Otherways and Free Space: Life Amid the Artefacts (2011)
Herman Hauge's visceral horn plays beautifully, across John Stevens' brazen corne and Trevor Watts' fiery yet unconscious, contrapuntally slicing soprano horn. The music of "Intermediate" has a sharpened sense of mortality, so that the twin double-basses pulsate and throb with heartfelt sonic dissertations, while the percussion bobs and weaves like a medieval sorcerer, coloring the music with lurid invention. The sense that all of this is driven by human compunction to extend language and not some abstract amorphous event is real and felt deep within the soul. The seeming magic and mystic reality of this piece carries over from the octet versions of the ensemble into the quintet also fronted by Hauge.
Here, in as rapid a succession as the quantum energy of each musician will allow, the music rapidly reintegrates ideas with raw emotion. While this appears formless, once again, the nude powers of the works appear to follow a schematic that is like Dadaist sculpturesmolten and mobile. The high point is "Unarmoured," in which philosophy appears to drive Hauge and his ensemble's ideation. This is as close to the elasticity of pure jazz as this music can possibly get. Hauge describes it as occasions when defenses are lowered and the sound that emerges makes lives worth living. In a "flat-lining" sort of way, without being too bloody-minded about it, this music unwinds with the power of being on the edge of mortality with no safety net; a high wire act where the performer is left completely at the mercy of that point where his instrument and his ideas collide.
Track Listing: Intermediate; Altitudes; Unarmoured; Gesture; Aranata; Lucid; Zeal.
Personnel: John Stevens: cornet, voice (1); Trevor Watts: soprano saxophone (1); Herman Hauge: alto saxophone (1-7); John Russell: electric guitar (1); Nigel Coombs: violin (1, 2); Ron Herman: double-bass (1); Marc Meggido: double-bass (1, 2-5); Dave Solomon: percussion (1-7); Simon Mortimer: piano (3-5).
Record Label: Emanem