DESCENT OF THE FREE
His name may be unfamiliar, but his playing is unforgettable. Elsen Price is one of Australian music’s treasures: a double bassist who ranges across classical, avant-garde, jazz, Middle Eastern, free improvisation and more, and is utterly convincing in every context. He also uses real-time looping and extended techniques to create strata of bowed and pizzicato bass for spellbinding solo concert performances, and it is these Price has massaged into a suite for this album.
His level of virtuosity has few peers in this country, but two other aspects of his work are yet more important: his starburst imagination (as both composer and improviser) and his sound. The latter’s warmth and opulence ensures that however complex, busy and labyrinthine the music may become, Price can stop your heart with a single note (executed with perfect intonation). And because he has been active across so many areas (and no doubt listens and experiments more widely still), the music interweaves multitudinous concepts (scalar, harmonic, rhythmic, textural) that make for endless surprises in where he takes his melodically luxuriant seven-part suite on this digital-only release. Exhilarating