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Matthew Shipp: Piano Vortex

Matthew Shipp’s large discography shows him to be a committed seeker who trusts his muse even at her most hermetic and perverse. Perhaps his history of nerve and sincerity should entitle him to some benefit of the doubt. But even music that follows no logic but its own should offer mysteries that, if not beautiful, are at least interesting. The eight Shipp compositions for trio here, in their halting, spasmodic randomness, with three players pursuing separate paths according to impenetrable impulses, are excruciatingly tedious.

“Sliding Through Space” is representative, with Shipp’s piano repeating itself endlessly and Joe Morris’ arco bass scraping like chalk on a blackboard. So is the title track, an arbitrary collection of minimalist oddities. One man’s vortex is another man’s stasis.

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