|In bringing Robin Williamson together with improvising musicians ECM has enabled him to take his visions of spontaneously free flowing sung poetry to a new level of development.
On this disc - recorded in the Welsh countryside in autumn 2005 - he is joined by Barre Phillips, the great American bass veteran who has played with everyone from Ornette Coleman to Jimmy Giuffre to Archie Shepp and who once worked with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. Phillips has been a contributor to ECM since 1971, appearing on discs with Dave Holland, Paul Bley and Terje Rypdal as well as on his own albums, including the landmark Mountainscapes. Mat Maneri, unchallenged as the most outstanding viola player in improvised music, blends ideas from baroque music to Indian music to bop and free playing into a seamless unique personal style. Admired by the scene's connoisseurs, Maneri placed highly in the recently published DownBeat Critics Poll. Ale Moller, leading architect of the Swedish folk revival has a natural affinity for Robin's background in traditional music and colours the work brilliantly with his flamboyant playing on various folk instruments. Moller's ECM albums with Lena Willemark and Frifot have been both critical and popular successes. At the centre is Williamson himself, superb singer, poet, improviser, multi-instrumentalist.
Material includes: 'The Iron Stone' and 'The Yellow Snake', well known from the Incredible String Band years; 'Political Lies', 'Verses at Ellesmere' and 'To God In God's Absence', important pieces from Williamson's solo career, rearranged for this recording; the traditional Scots ballad 'Sir Patrick Spens' in a radical reworking. Plus an "early music" treatment of the old tune 'Loftus Jones' and free settings of poetry by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Wyatt, Walter Raleigh and John Clare as well as Williamson himself. 28-page booklet includes all lyrics, liner notes by Williamson, and session photos.
Robin Williamson (vocals, Celtic Harp, Mohan Vina, Chinese Flutes, Whistles, Tabwrdd Drum); Mat Maneri (viola, Hardanger Fiddle); Barre Phillips (double-bass); Ale Moller (Mandola, Accordion, Clarino, Shawn, Natural Flutes, Drone Flutes, Whistles, Jaw Harp)