Sprawl (Spro:L)

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This is mostly power music, with each note pounding forth a spectacularly tight and ferocious sound. Drummer Michael Westmüller drives with stinging aplomb, but he is aided and abetted by some of the best in the business, including saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, bassist William Parker, guitarist Stephen Wittwer, and saxophonist and electronics wiz Alex Bluess. The latter in particular makes this recording something that's a bit special with his biting distortions and layers of sound crashing into the playing of the others. While hard and (generally) loud, this is still music with nuance, where the placement of the notes is all-important. The six tracks display varying areas of focus, so that each distinguishes itself in its performance. Admirers of Parker and Brötzmann should not be disappointed, as they each play an important, if not always critical, role.