Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment’s Energy (ECM 2066)

The Moment's Energy

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble
The Moment´s Energy

Evan Parker soprano saxophone
Peter Evans trumpet, piccolo trumpet
Kō Ishikawa shō
Ned Rothenberg clarinet, bass clarinet, shakuhachi
Philipp Wachsmann violin, live electronics
Agustí Fernandez piano, prepared piano
Barry Guy double-bass
Paul Lytton percussion, live electronics
Lawrence Casserley signal processing instrument
Joel Ryan sample and signal processing
Walter Prati computer processing
Richard Barrett live electronics
Paul Obermayer live electronics
Marco Vecchi sound projection
Recorded November 2007, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
Engineer: Steve Lowe
Produced by Steve Lake

With the conviction of a fractal, this fifth ECM outing from Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble unwinds in distorted, vastly interconnected replications. True to form, the ensemble welcomes three new members: trumpeter Peter Evans, reedman Ned Rothenberg (who also plays shakuhachi), and Kō Ishikawa playing the shō (Japanese mouth organ). As the growing roster (here numbering 14 members) simultaneously hones and fragments the ensemble’s dynamics, it likewise reshuffles Parker’s role as composer and bandleader in this commissioned piece for the 2007 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. As with The Eleventh Hour, a wealth of intensities emerged in the rehearsal sessions leading up to the event in question, only now most of the selections are taken from behind those very scenes (only Part IV and the epilogue are live). A meticulously composed fuselage serves to enhance the spontaneity of its appendages.

Part 1 introduces us to the masterful cross-referencing of signatures that distinguishes this album from its predecessors as a work of superlative control. Waterspouts of piano (Agustí Fernández), soprano saxophone (Parker), and violin (Phillipp Wachsmann) leap and drown in a roiling ocean of sonic information, from which Part 2 draws out cartographic ingredients in the effervescent soup of Rothenberg’s bass clarinet. Part 3 pales into lachrymose shades, rubbed smooth by the sandpaper of a deep-throated awareness. Its echoes are more pre than post. Part 4 strikes the expressiveness of Ishikawa’s shō like a match to wick. If ever there was darkness in these halls, it is now dispelled by holy presence. This transmogrifies into a jangling exposition in Part 5 and on to the bowed details of Part 6. In a space where siren and unfinished business can stew and percolate, its string-heavy idols pirouette at the border of gut and reason before Part 7 evinces fantastic droning depth. The album’s most nourishing morsel comes last in the form of “Incandescent Clouds,” an electronic summation of all that has preceded, spliced and held together until it fuses anew.

As the most electro-centric of the EAE recordings, The Moment’s Energy embodies an exact and accomplished science. Yet no matter how technologically slanted the music becomes, it always retains an earthen quality. Interventions reveal the circuitry of life at large. Every element carries equal atomic weight. Thus it becomes the thing it never professes to be: naked sound. Like the repeated word, it sheds its associations, becomes its own entity.

This is energy’s moment.

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