PHIL MINTON / SIMON H. FELL – The Knowledge Of Its Own Making

Huddersfield Contemporary Records

The graciousness of Matthew Sergeant – composer and label manager who sent this CD a good while back – was rewarded, so to speak, by a classic “uh-oh, I forgot this one” mortified reaction as I retrieved the item – still pretty close to my laptop – covered by dozens of equally overlooked promos three days ago. In a pitiful attempt to see how many people had preceded yours truly in covering the album, I was amazed to find absolutely no review (at the best of my googling capabilities, at least) (*). Yet another archetypal case of under-the-radar quality representing the kind of inevitable injustice that only a solid punch to one’s own face could (partially) rectify.

However, a favorite motto over here is “great music has no expiration date”. And make no mistake, The Knowledge Of Its Making – issued in 2015 – comprises plenty of substance, of the type that needs a total focus and an almost physical engagement. The program consists of two tracks – 41-plus and just below 6 minutes respectively – conceived, in a way, as a live set with a brief encore. The quiet and naturally echoing environment contributes to the interior improvement of the detected signals. Minton and Fell reassert both their individual talents and the compatibility of the respective timbres and performing kinetics. The conversation is informed by a graphic expressiveness interspersed with tense spikes and precious instants verging on complete silence. The distinction of the voices reveals a remarkable gamut of alterations and climates. Minton’s penchant for pressurized discharges of his breath amidst the innumerable vocal masks he wears complements Fell’s thorough command of the double bass, the latter a passe-partout of sorts across the no man’s land separating improvisational sinlessness from acoustic dehydration.

I’m sure that most of you who bear with me since heaven knows when are conversant enough with these artists, therefore I will waste no further words about their impressive skill and humanity. Let me stress once again the nefariousness of a “creative” abundance which permits thousands of nobodies to float around at the expense of this level of prowess, suffocating authentic gems like this via a wicked ability in the self-promotion department. Mea culpa for the delay, then; now, go get a copy of this splendid release.

(*) STOP PRESS: not true. Upon further research, the record was apparently reviewed by 5against4 and – unbelievable – The Wire.

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