Evan Parker


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This was one of the stranger recordings issued by Konnex at the time, in that the band listed as playing 4,4,4 (in five parts) isn't the only band on the record. After the quartet's five selections are played through, a new band consisting of Stevens with violinist Nigel Coombes and guitarist Roger Smith improvises "Surfaces" for over 23 minutes! There is no information on the front cover to denote such a thing. Oh well, those Brits. As for the seasoned quartet on "4,4,4," strange, haunting, and beautiful are the words that describe the result of their latest collaboration. Rutherford and Parker have by now developed a language and syntax to speak to one another in every time they play together. Parker isn't forced into his conical ribbons of sound improvisational technique once here, as there is so much dialogue going on with Rutherford, who plays almost always at the same time or in alternating lines with Parker. They tonally challenge each other not to go further out, but further inside a particular timbral dimension, or tonal variant created by angular reed and bell mechanics. As for Guy and Stevens, they are more than support as a rhythm section -- they are the guys making stuff happen, with shifting accents staccato firebrands in the high registers, shimmering rim shots and electronic treatments that keep the horn players closed to one another. As for the S.M.E. piece, "Surfaces," that's what it is: a textural study of the interaction between two differing string tensions with percussion. Coming as it does after the wild, dynamic roar of "4,4,4," it accomplishes little in the way of excitement or even keeping a listener's interest.

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