Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid Exchange Session Vol. 2

So how do "they" decide what goes on Volume 1 and what goes on Volume 2 – and what might be held back? Is it the artists or the record company? I kept wondering about this when listening to this second Exchange Session. It's got all the same ingredients as the first: Don Cherry-like samples, Reid building up to sledgehammer grooves that circumnavigate Hebden's electronics, and long form conversations stretching to 20 minutes. But is the thrill gone? Was the thrill there in the first place, or was I just impressed by the novelty of the pairing? Does familiarity breed if not contempt, then boredom? The main difference I can tell between this disc and the last is that Hebden's samples sound more like samples this time around. He tends to let them loop longer rather than slice and dice his material; as a result his contribution is exactly the sum of its parts rather than transcending them. Reid also sounds less engaged. It seems to take longer for them to lock into an effective idea, whereas I can only think of one point on the first volume where that happened. Since this was all recorded at the same session, it's got to come down to someone's track selection. Whatever the problem is, perhaps a DVD could represent these sessions in their entirety, including visuals to underscore the communication between them. While Vol. 2 does not equal the excitement of its predecessor, this partnership is just beginning. (Domino)