Unstable Ensemble Embers

On their third release, Unstable Ensemble reveal themselves to be improvisers trusting space, silence and the taking of time more and more. In the absence of baritone sax player Joe Donnelly the group have enlisted second percussionist Matt Griffin for these live recordings made in June of 2003. The first track, "Everything Vibrates,” starts out so slowly and quietly that a sleeping penguin passes by it on a glacier without rousing. When the racket and clatter does come — and it does — it still has vistas of openness surrounding it. Griffin and regular group percussionist Ian Davis slide back into the proscenium while guitarist Jason Bivins and soprano saxophonist perform their Bailey/Lacy party piece briefly but fiercely. Earlier comparisons to the European models of improvisation could safely be put aside, favouring instead kinship to Japanese minimalist works such as by Otomo Yoshihide, Taku Sugimoto or Toshimaru Nakamura. The latter’s influence is notably present in the no input mixing board work of Eric Weddle. It is a work to delve into for fans of ornate sound details, but with enough of a visceral kick to satisfy the fire-eaters. (Family Vineyard)