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Evan Parker: Lines Burnt In Light

John Eyles By

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This is the most significant Evan Parker for quite a while, for several reasons, some musical, some commercial. Firstly, Psi is Parker's own record label (via Emanem). He has total artistic control, something he has not had since his days at Incus (if then?), which ended in the 80s. This CD is the label's first release, but Parker promises that Psi will release plenty of music, old and new, including his duo with George Lewis, and Parker/Guy/Lytton material. The choice of label name is significant, as Parker says, "I called it Psi above all because of the psi phenomena which I am convinced are at the heart of improvised music making." The music here is ample testimony to that assertion. It is simply some of the best Parker ever recorded.

It is over a decade since Parker released an album of solo soprano pieces, and one has to go back to Conic Sections in 1989 for a release similar to this. ( Lines Burnt in Light has monochrome graphic design strongly reminiscent of the Parker 70's solo albums Saxophone Solos and Monoceros, originally released on Incus. Excellent as they were, this music is a quantum leap up from them.) For a while, Parker has been planning to release some solo sax (and recorded some studio pieces a few years ago), but this release has appeared amazingly quickly, testament to Parker's own enthusiasm for the music here.

The music dates from the Strings with Evan Parker concert held at All Angels church in West London in October 2001. On that night, the audience sat spellbound as Parker blew like a man possessed, using circular breathing to generate a power that was exhausting to witness. He played the acoustics of the fine old church as much as he played the soprano sax, and this recording has captured the sound and atmosphere of the event faithfully. Most memorably, Parker played with a combination of speed and sureness that truly seemed paranormal, surely using some part of his brain beyond rationality or consciousness. Indeed, it seemed that to engage rational thought would cause the whole thing to crash. Psi indeed.

Awesome, magnificent.

Track Listing: Line 1; Line 2; Line 3.

Personnel: Evan Parker: soprano saxophone.

Title: Lines Burnt in Light | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Psi

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