Boomkat Product Review:
AMM founder and indomitable improviser Eddie Prévost questions the “fractal not fractional” framework of rhythm and sound in a rare and captivating solo outing.
While regarded among the avant-garde’s most active and prodiguous collaborators, playing on hundreds of recordings with everyone from UK jazz legends Evan Parker and Derek Bailey to the likes of Thomas Köner and David Sylvan, solo records from Prévost are notoriously thin on the ground, meaning he doesn’t fuck about when it’s time to strike on his own.
‘When Is Sound’ sees the percussionist and metamusician intuitively draw upon, and negotiate, over 50 years of action at the avant vanguard. Since his earliest work on AMM’s groundbreaking ‘Ammmusic’ Prévost has persistently pushed against rhythmic and sonic convention, probing it’s whys and whats from every angle, before now forming his open-ended conclusions about “when is sound”?
Documenting a day of recordings made in Matching Tye, Essex, a village near his home stomping grounds, and also burial site of John Locke aka “the father of Liberalism”, Prévost takes cues from Locke’s ideas about “mixing labour with materials as a fore-running notion of possessive individualism and basis for private property” as a prompt to explore music as product of an open-source dialogue between history and the environment; between muscle/memory and the world around him.
Variously recording between a village green and mostly in a centuries old church, the results are the kind of music that would baffle an AI but potentially and instinctively resonate with human senses. In ‘Mixing & Match’ he bows a cymbal with the tactile glee of a kid left alone in the music room, feeling out the instruments stress points and the way it interacts with surrounding architecture, while ‘Rotology’ sees him play rototoms in a way that describes bird flight with an atavistic rawness. ‘maxPlus’ follows with a nod to Max Roach that tramples archaic distinctions or declensions between Afro-American jazz and European Avant-Garde, and ‘Locke’d In’ sees him cannily transpose militant snare rolls with a coolly disciplined but frenzied free jazz flair, and ‘Air, Oak, Metal, Hair’ sees him return to the cymbal in jagged conversation with a village green were rhythm is tone and vice-versa. When is Music? Always.