|2004 release, solo percussion. "First solo recording by one of the world's great improvisors. Recorded from the drummer's perspective, a beautiful virtuoso performance in nine parts."
Swallow Chase presents a solo recital by Sanders. Coxon and Wales’ roles scale back to producers’ status and the purely acoustic milieu presents an ideal telescope on the drummer’s itemized technique. The church mouse on the disc’s cover serves as an anthropomorphic analog to the mood of much of the music, quiet, delicate and fastidious in conception. On many of his previous gigs, particularly in the company of Evan Parker and bassist John Edwards, Sanders has favored an aggressive style that can border on the stentorian in terms of volume and impact. Not so here. This is a different, more subdued Sanders than the player on The Ayes Have It or The Two Seasons , more in synch with his approach on Nisus Duets (all three on Emanem). A quiet, contemplative cast drapes much of the program; one piece even incorporates snatches of silence for nearly half its duration as ballast for Sanders’ micro-level stick movements. Another (the last track) sounds like the disc is spinning at half speed and slowly winding down. Attenuating his sticks to the studio surroundings, Sanders’ also exploits the natural acoustics of the room.
Even with the emphasis on gradual development there is still a flurry of things going on and also a few spots where Sanders deploys some daunting muscle. Many of the pieces employ tempered cymbal (bowed and struck) and thudding tom play often favoring timbral exploration over rhythmic push, but still undergirding the action with an arching forward momentum. Peripheral implements like gongs and objects placed on skins enter the palette regularly. He also involves himself in various gamelan and East Asian percussion oriented asides. Through it all an extraordinary dexterity, both mental and kinesthetic comes into play. The disc is surprisingly frugal: nine untitled cuts float by in just under forty-two minutes. Its economical overall length gives each of the highly textured episodes welcome cohesion, an implicit sense of impetus and ending. The tactic also successfully safeguards against the intrusion of filler. Of the three inaugural Treaders this one takes the prize by a narrow margin, but each holds its charms. Coxon is reportedly at work on the second series of three. The current clutch already shows his efforts as quite removed from that of the typical boutique label.