Click here to [close]

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Matthew Wright - Locked Hybrids (Relative Pitch, 2020) ****

By Eyal Hareuveni

British sound artist-composer-scholar Matthew Wright began to collaborate with the free-improv master, sax player Evan Parker, in 2008 for their electroacoustic project Trance Map (Trance Map, psi, 2011, Live in Paris, Hubbefield, 2014, and Crepuscule in Nickelsdorf, Intakt, 2019) and mixed, mastered and edited two other albums of Parker (Music for David Mossman - Live, Intakt, 2018 and Collective Calls (Revisited) (Jubilee), Intakt, 2020). French drummer-percussionist Toma Gouband guested in one of the early incarnations of Trance Map and American drummer Mark Nauseef took part in the American version of Trance Map+. The Trance Map project also hosted Peter Evans, Ned Rothenberg, Hannah Marshall, Barry Guy, Spring Heel Jack, and Adam Linson.

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown left Wright with enough time to search the archival recordings of Trance Map and develop three extended pieces that sit somewhere between live performance and studio production. These pieces are made entirely from samples collected during a 2018 recording at Arco Barco in Ramsgate, United Kingdom, enhanced with a mixture of software editing and Wright's own brand of improvised mixing with turntables and laptops. The release of Locked Hybrids coincided with another Locked Hybrids commission for the 2020 edition of the British Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, titled “Making mirrors” and focusing on the music of Parker

Parker gave Wright free reign to do what he will to his recordings, and Wright stresses that he had no interest in trying to recreate Parker’s singular sound as “he does that enough for himself!”. Wright acts here as a DJ, standing over his digital audio workstation, splicing, stretching, and reconstructing the original, acoustic samples into a barrage of new, nuanced expressions and rhythmic patterns. He injects enigmatic, Eastern overtones to Parker’s musings on the first minimalist, ritualist piece “when time collapse”, and offers his own unique way of listening to Parker. An intriguing listening experience honed by countless hours of playing with Parker.

The following “setsuna” relies on fractured percussive sounds Gouband and Nauseef, arranged into an abstract and atmospheric sonic art piece. Wright’s attempts to suggest an elusive, softer sonic answer to the quiet but tense “mentality” of the sharp percussive sounds. The last piece “digital medieval” introduces some experimental hip-hop techniques and plays-scratches-stretches-manipulates with Parker’s brief bird-calls for about 18 minutes, punctuated by precise percussive gestures, and methodically building the mysterious momentum of this arresting piece. In a way, Locked Hybrids unlocks new and provocative perspectives into the sonic vocabularies of Parker, Gouband, and Nauseef.

Evan Parker & Trance Map+ : ikPA'19 : Concert #1 from RepMus on Vimeo.