Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - The Exchange Session Vol 1
You know you're onto something good when asked, "What's wrong with the music?" (Answer: "Nothing. It's meant to sound like that.") Granted, it was my five year old sister asking the question, but this shouldn't detract from the fact that The Exchange Session Vol 1 is a wonderful excursion into freeform jazz territory.
Kieran Hebden some will know as Four Tet, well regarded purveyor of electronica, not to mention producer of folkie James Yorkston's Just Beyond The River album. Steve Reid, his partner for this recording, has drummed with the likes of Miles Davis, Fats Domino and James Brown. It's perhaps not that odd a combination when you consider the way in which musicians working with samples and machines (for example, DJ Shadow) frequently draw on jazz, blues and soul.
Hebden's strange and inspired electronic noises (from chimes and horns to more obviously processed sounds) are often similar to those on his 2005 album Everything Ecstatic, but here they are allowed to roam free and mingle with Reid's rhythms. The three pieces on The Exchange Session Vol 1 stretch to jazz lengths (two finishing around the 15 minute mark), and it's all improvised, the sleeve stating the tracks "are live takes with no overdubs or edits." Through the meditative, Eastern-styled Morning Prayer to the random jolts and breakdown of Electricity And Drum Will Change Your Mind, the tension and build are beautifully judged.
Needless to say, this is an unapologetically experimental record and isn't recommended to everyone. Those interested in jazz or the outer limits of electronica, however, are advised to dim the lights, pay full attention and let the music on offer here expand their minds. The next volume will be released shortly.
Last updated: 01/05/2018 09:44:43