|"The three can move like the Golden Circle trio, but there’s a lonelier tone here too. McPhail’s flute echoes the shakuhachi’s lone hiccup that follows through into his alto and sopranino. Moore’s thick whirl makes for coherence. And, Prévost has leant how to make the drums sing."
The Wire (UK)
A things that puzzles me — the need to inscribe ideology in the grooves of improvised music. It's inescapable, apparently. I find I'm doing it even as I try and prise away the meaning that the players have rushed to snap round the naked sound the moment it ends.
Resounding is almost a classical free improvised music — the close argument, the unity in variety of tones, the melody and rhythm shapes thrown: McPhail's first sobbing runs could aImost be Ornette, and the three of them can move like the Golden Circle Trio, bur there's a lonelier, older tone here too. McPhail's flute playing echoe's the shakuhachi's lorn hiccup, and that follows
through into his alto and sopranino in places. Moore's thick whirl can be exhausting, but in this context its weight makes for coherence. And Prévost has learnt to make drums sing; with the least flashy of styles, he can run down the fugitive bear with an admirably simple clarity.
Their idea — that a musician free in his music will see the possibilities of freedom in life elsewhere — is a beautiful and fabulous ideal, built (like all important ideas) round hope and wordplay — and the beauty and fabulation the three contrive in the music wouldn't disgrace and shouldn't undermine it. But of course it does. Not by violence or estrangement or contradiction (a single listen opens precisely the right mood of sympathy): there's an older and more powerful tussle being carried on here than the class war that these players hope to resolve: their words, the little battle-cry of their resolve, is picked up and turned into base coinage: adorning sleeves, the paragraphs harden into consumer codes, the analysis of a music's freedom has become a removable sticker beckoning or threatening a potential buyer's habit-bound pigeonholing. Ideas are also commodities.
But the music, once heard, instead of waking us up to some mythical and premusical understanding of liberation, keeps its grip, pulls human things back into the prehuman, to a time before languages or codes, to the construction of words and the world from the primeval (bl)ooze. Recommended.
The Wire August 1986
Part 1. (previously released as an LP in 1986)
1. Fantasia in G-men (6 42")
2. Stick of Rain (2 40")
3. Pie, Sky, Die (2 43")
4. Lampshade Girls (4 14")
5. Slaughterhouse (6 22")
6. Machines of Loving Grace? (7 10")
7. Ash Garden (5 19")
8. Captain Swing (6 38")
9. Turn the World (3 50")
Part 2. (recorded at a concert at The Fire Station Arts centre, Oxford)
11. Firehouse Suite (22 41")
total playing time 69 05"