Archive for the 'Make a Jazz Noise Here' Category


Agustí Fernández and Barry Guy – ‘Some Other Place’

Guy and Fernández are back after their mostly successful collaborations Aurora and Topos (though this is their first duet release) and welcome us to this “other place” – which is not so dissimilar from other jaunts of theirs. Here Guy once again creates some of his trademark haunting bass atmospheres which, after last year’s excellent Sinners Rather Than Saints (with Mats Gustafsson), reaffirm him as an drooling improv monster. I’d say “jazz beast” but he does not belong in that musical style, not exclusively at least. Same as his old pal/bandmate Derek Bailey, to whom you could be listening to for hours without getting tired. Agustí Fernández is a more than adequate companion with his loud/quiet dynamics (not surprisingly he also dueted with Bailey and Gustafsson). Starting with the soothing/tumultuous “Annalisa” and concluding with the distraught “The Helix”, the record alternates cacophonous/messy cuts – “Barnard’s Loop”, in which Guy appears to be humping the bass and Fernández impersonates Cecil Taylor; the rabid noisefest “Rosette”; the haunting drone which is “Crab Nebula”, which conjures a sound so powerful it’s hard not to picture both instruments about to blow up; the exhausting “Dark Energy”, with both players displaying a relentless stream of notes; the (already-mentioned) crusty percussive “The Helix”, which more than a composition feels as its sludgy skeleton – with more spacey, slowly beautiful atmospheres – the head-scratchingly titled and ultra-slow moving “How To Go Into a Room You Are”, with Guy screeching his instrument as if it were a violin and Fernández following some sort of floating pseudo-minimalist Feldman pattern; the balladesque “Blueshift”, arguably the most precious piece here (it is after all dedicated to Guy’s wife, violinist Maya Homburger), so anguished you’ll be pissed when it’s over; the mysterious “Boomerang Nebula” – and then a some material in-between – the title track, which has Fernández lavishly strolling on his piano with Guy joining in for the “noisy bits”. This particular cut is masterful in its tension-and-release (non)structure, formless yet engaging.

That’s the key here – being engaging. The duo has the decency to NOT overdo it and as a result the pieces are rather short (the longest clocking under nine minutes) but most importantly, manage to capture the listeners’ attention. The compositions are very detailed and lack reiteration: it’s an imaginative effort. Improvisation is a tricky word here, however. This is not improv jazz per se, since they’re obviously playing over pre-concieved “guidelines”. They’re not even patterns, just suppositions, ideas, feelings. Even if you’re familiar (which I’m not that much, truths be told) with both Fernández and Guy’s ownage of their instruments, this is a worthy recording. Considering we’re talking about free-form music, it is particularly memorable and definitely emotional at moments. I’d say it’s some sort of achievement. Fernández once spoke of “transparent” music as the way to reach a spiritual state. So there goes nothing.

Download link posted in comments.

The happy improvisin' couple


‘Come with your ears… leave with your ears!’

November 2018
« Jan