Music Reviews

Artist: XT
Title: Palina\'tufa
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Empty Editions
After XT’s last two albums were primarily documentations of live performances, the duo of saxophonist Seymour Wright and percussionist Paul Abbott have embraced more studio work, overdubbing and re-tweaking their impulsive improvisations into something pointedly chaotic.

Across four sides of an LP are spread four untitled works, each precisely fifteen minutes long. In some respects there’s an experimental jazz timbre, hard to avoid with spontaneous saxophone playing, but there’s a deliberate intent here to fill the sonic space frequently. Despite there only being too performers, both the attitude and the production result in something noisy and at times quite raw. There is dynamic contrast at times, breathing space between assaults, but for most of this exactly-an-hour work, the energy level rarely drops far, or for long.

The electronic experimentation sometimes stretches into equipment-tweaking as well- a strong motor-like drone on side B being an example. Lines are blurred or broken between what counts as playing the instrument, with atonal and squeaky extreme sounds often focussed on the incidental noises of the instrument as a machine, and what is more abrasive and industrial noise-making. At times, particularly in part C, the subversion of ‘normal jazz’ rhythms and sounds is a little more overt.

This is rough and aggressively handled experimental music. It’s a distant cousin to avantgarde jazz with an attitude that’s more noise-punk. It doesn’t necessarily want to be liked, but on those terms it can be appreciated.

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