is the garrulous document of that tour. The results are incendary!
First, the personnel on this outing. Han Bennink and Evan Parker are well- known and well- worn European improvisers of the first order. Bennink is probably as well-known for his antics in relation to the drum kit as much as he is known for his expression on the surly instrument, but on this recording his playing is what truly shines; he rarely misses a beat and his playing seems genuinely inspired. Parker is known for his impressive otherworldly circular breathing and the continuous flow of music and ideas that result from such breathing techniques, but on this album he reaches back into his bag of memories and pulls out some of the ideas he explored in the '70s with the Globe Unity Orchestra. This is a good thing, adding a contiguous element to the music presented here.
William Parker and Matthew Shipp are both deep in the American side of free improvisation, and both of them continue to redefine their relationship to making music in this context. Shipp chose to play the Fender Rhodes to great effect on this production, and it's a joy to hear how he tackles the often noisy, brackish environment these players introduce. Parker is stalwart as ever, serving as an essential foil to Bennink's rumbling onslaught; without him this ensemble could easily lose direction, but with him they are able to plow along with playful verve.
As guitarists J Spaceman and John Coxon explore the frontiers laid out by the likes of Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, and Sonny Sharrock; Jason Pierce adds layers of textured sound via electronic means. The guitarists often use extended techniques to define and shape the contour of the ensemble.
This music is raw, ballsy, and tons of fun. Every player seems inspired and very happy to be a part of the proceedings. This quality brings a visceral edge to what's happening here. If, on the other hand, you are looking for heads and solos based on harmonic changes, forget it. This ensemble is the bastard child of full-force old school Euro "shut up and drink your beer" improvisation, the more abstract, spacious improvisational forms put forth by the AACM in the '60s, the electronic explorations put forth in the "intuitive" music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the Pete Cosey-era electric bands of Miles Davis. Not a bad kid if you ask me.
This record will challenge your conceptions of what's good and bad, of what's improvisation and what's not, of what's legitimate musical form and what's unacceptable, andif you're luckymay just blow yer frickin' mind! Visit Thirsty Ear on the web.