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Last Dream of the Morning is insistently acoustic, distinctions between free jazz and improvised music fall away here. Kinships and antecedents extend from AMM to Sun Ra and they’re being consistently synthesized and extend into new terrains.
Bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders have become the defining “rhythm” pairing of English free jazz, working together for decades in groups with Evan Parker, Veryan Weston and many others. If this is a first meeting of a trio with Butcher, past associations range from the London Improvisers Orchestra to a quartet with Phil
Minton and fine duo recordings with both Edwards (Optic, Emanem, 2003) and Sanders (Daylight, Emanem, 2012). That notion of a “rhythm section,” though, however wonderful Edwards and Sanders are at it, is hardly appropriate here: propulsive force, when it arises, is a function of the entire trio. Elsewhere the three are a union of sonic and temporal explorers: Sanders, who organized the session, is a particularly inventive drummer, and one of the few who can remain seated at a kit and create the kind of sonic richness and resonance more apt to be associated with working with a bass drum and independent sound sources.
The music is often a maelstrom of time: in the 14-minute “Gridlocks,” parts seem to be going forwards, backwards and standing still, all at once and with a kind of purposeful unity. Between Sander’s nest of metallic percussion sounds, Edwards’ pulsing undercurrent and Butcher’s industrial-strength tenor sound, the three resemble some of Sun Ra and the Arkestra’s more inspired adventures, an astonishing achievement for a trio. On the opening “Lucid,” Butcher extends a traditional tenor line, generating lines in which multiphonics suddenly inject themselves amid single notes. - Stuart Broomer...more
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I wrote a combined review of both volumes of "Of Things Beyond Thule" on my blog: https://www.poisonpie.com/publishing/reviews/text/musicreview_2020_0816.html at the Poison Pie Publishing House. Hebeloma Crustuliniforme