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Evan Parker: set: For Lynn Margulis

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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Evan Parker: set: For Lynn Margulis Lynn Margulis' Serial Endosymbiosis Theory, which began making its rounds in the scientific community in 1966 as The Origin of Mitosing Eukaryotic Cells and graduated into Symbiosis in Cell Evolution, published in 1981 pushed outward forever in dramatic manner the boundaries relating the evolution of micro organisms. Margulis' quest for the absolutely honest and exciting developmental evolution in the nucleus of "the Noble Kernel" continues to shake up the foundations of biology and revolutionize evolutionary thought.

Looking into an electron microscope when he studied biology, Evan Parker discovered what must have been a similar excitement. At some point in his life, Parker was seduced away from his biological studies by the sound of the saxophone and he set forth on an endless journey that explored this glorious ocean of sound. On set: For Lynn Margulis he returns—in wonderment—to the equally glorious sound of micro evolution, using his range of saxophones to capture, literally the atonal melodies of micro cellular evolution. What that brings to record is truly wondrous and unforgettable.

This unusual musical journey takes place at a sonic level impossible to hear with the naked ear. However, the use of a cleverly planned series of instruments brings all this to life, the electronics picking up frequencies that annunciate the sound of energy amid cellular activity. Parker's hot breath sweeps through extreme registers of the tenor, alto and soprano saxophones to mimic collisions of atomic particles which cause the surges of energy. Bassist Barry Guy's slapping of bow on strings—pizzicato—and the tympani and other percussion conjure the general hum of the micro environment.

All this exciting stuff takes place over three sessions. An introductory piece, prepared in the studio, sets things up for a live performance that mimics the grand design of the sonic hypothesis' explosive nature. This almost forty-minute live performance is the actual sound of life; using frequency modulation via a set of electronics, FURT's Richard Barrett, Paul Obermayer and Lawrence Casserley bring prepared sound to embellish Paul Lytton and Walter Prati's live electronics.

The wildly dancing and melodic nature of these developing sheets of sound creates a buzz of activity and almost constantly exploding harmonics from the fifteenth minute, undulating until the end of the performance. Meanwhile the main protagonists indulge in an interminable dance of life, announced in witness by saxophones, percussion and a bass that sound like a celestial rumble of happy authority.

It would have been a very tall ask for attention to the music of this living pantomime, had Parker and his ensemble not found a way to engage even the most skeptical mind—with which Lynn Margulis also had to contend in her halcyon days. Appreciative attention comes quick to Parker and his group's profound interpretation of a difficult theory on set for Lynn Margulis. Margulis may surely be pleased as well, from wherever she is listening.


Track Listing: SET part 1 intro (Studio); SET part 2 (concert); SET part 3 (studio).

Personnel: Evan Parker: saxophones; Barry Guy: bass; Paul Lytton: tympani, percussion and live electronics; FURT: Richard Barrett: electronics; Paul Obermayer: electronics; Lawrence Casserley: signal processing instrument; Walter Prati: live processing; Marco Vecchi: sound projection.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Psi | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


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