Monday, July 09, 2018

Barker Trio - Avert Your I (Astral Spirits, 2018)

The Barker Trio is a very powerful free jazz band consisting of Michael Foster on tenor and soprano saxophones and electronics, Tim Dahl on electric bass and Andrew Barker on drums, synthesizer and percussion. They create a truly mighty sound that combines fearless improvisation with elements of post rock to create an interesting and compelling mixture beginning with the massive sixteen and a half minute title track "Avert Your I" which develops from fast and raw saxophone, pummeling drumming, building a hell for leather attack. The dynamism of the band allows the intensity of the music to ebb and flow, creating space and just as quickly filling it up with flutters of saxophone and bass. Drums provide further spark as the whole band is enveloped in a crackling collective improvisation that doesn't let up. "Ageist" has a raw and open ended feel to it, with long snarling smears of saxophone and slashing drums developing a harrowing interplay that lays waste to all standing before it. Electric strings lash out with bolts of power, as the drums use a violent sweeping movement leading to a tenacious full band improvisation that is over the top in its excitement. Shaken percussion adds a different texture to "Spatial Needs," soon joined by fluttering saxophone, and raw guttural sounds that carry over into "Enthusiasm Gap" which features snarling bass guitar shooting across the soundscape in an abrasive and loose manner. This leads to a section of pure noise, pounding heavily and insistently as if they are trying to make the harshest elements of The Velvet Underground's "European Son" come alive in an improvised context. The saxophone eventually breaks loose to fly with powerful drums to a blistering and enthusiastic conclusion. "Outer Body Image" has gales of drums and saxophone developing a free and open sensibility with space between the instruments. The saxophone is launched into the air with rattling drums in support and bass joining for a bellowing trio section that exudes great enthusiasm and eagerness. Finally, "Circus Bender" introduces a complex rhythm, with gritty saxophone providing an angular momentum for the track, with ripe squeaks punctuating the musical sentences. Sparks of electronics and towering saxophone swirls with slashing drums put an exclamation point on an exciting and well played album. Avert Your I - Bandcamp

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