Bill Connors: Swimming With A Hole In My Body (ECM 1158)

 

Bill Connors
Swimming With A Hole In My Body

Bill Connors guitars
Recorded August 1979 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Bill Connors’s follow-up to his solo debut, Theme To The Guardian, is more than the latter’s other half; it is a deeper look inward. From the moment we step “Feet First” into this veritable sonic field, there is moonlight to be savored. It is a place where shadows open their arms to embrace other shadows. From the playful (“Frog Stroke”) to the plaintive (“Wade”), the inspirational (“Sing And Swim”) to the romantic (“Surrender To The Water”), Connors covers a travel diary’s worth of temporal terrain in 43 minutes. These qualities crumble like spring snow, each a reflection upon slightly disturbed surfaces. Other pieces, like “Survive” and “With Strings Attached,” lie somewhere between a wing’s beat and a song. All the more the appropriate, then, that we should end with “Breath,” expelling the very air that will condense into the lifeblood of the earth.

Every cell of Swimming… throbs with aquatic humility throughout its gallery of miniatures. Connors’s fingers are always in motion, transporting us to a place where rain never comes but where the sun is almost always hidden. Despite what the title might have you believe, there is no diving to be experienced in this album until you, fair listener, take the plunge.

3 thoughts on “Bill Connors: Swimming With A Hole In My Body (ECM 1158)

  1. Accanto ai vessilliferi Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Terje Rypdal, Pat Metheny e Bill Frisell, l’ECM schierava un altro chitarrista attivo sotto le proprie insegne il quale però, nonostante una produzione di eccellente valore artistico, non ottenne gli stessi riscontri commerciali dei più noti colleghi di strumento. Alcuni collezionisti ne ricordano il nome per il prezioso contributo a due dei migliori album di Jan Garbarek (Places; Photo With …). Col suo fraseggio nitido e rigoroso, egli ha dato voce alla corrente più cool dell’etichetta tedesca e, al di là di ogni aspettativa, i suoi tre album incisi a Oslo risultano già ristampati su CD. Caratterizzato a un’estrema versatilità tecnica, lo stile di Bill Connors spazia dalle eleganti conversazioni in quartetto con Jan Garbarek, Gary Peacock e Jack DeJohnette (Of Mist And Melting) agli assorti monologhi acustici in cui si alternano corde di metallo e di nylon (Theme To The Gaurdian; Swimming With A Hole In My Body). La cifra caratteristica del suo universo espressivo è data da atmosfere e suggestioni trasmesse con gli arrangiamenti, più che da vere e proprie idee melodiche ben definite. In questo senso, lungo un trittico indispensabile per i cultori della chitarra e rimarchevole pure in un catalogo straordinario, i brani più rappresentativi di ciascun capitolo sono, rispettivamente, Folk Song, Melting e Surrender To The Water. [Anche Mick Goodrick registrò per la ECM – lo stupendo In Pa(s)sing – ma non fece mai parte della scuderia a pieno titolo].

  2. This is my single favorite Connors recording. As much as I like his earlier “Guardian” album I think the next best album that captures a similar vibe is the wonderful “Path” album by Tom Van Der Geld that Connors plays on.

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