(Another Timbre)

These three improvisations were recorded at the Church of St. James The Great (North London), a venue whose mystical quietness seems to actively contribute to the lesson in restraint that the music appears to teach. It remains to be seen if there are enough alumni to learn, though, as it’s next to impossible finding an equal balance – let alone a superior one – in such a mixed-media kind of quartet, furthermore captured here during their very first encounter. Luckily, they decided to go on from then, and are currently active as a more or less definitive entity. Two voices are instantly recognizable: Parker, his soprano saxophone locating the environmental sweet spots in consecutive phraseologies that abandon typically reiterative outbursts in favour of delicate snippets of bird-like expressiveness, and Wastell’s tam-tam which materializes in rarefied moments, emerging from the background with the silent authority of a monk to assure everybody that a cosmologic order is going to be respected any time. The remaining gradations – Eastley’s electro acoustic monochord and Halliwell’s computer and electronics – are not so easily attributable, constituting the element of utter suspension that positively characterizes the most fascinating segments. In particular, on top of everything, the fabulous final minutes of “The chessboard cherry tree” where a minimal fluttering is the basis of a spellbinding alien counterpoint, the lot following an undercurrent of unidentified nervous satisfaction, the listener unaware of what’s really happening yet ready to accept all consequences. An album that leaves speechless for a long time after its conclusion, leaving us to ponder about the following move, both in the artists’ career and in our own life.