Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Nick Butcher & others - Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 2 (Sonnenzimmer)

Ah, yes, the endless possibilities inherent in sound, brilliantly exploited here, again from the solo improvisations used on Vol. 1. Remix the remix and extrapolate, distil, expand and so on - perhaps this is even better than Vol 1, if there's any point in comparisons (which can't be helped).

David Castillo's musique populaire du checagou is the first of the quartet, which starts lightly as a seductive rhythmic counterpoint before it mutates to offer more bounce to the ounce and become a low rider of extraordinary power, not through attack or bass overload, but precision oompf punctuated by brief squealing sax and increased accent on the doubles bass - oh yes! On Andy C. Jenkins' Thunder Pressure a steam locomotive (calling Schaeffer!) is ushered in but falls silent, making way for a hypnotic marimba on phased drum machine motion with effects mixed in to make it more than just an exercise in rhythm. Nick Butcher (one half of the Sonnenzimmer design team) plays with the 4/4 House template (as he did on Vol 1), with Tearing Paper Trio. In keeping with the other tracks, it stretches out (Butcher's Rubber Band?), collapses and crystallises the material and, crucially to these ears, breaks it up halfway with a looped drum solo that signals the second, more 'broken' phase. Mike Bingaman's Raster Implement has him twisting 'dance music' into fine shape, where the blueprint (regular beat) is elevated by all manner of additives; even, at times, a bass sound that will be familiar to fans of dark techno. But as it thumps along all the other stuff, which makes it special, constantly reminds you that this is no ordinary dance track.

Sonnenzimmer products are beautiful things to behold and this LP in physical form (only 250 available) will be no exception. You can buy the digital version here.

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