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Recorded live in France in July 2007, this is the second release from SLW, the follow-up to its debut, SLW (Formed, 2008), recorded live in October 2006. The quartet, with its line-up of Burkhard Beins, Lucio Capece, Rhodri Davies and Toshimaru Nakamura, merits the title "super group"; however outmoded and gauche that phrase may seem, it does describe the conglomeration of improvising talent on display here.
SLW is short for "sounds like water," and its debut lived up to that billing; originally intended to be recorded in a disused swimming pool, its music was restrained as well as swirling, flowing and other watery characteristics. This time out, SLW cleverly avoids an action replay of that debut. So, Fifteen point nine grams (the title apparently refers to the weight of a CD) is a more energized and garrulous performance, in which all four players contribute to a vibrant and overlapping panorama of sounds.
As before, it would be difficult to detect that the line-up includes percussion, harp, soprano saxophone or bass clarinet. Instead, led by Nakamura's no-input mixing board, the quartet creates an electronic soundscape that fizzes with energy. The contributions of individual instruments do occasionally surface and linger long enough to make an impression before being subsumed once again by the electronic sound storm surrounding them. The boundaries between electronic and acoustic sounds are blurred. Notably, Capece's sustained reed notes could easily pass as electronic tones; only their timbral qualities subtly betraying their true origins. The overall effect occasionally resembles listening to a shortwave radio through static, an effect heightened by fleeting interjections of Morse codeyes, these four do have a sense of humor,
As good as its debut was, this album indicates that SLW is on an upward trajectory. Its next album should be worth waiting for. Meanwhile, there is plenty here to engage, satisfy and encourage returning for more.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...