(Emanem)

Relentlessly anarchic eruptions, pulverizing overtones and lyophilized reflections by the great Lol Coxhill, captured live between 2000 and 2005, are now offered as a constant reminder of how unnecessary (stupid, indeed) words can sound to describe freedom at large – and free music in the specific. This disc contains four duos and a solo that depict intimacies and contrasts resplending in unique lights, Coxhill’s four partners being the late Hugh Davies (invented instruments), John Russell (guitar), Henry Lowther (trumpet) and Pat Thomas (piano, samples etc.). The track with Russell is particularly impressive, the musicians acting on parallel ways that somehow lead to the same place, like two cars traveling side to side with the drivers intent in making gestures to each other while holding the wheel with their pinkies, barely avoiding obstacles and other vehicles. Russell’s sharp acousticity sparkles and tinkles, while the reedist seems to mock his companion’s polyphonic dexterity via repeated spurts and hiccups. Underlined by the outside traffic noise, “Alone at the Vortex” demonstrates Coxhill’s monstrous technique and the reinless fantasy that makes him one of the few soloists able to sustain lengthy improvisations without repeating a nanosecond of what already played, in a piece mixing timbral excursions against the laws of physics and blackbird-like garrulous visions. The Davies and Lowther duets are shorter, essentially constituting a different occasion for the musicians to interact according to methods ranging from the almost traditional to the previously unheard, while the correspondence with Thomas benefits from the latter’s mixture of irony and unpredictability, which paired to Coxhill’s genius generates a splendid mayhem, like a crazed radio station with partying aliens and an ecstatic saxophonist tattooing their skins with turntable needles.

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