|Much attention has already been paid to this CD’s final, title piece, in
which Eddie Prévost activated a fan with wire threads next to a tam-tam (a
gong) and let it run until the battery died. It’s remarkable for several
reasons. One is that Prévost, who has written about and lived a whole life around the ethics and aesthetics of improvisation, would create a piece more like one of Alvin Lucier’s systematic compositions. Another is that it’s really beautiful, with wave upon wave of slowly growing overtones. But perhaps it’s because it’s also pretty approachable and easily describable, which are not things that can be said about the record’s other tracks. Three are devoted to a single technique; “Beaten,” “Scraped,” and “Bowed.” The percussionist explores each prescribed method at length, and there’s a lot to be learned from the variety and power of the sounds he obtains. The opener “Mixt” is the densest of the lot, and also in places the harshest. Prévost does not flinch from making his metal cry out, and the solitary circumstances of these performances ensure that you hear every stroke, strike, and scrape
quite clearly. But there’s also beauty in the harshness, especially on
“Mixt,” where the relaxed technical requirements allow Prévost to create a sound world especially rich in contrast. This is an impressive album, one that rewards close listening, but it’s also quite a challenging one.
Signal to Noise - September 2006