Evan Parker

Obliquities

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AllMusic Review by

This is a wonderful duet date by two of the longest-running partners of the British vanguard music scene. First playing together in 1967 and infrequently through and after the foundation of Guy's London Composers Orchestra, which Parker remained a member of, through the '80s and '90s the pair saw their paths cross more frequently than Orchestra dates and sessions. This recording from 1994 finds the duo in fine form and extrapolating on the ideas they explore with Paul Lytton in their long-running trio. Here are new and different contexts for free improvisation as the duo expresses themselves dynamically and timbrally. Guy in particular seems bent on discovering in each exercise just what the bass itself is capable of, and his reactions are always those in which the bass speaks to the particular issue laid out by Parker's saxophones and then moves out a step further until retrenchment is necessary. For Parker's part, on most of the tracks here, especially "Marxbruder," "Belaqua," and "Punta Rversa," his playing is less external, it is focused on the timbral qualities made possible by Guy's playing and explores the softer edge of his improvisational palette. There are moments here when listeners can hear the voice of silence itself singing, and others where silence is punctured by only the most carefully made sounds, while still at others, silence is left to fend for itself as the emotions and the music come to a furied, mischievous pitch.

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