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At Nether Edge by Weavels: Chris Cundy - Alex Ward - Mick Beck

It’s a 2009 trio release brought to us by the always adventurous and largely avant-garde U.K. based Discus-Records, that features odd instrumentation and contrasts. Multi-reedman Mick Beck uses the bassoon and an array of whistles as bass clarinetist Chris Cundy partners in the lower-register element to complement guitarist Alex Ward’s polytonal guitar lines.

The artists perform in trio and solo settings while using depth and space as vantage points. Their collaborations and individual forums reside somewhere between free-form minimalism, verbose free-jazz improvisation and more. The interlinking lower-register element meshes quite nicely with Ward’s wide-ranging mode of attack. And the band sparks notions of calamity and pathos throughout their group-centric maneuvers and solo jaunts. They expand and contract disjointed themes while engaging in nip and tuck type discourses.

Ward goes it alone on "Term Time," where he briskly taps his e-guitar fretboard and renders buzzing EFX lines in concert with a few cosmic meltdowns along the way. No doubt, he’s extremely versatile and effectively flaunts his wealth of ideas, also including mini-motifs built on rapid strumming techniques and vexing distortion-based treatments. Here, Ward renders a hybrid Derek Bailey-Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) vibe.

Cundy’s "Half Drawn Eye," is designed with happenstance like pronouncements as the trio realigns on the finale "Sheep," which is more akin to a wolf in sheep’s clothing mindset. On this piece, the musicians belt out fluttering lines, and edgy undertones.

In sum, it’s a curiously interesting program that defies austere classifications. Then again, we generally expect the unforeseen from the good folks at Discus-Records. And it’s a good thing, indeed.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Weavels: Chris Cundy - Alex Ward - Mick Beck
  • CD Title: At Nether Edge
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Discus
  • Musicians: Mick Beck (bassoon, whistles), Chris Cundy (bassclarinet), Alex Ward (guitar)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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