Monday 13th JulyJuly 14, 2009
So today I am just about fully recovered from the cold, but I am back to being tired after an eleven hour shift at work. Yes dear reader, given the space to do so, I will always moan about something 😉
Today I spent some time with one of the CDs I tried to play yesterday but just could not concentrate on enough to write about. Entre Nous is a new CD by Tatsuya Nakatani, (drums and percussion) Raymond MacDonald, (alto and soprano sax) and Neil Davidson (guitar) recording under the name of Aporias Trio for the excellent new(ish) label from Glasgow; Iorram Records. This disc arrived coupled with another new disc by the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra on the same label, these being the fifth and sixth discs on Iooram, but the first two “proper” CDs rather than CDrs.
Tatsuya Nakatani actually appears on one of my favourite free improv discs of all time, the From Between trio alongside Jack Wright and Michel Doneda released ages ago by SoS Editions in New York. Since that release I have enjoyed the odd disc of his work every now and again, but nothing has quite hit the same heights for me, even the follow-up release by the same trio. Entre Nous is a busy, straight-down-the-line improv record, mostly working in rapid-fire territory and on odd occasions (mostly thanks to MacDonald’s sax) straying off close to free jazz territories. In the main though, despite the energy and the instrumentation involved things stay decidedly abstract and textural, with Davidson’s electric guitar keeping the music from wandering into more idiomatic areas. The opening piece, curiously titled Elements and Things, Implements drifts through its six minute duration into something not unlike late sixties AMM, roaring grungey guitar sound and bustling, scraping percussion with wild sax flailing along behind.
Generally though the enjoyment of this music comes from the rollercoaster ride of wildly altering and flickering gestures and patterns and the sense of playful invention driving it along. Stylistically Entre Nous fits nearer to Emanem than Erstwhile but the beauty of music on either of those labels comes primarily through the sensitivity of the connection between the musicians involved. When it comes down to it, matters of tempo, density and empty space are all just matters of taste. There was a time I would have dismissed this CD as inferior because it isn’t slow or quiet. Today I can greatly respect the evident ability of these musicians to listen to each other and respond both sympathetically and with challenge, at speed, and in a manner that works in the moment for the music at hand. Some “busier” improv just sounds like a muddled up storm of random sounds put into a bag and shaken up. Entre Nous is nothing like this. The five shortish pieces here develop gradually despite the style they are played in and again I come back to the very evident listening skills at work here.
So maybe this release will be of more interest to some listeners than others, but isn’t that the case with every CD? Aporias Trio make good improvised music, gracefully executed with a fine sense of structure but also a firm physicality. Good stuff.
One thing I don’t understand is the appearance of the “GN54” description on the cover. This seems the be the catalogue number of the disc but why GN54? All of the discs on Iorram feature similar numbers in big letters. There doesn’t seem to be any sequence to them though, and why so big? As a big fan of Factory Records in my youth of course I really like this… but I still want to know what its all about 😉