Village Life

Derek Bailey

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Village Life Review

by Thom Jurek

Here are six improvised selections by this trio from 1991 at a bar in London. Bailey plays electric guitar, and Moholo and Lipere play percussion and use their voices. While the temptation top think of this session as a skronk-fest, it is, in essence, anything but. For the first five minutes you can hear the punters in the pub yucking it up with each other seemingly oblivious to what is happening on the stage -- such is Village Life -- which blends effortlessly with its meandering drums and percussion instruments under and through Bailey's haltingly tender playing. "Moropa" begins much the same way, with restraint showing its veins all over the place until the nine-minute mark, where spatial considerations and timbral terrains give way to a kind of faltering beat consciousness. The most beautiful pieces on the record are the 18-minute "Tune It," which is an exercise in restrained textured ambiance via microtones and shimmering timbres that would give Eno a run for his wallet, and "Beanery," which is a continuously revolving piece with Bailey turning his phrases over and over into the percussionists who are circling round each other. This is a wonderful -- if quiet -- gig, and it offers a different view on all three players, especially Moholo and Bailey.

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