120

Sylvia Hallett / Mike Adcock: Reduced

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Sylvia Hallett / Mike Adcock: Reduced The Spontaneous Music Ensemble lineup of drummer/cornetist John Stevens and soprano saxophonist Trevor Watts can, for countless reasons, serve as the template against which many another freely improvising duo can be gauged. That's an especially pertinent point with Reduced, as multi-instrumentalists Sylvia Hallett and Mike Adcock have fashioned a dialog every bit as rarefied as the one that Stevens and Watts created. Not even the highly residual influence of late period John Coltrane—that was, by a stretch of the imagination, detectable in that ensemble's work—comes through here. The results are extraordinary.

The presence of the accordion underlines that point, in no small part. The cryptically titled "Strange Power! I trust they might" finds the instrument rearing out of a swell of noise—not so much white as mid-grey—simultaneously soothing yet shot through with palpable unease. If this was music of the sea, then the water would be teeming with marine life beyond imagining.

"Notched like harps" is music for a story yet to be written, but this duo's imagination is such that they'll probably write it sooner or later. Adcock's guitar playing has a kind of folksy edge, which inspires thoughts of country folk enthralled to age-old customs, the like of which have no longer have a place in the "civilized" world, while Hallett conjures approximations of whale songs from her violin.

"Try turning it upside down" might well be very practical advice, but in music like this practicality is probably the last thing needed. Again, there's a folksy quality, this time via Hallett's violin, but as much as anything else this is not music so easily nailed. Being quite unlike anything else—even some of the rest of the program—ensures that the music has to be dealt with on its own terms, and that could involve a considerable mental workout in itself.

"We drank in great houses" is as private as anything, music the likes of which might seem almost voyeuristic. That privilege, however, yields singular dividends in the approximate forms of clangorous strings and dead sounds. As ever, the resulting dialog is animated—its motives veiled—with the close of the piece coming arbitrarily.

"Shudder to think" doesn't so much close things out as offer a last thought before the closing of figurative doors. The next chapter—if indeed there is one—can only be something else again.


Track Listing: Gewgaws; Leaning on a lamprey; From across the tracks; Strange Power! I trust thy might; Only tulle; Notched like harps; Betty Martin; Silent is the house; Try turning it upside down; We drank in great houses; Shudder to think.

Personnel: Sylvia Hallett: violin, saw, bicycle wheel, lentils, FX pedals, voice. Mike Adcock: accordion, guitar, autoharp, marble chute, percussion.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: The Orchestra Pit Recording Company


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Burning Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Burning Ghosts
by Troy Collins
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Tyran Grillo
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Morning Glory" CD/LP/Track Review Morning Glory
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Koan" CD/LP/Track Review Koan
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Interesting" CD/LP/Track Review Interesting
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!