Hartsaw / Aspelin / Smith / Bryerton: Ausfegen. Dedicated To Joseph Beuys (2008)
This is documentation of a never ending story, and it's that the story seems endlessly intriguing which makes for compelling listening. All four musicians are deeply schooled in the rigors of free improvisation, and every note and tone they produce makes that plain. Variety is further aided by the fact that the quartet is broken down into duos and trios on a lot of the pieces, a fact which affords the listener some degree of insight into how the responsiveness of the individuals concerned is conditioned by setting.
The notion of an ever flowing stream of music is a pertinent one, not least because, for example, it render the less than three minutes of "Garbage" as thoughts in the moment, captured for posterity. It also gives rise to the contention that improvised music can never be repeated, a point borne out perhaps by the radically different dynamics of the similarly brief "Copper," which immediately precedes it. Here Paul Hartsaw on tenor sax tacks closely to Evan Parker's model, though it's clear that his vocabulary is his own despite any timbral similarity.
"Broom With Red Bristles" starts from nothing, sounds encroaching upon the silence only tentatively. The slow build in dynamics is measured not only by the tendency of all four musicians not to impose themselves but also by what might be called the needs of the moment. The result is engagingly inconclusive, as if this was one of those occasions when resolution simply denied fashioning. Only feedback closes it out, the keening tone of it a crude hint at discontinuity when set against the arid soundscape in the opening moments of the following "Pamphlet Printed On Plastic Bag" where, over the course of almost fifteen minutes, the music seems like silence's hostage to fortune. Certainly infrequent outbursts of sound seem to suggest a certain railing against that status.
"Stone," played by a trio of Hartsaw, guitarist Aspelin and percussionist Jerome Bryerton, is again measured but not tentative, as if the musicians are torn between responding and the demands of the musical moment. The outcome of any such dilemma manifests itself in acute responsiveness.
Track Listing: Vitrine; Sand; Copper; Garbage; Stone; Paper; Broom With Red Bristles; Pamphlet Printed On Plastic Bag.
Personnel: Paul Hartsaw: soprano and tenor saxophones; Kristian Aspelin: guitar, broom; Damon Smith: basses; Jerome Bryerton: percussion.