Elton Dean and Mark Hewins: Bar Torque
The three long compositions were co-written by the two performers. Hewins usually has several things going on at once, percolating MIDI harmonies behind lead lines adding support to Dean’s light, soulful voicings. MIDI can be a tool of pure evil in the wrong hands, but Hewins puts it to estimable use throughout this disc, i.e. the “chimes” halfway through “Bar Torque”. He resonates almost like a glass harmonica at the start of “Sylvan”, moving into drones and staccato taps while Dean offers short, sporadic bursts of quiet thought. The saxophonist waxes bluesy on “Merilyn’s Cave”, at times recalling Steve Lacy without the really free leanings. Here is Hewins as minimalist, holding down looooooong chords that change with ultimate subtlety beneath the saxophonic monologue. Eventually the MIDI guitar pops to the forefront to close out the tune with a wailing, spontaneous-sounding melody.
Bar Torque is music to relax to, but it also rewards careful, concentrated listening. Many tiny treasures are hidden within, waiting for a patient audience to excavate them.
Track Listing: Bar Torque; Sylvan; Merilyn
Personnel: Elton Dean, saxello, alto saxophone; Mark Hewins, samplers, Casio PG 380 synth guitar, Y Tatay Thomas acoustic guitar.
Record Label: Moonjune Records
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock