Radical British free electronic improvisers Phil Durrant (Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra, John Butcher, Thomas Lehn) and Richard Sanderson (Chris Burn Ensemble) teamed up with Stereolab member Kev Hopper to form the musical unit of Ticklish, a quartet completed by video artist Rob Flint. Their first eponymous CD was released by the German avant-garde label Grob. The music found on Ticklish is fascinating and builds a bridge over the gap separating free improvisers and the popular electronic music scene. Ticklish distillates elements of danceable electronic music to transform them into evasive beats, uncertain sequences, and not-quite-familiar grounds to build upon. Very cinematic and evocative, the music often remains soft, delicate, textural. Less harsh or brutal than the Italian quartet Ossatura, less ethereal than the Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra, less event-oriented than Thomas Lehn's projects, Ticklish's music has a groove (in the same way Rashied Ali once said the music on John Coltrane's Interstellar Space has a beat even though he was not playing it) and the improvisations develop over a common ground constantly nourished by the three improvisers and, one can only assume, by the visual aspect of the performance. Pieces are short (when free improv is concerned, ten minutes is short) and offer a nice variety of textures, two aspects that, along with the presence of rhythm, facilitate the listeners experience. Fans of electronic-based free improv will enjoy and fans of music on techno's fringe are in for a surprise.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture