Thursday, March 12, 2015

Milford Graves & Bill Laswell, Space / Time Redemption

Any two accomplished artists with an open-form approach should be able to get together and make significant music. It gets more involved and harder as you add more and more players, maybe, but two should get something good together without necessarily doing an extensive working-through. That sometimes that doesn't work out is a product of almost infinite possibilities, the one central one perhaps is that it's just not a good day for one or both.

That certainly isn't the case with the confluence of two masters, Milford Graves & Bill Laswell, and their album Space / Time Redemption (TUM 040). It is an interesting pairing on many fronts anyway. Milford Graves is one of the avant-free innovators of our time. Ever since his pairing up with ESP new thing ensembles and his seminal duo with percussionist Sonny Morgan for that label he has stood out as one of the most inventive creative free drummers alive. Bill Laswell comes out of a more electric environment, but he too has given voice to the electric bass as distinctively in his own way as Milford has recreated for himself the orchestral drum kit. Laswell's work with Material and you-name-it has established him as a voice, an electric bassist with his own sure way.

So it turns out that Space / Time Redemption is an especially fruitful pairing. Milford always comes through with very creative, very musical, very original drumming and he sounds better than ever on this one. There is the way he phrases that comes at you in such an open yet deliberate way that anyone playing within his orbit can be sure that what they do will meet with a musical response. Bill Laswell is the kind of bass player who with his deeply evocative sound born of attack and electricity sounds completely sufficient and full as the only strictly melodic instrument on a date like this. The space he has to work within he uses in the most musical and impressively articulate ways.

Master of percussive sound Graves is not to be missed here. He opens up a rhythmic and melodic space as only he can, never fast for its own sake or bashing for its own sake, but always very controlled in sound and attack, always lyrically forceful in that special fanfarish style of his. Laswell responds with the full spectrum of single noting, octave and chordal multi-stops, harmonics and a musical logic that meshes especially well with what Milford does.

Two masters in top form. They never sound undirected or uninspired. They give us an open-ended inventiveness that has focus from start to finish. Excellent! This is a must for those who are students of new electric bass styles and drum freedom mastery. And it is a gas to listen to!

No comments:

Post a Comment