Well, yet again another seminal branch of Avant-Garde/Free Jazz history dashes up for definition. This is no normal moment/operation & the idiosyncratic ordinance & inordinate outpourings that these men bring really are entitled to their own throne room. Lake (sax), M G Jackson (guitar) & Pheeroan akLaff (drums) had been playing together for some years now & have adnated perfectly, cultivating a natural commune & affinity that can so deftly commingle & co-act. The instrumentation itself is pretty avant-garde as it is… sax, drums & electric guitar? In a Free-Jazz idiom? Not an every album occurrence (certainly back then), but the forces behind these instruments in no way devise in the typical territories.
This five track recording was performed live in Willisau, & as with a number of Lake’s ergo efforts, I encounter arguably the most intellectually astute, phrenic & thoughtful Free-Jazz of the era (Braxton also revolutionized this approach but in a very different division/style) without reneging on fast, gracile tangential fracas theatrics. Oh, it’s manic & unstable, raucous & over-oscillating, tremulous & skitz, just like we all know & love, but the difference with these cats is the presence of some sort of phlegmatic solemnity that exercises sensational control despite the massively emotive turbulence enacted. it’s the cohesion of intellectualization hybridizing with utter impetuous improvisation, extreme exclamation & trenchant post-human cerebral evolution that’s been manipulated into a musical medium. It is very’ very advanced stuff, dazzlingly so, & completely unforgiving in it’s proficiency & brilliance. This theory could be thrown at just about all Free-Jazz, but my distinction is how technical & controlled these guys are without degrading their “insanity” credentials amongst their extemporations & how that achievement/approach yields a totally individual result. There seems to be some extra-curricular control or meticulation method, rather than just rapid reaction on honed instinct (no doubt that’s what it is though just in some fantastically allo-centric form/discipline). & one could of course argue against that, siting verity behind fast spontaneous exclamation without the adulterations of cognitive thought & preparation is “what it’s all about” & transcends premeditation or whatever. getting a bit fuckin’ analytical here, but this is a major moment & the distinctions need to be addressed. Anyhow, it’s an enigmatic oxymoron because all the signature erratics of free-jazz are enmeshed, their just appears to be an addendum of this split-second, cool as a cucumber in a raging gun-battle third-eye type shit that these loons have, they traverse the swell effortlessly despite the insane kinetics with a balance & deliberation that I just can’t pit against any other Free-Jazz experience (I’m repeating myself in my desperation to define). the stuff is just incredible, brain-beltingly sublime hyper-dextrous free flow just coursing out with so much dynamic, tonation & scope from all three participants. The recording is superb, the technical perfection is really flawless & the interplay wondrous. There’s a lot of call & response from Sax & Guitar, just sub-dividing, melding, polymorphing & tearing it up. The drums almost seem subtle but the guy just freaks with scrupulous precision & vast variegations of super tight Tumble Weed Off Road scaffolding collapse in outermost detail, generally on his own dense & independent tangent. It’s incredible, I think Pheeroan is indisputably one of the badest MF’s the genre has ever seen. Lake’s very pronounced personal style is unquestionably clear, with fast dabbling’s & plenty of neck-throttling screech. Now, the inclusion of M G Jackson is what kind of blows this shit atomic for me, Sharrock was harsh & intemperate but limited, Abercrombie was awesome but quite brittle, Jackson is on his own thing but kind of equilibrates between both dichotomies, but having a guitar in this concoction plays exceptionally well, the shit the guy pulls out, elongates then contorts & springs new scribbles off is just insane. His solo on “Shine” is just ridiculous, i aint’ never heard shit like this before or since, some of the licks are just alien, without using effects. It’s truly incredible.
Most of the tracks start with an intricate syncopation that is eventually resuscitated at the exit of the track. The rest is just void-surf anti-gravity 10-dimensional rotations.
So much good shit out there, but this one really stands out for individualism & severe technical brilliance, & yes it’s that good sonically/euphoniously as well. brilliantly it’s still available on Hat-Hut in a sweet Digi-pack, unfortunately with no band pictures & boring as fuck sleeve art. Well who cares, the sounds are sublime! GO!
LABEL: Hat Hut