REVIEWS

SPRING HEEL JACK
Amassed (Thirsty Ear)

 

With the sound of a burning fire in the background, Kenny Wheeler’s melancholic trumpet blows over the track, Lit, in what must be one of the most beautiful avant-garde jazz ballads ever. And the crackle of fire burning has to be one of the most effective uses of found sound as a musical accompaniment.

After last year’s Masses, Spring Heel Jack’s John Coxon and Ashley Wales have gone further down the free-jazz-meets-electronics route with their collaborators - Evan Parker (sax), Paul Rutherford (trombone), Matthew Shipp (piano) and a host of others including Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce (guitar).

Less frenetic than Massed, Amassed is instead ominous (Double Cross) and mournful (100 Years Before) and features a more lyrical and subdued Evan Parker. And it is a beautiful fusion of electronic noise, literally fuzzy scratchy electronics and found sounds, which act as new instruments for free jazz, something that Miles and Coltrane could not foresee in the pre-sampling era. Perhaps instead, it’s the pioneering work of Cornelius Cardew and AMM which has come full circle. — Philip Cheah


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