Somnambule - Writing About Music

MEV & AMM ~ Apogee

Musica Elettronica Viva: Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski (p, keys)
AMM: Eddie Prévost (d); Keith Rowe (g); John Tilbury (p)
CD1 recorded April 2004; CD2 recorded May 2004
Matchless Recordings MRCD61

Apogee presents two very different approaches to free improvisation by two seminal trios. AMM’s path is that of distillation as miniature sonic events are imbued with a cumulative significance against sombre atmospheres that hover like a pall of smoke. MEV are noisier, more hective and inclusive, at times verging on the hedonistic – at least in comparison to their collaborators here. CD1 presents the two groups working in fascinating partnership in the studio while CD2 is a recording of the the groups’ separate performances at London’s Conway Hall in 2004. The three parts of Apogee on the first disc make for a fascinatingly detailed piece of work with the level and subtlety of its activity best appreciated through concentrated listening in headphones. The solemn, post-apocalyptic ambience is occasionally thrown into sharp relief as when a brief shard of slap bass or Frank Sinatra sounds and disappears almost before it can be recognised. Potentially intimidating though Apogee may first appear, persistence on the part of the listener will pay ample reward.
Colin Buttimer
July 2005
Published by Jazzwise magazine