SPHINCTER ENSEMBLE – Harrodian Event #1

Esoteric 2013

SPHINCTER ENSEMBLE - Harrodian Event #1

Harrodian Event #1

A feast of spontaneity from 1972 with progressive movers venturing into the unknown on the wings of collective spirit.

“In the moment” is the gist of any jam, but catching a mood all too often requires a sonic canvas to spray one’s ideas on, and there was none when keyboardist Peter Robinson was called to join guitarist Tony Walmsley and drummer Trevor Morais in London’s “Harrodian Club,” yet this community center served his purpose well. Hauling in some studio equipment and fellow musicians – three who he studied with at the Royal Academy of Music and John Gustafson, his former colleague in QUATERMASS, – Robinson relied on the spirit of things, and the resulting improvisation, captured here, delivered, or reflected, exactly that. Freeform throughout, the piece gradually takes shape and constantly moves, starting with the swing of Ann Odell’s organ that kicks into fugue and is sawed with Paul Buckmaster’s cello which hints at Beethoven in “Event#1,” and fizzling out with the loud groove “Event#9” subtitled “Prelude Before A Cuppa” as it was the tea lady who brought the onslaught to a halt.

This finale sounds ready to be sampling for the hip hop use, but the disposition is serene when “Event#3” flows into view on a “Buckforgusode-Morrobwal” tag. The scope rapidly grows, though, once a thundering bass punches through an electric piano and the licks of Martyn Ford’s French horn add a Big Easy sway to the proceedings, as they do in a slightly bluesy “Event#5” whereas, in between, “Pigeons Awake!!!” puts forward a strings-and-rimshots interplay. The low-tone end of it all is explored in the most abstract “Event#8 (Interlude #29b)” and then there’s graceful “Event#7 (Country Knees)” that ripples, boogie-way, with a hi-hat grit and a cosmic undercurrent from the ivories. Released for the first time, the recording doesn’t bear the weight of its now famous makers while bearing witness to the momentary creativity of kindred minds and the birth of cool melody – right on the spot and spot-on.


September 6, 2013

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