Spring Heel Jack – Bane (7)

December 29, 2009

I missed seeing Spring Heel Jack live in London, partially due to a 96-year-old relative, who talked for six hours straight. She was so fascinating, we didn’t have the heart to stop her. As it was, I never knew if the gig even went ahead, as guest trombonist Paul Rutherford died unexpectedly around that time.

Spring Heel Jack was best known for their fine drum ‘n’ bass in the Nineties. Perhaps the artier purveyors of the craft, with their allusions to minimalism and orchestration, they saw the writing on the wall for the genre and instead started working with Improv artists such as Rutherford, Han Bennink, Evan Parker, and, strangely, J Spaceman of Spiritualized. The duo (of Ashley Wales and John Coxon) would create soundscapes to which the Improv artists would react. They would then decide how much of the soundscapes (if any) would make it to the final mix.

The best of these pieces from their various Improv albums are too big for Tumblr, so here is a live example to give you an idea:

But in terms of this list, I’ve decided to choose a piece from their transitional album, “Disappeared”. While the two title cuts sees reedsman John Surman plays over what would later become the Improv soundscapes, Bane is a last gasp of beatology from the duo.

Bane (link to Tumblr)


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