Each of the two bands highlighted on this 2011 disc feature alto saxophonist Herman Hauge. Previously unissued, these sides were recorded in 1973 and 1984. And per the album notes, Hauge cites the improvisational vehicles with outlying influences and interfaces between [architectural] design and space, as pertinent factors.
Recorded in London, 1973, Free Space is an octet, including Spontaneous Music Ensemble founder and drummer John Stevens who uses his voice as an instrument along with his performances on cornet. Moreover, improvising VIPs such as soprano saxophonist Trevor Watts, guitarist John Russell and violinist Nigel Coombes help round out the ensemble.
"Intermediate" is the sole Free Space piece which clocks in at 15-minutes. Asymmetrical parts minimalist and microtonal, Hauge's sax parts summon imagery of a balloon bobbing in a calm wind. Here, the instrumentalists focus on a given register then partake in a jab and spar session towards the closeout.
Otherways is a band with alternating personnel and is represented with six tracks, comprising rehearsals and performances in London in 1973 and 1984. At times rambunctious and often abetted by Dave Solomon's rumbling percussion, the unit darts, dances, and conveys frantic escapism. However, on "Gesture," Hauge's smooth voicings counter Simon Mortimer's trickling piano movements and other passages that transmit a vibrant scenario amid flirtatious exchanges and orbital frameworks. With swarming pulses and propulsive breakouts, the band generates an abundance of dips and spikes.
The musicians execute fractured ballad-like musings, circular phrasings, and on "Lucid," they perpetuate glowing trinkets of sound atop Solomon's use of small percussion instruments and other articulations. Coupled with the artists' ceaseless enthusiasm and borderless ruminations, the organic nature of these works instill a grassroots characteristic, underscored by a modality that may be analogous to neural engineering-like initiatives.