Review by Steve
Forget the blurb
in the press release that claims this ensemble ranges from AACM to Milford Graves
and Han Bennink. This is good, but not that.
Recorded at Les
Instants Chavirés in France, this noisy, improvisatory quartet wreaks
fun havoc. The best-known members are percussionist Aaron Moore, known (but
not to me until now) from Volcano The Bear, and master violinist Dan Warburton,
probably best known from the group Return of The New Thing (Leo Records), his
work on Crouton and other small labels, as well as his music journalism in The
Wire and his most excellent magazine ParisTransatlantic.com.
Incidentally, Warburton's speech was used by Luc Ferrari in his Far-West
News: Episodes 2 & 3 (Blue Chopsticks BC16). Completing the foursome
are Alexandre Bellenger on turntables and Arnaud Rivière on mixing board
The first of two
extended pieces, "The beginning of the end," starts off with bowed
cymbals, then wonderfully executed pointillistic percussion and plucks more
AMM than AACM. The percussion seems to set on the ensemble. Samples come in
of crying voices, then a repeating phrase "Who are you?" accented
in different ways, including screamed and processed, then big chunks of samples
material; for me the only weak moments on the disc.
Then the piece
gets into a really noisy groove, with violin stretched and pulled from video
game sounds to Hollywood sentiment and Arabic riff. Other than the previous
caveat, "The beginning
" is totally enjoyable, but even at that,
a mere prelude to the sheer energy that fades in on "The end of the beginning."
is a marvel of dense, loud improvisation with an irrepressible momentum: a total
joy of a piece, with special props to Warburton and Moore. It may not have the
variety of the opener, but it is inexorable.
The disc is housed
in a thick, four-fold, laminated cardboard jacket, akin to the type used for
children's picturebooks, most appropriate for its brightly designed cover collage.
When browsing the shops, ask the clerk for help, as the title and artists appear
nowhere on the outside of the jacket.