Peter Evans: Oculus Ex Abyssus; Evans/Fei/Smith/Walter; Sparks


Sign in to view read count

Peter Evans-Weasel Walter Group
Oculus Ex Abyssus
Ug Explode Records

Peter Evans / James Fei / Damon Smith / Weasel Walter
Ug Explode Records

Peter Evans / Tom Blancarte
Creative Source Recordings

Over the last several years, trumpeter Peter Evans has emerged as an exciting voice from the next generation of creative improvisers. Not yet 30, he's developed a broad sonic vocabulary: from brash blasts and sputtering smears of noise to lengthy lines of articulated notes, he seamlessly alternates between extended and standard techniques. Perhaps best known for his role in the tradition-subverting work of Moppa Elliott's Mostly Other People Do the Killing and the standards-deconstructions of his own quartet, Evans pushes his expressive and textural range on three releases from 2008.

The limited-edition vinyl LP Oculus Ex Abyssus is comprised of two lengthy group improvisations by the quartet Evans co-leads with drummer Weasel Walter that includes saxophonist Paul Hartsaw and bassist Damon Smith. After a halting introduction, "The Eyes of Hell" erupts in a fusillade of notes, the musicians furiously spinning ideas and quickly responding. Evans and Hartsaw generally use recognizable tones and sounds, until later when the trumpeter buzzes in duo with Smith's sawing bass, a brief respite before the next torrent. The intensity eventually subsides in a nuanced concluding section. The script flips on "Ex Adveho Malum Sonitus," which builds intensity from a probing introduction with Walter and Smith spurring the action. Near the end, Evans offers a repetitive phrase that Hartsaw and the rhythm section lock into, creating cohesion from chaos.

Saxophonist James Fei replaces Hartsaw on the eponymous CD by this collective. Energy and texture dominate the quartet's two improvisations, as Fei and Evans spew contorted sounds that intermingle and make it difficult to distinguish the source. Smith teases squeals from the bass with his bow, while Walter's rumbling tom runs and staccato fills punctuate the first improv as it alternates between intense swells and sparse ebbs. The second piece spills forth with pounding drums and a cacophonous cloud of horns. Later, Evans achieves a didgeridoo-like drone that Fei pierces with sharp blasts. Smith-Evans and Walter-Evans duets complete the CD, highlighting the trumpeter's affinity with these musicians.

A similar abstract approach is taken on Sparks, a series of improvisations between Evans and bassist Tom Blancarte, who plays in his quartet and with whom he has an obvious rapport. Blancarte matches Evans' swirling lines with deft bowing to blend with and contrast the brass on the opener "Xangu," particularly a segment of overblown multiphonic squawks. Seemingly inexhaustible, their non- idiomatic ideas rapidly flow without establishing recognizable forms or grooves, an amorphousness that challenges player and listener alike.

The full-throttle improvisations captured on these recordings illustrate the breadth of Evans' imagination and array of sounds: trilling whistles, overblown bleats, breathy drones and the occasional clean note for stark contrast.

Tracks and Personnel

Oculus Ex Abyssus

Tracks: The Eyes of Hell; Ex Adveho Malum Sonitus.

Personnel: Peter Evans: trumpet; Weasel Walter: drums; Damon Smith: bass; Paul Hartsaw: saxophones.


Tracks: 1; 2; 3; 4.

Personnel: Peter Evans: trumpet; James Fei: alto saxophone; Damon Smith: bass; Weasel Walter: percussion.


Tracks: Xangu; Summanus; Ukonvasara; Mulungu; Kw-Uhnx-Wa; Ishkur; Ajisukitakahikone.

Personnel: Peter Evans: piccolo trumpet; Tom Blancarte: double bass.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Blues Spotlight: Robert Finley / Donald Jay Johnson And Gas Blues Band / The King Brothers" Multiple Reviews Blues Spotlight: Robert Finley / Donald Jay Johnson And Gas...
by James Nadal
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler" Multiple Reviews Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976"" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.