Saturday, 24 September 2011

grutronic _ evan parker @ the vortex 09/22/2011

word + photos: gian paolo galasi

"Music dispatches a molecular flow". I'm reading the liner notes written by Richard Scott for "Together in Zero Space", the last Psi output featuring Evan Parker playing with his new close collaborators the Grutronic, while I ran into this quotation from Deleuze and Guattari's Milleplateaux. Wether we are aware or not of the importance of this text written in 1987, it'a fact that it is heavily referenced in today's electronic and experimental music.

You can think about Milleplateaux the label, and you're certainly right, but yet another point is how much David Toop, in his Ocean Of Sound, was referring to the concept of 'rhizome' in order to talk about Sun Ra's music. Not to put aside Dj Spooky work as That Subliminal Kid -- sampling sound is a rhizomatic practice? for sure. You can even take as a - still not recognized? - turning point on the subject, Terre Thaemlitz (aka Dj Sprinkles) series of lectures held in Amsterdam in November 2009. 

Far from the Academic studies, referring to Grutronic (or Evan Parker)'s music as 'rhizomatic' - at this point in time, even if only for this particular project - or 'molecular' means simply that their music is averse to the idea of a starting point taken as a 'root' - 'rhizome' is a root without a primal branch - and of music as a narration coming from an unavoidable beginning going to an unavoidable end. Call it 'improvisation', and you got it.

Grutronic equipment is both analog and digital. Stephen Grew plays keyboards, Richard Scott synths, sequencers and a buchla midi controller, Nicholas Grew is in charge of processing sound, and David Ross plays droscillator. Their music as a result is a constant sense of transition, from liquid to solid, then aerial, then close, but the flux of sound is conceived in a way that involves the relationship between static and dynamic itself. 

Here and there the music is reminiscent of such a distinguished collaboration as the Anthony Braxton / Richard Teitelbaum duo on "Time Zones" (Arista/Freedom, 1977), even if concrete elements are brought together in order to give shape to a different sense of time and space dynamics.

The performance is coherently in line with what more than 30 years ago Evan Parker and John Stevens had in mind when putting together the SME collective, and this project, along with the Parker/Matthew Wright duo and contemporary improvisers like Bark! and Furt are, more than a variation on a theme, an important focus and evolution of a specific idea of music, starting also with "Karyiobin" and "Topography of the Lungs", and going through the ElectroAcoustic and the Transatlantic Ensemble up to today's experiences.

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