Matt Schulz, The Squid’s Ear

A super group of English improv — Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe, and Barry Guy — captured in 1984 creating a formidable and bleak landscape. A fluttering, smeared intro gives way to a bird attack, as if the creatures appeared first as a drifting feather or two, then a pair of the animals, and finally a murder of ferocious, pecking and swooping crows. Prevost's drums are tuned high and make sharp cuts through the hovering malice with quick rolls and tinkling cymbals. A menacing tone emerges in the lower register before unraveling into focused picking. All the while the high pitched threat looms in the foreground. The sax stutters incessantly like a crazy person having an argument with themselves in the corner, somehow making interjections to the surrounding environment.
The piece ebbs and flows, in and out of calm and fury, but all the while a sense of foreboding in evidence. This is a stellar example of European free improv in the late 60s...full of excitement and real exploration. These men are painting color in every direction and quite ably mixing lines and phrases with each other. The sounds they evoke from their instruments are stunning to say the least, turning the sonics of their respective tools into unintelligible new voices. At times it's confusing but all the while exhilarating. Never cold and calculated...there is a tangible sense of danger afoot . Take cover!

Matt Schulz — The Squid’s Ear. December 2016