This set picks up right where its precursor left off, pairing Flaherty with Edwards in a series of intimate duets that angle off in unexpected directions. Even the liner notes, authored by the saxophonist, continue from the cliffhanger left by those of the earlier disc. Edwards is quoted as calling himself a “power drummer” and that characterization certainly fits portions of his work here. Surprise comes with the sizeable segments of the sectional conversation that find him in more restrained, even ruminative moods. The starting salvo “Kundalini Awakening” commences from a skeletal cadence sculpted by malleted toms. Flaherty’s alto buzzes and keens like circling hornet, initially sounding more like a musette than a member of the saxophone family. Edwards sustains the processional pulse as a torrent of textured multiphonics vies for space alongside melody-minded interludes. A supple backbeat on “Samadi” taps similarly spartan stores, suggesting a koan-like simplicity and serving as an undulating constant for his colleague’s super-heated alto flights, which once again veer between the extremes of near-noise and lyricism.
“No one gets out alive” offers an even more extended tour of the pair’s old school fire music proclivities by building from a slow burn to a full roar. Edwards opens with a preamble of cascading cymbals, scaling back to near silence prior to Flaherty’s somber declaration on tenor. Acceleration into squealing multiphonics and militant percussion soon follows, but even during the most potently kinetic passages Edwards keeps tight command on his overlapping cross rhythms. The pliability and power behind his tom rolls recalls something of Denis Charles’ spirit. While flailing on a bit too long, the track is still and exhilarating and edifying ride. “Pot Belly Stove” brings more volcanic oratory, starting with a telegraphing drum sortie and moving on to another tenor conflagration. A Blindfold Test involving this track might very well yield manifold mistaken attributions to Brötzmann. Flaherty looses a torrent of tortured tones and bullhorn honks while Edwards keeps the percussive froth churning at a maximum. Again, no matter how ardent and audacious the interplay, the rhythms retain their structural stability. Flaherty’s melodic vapor trail ending carries over into dynamics-rich “Where no one is at home”, a piece that gradually intensifies from meditative mantra to cacophonous catharsis. Edwards adheres to brushes the whole time but loses next to nothing in pummeling force with the choice. Flaherty makes a case in his written commentary that free music players are born, not made. That adage plays out perspicaciously here, as does the perception that a parallel serendipity is at play in the felicitous pairing of these two.
~ Derek Taylor