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Akchoté/Foussat/Turner - Acid Rain

Jeph Jerman, The Squid's Ear

A live recording of Noel Akchote on guitar, Jean-Marc Foussat playing a (probably dusty) VCS3 and electronics and perennial favorite Roger Turner amidst all manner of percussion.

A couple of thumps, as of an amp being turned on and some breathing launch the proceedings, starting at low volume and gradually gathering volume and steam. More careful than tentative, with circular harmonics from the guitar and growly, chirpy layers from the ancient synthesizer, crackings and grindings of metal and wood spooned into all the crevices. Holes like bubbles appear and are attended to lovingly, as recognizable instrumental sounds are unveiled and then folded back into the soup. I can't tell if that dog barking is a recording or a real dog from the neighborhood, but it matters not, the contribution is perfectly timed.

As with a lot of interesting improvisation, the trio tumble over one another, with each instrument occasionally coming to the fore and then receding, as though the performance were presented as a slowly rolling ball or a spinning top. There are several peaks throughout the single 45-minute piece, some gargantuan power storms, others fits of maniacal laughter. During the drop-offs from these highs, someone throws in what sounds like field recordings — sighing voices, a running stream — that prick the ears with their incongruity.

The VCS3 at times lends an aura of 1970's prog, but in sound only, not at all in style. I've heard some grumbling about how a lot of free improvisation tends to uncoil in pyramid-style, quiet and sparse to loud and dense and back again, and that's sort of the case here, albeit with many pyramids arranged on the plain. It feels more like breathing to me though, a natural outcome of action and attention.