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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Various Artists - Another Evening At Logos 1974/79/81 (Sub Rosa, 2015) ***

By Stefan Wood

The Logos Foundation is an artist run organization, based in Ghent, Belgium, founded in 1968, with the purpose promoting new music and audio performance arts. For over 40 years they have provided the space and technology for artists to perform, whether it is free improv or electronic or something else. Another Evening at Logos, a 2 LP or CD set published by Sub Rosa records, is a document of previously unreleased recordings from three years - 1974, 1979, and 1981.

As an historic document, it is intriguing, as many of the sessions are representative of their time. For example, The Feminist Improvising Group's 1974 recording is a 25 minute work that is Dada like, with multiple vocals clashing with each other, creating a texture of tones and sounds, as they dissect the masculine use of "Baby" as describing women, and tearing it apart, in words and music. Irene Schweizer (piano) plays with great range, culling from ragtime to minimalism for textures. Max Eastley and the Logos Ensemble has a strong opening track, a performance from 1979, in which the music is a fusion of European free improv with African tribal music, very percussive, eerie, and hypnotic. COUM and the Logos Ensemble, also from 1979, is abstract tribal chants and minimal instrumentation, running for over 20 minutes. Derek Bailey concludes the album with a 1981 recording of solo guitar. As always, his command of the instrument, sense of positive and negative space, and improvisational skills are excellent, transforming the guitar into a range of percussive and minimal sounds. 

Another Evening at Logos is interesting as an historical document of various performances, but not essential listening. There is an informality in several of the works that make a listener more disengaged than attentive, like a work that stops and starts as the performers switch gears, but without any real sense of direction, but just feeling their way through. But for those interested in these period pieces, they will be rewarded with improvisations that have echoes to contemporary works.