Assumed Possibilities

Still Point

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With pianist Chris Burn apparently spending most, if not all, of his time inside the piano (including his toy piano), Assumed Possibilities is essentially an improvising string quartet of sorts, and an excellent one. With a cast that includes the wonderful harpist Rhodri Davies and the extraordinary cellist Mark Wastell (both members of the fine IST trio) as well as violinist Phil Durrant, this is a fairly imposing lineup of free improvisers. The pieces tend decidedly toward the quieter side of things, each member clearly concerned with subtle levels of detail and shading and not without a degree of warmth often missing from such explorations. The vast majority of time extended techniques are utilized, sketching out abstract soundscapes in a manner typical of post-AMM musicians. The integration of these sounds is unforced and natural for the most part, though occasionally Burn's contributions feel a bit overaggressive and out of sync with the others. But more often than not, the quartet achieves the sort of seamless unity and depth sought for in sessions like this. There is a strong sense of unfolding, not without conflict and uncertainty, which gives depth and realness to the proceedings. One can hardly ask for more. Still Point will provide rewarding listening to any fan of spontaneously improvised music.

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