11

Max Johnson Quartet: The Prisoner

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Max Johnson Quartet: The Prisoner Double bassist Max Johnson's new suite The Prisoner is inspired by the futuristic British cult TV series from the end of the sixties by the same name. This series was a source of inspiration for many artists, among them The Clash, Iron Maiden, and avant-garde sound artist David Shea. New York-based Johnson assembled a quartet of like-minded improvisers—tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, viola player Mat Maneri, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, all in powerful performances—for an updated sonic meditation on the themes of the series. The seven pieces refer to characters in the series, all called by numbers, and situations from the series episodes.

The chamber, melancholic spirit of the music and its loose interplay charge it with the claustrophobic, mysterious feeling of the original series. Though the pieces are composed and Johnson stressed a thematic progression, there is a lot of freedom for each musician to push its own course. This kind of openness colors the music in conflictual dynamics, emphasizes the tension and the stress of being monitored by an enveloping surveillance and the loneliness among the conforming population of the isolated village-prison portrayed in the original series.

"No.24 Hammer into Anvil" is one of the best realized pieces. It refers to one of the most violent episodes and alternates between spare, threatening free-form texture where all are busy shaping their own loosely connected sounds and nervous, brutal sonic attacks. All forms and each musician with their distinct voices mirror and intensify the emotional uncertainty and troubled atmosphere of the episode. Other pieces as "The New Number 2," and as the series itself, offer an unsettling, enigmatic emotional impact. This open- ended piece leaves the listener contemplating about its mixed messages.

Arresting, multi-layered suite that demands repeated listening.

Track Listing: No.6 Arrival / No.58 Orange Alert; X04; No.12 Schitzoid Man (Gemini); No.24 Hammer into Anvil; No.48 Living in Harmony; The New Number 2; No.2 Once Upon a Time / No.1 Fallout.

Personnel: Ingrid Laubrock: tenor sax; Mat Maneri: viola; Max Johnson: double bass; Tomas Fujiwara: drums.

Title: The Prisoner | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Miles Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Smiles
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Holiday On Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "@etude" CD/LP/Track Review @etude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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