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I've been listening to this steadily for about a week. Lovely music making.
Understated. Subtle. Remarkable.
Thanks, Arthur, for taking the time to write; it is all those things...
I've struggled a bit with this one - finding much of the improvising somewhat aimless - but your review is making me listen again. The previous reply suggests that repeated listening is required - as of course is the case with most good music. But with so much coming at us from so many sides, and with the ease of the 'next track' button, the challenge is knowing when to invest the time. The advantage of vinyl was the focused attention it seemed to encourage. I shall persevere!
Chris, that's really well stated. It also reflects my feelings about this album, thus far. Part of the letdown for me personally was that I very much like all three musicians, so I had certain expectations to what the album should sound like. I always feel like when an album doesn't meet those preconceptions, then I need to set it aside for awhile, sort of forget I even have it, then one day down the road find it on my shelf (surprise!) and revisit it then. By that time, my expectations should be long gone and I can interact with the music on its own terms.
Sometimes that changes my connection with it, sometimes not.
But I was hoping for something more expressive than what I heard. I still love that ECM got those three together. I think it was an inspired decision to trio them up.
Dave, it's good to hear I'm not alone! When you read so many good reviews of an album but don't quite get it yourself, I sometimes wonder where I'm going wrong, as, like you, I enjoy the musicians individually (seeing Sheppard circular-breathe through many minutes of a blistering solo is astonishing).
The problem with putting it on the shelf for me is the danger of it being overshadowed my so many other more obviously palatable offerings.
So much music, so little time ...
Dave, it's great that you are aware enough that your preconceptions sometimes hobble you when you are faced with something that doesn't meet 'em. I try really hard to not enter into a first listen with any preconceptions. Of course it doesn't always work, but I've found, over time, that doing it is just another skill to hone.
I've a close friend, a real brother, but it's funny when we get together to listen to music. Despite our being simpatico in so many ways, one things has become very obvious: when he listens to an album for the first time, he is often assessing it for what it isn't, rather than for what it is. That's a fundamental diff.
Chris, while I can appreciate that not everyone will hear the music as I do (life would be so boring, wouldn't it?), I can't agree that the improvs are meandering, though I guess I can see how someone might think so. The only thing I will say, to clarify, is that when I suggest an album reveals more on repeated listens, that's not to say that for me, it was lacking on those first ones; instead, what I am suggesting is simply that it's an album that never (so far) grows tired or predictable, not that it has to be heard multiple times.
But for some folks that may well be true, just as for me, the same as applied in other cases. Heck, I absolutely did not "get" Ornette Coleman's '59-'61 Atlantic stuff til the Beauty is a Rare Thing box was released in 1992, and I read a review that was like a major lightbulb moment for me. From then on, it all worked; I bought the box and listen to it often.
How we come to music varies, but I hope that for the people who take the time to write in and discuss such things, they are like me in one way: they are looking for those "Eureka!" moments. They're one of the things I live for.
Thanks for taking the time to write guys!
PS: One more thing: just because that "next" button is there doesn't mean you should use it :) Personally, unless I'm in a "shuffle" kinda mood, when I listen to an album, it's always from start to finish.
True, life would indeed be dull if we all liked the same thing. My Coleman moment was my father's awful 'Rite of Spring' by Stravinsky. How we all loathed its cacophony, but one day something fell into place and it's now one of my favourite pieces of music.
I admire your knack of dismissing preconceptions but many of ones prejudices are subliminal and may subtly influence perception. For example, I have to fight prejudging individuals who have a similar appearance to people who I don't get on well with.
Like you I treasure the 'Eureka!' moments when understanding dawns but more so I crave those wide-eyed moments of joy when something innovative and unexpected emerges to set your spine tingling and make your spirit soar. That next fix is always just round the corner ...
I'd not exactly call it a knack, more something I've tried to work at, and gets easier as I go along.
But re your last comment? Absolutely. It's in the top 3 things that I live for!
Thanks for writing back :)
Machine Mass feat. Dave Liebman
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