Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: Drawn Inward (ECM 1693)

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble
Drawn Inward

Evan Parker tenor and soprano saxophones, khene
Philipp Wachsmann violin, viola, live electronics, sound processing
Barry Guy double-bass
Paul Lytton percussion, live electronics
Lawrence Casserley live electronics, sound processing
Walter Prati live electronics, sound processing
Marco Vecchi live electronics, sound processing
Recorded December 1998 at Gateway Studio, Kingston
Engineer: Steve Lowe
Produced by Steve Lake

The spheres of composition and improvisation are not so far apart. In fact, Evan Parker and his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble seem to say, they are as inseparable as water from the ocean. Since 1992 the Ensemble has gone, as the title of its 1997 debut suggests, toward the margins, and is content in the asymptotic nature of those margins. This follow-up welcomes Lawrence Casserley and his computer wizardry into an already eclectic admixture of sound processors, thus enhancing the overall atmosphere with real-time entanglements. Because the result feels so much like an aural diary, I can only offer a written one in return.

(1) there is a jagged line in the egg, and the light that spills from it sings, crackling like rain on tarp. in the crooner’s sigh there are wounds, in his laughter there is healing.

(2) aroused from my dream, i creep like a shadow toward the lighted window, throw open its transparent lungs and breathe in the dew-kissed air. but a serpent in the sky mars this otherwise idyllic dawn with S-curved passage, the only afterimage to linger in these eyes as it wriggles through gauzy cloud cover and parhelia. Parker’s lockdown is arresting, a Glassean riff turned on its head and spun like a top.

(3) to travel in the homeland is to walk away from yourself. catharsis of will and locomotion. in the absence of progress, the feet quicken their pace. in the absence of goals, they slumber even as they ambulate. hidden in the watering can behind the barn is the drop i left before parting for the city, where only sewer drains collected the tears of so many others and stirred them into an underground cocktail, never again to be tasted. it is not so radical to think that one might live here, but to think that one might die here. i can turn the radio dial however much i want, but will never find the beacon that i crave. instead, a diffuse comfort whereby the winds of opportunity blanket me with their hush.

(4) to look into the spouting bowl is to blind yourself to the truths of which it is an indifferent receptacle. i can lasso these words to its underwater circus yet fear i might not have the strength to hold on ’til i reach bottom. a fidgety existence i lead when it’s all i can do not to fall away from others’ attention.

(5) the music tells me i can deploy my love as an agent of unrest and offers in that possibility a temptation in whose surface i cannot see myself reflected. my heart is already lost to the cause. i stand in a booth on the corner making collect calls to strangers, my fingers all a-blur at the number pad in their furious attempts to communicate.

(6) i have found it: the spinning globe of circumstance on which i was trapped like a drone on a treadmill. now i can hold it, toss it as a child would a ball. but in so being endowed, i find there is only guilt and discomfort, and the knowledge that the top of the pyramid is a lonely place. i can only follow my wayward guides, playing the part of the child again as i slide down its brick-laid slope.

(7) back to concrete, i run pell-mell, pushing the capabilities of my social craft to the flexible limits of their stature, dangling before myself a carrot of progress. i cannot want this; i must let it want me. somewhere in the body of a cello, my bones are breaking and mending by the laser vision of gas stove flame.

(8) at home in the universe…nowhere else i’d rather be. it is our terrarium, our humid sanctuary, our light and love.

(9) i am writing on ice, using the ink my mother gave me. i let myself seep into the surface, tracing imperfections with newfound script.

(10) they have captured something in the frame, glued it inside with the adhesive of acceptance. timetables and train tracks curl into a tangled ball, it’s shadow the signature in the lower left-hand corner.

(11) the thread has unraveled and the secret is out. i am here only so long as i write myself to be. i take your hand and bid you to take another’s, so that by the end we stand as one. this is the music that goes on in the attic when we are asleep, in concerts attended by mice and other wall dwellers. if we are drawn inward to anything, it is ourselves.

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