(Emanem)

A most welcome reissue of a 1989 LP on Acta, gifted with additional tracks for good measure, gives us the chance to enjoy five great improvisers caught in a transitional moment of their respective styles. Those of you who are used to Malfatti’s silences and Butcher’s explorations of natural – or less natural – resonances will find them both in more “conversational” dressing; not that this diminishes in any way the level of their playing, already stratospheric at that time. Durrant’s violin is a “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t” presence between peculiar electronic spurts, while the clattering expressionism of Lovens, who often takes a predominant role in the overall dynamic context, is also an extremely noticeable colour throughout the whole set. Maybe the most atypical sounds come from Russell: his trademark spurious rasgueados-cum-supercharged harmonics are often put aside in favour of point-blank hits and invisible luminescences acting as a link to the most prominent voices of the ensemble, whose balanced attitude between restraint and chatter is truly something to be heard.

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