VITAL WEEKLY just reviewed our two newest releases, in our new line of limited cassettes. Both tapes are still available of course as they are officially released next Saturday August 20th.
“Following many CDs, the Belgium imprint A New Wave Of Jazz released a few LPs, and now they are expanding to the world of cassettes. I am unsure if there is a particular reason to switch to cassettes, and I won’t speculate. The first cassette is a sort of split release. Dirk Serries, with his archtop guitar, appears on both sides. On side A, he duets with Anton Mobin and his well-known prepared chamber and on the other side with Quentin Stokart on guitar and amplifier. Nine pieces with Mobin and seven with Stokart. In case you wondered, Wiki can help you with the meaning of the word ‘Stochastic’: “Stochastic refers to the property of being well described by a random probability distribution. Although stochasticity and randomness are distinct in that the former refers to a modelling approach and the latter refers to phenomena themselves, these two terms are often used synonymously. Furthermore, in probability theory, the formal concept of a stochastic process is also referred to as a random process.” The prepared chamber is a box of amplified objects and, as such,
something that works very well with Serries’ playing of the guitar; not too chaotic but very much improvised and there is lots of room for little accidents. Please sit down and play and record the proceedings. The outcome is not decided in advance, but let’s see what happens. That is the approach of Serries and Mobin in a fine duelling duet of acoustic sounds and a guitar. Most of the time, it sounds very much like electro-acoustic music, but then without the electrics. The amplifier used by Stokart indeed might play a role in his duet with Serries, but I fail to hear it. These seven pieces are obviously two guitars and are less electro-acoustic. Here too, there are certain chaotic elements to be noted, but it is also a bit more traditional improvised music, music of the variety that this label has a lot of. These seven pieces are short and to the point, leaping forward, restraint and joyous. A bundle of emotions, I’d say. Lovely stuff!
The other cassette contains a duet between Colin Webster (alto saxophone), a New Wave Of Jazz regular, and Matthew Grigg (guitar, amplifier), whom we heard once before (Vital Weekly 1040). They recorded their music in a single day, following which Serries did the mixing and mastering. I am sure this mixing didn’t interfere with the order of the music; I believe it instead has to do with putting the right balance between these instruments. The eight pieces on this cassette offer some more radical free improvisation music. The alto saxophone is easily recognized, and Webster plays it most chaotic. The guitar is something else. I have no idea how Grigg plays his instrument, but it is barely recognizable as a guitar. I think he mutes his strings and creates mainly a scratching sound. This way of playing instruments results in quite a nerve-wracking spiel between the two players. This cassette lasts fifty minutes, and it is quite a ride; it is a wild but most exhausting one. Indeed, the music has the most overwhelming
quality when played at a maximum volume. But I don’t see any other way to enjoy this music except at total volume. Perhaps, at times a bit too much free improvisation for me, but I enjoyed the sheer brutality here. “