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Phil Minton & Roger Turner: Ammo

Glenn Astarita By

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Upon its initial LP release, this 1984 improvising session turned more than a few heads. And it would take a fertile imagination for one to reconcile the duo's rendition of Monk's "'Round About Midnight with the original, for example. Armed with boyish enthusiasm, the artists pursue a wanton spirit through their surrealistic game plan. Of course, British freestyle vocalist Phil Minton is a well-known improviser since the advent of this date with his fellow countryman, percussionist Roger Turner. But this recording still resides as an attention-grabbing document.

At times Minton hisses like a cat, amid gurgling noises and sound-shaping activities. Needless to say, these folks march to the beat of a different drummer. However, Turner's effective cymbal shading techniques complement Minton's improvisational vocalese in a rather fruitful manner. On "Cold Storage, the percussionist's dark-toned cymbal swashes and other implementations suggest a cold and creaky environment. They conjure up images of a metal machine shop, but many of these passages sound amazingly as though they could have emanated from a digital sampler.

It's a notion that hits home, especially since Minton's vocal range and ability to mimic echo and reverb bestows uncanny similarities to elements of an electronics-based DJ mix. Elsewhere, the musicians engage in doodling and tinkering with squeaky sounds, chirps and asymmetrical rhythms. The improvisers' imagery prevails in a manner that mimics nature at work, due to Minton's plaintive cries and other digressions. This isn't casual listening, but such undeniably adventurous stuff instills a mind-bending chain of events where the tried and true gets a serious overhaul!


Track Listing: Ammo; Cold Storage; Ing-A-Ting; Feral; Rubbed and Told; Round About Midnight; Cut Face; Urgent.

Personnel: Phil Minton: vocals; Roger Turner: percussion.

Title: Ammo | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Leo Records


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