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Thursday, May 23, 2013

AMM - Two London Concerts (Matchless, 2012) ****

By Stef  

The album starts with a forceful piano chord ... then silence ... then another chord ... then silence. This is impact : drag the listener right into the sound, let him or her anticipate what's coming, or what's not coming. You cannot listen without being part of what you hear, not to dance on (god forbid, although you may give it a try), but because your mind and soul are being captured by tension, anticipation and surprise. Slow scraping and piercing sounds escape from highly resonating cymbals. The chords change color, become darker, just as percussive sound arise from unknown places, gentle and deep, then slowing down with single keys and near silence. What is going on here? What is going on?

It is AMM, in a duo setting with John Tilbury on piano and Eddie Prévost on percussion, in a way that only they can do it, in a genre that they created, the art of silence, the art of dynamic silence, the art of sonic tension. They create a place where there is no hiding for the listener too. You have no choice. Either you flee are you are into it. And if you are into it, you are part of it. Enjoying the beauty of the sounds, their horror, their precise shading, their cautious interaction, their gentle collisions, the ominous atmosphere.

AMM is getting smaller as a line-up, but that's no handicap really, not here, strong stuff. The joy of listening.


Fergus said...

I like this album (and group - group??) a lot. I think AMM will still be worth listening to, even when Tilbury joins Butcher, Wolff Rowe, Gare - and half of Prevost's kit - through the exit door. Thanks Stef.

In other affairs: will you guys be reviewing the new Clean feeds soon? The Trespass Trio with Joe Mcphee sounds so good its scary, but there are 2 others (Lama/Speed and Agnel/Edwards/Noble) that look amazing too.

Richard said...

Hi Stef,

The Matchless website didn't have much information. How recent was this concert? I seem to remember they occasionally release recordings of older shows.

Like Fergus, I noticed the Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee
and looking forward to it. Is there any chance that won't get 5 stars?

Stef said...

Hi Fergus,

The first concert was recorded at The Rag Factory, Spitalfields, London on Sunday 6th March 2011 at 'As Alike as Trees' festival of improvised music, the second recorded at a concert given at The Purcell Room, London, on Sunday 27 November 2011. It was part of 'The Engine Room', Morley College's Festival and Conference celebrating the life, works and legacy of Cornelius Cardew.

Stef said...

Hi Richard,

I haven't heard the RED + McPhee myself yet ... can't wait to hear it though.


Martin Schray said...

Trespass + McPhee sounds like a match madein heaven for me, too.