An alternative title for this extraordinary double album might have been The Shock Of The Now. That an album of improvisation made 42 years ago can sound so blindingly new is a marvel, and a tribute to the artistry of this ground-breaking Sydney band.
In 1972 David Ahearn (violin, percussion, electronics), Roger Frampton (percussion, electronics, saxophone), Peter Evans (percussion, electronics) and Geoffrey Collins (flute, percussion, electronics) recorded two long improvisations at a Tokyo radio station during a world tour. The tapes were recently discovered and this compendium of surprises is the result, the old “What is music?” chestnut being answered with the broadest-possible definition.
A remarkable aspect of the music-making is that the collective seems not so much to impose sounds on silence as pluck them from it. Daringly long pools of emptiness are gently ended by a gong, or shattered by sounds whose source can only be guessed at, sometimes involving such extremes of the sonic spectrum that you may fear for your speakers’ integrity. This is a major document of Australian improvisation.