The Squid's Ear

The Squid’s Ear

By my count, John Tilbury and Eddie Prévost, as AMM, have issued ten recordings realized between Keith Rowe's departure in 2004 and his return in 2015, five as a duo and five more with guest musicians. Thus far, Industria, from October 2015, is the latest in that series, recorded a bit over a month before the trio was reunited in Huddersfield in honor of their 50th anniversary. And, to these ears, it's the finest of the lot.
The disc comes with excellent liner notes from Tilbury in addition to Marc Medwin, Nathan Moore and Rui Pedro Dâmaso, who organized the event. Poignantly enough, from the vantage point of six years hence, as well as six more years of aging, Tilbury had no memory of the concert and writes that Prévost "does recall the occasion but dimly." Having worked together for some 35 years at that date, it's understandable that things begin to blend together and, for most listeners familiar with AMM in all its forms, there's certainly a good amount of recognizability in play and yet...there's much that's very special occurring here.
The general atmosphere is one of quiet, with waves erupting now and then; again, very akin to "standard" AMM procedure. And while listening sensitivity has been paramount since 1965, the level achieved here is stunning. Prévost in particular seems extraordinarily attuned to his surroundings, restraining his bowed cymbals to a degree; the only drum-like sounds heard appearing to be some rubbed bass drum, but it's often impossible to say; his every contribution flows out naturally, both accommodating and gently asserting. And while there's a lot of what one could easily identify as "Tilbury style" formations in effect, on at least two or three occasions, he utterly surprises, generating certain patterns, often "simple" iterations of two or three notes that are unique, stunning and even darkly Romantic. Picking moments is a fool's errand, but the section beginning some 33 minutes in with Tilbury growing strident and brilliant and Prévost surging in with ringing, loudly struck metals is just incredibly powerful.
As with any AMM performance, the search is a central part. Here, the wonders encountered are many and distributed so as to produce a beautiful surprise every few moments. Truly a highlight of their career.
— Brian Olewnick, July 2021