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Evan Parker and Ghost in the Machine: New Excursions

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One of the central tenets of English saxophonist Evan Parker’s art is the explorations of connections between improvised music and both free jazz and what was once called experimental music (post-serialism, electronic music, etc.). Ghost in the Machine is a Danish quartet with industrial and post-Cage tinges by virtue of Martin Klapper’s tapes, amplified objects and sound-producing toys. New Excursions, recorded at the Copenhagen International Experimental Festival, should engage noise fans of all stripes.

Klapper, a true wild card, aside, Ghost in the Machine is an unwieldy mix of improvisers, most probably by design: percussionist P.O. Jorgens has a nimble Lovens-derived sense of flow; bass guitarist Peter Friis Nielsen swerves from well-formed figures to primal scrapes and slaps; keyboardist Christer Irgens Moller pivots between electronic and acoustic instruments, occasionally flashing a polished technique on piano. It takes an overarching presence such as Parker’s to jell the gestures and pastiches into a cohesive whole, which is exactly what he does on New Excursions. While Parker’s propulsive tenor textures give the music a focused sense of development, it is his patented circular breathing and multiphonics-fueled soprano matrices that give GitM’s often minimally related sound events a contextual mooring that makes them engaging.