How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Just how much improvisation is possible by manipulating consoles and electronic buzz is evident in the ingenious experimentation of Nate Wooley and Paul Lytton on Creek above 33. Of course, there is also that small aspect of performance on trumpet and percussion, by Wooley and Lytton respectively, that almost goes unnoticed. It is so spare, and emerges in such brilliant flashes of light, that the music has a blinding effect on the ear as though it were a question of optics and not the auditory. Both Wooley and Lytton are masterful instrumentalists, and know exactly their place in history, and this cannot be tampered with. However, the lines that separate the chronology of events up to this point seem to disappear.
"The Mbala Effect" has a ritual, almost hypnotic effect. Wooley's sparse notes and long intervals markedly alter the tone after its theme of mystery and dark matter is established; the effect almost unforgettable. On "The Gentle Sturgeon," the linear musical line is like a narrative, the sketch of its character quietly unfolding. "Filtering the Fogweed" is a stunning dialogue between brass man and percussion colorist, and the resultant study is iconoclastic. "The Lonely Fisherman," perhaps the most noir piece on the album, features some sinister rolls on the tympani and extraordinarily eerie effects.
The minimal instrumentation of trumpet and drums together, as lead voices in Creek Above 33, features interesting and masterly sound design. In producing a musical study from this sound canvas, Wooley and Lytton have created yet another enduring and memorable duet, taking music into a dimension where few would venture. Hats off to Martin Davidson and Evan Parker