We are a cooperative of musicians, poets and artists.

We encourage you to support artists by attending performances, and buying directly from their websites, or through independent distributors such as (formerly Cadence/North Country) and the ever-amazing which offers New Yorkers free in-store concerts weekly.

Our website is under construction. We'll shortly be offering sound samples, cover images, and full track listings for each disc, as well as discographies, biographies and contact information for each of our artists.

Robert Reigle established Aardwoof Records in the 1970s, so-named in order to be the first label seen in the alphabetical listings in the lamented New Music Distribution Service catalog, published by Carla Bley and Michael Mantler.

He created Acoustic Levitation Records with co-conspirator Steven Koenig in the 1980s.

Acoustic Levitation Journal grew from the rootstock of Steve's earlier venture, Jump Arts Journal.

Stay with us as we grow and evolve.

For further information, contact Steve at AcousticLv(at)

ACOUSTIC LEVITATION : JOURNAL of Arts, Culture and Music



Dreaming With Serpents


Gustavo Aguilar, Wadada Leo Smith, Todd Sickafoose, John Bergamo.

1. Zamzam, A Ki-River Spring (Wadada Leo Smith) 6:17

2. Apa (Aguilar/Smith) 3:08

3. Tulumbaz for Solo Timpani (Bergamo) 8:41

4. Faces We See, Hearts We Don't (Aguilar/Bergamo) 4:59

5. Magic Tree (Sickafoose) 6:58

6. Bamboo Blue Static (Aguilar/Sickafoose) 6:51


Samples at

What a lovely CD and what a surprise! Aguilar plays, as he calls it, "pre-composed" music by Wadada Leo Smith ("Zamzam," "A Ki-River Spring"), percussionist John Bergamo ("Tulumbaz for Solo Timpani") and L.A. bassist Todd Sickafoose ("Magic Tree" for vibraphone and log drum). He also includes "present-composed (improvised)" duets with the same three composers. Despite the spare, almost exclusively percussive instrumentation, the effect is surprisingly lush.

The various compositions have the mystery, inscrutability and power of ancient Mayan glyphs. Max Roach's percussion ensemble M'Boom came to mind as Aguilar deploys a variety of tuned and indeterminate-pitch percussion on this session. Wadada's trumpet is a welcome shot of color through "Apa" a duet for trumpet, congas, voice, ankle bells and slit drum that has the vibrancy of Diego Rivera canvas.

The CD concludes with Aguilar's "Bamboo Blue Static," a meditation on the recent shootings in schools. It is a thoughtful way to end a thought-provoking and thoroughly fresh session. For those of us in the east who wonder what sort of scene could survive in entertainment-rich and culture-poor L.A. this CD will provide a surprising and ear-opening answer.

- John Chacona, Signal to Noise 16/45


The Marriage of Heaven and Earth


Robert Reigle, Eyvind Kang, Stuart Dempster, Wally Shoup, Todd Sickafoose, Steven Koenig, David Borgo, Charles Davis, Kenny Mandel, Michael Monhart, Saul Cline, Jeff McGarth, Ed Pias, Mark Oesterle, Craig Flory, Donald Ankney, Greg Powers, Christian Asplund, Kaye Lubach, Mark Ferber, Loren Ettinger, Byron Au Yong, David Martinelli, Andrew McLean, Tom Baker, Gustavo Aguilar, Jonathon Grasse, Lamar Lofton.

1. The Marriage of Heaven and Earth (group version) 9:29

Dedicated to Giacinto Scelsi and Cecil Taylor

2. Pfhat, Movement IV (Giacinto Scelsi, arr. Reigle) 3:17

3. Ants Eating Through Brick 7:13

4. Goodnight 10:53

5. Bells (Albert Ayler) 15:29 featuring Eyvind Kang

6. A Dance Period 5:38 featuring Ed Pias and Stuart Dempster

7. The Marriage of Heaven and Earth (version for tenor saxophone) 20:03

Dedicated to Giacinto Scelsi and Cecil Taylor

The challenging diversity of the performances collected here makes this CD a comprehensive introduction to the musical vision of Robert Reigle.  The project begins and ends with two very different interpretations of the title composition. As the composer's lucid liner notes explain, it explores his fascination with close interval music(s).  The opening tentet performance from 1996 features a weird ensemble conglomeration of Korean gong, percussion, reeds, electric guitars, drums, tabla, bass and trombone.  An entrancing collective performance builds slowly into a percussive wave that grows with a suddenly accelerating dynamic to reach a crescendo before relapsing back to segue directly into the thematically related circular riff and percussive bells of Giacinto Scelsi's "Pfhat, Movement IV" that was performed at the same concert.

While the tentet version runs under ten minutes, Reigle's multi-dubbed solo version lasts over twenty minutes.  Originally recorded in 1982, Reigle has remixed the performance which consists of an extended tenor saxophone improvisation over a separate channel of live tracks of saxophone and one track of flute.  The multi-dubbed one man reed section generated a high pitched circular chordal cluster that is quite extraordinary.

The spoken word experiment "Ants Eating Through Brick "is a collage that recombines sections of poetry with increasingly energetic musical interjections by amplified guitar, bass, bells, percussion, tenor saxophone and trombone.

"Goodnight" is an abrasive a capella tenor saxophone solo as Reigle creates provocative variations with his harsh vibrato.  After this solo improvisation, Reigle directs an ambitious version of Albert Ayler's "Bells" by a 15-piece ensemble and in his notes he points out that "The eight-note theme of Albert Ayler's 'Bells' is just about the same tune as the tune 'Pfeni Nengoma,' a song from Zimbabwe that appeared on a 1950s LP, The Columbia World Library Of Folk And Primitive Music, Volume X: British East Africa."  It's a fascinating performance with an exceptional amplified violin solo by Eyving Kang.  I found Reigle's ensemble experiments refreshing and much of the music here is highly recommended.

-David Lewis, Cadence, December 1999


Tenor Saxophone


Robert Reigle, Eyvind Kang, Wally Shoup, Christian Asplund. Music of Giacinto Scelsi, Luigi Nono, Albert, Robert Reigle and Papua New Guinea.




Todd Sickafoose, David Martinelli, Brana Mijatovic, David Borgo,

Gustavo Aguilar, Jonathon Grasse, Robert Reigle, Andy Connell,

Christian Molstrom, Kaye Lubach, and Roman Cho.

1. Contrafactum in the spirit of Weddell Seals 2:58

2. Fool's Danzon (Aguilar) 5:47

3. Contrafactum in the spirit of Korean shaman song 4:26

4. Contrafactum in the spirit of Giacinto Scelsi 2:31

5. Contrafactum in the spirit of John Sheppard 2:06

6. Six Circles (Grasse) 14:21

7. FQP 1:10

8. Different Tones (Grasse, Molstrom) 5:40

9. Different Tones (Borgo, Connell, Reigle) 11:02

10. Contrafactum in the spirit of Surrealestate 13:40

11. Charlie Rutlage (Charles Ives) 8:27

Compositions by Surrealestate/Reigle unless otherwise noted.

Surrealestate, an improvisatory group of Los Angelenos, is both rooted in the terra firma of serious musicianship and dangling in the vapor of spontaneous soundings. Their debut CD, Contrafactum, is an 11-cut conglomeration of various works that reflects these disparate tethers. Squealing horns, glissading strings, and pungent percussion all come together to mete out a first-rate set of experimental recordings. The CD's title refers to the practice of taking already existing melodies and setting them to new texts.  A musical device used by many a medieval European composer, Surrealestate has updated this practice by performing contrafactas concerned with the "spirit" of various music rather than with any specific melody.

As five of the tracks on the CD are contrafactas, it is a concept central to the success of the CD. Non-contrafacta works on Contrafactum include "Fool's Danzón," a swooning tune that is inebriated with the romantic; "FQP," a "faster-and-quieter than possible" piece that sounds like melodious insect chatter; and "Six Circles," a work based upon structured improvisations that creaks and oscillates with each turn of its graphic score.

Surrealestate's Contrafactum is music for the restless mind, a bridge between discipline and the phantasms of the subconscious.  Not recommended for the regressive listener who is use to having their music processed and spoon-fed, Contrafactum will undoubtedly please those of us who crave a healthy does of organic musical production in our diets.

- John Vallier, All Music Guide


Elastic Poetry Band

AL-1005-CDR (out of print)

Cooper-Moore, Gunter Hampel, Christopher Meeder,

Robert Reigle, Hans Tammen.


Looking For Aztlan

AL- 1006

Gustavo Aguilar, John Bergamo, Phil Curtis,

Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Jonathon Grasse, and David Johnson.

1. Diaspora

2. You Pass Me By

3. Like A Zebra Towards / The Island of Yesterday

4. Us and Them

5. Obra De La Tierra

6. No Time To Rest

7. The River

8. Going My Way

9. SOLUS for solo percussion

Samples at

Aguilar has played with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.  Here he's heard alone on a decidedly superior solo percussion record.  The Latin outlook is prominent and Aguilar uses voice and rhythmic acoustic guitar at times to that effect, but the album is also testimony to his deep immersion in percussive zones mapped out by the likes of John Cage, Steve Reich, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.  He plays and interprets composed music, including pieces by John Bergamo, a percussionist whose playing credentials span from Charles Gayle to George Crumb and who was also a member of the group with Smith.  One piece, written by Jonathan Grasse, incorporates some fine gargling.  Overall, there's never a dull moment. 

- Julian Cowley, The Wire




Gustavo Aguilar, Phil Curtis, Vinny Golia, Robert Reigle, Jeff Schwartz, and Charles Sharp.

Samples at




1. Things We Did Last Summer 10:22

2. Full Body Scan 11:27

3. Ironworks 7:57

4. When Cassavetes Hit Reagan 9:00

5. Amalgam 6:22

6. I Still Dream of Nana 13:07

7. Foreign Hand Knot 12:03

8. Lacunae 7:33

Bruce Friedman- trumpet, mutes

Jonathon Grasse- guitar

Ken Luey- flute, bass clarinet, alto flute, tenor saxophone

David Martinelli- drum set

Jeff Schwartz- bass

Charles Sharp- percussion and little instruments, clarinet, alto saxophone, sogum (Korean flute), dong xiao (Chinese flute)

Surrealestate is a collective active since 1996 in Los Angeles, after being first formed in 1977(!)  The members of the present line up have interest in all sorts of music that are around on this planet, and from these traditions they take their inspiration for their own musical endeavors.

The ensemble performs also composed music from composers like Stockhausen, Coleman and Taylor. But for this release they present themselves in eight examples of collective improvisation, recorded live on two sessions in 2009.

These improvisations demonstrate their very own language of improvisation associated with different contexts.  In 'When Cassavetes hit Reagan', they sound at their most jazziest.  Moreover the music recalls elements of oriental music, if only by the use of non-western instruments.  Also they tap from modern composed music, but never in an obvious way.  Influences are integrated into something that is very much of their own.

Music that is beyond the music we know, and that springs from a very powerful source.  This one is absolutely worth listening to. 

                     - Dolf Mulder, Tokafli/Vital Weekly




1. The Upholstery Clinic  10:22
2. Head Attack 11:27
3. Under Erasure 7:57
4. Scattering From Small Particles  9:00
5. Diode Ring 6:22
6. Surface Tension 13:07
7. Treacherous Cant  12:03
8. Clang Association  7:33
9. Tool and Die
10. Final Obstruent Devoicing

Bruce Friedman- trumpet, mutes
Jonathon Grasse- guitar
Ken Luey- bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
David Martinelli- drum set
Charles Sharp- Bb clarinet, C-melody saxophone, baritone saxophone, dizi (Chinese flute), piri (Korean oboe), prepared piano, percussion and little instruments




1. Beat Red 8:41
2. The Unanchored, Natural Day  3:26
3. Gobblemetrics  4:08
4. Thank God It's Dydd Gwener  8:50
5. The Alexandrian Solution  3:48
6. Leap Day, 1  3:04
7. Phantomwise  5:33
8. Leap Day, 2  2:46
9. Graffito  4:29
10. Clandestine Rotations  8:10
11. Byzantine Lunar Cycle  4:23

Gustavo Aguilar- drums, percussion
Cristian Amigo- electric guitar
Jonathon Grasse- electric guitar, violão de sete cordas
Emily Hay- flute, alto flute, voice
Tom Steck- drum kit, percussion

The risks and rewards of spontaneously conceived, improvised music are passed around, shared in the moment between musicians and ensemble, and ultimately to the listener. There is no way around the sound. What each player brings stays in the web. This collection titled Aporias follows Surrealestate’s 2010 release Lacunae: the mystery of the missing parts followed by unanswerable questions.  Stylistic concerns aside, bring your imagination along because interpretive listening is a part of this creative challenge, and adjectives are not optional when dealing with one’s senses. 

The group’s large ensemble sound was captured in the 2000 release Contrafactum.  A decade’s worth of change was thus indirectly chronicled by the sextet on Lacunae. Recorded the very next day without in-demand bassist Jeff Schwartz, Aporias features a quintet. We weave some serious polyphony. Yet no texture dominates. In extemporaneous fashion, passages glide between almost compositional results, tight and balanced in form, and those sounding totally free, stretching boundaries of cohesion.       

Creative music, a moniker of the avant-garde often used for what is not jazz, not contemporary classical or world music yet challenging some of those same spirits, celebrates the freedom of individual expression through improvisation and passionate experimentation. Listening to these tracks two years after the session, members of the group selectively commented on uncanny ensemble gestures, individual whims and responses, and some of those beautiful zones between.                                      

-  Jonathon Grasse

Coming Soon on CD from Acoustic Levitation


Light In Darkness


Free improvisations by an ensemble featuring Ricardo Arias (balloons), Cooper-Moore (two-string Diddley Bow), Satoko Fujii (piano inside and out), Gunter Hampel (vibraphone, flute, bass clarinet), Steve Koenig (texts), Christopher Meeder (tuba), Robert Reigle (tenor saxophone), Hans Tammen (endangered guitar), and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet).  Includes an extended tribute to Albert Ayler, "Light In Darkness," incorporating Ayler's "Ghosts."



Our love to the late Jeff Matson for our logo.

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