Derek Bailey / Han Bennink

Derek Bailey & Han Bennink

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This selection of live duet performances from 1972 is a wonder to listen to three decades after the original performances. The guitar's greatest improviser bantering musically with the Netherlands' greatest drummer is, no doubt, a point of interest for those interested in the extremes of Western music. Before Bailey had recorded the infamous and now legendary Incus Taps disc, he had perfected his view of the atonal world (at least up until that time), undoing it with spiritual guidance from the ghost of Webern at his side. These two live dates reflect that direction, having been recorded less than a year before. Given that Bailey is investigating his undoing of the ritual tonal space, Bennink's woolly percussions are the perfect foil: Who better to stretch the perceptions of guitar music to its limit and beyond than a man for whom the drums are the only instrument in any band? Thus, the chase is on, moving from one dynamic range to the next in search of the perfect tonal space where things completely fall apart, only to be picked up in rather grotesquely fascinating order. This music asks no questions; it only shouts obscenities while laughing hysterically because it knows exactly what it's not doing.

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