The Inexhaustible Document

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By the early '80s, AMM's core group had come to consist of founding members Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost, and its latest contributor, pianist John Tilbury. Periodically, musicians who shared their appetite for uninhibited and expansive improvisatory landscapes would join them. In this 1987 recording, the guest artist is Rohan de Saram, cellist with the Arditti String Quartet. The Inexhaustible Document is a fine example of AMM's mature style where the pieces, though necessarily lengthy, have an entirely unforced character; the music unfurls in a manner as natural as breathing. Most of this session is quiet and serene, de Saram's cello at first emitting soft sighs over Tilbury's surprisingly stately piano chords. Rowe and Prevost provide subtle underpinnings, complex washes of sound bearing little resemblance to the standard sonic qualities associated with guitar and drums. The storm clouds break on only a couple of occasions during the second piece, the rumbles surfacing into eruptions. Toward the end of the composition, de Saram improvises some moving romantic chords while Tilbury pounds ferociously at the keyboard and Prevost unleashes a barrage of old-fashioned drum kit work. This is electro-acoustic improvisation at a very high level, with sounds both unexpected and inevitable and with music no less stirring for being so abstract.

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