Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

254

Kieran Hebden / Steve Reid: Tongues

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
There is a natural symmetry in the pairing of sampler/electronics improviser Kieran Hebden and drumming troubadour Steve Reid. Reid's credits run from Fela Kuti to Sun Ra, James Brown to Miles Davis, and Archie Shepp to Arthur Blythe. Hebden, a fan of avant-garde and free jazz (particularly Pharoah Sanders), has remixed tracks by artists as diverse as Badly Drawn Boy, Black Sabbath and Steve Reich. It is safe to say that both musicians share a certain sense of adventure, and the open-minded and patient listener will be amply rewarded by Tongues, their third collaboration.

The ten concise and intense tracks on this recording are undeniably adventurous in both spirit and execution; these improvisations were recorded without a safety net, as there are no edits or overdubs. The language in which Hebden and Reid converse seems somehow alien at first, with its abstractions, strange sounds and unfamiliar punctuation. It is, however, arresting, and held together by Reid's wonderful rhythms. The music runs from the melodious "The Sun Never Sets, which brings to mind the Penguin Café Orchestra, to the dark and edgy "The Squid —from toe-tapping to toe-curling.

Hebden's industrial sounds and electronic textures complement and propel Reid's energized drumming and colorful percussion. On "Brain, Reid's crisp and dynamic stick work is almost drowned out by what sounds like a hoover gone mad. This is an intense dialogue indeed.

The stripped-down electronics on "Our Time allow the percussion to take up the discourse. A swirling harp and a mantra-like keyboard riff are reminiscent of the atmosphere of Joe Zawinul's "In a Silent Way, and Reid's temple bells, chattering chimes and cymbals lend much to the charm of this tune. But just in case you thought the album was mellowing out, the relentless cymbals, beeps, clanks and springs that characterize "People Be Happy sound like they might have escaped from Tom Waits' workshop.

"Music, affirms Steve Reid, "is like a big house and when you put another view in it, it has another window. So you got all these windows. It could be a Coltrane window; it could be a Hendrix window, it could be African, Indian. So we're gonna make another couple of windows in the house. Together, Steve Reid and Kieran Hebden have constructed a very personal musical space. They inhabit a musical environment which, if you look through the "windows, reveals an original and adventurous approach that's utterly beyond facile categorization.

Visit Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid on the web.


Track Listing: The Sun Never Sets; Brain; Our Time; People Be Happy; Greensleeves; Rhythm Dance; Mirrors; The Squid; Superheros; Left Handed, Left Minded.

Personnel: Kieran Hebden: samples, electronics, guitar; Steve Reid: drums, percussion.

Title: Tongues | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Domino Records (US)

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Counteraction" CD/LP/Track Review Counteraction
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Directions" CD/LP/Track Review Directions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Après" CD/LP/Track Review Après
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017