As one half of Binker and Moses
with drummer Moses Boyd
, saxophonist Binker Golding
has already made three keynote contributions to the London scene with the ferocious Dem Ones
(Gearbox, 2015), Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
(Gearbox, 2017) and Alive In The East?
It is impossible to overstate the significance of those albums. The 15-minute two-hander by John Coltrane
and Elvin Jones
on the title track of Coltrane's live album One Down, One Up
(Impulse, recorded 1965, released 2005) is for many people the holy grail of tenor saxophone and drums work-outs. Yet the duo tracks on the Binker and Moses albums can be played right after Coltrane and Jones' mastermoment without being diminished. This is not to liken Golding and Boyd to Coltrane and Jones. Both partnerships are defined by their sound, that is to say "sound" as it is meant among jazz musicians as a near-mystical term of artand Golding and Boyd together have their own, unique sound.
Golding seems to have a taste for duos. Ex Nihilo
finds him in a new one, this time with off-the-wall keyboardist Elliot Galvin
. "You prayed every night to sweet baby black Jesus that this would happen," said Golding in a recent tweet. Now it has, and the wish made reality fulfils expectations.
As readers will have inferred, the album's title is an abbreviation of Roman philosopher Lucretius' motto "ex nihilo nihil fit," which translates as "out of nothing comes nothing" and by which he meant hard work is necessary to achieve a worthwhile result. And boy, what a result we have here. Wholly free to Binker and Moses' semi free, hence the abbreviation of the motto, Ex Nihilo
is a bushfire on which Golding goes further out both harmonically and tonally than is his custom with Boyd. In Galvin he has another fearless and creative partneras Lucretius also wrote, "necessitas duo Tango."
The disc was recorded at London's small but perfectly formed experimentalist-inclined club The Vortex, just around the corner from the more capacious Cafe Oto and the bijou Servants Jazz Quarters, and a couple of stones' throws from the late lamented Total Refreshment Centreall of them venues known for their adventurous booking policies (not for nothing did Japanese Vogue
recently call the neighbourhood, Dalston in north-east London's Hackney, "the hippest place on the planet").
In a tweet flagging the inclusion of Alive In The East?
in this writer's AAJ
list of top ten albums of 2018, Golding said: "The perfect gift for a loved one this Christmas (as long as that loved one has a high tolerance for shit loads of energy & dissonance)." Ex Nihilo
is similarly choice. This year, Christmas has come early.
Side One: Aeturnum Vale; Eram Quod Es, Eris Quod Sum; Ad Usum Proprium. Side Two: Adaequatio Intellectus Et Rei; Aliquid Stat Pro Aliquot; Non Plus Ultra.
Binker Golding: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Elliot Galvin: keyboards.