Evan Parker

Synergetics: Phonomanie III

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Wow! is the only word that can be used to adequately describe the listener's first reaction to this music, all recorded at the third Synergetics festival in 1993 under the direction of British free music and saxophone god Evan Parker. Parker used familiar partners such as American trombone legend George Lewis, Tuva vocal enigma Sainkho Namchylak, Marco "Bill" Vecchi, and Walter Prati on various electronics. But in addition he recruited the truly astonishing bass and vocal talents of Motoharu Yoshizawa. Carlos Mariani plays the luaaneddas, an instrument that sounds at first like the bagpipes is here enhanced by electronic looping, but is played by the use of circular breathing (in and out breath occur simultaneously). Add to this the percussion and African didgeridoo (called here an imbumbu) playing of Thebe Lipere and the komungo (a type of Vietnamese harp) played by Jin Hi Kim, and you have an idea of how exotic this group is. Then it must be stated that everything on these two CDs was performed live and unedited for CD. The basic strategy of all these musicians -- who did not rehearse -- was to have one player begin a segment with a solo (each was given two or three segments in a row to preside over), then to interact with one other player of her or his choosing in a duo enhanced by electronics, and finally to interact with all members of the group in various combinations except for trio and all at once. This may sound confusing, but it doesn't when listened to. Each combination, from the beginning, is something from out of time and space, a freely improvised music with trans-cultural implications; a music of surprise and delight to the musicians and obviously to those attending the festival. Here are sounds and combinations and fragments of sounds, heretofore un-uttered, perhaps not even conceptualized before the moment they occurred. Saxophones and voices and didgeridoos caressing the deep bass sub-sonics of Tuvan throat singing and graced by the hypnotic whirl of launeddas. Individual musicians who are the focus of each theme as it is introduced all but disappear into the textured world of sound and vibration. Perhaps more than anything, this recording is the best example of how universal the languages of music and free improvisation are. Is this music "outside"? Given that it is an Evan Parker project, the answer has to be yes. Is it "listenable"? No matter what your definition of that term is, the answer is yes. This set should be in the Top 100 of the best of "new" or "improvised" music. And it should be near the top. Life changing.

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