Ambient Music

Lisa Cameron / Damon Smith / Alex Cunningham – Time Without Hours (2022; Storm Cellar) – Avant Music News

Coming to Roulette – Avant Music News

This new slab of free improv from veterans Lisa Cameron (drums), Damon Smith (bass), and Alex Cunningham (violin) hits the spot. It combines just the right amount of structure, open-endedness, discordance, and virtuosity. Cameron and Smith are both thunderous performers. The former uses passages of semi-predictable beats to further accentuate more mercurial patterns. The latter’s acoustic bass is deeply-toned and almost hypnogogic. But Cunningham is at the fore through most of the album, aggressively sawing and scraping notes out of his instrument.

As an example, A Wave Reborn begins with slow-moving yet unconventional percussion coupled with bowed bass and a subtle and grating violin theme. Use of extended techniques results in textural exploration taking precedence over melody. Cunningham extracts notes like he is forging abstract metal artwork from raw materials. The track morphs into a form of walking (dancing?) bass line, with Cameron heavy on the cymbals and violin ebbing and flowing in the foreground. The tempo increases toward the end, with Cunningham’s outside soloing over dense and angular rhythms.

Time Without Hours will be released on tape and as a digital download on October 14. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed this trio’s 2020 release, Dawn Throws its First Knife.

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