Thomas Buckner

Jump the Circle, Jump the Line

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This duo has been working together since the early '90s and has been documented before (on Tom Hamilton's CD Off-Hour Wait State, for example), but never as extensively as in this case. Jump the Circle, Jump the Line was recorded live on December 1st, 2000. Hamilton produces a wide array of synthesized electronic sounds and, to a lesser extent, processes Thomas Buckner's voice. The latter alternates between textural noise-making and deep sustained notes. The album is comprised of a single, continuous improvisation (indexes have been added for convenience, hence the track titles "Segment A," "Segment B," etc.). The singer gracefully leaves control of the stage to Hamilton, whose presence will be heard constantly from the first second to the last. Buckner lets him establish a pace before entering and often retreats to give him a chance to modify the path of the piece. As Buckner argues in the liner notes, this music was not about meeting the other halfway. Each improviser follows his own direction and ideas, with the difference that the singer does not have all of his freewill. Hamilton's processing, although light, occasionally sends him hiking on a different track. The electronic soundscapes can get very space-born, as in "Segment E," and in general sound better, more focused and less gimmicky than on Peter Zummo's Slybersonic Tromosome. Released only a few months after Buckner and Roscoe Mitchell's free improv date 8 O'Clock: Two Improvisations, this CD acts like a companion, completing the picture of the singer's activities at the turn of the century.

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