Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - The Exchange Session Vol. 2
Those rightly enchanted by The Exchange Sessions Vol. 1 may be less impressed by the second instalment. Again, the record consists of three lengthy tracks drawn from what is best described as a free jazz and electronica experiment, with Steve Reid providing rhythms and Kieran Hebden generating all sorts of strange noise.
Volume 1 admittedly had points where Hebden's part verged on sounding like a game of Space Invaders. Here, after a promising opening, the final twelve minutes of Hold down the rhythms, hold down the machines wanders into this territory never to return. Reid's drums battle constant zapping, as if Hebden has stuck the controls on autofire.
With Noémie, calm is restored (at least until the later-than-expected breakdown). Hebden's sounds, this time more natural and meditative (chimes, horns), dominate. It's a pleasant track, let down by progression which fails to excite.
As if to maintain balance, We dream free puts the spotlight on Reid; and he does rise to the challenge with beguilingly shifting rhythms. At their barest, however, interest sags.
The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2 is patchy, too often feeling like leftovers from the far superior Volume 1. In hindsight, perhaps, such an experiment was always going to produce some great material and some where the indulgence was less justified.