Evan Parker

Process and Reality

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The first trap is to write that this is another phenomenal Evan Parker recording. It would be accurate because it is, and it would also be accurate to claim that this is a further step not only in Parker's development as an improviser, but in the development of improvised music as well. Another trap. But the entire picture is somewhat murkier while being even more monumental: This is Evan Parker's first album using multi-tracking technology and using the studio itself as a concert platform to capture, in the flux of the moment, the permanent sound, and, as Alfred North Whitehead (whose legendary philosophical tome this album is named for) pointed out, the flux that is always inherent in the permanent. Process and Reality is comprised of short pieces, 16 of them in fact. All but one are improvisations on the notions of the sonic, harmonic, and timbral thematics Parker was exploring at the time of this recording (who knows where he's off to now), and one is an improvisation based on Steve Lacy's "The Cryptosphere." The first half-hour features Parker "warming up," playing straight, live, moving through angular scales and tonal variations on whichever theme he states. From track six, "Amanita," on, the multi-tracking begins and the tonal balances fall off the roof; here, shocking reams of sound run against skittering skeins of atonal noise and shimmering notes, cascading in ribbons through the tape machines and creating a weave of "absolute sound," no more temporal or permanent than a flash of light that touches everything around it. This is a fascinating, and even maddeningly awakening, ride through Parker's tonal and psychological soundscape. It is an essential recording for anyone interested in improvised music.

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