Squid's EarHigh

Eddie Prévost is the renowned drummer who was a founder member of the legendary improvisation group AMM, back in 1965, and remains the group's only ever-present member. In November 1999, Prévost set up a free improvisation workshop, which met once a week in London, welcoming interested musicians to turn up and improvise together. (Only the arrival of Covid-19 and its attendant lockdown halted the workshop's unbroken run, a few months after its twentieth anniversary was celebrated; all associated with it anticipate the workshop to reconvene once it is safe to do so.) Over those first twenty years the workshop was attended by well over five-hundred players, with weekly attendance numbers ranging from three up to the mid-twenties. Countless musicians progressed from attending the weekly workshop to playing regular gigs across the capital. Two long-standing members are electronicist Daniel Kordik and trombonist Ed Lucas who met and bonded at the workshop and, in 2013, set up their Earshots label. Like all who attended the workshop, they also met and bonded with Prévost, hence this album.

In October 2018, Kordik and Lucas had recorded Prévost playing solo, the resulting album Matching Mix being released on Earshots in June 2019. That album was mainly recorded in the twelfth-century All Saints Church at High Laver, near to Prévost's home in Matching Tye, Essex, the acoustic quality of the space having drawn all three to the church. In spring 2019, Kordik and Lucas returned to High Laver to record a trio album with Prévost, once again attracted by the church's acoustics. The album — jointly issued by Earshots and Prévost's own Matchless label — comprises four tracks, totalling forty minutes, which are heard in the order in which they were played in the church.
The appropriately titled opener, "Chancel, Nave, Tower", begins with a sound which has practically become Prévost's trademark, the resonating ringing of a bowed cymbal; across the album, he employs a wide range of sounds and techniques, conventional and less so. Once Lucas' trombone and Kordik's synthesiser have made their entrance, the three engage in the type of collective improvisation which typifies the workshop, being based on listening, searching, and responding sympathetically; the results are not obviously led by any of the three, but are produced collectively. None of the instruments is consistently predictable, all of them producing atypical non-stereotyped sounds throughout. Crucially, though, the sounds that they do produce always complement one another perfectly. Just as miraculously, the album's four tracks are distinctly different, each one making satisfying, exhilarating listening. First rate improv. Unconditionally recommended.
— John Eyles. February, 202