Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paul Lytton & Nate Wooley: The Nows

Paul Lytton (percussion)
Nate Wooley (trumpet)
The Nows (Clean Feed; 2012)
Ikue Mori (electronics)
Ken Vandermark (sax, clarinet)

An ambitious duo project from Nate Wooley and Paul Lytton that began only a few years ago but has evolved into an exciting collaborative effort. And with the two disc opus, The Nows, the listener gets to experience it in two separate live settings with guest musicians.

Lytton and Wooley have a chemistry that feels as though it goes farther back than just a few years. They begin their conversations slowly and roll into a volcano of improvised patterns that still maintain strong organic structure. "Free Will, Free Won't" features various crackles from Lytton's kit meshed against Wooley extended harmonics that feel like the tea kettle boiling over and no one cared.

"Abstractions and Replications" adds Ikue Mori's electronics to the proceeds. Mori's gadgetry turns the piece into an underwater scifi journey. There are smooth curling motions with tiny and intricate treatments. You have to stay still to hear the minor notes. This kind of skill requires the listeners undivided attention. And it's a brilliant discovery.

The second live set is with one of my favourite musicians, Ken Vandermark. "Automatic" sees Wooley share passages with Vandermark and it/s beautiful to hear the conversation escalate than drop out as one horn takes the lead. This all the while with Lytton ram shackling the hues in the background. It may read like chaos--but its a beautiful chaos. Vandermarks clarinet is deep and billowy.

"The Ripple Effect" is the shinning conclusion to this experimental journey. Wooley and Lytton are in fiery form and Vandermark quietly marches in toward the middle passages. Vandermark really compliments the duo, adding the exclamation points in each verse.

Lytton and Wooley are a powerful and emotion-bending duo that get even more creative with each guest musician. The Nows is another example of terrific collection of free thinking crafting new outlooks. An absolutely great live set.

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