Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paul Hartsaw and Desiring Machines, "Is Heaven Secret?"

From 2005 comes a fully engaged avant improv offering by the collective ensemble Desiring Machines. Is Heaven Secret? (Metastablesound 010) brings together Chicago's Paul Hartsaw on tenor and soprano, Jim Baker on ARP synthesizer and piano, Anton Hatwich on bass and Brahm Fetterman on percussion-drums.

This is their first go-round and it's a no nonsense excursion into the outer realms. The group works together as a seamless whole, with Jim Baker's synthesizer work jagged and incisive, his piano full-fisted in a post-Cecil Taylor manner. Paul Hartsaw turns in a spirited and hard-hitting performance on tenor and soprano, and the Hatwich-Fetterman rhythm team plunges the band into the maelstrom with conviction and sensitivity.

The music can be thickly enveloping or more open and exploratory, alternately.

As you listen a number of times the conviction of the players in the avant style and their careful abandon convinces. This is improvisation of a high level. It is another great example of what's happening in and around Chicago today. Check it out.

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