Friday, 7 August 2009

JIM DENLEY & KIM MYHR – System Realignment


If a single record, among the latest batches received, could symbolize this writer’s current partiality for a legitimate exploration in a studio setting, as opposed to the release of an all-inclusive unsatisfying live performance, this should be it. Jim Denley (alto sax, flute, electronics) and Kim Myhr (acoustic guitar and “simple mechanics”) are captured in ten tracks in which the overindulgence and the posturing often associable to present-day improvisation are replaced by a simple concept - regularly and conveniently forgotten nowadays to grant undeserved glory to nonentities defining themselves as “artists” in the name of a corrupted democracy of expression - called musicality. A lovely feeling materializing as soon as you press “play”, quite relieving to experience after having spent months squeezing our instinctive refusal of intellectually tinged rubbish to obtain two or three logical drops, indispensable for a decent write-up, matching the two or three isolated noises around which that drivel is usually built.

There is in fact evidence, since the very beginning of this program, of an unambiguous alchemy at work. One immediately breathes consistency while listening to the popping-and-fizzing emissions of the reeds in parallel with the fundamental constituents of the guitar, whose wood we can almost smell the essence of, thanks to the detailed quality of the recording. On a first glance, the homogeneity demonstrated by the couple throughout might be exchanged for a lack of inventiveness, but this is totally untrue. There’s much to be found in terms of colour and resonance in this non-stylish, non-regional exploitation of the entire attributes of instruments apparently so dissimilar, an agglutinate generating effects that are manifestly beneficial, pushing the ears towards a type of perception which ideally should be linked to a direct experience in a remote land (Denley is an expert of this field of action). This is probably due to the musicians’ preference for the percussive features of their playing, which rather frequently reveal a quasi-African aroma (incredible how Myhr manages to make that machine sound like a mbira time and again). Yet sticking a pseudo-world music tag to this duet would be a gross misinterpretation of something more profound, both in the crucial meanings and in regard to the analytical capacity of the instrumentalists, always in the condition of eliciting captivating aural tints in dialogues that never appear as previously rehearsed.

A mind-opening paradigm of mutual recognition and acute attention to the communication between interacting entities, System Realignment is another example of Dale Lloyd’s discernment in choosing materials to publish on his labels, regardless of genres and expectations.