Nicolas Christian/ Matt Milton/ Eddie Prevost/ Bechir Saade/: A Church Is Only Sacred To Believers (2010)
Extraordinary free improvisation (and let's face it, the word "extraordinary" is used far too often these days) tends to be sound that reinvents the significance or implications of music. These days, whenever percussionist Eddie Prevost is involved in the process, the extraordinary becomes the custom.
The session in London grew out of Prévost's regular workshop for improvisers, and features fellow Brit violinist Matt Milton, plus Lebanese bass clarinetist Bachir Saade and the French bassist Nicholas Christian. While Milton and Prévost have worked together and Saade and Christian have recorded a duo, this is the first outing for this particular quartet.
At lower volumes the music can be barely perceptible as a live recording, because the four interact and work as one sound unit. No flights of soloing or noise runs are heard. Saade's breathy bass clarinet recalls Axel Dorner's trumpet vocalizations, organizing his sound around breath and the meditative implications of sound, or the absence of sound. Likewise, Prévost, Milton, and Christian are complicit in this prayer. The quartets' inconspicuous playing might be mistaken for an ambient recording.
That is at low volume.
Turn up the amplification and the listening experience changes. What was once ambient is now a flurry of activity. Like peering inside a beehive, the musicians are in constant motion. Their activity, barely noticeable on the calm surface, creates this bubble of sound. In other words, these musicians are hard at work, their seemingly ordinary sound is, in fact, extraordinary.
Track Listing: Song One; Song Two; Song Three; Song Four; Song Five.
Personnel: Nicholas Christian: electric bass; Matt Milton: violin; Eddie Prévost: percussion; Bachir Saade: bass clarinet.