In celebration of the Evan Parker’s complex, trippy The Moment’s Energy

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The scene displayed in the panoramic picture found in the cover of The Moment’s Energy already tells you the music contained within is odd: Of the 13 players shown on stage, only about half of them are playing conventional instruments. The rest have an assortment of laptops, MIDI keyboards, and/or instrument board clusters arrayed in front of them. This is, after all, Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble.

This lion of British improvised music, Parker founded the Electro-Acoustic Ensemble back in 1992 to further expand upon the possibilities of group improvisation by supplementing acoustic instruments with various electronic noise making machines. The iconoclastic altoist introduced this ensemble on record with the ECM release of Toward the Margins in 1996. Since then, Evan Parker’s sextet has swelled to the size of a small orchestra, adding both acoustic and electronic instruments along the way, and with members now representing five countries — including the U.S., U.K., Japan, Spain and Italy.

The Moment’s Energy, released on June 30, 2009, combined music from live and studio settings, and must be listened to intently in order to be listened to properly. There were no hooks, visible song structures or harmoniousness; thick layers of sound were brewed with both the acoustic and electronic components so thoroughly baked in together that it was often hard to pull apart and identify the ingredients. Some individual soloing did occur (Ned Rothenberg’s bass clarinet chattering on much of “The Moment’s Energy II” is pretty special), only to descend back into the cloud of sounds again.

Evan Parker himself could be heard only occasionally, but his role as the conductor and instigator is crucial in getting this herd to move in the right direction. Comprised of six movements and a five minute piece at the end (“Incandescent Clouds”), it’s more of a continuum of evolving ideas and fragments instead of a collection of actual songs. Simply put, The Moment’s Energy is a trip. But if you know Evan Parker and his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, you probably already knew that, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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