Sunday, December 16, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Ludwig van Prevost

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete Quartets, Vol. VI. Recorded in 1994. Delos International: DE 3036.

The Orford String Quartet
Andrew Dawes: violin
Kenneth Perkins: violin
Terence Helmer: viola
Denis Brott: cello

String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3
String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131

I'm particularly tuned into the balance and contrast leading into the Presto movement of the Op. 18 - and I'm not normally drawn into the early works on these discs. The Op. 131 is a sprawling, 7-movement work with organically uneven proportions. This one will be well worth giving another listen as it's clear that the string quartet has become the medium that it now is thanks to this unbelievable canon of works.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [box set] disc 5. 2004. Revenant Records: RVN 213.

Albert Ayler Quintet - November 3, 1966 @ Belin Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Albert Ayler Quintet - November 8, 1966 @ De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Don Ayler: trumpe
Michel Samson: violin
Bill Folwell: bass
Beaver Harris: drums

This may have been one of the greatest, and most primal of free jazz quartets of the 1960s and this disc is precious evidence of a creative spark that burned bright. The technical rough edges of these field recordings adds a certain allure and regret to an experience only barely adequately documented.

AMM: Laminal: A three CD set marking thirty years in the making of AMMMusic. 1996. Matchless Recordings: MRCD31.

The Aarhus Sequences - December 16, 1969, Denmark
Cornelius Cardew, Christopher Hobbs, Lou Gare, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost

The Great Hall - February 20, 1982, London
John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost

Contextual - May 3, 1994, New York
John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost

While the AMM free improvised sound has changed in subtle ways over the decades, there is still an austere core that intensely focuses on developing a world of sound within quiet spaces. As my ears initially gravitated to the 1960s AMM - hungry for audible scraps of the great Cornelius Cardew working his craft - these ears are drawn into the more contemporary incarnations as well. This is a sound that helped pioneer an almost idiomatic-free improvisation that one almost takes for granted. The guitar and drums of Keith Rowe and Eddie Prevost are the common thread running through these discs with a sound that evolves without losing sight of its sonic roots. It makes for an enormously satisfying listen to skip through three epic performances separated by decades.

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