippenbach Trio, The Tradition Trio, and compilations of the Total Music Meeting.
Mainly releasing music by Canadian artists, this label has also released CDs featuring Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, Bertrand Denzler, Hans Koch and Joëlle Léandre. The catalogue is over 100 items but the list on EFIP focuses on primarily on European improvisers.
Started in 2005 by soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo and still run solely by him, Amirani is focused on bringing forward, in particular, Italian improvisers and experimental musicians little know outside their own country. At early 2012, the catalogue comprises around 30 items including the 6CD box of the Anthony Braxton Quartet playing standards.
A French label begun in 2003 and specialising in free jazz and improvised music. The distinctive thing is that all the covers are hand made from card and individually painted so each one is different from all others, in addition to being produced in a limited edition of (in general) 500 copies. By autumn 2008, the catalogue comprised less than 20 items. Musicians include Paul Rogers, Didier Lasserre, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Steve Dalachinsky and Sylvain Guérineau.
A small Swedish label with a broad range of releases with, of particular interest for this web site, a vinyl-only release of The music of Norman Howard featuring Mats Gustafsson with School Days and The Thing. An abbreviated list of Anagram releases is included on this site.
This Greek label features a mix of improvised music, jazz and folk music; by mid-2001 there were around twenty discs in the catalogue.
Started in October 2007 by enthusiast Simon Reynell, the label initially released four CDs but expanded rapidly so that, at mid-2010, the catalogue is moving towards 40 items. Musicians include John Butcher, Phil Minton, Rhodri Davies, Axel Dörner, John Russell and many others.
Formed by Trevor Watts in 1982, to some extent an outgrowth of A Records which Watts started with John Stevens. Arc documents some of the incarnations of Watts' groups Amalgam (on one release), and Moiré Music and the Drum Orchestra. Intermittent releases mean that the catalogue lists seven items - on either LP, CD or cassette - though only two are still in print.
Formed by percussionist Ron de Jong in early 2001, the label is dedicated to documenting free improvised music by known and unknown improvisers, and as an outlet for his own projects and ad hoc activities. The initial catalogue comprised two releases: the first a duo of Derek Bailey and Eddie Prévost, the other the guitar drums duo Detention. Arrival Records is retooling its release output almost entirely in a cottage industry approach. This new series is called 'VIA AIRMAIL'. The releases consist of limited edition CD-Rs from 50 to as many as 225 and the packaging will be done in house and consist of hand-stamped envelopes with notes, etc. done manually. This move is to provide a more personal result from the musicians and the label in reaction to the cold vice of downloading and mass production. Now dormant.
A label run by painter Marcus Heesch who works with egg tempera in close association with improvising musicians, creating artworks influenced by the music created at the same time. The ArtPart web site give examples of the work created, supplemented by video and music clips. The CD extras created as limited edition samples include reproductions of the art works together with the music and video samples of other creations. A sample can be see as ArtPart 02.
Musically wide-ranging releases from this Chicago-based label that includes, on the jazz side, releases from Ken Vandermark, Gregg Bendian and John Corbett. Of special interest to this web site is John Corbett's curated imprint, begun in 2000, the Unheard Music Series, a mixture of long out-of-print historically important LPs, unheard tapes and lost music. By spring 2001 the catalogue had risen to fifteen releases with unearthed gems from, among others, Peter Brötzmann, Schlippenbach Quartet, Sven-Åke Johansson, Irène Schweizer and Han Bennink.
Being a focus on Danish improvised music, the label released four new releases at the end of 2000, bringing the catalogue of items to eleven. No longer in business?
Formed by Jan Ström in 2000, but since 2009 run by Stephane Berland in France. Ayler Records primarily makes available recordings from live performances of free jazz and improvised music. Housed in digipacks, the CDs also feature distinctive artwork. By mid-2010 the catalogue was moving towards a hundred recordings featuring, among many, Noah Howard, Peter Bröztmann, John Stevens, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Sunny Murray and Albert Ayler!. Between 2007 and 2009, the label made the majority of its new releases available as digital downloads only, but is now back to releasing primarily CDs. The digital downloads are not listed on this site but can be found by following the Ayler Records link at the top of this paragraph.
Formed by double-bassist Damon Smith in 2001, the discs released so far on Balance Point Acoustics indicate the strong playing relationshiips between European improvisers and young American players. By early 2008 the catalogue consisted of 13 CDs with a number of limited edition CDs featuring Smith himself alongside European players such as Peter Kowald, Tony Bevan, Wolfgang Fuchs and Biggi Vinkeloe.
Barking Hoop was founded by percussionist Kevin Norton in 1999, dedicated to releasing new and original music. No European musicians (yet) but the catalogue of six releases features Norton himself, Anthony Braxton (as performer and composer), Haewon Min and Kevin O'Neil.
Bateau Lavoir is an open collective (consisting of Thomas Campaert, Giles Thomas and Patries Wichers) registered with the Belgian government as a non-profit-making organisation for the promotion of cultural activities. The primary activity is the performing, recording and promoting of improvised and experimental music internationally. At mid-2005 the Bateau Lavoir catalogue consisted of 3 CDs. Bateau Lavoir also runs 'xtempor <http://www.xtempor.com> starting January 2006, a pay per track digital download site dedicated to improvised non repertoire music. If you produce in this field or have a label with this sort of work you will be able to place it here for sale including the artwork. The audio format will be mp3.
Formed in 2002 by Michiel Braam to release his solo, small group and big band music, the catalogue by mid-2005 comprised 7CDs of Bik Bent Braam, All Ears and a solo disc.
Founded in 1972, Bead is a label owned and run by musicians showing the diversity and variety of the music which comes from the process of improvisation. Because the initiative for the releases comes from the musicians themselves the Bead catalogue has evolved in a unique way. Releases include less than 30 LPs and CDs which are now being produced under the imprint of 'Bead Records Special Edition'.
The Beak Doctor was formed by Greg Goodman in 1978 as a purveyor of vinyl records, releasing material from primarily West Coast improvisors based around Rova, Goodman and Kaiser but including musicians from wider afield such as Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Jon Rose. Following a long period of inactivity, The Beak Doctor arose again in late 2002 with two CD releases though, "in due course, it is expected that true, round, twelve-inch breakable records will be released with music from selected performances; our point being that when sat upon, this latter format still provides far keener and more delightful sound, not to mention bigger pieces".
Started in 2008 Bloc Thyristors is a vinyl-only label in a limited edition of 300 for each title on coloured vinyl and each with screen-printed, eye-catching, gatefold sleeves. The catalogue of less than 20 LPs runs from the "free rock dada" of Salmigondis to the free improvistion of Michel Pilz/Jean-Noël Cognard and the quartet of Conny Bauer/Johannes Bauer/Barry Guy/Jean-Noël Cognard.
A sister label of Drag City, Blue Chopsticks is run by David Grubbs and features a wide range of music from the first issue - a CD release of a 30-year old Luc Ferrari LP - to solo Mats Gustafsson, the deliciously skewed electronics of Van Oehlen and Grubbs himself. By early 2001 the catalogue included five titles, one more expected in the summer
Enterprising Swedish label that, in spite of its small output (a double LP and less than 5 CDs) is important for recording many of the key Swedish improvisors. Sounds, the label's first production is a particularly valuable document, providing an excellent overview of many of the musicians and includes a 52 page booklet outlining the Swedish scene.
The label's intention is to release lost gems from the wealth of traditional folk music and avant-garde/free music while also releasing records cataloguing the current scene of avant folk music from around the globe. The catalogue represented on this site focuses on improvised music and includes Steve Noble, John Edwards, Alex Ward, Alan Wilkinson and Peter Brötzmann.
Begun in September 2002, Bowindo is an Italian label for experimental and electroacoustic music curated by Domenico Sciajno and Valerio Tricoli. The catalogue comprises 12 titles.
Almost 40 years after having released his first two, privately-produced LPs, Peter Brötzmann, in 2003, has started again, maybe not quite where he left off, but in numbering terms the new release is a direct continuation: BRÖ 3. And, as would be expected, it is a thing of beauty on good quality vinyl and housed in a classy cover. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 40 years. BRÖ is distributed by Michael Ehlers of Eremite.
Formed by Simon H. Fell in 1983, the label specialises in free jazz, improvised music and contemporary composition. Perhaps most well known for its recordings of the Hession/Wilkinson/Fell trio, though the catalogue of over 20 items contains plenty of other material, generally featuring the label's founder.
An overview can be found in Chris Blackford (1993), Bruce's Fingers, The Wire, April, p. 10.
This is the 'jazz' arm of Cadence's releases, in contrast to CIMP (though, of course, there are overlaps). The label is owned by Robert Rusch and has released recordings by several European improvisers in the (approximately) 160 issued. Those with European associations are listed here.
Run by long-time enthusiast John Jack, Cadillac is now less involved with distribution and more with curating and developing its CD catalogue and its substantial archive of jazz and improvised music recordings. The CD catalogue at mid-2012 stood at around twelve items.
CD label based around the AngelicA International Festival of Music that has been held annually in Bologna since 1991. Around ten releases, half of which are excerpts and snippets from the festival, with a truly international cast of musicians. The 1996 release of AngelicA 1995 was labelled 'AI' and not CAICAI, so a change of label name might be in progress. Distributed by ReR-Recommended.
Label started in mid-1999 by Christof Kurzmann to concentrate on electronic music in a wide range of forms from jazz to avantgarde. Special interests are the Austrian electronica scene and meetings between computer- generated music and 'real' instruments. By early 2001, the catalogue comprised thirteen releases.
Run by Trevor Manwaring with a first release of Karyobin by the SME. The catalogue also includes two re-issues of Evan Parker Incus solos and a solo Gary Smith CD. With Trevor's death in February 2004, the label came to an end.
CIMP is an acronym for Creative Improvised Music Projects and this broadly indicates how the music on the label differs from that of Cadence Jazz Records (though, of course, there are overlaps). The label was started by Robert Rusch in 1996 with an Evan Parker trio recording and several European improvisers have been recorded since. From the catalogue of around 300 CDs, those with European associations are listed here.
Run by Frode Gjerstad, this small company has released LPs, cassettes, and CDs though there less than 10 items currently in the catalogue. Main musicians are Gjerstad himself, John Stevens, and the Circulasione Totale Orchestra.
Started by Alexander Frangeneim in 1998, by early 1999 there were four CDs in the catalogue featuring Frangenheim, Günter Christmann, Phil Durrant and Evan Parker. No releases since 2005.
Formed in 1996 by cellist Mark Wastell, Confront set itself an agenda of documenting well recorded improvised music by musicians that, although very active, deserve wider recognition and exposure - as well as offering material by musicians with higher profiles. There is a policy to record improvisations away from the studio in atmospheres/acoustics that are complimentary to the music. By early-2003 the catalogue comprised 11 items and the first 'full production' CDs in digipacks.
Appeared in 2005 by Alex Ward with three releases featuring an AW solo CD, the Luke Barlow Band, and the improvised quartet of Alex Ward, Luke Barlow, Simon Fell and Steve Noble.
Corbett vs. Dempsey is a private art gallery specializing in mid-20th century American art, with an emphasis on Chicago painting and works on paper from 1940 to 1970. As a special area of concern, the gallery is fascinated by those intersections between the visual arts and music - places where the arts cross paths, as they do often in modernist painting and jazz - and their catalogue (only partly included here) comprises a number of limited edition Peter Brötzmann titles.
Formed in 2000 by Mats Gustafsson, producer and musician Christian Falk and music journalist Conny Charles Lindström to introduce music seldom played on radio or in clubs, the label appears ready to cover 'everything from free jazz to experimental house, from hardcore to hiphop'. The label began in July 2000 and by early 2001 the catalogue consisted of four releases but thereafter distribution founded with no other releases being widely available. No longer in existence.
Started in 2001 by Portuguese violinist Ernesto Rodrigues, the music on the first CDs was freely improvised by young musicians from his country. By early-2012 the coverage of musicians had become very wide-ranging and the catalogue consisted of over 200 CDs.
A Swiss label that has released a variety of improvised musics - some free, some less so, and some based around compositional aspects. Musicians include John Wolf Brennan, Peter A. Schmid, Evan Parker, Alfred Harth and Franz Koglmann. The list here so far includes just a small proportion of the catalogue.
Dedicated to 'adventurous independent music', much of what Cuneiform release tends, for want of a better phrase, to lean towards a rock-orientation. However, for a number of years now they have supported Mujician and it's individual musicians: Keith Tippett; Paul Dunmall; Paul Rogers; and Tony Levin in addition to improvisers such as Elton Dean, Henry Kaiser and Curlew. The list here includes around fifteen releases.
Formed in 1997 by percussionist Jason Kahn, the label has released two quite different solo recordings by him, plus two by Repeat, his duo with Toshimaru Nakamura. By end-2001 the catalogue listed 7 recordings. May no longer be producing CDs.
Dancing Wayang Records is a small record label run by Anna Tjan operating out of London-based Eastcote Studios. It aims to provide artists with free studio time and access to high quality recording facilities and equipment while being a platform which combines a love for experimental and largely non-commercial music and sound and the process of sound engineering. All releases are limited vinyl-only editions with hand screenprinted and hand numbered covers and the first 100 copies of each release are traditionally accompanied by a bonus 3" CDR featuring additional exclusive material. By autumn 2011 there were six releases in the catalogue featuring, among others, Mats Gustafsson, John Edwards, Phil Minton and Chris Corsano.
A long-established Dutch label run by Dick Lucas who has been recording improvised music since the 1970s (many of his recordings have appeared on other labels such as ICP). Nine LPs were released (three of which have been re-issued on CD) and, in spring 2005, the catalogue comprised of these plus 11 newly-issued CDs. Musicians include Sean Bergin, Ernst Reijseger, Han Bennink, Cor Fuhler, Joost Buis, Guus Janssen and many others.
Sheffield-based label issuing recordings by Martin Archer, Mick Beck, John Jasnoch and a wide range of other musicians. At early 2006 the catalogue) comprised around 25 recordings.
Well known and well-respected Japanese label that has released a wide range of jazz and improvised musics covering all styles, on both LP and CD. Particularly well-known for their Art Ensemble of Chicago and David Murray recordings, in terms of European improvisors, the company has released recordings by Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Misha Mengelberg, ICP Orchestra, Tristan Honsinger, Peter Kowald, Paul Lovens and Paul Lytton. The abbreviated catalogue on EFIP lists all these.
Started in December 2006 by Bruce Lee Gallanter and Manny 'Lunch' Marris of New York's Downtown Music Gallery, the label re-released a real rarity from Selwyn Lissack recorded in London in 1969. Two more releases brought the catalogue total to three CDs by early 2008 with Joëlle Léandre and Peter Brötzmann.
Began in 2007 by Wolter Wierbos, the catalogue consisted of 2 releases by the end of 2009.
A Japanese label started in 2005 and run by Jun Numata to concentrate on contemporary and largely improvised music from Japan and wider afield. At mid 2006 the catalogue comprised 11 CDs featuring, among others, Otomo Yoshihide, Mats Gustafsson, Kazutoki Umezu, Altered States and including a re-issue of Masayuki Takayanagi's Axis another revolvable thing LPs from 1975.
A long-standing Swedish label currently run by Dave Castle with a very extensive catalogue concentrating on Swedish jazz but with some US musicians such as Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. The label has notably released the Complete 1960 Stockholm performances of the Miles Davis quintet featuring initially John Coltrane and then Sonny Stitt. In free improvisation terms the label is notable for having released a number of Gush recordings and the catalogue on EFIP includes around 10 recordings.
Started in late-2000 by Paul Dunmall, this CDR-only label features Paul Dunmall, largely but not exclusively, in a range of combinations from solo bagpipes to large groups. By late 2005, the catalogue contained around 50 releases.
With 14 CDs in the catalogue this high quality, avant-garde label - established by Werner Dafeldecker in 1995 - has released a mix of contemporary notated music and improvisations featuring, among others, Dafeldecker, Burkhard Stangl, Michael Moser, Roger Turner.
Founded by Manfred Eicher in Munich in 1969 - with ECM New Series launched in 1984 - the range of music released in almost 900 records encompases jazz, improvised music, notated music, early music, folk and soundtracks. Early recordings of European free music included, via an early mail-order subsidiary, Calig, the Peter Brötzmann group's Nipples and then on ECM the Music Improvisation Company and the Bailey/Holland duo. The catalogue on this site is of necessity reduced but attempts to list the key items, bringing things up-to-date with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble.
Small (less than 20 recordings improvised music label run by Günter Christmann and Elke Schipper. Several of the releases have been limited editions, some on CD-R and two have been co-released (one each) with the labels Blue Tower and concepts of doing. Wide ranging inclusion of musicians with: Christmann, John Butcher, Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson, Paul Lovens, Fred Van Hove Boris Baltschun and Serge Baghdassarians.
This label documented, on around 30 LPs, a number of extremely important sessions in free jazz and improvised music in Europe in the early and mid 70s. Many of these releases are considered essential collectors' items and feature, for example, Steve Lacy, Paul Rutherford, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and the first duo recording of Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey. Run by Martin Davidson, credited with recording many of those similarly valuable sessions released on Incus, 1995 saw a welcome return for the label, with a flurry of releases mixing CD re-issues and unreleased material. Since then the flow has (thankfully) been unstoppable and by end-2011 over 220 CDs have been released, with a new '5000' series being introduced in 2009 with card sleeves.
This small label was set up in 1998 by Mike Khoury, the first release being a re-issue, with new material, of Eugene Chadbourne's Country Music of Southeastern Australia. Other releases have included CDs from Northwoods Improvisers, Derek Bailey/Trevor Watts/John Stevens, Remote Viewing Ensemble, and Jon Rose bringing the catalogue total to 9 discs in mid-2001.
Label run by Michael Ehlers that concentrates on the 'free jazz' end of improvising, though one gets caught out immediately in this simplification by the fact that it has released a CD by Malcolm Goldstein. The substantial catalogue is not fully represented in EFIP but the five releases included focus on the European connections.
Label started in mid-1999 by Jon Abbey with two releases: VHF (Vincent/Halliwell/Fell) and Haunted House (Loren Mazzacane Connors Quartet). In a very short time has turned into one of the key labels that combines electronics with improvisation and textures in the majority of its releases. The catalogue consisted of around 60 releases by early 2011.
ESP-DISK started in New York City in 1966 and during its first 18 months, 45 albums were recorded and released, featuring previously unknown free improvisational artists. The only exceptions were Ornette Coleman and Paul Bley, both of whom had gained global recognition during the 1950s. Musicians who made their debuts as leaders on ESP included Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Gato Barbieri, Bob James, Marion Brown, Roswell Rudd, Burton Greene, Patty Waters, Henry Grimes, Charles Tyler, Sunny Murray, Milford Graves, Sonny Simmons, Ronnie Boykins and Frank Wright. Over 100 titles were released and, with a resumption in manufacturing after a long hiatus, new recordings are also being made available. A small selection of the catalogue is included on this web site.
Small German lable run by Oliver Schwerdt with a catalogue of around 10 releases featuring Euphorium_freakestra, Gunter Sommer, Oliver Schwerdt and Urs Leimgruber.
A small German limited-edition vinyl-only label begun in 2004 featuring Burkhard Beins, Sven-Åke Johansson, and Blank. The catalogue comprised less than 10 discs at the beginning of 2006.
A small Dutch label begun in 2006 by double bass player Meinrad Kneer and pianist Albert van Veenendaal as 'an independent label by musicians for musicians as a platform for honest, authentic and contemporary improvisation and jazz music with a European touch'. The catalogue comprises 4 discs at the beginning of 2007.
A long-standing Austrian label (and distributor of other independent labels) with a wide variety of music. The catalogue is very large and on the EFIP web site are included around 10 discs directly relevant and featuring musicians such as Werner Dafeldecker, Burkhard Stangl and Jon Rose.
A new label for improvised music started in October 2012 by Trevor Brent who aims "to present on Fataka improvised music, in all its radical plainness and complexity". Comprising less than ten discs, the catalogue includes John Coxon, Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost, John Butcher, Pat Thomas and John Edwards.
Run by Dutch bass player Ernst Glerum, Favorite Records started in 2004 and the catalogue comsists of two CDs and a combined CD/DVD featuring Glerum, Han Bennink, Curtis Clark, Michiel Borstlap and others.
Started in 2000 this French label is specialising in the meeting of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, generally in the same pieces of music. By early 2003, the catalogue comprised 4 releases mainly with members of the group Formanex, one with Keith Rowe, and two discs featuring pages from Cardew's Treatise.
In 1995 Firework Edition Records was started by Kent Tankred and Leif Elggren. It grew from the project and performance group The Sons of God which had been doing extrovert work since spring 1985 and also from the publishing company Firework Edition that was started by Thomas Liljenberg and Leif Elggren in 1982 and was a sort of consequence of the ongoing project Firework started in Stockholm 1978. Firework Edition Records moves freely between performance, music and the visual arts, and whose productions often reach a point where traditional aesthetic boundaries, limitations and concepts are eliminated. Its catalogue comprises over 50 releases, of which one is Mats Gustafsson's Slide
Owned by Ekkehard Jost, this small label averaged one release a year although more recently this has dropped off. Eleven recordings in the catalogue at early 2009featuring, along with Jost and his varied-sized ensembles, Tony Oxley, Frank Gratkowski, Dieter Glawischnig, Peter Brötzmann and many others.
Fledg’ling Records is dedicated to releasing the very best folk and folk-rock from the British Isles and began as an independent label in 1995 - previously some titles were released under the Hokey Pokey Records imprint. Since 2006 the label has released on CD re-issued and previously unissued material by Chris McGregor with the Brotherhood of Breath and in smaller groups.
Formed by Jost Gebers in 1969, the first release being Manfred Schoof's European Echoes, the company had until the early 1990s, probably the widest and largest collection of European free recordings on vinyl: a detailed list of these can be viewed on the FMP web site, address above. The vinyl is now available only on the secondhand market, but the company has built up a very impressive line-up of around 130 CDs, some of which are new editions/compilations of vinyl. One of the company's crowning achievements was the release of the impressive (artistically and in terms of sheer size and weight) 11-CD box set Cecil Taylor in Berlin '88, unobtainable in this boxed form. At the end of 2010 the company is still releasing new music and plans another special-edition box set for early in 2011.
Reference: Lake, Steve (1991), Big noise from Berlin. The Wire, no. 84, (February), pp. 40-41, 45.
A review of some mid-1994 releases can be found in Coda, no. 258, (November/December 1994), pp. 22-25.
Formed in the late 1980s by Trevor Taylor (the engineer on Balance, Incus 11), by end-2011 the catalogue comprised around 300 titles, not all represented on this site. The label is seen to have no real musical barriers though it concentrates on the general contemporary jazz-free jazz-free improvisation fields.
Formed in 1999 by Tony Bevan, the catalogue consisted of 7 CDs by early 2007.
Formed in 1990 by Günter Müller, the label has released over 50 CDs featuring Günter Müller, Christian Marclay, Jim O'Rourke, Martin Schütz and a wide variety of other musicians, largely, but not exclusively interested in electro-acoustic improvisations.
Formed in 2001 by Carlos Bechegas, there was a lull in releases until early-2004 when two more CDs appeared. Musicians include Carlos Bechegas, Peter Kowald, Michel Edelin and Alexander Von Schlippenbach. At spring 2007 the catalogue comprised 8 releases.
Free elephant began operations in spring 2004 and set itself the goal of continuing and expanding the worldwide artistic network initiated by Peter Kowald. The label intends to release several of his last projects and follow up the threads of his artistic links, many of which relate to the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. By autumn 2006, the catalogue comprised 9 CDs featuring, among others, Peter Kowald's Global Village, Gunda Gottschalk, and Peter Kowald in duo with William Parker and Peter Jacquemyn.
Begun in 1999 by Giuseppe Ielasi, the CDs come in imaginative packaging unlike anything else available: a high quality postcard-type of folder wraps around the disc and the whole is encased in a cellophane pocket. The catalogue consisted of five CDs by mid-2000 and featured the trio of Phil Durrant/Thomas Lehn/Radu Malfatti, Yoshinori Yanagawa, and an Italian-American quartet featuring Gino Robair. All are limited editions of 200 to 400 CDs.
A small Dutch label run by Guus Janssen with around 23 releases, all on CD and featuring Guus Janssen, Ab Baars, Cor Fuhler and Paul Termos.
The beginnings of GROB in late 1998/early 1999 were rooted in the nebulous character of improvised music: as a concert organiser, journalist and fan of improvised music, Felix Klopotek witnessed many magic moments that later were gone forever. The name GROB comes from the German word for ROUGH and fit the original intentions to produce editions of 100 CDRs quickly and release them in simple cardboard covers. Four CDRs were produced in this way before the move to 'traditional' CDs was made in December 1999 and by mid-2002, the catalogue comprised around 30 CDs. GROB is distributed by Harmonia Mundi UK, Dutch East India USA, Forced Exposure World Wide, a-Musik Germany and Karbon Switzerland.
Started in 1975 as Hat Hut, the name was changed to hat ART with the advent of the CD (though the original name remains as the 'official' title). The label specialises in recording new music - jazz, contemporary classical, and 'uncategorisable' sounds - and has particularly focused on musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor, Joe McPhee and composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman and Giacinto Scelsi. The total number of releases was close to 200. In 1995 Hat Hut started to let CDs go out of print for the first time in its history and towards the end of 1996 started to produce all its new, and re-issued, releases in limited editions in distinctive card covers in two main imprints: hatOLOGY and hat[now]ART. Many of these new releases are included on this site, together with - as a matter of documentation - several of the early CDs and LPs.
Henceforth Records was formed in 2005 to release improvisational, experimental, and contemporary classical music. The plan is to release a series of recordings that were made during Spruce Street Forum's "Fresh Sound" series in San Diego, consisting of five (or more) compilations of concerts held there between 1998-2002. Spruce Street Forum - a performance venue and art gallery - introduced many national and international musicians in this field to San Diego audiences. Henceforth Records will also produce music by soloists and groups who possess particular vision and musicality. By 2008 the catalogue comprised five titles.
Started in 2002 by Nick Dart with the first CD issues of the old Spotlite material featuring John Stevens, Trevor Watts and Barry Guy, together with a planned disc of alternate takes. At early 2008, the catalogue comprised six titles.
Run by Assif Tsahar, the label features several of his own endeavours: solo, small groups and large groups/orchestras. In early 2003, the catalogue comprised thirteen CDs featuring other musicians such as Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald and Hugh Ragin.
Hybrid Music Productions was founded in 1991 by Martin Speicher and Frank Rühl as a musician's label. It is administered by Hans Tammen and, by mid-1998 the catalogue comprised 17 CDs (though two of these are out-of-print). Musicians include Paul Lytton, Hans Schneider, Thomas Lehn, Dirk Marwedel, and Ulrich Phillipp.
Formed by Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink, Instant Composers Pool has produced over 40 releases on LP, CD and (two) videos. Many of the early LPs have not been reissued on CD - and are not likely to appear in the near future - making them real collectors' items. 30 years of the Instant Composers Pool were celebrated in November 1997 with the issue of a commemorative book and attached CD.
This, the first Italian label dedicated to creative music, was set up by Andrea Centazzo and his wife Carla Lugli in April 1976 to release Clangs, Centazzo's duo with Steve Lacy. Due largely to a lack of income provided by the recordings, the label was closed down in 1984. However, in 1995, spurred on by the tragedy of Bosnia and with the intention of donating part of the profits to the victims, it was decided to release some of the older material on CD. An agreement was reached with Italian distributor Felmay/Robi Droli and, by mid-2001, thirteen CDs had appeared. However, Centazzo was unhappy with the entire operation and so in 2005, he legally broke the distribution contract; since then all ICTUS from Felmay should be considered illegally sold. At the beginning of 2006, Andrea Centazzo decided to re-open ICTUS again and, being 30 years since the start of the label, to release a 12CD anniversary collection combining original ICTUS recordings with unissued material, all remastered and reordered in the way they were originally conceived. Plans are in hand to release other material following the anniversary collection.
An offshoot of Impetus Distribution and run by Kenneth Ansell and Paul Acott-Stephens, the first release was the ambitious (and now out-of-print) 4LP box set of Amalgam recorded live on tour in November 1979. Since then the catalogue has risen to over 30 items including John Stevens, Frode Gjerstad, Hugh Hopper, Ken Hyder, Bardo State Orchestra, Evan Parker and many others.
A spin-off from the Improjazz magazine, also run by Philippe Renaud, the label released its first CD in June 2003: Dear Peter in memory of Peter Kowald, by Mario Schiano/Xu Fengxia/Martin Blume.
Begun by Kouichi Ohshima in early 2000, the full catalogue includes a duo of Sabu Toyozumi and Peter Brötzmann, a trio of Sabu/Brötzm and Derek Bailey and a Peter Brötzmann discography.
In November 2001, Yoshiyuki Suzuki released the beautiful 10CD set Improvised Music from Japan to celebrate the first five years of the web site of the same name. The box was produced in a limited edition of 800. Though featuring (naturally) primarily Japanese free improvisors, the set also includes some Europeans, for example, Peter Brötzmann, Werner Lüdi, Michel Doneda. Since then, the IMJ label has released an annual magazine and regular CDs, the catalogue being around 10 CDs at the end of 2003.
An enterprising label that was re-established following a hiatus in 1994 due to the bankruptcy of the main partner, Adda. Run by cellist, Didier Petit and Thèo Jarrier, the label has around 30 releases featuring for example, Daunik Lazro, Michel Doneda, Lê Quan Ninh, Joëlle Léandre, Dominique Répécaud and Carlos Zingaro.
Reference: Renaud, Philippe (1995), Didier Petit/In situ. Improjazz, no. 17, (July-August), pp. 3-5. Discusses the problems with the bankruptcy of Adda and reflections on the situation (in French).
A small label run by Rick Frystak with, at September 2002, one freely improvised release, Nothung by Peter Brötzmann, William Parker and Michael Wertmüller.
A small Belgian label run by Collectif Inaudible. Inaudible was founded in 1981 in order to promote, develop and connect improvised music with audiences and other art forms. The catalogue consisted of four releases in autumn 2005.
Formed in 1970 as the first UK musician-owned independent label.Tony Oxley had the original idea, Michael Walters put up the money, and Derek Bailey and Evan Parker were recruited as co-directors. Up to the mid-80s released 52 LPs, one EP of AMM, three reel-to-reel tapes of Derek Bailey solo (now re-released by the Cortical Foundation), and two cassettes, one of Derek Bailey with dancer Min Tanaka, the other Derek Bailey solo - the most important and innovative music of its era. The first recording made for Incus was by the then three directors (Oxley, Parker and Bailey) but it was never issued and the master tapes have disappeared (as have the master tapes for what was to become Incus 1 Topography of the lungs). Run by Karen Brookman, the catalogue hit 60 CDs by mid-2010, a small number being re-issues of the LP material. At the end of 1995 Incus released its first video and then in 2009 its first two DVDs. The DVD and video catalogue comprises around seven itemss.
In summer 2001 Incus began a series of CD-Rs with, in their own words, 'minimnal artwork, no-fi recording quality, no reviews, no distributors; strictly cottage industry'. Three releases - only available directly from Incus - were available by summer 2002.
An excellent early article on the label, including a paragraph on the derivation of the name (Incus is Latin for anvil; a small bone in the middle ear) and an overview of the first 26 LPs, is available in Peter Riley (1979), Coda, no. 167, (June 1), pp. 3-8.
Run by Uchihashi Kazuhisa, guitarist with Altered States, the label, under the imprint of FBI, released four compilation CDs from the Festival Beyond Innocence from 1996 to 2000. These feature european improvisers such as Hans Reichel,Han Bennink,Leonid Soybelman,Joelle Leandre,Helge Hinteregge and Steve Beresford as well as many others.
Innova Recordings, the label of the American Composers Forum, was founded in 1975 as a way to document the winners of the McKnight Composer Fellowships, producing several sampler LPs featuring the works of a range of Minnesota composers. With the advent of the compact disc, Innova expanded its activities in 1994 to include the Recording Assistance Program, thereby offering access and support to a wider variety of musicians. The label now has a catalog of over 100 in-print titles and produces 25 new releases per year, distributed worldwide. Categories include jazz, classical, experimental and electronic music; one of the main reasons for listing the label on this site is its release in 2002 of recent duets between Anthony Braxton and Taylor Ho Bynum.
Begun by Peter van Bergen in 2004, the Institute is interested in improvisation through practice, analysis and theory, publishing, and promoting concerts, conferences, courses and workshops. It's first production was a DVD Video of E-rax.
Musicians include, among many others, Irene Schweizer, Barry Guy, London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, Hans Koch, Joëlle Léandre, Martin Schütz, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Pierre Favre. Around 200 recordings released.
Started as a CD-R label in 2001 with 3 releases featuring Alterations and two discs of Danish improvised and experimental music.
The company no longer exists - ended in hte late 1990s - but while it lasted had a portfolio of recordings across a wide range of musical styles encompassing Eartha Kitt, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Ginger Baker and Tchaikovsky. Improvising musicians were found on ITM, ITM Classics, ITM Pacific and a selection from these lists relevant to European Free Improvisation is provided here. An ITM Rhythm 'n' Blues Series was also produced and ITM-Media also acted as a distributor for a large number of labels. Some released are planned to be re-issued on Jazzwerkstatt.
j.n.d re-records, run by Floros Floridis, began issuing CDs in March 2003, the re denoting both the resurgence of the label and re-issuing of older vinyl material. However, the old material will be interwoven with new releases, as can be clearly seen in the first three issues from the catalogue. 'jnd' refers to 'just noticeable difference', the unit for detecting noise at the beginning of sound.
Started in 2006 with a definite focus on European - especially German - improvised music and jazz with releases by Peter Brötzmann, Joe Sachse, Uschi Brüning/Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky and the Ulrich Gumpert Workshop Band. The catalogue is planned to be around 10 items by the end of 2006 and re-issues of some of the ITM catalogue are also planned.
Started in 2010 by bass player Joe Williamson the music concentrates on freely improvised music, though not exclusively. At the beginning of 2010 the catalogue comprised 3 CDs.
Kadima was founded in Israel in 2005 by Jean Claude Jones and includes a recording label and recording studio facilities. The Kadima Collective is a network of Israeli musicians involved in freely improved performance and Kadima fosters experimental works that develop the diverse cultural mix of the Israeli artistic life, with important emphasis on promoting talented young artists. The catalogue comprised around 20 CDs at mid-2009.
Started as an independent record company in Poland in 2001, the label has around 20 releases including Goosetalks by Peter Brötzmann.
Started by Jaap Blonk in 1993, the label includes, among a range of releases, an improvisors' series and an electronic series. By mid-2006, the catalogue consisted of 15 titles.
Kukuruku started as a small cd-r label operating from Athens, Greece curated by the sound artist Tasos Stamou. It is currently based in London and has presented works by various emerging avant-garde musicians. By 2012 the label had issued around 20 items, with some selected titles included on this site.
Run by Albert and Markus Oehlen and featuring a wide range of independent and wierd music from Jailhouse - the Oehlen brothers with Rüditer Carl - to Tom Watson and Bullenterror and taking in reissues of Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik featuring Sven-Åke Johansson. At early 2005 the catalogue comprised around 30 releases though some had already gone out of print.
Pioneered the release of improvised music from Russia, much of it, particularly in the early days, recorded in less than ideal circumstances and smuggled to the West. While continuing to release music by Russian artists, the label has also expanded considerably, its CD issues covering a wide range of jazz and improvised musics. Musicians include Evan Parker, the Italian Instabile Orchestra, Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Sun Ra and, of course, many others. A sister label, Leo Lab, was begun around 1994 and Golden Years of New Jazz in 1999. At mid-2010, the sum-total of the catalogue was around 700 titles.
Begun in 2003 by Luka Zagoricnik and Jani Peternelj from Slovenia, a CDR label specialising in free improvisation that has 3 limited edition discs in its catalogue.
Swedish label run by Ove Johansson and Susanna Lindeborg which releases music ranging from directly jazz-based to free improvisation. All free improvisation releases are included on this site.
Austrian label run by Hannes Löschel which releases music incorporating a range of influence including new music, composition and free improvisation. The catalogue consists of less than ten CDs. Musicians featured include Hannes Löschel and Thomas Lehn.
High-quality CDR label created by British bassist Nick Stephens to make available recordings of improvised music and free jazz both old and new. Featured artists include John Stevens, Dudu Pukwana, Evan Parker, Louis Moholo, Frode Gjerstad, Lol Coxhill, Harry Beckett and Chris Biscoe amongst many others. At early 2012, the catalogue consists of 22 releases.
"Music for discriminating ears" is the strapline for Kent Carter's MAD Records providing CDRs of previously unavailable performances - studio or in concert - of varied musical situations, improvised and non-improvised. As he says, it's all part of his musical life. At mid-2007 the catalogue consisted of around 10 discs.
Run by Martin Allerton, the label released less than ten recordings featuring Sylvia Hallett, Mike Cooper, Viv Dogan Corringham, Susanna Ferrar, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill. No longer in existence?
Formed by Eddie Prévost and particularly documents the 'meta-musical ensemble' AMM over a period of around 30 years. Much of the music of AMM has now been re-released on Matchless on CD.The catalogue, containing over 50 titles, also features recordings of much of core of the UK free improvising scene. In 1995, Copula, an imprint of Matchless Recordings published Eddie Prévost's book, No sound is innocent.
Formed 1992 by Barry Guy and Maya Homburger and, unusually, places free improvisation and larger scale works alongside recordings of baroque works. By early 2008 the catalogue comprised 23 CDs; principal musicians: Barry Guy, Maya Homburger, Mats Gustafsson, NOW Orchestra, Evan Parker, Barre Philips.
Formed 1999 by Jon Morgan with two releases from Matt Turner and Gino Robair. By mid-2001 there were ten recordings in the catalogue featuring, among others, John Butcher, Axel Dörner, Frank Gratkowski, Georg Gräwe, Paul Lovens. Dormant or no longer in existence?
Started in 2009 and run by Vlad Kudryavtsev from Moscow, mikroton releases improvised and contemporary music with a particular focus (though not exclusively) on electroacoustic improvisation. At the beginning of 2012 the catalogue consisted of around 12 recordings with more planned to double the output. Musicians include Günter Müller, Christof Kurzmann, Clare Cooper, Jason Kahn, Rhodri Davies and Werner Dafeldecker.
Begun in 2005, this Polish label has built up a catalogue of around 40 items at autumn 2010, a mixture of improvisors and more noise-oriented musicians.
Small nonprofit label that releases a mixture of classical and jazz musics specialising, as its name implies, on US musicians. While its focus is much more on classical music - the release of new jazz recordings virtually stopped in 2002 - it is included here because it has released important recordings by a number of European improvisors included on these pages: Peter Brötzmann, Georg Graewe, Barry Guy, Joëlle Léandre. Around 25 CDs from its catalogue are listed. No longer releasing music in this area.
Polish label run by Robert Piotrowicz started in February 2002 with the release of a series of duos from Kyle Bruckmann, followed up by releases featuring John Butcher, Chris Burn's Ensemble, Burkhard Stangl and Martin Klapper. The catalogue consisted of less than 10 CDs in spring 2004.
Established by Thomas Buckner in 2000 to re-release on CD the recordings of his former 1750 Arch Records label based in Berkeley, as well as releasing new music. Mutable Music is very wide ranging in its coverage with the emphasis still broadly on experimental music: a 3CD Roscoe Mitchell solo set was issued in early 2004 alongside a re-issue of the Revolutionary Ensemble's The Psyche and other musicians include Thomas Buckner, Big Black, Mel Graves, Jerome Cooper, Muhal Richard Abrams, Earl Howard and Randy Weston. By early 2009 the catalogue comprised around 30 CDs.
The first release appeared on LP in 1989 (and is still available); CDs started in 1996. Mycophile is run by Michael Prime to primarily release his own music and that of other members of the group Morphogenesis. The catalogue comprised a total of five releases in early 1999; future releases are expected to include MEV and SONDE.
nat nat is the artist label of Alessandro Bosetti, italian sax player and composer based in Berlin, conceived in order to present some unusual aspects of his work, although his music is documented on other significant experimental music labels like Potlatch and Fringes. The catalogue comsisted of four items, though the first two are out-of-print. No longer in existence?
A major French label that has recorded many important free improvisors, though not solely in an improvised context. The catalogue is wide-ranging and includes jazz, film music and song- and folk-based recordings. Its associated labels are Chabada, Cinénato and Hope Street and all can be browsed on their web site, available since 2011. Musicians include Lol Coxhill, Steve Beresford, Tony Coe (and their group The Melody Four), Joëlle Léandre, Michel Doneda, Evan Parker, Han Bennink and many others. A list of recordings is included, starting with the new recordings and re-issue programme initiated in 2011. Keeping track of releases can be tricky as some recordings have appeared in different manifestations with quite different (and the same!) catalogue numbers. If in doubt, consult the nato web site, which includes a contact facility, above.
Started in 2006 and run by Klaus Kugel and Albrecht Maurer, the Nemu catalogue consisted of less than 10 discs (with 1 DVD) by late 2007. Musicians featured included Albrecht Mauer, Bruce Eisenbeil, Ganelin Trio Priority, Klaus Kugel and Robert Dick.
Founded in 1975 and releasing 12-16 discs annually, New World Records is the label for the Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc. The label is dedicated to the documentation of American music largely ignored by commercial recording companies and aims to preserve neglected treasures of the past while nurturing creative music of the future. Music is chosen from a wide repertory including concert and choral music, opera, sacred music, band music, jazz, traditional, folk, Native American music, popular songs and dances, and musical theater. From over 400 released recordings, those of particular relevance to this site are included here.
Run by film-maker Antoine Prum, the label released one DVD of Carl & Johansson in 2011, followed, in 2013, by the major 4LP box set from the Just Not Cricket! festival held in Berlin in October 2011. Planned releases include a live recording of the N.E.W. trio, a studio album bringing together Tony Bevan, Rhodri Davies and Mark Sanders, and a clarinet duo from Alex Ward and Michel Pilz, all vinyl productions.
Based in Denmark, there are over 40 discs in the catalogue, several featuring P.O. Jørgens; other musicians include Peter Brötzmann, Pat Thomas, John Tchicai, Phil Durrant, and the Sound of Mucus.
Label started in 2008 run by Danas Mikailionis from Vilnius in Lithuania whose first release was The Vilnius explosion by Mats Gustafsson. By early-2012 the catalogue had expanded impressively in terms of size - around 40 CDs and 40 LPs - and range of musicians covering European and American improvisers of different types. Has also re-issued some older, out-of-print, impossible-to-get music.
Based in Berlin, this very varied label includes improvised music alongside other genres. There are approximately twenty discs in the catalogue, with three having particular relevance to this site featuring Lindsay Cooper, Jon Rose, Frank Gratkowski and Peter Kowald. The sister label is Review Records which releases David Garland.
From Poland, this label started in 1998 and includes improvised music alongside jazz, primarily. At summer 2006 there were around 70 recordings in the catalogue - including the mammoth 12CD box of the Vandermark Five with Alchemia - and a proportion of these are included on this site. Early releases featured predominantly Polish musicians while recent CDs have included Anthony Braxton, Peter Kowald, David Murray, Mike Pride and Damon Smith.
Organised by Bert Palinckx, November Music is an annual interantional festival with events in three countries: the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The basis for the program is "New Music", which is considered in a broad framework with links to other kinds of music. Besides the function of November Music as a stage for new Belgian, German and Dutch music (largely by commissioning new work), the confrontation with the international contemporary music scene is essential. Such a confrontation provides a stimulus for the compositional practice in each of the three November Music countries. Each year November Music presents projects that are initiated by the festival and produces a CD with a compilation of some of the highlights of the previous festival edition. The catalogue comprises 8 CDs of which half are included on this site.
A small independent Italian label started in 2005 by Achille Silipo "with a strong commitment to the current African-American avant-jazz scene", the first release being a duo of Hamid Drake with Paolo Angeli. At the beginning of 2008 the catalogue consisted of less than 5 CDs with others planned. Musicians include Hamid Drake, Paolo Angeli, Alberto Braida, Fabrizio Spera and the group Noizland.
A label dedicated to 'experimental sound productions' that includes soundscapes, noise and related projects in addition to improvisations. The number of releases is quite large and the catalogue included on this web site list those primarily concerned with improvisation - approximately 20 releases - including musicians such as Erhart Hirt, Hans Tammen, and PUT (Phillipp/Ulher/Turner).
"Producer Russell Summers started nuscope recordings in 1998 to document the daring and life-affirming musics of musicians whose goals are to stimulate, mystify, and move. These musicians also have the great gift to shatter preconceived perceptions of what music and sound are all about. With sound artists such as Fred Van Hove, Georg Gräwe, and others, nuscope recordings hopes to bring about fresh perspectives of improvised and other vital musics. Although the music on the nuscope recordings label will vary, one thing remains consistent. That is, all of these musicians present their music, regardless of label, with added artistic value." The catalogue of nuscope recordings stood at 19 releases at the beginning of 2008.
This CD label was founded by German composer Dietrich Eichmann in 2001. The label's programme embraces a very personal selection of many distinct musical styles and approaches to intense sound worlds including improvised music as well as compositions by classically trained compsosers. The label intends to provide the often missing link between separated disciplines and in early 2002 the catalogue comprised five recordings.
Formed in 1974 by Harry and Hazel Miller with Sound Engineer Keith Beal, Ogun has recorded the Brotherhood of Breath (collectively and under individual musician's names) as well as other UK musicians such as Mike Osborne, John Surman, Keith Tippett, Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, John Stevens and Trevor Watts. Now working alongside John Jack and Cadillac Records, the CD catalogue - around 30 items at mid-2009 - comprises a mixture of re-issued material with new recordings, though a little of the excellent vinyl catalogue is still available.
Formed in 1993/4 by Bruno Johnson, Okka Disk's catalogue of around 80 CDs is built broadly around the Chicago free scene - particularly the music of Fred Anderson and Ken Vandermark - but with strong links to European free improvisation through Peter Brötzmann - particularly documenting his Octet/Tentet, Mats Gustafsson, Georg Gräwe and Evan Parker.
Olof Bright was founded in 2000 and is run by Thomas Millroth and Mats Gustafsson. It specialises in limited edition releases on vinyl and CD of improvised, experimental and related musics and the first five releases, gathered together in a very limited Black box of 100 copies is no longer available. In early 2003 two new vinyl releases appeared in rather longer runs followed by a batch of unlimited run CDs in 2006. The catalogue in late 2006 comprised around 20 items.
So far only two free improvisation CDs have been released but there are plans to release other material. The umbrella organisation, The Cortical Foundation, has a web site and also planned to stage the first reunion of Joseph Holbrooke (Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, Gavin Bryers) since 1966 in Santa Monica in September 1995. Unfortunately this had to be cancelled due to illness. Inactive?
Run by the enterprising Cafe OTO, one of the primary places for improvised music in London, the first recording from the label in early 2012 was a trio of Peter Brötzmann, John Edwards and Steve Noble recorded at Cafe OTO and avialable as 180gm vinyl and download. As it says on their web site "OTOROKU is our archival project for Cafe OTO documenting and sharing what happens here as online video/audio, deluxe vinyl editions and more". So, more to come...
Ouïe Dire is an association of musicians working on the invention of original 'phonographic' objects, particularly investigating the role of the microphone, sound recording, studio work and the CD medium itself in discographic production projects. There are two primary outlets: coliphonies or sound postcards and - from an earlier time and not apparently available now - the Poil collection, particularly associated with the interface and relationship between environmental sounds and recordings with improvisation. Featuring musicians such as Michel Doneda, Lê Quan Ninh, Jean Pallandre and Martine Altenburger, the catalogue currently lists around ten items. Each disc comes in a unique transparent plastic folded jacket, suitable for posting and including a number of graphics postcards/photographs.
Started in 2009 by Pavel Borodin, PanRec releases DVDs of musicians, particularly those involved in improvisation and experimental music. At the beginning of 2011, the catalogue comprised around 5 DVDs with several more planned. Musicians include Elliott Sharp, Speak Easy, Simon Nabotov and a record of the 23rd Unlimited Festival in Wels in 2009.
Started in 1996 and run by Clive Graham of Morphogenesis, by early 2001 there were sixteen CDs in the catalogue. The early aims of the label were to bring out 'London compilations' (as in the first, fifth and tenth Paradigm releases), to find and release lost relics of experimental music, and to release Graham's own work, both solo and within Morphogenesis; since then the catalogue has been extended into a mesmerising range of (primarily) electroacoustic music from a wide variety of sources.
Run by Trevor Manwaring, this label started with two releases in mid-1998; by late-2000 there were 9 discs in the catalogue. Indications are that the music will focus on the 'harder edge' of improvising, but of course first impressions can be wrong. With Trevor's death in February 2004, the label ceased.
Started in 1994 by Hal Rammel, the catalogue consists of over 10 discs and includes some European involvement through CDs featuring Raymond Strid and Torsten Müller. Beginning with jewel boxes, Hal Rammel now uses plastic jackets to hold CD, cover and notes.
Started in 2001 with two Henry Threadgill recordings, the label has since gone on to document the recent work of some of Chicago's primary AACM musicians: Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, and Leo Smith. At mid 2006 the catalogue comprised 20 CDs.
PIE - petite industrie éphémére - began in spring 2006 with a limited edition CDR of a duo by cellist Bruno Guastalla and double bassist Dominic Lash, both of whom work together as part of Oxford Improvisers.
A joint venture between the École Supérieure D'Art Du Havre and PiedNu http://www.piednu.fr an organisation for the new, experimental and improvised musics in the same French city. The first release, in October 2010, was The cigar that talks by Doneda/Russell/Turner; see the catalogue.
Launched by Steve Noble in 1997, the catalogue comprises 4 CDs featuring Noble with Oren Marshall, Davey Williams, Steve Buckley, Lol Coxhill and Derek Bailey.
Pingo is short for 'Isipingo' a small town on the east coast of South-Africa, near Durban and the label Pingo records was founded by saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Sean Bergin who was born in the town but who has lived in Amsterdam for the past 33 years. The catalogue consists of three records at 2010.
This small - less than ten releases in the catalogue - Austrian label releases other types of music as well as improvisations. Musicians include Jon Rose, Peter Brötzmann, Werner Dafeldecker.
Started in 1997 by friends Jacques Oger and Jean-Marc Foussat, by mid-2006 there were over 20 excellent recordings featuring, amongst others Derek Bailey, Joëlle Léandre, Fred Van Hove, Michel Dondea, Daunik Lazro, Evan Parker, John Butcher, Axel Dörner and Carlos Zingaro.
Run by Paul Lovens, the catalogue contains around 20 LPs (no CD issues) of enterprising releases invariably featuring Lovens, but in a wide range of combinations: 3 Lytton/Lovens duets; duets with Rutherford, Christmann, Kondo, Schlippenbach, and Voerkel, two Schlippenbach group sessions, and a beautiful, brief, Quintet Moderne single.
Formed in November 2001 by Evan Parker with assistance from Martin Davidson of Emanem, the label was named "for all the associations with irrational numbers, golden ratios etc but above all for the Psi phenomena which I am convinced are at the heart of improvised music making". Parker said, "I will start with a very recent live solo recording and see how it goes. Next up will be the Gerd Dudek record that's been waiting in the can for a while. There are old recordings with Paul Lytton to be compiled with unreleased material. I want to get the duo with George Lewis back out. I've got great live and studio recordings of Parker/Guy/Lytton...so much music, so little time. As Stephenson said of his Rocket, 'If the parts can be made to hold, there is no limit to the speed'". By end-2011, the catalogue consisted of around ninety recordings.
Formed in March 2001 by Emanuele Pinotti, QBICO is devoted to "limited edition, vinyl only releases of free jazz, experimental, electronic and improvised music from the past to the present". The catalogue comprises 4 LPs although two of these are already out-of-print. QBIC 04 is a duo of Evan Parker and Frank Perry.
Formed by Michael Moore with more of a focus on jazz-based rather than free improvisation. The catalogue comprises around 30 discs with the focus on Moore's groups - his trio, Quartet and Quintet, The Persons, Available Jelly, Clusone Trio, Jewels and binoculars and, more recently Holshauser, Bennink & Moore.
Formed 1993 by Georg Graewe. A catalogue of around 20CDs includes excellent music varying from the peerless Graewe/Gratkowski duets to the solo tuba experiments of Melvyn Poore, all in space-friendly card sleeves instead of the patented corporate jewel box. Principal musicians: Frisque Concordance (Georg Graewe, Martin Blume, John Butcher, and Hans Schneider), Frank Gratkowski, Earl Howard, Melvyn Poore, Gerry Hemingway, Burkhard Stangl. Dormant for a period but was resurrected in winter 2011 with a book/DVD: grubenklang. reloaded.
Formed by percussionist Tony Levin in January 1995, primarily to make available the music of the people he considers very special and who he has worked with over many years. Six CDs by mid-2005 featuring Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall, Barry Guy, Joe Harriott, Paul Rogers and Tubby Hayes.
Formed in 1987 by the percussionist Gino Robair, the first two vinyl releases featured him in duets with Anthony Braxton and other releases have included his group, Splatter trio, among others virtually unknown in Europe (and possibly in the US too!). The label lists around 40 recordings and feature European free players in compilations as well as particular releases by Peter Brötzmann, Hans Reichel, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and John Butcher.
Started as an all vinyl label in 1996/97 and run by Quentin Rollet and Noël Akchoté. The catalogue features over 20 items (singles, 10"'s, LPs, one-sided LPs, and now also CDs) and includes recordings by Noël Akchoté, Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne and Fred Frith.
Canadian label that began by concentrating, though not exclusively, on that country's improvising musicians, with a number of releases by François Houle. By early 2009, the catalogue comprised over 30 CDs featuring European improvisers such as Georg Graewe, Joëlle Léandre, Ian Smith, Peter Brötzmann, John Butcher and Frank Gratkowski.
Los Angeles-based label started by Chris Heenan in early 2004, the first release being the superb, large-scale improvising group, Mount Washington featuring Martin Blume, Jeremy Drake, Tucker Dulin, Wolfgang Fuchs, Chris Heenan, Anne LeBaron, Torsten Müller and Philipp Wachsmann. At spring 2004, the catalogue stood at 5 CDs.
Formed initially as a distribution outlet by Chris Cutler in the early '80s, ReR Recommended has grown to list 60 CD titles, primarily in the areas of alternative rock but with other releases showing tinges or larger snippets of contemporary composition, noise, electronics and improvisation. For free improvisation there is the first AMM disc, and the Jon Rose CDs that feature Bailey, Léandre, Minton and others and a number of other relevant items. No attempt is made to incorporate a complete listing though there is a 'relevent items catalogue'. ReR distributes many improvised-focussed labels such as CAICAI/Angelica; Victo; and bits of Intakt, Matchless, etc.
Concentrates on Stan Tracey with two main series: the Collectors' Series, primarily re-issues but also including some 'overlooked' and unissued recordings such as Supernova, the duo with Keith Tippett; and CD Releases which is primarily more recent recordings such as At the Appleby Jazz Festival.
Rossbin was formed in July 2001 and is run by Alessandro Bianco and Teresa Chavez Ross, with Luca Roux who has been developing the graphic identity. It is a non-profit association totally financed by private capital, releasing works of electro-acoustic, improvised and experimental music. By 2009 the catalogue consisted of 27 CDs, featuring Andrea Neumann, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jason Khan, the Bohman Brothers and David Maranha among many others. In March 2008 took the decision to donate all its income to supporting a private institution in Peru - Divina Provvidenza - working with poor and disabled children. Rossbin CDs are now supplied free to those who make a minimum donation (around €6.5 per CD) to this institution.
Run by Michel Dorbon, Rogue Art acts against the general commercial tendency of the marketplace with the aim of providing a platfrom from which original and creative artists can express themselves and make their music available internationally. Rogue Art is a jazz label, in times when the word itself has lost its meaning, to such point that the great creators won't even name their music that way. The catalogue comprises less that 20 items at the beginning of 2009 and includes musicians such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matthew Shipp, Peter Kowald and William Parker.
Begun in 2006 and run by Herb Robertson and Ana Isobel Ordonez, the catalogue towards the end of 2008 consists of six discs featuring Herb Robertson, Evan Parker, Agusti Fernandez, Frank Gratkowski, Julien Petit and others.
Run by Massimo Iudicone, Rudi Records features primarily but not entirely Italian musicians in the areas of jazz and improvised music. The catalogue at the beginning of 2013 consists of fourteen discs, a sample of which are featured on this site. Musicians include Giancarlo Schiaffini, Sebi Tramontana, Fabrizio Spera, Saadet Türköz, Tobius Delius and Tristan Honsinger
Started in 1972 as the initiating LP in the FMP SAJ series - Schlingerland - the label by Sven-Åke Johansson, has moved from the production of CDRs to production-run CDs (and in one case a beautiful audiophile LP). By winter 2011, the catalogue comprised around 20 items covering a wide span of his work and interests.
Established in 1993, Sargasso is an independent label where categories such as "electronic, improvisation, modern, avant-garde, electroacoustic, minimalism, songwriting, ambient, etc are all fused into one sonic flow". From a wide-ranging catalogue that includes, Jonathan Harvey among many others, Lawrence Casserley's recordings are of particular interest to this web site. A selected list of recordings (those by and including LC) are included here.
The label had a catalogue of less than 10 releases in quite different areas of the improvising spectrum. Featured musians included Derek Bailey, Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Alex Ward and Switch (The XIII Ghosts), and Tony Bevan. No longer in existence.
Run by Wataru Matsumoto, who presents concerts in his barbers shop in Saitama, this is a small label with, at the beginning of 2004, 3 CDs in the catalogue, featuring Michel Doneda, Tetsu Saïtoh, Leo Smith and Yoshisaburo Toyozumi.
Setola di Maiale-Musiche non Convenzionali is a network of independent musicians, most of whom are improvisors coming from all over Italy. The network was set up in January 1993 by Stefano Giust and Paolo De Piaggi, with the intention of highlighting creative music, mainly played by italian musicians who have little to do with the mainstream music market. The catalogue is extensive with a selection included on this site.
Extensive catalogue of singles and CDs run by Stefan Jaworzyn. Certainly not all free improvisation but does includes Lol Coxhill, Simon Fell, Hession/Wilkinson/Fell and Ascension/Descension. Dormant?
Started in summer 2005 as a spin-off label to SOFA, Sillón will only produce limited editions (500 copies) of solo performances by creative musicians. The first release was Solo las planques by Michel Doneda.
SLAM was established by George Haslam in 1989 and is still basically a one-man organisation. During the 1980s Haslam had two LPs released on the Spotlite label with his group The Siger Band; when his third album moved into freer improvised music - 1989 - and all that with Paul Rutherford - he decided to release it himself. The current catalogue comprises around 100 recordings with musicians such as Elton Dean, Howard Riley, Paul Rutherford, Lol Coxhill, Paul Dunmall, Steve Lacy, Max Roach, Roswell Rudd, Mal Waldron and Pinski Zoo. SLAM recordings are distributed in the UK by Cadillac, and Impetus; in North America by Jazz Loft and Downtown Music Gallery; in France by Improjazz; in Japan by Disk Union and in Canada by Verge.
A label that features a range of 'alternative' musics including a mixture of free jazz and improvisation. The catalogue on this site lists four improvised/free jazz items and includes Peter Brötzman, Peeter Uuskyla, Biggi Vinkeloe and Barre Phillips.
Started in the early 1990s as, it would seem, a noise-based label, the catalogue has expanded to include some other musics around jazz and improvisation. The catalogue on EFIP just includes the improvised releases, featuring Paal Nilssen-Love in duo with Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Håkon Kornstad.
Started in summer 2000 to issue freely improvised music from Norway, the first release was the 'Tony Oxley Project 1'. SOFA is a spin-off of NOR-CD, a company that for a number of years has been releasing Norwegian jazz and improvised-based music and folk musics. By early 2005, the catalogue totalled eighteen releases.
Run by Tony Reif, Songlines has released CDs by US and Canadian musicians in the 'more general' jazz and improvised areas. Release of the Han Bennink/Dave Douglas duo 'Serpentine' is the main reason for the label's inclusion here. A catalogue of releases is included.
Started by Daniel M. Yang in summer 2004, the first CD of this label, produced in an edition of 1,000 copies, was from between by Michel Doneda, Jack Wright and Tatsuya Nakatani with a poetry insert from Jerome Rothenberg, the second, in 500 copies was a paper-pulp enclosed 2CD set from Sean Meehan: Sectors (for Constant).
It was run by cellist Mark Wastell and featured recordings made in the concert space of the Sound 323 record shop. Begun in October 2002, the recordings were 3" CDs in transparent jewel cases featuring around 20 minutes of music each and in limited editions of 300. The catalogue comprised 4 discs at the end of 2005. In January 2006, Sound 323 published the impressive book Blocks of consciousness and the unbroken continuum.
The major Italian label releasing music by Italian improvisors and jazz musicians long established with a now-deleted LP series but continued with an extremely active CD list of over 350 releases. The musicians on the label are too numerous to summarise but include Mario Schiano, Evan Parker, Tony Oxley, Sebi Tramontana, Martin Mayes; and there's a marvellous Braxton CD. As it directly relates to EFIP, the catalogue lists around twenty releases. The full listing to come...
Run by Jim Denley, Split has released discs by Denley solo, in combination - often duos - with other musicians, and by the group of which he is a member, Machine for Making Sense. With a recent CDR imprint the catalogue is around 15 items at late 2006.
This label has a 'LINE' series that focuses on improvised music, primarily releasing discs by Canadian musicians but also featuring, on the European front, John Butcher and Mats Gustafsson. The catalogue consists of over 10 releases. A 'FIELD' series is also available.
Begun in 2000 by The Ex, the releases span African music, free improvisation and historical Ex-related recordings. By 2006, the catalogue consisted of around 10 CDs, including two improv releases featuring Terrie Ex, Han Bennink and Ab Baars, the CD of Mohammed 'Jimmy' Mohammed and Han Bennink, and other African musicians.
Begun in 2004 by John Coxon of Spring Heel Jack, the discs come packaged in ingenious card sleeves with distinctive gold animal designs. By early 2006, the catalogue consisted of six CDs featuring, among others Evan Parker, John Coxon, Ashley Wales, Mark Sanders, Eddie Prévost, and John Tchicai.
Begun in 1998, True Muze was run jointly by Peter Niklas Wilson, Vlatko Kucan and Rajesh Mehta and the intention is to issue contemporary creative music irrespective of traditional genre definitions - music reflecting jazz, contemporary (composed) new music, free improvisation, and from non-western traditions. The catalogue features six releases. No releases have been issued following Wilson's death in November 2003.
Started in 1999, the labels concentrates on US improvisors with (in autumn 2001) three CDs by the Micro-East Collective in its catalogue as well as Scott Rosenberg and John Randalll Pelosi. In November 2001 it also released the second Tom & Gerry CD. The catalogue consists of less than ten items.
Their website states that "Umlaut is a global network of highly individual artists who together form a strong organization around the independent label Umlaut Records. Launched in 2004, Umlaut Records' purpose is to amplify the creative progress around us." The label was founded and is run by double bass player and organizer, Joel Grip, who appears on several of their releases. By winter 2011, the catalogue comprised over 20 releases including two major box sets, of Per Henrik Wallin/Sven-Åke Johansson and Raymond Strid/Roland Keijser.
A musician-owned label concentrating on musicians from Switzerland and the surrounding area. Main musicians include Urs Leimgruber, Markus Eichenberger, Michel Wintsch, Christoph Baumann, Jacques Siron, Pierre Favre, Co Streiff and Hans Koch. The label director is Lucas Niggli. Around 75 releases are available, either by national distributors or by mail-order.
Vand'Oeuvre is the label of Studio CCAM who also organise the annual Festival Musique Action in Vandoeuvre-Les-Nancy. A label with over 20 releases, several in the free improvising area as well as the invented instruments/sound installations of Berthet and Le Junter and contemporary compositions performed by SIC. Releases include Lê Quan Ninh, Dominique Regef, Evan Parker, Daunik Lazro, Annick Nozati, Kent Carter, Ensemble Aleph, Sophie Agnel, Martin Tétreault, Xavier Charles.
While documenting events at the Victoriaville Festival, the label has commissioned and released sessions that are ostensibly nothing to do with the festival, though generally featuring musicians that have appeared at the festival. Around 90 CDs released, by improvisors from all hues; European improvisors include Derek Bailey, Michel Doneda, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Butcher, Slawterhaus, Chris Burn, Tony Oxley and Peter Kowald.
Started by Vadim Budman in January 1997 as an outlet for his own projects, particularly with Ron de Jong in Vertrek Ensemble. The first two releases were cassette-only and CDs began in December 1997. At the beginning of 2001 the catalogue consisted of three items; with a further one planned. No longer in business?
Begun by John Butcher in mid-2004, the catalogue comprises 2 CDs at early 2010.
A label started in 1991 and run by Ig Henneman and Ab Baars with the majority of the releases featuring the music of their varied groups and collaborators such as a solo disc by Wilbert de Joode. By end-2011, the catalogue comprised around 20 releases.
A label organised by the Antwerp-based WIM, Association of Improvising Musicians. Releases irregular, so far including one cassette and seven CDs.
A wide-ranging label run by Stefan Winter that covers virtually everything from film music to jazz taking in improvised music, classical, opera and indigenous musics from around the world. The catalogue is extensive and can best be viewed on the label's own web site, but a selection of recordings are presented here, by Ernst Reijseger, Paul Motian (who, in the Bill Evans Trio had an impact on Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars) and others. There label is also undertaking a major re-issue of the JMT label, remastered in 24bit with the intention that all 81 JMT releases will be available by the end of 2005.
Formed in 1998 by Mac McCaughan, the label had around 15 improvised releases by end-2003 including Leo Smith, Mats Gustafsson/Aaly Trio; Steve Lacy, John Butcher, Georg Gräwe, Ken Vandermark, and Paul Lytton.
A label started in 1991 by Gert Jan Prins and Luc Houtkamp but since 2001 run by Houtkamp and Wiek Hijmans; it specialises (though not exclusively) in releases from these two musicians. To some extent an outgrowth of Houtkamp's earlier Ooyevaer Disk label, though most of those recordings are now no longer available and that catalogue was entirely on vinyl. By contrast, X-OR is all CD. Currently, the catlaogue has around 20 recordings; 1995 saw the beginnings of an offshoot label 'The Field Recordings', which, by has released 11 CDs.
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