|"There is always a certain directness to improvisations when Derek Bailey is involved. The guitarist has honed a sound and strategy to improvisation that is at once tightly focused and instantly recognisable while remaining remarkably open to a broad variety of contexts for collective improvisation. Bailey's angular, clipped freedom elicits a fluid, rapid-fire response from the reed player. Butcher's playing is full of rough-scrubbed textures and sharp-edged attack used to spray cascading lines punctuated with carefully wrought spaces and quiet, fluttering ebbs. There is plenty of careful listening going on as the two charge headlong into these extended improvisations that build to a heated intensity.
The pieces with harpist Rhodri Davies have the same intensity and abstraction, but instead of heated, conversational linearity the improvisations seem to hover in the atmosphere, exciting the air like charged particles. Recorded in a church, the acoustics of the space seem to act almost as a third player here. In Davies' hands, the harp becomes a new instrument full of phenomenal timbral range. Skittering plucked lines are combined with scraped harmonics, bent and stretched notes, and percussion, resonating sheets of metallic reverberation. Butcher responds with spare overtones and harmonics, pinched squeaks, and circular flutters that float like flecked motes in a sunbeam. The improvisation progress with a sense of time that is slowed down, magnifying every tiny nuance and gesture.
This duet release offers two compelling views of Butcher's playing. Utilising diverse strategies for spontaneous improvisations, both deliver equally engaging results."
MICHAEL ROSENSTEIN - CADENCE 2002