Part 1: Recorded by Holger Scheuermann and Jost Gebers on November 3, 1990 during the 'Total Music Meeting' at the 'Quartier Latin', Berlin.
Part 2: Recorded by Ansgar Ballhorn and Dietrich Wohlfromm on December 15, 1990 at the Von-der-Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal.
Excerpt from the booklet:
X-COMMUNICATION existed in theory long before the group stepped onto stage in 1987, when BUTCH MORRIS met MARTIN SCHÜTZ and HANS KOCH in New York, all parties could look back on many years of experience with different forms of group improvisation - a condition that boded well for a joint project. (…)
In the first brainstorming-sessions, X-COMMUNICATION was blueprinted as a 16 to 18-strong big band, and although it was soon scaled down to a marginally more practicable octet, its basic formation, including vocals and strings, remained unchanged. (...)
X-COMMUNICATION in its 1990 incarnation seems to have reached a degree of mutual understanding that allows each musician more room to move. That´s to say, few sacrifices need be made to any streamlined collective identity. The group is strong enough to support almost all aspects of the players´ creativity.
A perennial traveller between the genres, BUTCH MORRIS composes music for film, theatre and dance and has drawn up new guidelines for the conductor´s role as channel and catalyst of the creative process in improvisation. The experience gained from these projects is constantly re-invested into his instrumental work and makes him a formidable ensemble player, sufficiently enlightened to subordinate his abilities, always, to the dynamics of the moment. (...)
SHELLEY HIRSCH´s near-acrobatic, vocal abilities enable her to react instantly to any ideas or atmospheric suggestions her surroundings have to offer, and to take on, chameleon-like, virtually every imaginable tone colour.. (...)
The American section is completed by JASON HWANG and J.A. DEANE, both player/composers of broad stylistic band with and, like MORRIS, frequently toiling in the cracks between the idioms. DEANE uses computer electronics to create rising and subsiding layers of modified natural sounds. A difficult player to classify, this ´sonic architect´, as much at home with the jump-cut cartoon minimalism of John Zorn as in Jon Hassell´s spacious ´Fourth World´ elegies, has worked extensively with MORRIS´ large and small groups. So has HWANG, the violonist singled out by MORRIS as one of the most distinctive of improvisors. Also a composer, HWANG, of Chinese ancestry, wrote the score for the film ´The Emperor´s Eye: Art and Power in China´. He has played with assorted AACM and ´downtown´ ensembles.
More reserved in the early performances, REICHEL is now able to fully integrate the wry humour and stylistic versatility of his solo work (FMP CD 010, FMP CD 054) which will require no further introduction to followers of FMP´s productions. He is undoubtedly one of the guitar greats.
HANS KOCH found space to say something inside Cecil Taylor´s European Orchestra (FMP CD 008/009) and has been gaining in strength in X-COMMUNICATION, his exchanges with SHELLEY HIRSCH accounting for this album´s most compelling moments as he works a range from blowtorch aggression to earnest pleadings to coos and warbles.
Cellist MARTIN SCHÜTZ is, with KOCH, one of the shaping forces in new Swiss music, their trio Koch/Schütz/Käpelli being a wide-awake chamber unit that draws upon the languages of free jazz and contemporary composition. (…)
And finally (..) there´s PAUL LOVENS: A man of few words offstage, yet a drummer who´s mastered the art of the interjection, using all surfaces of his selected drums and cymbals almost conversationally, querying and challenging - or underlining and codifying - all of his colleagues´ comments…´. (...)
BUTCH MORRIS once said: "For me, there are but two sounds worth listening to: the sound of the mind working and the sound of the mind that has worked."