Time is an essential aspect of any musical performance. The character of a groove shifts when you push against or play behind the beat; suspense is built or squandered through duration. What is swing, but the way we experience divisions in time? In free improvisation the knowledge that players are conceiving the music at the same time that they perform it charges the music with certain meanings. First-thought creativity, responsiveness and he way these qualities reveal a player or an ensemble's sensitivity, fortitude and clarity of thought all come to the fore.
But when a group has been around since 1965 — as have British pianist John Tilbury and percussionist Eddie Prévost of AMM — another temporal matter comes into play: the weight of individual and shared history. Everything that each player has played within and without the group potentially influences what they play and how the listener hears them.
AMM has remained true to an aesthetic that values working out just what the music will be in real time by playing it, and also a profound respect for the qualities of individual sounds. The ensemble has often evinced a sort of parallel play in which the material that players develop coexists rather than directly interacts. AMM's lineup and sound have changed dramatically, more recently when guitarist Keith Rowe departed the group in 2004, but it's still possible to know that it's AMM you are hearing within seconds due to certain signature elements — Prévost's preternatural cymbal bowing, Tilbury's Feldman-like flourishes and the liberal use of silence. All these elements are present on Place sub.v., but the way the duo employs them never feels rote. Each drum-skin moan or gamelan-like piano note feels necessary and resoundingly right. AMM doesn't try to evade history here. Rather, one's awareness of how the players have played their music before enhances the appreciation of the further refinement they bring to it right now.
Bill Meyer — Downbeat, July 2014