Prévost has structured duo events in this manner before: sets of solos followed by a duet. Here, Butcher performs on his own twice, once on tenor, once on soprano, followed by a lengthy percussion solo and then a kind of three-part suite for the pair. Butcher's 'Twice and More' is a thoughtful, considered exploration of overtones and flutters, burred notes and quick downward flourishes and burps. In its concentrated-ness, it oddly reminded me of some of Anthony Braxton's studies for solo saxophone; excellent work. 'Tree Demons' writhes and shimmers, sliding up into Lacy-adjacent territory then out from there, hyper-controlled and chaotic at once, an impressive display. Prévost, as has been his wont in recent years, spends a great deal of his time bowing metal. Indeed, though there are occasional flurries of brushed cymbals and gentle probing of gongs, there's nary a drum stroke to be found for the disc's duration. On 'Obsessional Enquiries", he limns this eerie, shuddering territory with typical aplomb and finely tuned ear. His ability to construct a solid, even dense piece of architecture remains astounding and should serve as an example for countless percussionists half his age; this one is one of his most rewarding solo performances, non-stop engaging and visceral.
It's on the duo that things drift back to...well, nothing bad at all just more in the realm of the normal and expected. Prévost's bow growls and keens while Butcher's soprano weaves nimbly in and out of those slabs, chittering here, sputtering there. There's engagement aplenty, but of the more routine kind long since found in free jazz as opposed to the more expansive forms discovered and explored by Prévost's ensemble, AMM, where direct back-and-forth was discouraged. In fairness, both Prévost and Butcher have always shown a leaning toward what one might call a more jazz-derived sense of interaction and, as ever, much depends on what the listener brings to the occasion. Those who share that appreciation will find little to complain about here — the duet is solid and inter-responsive. Those with more AMM-ish leanings will, even if the last half leaves them unsatisfied, find some fantastic and inspiring music in the solos.
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