THE REMOTE VIEWERS: Nerve Cure (The Remote Viewers)


Posted on Nov 7th 2011 01:32 am

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The Remote Viewers: Nerve Cure

Nerve Cure
The Remote Viewers 2011
08 Tracks. 44mins28secs

Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Originally a trio formed of Adrian Northover (soprano and alto sax), Louise Petts (alto sax, voice and keyboards) and David Petts (tenor sax, keyboards), The Remote Viewers have been operating around the nucleus of Northover and David Petts since 2007, with regular contributors adding to the line-up over the years. The formation first appeared in the late nineties and released a string of albums as a trio between 1999 and 2003, most of which were published on improv label Leo Records, but things changed quite drastically with the 5CD set The Control Room, released in 2007 after a four year hiatus, as the band became a much looser entity, featuring a wide range of contributors, most of which have continued to work with Northover and Petts on a more or less regular basis.

The Remote Viewers’ latest album, their tenth, comes on the back of two albums which saw them explore more beat-orientated compositions. Here though, Northover and Petts take on a much more angular and experimental approach. Leading a quintet formed of John Edwards (double bass, harp), Sue Lynch (tenor sax, flute) and Rosa Lynch-Northover (piano, percussion), with additional contributions from Adam Bohman (bowed objects) and Caroline Kraabel (baritone sax), the pair create a series of minimal cinematic avant jazz pieces. Whilst naturally centred around the sax, especially on pieces such as Hive Mind, War With The Outer Countries or Grids, where very little else has a place beside the four different saxophones found here, this album harbours some more elaborate instrumental formations, although these remain, for the most part, extremely contained. Edwards adds abrasive bowed sections on Full Universe, which are partly echoed later on when Bohman intervenes on Long Weekend, while sombre bass plucked touches give Forgotten Corners a definite earthy grounding.

Rosa Lynch-Northover weaves a delicate marimba backdrop, supplemented with occasional swirls of harp on Intricate With Spires, while three saxophones can be heard frolicking in the foreground. On Full Universe and Nerve Cure, her contributions are sparser, alternating between marimba and piano on the former, focusing on piano and keyboards on the latter, each time adding an undeniable element of tension to the pieces.

It is however the saxophone which defines the sound of The Remote Viewers, and the exchanges between the various incarnations of the instrument can be in turn playful (Intricate With Spires, Hive Mind), gloomy and dense (Lost Weekend, War With The Outer Countries, Grids) or relatively peaceful (Forgotten Corners). Building from the wide sonic range found between soprano in the higher register and baritone in the lower, this album is a rich patchwork of tones which go much beyond jazz. Each of the four sax players brings their own texture and angle, and they all occupy a fairly equal space over the course of the record, which considerably opens up the possibilities of such confrontation.

Compared to its predecessors, Nerve Cure is a somewhat minimal affair. For the most part stripped of beat entirely, this gives the formation greater freedom to explore more extreme grounds, resulting in this album being, at times, quite a difficult offering, but it is also an extremely rewarding collection, which manages to continually surprise and impress.


The Remote Viewers
Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

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