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If I were to tell you that the free Improvisational troupe known as Lines wholly captures the essence of the country on Lines In Australia, I’d be lying. Nothing the quintet does places them in, or downunder. But then again not much of free form music has textbook or geographical context.
This recording, made as a follow up to their 1997 self-titled Random Acoustic disc, was recorded in Sydney following the group’s tour of Australia. This leaderless quintet features economically spaced sounds, any of which can be processed through electronics. Philipp Wachsmann of Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Iskra 1903, and the creative ensemble Gush (with Mats Gustafsson) is perhaps the best known of this outfit. His playing and that of Brazilian-born Marcio Mattos meets the parameters of this session painting lines, creating space and flow.
The music as it relates to a specific notion is of Kuringai National Park, where photos were taken of squiggly patterns made by insects in tree bark. The marks made are not unlike those of primitive cave paintings, with abstract forms taking some logic as to shape. With that as inspiration, the directions of the quintet rarely wander, seemingly squiggling themselves into shapes. The German processed (by way of a laptop) trumpeter Axel Dorner who as been playing just about everywhere these days, from minimalist outfits to Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band, can make sounds to fit almost any situation. His interaction with the strings here and especially percussionist Martin Blume is inspiring. Jim Denley hoists his flute and alto saxophone, not to wail but to wander. Like a man thirsty for a drink he plays with dry sound emitting sparse clucks and prudent breaths.
This recording doesn’t capture Australia as much as a microcosm of activity within one tree, in one park, in one region of a continent. But then, that would be way too long of a title.
Track Listing: Lines In Australia; Marks On Sand; Bush Onion Story; Smokey Country; Wurrkadi; Seen From Above; Bell Flower; Ghost Gum.
Personnel: Axel Dorner – Trumpet; Jim Denley – Flutes, Alto Saxophone; Philipp Wachsmann – Violin, Electronics; Marcio Mattos – Cello, Electronics; Martin Blume – Percussion.