Globe Unity Orchestra Globe Unity 67/70

Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra was active from 1966 to 1986. They numbered anywhere from a dozen to 20 players, including many of Europe's most adventurous musicians since the '60s. The 1967 piece is a colossal manifestation of that wish and it's frighteningly loud, especially in the last third. Schlippenbach's genius with this piece was in using the frequencies created by the instruments to illustrate themes rather than relying on melodies and conventional harmony. This orchestra often seems of one mind, as they create rushes of sound that start with the baritone saxes and end with the flutes. They can also quake like a leaf in one specific frequency before broadening the range of sound. The percussive elements are excellent, particularly Jaki Liebezeit's nausea-inducing tympani. This is an epic, energy-filled suite that never lets up and always seems totally together. Sweet. "Globe Unity 70" isn't as driving as the "Globe Unity 67" piece and doesn't have quite the same focus, but there are a number of good moments. It's funny to hear Derek Bailey in his wild and crazy youth play like he's on speed. This is a good disc, but if you could combine "Globe Unity 67" with Peter Brotzmann's live recording of Machine Gun, reissued by the Unheard Music Series last year, it would be a definitive statement of '60s European big band mayhem.