170

Another Timbre Byways: CD-R Improv Diaries

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Since its inception Another Timbre has regularly released low-priced CD-Rs (on its Byways imprint) to supplement its main CD catalogue. The label has used its latest batch of CD-Rs to document musicians living in or passing through London in March and April of 2009, so they function as a kind of audio diary or sketchbook. The London improvising scene is vibrant and dynamic, so such documentation plays a valuable role in capturing it before it moves on.

Although they are released in modest packaging, with monochrome sleeve designs, proprietor Simon Reynell stresses that the CD-Rs can be issued very cheaply as he does the recording and mastering himself. In fact, the latest batch was recorded in churches in and around London. They are not compromised in terms of musical quality and Reynell wants them to be as strong as the CD catalogue. The music here bears this out.

Paul Abbott/Leo Dumont/Ute Kanngiesser
Loiter Volcano
Another Timbre Byways
2009

Initially, this combination of electronics, percussion and cello looks ill-matched, with Paul Abbott's electronics seeming able and likely to dominate the other two. To the credit of all three players, especially Abbott, that never happens. Instead, a dynamic three-way equilibrium is established. Each player is aware of the others and weaves in and around them, inhabiting the interstices that they leave vacant, so that the component sounds merge together into a unified whole. In particular, Ute Kanngiesser's cello makes its presence felt, reinforcing the impression already given by her live performances of Kanngiesser as a formidable improviser. She can be heard throughout but never dominates, supplying underpinning arco drones and plucked single notes, punctuated by occasional spikier sounds in response to the others. The whole 46 minutes is a satisfying piece that amply repays repeated listening. This is easily the best of this batch of four.

Jamie Coleman/Grundik Kaasyansky/Seymour Wright
Control And Its Opposites
Another Timbre Byways
2009

Like Paul Abbott and Ute Kanngiesser, above, all three members of this trio are participants in drummer and percussionist Eddie Prevost's weekly Friday Workshop which seems to provide a continuous supply of fresh inventive improvisers to the London scene. Here they produce one unbroken 80 minute improvisation. The three are equal partners despite trumpeter Jamie Coleman and alto saxophonist Seymour Wright being more experienced than electronicist Grundik Kasyansky. Initially, the soundscape is comparatively sparse, with individual contributions being restrained—maybe out of caution about the resonances of the church where it was recorded. Each of the three dips in and out throughout the piece and they rarely all play together. As the piece progresses, individual contributions become more garrulous. But the three rarely make obvious reactions to each other, so this feels less like a collective improvisation, more like three simultaneous solo improvisations that take care not to get in each other's way. The combination of its duration and restraint enable this music to be "just there" for long periods, only occasional details demanding attention before fading away again. So, as the title suggests, much control is in evidence but few signs of its opposites (whatever they may be.) Yes, ambient improv.

Mathias Forge/Phil Julian/David Papapostolou
Meshes
Another Timbre Byways
2009

This trio of trombone, electronics and cello perform two tracks; the first, "Long Nylon Oak," was recorded in the church of St. James the Great, Friern Barnet, without an audience and the second, "Floodlit Iron Tracery," in concert two days earlier in a different church, St. Mark's, Clerkenwell. Given the gap and the different contexts, there is a remarkable sense of continuity between the pieces, particularly commendable as the three had not played together before. Both pieces are restrained and evolve slowly. Most notably, Mathias Forge confines his contributions on trombone to subtle breathy blowing rather than full blown notes, giving them a texture that meshes (a fitting title) well with the electronics and cello. As with all four of these releases, Simon Reynell's recording perfectly captures every nuance of the music, a vital ingredient of their success.

Matt Milton/Leo Dumont
Scrub
Another Timbre Byways
2009

French percussionist Leo Dumont features for the second time here in a duo with violinist Matt Milton. Refreshingly, in contrast to the other three releases of the series, there are no electronics present here—a comparative rarity these days. Their absence gives the instruments a sense of freedom that they seem to relish. At just over half an hour, this is the briefest of these four releases but its quality makes up for the lack of quantity. Starting tentatively and quietly, scratching, scraping and droning, the violin and percussion very gradually become more outgoing as the piece progresses, giving it an engaging drama that draws the listener into the encounter.


Tracks and Personnel

Loiter Volcano

Tracks: Loiter Volcano.

Personnel: Paul Abbott: electronics; Leo Dumont: percussion; Ute Kanngiesser: cello.

Control And Its Opposites

Tracks: Control And Its Opposites.

Personnel: Jamie Coleman: trumpet; Grundik Kasyansky: electronics; Seymour Wright: alto saxophone.

Meshes

Tracks: Long Nylon Oak; Floodlit Iron Tracery.

Personnel: Mathias Forge: trombone; Phil Julian: electronics; David Papapostolou: cello.

Scrub

Tracks: Scrub.

Personnel: Matt Milton: violin; Leo Dumont: percussion.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "John David Souther: Black Rose and Home By Dawn" Multiple Reviews John David Souther: Black Rose and Home By Dawn
by Doug Collette
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Albert We Hardly Knew Ye" Multiple Reviews Albert We Hardly Knew Ye
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD" Multiple Reviews Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD
by Doug Collette
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!