Sainkho Namchylak / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton / Phil Wachsmann / Marco Vecchi / Walter Prati / Evan Parker

September 22, 2021

Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas

Victo cd 133

By Ken Waxman

Almost perfect division between vocal and instrumental affiliation with electronics is this disc, recorded at FIMAV 1996 in Quebec. The first track centres around the vocal gymnastics of Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak propelling her retches, yodels and gurgles, accompanied, synthesized and live processed by Marco Vecchi and Walter Prati’s electronics, with obtuse, balanced and stretched interjections from violinist Philipp Wachsmann, bassist Barry Guy, percussionist Paul Lytton and saxophonist Evan Parker.

Namtchylak sits out “Fluctuating”, the second track, which is only slightly shorter than “Fixing”. This allows the electronic wizards to add to and highlight the studied, in-the-moment improvising by the fiddler, bassist, drummer and saxophonist. Accomplished veterans of free expression, Wachsmann, Lytton, Parker and Guy shatter and stretch the program as the electronics subtly project mirrored and scrambled variants of their outputs. This includes col legno slaps and swabbing strokes from the bassist, faux-formalist sweeps and pizzicato rasps from the violinist, crunching crinkles and reverberation from the percussionist and a penultimate sequence where Parker’s circular breathed doits, multiphonics and fluttering trills vibrate towards and then among a persuasive finale of staccato stopping from the strings.

Earlier Namtchylak inimitable shaking cries, onomatopoeic asides and cracked warbling is multiplied by processing and backed by Guy’s bass string thumps and Wachsmann’s augmented string spiccato. When Parker enters at the half-way point, his reed trills and Namtchylak’s vocalizing sound nearly identical. No matter which player’s timbres are emphasized a perfect mix is attained throughout.

–For The Whole Note September/October 2021