Anthony Pateras / Sean Baxter / David Brown – INTERFERENCE

Gauticle on Synaesthesia was one of the best albums heard from an improvising trio in a long time, and with Interference, Pateras, Baxter and Brown continue to raise the bar. The instrumentation is the same – prepared piano, prepared guitar and drums – as is the approach: reciprocal stimulation and unusual rhythmic combinations generate new patterns of knowledge and harmony which unaccustomed ears might refuse to submit to on first listen. Face it, these guys don’t really propose tranquil engagement with the audience, privileging instead outbursts of clattering can-on-the-string whirlwinds (“You Can Do It Pimp Lucius”) and episodes that suggest gamelan players falling down a stairway and struggling to regain position while massaging their bumps. Only rarely does the music become a stationary target for our attention to hit, yet soon enough it yields to rumbling dissonance and repeated, percussive trips to the low regions of the piano. When the trio sets its sights on the interstices between silence and noise – as on the Cageian “What A Fool Believes” – the creepy atmospheres, where every sound is a one-punch knockdown, tangibly demonstrate how the relationship between vibration and its absence constitutes the basis of incomprehension among so-called evolved beings. The body reacts to each event, the instrumental call-and-response as accurate as needlework, all senses fully alert – think “watchdog late at night”. The return to regulated chaos in the fourth track acts as the introduction to a gorgeous finale, “Troo Kvlt In C”, where a landslide of rolling and tumbling metals comes within a hair’s breadth of incoherence but rewards the patient and attentive listener. An unforgiving record, perhaps too full of substance for its own good, but outstanding as ever.

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