The Music Improvisation Company: s/t (ECM 1005)


The Music Improvisation Company

Derek Bailey electric guitar
Evan Parker soprano saxophone
Hugh Davies live electronics
Jamie Muir percussion
Christine Jeffrey voice
Recorded on August 25-27, 1970 at Merstham Studios, London
Engineer: Jenny Thor
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: November 1, 1970

Derek Bailey is a pioneer of British free improvisation, and although this is one of his earliest recordings, it houses much of what he would come to be known for: microscopic precision, a love of empty space, a supremely fractured aesthetic, and a subtle disregard for the rules. As with his later solo outings and fruitful collaborations with John Zorn and other bastions of the avant-garde, Bailey brings full commitment to the table in this early, digitally reissued ECM recording. Yet how to describe it? A possessed duck call tripping down a flight of stairs into a pile of discarded instruments? A broken jack-in-the-box heavily amplified on cheap speakers? A radio being tortured to give up its innermost secrets? None of these comes close to mapping the album’s rambling course. Still, the results are consistent. So much so that track titles like “Packaged Eel” do nothing to deepen our understanding of the goings on. As can be expected from the roster, the musicianship is of indisputable quality. Evan Parker awes with his outbursts of indiscernible melody while Bailey cultivates an anonymous approach, cutting in and out from behind a surgeon’s mask.

The Music Improvisation Company is nothing more or less than what one makes of it. Its difficulties are also what make it go down smoothly. A mysterious morsel that yields a new flavor with every taste.

<< Marion Brown: Afternoon Of A Georgia Faun (ECM 1004)
>> Wolfgang Dauner: Output (ECM 1006)

6 thoughts on “The Music Improvisation Company: s/t (ECM 1005)

  1. Just bought this Amazon, before I realized it was available here. I listened and it sounds like quite a cool album. I’m surprised it has never been issued on CD, what with the major King Crimson connection – percussionist Jamie Muir. If marketed correctly (i.e. to the Crimson crowd) ECM would probably sell more of this CD – even in this age of downloading – than the majority of the titles in their catalog. No disrespect meant to other ECM artists, most of whom I love, but very few of them have a following anywhere near the level of K.C. Anyway, I am now going to look here and find out what kind of DLs are available. Amazon only provides a 256kps… watch – after I just bought it I will find a FLAC download on this site… Cheers everyone.

    1. Ah, my mistake… no selling on this site. well to the webmaster, nice work… it’s very informative… Cheers again everyone.

  2. I can listen to most anything and appreciate it, but this… not so much. Digitizing a bunch of old vinyl and this was in the pile. I must have bought it way back because of the King Crimson link, but there is nothing there. Not following the positive comments – it’s mostly just noise to me. “A possessed duck call tripping down a flight of stairs into a pile of discarded instruments” is pretty accurate (but not special).

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