Monday, 18 September 2017

Brilliant five star review of Closer to You by Trevor Watts' Amalgam by Philip Clark in Jazzwise 220!

It's good to have this one back. Originally released by Ogun Records in 1979, Closer to You features the trio incarnation of Trevor Watts' Amalgam born after table-top guitarist Keith Rowe left the group following the release of their mighty albums Over the Rainbow and Wipe Out.
Sans Rowe, the textures and structural manoeuvres are cleaner and more directly etched. 'De Dublin Ting' - take no notice of the decidedly Father Ted-like title - is a rollicking piece of badass harmolodic funk in which Watts plays Russian roulette with displaced beats, while 'Keep Right' develops as a stately blues-immersed ritual. Amalgam had always been the place where Watts ran with compositional ideas that would have felt alien to the work he was pursuing with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and the extended 'South of Nowhere (With Quiet Beginnings)'has an air of composerly architecture as those quiet, whispered beginnings evolve into granite sounds. The 20-minute 'Dear Roland' (Kirk presumably) slowly develops into a stark, relentless procession, led by saxophone multiphonics that grind against and are illuminated by, resonant metallic percussion. This reissue comes supplemented by five previously unheard tracks from the same session - sketches for what finally emerged.

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