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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Yoni Silver/John Edwards/Steve Noble – HEME (Shrike Records, 2022)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

We all tend to rely on small personal facts to guide us through the vast ocean of new music coming out every week. One of them, one which (probably you would agree) has an almost objective value, is that the bass-drum duo of John Edwards and Steve Noble guarantees that something fruitful will be recorded. Be it a trio –like here with Yoni Silver on bass clarinet- or any other line-up.

Before going into this cd, I must mention the small, but eclectic, catalogue of Shrike Records deserves much attention as it balances between presenting some younger generation improvisers alongside some legends of the practice. Keep an eye on the recordings.

Continuing about the aforementioned bass-drums duo (yes, I’m a fan), once more they are proven masters of their instruments. On HEME, which clocks on over an hour of music, the double bass and the drums are flexible partners of Silver’s bass clarinet. Silver himself is in a constant state of flux on each of the seven tracks from HEME. He finds a perfect balance between the droney timbre of his instrument and the small experiments in breathing he executes. He never tries to saturate his fellow players. Considering that he and Noble have worked before (not to mention the numerous recordings Edwards and Noble have made), the listener has the joy of experiencing a musical interaction come partnership of the highest level. Yes, they do play in unison and that’s one of improvisations goals.

The seven improvisations that comprise HEME are fluid and full of energy (but not the typical free jazz blow outs), climaxing inside each track. i felt HEME to be one long improvisation but, at the same, time each track presented a new idea that was formed immediately at the spot. This recording was made in isolation in 2021 at an empty Café Oto. A space where people meet and socialize, always feels empty when present are just the musicians. The lack of other’s people energy is matched on HEME by an edginess and some frustration cause by the situation. Someone could say that HEME is an abstract comment on that fact.

There are quite a few thrills throughout this recording.