It's the switch that impresses most, that sudden motion connecting left to right, tone to gesture, sound to silence. Noone understands and puts into practice those significant irrepressibilities with more conviction than the venerable trio of Max Eastley, John Butcher and Terry Day. They translate the sublimated bacchanal of interactive histories into the tones, textures and sounds of conversation's flux.
Moments in expansion seems the only way to approach verbalizing music thriving on such rapid alteration and transformation. Each player brings that vast experience to every performative moment of this six-part improvisation, to diverse emotive effect. Butcher and Day perambulate the syncopated territories conjoining transcultural improvised forms in the third section, trip-hopping their ways in dualogue before Eastley slowly insinuates his way back in at 3:27. Then, there is that magical moment of relative stasis at 9:52 in the fourth section, Butcher and Eastley in multihued pitch communion, Eastley's monochord in harmonic ascent, while Day's drum kit murmurs and mutters alacrity. The album's minuscule coda seems to take all of these points of reference firmly in hand, building from whispered synchronicities of near-tone and susurration toward one of those wild climaxes elevated communication often affords, Eastley's repeated bowed figurations, Butcher's trumpeting ululations and Day's high-hat exhortations propelling it all forward until everything simply dissolves.
I make it all sound so serious! This couldn't be further from the truth. Listen out for one of my favorite exchanges, beginning at 2:12 of the first section. Butcher makes a descending run for it, thinks better of it and steps gingerly back up the ladder in two raspy strides. Just as he's about to make the next move, Eastley mimics the descent, but how? Is it Butcher sampled? However it's done, Butcher then begins mulling over a three-note idea with which Eastley is only two happy to masticate and spit out. Butcher retorts in kind, and all the while, Day soft-shoes, flutters and knocks their rhythms around, casting off timbres with the quickness of thought. They carry it all through until 3:05, when the next phase of the adventure begins.
Length, time, space and causation are rendered meaningless, but the good fun of musical comradery is not. The trio's joy in the interaction is as infectious as their mastery is clear. It is especially gratifying to hear Terry Day behind the drum kit, playing so beautifully and with so much invention imbuing each instant!
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